Categories
History Exhibition!

BENKOS BIOHO’S LIFE MATTERED! AND HERE’S THE PROOF!

Statue of Benkos Biohó in the main square of San Basilio de Palenque, the free town which he founded in 1599. The statue’s right arm is outstretched eastward towards Africa.

This month the AAHM&CC pays a solemn and grateful tribute to our heroic freedom fighter Benkos Biohó, on the 400th anniversary of his brutal execution by hanging and quartering in March of 1621.*

We also take this moment to celebrate the fact that, at long last, an English-language book has  been published (in January 2019), rendering his long suppressed story finally accessible to the anglophone Amerikan public: FREEDOM! THE UNTOLD STORY OF BENKOS BIOHO and THE WORLD’S FIRST MAROONS!, A TRUE STORY, by KOFI LENILES and DR. KMT SHOCKLEY, ILLUSTRATED BY IROUPA KEINKEDE, Published by AuthorHouse.

Benkos had been kidnapped in the late fifteen-hundreds from his native island in the Western Mali/Kaabu region of Guinea-Bissau (a part of the world which, nearly four centuries later, would field another world-renowned freedom fighter, Amílcar Cabral).

In approximately 1599 (two decades BEFORE Virginia unloaded its first slave ship), Benkos Biohó, escaping slavery for at least the second time, led a group of about 30 escapees in founding one of the oldest and longest lasting free Afrikan Maroon cities in the Western Hemisphere! 

This town, San Basilio de Palenque, stands proudly as a beacon of liberty to this day! (Yanga, in Veracruz, Mexico, is even older!)

Benkos led the people of Palenque in a just and courageous war against the Spanish Empire’s slave traders, frequently raiding the nearby Atlantic slave port of Cartagena and setting the captives free.

In 1603, the Governor of Cartagena Gerónimo de Suazo, admitted that he was unable to defeat the free people of Palenque, and offered a peace treaty with King Benkos Biohó, which was extended in 1612 between Biohó and the next Governor, Diego Fernández de Velasco.

Naturally, however, the next Governor, Garcia Girón, broke the treaty by ambushing and kidnapping Biohó in 1619, holding him prisoner until March of 1621, and publicly murdering him because, in Girón’s words “It was dangerous the extent to which Biohó was respected in the population!”

But Biohó became even stronger as a martyr! The brave people of Palenque rose up against his treacherous murderers and resumed the war for freedom. They fought for 70 more years, until 1691, when the King of Spain himself personally signed a peace treaty with Palenque!

The 1691 truce has been cautiously maintained and guarded by Palenque ever since, with Spain and with its Imperial successor, the modern state of Colombia. Like its predecessor, Colombia continually vacillates in its willingness/desire to keep its promises to indigenous peoples of either Afrika or this hemisphere.

And yet, the people of Palenque, trustworthy and dedicated to long memory, still sing their ancestor’s songs about the valor of Benkos Biohó, and teach those songs to their children.

Benkos Biohó is a hero to all Afrikan people worldwide!

To all indigenous people worldwide!

To all coastal seafaring people worldwide!

To all laboring class people worldwide!

And to any human being who is sincerely in favor of freedom!

We are all Benkos Biohó!

Ashe!

As of this month, Biohó’s free town of Palenque has endured continuous struggle to exist for 422 consecutive years!

If necessary, so will the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center!

*Accounts very as to the exact day of his death, (anywhere from March 3rd through about March 16th, 1621) due to the inability of the Julian/Gregorian white power structure to keep a straight calendar for that length of time, and its propensity for burning the books of other cultures who might otherwise have successfully done so. However, it is a clear that Benkos Bioho was publicly dismembered for a European settler audience in March of 1621.

Categories
IN SOLEMN MOURNING

AAHM&CC STATEMENT ON THE DEATHS OF FEBRUARY 9, 2021

The AAHM&CC asks all readers to pause for a moment of silence here to uplift and acknowledge the two victims shot, one of them fatally, late on the night of Tuesday, February 9th, in the Urban League occupied/controlled parking lot of our Museum by the employee of “Coast Property Management” (hired by the Urban League and approved by the City of Seattle *), as well that employee himself–who was then shot and killed by the SPD later the same night. We send strength, power and love to the families and all affected by this tragedy.

