ExiledOne Commentary

Unique View of An African from America

My Look Back At '65: Gloria & Malcolm Pt5 (Exile 2015)
Aaron Douglas, Aspirations, 1936
Part 5, of My Look Back At '65 Malcolm X & Gloria Richardson (Conclusion)

Invisible yet at the center,

those were days before we knew for sure we could be proud to be
ourselves. It seemed odd, being the focus of so much attention and being hated so much. The pressure was on our little shoulders and the bigger shoulders of the adults. Was freedom going to be a reality?

The Gift of Integration?

30 'Black Principals' in more than
2000 taxpayer funded schools

Outward & Upward

Malcolm X grew from a public persona bent on a role in the
corporate media as a chastiser of other public figures. He used his stellar debating and diplomatic skills as a statesman to advance the cause of Africans in America on the international stage. The elevation of the man among the exacting gaze of women of legacy was special and determined his trajectory. It has been said that these women, the women of the people, necessarily women he impressed on the avenues that he strolled, the women of the Temples he taught in, Mabel Williams, Ella Baker, Gloria Richardson, Mae Mallory (1929-2007) or Fannie Lou Hamer, respected his sincerity in the defense and support of women in a racist, sexist society. This is a wall still not broken through but Malcolm X put the idea into the public. Though he parted ways with women such as Clara Muhammad (1899-1972), Elijah Muhammad's wife, the fundamental, multiple problems of sexism did not end there in that or any other 'freedom organization'. The influence she had displayed in guiding the Nation of Islam and developing a way to aid women discarded from society was a lesson. What happened to his own mother, Louise Little (1900-1991) a former UNIA official declared an unfit mother by the state and committed to a mental hospital from 1939 to 1963 also shaped his changed views. In time the focus of Malcolm X was of such a range and dimension/capacity in loving the people that it has inspired generations a half century later. There is no doubt that the holistic outlook on Human Rights, Pan African freedom and the clarity of his message to the oppressed of the world may have emboldened a global revolution against the masters of war, to quote Odetta. All of these women, it should be remembered, were successful in countering the FBI and all the rest of the  surveillance systems of the capitalist world. His upward and outward growth path was to a mature level that some of the greatest people have occupied in history.

Malcolm X inspired and was 'Dad' philosophically to many, Max Stanford aka Muhammad Ahmad b. 1941 of the Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM), Herman Ferguson (1920-2014) OAAU leader and US Political Exile,, Jitu Weusi (1939-2013) Ahmed Obafemi b. 1938, Imari Obadele (1930-2008) and Gaidi Obadele (1926-2006)(RNA, Republic of New Afrika), Stokely Carmichael aka Kwame Ture (1941-1998), All African Peoples Party and Huey P Newton (1942-1989) and Bobby Seale b. 1936, key activists of the
Black Panther Party. But Malcolm's "moms" were Queen Mother Moore (1898-1997), Ella (Little) Collins (1914-1996) and that level of women conditioned him socially to politically court a Gloria Richardson. Here was a basis to resist a conservative, insular Nation Islam that denied one of it's problems, which today would be called patriarchy.

Women As Cosmos

The closest to him personally was the mother of his children, all girls, Betty Shabazz (1934-1997), his wife. With her permission, Malcolm X was able spend long periods away from the family home. Without her his constant studying and traveling would have been impossible. He departed the family home less than a day after the family home was fire bombed, going to Detroit to deliver a speech on 14 February 1965. Their daughters, today wisely noting the dual influence of their parents have helped define the legacy with the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center in the former
Audubon Ballroom in New York City. Betty was instrumental in
providing, against tremendous odds, an enriching family environment. The targeting of her beyond the assassination of Malcolm X included the flaunting of the government's contempt in the legal matter of justice in the case of the murderers of her husband. Betty Shabazz has a story which has not yet been told in actual context.

Women as the cosmos.

Malcolm X, on his route to meet the world, met Betty, Gloria and
finally, the cosmos.  

END PART 5 and Article

28 November 2015
From Exile,

RESOURCES ( Coming In 2016):
The Struggle is a Eternal: Gloria Richardson and Black Liberation
by Joseph R. Fitzgerald

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My Look Back At '65: Gloria & Malcolm Pt4 (Exile 2015)
Aaron Douglas, Aspirations, 1936
Part 4, of My Look Back At '65 Malcolm X & Gloria Richardson

Fighting was fun
the way we did it, plastic guns, cardboard swords as we imitated the 'middle ages' 'knights' and 'army men'. We were boys, yeah! Real war, soon enough, showed it's face. What I thought was real war were going to be the newscasts of Viet Nam, Americans at war. But in 1965, war wasn't yet an issue. Though we played at aggression, be it soldier or spy, we had no idea what was taking place around us as children.

Consciousness is ever evolving, as the turbulent life of Malcolm X would prove. This was a life increasingly on display to the world in the final year of his life. He would not live beyond a year of his move away from Elijah Muhammad's doctrine and the largest and most popular mass organization of Africans in the USA since the 1920s and Marcus Garvey and the UNIA, United Negro Improvement Association. Warith Deen Muhammad (1933-2008), educated in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, has said that he recalled that as a child, his father, one day Elijah Muhammad, refused to relate to Whites as capable of the uplifting of the general body of African so called Americans.

" When I first heard of Malcolm, I was not really involved in the movement. I was like, thirty five or something, just raising a family...after they were evicted (Malcolm X & Betty and children) we were talking back and forth...I had gotten my mother and stepfather in Newark because they had a vacant third floor in the apartment, to agree to take them...but before that could happen, the other thing happened..."
Gloria Richardson, 2015

"...we demanded...didn't ask...it was unladylike..."
Gloria Richardson

Indeed, it was the visionary direct action of Gloria Richardson and the Cambridge, Maryland community that had stretched the limits of nonviolence in the face of what seemed to be an all consuming repression. This was a local mass movement with goals. Employment, access to the better equipped schools that White students benefited from (education), an end to discrimination at hospitals and clinics, at least some Africans in police roles, these were actually demands in 1963 that Gloria Richardson and the CNAC had put on the table. The state and customary repression of the Euro Americans forced, as it had in the late 40s, early 50s, the African so called Americans to hand over their sons to the mounting war machine, named by Eisenhower himself, the Military Industrial Complex. The 1965 invasion by US marines in the Dominican Republic and continued meddling in a French ex colonial state under command of a certain General Giap were issues of the day.

The prisons, the slums where lead pipes were causing illness, mental retardation and early deaths were the poverty engulfed populations' concerns, Malcolm X knew. He realized that the United Nations approach, talking to the world about Human Rights was critical but not separate from local difficulties. Malcolm X was witness to Gloria Richardson's example as a fellow chief of Black Thought and Action. They both, from first their meeting in November 1963 at a SCLC, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, workshop in Detroit, agreed that voting in USA elections was a tactic not an ends. The strategy of accountable Africans being put into place by an aware public would be leverage along with other levers.

