n a i l l i v e z n o r B e th
nt Suppleme A newsletter from the An electronic newsletter from the Department of African African American American and and African African Studies Studies Community Extension Extension Center Center Community
“Free at Last!” The release of former Black Panther Eddie Conway Features Pages 1, 3 “Free at Last!”: the release of former Black Panther Eddie Conway – Judson L. Jeffries, Ph.D. Page 6: Celebrating Women’s History Month – Kevin L. Brooks, Ph.D. Page 9: Think you Know Black History? – Judson L. Jeffries, Ph.D. Page 10: In Remembrance of Chokwe Lumumba Ads Page 4: The Dr. William E. Nelson Jr. Community Warrior Awards Luncheon Page 5: Health, Wellness and Fitness Program Page 7: Prevail-Respect 'Tell It Like It Is 2014 Conference Page 8: Senior Citizen Movie Matinee
By: Judson L. Jeffries, Ph.D.
Recently, M. Eddie Conway was released from prison after spending more than two-thirds of his life in Maryland’s correctional facilities. After enduring 44 years behind bars, seventeen more than Geronimo Pratt and twelve more than Mumia Abu Jamal, two of the more widely-known political prisoners of the past half-century; Conway continues to maintain his innocence. The world into which Conway was set free last week is very different than the one from which he was snatched in 1970. At that time, the average cost of a home was twenty six thousand dollars and gasoline was thirty six cents a gallon. When you pulled into a filling station as it was called then, an attendant would greet you, pump your gas, check your oil and wash your windows before sending you on your way. Conway, a member of the Baltimore branch of the Black Panther Party was convicted of the 1970 murder of a Baltimore police officer on the night of April 21. Also critically wounded that night was Officer Stanley Sierakowski who resumed working with the Baltimore Police Department, before eventually retiring. Not only was Conway charged with the murder of Donald Sager, but the attempted murder of Sierakowski. Ten years ago, while a professor at Purdue University I had the opportunity to speak to Roger Nolan, a Baltimore police officer who was convinced that Conway in concert with Panthers Jackie Powell (deceased) and Jack Ivory Johnson (released in 2010) murdered officer Sager. The fact that Conway’s supervisor at the post office maintained that Conway was working at the time of the murder and therefore could not have committed the crime continued on page 3
Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center 905 Mount Vernon Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43203-1413
Phone: (614) 292-3922 Fax: (614) 292-3892 http://aaascec.osu.edu email@example.com
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of the CEC 12Core Programs 6 T he Ohio State University’s AAAS Community Extension Center is the outreach component of the Department of African American and African Studies. The CEC is one of the few off-campus facilities of its kind in the nation. Originally housed at two different locations on Ohio Avenue, the CEC moved to its current location in 1986. The CEC plays an integral role in enhancing the life chances of those who live in and around the Mount Vernon Avenue Area. Toward that end, the CEC offers an array of programs at no or nominal cost to the public. Programs include, but are not limited to, the following: conferences, symposia, computer classes, credit and noncredit courses, summer programs, lecture series, and film series. People from all walks of life have participated in these programs. Based on evaluations of our programs and personal testimonies, the CEC is having an impact on residents living in and around the Bronzeville Neighborhood.
1 Black Veterans Day Salute During the salute, Black men and women from Ohio who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces are publicly recognized. Since the salute’s inception in 2006, the CEC has honored Vietnam War veterans (2007), Korean War veterans (2008), African-American servicewomen (2009), World War II veterans (2010), Gulf War Era veterans (2011) ,Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans (2012) and Black Civil War Veterans (2013)
2 Ray Miller Institute for Change & Leadership This 10-week long leadership course trains young Black professionals from the Columbus community in various areas of leadership. The Institute was founded in 2006 by former State Senator and Minority Whip Ray Miller. Miller has built a reputation as a strong advocate for those who have historically not had access to power. Admission to the Institute is highly competitive. The Institute is offered during OSU’s autumn and spring semesters with the support of OSU’s Office of Continuing Education. Participants who complete the course receive three CEU credits.
3 Senior Citizens Movie Matinee The movie matinee is a chance for senior citizens to watch a film that otherwise might be cost prohibitive in an accommodating environment. A discussion, usually led by an OSU professor or administrator, is held at the end of the film.
4 Computer Literacy Program Throughout the academic year, the CEC offers free and reduced-cost computer technology courses. The program is geared toward seniors but open to everyone. Courses include the following: Senior Computer Orientation, Internet, Email, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Publisher.
5 Lecture Series Presentations given by OSU faculty, students and/or community members about topics pertinent to the Black community.