In particular, we ask that readers send good thoughts and donations to the family of our late beloved sister Anais Nin Valencia, killed for no reason at the age of 23.

The murder of Anais Nin Valencia could have been prevented.

Her killer, the 45-year-old violently unstable Coast Property Management employee Greg Taylor, was clearly in desperate need of mental health treatment and counseling, which he should have received. His volatility, mental illness, and propensity to threaten others with a loaded gun were all a matter of public record, of which Coast Property Management, The Urban League and the City—via its police department—were all aware.

In the meantime, while he should have been receiving treatment, he should not have been placed in the de-facto position of wielding armed authority in the name of a property management scheme. Yet, the fact is that he was maintained in a unique and opaque position of employment by at least two successive management companies—both hired by the Urban League and approved by the City of Seattle.

The AAHM&CC continues to stand for the implementation of the publicly documented and officially designated use of the former Coleman School premises, firmly established by the City of Seattle itself since February of 1994, as is clearly demonstrated in the  45-page report of the MAYOR’S AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER COMMITTEE, which you can view here!

We also continue to stand on our mutually signed and sealed Purchase and Sale Agreement which has made our organization the rightful owner of the building since January of 1998, which you can view here. This agreement has never been terminated by any foreclosure process, and is still as valid as the day it was signed, despite the habitual tendency of white power structures to break their treaties.

Contrary to what is often said about us, we are not an encampment. We are present in furtherance of these official public documents.

In contrast to us, The Urban League, its subsidiary flag-independent ground-floor “tenant” organization, and its corrupt supporters within city and county government have been willfully and illegally obstructing this good public project with force and violence since June 4th, 1998, occupying the building for profiteering objectives contrary to its authentic designated use.

These obstructionists have set up a racketeering operation inside the building, whereby unauthorized entities are falsely representing themselves as the building’s owners to individuals in search of residential housing, and are illegally charging such individuals monetary “rent” to unsafely and uncomfortably inhabit a building that is neither intended for residential use nor owned by the organized criminals collecting this “rent”. These gangsters further enrich themselves by intercepting as much public taxpayer HUD money as they can in the name of the building, but spending as little of it as possible on either real functional housing or urban development.

Gregory Taylor was one of the individuals whom these racketeers were taking advantage of in this way—both as a “tenant” and an “employee”—which exacerbated his already unstable mental condition instead of treating it.

The AAHM&CC has been trying to work with the City to implement the plan identified by the Mayor’s African American Heritage Museum And Cultural Center Committee since 1994. Even without the City’s help, we would by now have long ago implemented this plan on our own had we not been interrupted by the City’s force and violence in 1998.

The plan we’re being prevented from implementing has abundant flexibility to host mental health treatment programs on the old Coleman School Property (the true name of which is, of course, that African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center). Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center and El Centro De La Raza have begun to explore such necessary programs at their facilities, while the Asian Counseling and Referral Service, for its part, has established and consolidated such services.

Had Gregory Taylor received proper mental health treatment in an uncorrupt setting, he most likely would not have committed this homicidal act, and therefore also would not have then fired a gun in the direction of the police, who (hopefully) would therefore also not have killed him. Anais Nin Valencia and Gregory Taylor would both still be alive.

For these reasons, as well as many others, the blood of both Anais Nin Valencia and Gregory Taylor is upon the hands of the City of Seattle, Coast Property Management and the Urban League.

It is time for those entities to step aside and finally allow the people of both the Central Area and Seattle/MLKing County’s greater Africatown metropolitan area to construct their African American Heritage Museum and Cultural Center with this critical piece of land and infrastructure.

      -AAHM&CC

*Citation: Part II, Section 15 of King County Records document number 20061211000013, an illegal covenant entered into between the Urban League and the City of Seattle on December 7th, 2006 to run the building as an apartment complex instead of a Museum, page 18 of which purports to give the City decision making authority over the operation while simultaneously denying that the City has any responsibility for the operation.

Categories
History Exhibition!

AAHM&CC CELEBRATES THE BIRTHDAYS OF MARTIN LUTHER KING, PAUL CUFFE & ISAAC MYERS!

January 17, 2021

PAUL CUFFE

ISAAC MYERS

Link to the full proceedings of the December 1869 Black labor convention chaired by Isaac Myers. (These proceedings were published by Frederick Douglas at the printing press of the New Era newspaper on April 4th, 1870.)