Where Is Our Place?

The House Negro & The Field Negro (Malcolm X, 1963)

To understand this, you have to go back to what [the] young brother here referred to as the house Negro and the field Negro — back during slavery. There was two kinds of slaves.
There was the house Negro and the field Negro. The house Negroes – they lived in the house with master, they dressed pretty good, they ate good ’cause they ate his food — what he left. They lived in the attic or the basement, but still they lived near the master; and they loved their master more than the master loved himself.  They would give their life to save the master’s house quicker than the master would.
The house Negro, if the master said, “We got a good house here,” the house Negro would say, “Yeah, we got a good house here.”  Whenever the master said, “we,” he said “we.” That’s how you can tell a house Negro.  If the master’s house caught on fire, the house Negro would fight harder to put the blaze out than the master would. If the master got sick, the house Negro would say, “What’s the matter, boss, we sick?” We sick! He identified himself with his master more than his master identified with himself.

And if you came to the house Negro and said, “Let’s run away, let’s escape, let’s separate,” the house Negro would look at you and say, “Man, you crazy. What you mean, separate? Where is there a better house than this? Where can I wear better clothes than this? Where can I eat better food than this?”
That was that house Negro. In those days he was called a “house nigger.” And that’s what we call him today, because we’ve still got some house niggers running around here.

This modern house Negro loves his master.  He wants to live near him. He’ll pay three times as much as the house is worth just to live near his master, and then brag about “I’m the only Negro out here.” “I’m the only one on my job.” “I’m the only one in this school.” You’re nothing but a house Negro.
And if someone comes to you right now and says, “Let’s separate,” you say the same thing that the house Negro said on the plantation. “What you mean, separate? From America? This good white man? Where you going to get a better job than you get here?” I mean, this is what you say. “I ain’t left nothing in Africa,” that’s what you say. Why, you left your mind in Africa.

On that same plantation, there was the field Negro.
The field Negro — those were the masses.  There were always more Negroes in the field than there was Negroes in the house. The Negro in the field caught hell. He ate leftovers.  In the house they ate high up on the hog.  The Negro in the field didn’t get nothing but what was left of the insides of the hog. They call ‘em “chitt’lin’” nowadays. In those days they called them what they were: guts. That’s what you were — a gut-eater. And some of you all still gut-eaters.

The field Negro was beaten from morning to night. He lived in a shack, in a hut; He wore old, castoff clothes.  He hated his master. I say he hated his master.  He was intelligent. That house Negro loved his master.  But that field Negro — remember, they were in the majority, and they hated the master.
When the house caught on fire, he didn’t try and put it out; that field Negro prayed for a wind, for a breeze.  When the master got sick, the field Negro prayed that he’d die.  If someone come to the field Negro and said, “Let’s separate, let’s run,” he didn’t say “Where we going?” He’d say, “Any place is better than here.”
You’ve got field Negroes in America today.  I’m a field Negro.  The masses are the field Negroes.  When they see this man’s house on fire,  you don’t hear these little Negroes talking about “our government is in trouble.”  They say, “The government is in trouble.” Imagine a Negro: “Our government”!  I even heard one say “our astronauts.”  They won’t even let him near the plant — and “our astronauts”!  “Our Navy” — that’s a Negro that’s out of his mind. That’s a Negro that’s out of his mind.

Just as the slave-master of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slave-master today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, 20th century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent. That’s Tom making you nonviolent.

It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth.  You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocain, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ’cause you’ve got all of that novocain in your jaw, you suffer peacefully.  Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ‘Cause someone has taught you to suffer — peacefully.

Dynamism and wide scope attack on the system was something that Malcolm envisioned, local and international. It was what he admired and aspired to coming away from an Nation of Islam endeavor heavy on numerology, debatable science and the emergent power struggles over consumerism, gender wars, a microcosm of the near future's expanded "middle class Blacks syndrome". Gloria had, to paraphrase the Mary Wells Motown hit, beat Malcolm X to the punch on that one. Hers was one of the families descended from 200,000 "free Blacks" (minimum 4 Million others captives) when the Emancipation Proclamation came down in 1863. A degree of unity, integral to survival in a racist society had made coexistence a sensible economic and to small extent, social reality. But the exploding economic fortune of the new superpower in the post 40s revealed the dreams of the expectant ones, who saw a chance to be closer to power. The often class struck and color struck (the lighter skinned and less African featured, the better) people took their status seriously and intermarried among themselves. They had a vested interest in not allowing their number to expand too much and received colonial privilege from the colonizer. Political choices had to be made in the midst of the crashing down of legalized and social custom of racial segregation, which had been planned as any other racist regime would. England was also revamping with it's differences (backtracking from the bold Afrikaner domination) with Verwoerd's South Africa while it's homefront burned with racist anti immigrant populism. The infamous Smethwick victory of the conservative Griffiths, which drew Malcolm X to travel there in the midlands in 1964 to support Africans and Asians was a beginning of a trend. He was later banned from England within a matter of months. No doubt, the NSA, CIA, MI6 and other spycraft masters knew that Malcolm X was welcome in revolutionary Africa, Cuba, China and elsewhere.

Sidestepping International Law

The USA replacement for it's 80 year old Jim Crow policy was a creeping forced assimilation that Washington DC provided, and it put the "chattering classes" in the limelight. These were people in every community and every organization on the face of things striving for the freedom of the people, including the Nation of Islam, which had even become a share of federal government workers 'trying to go along and get along', live middle class lives and stay out of 'the politics of America'. There were those openly agitating for reform, too. These people were intent on personal gain, the likelihood of government largesse and seats in the courthouse, statehouse and one day even the fabled White House and they did not want to accept the lessons that Fannie Lou Hamer and the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party had established in 1964 at the Atlantic City national Democratic Party delegate counting. The number of 'black votes' outnumbering 'white votes' in Mississippi could be and actually were neutralized by White Supremacy-and it was clear that the the rulers, speaking through the federal government could not afford to allow real democracy to exist in the USA.

"Integration" as the USA policy was called was a sidestepping of international law (Self Determination). There is no coincidence that Malcolm X was influenced by and had political room in his heart for Mrs Hamer, who became a friend in the spiraling days before his 21 February 1965 assassination.


