Colin Kaepernick (Kaepernick is the only living member of the revolutionary shirt that is still alive. He reminds us that everyone can be revolutionary by taking a stand against injustice or in his case a knee.)
Kaepernick’s case is well-known and much discussed. He took a valiant and principled stand in the 2016 football season by taking a knee during the national anthem to protest the violent treatment of black Americans by the police and American society in general. History was on his side, unless one was a clear-cut white racist and ignorant of American history. But as a terrific football player and a well-known athlete, his stand was unusual in the world of sports where political protest is very rare and not being reminded of the “real” world is the key to success. The NFL, in particular, is a very conservative organization, long infused with a super patriotic ethos wrapped in the American flag and the song that celebrates it, and Kaepernick’s protest was a diversion from the diverting spectacle on the field and not welcomed by NFL owners, to put it mildly. So as of this writing, Kaepernick, a very good football player who would clearly strengthen an NFL team, remains without a job. That this is because he lacks talent is ridiculous. While pressure against the NFL from multiple media and organizational sources is growing to reverse this situation, even well-meaning writers have implicitly used racist language to describe the situation by saying that Kaepernick is being blackballed. Ironic as it is, our language is filled with such subtle reminders of the white mindset that equates white with good and black with bad.
Frances Cress Welsing (March 18, 1935 - January 2, 2016)
American-born Afrocentrist, psychiatrist, and author. Believed people of color needed to "liberate" themselves psychologically from White domination. In 1974, authored The Cress Theory of Color- Confrontation and Racism ( White Supremacy), which states people of color must gain a better understanding of the "behavioral maneuverings" of Whites in order to avoid being "manipulated into a subordinated person. In 1991, wrote, The Isis Papers: Keys to the Colors, a collection of 25 essays examining the neuroses of White supremacy. Wrote about "melanin theory", claim that white people are the genetically defective descendants of albino mutants. Felt Whites strive to maintain a superior social position and manipulated non-whites and themselves into thinking that they are a worldwide numerical majority instead of the minority.
Toussaint Louverture (1743-1803)
Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution inspired millions of free and enslaved people of African descent to seek freedom and equality throughout the Atlantic world. Toussaint and other black leaders of Saint-Domingue helped to lead the only Atlantic slave society which successfully defeated its oppressors. The former slaves were able to achieve freedom and equality by political and military force, when they defeated the advances of French, British, and Spanish troops. In 1804, they created the second independent republic in the western hemisphere. As Toussaint Louverture’s life story helps demonstrate, the Haitian Revolution was a complex series of conflicts and alliances between different classes, populations, and political interests.
Toussaint Louverture’s leadership was formed during his early years. Around 1743, he was born with the name, François Dominique Toussaint. His father was an African prisoner of war who was sold into slavery in Saint-Dominque. Toussaint was the eldest of eight children. As a child, he learned to read and write French and Haitian patois, and enjoyed access to books and schooling. His father taught him the use of traditional medicine. Before becoming a coachman for his master, Toussaint herded livestock. Some accounts described him as physically short, skinny, and unattractive, yet charismatic and intelligent. By his mid-thirties, he was free and working toward becoming a property owner.
Dick Gregory (October 12, 1932- August 19, 2017)
Civil rights activist, social critic, writer, entrepreneur, comedian, and actor. Began studying African history after being told that Africans had no history before European colonization. Took on a range of issues, including ending the Vietnam War, feminism, Native American rights, and apartheid in South Africa. Regularly fastest in protest of world events; was arrested dozens of times for his causes. Authored the controversial "Nigger"; An Autobiography in 1964.
James Baldwin ( Aug 2, 1924 - December 1, 1987)
James Baldwin was an essayist, playwright, novelist, and voice of the American civil rights movement known for works including 'Notes of a Native Son,' 'The Fire Next Time', and 'Go Tell It on the Mountain.' Writer and playwright James Baldwin published the 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, receiving acclaim for his insights on race, spirituality, and humanity. Other novels included Giovanni's Room, Another Country, and Just Above My Head, as well as essays like Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time. Returning to the United States after nine years overseas, Baldwin became known as the leading spokesperson among writers for the civil rights of African Americans. He gave popular lectures on the subject, and he quickly discovered that social conditions for African Americans had become even worse while he was abroad. As the 1960s began—and violence in the South increased—Baldwin grew increasingly angry. He responded with three powerful books of essays: Nobody Knows My Name (1961); The Fire Next Time (1963), in which he predicts future outbursts of black anger; and More Notes of a Native Son. These works were accompanied by Another Country (1962), his third novel. Going to Meet the Man (1965) is a group of short stories from the same period. During this time Baldwin's descriptions of Richard Avedon's photography were published under the title Nothing Personal (1964). Four years later came another novel, Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone.
In addition, the mid-1960s saw Baldwin's two published plays produced on Broadway. The Amen Corner, first staged in Washington, D.C., in 1955, was presented at New York City's Ethel Barrymore Theatre in April 1965. Similar in tone to Go Tell It on the Mountain, it describes the strong religious feeling of the Pentecostal church. Blues for Mr. Charlie, which premiered at Broadway's ANTA Theatre in April 1964, is based on the case of Emmett Till, a fourteen-year-old African American from Chicago who was murdered by white people in Mississippi in 1955.
Crispus Attucks (c. 1723–1770)
Crispus Attucks was an African American man killed during the Boston Massacre and believed to be the first casualty of the American Revolution. Crispus Attucks' father was likely an enslaved person and his mother a Natick Indian. All that is definitely known about Attucks is that he was the first to fall during the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770. In 1888, the Crispus Attucks monument was unveiled in Boston Common.
Born into slavery around 1723, Attucks was believed to be the son of Prince Yonger, a enslaved person shipped to America from Africa, and Nancy Attucks, a Natick Indian. Little is known about Attucks' life or his family, who reputedly resided in a town just outside of Boston. What has been pieced together paints a picture of a young man who showed an early skill for buying and trading goods. He seemed unafraid of the consequences of escaping the bonds of slavery. Historians have theorized that Attucks was the focus of an advertisement in a 1750 edition of the Boston Gazette in which a white landowner offered to pay 10 pounds for the return of a young runaway enslaved person
Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993)
Thurgood Marshall followed his Howard University mentor, Charles Hamilton Houston to New York and later became Chief Counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). During this period, Mr. Marshall was asked by the United Nations and the United Kingdom to help draft the constitutions of the emerging African nations of Ghana and what is now Tanzania. It was felt that the person who so successfully fought for the rights of America's oppressed minority would be the perfect person to ensure the rights of the White citizens in these two former European colonies. After amassing an impressive record of Supreme Court challenges to state-sponsored discrimination, including the landmark Brown v. Board decision in 1954, President John F. Kennedy appointed Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. In this capacity, he wrote over 150 decisions including support for the rights of immigrants, limiting government intrusion in cases involving illegal search and seizure, double jeopardy, and right to privacy issues. Biographers Michael Davis and Hunter Clark note that, "none of his (Marshall's) 98 majority decisions was ever reversed by the Supreme Court." In 1965 President Lyndon Johnson appointed Judge Marshall to the office of U.S. Solicitor General. Before his subsequent nomination to the United States Supreme Court in 1967, Thurgood Marshall won 14 of the 19 cases he argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of the government. Indeed, Thurgood Marshall represented and won more cases before the United States Supreme Court than any other American.
Noble Drew Ali: Born Timothy Drew (Jan 18, 1886- July 29, 1929)
the co-founder and inspirational Founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America in 1913. Promoted the belief that African-Americans are of Moorish ancestry specifically from the " Moroccan Empire". Rejected derogatory labels such as "Black", colored, or Negro. Included the projected ideologies of spiritual growth and evolution, as well as, enlightenment and oneness of Allah. Urged Americans of all races to reject hate and embrace love.
Malcolm X (May 19, 1925- February 21, 1965)
Muslim minister and human rights activist. Born Malcolm Little; considered "Little" a slave name and close "X" to signify his lost tribal name. Appointed as assistant minister of Temple Number One in 1953. In 1960, founded the newspaper, Muhammad Speaks, to further promote the message of the Nation of Islam. Terminated relationship with Nation of Islam in 1964 and created the religious organization, Muslim Mosque, Inc. Changed name to El-Haji Malik El-Shabazz and converted to traditional Islam during his pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia in 1964.
Harriet Tubman was born around 1820 on a plantation in Dorchester County, Maryland. Her parents, Harriet (“Rit”) Green and Benjamin Ross, named her Araminta Ross and called her “Minty.” Contrary to legend, Tubman did not create the Underground Railroad; it was established in the late eighteenth century by black and white abolitionists. Tubman likely benefitted from this network of escape routes and safe houses in 1849, when she and two brothers escaped north. Her husband refused to join her, and by 1851 he had married a free black woman. Tubman returned to the South several times and helped dozens of people escape. Her success led slaveowners to post a $40,000 reward for her capture or death. Tubman was never caught and never lost a “passenger.” She participated in other antislavery efforts, including supporting John Brown in his failed 1859 raid on the Harpers Ferry, Virginia arsenal. Through the Underground Railroad, Tubman learned the towns and transportation routes characterizing the South—information that made her important to Union military commanders during the Civil War. As a Union spy and scout, Tubman often transformed herself into an aging woman. She would wander the streets under Confederate control and learn from the enslaved population about Confederate troop placements and supply lines. Tubman helped many of these individuals find food, shelter, and even jobs in the North. She also became a respected guerrilla operative. As a nurse, Tubman dispensed herbal remedies to black and white soldiers dying from infection and disease.
Marcus Garvey (August 17, 1887- June 10, 1940)
Jamaican political leader, published journalist, entrepreneur, orator, and proponent of Pan-Americanism. Founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association Communities League (UNIA-ACL) in 1914. At its height, the organization had over 5 million paid members worldwide, the largest African diaspora organization of its time. In 1919, established the Negro Factories Corporation and Founded the Black Star Line, a standing and passenger line that promoted the return of the African diaspora to their ancestral lands.
Kwame Nkrumah (September 21, 1909 April 27 1972)
Prime Minister of Ghana between 1957 and 1960. President of Ghana from 1960- 1966, who helped organize the fifth Pan-American Congress in Manchester, England in 1945. Declared the independence of Ghana from the United Kingdom in 1957. Announced plans for a new constitution, which made Ghana a republic, in 1960. He was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union. Ghana became a founding member of the Organization of Africa Unity in 1963. In 2000, he was elected the greatest African of the millennium, by a vote n Africa.
Bob Marley (February 6, 1945 - May 11, 1981)
Jamaican singer-songwriter, musician, guitarist, and activist. Music became closely associated with the movement toward Black political independence, prominent in America and several Africa and South American countries. First global pop star to emerge from a developing nation. Posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Although Marley never received a GRAMMY nomination, was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.