Categories
Community Celebration

AFRICAN AAMERICAN HERITAGE MUSEUM AND CULTURAL CENTER IS HOSTING THE ANNUAL TREES FOR PEACE FUNDRAISER! (OPEN AS OF THE 35TH FOUNDERS DAY! NOVEMBER 23D!

The Annual Holiday Trees For Peace Fundraiser is a community tradition that has been co-sponsored by the AAHM&CC and the Umojafest Peace Center for over a decade!

Started in 2008, this tree sale for the defense of Black lives has been organized each year ever since (with the one exception of 2019, when it was rudely and illegally interrupted by the gentrification firm known as “Lake Union Partners”, who chose to breach their contract with the African American community that year).

In 2020, starting on our 35th Annual Founders Day! (November 23rd), the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center is proudly hosting this community function at OUR OWN LAND AND BUILDING, rightfully purchased by us in 1998!

We are very thankful for all of the participants in this year’s George Floyd peoples democratic uprising against lynching and apartheid, who are enforcing Article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights so that we can finally use our own land!

Our affordably price trees are right to fit YOUR budget.

Tell all your family, friends, church and other groups about this opportunity to continue being part of the change.

Trees are available for pick up daily at 2300 S Massachusetts St, Seattle, WA 98144.

To place your order today, please call 206 717-1685  

If you do not want a tree but would like to support by making a contribution please do so at https://gf.me/u/ypksuc.

Thank you for your consideration and we hope that you can help us make the promise of change a reality.  

Thank you.

The African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center

Categories
Community Celebration

BLACK INSTITUTIONS MATTER!

AAHM&CC 35TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH A NARRATED PRESENTATION OF THE SLIDESHOW BELOW

On November 23rd, 2020, the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center literally celebrated 12,784 continuous days of protest against the overfunding of police and the underfunding of positive community institutions!

On that day, from 1-6pm, the people gathered for a safe socially distanced celebration of our Founder’s Day!

Watch our video of the event to learn about the true history of the occupation of the Colman School from the freedom fighters who began the struggle over three decades ago.

The people enjoyed free screen printing, live performances, light refreshments, and HOLIDAY TREES FOR PEACE!https://africanamericanheritagemuseumandculturalcenter.org/2020/11/23/african-aamerican-heritage-museum-and-cultural-center-to-host-the-annual-trees-for-peace-fundraiser-opening-on-the-35th-founders-day-november-23d/

We also revealed our NEW HISTORY EXHIBIT! and discussed how to support the ongoing struggle for a world-class Black institution that will fight against displacement and gentrification here in Seattle!

Alongside our HISTORY EXHIBIT!, we also proudly unveiled our latest traveling art exhibition: a photography display by renowned local artist Inye Wokoma!

We live streamed our event via our IG and FB! #FreeTheLand#PayTheFee#BlackInstituitionsMatter

Categories
We are under attack!

URBAN LEAGUE’S GOONS HURL PROJECTILES FROM ROOFTOP ONTO AAHM&CC

PLEASE DONATE HELMETS, HARDHATS, SHOULDER PADS

TO PROTECT OUR VULNERABLE VOLUNTEERS!

Yesterday (October 12th, 2020), at approximately 6 pm, without warning or provocation, two Caucasian goons began hurling projectiles down from the high rooftop of the NAAM/UL-occupied building, into the gravel courtyard where the authentic African American Heritage Museum is conducting our operations.

The first knowledge we had of this attack was the sound of the first projectile hitting the tarpaulin roof of the studio of our co-founding Artist In Residence, Earl Debman, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair. He was very shaken by the surprise attack, describing it as “like the sound of a bomb going off”.

Depiction Of The AttackArtist In Residence Earl Debnam

Initially thinking that the projectile had come out of a window, we were then ambushed again –several minutes later—by a second projectile hitting the roof of traveling exhibit tent on the opposite side of the courtyard, this time from an angle that clearly originated from the rooftop.

Turning our attention to the roof, we observed two partially masked but clearly Caucasian individuals crouching behind the roof’s parapet wall, briefly emerging every few minutes to lob another projectile down upon us and our outdoor ground level museum tents. The projectiles turned out to be clods of wet dirt of the sort that is often fills indoor flower pots. These clods were definitely heavy enough to injure a person when thrown from that height.