26 November 2015
From Exile,

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My Look Back At '65: Gloria & Malcolm Pt3 (Exile 2015)
Aaron Douglas, Aspirations, 1936
Part 3 of My Look Back At '65 progresses on to Malcolm X

Like half frozen rain
the air had the feel of tiny pins piercing our knit hats, gloves and scarves. Realities began changing a boy's life. Walking to school was a group activity. As we left the housing projects behind, we crossed a hypodermic needle, broken bottle and wood cinder strewn no man's land (playground) between 'negro' and White zones, we were headed for storms on the way to the Roman Catholic school.


The Former Audubon Ballroom

From X To El Hajj

Malcolm X, like anyone intent on a broad coalition of groups, local, national and international in scope, was a needed force to make global inroads for a people, his own, Africans in America. He attracted attention from many around the world due to an ability to resolutely define his enemies. He repeatedly noted that only his people had fought and died in the hundreds of thousands in every war The USA conducted, from the 1700s on. He delved into the chasm of religion and politics with a dedication rarely seen. Just how could these issues be resolved, if at all? This was not lost on those also experiencing a peculiar exploitation, many also of the so called Third World. Malcolm X had founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. in the wake of an early March, 1964 departure from the Nation of Islam and his mentor of at least twelve years as one of it's major ministers, including Temple Number 7, New York City.  Here is part of an interview with writer AB Spellman in March 1964:

SPELLMAN: Will you work with the so-called established civil rights organizations?

MALCOLM X: Well, we will work with them in any area and on any objective that doesn't conflict with our own political, economic, and social philosophy which is black nationalism. I might add that I was invited to attend a civil rights group meeting where all of the various civil rights organizations were present and I was invited to address them in Chester, Pennsylvania. Gloria Richardson was there; Landrey, the head of the Chicago School Boycott, was there; Dick Gregory was there; many others were there; the Rochedale movement was there. Now my address to them was designed to show them that if they would expand their civil rights movement to a human rights movement it would internationalize it. Now, as a civil rights movement, it remains within the confines of American domestic policy and no African independent nations can open up their mouths on American domestic affairs, whereas if they expanded the civil rights movement to a human rights movement then they would be eligible to take the case of the Negro to the United Nations the same as the case of the Angolans is in the UN and the case of the South Africans is in the UN. Once the civil rights movement is expanded to a human rights movement our African brothers and our Asian brothers and Latin American brothers can place it on the agenda at the General Assembly that is coming up this year and Uncle Sam has no more say-so in it then. And we have friends outside the UN -- 700,000,000 Chinese who are ready to die for human rights.

Travel With A Purpose

Travels in Europe, including England and France, not just a famous lecture at Oxford, England but the brainstorm sessions at James Baldwin's apartment (also a haven for others of critical view of the USA and the West), meetings with the ex colonial Africans in both large countries rapidly shaped the mind and sensibilities of a 6 foot 3 inch tall chief of Black Thought. He had flown on airplanes internationally before, as early as 1959. But most famous are his voyages outside of the United States as his consciousness changed for good in between 1963 and his death in February 1965. He met with Claudia Jones (1915-1964) in London, an early US Political Exile of the post 1945 timeframe. She was a friend of Nelson Mandela and Paul Robeson. Eventually an outright ban from entering France came down when a joint 'Afro American-African rally' he had been asked to support in Paris was said to be forbidden. Malcolm X, in a press release stated that he told the French officials at Orly airport on 9 February 1965:
"...maybe my plane got mixed up and I was in South Africa. I was in the wrong country. It must be Johannesburg. This can't be Paris. And they got red. And you know how they can get red." How this man got from a childhood helping his mentally ailing mother gather grass for meals to consulting with heads of states and religious lawmakers is a story not yet fully told. Malcolm X had by the period of the France rebuff, been an invited guest in an airliner, the captain and flying the plane towards Mecca was, to Malcolm's wonder, a dark complexioned Egyptian. By appearance, someone who Malcolm wouldn't glance at twice in New York City's Harlem. Put into a special housing area, the man used to being adored by thousands and the major television American cameras had no one to speak with since English was a minor language and he did not speak the common tongue in Saudi Arabia,and essential for all muslims, Arabic. He was briefly reprimanded for not 'praying correctly' there and declared an unauthentic muslim at Mecca. Malcolm had to appear in front of an Islamic judge to be certified, was later almost assassinated (poisoned meal, Cairo Egypt, July 1964) and otherwise threatened overtly by the US State Department, CIA officials but Malcolm X pressed on. The USA intelligence agencies wanted to keep Malcolm X (also known as El Hajj Malik El Shabazz after the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia in the middle of April, 1964) from gaining African and Asian governmental support at the United Nations in the matter of the plight of African so called Americans.

Fight Back: Control Of Economy Essential

By mid May, 1964, Alice Windom, b. 1936, a St. Louis, Missouri native and English teacher, photographer and secretary to the Ethiopian ambassador in Ghana, author and poet Maya Angelou (1928-2014), union leader and translator Vicki Garvin (1915-2007), Leslie Alexander Lacy, author and actor Julian Mayfield (1928-1984) and Indiana born Shirley Graham Du Bois (1896-1977), radical playright and political scientist and widow of WE Du Bois who had passed on in Ghana, aged 95. Mrs Du Bois arranged for Malcolm X to meet with President Kwame Nkrumah. Nkrumah's government would be subject to CIA 'regime change' in 1966, the president fleeing to Guinea. Throughout his travels, including Nigeria before Ghana, he went on to meet with leaders Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya. He spoke at the university of Addis Ababa but due to his willingness to tell the truth about Washington DC's racist policies regarding African so called Americans, Emperor Haile Selassie avoided Malcolm X's attempts to meet him. In addition, Malcolm X knew that Islam was growing across the globe. How he could reconcile his faith and the surge of the formerly colonial peoples and his own social group, whom he called a nation, was a puzzle.

"Religion is the organization of spirituality into something that became the hand maiden of conquerors. Nearly all religions were brought to people and imposed on people by conquerors, and used as the framework to control their minds."
Dr. John Henrik Clarke

Malcolm X Memorial, Former Audubon Ballroom
Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center

Despite a corporate spin job that has lasted for decades about Malcolm X returning to New York City 'a changed man', certain key parts of what he explained in a letter about the hajj are often ommitted:

"I could see from this, that perhaps if white Americans could accept the Oneness of God, then perhaps, too, they could accept in reality the Oneness of Man - and cease to measure, and hinder, and harm others in terms of their 'differences' in color."

"With racism plaguing America like an incurable cancer, the so-called 'Christian' white American heart should be more receptive to a proven solution to such a destructive problem. Perhaps it could be in time to save America from imminent disaster - the same destruction brought upon Germany by racism that eventually destroyed the Germans themselves."