Math and Science Program
The Math and Science Program was established in partnership with the OSU Medical Center in 2003. The Math and Science Program exposes students in grades 4 through 12 to the wonders of math and science using hands-on activities. The purpose of the program is three-fold: 1) To increase competency in math and science among students of color; 2) To expose students of color to math and science related careers; and 3) To encourage students of color to major in math or science. The program meets on the fourth Monday of each month from October to May.
7 Summer Residential Program The Summer Residential Program (SRP) was established in 1999 and is designed to provide students with both an appreciation for and an understanding of African-American and African culture and history. The SRP also helps students strengthen their computer literacy skills. Past themes include: “Entrepreneurship in the Black Community and Economic Freedom” (2013), “The Underground Railroad” (2012), “All Eyez On Me: Deconstructing Images of African-American Women in Hip Hop” (2011), “letz b down: Social Justice Advocacy for Blacks During the American Revolutionary War Era” (2010), “The Low Country: Black Culture, Literacy and History in Charleston, South Carolina” (2009). The program is held every June and is for rising 11th and 12th graders. Students live on OSU’s campus.
8 African Affairs Symposium This one-day symposium brings members of the African American and African communities together to discuss issues of particular interest to Africa. The inaugural symposium in 2007 examined the life of South African civil rights activist Steve Biko. “Africa in the Age of Globalization” was the theme of the 2008 symposium. The 2009 symposium examined the life of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of Ghana, West Africa. In 2010, the focus was on Pan-Africanism and the Diaspora. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was the theme of the 2011 symposium.
9 Summer Enrichment Program This week-long, non-residential day program is designed to help rising 9th and 10th graders improve their reading and writing skills. The program, which was founded in 2009, is hosted annually in June and accepts approximately 15 students.
10 History of Black Columbus Conference This one-day conference celebrates the rich history of African Americans in Columbus and increases awareness of the significant contributions African Americans have made in all areas of city life. This annual conference is held in the spring.
11 Black History Month Forum The forum is in its fourth year and is focused on celebrating African descended peoples from all over the world. This year, documentaries about the following influential Black historical figures were shown: John Henrik Clarke, Kwame Nkrumah, Fannie Lou Hamer, James Baldwin, Minister Elijah Muhummad.
12 Enemies of the State The annual event features activists from America’s most notorious radical organizations, people who pressured America to live up to its highest ideals. In past years, activists from The Revolutionary Action Movement (2013), The Us Organization (2012), and the Black Panther Party (2011) were invited to speak.
About Bronzeville During the 1930s, African-American leaders in Columbus named the predominately African-American neighborhood between the boundaries of Woodland Avenue (East), Cleveland Avenue (West), Broad Street (South) and the railroad tracks (North) “Bronzeville.” The population was approximately 40,000 residents. In 1937, the same African-American leaders elected a mayor of Bronzeville and created an eight member Cabinet to address social, political and economic issues in the neighborhood. Now, as a result of the establishment of several Neighborhood Civic Associations such as the Woodland Civic Association (East) and the Discovery District (West), Bronzeville was reduced to its current boundaries: Taylor Avenue (East), Jefferson Avenue (West), Broad Street (South), and I-670 (North). The Bronzevillian is inspired by this rich history.
CEC Advisory Board Paul Cook Wanda Dillard Francisca Figueroa-Jackson Mark S. Froehlich Ray Miller, former State Senator Lupenga Mphande, Ph.D. William E. Nelson, Jr., Ph.D. (Deceased) *Ike Newsum, Ph.D. and Chair Rick Pfeiffer, City Attorney Thomas Simpson, Ph.D. Reita Smith Charleta Tavares, State Senator Nana Watson
CEC Director *Judson L. Jeffries, Ph.D.
CEC Staff Sarah Twitty Senior Program Coordinator & Fiscal Officer Kevin L. Brooks, Ph.D. Program Coordinator Alecia Shipe Technology Program Coordinator
Address Department of African American and African Studies Community Extension Center 905 Mount Vernon Avenue Columbus, Ohio 43203-1413 *Ex officio members.