The attackers kept up their assault for about fifteen minutes, presumably until they ran out of dirt clods to throw. Then they exited the roof back into the building through a trapdoor, to which they obviously had access from the inside, access which they could only have obtained through the auspices of the Urban League.

This is exactly the kind of white supremacist vigilante violence that the Urban League promotes and encourages against Black people and authentically Black-led organizations. This time the projectiles were only heavy, but at least soft. Next time, who knows?

This attack also apparently constitutes the Urban League’s long awaited reply to our last letter to them, which we hand delivered to their spokespeople on August 28th. In this letter, we proposed that a meeting between our organizations take place exactly one month later, September 28th, in Jimi Hendrix Park. We were present in that park throughout the entire day of September 28th, setting up our David Walker Exhibit.

Due to the escalating risk of injury to our volunteers from the increasingly violent vigilantism of the Urban League’s agents, we are calling upon the community to donate helmets, hardhats and shoulder pads to our museum, to increase our volunteers’ chances of surviving future projectile attacks from above.

-The AAHM&CC

Categories
History Exhibition!

David Walker Autum Commemorative PUMPKINS!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH BRIEF VIDEO ABOUT DAVID WALKER’S APPEAL!

TAKE A PUMPKIN HOME!

(SLIDING SCALE DONATIONS ENCOURAGED!)

AND LEARN ABOUT DAVID WALKER’S APPEAL OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1829!

On September 28th, 2020, the 191st Anniversary of the completion of Black abolitionist David Walker’s heroic APPEAL of 1829, the AAHM&CC launched this Fall Pumpkin Fest!

CLICK HERE FOR FULL TEXT OF THE APPEAL! (Credit to the Journal of Pan African Studies).

David Walker (1797?-1830) was a courageous and visionary Black Abolitionist leader and activist. He put his life on the line by publicly demanding the immediate end of slavery in the early days of the US Empire, and by openly calling upon slaves to revolt against their masters.

David Walker ought to be a household name, as familiar as the other revered heroes of the Black freedom struggle.

This website: (www.davidwalkermemorial.org), published by folks in Walker’s home town of Boston, has detailed information about David Walker and his work. We encourage you to visit it.

-The AAHM&CC

Categories
Art Exhibition!

AAHM&CC Proud To Host Traveling Art Exhibition: CHILE WOKE’s Symbols of Solidarity!

On September 18, 2020, Duwamish Territory,

The Chilean arts collective Chile Woke issued this moving statement on the connections between the Jimi Hendrix 50th Anniversary celebration in Jimi Hendrix Park, the return of the African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center to it’s own rightful building adjacent to that Park, and the peoples’ democratic uprising that has been taking place in Chile since October 18, 2019.

The AAHM&CC is proud to be currently hosting the outdoor art exhibition by Chile Woke: Symbols of Solidarity!

Please come to the AAHM&CC during daytime hours to take in the magnificence of these images of, by and about the Chilean people!

Categories
News You Can Use!

AAHM&CC Launches Community Audit of NAAM Scam, Calls On Elected Officials to Investigate the Illegal Double-Sale of Coleman School!

September 10, 2020,

The African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center has addressed a letter to leaders of Seattle and King County, calling their attention to the facts we have so far uncovered through our independent community audit of the NAAM Scam racketeering and illegal double-sale of the Coleman School building.

We are calling upon these officials to defend the public trust by conducting their own investigations into this scandalous injustice.

Categories
We are under attack!

IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSAND ON WHOSE BEHALF THESE LIES BY THE “NAAM” ARE BEING TOLD

Historic flyer from April of 1998

NAAM ADMITS THAT THE AAHM&CC EXISTS!

(BUT CONTINUES TELLING LIES ABOUT US)

IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND

ON WHOSE BEHALF

THESE LIES ARE BEING TOLD.

Third week of August, 2020.

This week, the NAAM and Urban League websites launched a new and unprecedented shift in the line of their coordinated propaganda.

For the first time ever, NAAM has just publicly acknowledged the existence of the AAHM&CC! Their August 17 blog post which does so even contains links to our website! 

This in itself is an achievement of the peoples uprising against police terror, and would never have happened during the times of business as usual. Unfortunately, this belated acknowledgement of our existence comes at us in the form a hit piece riddled with inaccuracies, some of which are clearly outright intentional lies.

We will address here only the most glaring of these untruths.

First and foremost, although the NAAM now seems to acknowledge the fact that it was the AAHM&CC founders (not NAAM) who carried out the longest civil occupation on behalf of an oppressed people in US history, they are still inaccurately claiming that the duration of this action was merely “eight years of sacrifice”. It was thirteen years. Our most active founder, along with his family and community, held the fort continuously from 1985 through 1998! The reason the NAAM-scam is trying to erase five years of this history is to avoid dealing with how the occupation ended–a violent police raid against the museum–of which NAAM’s landlord and original fiscal sponsor the Urban League was the chief beneficiary. Also, there were six “original occupiers” who established the AAHM&CC in November 1985. (This belated acknowledgement by the NAAM names four, but leaves out two.)

Secondly, NAAM claims there was “a split between factions in the early stages of planning for a museum”. This is not true. There simply were those who were planning for a museum, and a group of people assigned by the white power structure to prevent the emergence of a museum and develop apartments instead. This is not a “split”. It is just a contradiction between those who want a museum and those who don’t. This is proven by the fact that the AAHM&CC had already established an operational museum at the Coleman School property by the mid 1990s, which was physically destroyed by a violent police SWAT Team raid conducted on behalf of the Urban League in June 1998. Neither the NAAM nor the Urban League are willing to acknowledge this act of physical violence against AAHM&CC in their pseudo historical “timeline” narratives, because they are its most direct beneficiaries.

Thirdly, NAAM claims to have included “an Africatown representative” in an online program on June 30th, “in hopes of collaboration”. NAAM then claims that “a leader from Africatown commandeered the discussion by inappropriate and disparaging comments out of turn”. We are fairly certain NAAM would never refer in print to any leader of any of the many organizations which constitute the Chinatown International District so obtusely as “a Chinatown representative” or “a leader from Chinatown”. Only Black people are expected to take such belittlement for attempting to assert geographic place-name sovereignty within Seattle in 2020. More importantly, however, NAAM links this claim to a 94 minute video in the apparent hope that their readers will not have time to view it and will simply take their word about what they allege it to show. The AAHM&CC strongly encourages all observers to watch that video in full, because it does not support the NAAM’s false allegations about what happened in that online forum. In fact, it disproves them.

Fourthly, NAAM claims that, on that same day, their executive director and board chair approached our most active founder and other assembled AAHM&CC personnel in an attempt to collaborate, and that “it was made clear that there was no interest” (on our founder’s part) “to collaborate”. This is not true. On the contrary, our founder and the other AAHM&CC personnel present made it very clear that we desire actual tangible discussions/negotiations with NAAM leaders who are actually empowered to make policy decisions. To that end, we specifically requested that they bring their extremely prominent and powerful board member Mimi Gardner Gates (stepmom of Bill Gates) to their next meeting with us. NAAM made no response to this request from us until AFTER publishing their August 17th blog post. Furthermore, the NAAM officer’s June 30th conversation with our founder was clearly disingenuous on their part. Their executive director and board chair were primarily present on June 30th to speak to Seattle Fire Department personnel and lobby them to declare Omari mentally unfit for freedom. The NAAM had called these Fire Department personnel to the premises that day, alleging to them that our founder was “mentally diseased” and needed to be “removed to a mental facility for his own good”—another false pretext to avoid dealing with the fact that the AAHM&CC is the true and rightful property owner. They only begrudgingly and briefly engaged our senior founder in conversation immediately after failing to convince the Seattle Fire Department’s “wellness check team” to institutionalize him against his will. (Summoning the cops thrice since Juneteenth had already failed to bring about Urban League/NAAM’s desired outcome of our 74-year-old founder’s arrest and a repeat of AHM&CC’s forced removal.)

Fifthly, NAAM falsely claims that, on that same occasion, their director was “threatened” by our founder (by being “told that she would ‘end up like Edwin Pratt’”). The falseness of this sensational accusation is revealed by their own admission that our founder said “I’m warning you.” The truth, of course, is that none of us wish any bodily harm on any leader of the NAAM, and that is exactly what our founder explicitly communicated upon that occasion. Our elder is acutely aware of the volatile position that NAAM and Urban League officers are placing themselves in by choosing to continue to call the police and fire department in their attempts to have the AAHM&CC once again illegally ejected from our own property under false pretenses. This behavior by the NAAM inflames the situation, and puts everyone in danger, including the NAAM/Urban League officers; and such inflammatory situations have historically led to tragedies in Seattle before, as our elder accurately and compassionately pointed out. Our elder was not a threatening predator in this situation; he was the bird on the Rhino’s back, alerting the near-sighted herbivore of the potential danger.