"Each hour here in the Holy Land enables me to have greater spiritual insights into what is happening in America between black and white. The American Negro never can be blamed for his racial animosities - he is only reacting to four hundred years of the conscious racism of the American whites. But as racism leads America up the suicide path, I do believe, from the experiences that I have had with them, that the whites of the younger generation, in the colleges and universities, will see the handwriting on the walls and many of them will turn to the spiritual path of truth - the only way left to America to ward off the disaster that racism inevitably must lead to."

EXCERPT, Letter from Makkah by Malcolm X

What is even further in the background than the proto revolutionary era of Malcolm X in the times in which he
decided to formally distance himself from the Nation of Islam
(he had helped build at least 50 mosques across the USA and sparked as many businesses like bakeries, laundries and grocery stores), is the role of Ella Collins, his 'sister', who had provided the unemployed Malcolm X with money she had saved for her own hajj, to make his way to Mecca. Malcolm X was, in his political dimension adjacent to Muslim Mosque, Inc. developing the OAAU, Organization of Afro American Unity. The role of women was going to be front and center, Malcolm X said, in the OAAU. He was determined to fight back against the USA octopus, even if the African nations and governments were unable to defy the Washington DC military-economic stranglehold.

Gloria Richardson, the symbol of a political and cultural transformation, and Malcolm X, also germinating new vistas, were moving closer together.


17 November 2015
From Exile,

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My Look Back At '65: Gloria & Malcolm Pt2 (Exile 2015)
Aaron Douglas, Aspirations, 1936
Part 2 of My Look Back At '65 focuses on Gloria Richardson

'65 was not just Mustangs
the car by Ford, a best seller that thrilled children like me as well as adults who had US $2,5000 for purchase. My model was a plastic one given to me by Grandmother. The year I began the first grade in elementary school also was a year in which just 1500 lawyers of African descent spanned the USA. The movement to resist subjugation, to fight back against racist domination, even then called White supremacy in it's bold form, was made up of and driven by ordinary people. It was largely their children who went to prison and faced the mobs. The boiling point of demonstrations against an oppressive system also exposed divisions among African people-class, gender and sexual orientation as well as the more widely known religious/cultural gaps. There have always been those who did not hesitate to use violence against violence used on them, self defense.

With the rise of the small middle class and it's visions of a 'freedom time' began to be favored by the corporate media, there came a strong grassroots directive of the best of the ordinary people. Enter Gloria Richardson and Malcolm X.

Rosa Parks (1913-2005) Was Not The Whole Story

News reports of the period indicate that Gloria Richardson was a
woman who had the respect of and led her community. The town of
Cambridge, Maryland was small, less than 15,000 in population. But the inequalities in employment, education, health and social
accomodation were like that which faced African people all around the USA.

Gloria Richardson and the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee
were similar to other town organizations (Robert F Williams & Mabel Williams and the Monroe, North Carolina and their chapter of the National Rifle Association which was used to defend the community against White racists).

Cambridge Outlook

This was provocative. Despite the face of women's power in the USA being White, it was African women like Gloria Richardson, Ella Baker and Fannie Lou Hamer not to mention
the lesser knowns such as Mabel Williams who propelled the Human
Rights and Civil Rights (and implicit in this, Women's Rights) within and without the sphere of the 1960s Black Movement for Justice. A world class negotiator, Gloria Richardson held her own with generals and top federal government lawyers
in demanding full Civil Rights and the matter of Human Rights to
self defense was authoritatively promoted
as her organizers and rank and file footsoldiers conquered enemies. Who were they?

Maryland state officials.
The American media.
The USA National Guard, which at one point approached 1000 troops occupying the African section of town.
The Attorney General's office, including
the chief lawyer, Robert Kennedy, who Gloria Richardson contacted to address the absence of law in Cambridge.
The Whites in Cambridge and their national supporters who rushed to try and maintain terror and racial segregation, including the
arch racist George Wallace, the then governor of Alabama.

These included entrenched racists who controlled the local
seafood industry where African people were in a nonunion scenario and submission or starvation were the terms. These adversaries also included armed Whites shooting up the Africans'
segregated area from speeding cars.

Despite a longtime right to vote, the racial segregation kept
hospitals serving Whites a priority.

Though he was a 'favored Black', a descendant of the 'free Blacks' of Cambridge, and a pharmacist, Gloria Richardson's
father 'died because he could not go to the hospital most of the
. Two school systems, one with better facilities, existed for Whites. Africans were not allowed to attend this school. At the school Africans were forced to attend, substandard conditions and teachers under the White racist establishment were in place and had been for a hundred years. Gloria's only Cambridge job offers were in this environment. Africans were still ordered to pay taxes though there was a lack of decent streets and sewers, and many had unsanitary outhouse toilets. Their unemployment rate was the highest in Maryland.

What If It Isn't Going To Balance?

And if we don't fight
if we don't resist
if we don't organize and unify and
get the power to control our own lives
Then we will wear
the exaggerated look of captivity
the stylized look of submission
the bizarre look of suicide
the dehumanized look of fear
and the decomposed look of repression
forever and ever and ever
And there it is

Excerpt, There It Is by Jayne Cortez (1934-2013)
formerly of SNCC

What woman, or social group of women were in the 1960s directing
the social change that would force amendments, new laws and more, as Gloria and her sisters in battle were? A look at Viet Nam, Guinea Bissau or South Africa would have to be carried out. Throughout Asia and Africa women were leading the way militarily and as strategists against European colonialism which was up against the wall in the face of the freedom movements. But this fury had been building for centuries and this was no less the Cambridge reality. Now that she has outlived nearly everyone else of a particular era (2015), she is reiterating what actually took place. Hollywood and countless universities have attempted to fashion a certain narrative. This fails in the light of Gloria Richardson's testimony. Then, as now, the outlook, after centuries of domination, was comparable in that no change came without bloodshed, class unity and great suffering but in aproactive way. This is what Gloria Richardson knew and tapped into. Highly efficient, the mainly youthful Freedom Rider generation, the then new SNCC (mentored by strategic genius Ella Baker) helped make up the Cambridge Movement' in '61. What came about was a direct action movement not content to obtain that which was most important to university trained strivers. Gloria herself had been earlier in life conditioned to accept certain objectives as 'progress'. As Gloria explains, "The one thing we did was to emphasize that while you should be educated, that education, degrees,college degrees were not essential. If you could articulate the need, if you knew what the need was, if you were aware of the kinds of games white folk play, that was the real thing."

Selma Alabama Now Being 'Remade' In 2015

Starting in the spring of 1963 and slowing down by August, 1964,
sit-ins (public education headquarters, movie theaters,
restaurants), picketing and general resistance mounted. White
'citizens organizations' and liberals attempted to dictate
piecemeal solutions which Gloria Richardson and the community
rejected. Eventually guns were fired (numerous National Guards shot) and these soldiers were attacked by Africans violently. Fires were burning in White owned businesses. This drew more attention from nearby Washington, DC
(100 km away) in the form of the Kennedy lawman trying to soothe Gloria Richardson and CNAC. Racist judges giving speeches to her in court about degrading 'the family name' rolled off her back and the jails were soon both full and even more people outside picketed the jail. African people were willing to tie up the system.