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left Nolan unfazed. At one point during our conversation Nolan commented, “I grew up in the same neighborhood as Eddie, I knew him (inpassing) before he was a Panther . . . the night Sager was killed I spotted a man who was in the same area as the murder . . . when I approached the individual to question him he fled and I gave chase . . . he then turned around and shot at me, but I got close enough to see who it was . . . it was Eddie.” When I relayed Nolan’s recollections to Conway he laughed saying, “first of all Nolan did not grow up in my neighborhood and second . . . I don’t know how he could have known me . . . I certainly didn’t know him in passing or otherwise . . . second, I was working the night I supposedly murdered Sager.” A week after conversing with Nolan, I was able to track down Officer Sierakowski’s son who at that time lived in Dundalk, Maryland. Officer Sierakowski had died years earlier. In an hour long conversation with the younger Sierakowski, his memory of the day he learned that his father had been shot was vivid. “I remember two officers coming to the house . . . I was watching TV and one of the officers walked over to the TV and turned it off while the other officer calmly informed my mother that my father had been shot.” Toward the end of our conversation, Sierakowski offered a stunning admission. Said he, “there is so much controversy surrounding whether or not Conway was even at the scene of the murder and the shooting of my father . . . honestly I don’t know if Conway is guilty or not, but if he is guilty it would seem that thirty some years in prison should be enough in way of punishment . . . I’m not sure that a person should have to spend the rest of his life in prison for a crime (even for murder) for which there was no iron clad evidence against Conway to begin with. . . some might say that’s easy for me to say, my father survived the shooting, Sager did not.” At the time I spoke with Sierakowski’s son, Jackie Powell was deceased and letters to Jack Ivory Johnson went unanswered. Conway is among several former Black Panthers who were imprisoned for crimes they allegedly committed as members of the BPP. For example, like Conway, Chip Romaine Fitzgerald a former member of the Southern California chapter of the BPP was thrown in prison in 1970 and Sundiata Acoli (aka Clark Squire) of the Harlem Branch of the BPP has also been incarcerated for more than forty years as well. I know of no Vietnam War era organization that has more imprisoned members than the BPP. When an interviewer on Democracy Now asked Conway if he was shocked that he was released, a subdued Conway commented that he had “expected it . . . but still wasn’t sure it would actually happen.” During the 44 years Conway was imprisoned, he lost both his father (years ago) and his mother (more recently), friends came and went, supporters signed up and fell off yet he remained steadfast in his faith. While prison obviously had dominion over his body, his mind and spirit raged on; and he continued to be politically active. I have no doubt that once Conway gets acclimated to his new environment, it won’t be long before he is working with community groups to enhance the life chances of those who live in the Baltimore Metropolitan area. I can only hope that the release of Marshall Eddie Conway is a harbinger of things to come where political prisoners in America are concerned.
Photo Courtesy of snitchwatch.wordpress.com
Photo Courtesy of www.baltimoresun.com
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The Dr. William E. Nelson Jr. Community Warrior Awards Luncheon
Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 11:30am â€“ 1pm The Department of African American and African Studies and The AAAS Community Extension Center Invite you to attend The Dr. William E. Nelson, Jr. Community Awards Luncheon Honoring Jordan A. Miller, Jr., President and CEO Fifth Third Bank (Central Ohio) - Business Warrior Carole D. Moyer, National Board Certified Teacher Columbus City Schools- Education Warrior Ann B. Walker Community Activist- Community Warrior The Ohio Union Performance Hall 1739 N. High Street Columbus, OH 43210 Individual Tickets: $50 each Register by Friday, March 14, 2014 (reply form is attached) For ticket information, please visit https://artsandsciences.osu.edu/nelsonawardslunch or contact Tareya Jefferies at Jefferies.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 614-688-1837.
