Thursday, December 20, 2007

Saving Black Culture in Harlem

New York
Amsterdam News

Saving Black Culture in Harlem
Amsterdam News
Originally posted 12/20/2007

If you plot points on a graph connecting the Alexandria Library in Kemet to Black Wall Street in Tulsa to the defunct Central High School in Newnan, GA, you will find a common thread: European destruction of African achievements. Black and white
institutions are prohibited from co-existing on equal terms.

White supremacy will not have it any other way. Blacks must always be subservient
to whites. All trace evidence of African genius has to be destroyed. See, for example, Amos Wilson’s "Awakening the Natural Genius of Black Children." At birth, Black children are ready for the world, but white supremacy is not ready for them.

Under the pretext that it needs to acquire neighboring lands to fulfill its ethnocentric mission, Columbia University is designing another land grab. One of the targets is the Cotton Club which is located on a narrow tract of land on 125th Street. Unless 125th Street is about to be closed permanently from 125th Street to the Westside Highway, no rational reason exists for Columbia to grab the Cotton Club.

Columbia’s aim is to stamp out Harlem’s Black identity. Around the world, people
associate the Cotton Club with Black culture. The Japanese has already established
a Cotton Club, on choice real estate, in Tokyo. The Chinese has a similar vision. A
cultural exchange program connects one people with another people. Columbia
intends to kill two birds with one stone.

Racism has always been the guiding light for land use in New York City. Blacks in
New York were emancipated in 1827. Afterwards, many Blacks resided in Seneca
Village. By 1857, all Blacks in the village had been evicted without due process of
law. The evictions were designed to replace a residential village with Central Park.
This was the first case of "Negro removal" in the United States.

Mayor Fernando Wood presided over the eviction of our ancestors from Seneca
Village in Manhattan. He was also the city’s chief defender of slavery and a rabid
racist. New York City was dependent on the South’s cotton trade and was in support
of the aims and ambitions of the Confederate States of America.

Wood became the leader of the Copperheads, who urged the Lincoln Administration
to let the South "go in peace." They called for "peace without victory." The slogan of the Copperheads became "the Constitution as it is, the Union as it was and the
Negroes where they are." Frederick Douglass strenuously opposed the
Copperheads. He advocated an end to slavery.

The 1821 New York Constitutional Convention gave unbridled suffrage to white
males while imposing harsh conditions on Black males who sought the same
privilege. They had to own real property. Racial pogroms ran most Blacks out of New
York City by the 1860’s under the banner of the Democratic Party.

The common thread that connected 1857 with 2007 is the Democratic Party, which
has always been pro-slavery. The eviction plan in the 1850’s not only displaced
Blacks but it also disenfranchised Black males. New York City Council today is still
controlled by the Democratic Party.

Title I of the Housing Act of 1949 was designed to replace the slums of New York
with middle class housing. Instead, New York City used the funds to give the poor the
boot and to use the property for high-rent apartments, medical centers and university
campuses. Columbia University was a prime beneficiary of the law to the detriment of
the poor.

Before World War II, Columbia University and the Rockefellers hit the panic button
when Blacks and Puerto Ricans were spotted on Claremont Ave. near Columbia.
Imaginary lines were drawn to prevent any further migration of historically-despised
persons to areas near Columbia University and Riverside Church.

Columbia University has acquired the resources to expand north of 125th Street in a
manner consistent with maintaining the world-class status of the university. At a
minimum, New York City must maintain a containment policy for non-whites. A white
minority in the city fashions public policy. This is minority-rule.

The Cotton Club is a threat to the "pristine" image of Columbia University. Diversity
has never been a part of the university’s repertoire. King’s College was born during
slavery in New York. Its name was changed, in 1912, to Columbia University in the
City of New York. The school has always been at war with Blacks. Recently, nooses
were displayed at Columbia.

With its proposed expansion north of 125th Street, Columbia fears that the Cotton
Club will attract Black patrons to the area. White clubs exist on Broadway and
Amsterdam in Morningside Heights, but they mostly attract white patrons. Blacks in
Morningside Heights stick out like sore thumbs.

According to the Selig Center, the projected buying power of Blacks in the United
States will be $1.1 trillion in 2011. Only 9 countries exceed the buying power of
Blacks in the United States. The buying power of Blacks in New York exceeds by far
any other "minority group." This city would collapse without Black dollars.
If Blacks were recycling dollars in the Black community, the economic clout of Black
businesses would be awesome. If Black institutions made a concerted effort to
patronize Black establishments, it would not only strengthen our economic position in

New York City but also allow for political representation.

While we may still be attempting to resolve the conumbrum of which came first the
chicken or the egg, we do know that economics preceded politics. Economics can
operate without politics, but politics is unable to operate without economics. Blacks
are putting their eggs in the wrong basket.

Cong. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr.’s strength came not only from the Abyssinian Baptist
Church but also from Black businesses. Politics is a protections racket. Laws are
enacted daily to protect white dollars. Black dollars are like Black people. They have no protection. We are entitled to voting rights but not political representation.

History should not be repeating itself in 2007. Without our dollars, New York City
would have to go down on its knees and the Black vote in New York City is critical to
state and presidential politics. The Democratic Party must secure the state’s electoral votes. For 2008, marching should take a back seat to the strategic withholding of our dollars and our votes.

Unfortunately, history is repeating itself because we refuse to leverage Black dollars and Black votes. Instead, we prefer to follow leaders who use their feet with police approval. What’s in our hands? Apparently nothing is of any value or so we think.

Our revered ancestors had few dollars and no votes. We have both but our minds are
firmly entrenched in the hands of our oppressors. There are more than two million
human robots in New York City. During slavery, their ancestors were headless. See
"The Miseducation of the Negro."

Culture is the glue that binds economics and politics. The role of economics and
politics is to protect culture. A people without culture is like a tree without roots.

We must unearth our culture and, afterwards, we must use politics and economics to
sustain it.

If we are unable to unearth our culture, cultural hegemony will continue to allow those with power to give orders to those without it. This arrangement is having a
devastating impact on the powerless and, in the case of Blacks, this arrangement
suppresses Black consciousness. Blacks can ill-afford to lose Harlem and its cultural

December 26 - Kwanzaa Celebration to show appreciation for the sacrificial works of
Drs. Rosalind and Leonard Jeffries at the Elks Plaza, 1068 Harriet Tubman (Fulton
Street) nr. Classon Ave. in Brooklyn at 7:30 p.m. Come out and honor them. Take the
"C" train to Franklin Ave.

Jan. 5 - UAM’s Annual Kwanzaa Breakfast at the Cotton Club, 656 West 125th St. in
Harlem from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Jan. 19 - UAM’s Annual Membership Dance at Cotton Club, 656 West 125th St. in
Harlem from 9:00 p.m.

For further information call United African Movement at 718-834-9034.
See: for "Freedom Retreat 2008," and "Letter to the
Daily News re Stanley Crouch,"

No comments: