Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
Address for U.C. Berkley African American Studies Graduates 2004
Long Version: mp3,
3.63 MBs, 4:32
May, 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
Sisters: *Ona Move*!
to all the graduates at U.Cal.- Berkeley's African American Studies
It's been many
years since I was out in Cali, but, in my mind's eye lives the clear
memory of selling copies of *The Black Panther* newspaper on Telegraph
bordering the campus, the sun radiating off the gritty asphalt of
Berkeley. But, that's another time, another era; we must try to
look to the future, right?
For all of
you have earned degrees in African American studies, undoubtedly
many took courses in history which means that as we go into
the future, we must, like the Sankofa bird, look back into the past
for the guidance of our ancestors.
Few of our
ancestors are more apt than the great Black radical scholar/activist,
W.E.B. DuBois. Few studies of Black life can be considered complete
without his pivotal and poetic *The Souls of Black Folk*. As I believe
most, if not all of you have read this work, I won't dwell on it.
In his lesser-known, yet brilliant, book *The Education of Black
People* (N.Y.: Monthly Review Press, 1973), DuBois is critical in
the extreme of the backwardness and conservatism of "Negro
Colleges", a position that was attacked by both college administrators
and the press. DuBois defied his critics, and instead upped his
criticisms, for he knew that the colleges that taught our people
to be meek and servile would defeat our people's struggles for freedom
While the elites
and the media launched their attacks, DuBois kept right on fighting;
fighting for academic excellence; for the life of the mind. In the
essay, "Education and Work," DuBois did not bite his tongue,
Negro undergraduate has swallowed, hook, line, and sinker, the dead
bait of the white undergraduate, who, born in the industrial machine,
does not have to think, and does not think. Our college man today
is, on the average, a man untouched by real culture. He deliberately
surrenders to selfish and even silly ideals, swarming into semiprofessional
athletics and Greek letter societies, and affecting to despise scholarship
and the hard grind of study and research.
penned these essays between 1906 and 1960. Surely things have changed,
but his words still resonate with us today as we look at the utter
debasement of culture all around us. We, all of us, live in an anti-intellectual
culture; a market-culture that appeals to our basest instincts.
The 'hard grind
of study and research' is still frowned upon; the popular emulation
of spectator sports and spectator music is widely praised. We are
a people still dazzled by our entertainers, and dismissive of our
all of you have taken the least traveled path of the great
DuBois that of 'study and research.'
May you all
also join him in his other great life work: the *betrayal of his
class*, and his embrace of the base of his people in the long, hard
struggle for freedom and
self-assertion. We are all richer for his immense contributions;
his battles waged meant less for us to fight; his accomplishments
opened the door for the global
Black struggle for liberation from colonialism, imperialism and
he could have gone another way; he didn't. And if we are to emulate
this great Black thinker, let us do so fully by becoming
scholar/activists engaged, as was he, fully in the struggles
of our people for total liberation.
In doing so,
we give meaning to our studies in African American life and history!
I thank you all for your gracious invitation!
to all Graduates and hopefully, scholar-activists!
past Work for the Future!
Long Live John
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.