Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
of the World
4.2 MBs, 5:06
Short version: mp3,
3 MBs, 3:45
Who can think
of the world's women, and not marvel? There is no area of human
endeavor upon which the mark of woman has not been made, and made
around the time of International Women's Month, advertisements in
the newspaper trumpet the accomplishments of women, but usually
they shy away from the women who have fought for the revolutionary
rights of women and others, or who have fought against the partriarchal
status quo. As in Black History Month, those who are celebrated
tend to be 'safe' women; those who are acceptable to men because
they haven't rocked the boat, or, if they did so, they did so gently.
I will not address
such women here; they are represented elsewhere (like in your paper).
Let us think
of women who are usually ignored; or who are feared, or who are
shunned by the corporate media. Women like those nameless billions
who (according to the UN Conference of Women in Copenhagen in 1980)
perform between two-thirds and three-quarters of the work in the
world (and produce 45% of the world's food!). They labor against
great odds, and keep body and soul together for billions of children.
They are heroines.
Let us think
of women like Tarika Lewis, who was the first woman to join the
Black Panther Party as a rank-and-file member, and with her courage
and ability, paved the way for thousands of others to follow her
path; while her name may not be known nor famous, history should
record her proud contribution of resistance to the racist repression
of the 1960s and '70s.
millions of other Black women, came from traditions of woman warriors
all along the West African coast.
While some have
suggested otherwise, the 18th Century ex-slave, sailor and writer,
Olaudah Equiano noted clearly, when telling memories of his tribe,
wrote: "All are taught the use of these weapons; even our women
are warriors, and march boldly out to fight along with the men."
[fr. The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African
(orig., 1789), p. 16]
seeing a battle while nestled in a tree, his mother in the thick
of the battle, armed with a broad sword!
Let us not suggest
that brave women warriors were rare or relegated to the dusty pages
of dry history books. The name, Fred Hampton, is legendary, yet
few remember his young wife, Akua, who lay beside him as he was
slaughtered by the State, and now continues as a leader in the struggle.
While Fred is remembered, and perhaps Mark Clark, few remember that
two Panther women were among the wounded that night: Verlina Brewer
and Brenda Harris were each shot twice by the state and federal
death squad, and both were seriously wounded, but they survived,
and bravely continued the resistance as Panthers.
There has been
no true popular struggle in African-American history, American history,
or world history, that was not, in part, supported or sustained
by women. Women were at the very heart of the Abolition Movement,
the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Liberation Movement, and the
Anti-War Movements. That they are not well-known is due to their
being disappeared from the annals of history.
Let us not forget
Ruby Robinson (1942-1967) who was a fiery militant activist with
SNCC; Claudia Jones (1915-1964) a Trinidadian-born radical journalist
and communist who led the Free Mandela campaigns in London; Lolita
Lebron, who fought for Puerto Rican independence from the U.S.;
Petrona Chacon, who was a leading figure in the 1840 slave revolt
in Cuba; Ernestina "Titina" Sila (1943-1973) African revolutionary
leader, fought for the PAIGC (African Party for Independence of
Guinea and Cape Verde); Septima P. Clark (1898-1987), who established
'Freedom Schools' in the apartheid South, worked with the SCLC;
Cherry Turner, wife and co-conspirator with the Black rebel, Nat
Turner, of the August, 1831 Insurrection that shook the South to
its roots; Ella Baker (1903-1986), founded SNCC, organized Mississippi
Freedom Democratic Party, worked with Puerto Rican Solidarity Committee;
affectionately called "Fundi", Swahili for 'teacher';...
and these are but a few.
Let us not forget
them, and millions like them; mostly unknown, erased from 'official'
history; remembered in the realm of the heart for their strength,
their courage, their powerful will to be free, which inspires us
Check out Mumia's
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com
The Power of Truth
is Final -- Free Mumia!
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.