2008-03 March 2008 Video Statement of the AAHM&CC in response to the formal “Opening” of the Urban League Village “NAAM” Scam: (It took a person getting arrested at that time, in order to even get this message out.)
The garden had been planted over the last several months through civil initiative by the people of Historic Africatown’s Central Area, especially @BlackStarFarmers. It was planted on the land which was once the parking lot of the Coleman Elementary School, which many generations of African American families attended over the latter half of the Twentieth Century.
Many such new community gardens have been established throughout the city over the past year and a half, in the course of the struggle by all peoples to preserve health, nutrition, mental wellness, meaning, and connection to the soil while surviving the Covid Pandemic.
The reason, of course, that this particular garden was demolished today is because it was Black.
The garden was established in solidarity with the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, Baba Omari Tahir, Baba Earl Debnam, and the spirits of the late Michael Greenwood and ISAIAH EDWARDS.
The Parks Department kept the parking lot parcel, converted it into a dog-walking park, and named it “Jimi Hendrix”. This arrangement was very popular among affluent white settlers to the Central Area until last summer’s empire-wide popular democratic uprising against lynchings, when significant crowds of actual Black people began to, in fact, regularly use Jimi Hendrix Park and frequently assemble in it.
This, of course, caused some of the white settlers to complain about so many Black people still being alive and visible in broad daylight — a full two decades into the Twenty-First Century.
So, the Parks department promptly tried to appease those settlers by turning off Jimi Hendrix Park’s electricity supply (which forces all African American events in the park to bring our own generators and fossil fuel to power them, since the clean hydroelectric power is apparently for whites only).
When called about this, the City openly boasted that they had turned off the power in response to “un-permitted events”, and also that they would “not issue any event permits”. This is, of course, directly parallel to the Israeli apartheid policy of refusing to issue home-building permits to Palestinian families, and then arbitrarily demolishing Palestinian homes for “not having a permit”.
Here is a short video of the aftermath of the garden’s desolation today.
The AAHM&CC finds it significant that former DOJ Weed & Seed Director (now Mayor) Jenny Durkan’s demolition of this Black community garden occurred just 22 days after the principled resignation of Professor Cornel West from Harvard University — an institution which had refused to grant tenure to Dr. West because he consistently points out the similarities between the apartheid suffered by Palestinians and apartheid suffered by Black people.
We will be pleasantly surprised if the “NAAM” makes any statement in solidarity with Palestine against Israeli apartheid.
We believe the reason they will not do so is that their sponsor, the Urban League, is openly in political alliance with multiple pro-apartheid organizations, including, notably, the “ADL“.
The Urban League’s lawsuit to evict AAHM&CC Co-Founder Omari Tahir (and “all other tresspassers”) from his own property at the Coleman building is being litigated by the giant global lawfirm PerkinsCoie, which has both a seat on the Urban League Of Metropolitan Seattle’s Board and a page on its own website devoted specifically to its Israeli clientele.
Furthermore, the Urban League Of Metropolitan Seattle’s Board also includes a senior leader of the Ben Bridge Jewelers Company, which openly brags on its website about doing business with both Israel and the infamous DeBeers blood diamond cartel — who are probably more famously associated with classical “apartheid” in Africa than any other family on Earth.
AS OF SATURDAY, JUNE 19TH, 2021, BABA OMARI TAHIR’S RE-OCCUPATION TO LIBERATE THE AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM’S BUILDING FROM IMPERIALISM’S NEO-COLONIAL APARTHEID HAS BEEN ONGOING FOR A FULL YEAR!
IN SOLIDARITY WITH AAHM&CC, BABA OMARI, BABA EARL DEBNAM, AND THE SPIRIT OF THE LATE MICHAEL GREENWOOD AND ISAIAH EDWARDS, THE PEOPLE OF HISTORIC AFRICATOWN HAVE RECLAIMED THE FULL EASTERN COURTYARD OF THE AAHM&CC PROPERTY, FROM THE MAIN BUILDING’S FRONT DOOR TO THE EAST BOUNDARY OF JIMI HENDRIX PARK (WHICH WAS ONCE COLEMAN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL’S PARKING LOT)!
THE CELEBRATION OF THIS MAGNIFICENT JUNETEENTH ANNIVERSARY WAS, ONCE AGAIN A TREMENDOUS SUCCESS!
PHOTO ESSAY: ‘Honoring Our Black Wall Streets’ Commemorates Tulsa Massacre
by Ronnie Estoque and Susan Fried
Almost 200 Black-owned businesses participated in “Honoring Our Black Wall Streets” on Memorial Day, in the Central District, to honor Black Wall Street on the 100th anniversary of its tragic destruction. The memorial event was organized by King County Equity Now, Black Dot, and Africatown community organizers and celebrated the resilience of the local Black business community.