Gloria Richardson has said of Martin Luther King that he was too busy to attend the kickoff of CNAC and he suggested that they call him back in a few years. Additionally, his fee was $3000 dollars. When Martin Luther King called to speak in Cambridge as Gloria Richardson and CNAC defied Washington DC and Maryland, the dynamic woman called him and said that if he met them in Cambridge they would send him back across a city bridge.

She did not jump when commanded. 


10 November 2015
From Exile,

See Related Articles:

Super F Lie (Exile 2011)

"...Contempt for Freedom of peoples is it's stinger. Irritating to the max,
the buzzing confident menace is not easily caught or swatted. Known to
escape capture on dry sticky looking government flypaper, it seems
there's no way to bring it down..."


Cold Shoulder #1: Detroit And Retaliation (Exile 2007)

"...But the tanks and bayonet wielding soldiers brought martial law and helped Detroit police terrorize the households of thousands of people. America raged harder, banks and real estate agencies refusing to rebuild long stretches of the city blocks that African people (and military tank fire) destroyed. Supermarket chains vanished, health clinics were isolated stations among the ruins. Liquor stores and blood banks then sprouted everywhere. Capitalism and its retaliation is a fearsome beast.

Now, I have been gone from America nearly ten years. And the last time I was in Detroit six adults could fit in most of the autos produced day and night in plants like Dearborn’s Rouge. Uncle LC (that was his name my relatives told me, that’s the way it was done down South) lived there. Impoverished East Side youth like Diana Ross had left public housing and Motown for greater commercial fame. Over the decades, John Lee Hooker, Malcolm X lived and walked among the communities shunned and segregated racially by Whites..."


Sam And The Peoples' Holler (Exile 2015)

"...Songs throughout history have in one way or another settled into either area. Whether a lullaby, a war chant or love song, they have been sustained on the lips of one generation before pollination and planting in the ears, on new lips and within the hearts of the young or soon to be strong. Music transformed societies. A Change Is Gonna Come, recorded in early 1964 was no doubt a brilliant example of one of Sam Cooke's powerful compositions written at the pinnacle of his career.  It was also a musical evocation of a period of cultural and political shifts. Sam, who would not see the year 1965, had his star 'extinguished' in a late 1964 shooting. The Chicago performer was 33. His opus, it seems, of his life and that of his people, was unlike a crooned gem like melody pleading for a woman's love. There was no stomp-down party going on this time.

Despite the lush orchestration and fine arranging, A Change Is Gonna Come was a holler of the dispossessed. This time etched in wax and soul..."


My Look Back At '65: Gloria & Malcolm Pt1 (Exile 2015)
Aaron Douglas, Aspirations, 1936
Whose definition of peril counts? And when?

I remember boxes of cereal with toys, often soldiers, made out of plastic, buried in the contents. Television showed men, 'process' headed 'negroes' slipping and sliding across dance floors, singing and howling about love lost or found. The women had towering black hair which even a six year old thought just might be a wig. Floor length dresses were what they wore. Like a lot of women then, they didn't show their legs above the knee. Women wearing pants on tv wasn't so common. But there was a woman in a photograph propelled around the world by news agencies. She was wearing dungarees, and her piercing gaze and stiff arm shoving aside a burly soldier's bayonette defined the term defiance. This lanky woman was a determined force that had caused the federal attorney general, the president's brother, to feel a lot of stress because of her politics, politics that many of her people shared. But they were locked out of the 'national debate' because of who they were (poor, not always masculine and able to fight because their life was a crisis) and the way they spoke to the rulers.

Television was black in white and every five or six minutes and right after a program's catchy musical introduction were the words I had learned by heart: 'Brought To You By...'

'65 was when blue jeans were called dungarees, when Lifesavers and Charms candies were 5 cents and the Philadelphia Housing Authority was the landlord. I was fascinated by the incinerator. Tilt the handle and a fire roared!

What I could not have known was that real flames were burning. Watts in Los Angeles the devastating example of people like me fed up with oppression. That wasn't the whole story, of course.
Hard at work to raise families, take what work was available and have a measure of pride was where peoples' minds were. Yet we were in a land that saw us as a problem.

1965 was when it was the USA, the government and the society that had a problem. A new composition, Freedom Jazz Dance was Eddie Harris of Chicago's midtempo theme on tenor sax. He was accompanied by none other than Billy Higgins (from Los Angeles small quarter where nonWhites lived) on the drums. Lorraine Hansberry had left the planet in January, the gifted theatrical writer of A Raisin In The Sun was another creator from Chicago, just thirty four years old. Someone who had attended her funeral service, a tall man, age thirty nine, and surrounded by bodyguards, would himself be dead in a month. He had just returned from spending most of 1964 in Africa, speaking with heads of states and guerilla fighters against European colonialism. The idea of a crisis was upon us all. It was in the air. But it was exciting because maybe these 'negroes and colored people, some said Blacks' could actually make it all better.

Freedom was the word on lips everywhere.

This is Part One of a series, My Look Back At '65 and this one is about Malcolm X (1925-1965) and Gloria Richardson, b. 1922, Gloria and Malcolm. These two thinkers and doers had an interesting views which had the potential to accelerate and augment the Human Rights battle of the 1960s and beyond. Evolution away from his mentor, and views he had held since the 1940s while becoming a chief apostle to Elijah Muhammad (1897-1975), Malcolm's journey was complicated. They both were on the fringes of being acceptable to the USA society and the established Civil Rights organizations. Gloria was considered an iconoclast for an iron will--only men were supposed to possess this.

Fortunately, Gloria Richardson still lives and has lately been speaking out about the early '60s and activism, Malcolm X, and her exclusion by others supposedly championing freedom. Of course, being a first grade student in 1965, I have little memory of the era. But as a longtime researcher, activist and now exiled United Nations Convention Refugee Claimant, I have perspective to share. I must observe also that I am married to a freedom fighting, freedom loving woman of legacy, also an African from America.

Ten years after our 2005 United Nations challenge and 50 years after the assassination of Malcolm X, I'm closing out the year in posting
My Look Back At '65.


