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The Real Rachel Jeantel

rachel jeantel 1

Did you really think that was the real Rachel Jeantel in the Seminole County courtroom. Subsequent interviews show her to be a bright and witty teen. Now Tom Joyner wants to give her a college scholarship. (Kudos to Joyner–this is what you do with the influence and wealth The People give you.) I hope Rachel becomes an attorney and kick some butt in the legal cesspool. But whatever she does with her life, she’ll do with gusto and purpose and tell all the naysayers…

Zimmerman found “not guilty”

George Zimmerman trial

In my recent St. Louis column (which has to be written a week in advance),  it was clear that I was cushioning my readers for a crash landing on the air field of American justice. The news of the verdict was not surprising but like a loved one who you know is dying, when that moment comes it still brings a gut-wrenching emotional response.

For black folks, we read the verdict clearly: black life has no value.

Now comes the part of how we translate that reality into the daily life of a people under seige from many different directions.  We gotta mobilize/organize beyond the angry protests.

Somebody “Fixin’ to be killed”


A Review of

We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement


Mississippi: Armed SNCC members abduct white night riders and release them after giving them a warning. A white cop gets knocked unconscious by a black man for slapping a 14-year-old black girl. Armed brothers do a citizens’ arrest when ambushed by the Klan and deliver one of the attackers to his father, the chief of police.

Before you start to romanticize about the good ole days, I should remind you that life in the South for black folks was dangerous and volatile. Any challenge to the traditions and system of white supremacy was met with raw violence. And Mississippi? Well, there’s a poignant reason why Nina Simone penned a song titled, “Mississippi Goddam.” People – mostly black – lost their lives in the freedom struggle as they fought to break down barriers to voting, employment, public accommodations and other aspects of life that were forbidden to African Americans because of racism. This is the backdrop for We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement by Dr. Akinyele Umoja. Read more