In May of 1921, a white mob in Tulsa, Oklahoma attacked the predominantly Black neighborhood of Greenwood, which was known as “Black Wall Street.” The Tulsa Massacre claimed the lives of around 300 Black people living in the community, with many of their businesses and homes burnt to the ground in the riot. Activism in recent years has shed more light on this horrendous event, and those in the Black community in Seattle are continuing to honor the legacy of Black Wall Street through continuing their demands of anti-gentrification measures and reinvestment into historically Black neighborhoods.
In addition to all kinds of businesses including clothing, book, jewelry and food vendors, numerous artists were also represented on Monday. The event was kicked off by the singing of the Black National Anthem and an honoring of Black people who have passed away. The day also included live performances and a community “Electric Slide” for over 20 minutes. Although the day acknowledged a terrible moment in American history, the people gathered paid tribute to the Black community of Tulsa, Oklahoma by supporting Seattle’s many Black-owned businesses and artists.
Ronnie Estoque is a Seattle-based storyteller and aspiring documentarian. He is driven to uplift marginalized voices in the South Seattle community through his writing, photography, and videography. You can keep up with his work by following his Twitter and Instagram.
Susan Fried is a 40-year veteran photographer. In addition to weddings, portraits, and commercial work she did early in her career, she has been the Skanner Newspaper’s Seattle photographer for nearly 25 years. Her images have appeared in a variety of publications including the University of Washington Daily, the Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, and more. She’s been an Emerald contributor since 2015. Follow her on Instagram @fried.susan.
The African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center has always stood at the forefront of the Anti-Apartheid Repair-ations Now Movement.
On May 18, 2021, in solidarity with the Palestinian call for a General Strike following Israel’s recent escalations in its ongoing 73+ year Nakba or Catastrophe against the Palestinan people and its renewed bombing of Gaza, which has created 212 new martyrs and counting, we are truly honored to partner and hold space with our Palestinian comrades in Falastiniyat, who led an incredibly moving and powerful vigil, grieving the dead and fighting for the living.
Recognizing that we are on Duwamish and Coast Salish territory, we affirm our stance against settler colonialism, apartheid and the racist settler colonial practice of Zionism. The African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center declares in solidarity with the Palestinian people and indigenous peoples everywhere that the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center is an Apartheid Free Zone.
Our struggle for self-determination and for repair-ations, including the struggle for Black ownership and Black cultural institutions on Coast Salish lands in so-called Seattle, is inextricably linked to the Palestinian struggle and the struggles of indigenous peoples and comrades resisting colonization and imperialism everywhere.
Falastiniyat member Ranna spoke beautifully about these connections in her opening to the vigil and commemoration of the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center as an Apartheid Free Zone:
“We acknowledge that we are on Coast Salish lands in an area that has been colonized, occupied and renamed the Greater Seattle Area. We acknowledge the experiences of genocide, of forced relocation, ethnic cleansing, and land theft of indigenous peoples and sacred lands so that we can build our awareness of how settler colonialism and colonization still exists today.
We honor the ways of knowing and the ways of being of indigenous peoples and tribal nations, who are still here and thriving. We also want to thank Baba Omari and elders for holding down the occupation here for the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center. We just want to say that we honor your ongoing struggle and we are with you in the struggle.”
Museum founder and elder Omari Tahir also speaks to the connections between the struggles for a Free Palestine, decolonization on Turtle Island and Repair-ations to indigenous and black communities: “It’s always the same. It’s the oppressor vs the oppressed, which is the colonizer vs the colonized. The colonizer sets up an apartheid regime to control the people they are colonizing. The oppressor tries to keep us fighting among the oppressed so they can keep controlling land and resources. Our struggles are the same. We are both fighting against settler colonialism and apartheid. We cannot let them divide us.”
Just last weekend, on May 8, the King County Sheriffs and the Urban League colluded to steal all of the artwork, exhibits, structures and belongings of the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, which has been operating as an open air museum since last Juneteenth despite holding a signed purchase and sale agreement. Like in Sheikh Jarrah, the settler colonial courts dominating Turtle Island hold no remedy for indigenous and colonized peoples. We hold faith in public tribunals, in the movement to boycott, divest and sanction and in the power of the people.
Solidarity with Palestine! End Settler Colonialism! Boycott Israel! Repair-ations Now!