5 November 2015
From Exile,

See Related Articles:

Watts & The Aftermath (Exile 2010)

"...AUGUST, 1965

If I Can’t Live In This City, No One Can ” James Baldwin

Los Angeles covers 473 square miles and has over 3.8 million residents

In the Great Society promised by a multi millionaire Texas oilman/president there was a complication. This was the Watts Rebellion of August 1965. The southern region of the massive state of California had become the magnet for more and more Mexicans and Spanish speaking peoples from entire western states and Central America. Indigenous people who had been in California for 10,000 years were recovering from development of California ‘settlement’ and formal statehood by Whites in 1848: at least 134,000 Indigenous lives were lost between 1848 and 1900. There were 16,000 survivors. The mixture of people could be extensive as the world famous band drummer Foreststorn ‘Chico’ Hamilton, born in Los Angeles in 1921 explains:

“My mother was Mexican, Indian, German-Jew. My father was Afro American and

Scottish, and, you know, Duke’s mixture. As matter of fact, that was so beautiful about the neighborhood that I was born in, grew up in, in LA...


The Arrival: Nina Simone (Exile 2013)

heir own struggle was not only from the most passive forms of resistance, the boycott (one of several and over one year long in Montgomery, Alabama 1955) and news reports by 'negro' reporters in 'negro' newspapers. There were the 'hot rods', supercharged cars of the Deacons of Defense who got Civil Rights organizers, including Martin Luther King, from town to town, or state to state, shaming the KKK. Liberation is a process and takes many forms. There was the armed self defense by people like another NC native, ex US marine Robert Franklin Williams. A 50 year exodus from the US South was still streaming, if slower. From North Carolina, Max Roach, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane and their families had gone to cities like Philadelphia and New York City. For the first time in hundreds of years the US North and US West began to host large mostly urban denizens, Africans in America. At the bursting point because of racial discrimination and stagnant social conditions, unemployment, White housing covenants and  underfunded public schools, these war zones were the scenes of rampant police abuse or indifference to violence among the residents..."


Spain: A Slew, Not A Few (Exile 2015)
Aaron Douglas, Aspirations, 1936
Fence, Royal Palace Of Madrid

Spain's champions are not just on the football field. The fleetest of them grace the teams of soccer lore such as Barcelona and Madrid. Besides the excellent athletes (including a World Cup for the Spanish state five years ago) there are heavyweights of the financial variety. People are mad at banks as they are across the 'developed Western nations'. Politics in Spain has been a cauldron of late as well. Consider that polls indicated in 2010 that politicians were rated worse than the threat of terrorism in Spain.

Still, questions linger-why are Spanish speaking people in the corporate media of the places once called the New World often depicted as 'barbaric'; Indigenous people, African people that are drug gangsters and criminals trying to invade 'legitimate states' such as the USA? Anyone heard of the Asiento?

Chibchan, Spoken By Muisca And Tairona People In Colombia Is A Forgotten Language,
As Are The People
(Above, a postage stamp from 1950s Colombia)

Banco Santander, one of the massive banking firms is worth in USA dollars twice what the country of Guinea (GDP, gross domestic product) is worth in 2014 statistics. It's reach is even on the fabled money soil of England and is 'one to watch' by stock market investors, always in the middle of giant deals.

Frankly speaking, it was genocide

And yet, the cajas, savings banks that were taking on the water as the economy sank almost ten years ago, somehow survive. These dozens of financial institutions were capitalist to the hilt: politically driven and often corrupt. Not all survived, minnows to be gobbled by the Santanders of the luchre sea.

But what of the people, in Spain, slapped with the brush of poverty and stigma by the EU and other organs of power? Are they going to sit, have they been sitting around? Do they truly acknowledge where "wealth" really emanated from?

That's a slew, not just a few, questions for consideration.

29 October 2015
From Exile,

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Scotland: Time & Stone (Exile 2012)

"...At Virginia Place in Glasgow, Scotland, there is an old bank. It is a tan concrete hulk in the downtown core that is a reminder of grandiose days of 1800s White domination. And when I raised a camera to take a photograph in 2004 it was for several reasons. The picture documented the fact that it was then a trendy boutique called Jigsaw. Besides that there was yet another USA state of Virginia reference: naked African men, not gargoyles, had been sculpted into the architecture, crouched and depicted literally lifting the universe of finances..."


Storm In The Hub (Exile 2014)

"...Now, it is the middle of the second decade of the 21st century. War
refugees from the once highly praised 'Arab Spring' and any number
of global recession and post colonial immigrants, Ukrainians have joined other eastern Europeans, more are arriving across borders and filling up immigration
centers. The amount of money spent on 'Fortress Europe' via Frontex
and other armed barring of migrants has far exceeded humanitarian
aid to the arrivals. While the USA military presence dwindles, the
EU eurozone economy made up of unequal tiers of 18 national


He Don't Ism (Exile 2015)
Aaron Douglas, Aspirations, 1936
I've caught a little bit of hell over the years for choices in life.

Serious derision, usually after playful mocking, rained down on me. Becoming a vegan, when so many in the processed meat glorifying USA society warned me "you'll be dead in 6 months", was one decision. People scorned me or ridiculed me in '79-'80 but I did it.

My more or less 35 years' dedication to bicycles and bicycling as opposed to cars, insisting on consumer rights and being environmentally aware before the term existed are to me simple acts that once drew lots of curiosity. "He's not _____________________ (fill in the blank!)


True, it's a strange, involuntary reality when a person goes against the grain of a society. Equally bizarre is the fuss and behind-the-back conversations because I've made up my mind to do what is right for me.

I call it He Don't Ism.

18 October 2015
From Exile,

Ear To The Ground (Exile 2008)

"...I don’t, as a rule, speak publicly too much about my life in the 1980s. I may write even less about the days when I entered my twenties. This is for security reasons.

A little older now, I allow that these years are the time in which one feels invincible.

Especially young men do, I feel. I’m not a howler, but I had my own sense of macho and stubborn views. I was born in America, after all..."


Fitting In (Exile 2011)

"...My smiling sister gone from an unnamed African nation of wealth and horrid war might be looking for an opening. Each time I our paths crossed, I saw her genuine nature. I got a good vibration, looking past the references to her religion (keep that away from me) and not allowing our conversations to slip into English. Sweet and sneaking glances she finally gushed that I resembled her older brother. That was about the nicest comment I have heard in this stormy year. From an acquaintance, that is. My marriage ring is on firmly..."


Velvet Doesn't Tear: Terry Callier Pt4 (Exile 2015)
Aaron Douglas, Aspirations, 1936
War must be also discussed when one is for peace. There is no ignoring where Terry Callier was from and what conditions were, social, economic and political, on his departure for England as the 21st century approached.Chicago, by the epoch of former housing anti discrimination lawyer Harold Washington's sitting at the city mayor's desk,was in crisis. Al Capone's period in Chicago was long over but the face of gang crime was now not White. This was a war. Terry Callier was for peace.