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Health, Wellness, and Fitness Program
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Celebrating Women’s History Month By: Kevin L. Brooks, Ph.D. Throughout history women’s courage, strength, perseverance and resilience have left an indelible mark on humankind. For this reason, we celebrate Women’s History Month to commemorate the contributions women have made to advance family, community and culture. Due to the countless efforts of women we are the beneficiaries of a rich history and heritage that have been cultivated by our indefatigable mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, elders and ancestors. This cultural legacy guided by an African worldview has laid the foundation for healthy living, peaceful relations as well as provided the architecture to a salubrious existence for future generations. Anthropologist Marimba Ani, author of Let the Circle Be Unbroken, asserts “The African worldview stresses the strength of the human spirit. It places the paramount value on human vitality as the ground of spiritual immortality.” For centuries many of our notable sheroes and unsung difference-makers have displayed a fervent commitment, an impeccable resolve, and an unbreakable spirit in working toward improving Black life specifically and humanity generally throughout the world. One way to understand Black women’s individual and community building efforts is through spiritual activism. Professor Layli Maparyan, author of The Womanist Idea, offers the following: “Spiritual activism is a set of practices designed to change ‘hearts and minds’ in ways that promote optimal well-being in individuals, communities, humanity as a whole, all living kind, and ultimately Planet Earth.” These spiritual practices are used to bring about social, political, and ecological transformation. Specifically, this type of activism emboldens lives by means of recovering lost or forgotten histories, restoring broken or fractured relationships and revitalizing individual and collective identities in order to change lives and, in turn, change the universe. The many champions of empowerment who used their positions to uplift Blacks and to enrich social relations simultaneously are too numerous to mention, but in light of time and space constraints below are some of my all-time favorites: Charlotte Forten Grimke, Fanny Jackson Coppin, Anna Julia Cooper, Mary McCleod Bethune, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Lusia Harris, Bessie Coleman, Wilma Rudolph, Althea Gibson, Shirley Chisholm, Mae Jemison, Fannie Lou Hamer, Gwendolyn Brooks, Ella Baker, Claudette Colvin, Madame CJ Walker, Alice Walker, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Mary Church Terrell, Phyllis Wheatley, Septima Clark, Marian Wright Edelman, Angela Davis, Zora Neale Hurston, and Dorothy Height. The above women worked in many different ways to address root causes that hinder social change. They did not surrender to fear in facing adversity nor did they relent when conditions seemed insurmountable. Recognition goes to all mothers because they bring life into the world and to women without children who mother the progenies of others; educators and social workers as they are responsible for teaching, counseling and caring for our youth. According to Africanist scholars, women merit being honored, celebrated and cherished for they are critical to securing freedom from social, political and spiritual bondage. Historian Yosef Ben-Jochannan declares cogently that women represent a source of power and inspiration in our families and communities, and at the moment they are provided unconditional love and respect; that is when liberation is achieved. He affirms, “When we learn to worship our women that day is your beginning of freedom from slavery and freedom from captivity.” This kind of advocacy for and from women is a call for a holistic transformation of the individual, the community and humanity. And spiritual activism is a useful methodology for implementing life changing practices, which if employed appropriately may help to change the energy of the individual and the world. Maparyan proclaims, “Spiritual activism acknowledges that we—humans—are energy changing machines, energy changing instruments, energy transformers.” It is reasonable to conclude that the aforementioned women utilized some sort of spiritual activism in their transformations as instruments for social change. These foremothers did amazing things in the face of adversity and during some of the most perilous times. These women “made a way out of no way” and in some cases “performed miracles.” My own mother did so on many occasions. When things needed to be done, she made them happen. There were no explanations and no excuses, just results. Even my father was baffled by her uncanny ability to complete tasks that seemed contrary to the laws of nature. When I encountered adversity she would exclaim “you can overcome any obstacle if you put your mind to it . . . “you can do it. Your grandmother did it; I did it . . . you can do it too.” And when I would attempt to explain to ensure she understood the scope of the challenge, she would stop me mid-sentence saying emphatically, “Get to work. And I don’t want to hear anything else about it!” If we study and use the life lessons gleaned from these models of inspiration, it is more than possible to become effective agents and instruments of change. Therefore, this month is dedicated to observing the contributions that women have made and are making to advance the individual, family, community and humanity, which includes promoting African culture and heritage throughout the year.
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Prevail-Respect 'Tell It Like It Is 2014 Conference
Saturday, March 29, 2014 Columbus State Community College 4th Floor, Workforce Development Center 315 Cleveland Ave, Columbus, OH 43215
Dr. Rhunette Diggs, Associate Director
Gloria Robinson, Executive Director