The attackers destroyed our traveling exhibit tent (and all four of its display cases), our medical/library tent (with both its first aid equipment and books), both of our staff tents and also the tent which had served as the beloved gallery for our co-founding Artist-In-Residence, Earl Debnam (stealing or destroying his paintings, prints, brushes, paints, canvasses, easels, art table and other supplies). They have also once again stolen all of the AAHM&CC’s actual physical exhibits, including, for example, the laminated copy of the front cover of January 1986 Northwest Passage, an image of which is at the top of this post.
Then, they proceeded to steal Elder Omari’s camper and remove it to a far-away & hard-to-reach location:
This attack was lead by Captain B.J. Myers of the King County Sheriff’s Office.
Since the attack, we have also heard (from a source close to the Urban League leadership) that the Sheriff’s Office was acting at the particular direction and coordination of this Seattle Urban League Board Of Directors Member George Allen–who is the North America Director of Public Affairs and Communications for the Coca Cola Corporation.
The Urban League published the following press release the same day, boasting about the alleged success of its campaign to “Remove” Omari and the rest of us, and reiterating a few of their many lies we’ve already debunked many times here over the last year.
The only fully true statement within that press release is its over-jubilant boast that their toy King County Judge, of course, signed every statement their expensive law firm told him to sign during the “Zoom” conference they are pretending was a “court hearing”. Omari has already explained in both his active appeal and his federal notice of removal (upon which this website has already reported) many of the glaring reason this “judge” was in error. Furthermore, the active status of both this appeal and removal mean that this May 8th act of state violence would STILL be a breach of due process EVEN if Omari were wrong (which he isn’t).
Regarding the rest of the of Urban League press release’s inaccurate content, one may simply refer to our public posting of March 29th, 2021 (provided again here) to debunk these particular lies yet one more time:
While we’re not impressed by their press release, we are quite proud of the way our authentic outdoor museum appears in its drone photograph. This photo, taken by our opponents, no less, shows our clean, orderly, efficient and positive use of the space over the past ten months. We invite any and all observers to compare and contrast this photo with the mess that has been left by the armed and uniformed attackers in this same space. They have conveniently sealed off the space in question with a chain link fence, to preserve their aftermath for your due observation.
SUNDAY, MAY 2ND, 2021, 2PM-6PM, JIMI HENDRIX PARK!
75th Birthday Community Appreciation Celebration for Baba Omari Tahir-Garrett Join family, friends and community to honor a Central District native son, visionary and Seattle’s #1 fighter for freedom, justice and equality! This Sunday May 2nd, 2pm-6pm at Jimi Hendrix Park.
Come and share your personal stories or memories of impact. If Omari has blessed or positively impacted your life as a family member, a friend, a coach, a teacher, a mentor, by giving your words of wisdom, fought alongside you or for you, provided an open door or helping hand, please come out and return the love as we celebrate 75 years of life and still going strong!
There is an old saying “Give me my flowers while I can still smell them”.
For info on how to support the event call 206.569.8329.
April 9th is the Birthday of Paul Robeson (1898-1976), the world-renowned and still controversial African American athlete-singer-actor-activist.
Paul Robeson remains controversial today for primarily two reasons: He never apologized for being Black, and he never apologized for disliking both capitalism and fascism. (Farmers and gardeners in the Soviet Union honored Paul Robeson by naming a variety of tomato after him.)
As a laborer in the entertainment industry, however, Paul Robeson–partially in spite of and partially because of his fame–was constantly used and abused in unscrupulous ways by his employers, directors, supervisors, more privileged coworkers and even many of his allegedly progressive Caucasian professed “allies” in struggle.
Very rarely, throughout his long and prolific career, did this great man get to wield any editorial influence over the portrayal of his own image, whether on stage, on screen, on the athletic field, or in still photography.
The handful of moments, when he WAS able to do so, were the works of which he was most proud.
From 1950 until 1958, Paul Robeson was Whitelisted by employers throughout the US, had his name temporarily erased from the records of All-American football, and was denied a US passport to prevent him from traveling or working abroad. The reasons given by the State Department for denying Robeson a passport included both his “extreme advocacy on behalf of the independence of the colonial peoples of Africa“, and “his frequent criticism of the treatment of blacks in the United States“.
The best and Blackest documentary every yet made about Paul Robeson is the 1999 film HERE I STAND, directed by the accomplished Harlem documentarian St. Clair Bourne, (1943-2007), narrated by Ossie Davis and starring Harry Belafonte, Uta Hagen, Martin Duberman, Howard Fast, Paul Robeson Junior and (via stunning archival footage) Paul Robeson Senior himself.
The film is also named after the book, written by Paul Robeson himself in 1958.