Where Did They Go?

Equally, the pivotal early 80s in respect to the music made, performed, recorded and marketed by Africans in America saw Terry Callier increasingly forced to make decisions.In just a few years, the sound engineers of corporate studios had become important enough to possess clout greater than the artists and their agents. The advent of synthesizers was decades in the past. But now these were mass produced. A "Clean Room" atmosphere became common, where distinct, concise horns, strings and incredible as it may have seemed then, imitation handclapping (and horns, strings and more were being made 'synth'-etically) took away the edge of human musical creation, asymmetry. This was a far cry from the acapella doo wop and finger snaps on hot 1950s Chicago summer nights. On the personal front, Terry Callier was on his way to a divorce and eventual court ordered custody of his daughter,Sundiata, who lived in California. With this came the choice to devote his energy to raising her and securing his daughter's future. She moved to Chicago and together with other family relations in a house, Terry became a full time dad, working as a computer programmer and obtaining two college degrees. From England, fans of his classic work created support for a return to music; Beth Orton b. 1970 in Dereham in peninsular east coast England and Massive Attack, a band formed in Bristol, England eventually collaborated on albums produced in England from the 1990s on.

Darker Than A Shadow... Than A Shadow... A Shadow...


Darker Than A Shadow (written by Terry Callier, appeared on the CD Speak Your Peace in 2003 at a London home studio)

 End verse follows:

"... One third of the world was destroyed
     It was darker than a shadow
     Mankind was in a raging fit
     Thermonuclear fires were lit
     We never saw the end of it
     It was darker than a shadow
     What type insanity is this
     Dancing on a precipice
     That leads into a deep abyss
     Darker than a shadow."

Asked by Agent J, an interviewer in Manchester, England about his return to music in public, British DJs and needed political voices in music, several years ago, Terry Callier had this to say:" ...My return to the music business was because of the Northern Soul scene... they were playing early tracks from Cadet albums..."

About violence and guns: "..I don't know if it will always be like that, I certainly hope not. When you're making observations about society,you have to really remain circumspect because what's happening today may not be happening tomorrow. In the states we have a problem with gun violence. Here in the UK they don't have that same problem. But from what I've been seeing and hearing and reading, there is a knife problem among young people especially..."

Asked about gun laws and possible changes in the USA:
"..I'm hopeful but fickle.I would like to think that there are enough intelligent people in the states, especially going into politics or other modes of public service who would tend to that situation. But,every time...people mention gun control, people
more conservative than the National Rifle Association start talking about communists and they're taking away guns and we can't let them do this and so and so, so, so. That's a hard argument to deflect. I don't see a way around that at this time."

Concerning modern day political voices in music, the interviewer mentioned a touring retrospective (Emory Douglas, former chief artist, Black Panther Party was part of this) of the Black Movement for Justice which included Dead Prez and a few others with contemporary lyrics:

"You can always use more voices that are speaking to a  saner approach to living in general...global war is becoming more and more a problem..we're talking about the eradication of species and the possible elimination of ourselves. We're talking about food shortages, we're talking about storms..rising sea levels..these are kinds of things that have to be addressed in very quick order.We don't have a lot of time. It's a time for radical decisions now..."

About the venerated Charles Stepney: "Working with Charles Stepney was one of the great pleasures of my musical life, actually. He was amazing. He had studied classical piano for most of his life. He could have been a classical pianist. Unfortunately,he was born a little too soon and the world wasn't ready for a Black concert pianist in the late 60s, early 70s."

"The simplicity of his style and the directness of his lyrics were two of the things that affected me most"               Terry Callier on John Lee Hooker
interview with Alistair Batey 2004

On Chicago, his neighborhood, his youth in music and the forgotten ones: "Jerry Butler..Curtis Mayfield, Major Lance, Ramsey Lewis...just the tip of the iceberg... those who made it big...some left the planet...started families at fourteen or fifteen...or couldn't hang in for the long haul... Joe Breckinridge and the Cascades..incredible..they got a chance make one 45 and it sold well in Chicago because everybody knew them, then they went their separate ways.They never got a chance to show what they could do..."

Turn This Mutha Out (written by Terry Callier, appeared on the CD Speak Your Peace in 2003)

"... Turn
this mutha white turn that mutha black
     The CIA will make your death look like a heart           attack.

     Turn this mutha's flag red and black and blue
     Then you wanna tell me he's making room
     for you...Some day you may wake up
     in a concentration camp...

     Can you keep your windows open
     Or do you have to bar the door
     If we ain't got the spirit
     What are we livin' for...       

The visionary in music, Terry Callier was smooth until the time in which he moved on,age 67 on 28 October 2012 after an extended period resisting illness.Still, Terry Callier is heard. He is widely known by the world public but younger people in Europe and in Asia (Japan) are more aware of his impact than younger people in the USA and North America. Like velvet, his messages resound, chanted silk on the waves called consciousness.

NOTE: Aisha and I went to see Terry Callier in concert on 24 October, 2003 in Glasgow, Scotland. To our musician's and cultural worker's delight, the music was very good and he cursed out the sound people for unprofessional work while onstage. Aisha made it backstage to talk with him about his compositions, her plans and Chicago of days gone by. They exchanged CDs. They were in touch for a time while we all crisscrossed Europe.

12 October 2015
From Exile,

END PART 4 And Article

See Related Articles:

From The Soul: Otis Redding (Exile 2012)

"...The urgency of Otis Redding's vocals reflected the generation he belonged to, born in the midst of USA wars on global fronts in Europe and Asia but also his native Georgia. African people faced escalating hostility to their sharing in the democratic pie baked in the White House oven. Otis Redding's life was a success story not just because of his individual achievements. He had made the long jump from choir singer in the Black Baptist church to idolizing his fellow Macon, Georgia resident, Richard 'Little Richard' Penniman, a 1950s luminary of music sweeping the world, to a world touring sensation by his mid 20s. While much is made of the explosion of his status to Soul giant, the context of the man and his times and the backdrop of his people's social and historical reality over 400 years-and further back a few thousand years- is usually overlooked..."


Nexus Pt1 (Exile 2015)

"...The late Joe Bonner (1948-2014) ( (formerly a long term resident of Copenhagen, Denmark) was 'classically trained' and played wondrous harmonies, yet remained extremely soulful and rhythmic in voice musically. Herbie Hancock, a Chicago born pianist (Chicago symphony at age 11) was Joe Bonner's greatest influence. Thelonius Monk and McCoy Tyner were also musical stylistic mentors.

This article, in several parts, examines not only music but the migration of African so called Americans, performers, over 75 years to Europe. The flow and receding of these tides musically and socially is an area not fully explored as of 2015, despite a great deal of money and misinformation sloshing around. My realization of what music is, it's cultural power and it's history and sociology has been strengthened by having a gifted wife and musician to share life with..."