Reclaiming the Essence of Survival (through) Peace and Effective Communication Today! (PREVAIL-RESPECT) was created in 1988. This sole proprietorship organization partners with the Columbus urban community to bring quality education programs to our city. Founders Gloria Robinson and Rhunette Diggs have over 40 years of experience in the coordination, development, and execution of training and workshops to educators, students, families, and various community agencies. Combined, they have presented hundreds of local, national and international presentations. Since 2006, PREVAIL-RESPECT has created an annual Tell It Like It Is conference that focuses on relevant issues that confront our city and the world at large. Issues that will be addressed at this conference include cultural and value differences around crime, statistics of violence and abuse that impact Franklin County, how education as strategy can interrupt the violence culture, community connectivity in addressing violence, organizational values and responses to violence, and community resources and strategies that promote safety in the community. The target population, age 10 and up with a Children’s Institute for children up to 9 years of age allows the whole family to attend this conference. The Stop Urban Racism and Violence conference wants our communities to feel the urgency to confront violence in all its machinations. We know the impact that violence has on each of us contributes to unease in our public movements, especially in the environment of hate and lack of value of the lives of target populations. Keynote speakers Terri Jamison, Judge, Court of Pleas, Domestic Court and John H. Gregory, Founder/ CEO/President Academy for Urban Scholars (AUS) are non-violence advocates, strategists, administrators, entrepreneurs, proud parents, and role models. Judge Jamison’s professional and community experiences reflect her commitment and support of protection for all citizens. Mr. Gregory, also Founder of African American Male Wellness Walk, has created educational and community programs that offers positive options to crime. Crimes cover categories of arson, assault, burglary, murders, rape, theft, vehicle theft, and hate crime. Encompassed in these categories are abuse and domestic violence. According to USA.com website of crime and crime rate, “The “Columbus crime rate (3, 841.11) is much higher than the Ohio average crime rate (1, 751.34) and is much higher than the national average crime rate (1,723.8).” In addition, issues of alcoholism and substance abuse are underlying triggers to family violence (disrespect in conversation and interactions) and abuse (see National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, 2009). PREVAIL-RESPECT’s programs and initiatives will incorporate varied entities of education, active engagement, and commitment to address the problem of violence. Expert panelists and audience participants will offer valuable insight, discussion, and professional development. Also, programs for younger aged children with their parents (Children’s Academy), organization exhibits/displays, prize drawings, educator awards, entertainment, and vendors will round out the day. Conference partners include Academy for Urban Scholars, Columbus State Community College Department of Student Life, The Ohio State University Office of Diversity and Inclusion, The Ohio State University College of Social Work, ALL-THAT- Teens Hopeful About Tomorrow, SOPE-Support Our People’s Efforts, Moving Forward - Conflict Analysis and Engagement, Andrew Developmental Disability Services, LLC, and Rezilyantz Project. For Registration and additional information: www.prevail-respect.com 614-984-5820
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Senior Citizen Matinee
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Think you Know Black History? By: Judson L. Jeffries, Ph.D. In previous years Black History Month at the Community Extension Center has been filled with lectures, documentaries and roundtables. This year we decided to do something different, something fun and interactive. We called it The Black History Month Challenge. According to one participant The Black History Month Challenge was “informative, exciting and intimidating all at the same time.” Modeled after Jeopardy, which originally aired fifty years ago with Art Fleming as its host and Don Pardo as the show’s voice, contestants were given five categories from which to select questions. Every Tuesday three contestants squared off against one another for the opportunity to advance to the grand finale, which occurred during the last week of February. Along with three contestants were a host and the operator of the big blue board, which was projected onto a screen at the front of the room. Categories comprised of a wide array of subjects from books to sports to music of all genres to movies, etc. Points ranged from 100 to 500. The greater the amount the more difficult the question. Like Jeopardy contestants were required to answer in the form of a question. Each game consisted of just two rounds, giving contestants little room for error. It was not uncommon for a contestant to breeze through the 100 to 400 point questions, but get tripped up by the 500 point questions. Contestants who continually fell victim to this development struggled to remain in the black. Audience members sat silently for the most part (emphasis on “for the most part”) as the game unfolded each week. There were a few instances, however, where the more overzealous members of the audience would occasionally whisper the answer to his or her neighbor not realizing that they were being overheard by both the contestants as well as the audience. Not surprisingly, like any game show The Black History Month Challenge was not without its comical moments. No sense trying to explain, you had to be there. The initial call for participants yielded a sizeable pool, but as the days passed that number dwindled to less than twenty brave souls. When informed of this unfortunate development one frequent visitor to the CEC chuckled “I wouldn’t be surprised if some people got cold feet . . . it’s one thing to answer questions while watching TV at home, but quite another thing to stand up there and try to answer questions with everyone watching you.” This person’s point was not without merit as several people who had previously agreed to participate called and cancelled at the eleventh hour claiming a myriad of ailments, from the common cold to a sudden case of the strep throat to a stomach ache; you name it, people came down with it. More women accepted the challenge than men. The contestants ranged from college student age to retiree.
Rodney Blount, a graduate of the Department of African American and African Studies at The Ohio State University emerged as the overall winner. The top three contestants won prizes of varying kind. Several audience members admitted to having a good time. Said Jamia Shepherd, “I was not expecting it to be as fun as it was, people were looking forward to coming each week.” Given the positive response we’ve received over the past two weeks The Black History Month Challenge may reappear in the years to come. “Next year I’ll be better prepared” exclaimed the contestant who finished in second place. Fun activities such as The Black History Month Challenge are just one of several new initiatives that community residents can expect to see in the coming months.
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1947 â€“ 2014
Chokwe Lumumba Former Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi and former member of the Republic of New Afrika