A Care Flare (Exile 2015)
Aaron Douglas, Aspirations, 1936

Put through a wringer for the last time, or so he thought, our hero couldn't give a rhino's rear end about anything that didn't pertain to his craft.  Dashing, they called him. He knew they had anointed him savior.

There Are None

He was our hero, if only for a moment because he fooled so many without really trying to. That takes a quality That not often seen, even  in the mud sport called politics. To be aloof while allowing gleaming smiles to cascade all around mushy constituent brains - well, that took special talent.

Sleazy. The 'marks', or voters, thought that he meant what he said. They were blinded not by the sun which someone said hovered not around his so called sainted head but by a momentary illumination in the darkness, a care flare .

5 October 2015
From Exile,

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Women, Prisons And Resistance, Part Two: African "American" Women And International Law (Exile 2009)

"...July 1980: The USA signs but does not ratify the “women’s international bill of rights”

While there are many layers of lies in place in the USA about the rights of African so called American women, numbers don’t lie. The act of signing documents of internationally recognized standards of justice, such as the United Nations CONVENTION ON DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN (CEDAW) has been done by the American state. That’s the simple part. During July of 1980, the Jimmy Carter government, mired in the Iran hostages scandal, put pen to paper and agreed that women should be internationally protected from being persecuted for their natural gender. Today, infant mortality of Americans (Whites) is often nearly three to four times better than that of African “American” women, whose rates are similar to that of Malaysia..."


The Petri Dish (Exile 2012)

"...Where were you when they crucified the word?

Not all wars are fought with missiles, bullets, drones and such. Some are perpetrated after long consideration and some with no thought at all. There are numerous (tens of thousands in USA alone) books written by African so called Americans during the 20th century that are today out of print. And only approved stories of the 19th and 18th centuries when Africans broke their chains worldwide are tolerated. These truths of individuals and groups are steadfastly refused by the public schools and private schools that are funded by taxes paid by peoples' of all races. What effect does this have on the world?.."


China's Uncle Sam (Exile 2014)

"...The 5 December 2013 death of Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), whose transition signaled the end of an era, (old apartheid) had never chosen to take the superb wealth of the diamond, gold and platinum mines, all of the land, away from White controlled operations, corporations and international cartels. All players in the international political chess game were present two decades ago, selling governments and guns, assassinating here and imposing political will there. Nelson Mandela and his ANC, still the only ruling party since after his 1990s release, were also then under pressure. Angola had political party/military forces backed openly by the USA. Guns flowed, eased in by the CIA . The Russians, too were there to plant what turned out to be post Cold War seedlings. All sides dug in for the long term..."


Alfie At Fifty (Exile 2015)
Aaron Douglas, Aspirations, 1936
Brooklyn, the New York City borough estimated to rank as 'the fifth most populous city' in the USA, made musical and sociopolitical history on the shoulders of tenor saxophonist Theodore 'Sonny' Rollins in the 1960s. Fifty years ago he was contracted to compose and record a movie soundtrack for an English film, Alfie, starring actor Michael Caine.

At The Bridge

A tone scientist of the post 1945 period, Sonny Rollins, b. 1930, apprenticed with Coleman Hawkins (1904-1969), a performer of legendary status. The inimitable Thelonious Monk (1917-1982), a virtuoso pianist/composer was also a mentor. Sonny was a contemporary of the intriguing John Coltrane (1926-1967) and played with the bell of his horn filled with his heart.

The album Alfie was recorded and released in 1966 on the Impulse record label. Featuring Sonny Rollins, it has been solidified as a classic--of the blues lived and dues paid. Poignant, rumbling with character and stylistically excellent in form, Sonny as a solar force was surrounded by a constellation of musicians. Musically and socio-politically they had reached land's end and were at the foot of a bridge.

The orchestral 8 person sound had been famously employed a decade earlier by
Count Basie (1904-1984) and others. Alfie can be positively noted  as a landmark transition in music. Haunting and still joy-filled tenor sax in combination with veteran musicians produced a fabulous recording. Show tunes, melancholy/bouyant blues genre of the African experience in America, elements of European classical and just prime arranging genius of Oliver Nelson (1932-1975) provide listeners with a signal disc of vibrant power.

Composition List:

Alfie's Theme     9:41

He's Younger Than You are   5:09

Street Runner with Child    3:59

Transition Theme for Minor Blues or
Little Malcolm Loves His Dad      5:49

On Impulse     4:28

Alfie's Theme Differently        3:44

Total 32 minutes, 50 seconds


Sonny Rollins, b. 1930 tenor sax, Composer

Bob Ashton, b.? tenor saxophone

Danny Bank
(1922-2010) baritone sax

Walter Booker
(1933-2006) bass

Kenny Burrell, b. 1931 electric guitar

Jimmy Cleveland
(1926-2008) trombone

Frankie Dunlop
(1928-2014) drums

JJ Johnson
(1924-2001) trombone

Roger Kellaway, b. 1939 piano

Oliver Nelson
(1932-1975) arranger, conductor

Phil Woods
(1931-2015) alto sax

1 October 2015
From Exile,

See Related Articles:

Al Grey, Man In The Hat (Exile 2010)  

"...Ten years ago, the musical voice of Al Grey was stilled.  By his early seventies, the native of Virginia, near the US South/ US North border, Al Grey was possibly the most unknown soulful trombone player on the planet. He was raised in the Philadelphia region in industrial Pottstown, Pennsylvania. In his early 20s, he had been in the company of Charlie Parker. By age thirty five, he had the go ahead from Count Basie to create among superb artists in this legendary big band..."


Melba Liston Tribute (Exile 2012)

"...Kansas City Missouri First prominent woman trombonist music mates with Dexter Gordon, Eric Dolphy. Composer Arranger Educator famous for collaboration with Randy Weston..."


Never Truly Gone: AK Salim (Exile 2014)

"...The period 'between wars' was itself a war for African so called Americans. Housing, health care, nutrition, employment and education had to be fought for in the cities like Chicago, Cleveland, New York City and Philadelphia. Pride of self and education about victories in the face of brutality was available to children, gathered along with belongings on the run to the US North. Attempts, notoriously in 1919, to stop African people from renting or buying homes outside of strictly defined areas in Chicago were deadly: the terror from Whites was a different version of what they had fled in Kentucky, Missouri and Alabama.

Culture was practiced and refined; even as it bloomed it was snatched away by the profit makers, mostly by Whites who made the most money and called it their own. But the art of music continued to grow anyway, a people's message to the world of their humanity which was rescued out of the horrors of captivity less than a century before..."



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