Sixthly, NAAM is intentionally disingenuous in claiming “We have not called the police on the occupiers”. Three times between June 19th and June 30th, the SPD showed up (in increasing numbers on each occasion), and told us they had been “called by the owners of the property” who had alleged to them that we were “trespassing” on it. On each occasion, one of our senior founders was obliged to show them the AAHM&CC’s signed and valid purchase and sale agreement proving that WE ARE the owners of the property, and to ask the police what documentation of alleged ownership they had received from the people who had accused us of trespassing on our own land. On each occasion, it was revealed that the cops had simply assumed the callers to be the owners based on their verbal claim, without asking them for any documentation whatsoever, and attempted to act upon that faulty assumption until confronted with the truth by the people.

Whether the callers were officers of NAAM or Urban League is an irrelevant hair-splitting distinction, given the closeness with which those two organizations coordinate and the undisputed fact that the UL was the central actor in the NAAM’s creation.

Seventhly, NAAM’s blog post implies that we have accused them of being “silent about the death of George Floyd”. As you know if you’ve been reading our AAHM&CC site, we never made such an accusation. To the contrary, we specifically acknowledged the inherent value of the personal testimony posted on the NAAM’s website by individual members of its staff (which obviously include its director) about how Floyd’s death made them feel. At the same time, it remains necessary for us to criticize the NAAM’s institutional policy response to George Floyd’s lynching and the peoples’ uprising that arose in response to it. We have accurately contrasted the policy responses of other POC museums and cultural centers—who have called for less police funding—to NAAM’s decision to support an arm of Seattle City Government in calling for more police.

Eighthly, NAAM is now so brazen as to actually claim they did NOT host the July 13th press conference that called for at least 2000 more SPD officers!  As anyone can clearly see here, that is a complete bald face lie!

The Urban League’s website, for its part, now spins a narrative with an even more vast and glaring gap in the timeline, jumping all the way from 1985 to 2002! 

The Urban League not only repeats the corporate media line reducing the thirteen year occupation to “eight year”, but also still fails to even acknowledge the existence of the AAHM&CC, preferring instead to refer to our founders as merely “a group of local protestors”. This is to deny their productive agency as the builders of the real museum. It then skips ahead 17 years to allege that “By 2002, the building remained unused and unoccupied”, in effect claiming that the property had somehow magically become a land without a people for a bourgeoisie who wanted more land! Now how did that happen exactly?

It is important to understand on whose behalf these lies are being told.

The National Urban League’s second largest reported source of income is government grants and contracts, and its largest income source is large private donations, making it one of the oldest global political examples of what’s now called an “NGO”.

Founded in 1910 by the wealth of Boston Railroad tycoon William Henry Baldwin Jr., it has always consisted of white capital hiring mostly Black staff to carry out the political will of the capital. When UNIA founder Marcus Garvey, in 1917, joined Hubert Harrison in opposing African American participation in the white man’s war in Europe (aka WW1), the Woodrow Wilson administration’s counter-move against Garvey was to promote the Urban League’s first Black staff-person, George Edmund Haynes, to head a new federal agency (the Division of Negro Economics) to pressure Black workers into the war effort.

Today the National Urban League boasts of being “partnered” (aka endowed) by AT&T, Bank Of America, British Petroleum, Centene Corporation, Comcast/NBC, Fannie Mae, GEICO Insurance, JP Morgan Chase, Mastercard, Nationwide Insurance, Shell, State Farm Insurance, Toyota, UPS, Verizon, Walmart, Wells Fargo and—most importantly in the context of the Coleman School Building in Seattle—the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

It has also received major recent donations from Kellog and Johnson&Johnson. A number of these companies are represented on its national board of directors by tokenized middle-managers of color, but all of these companies are owned and controlled by rich white people.

Locally, the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle similarly boasts that its two primary “Presenting Sponsors” are Microsoft and T Mobile. If further boasts of being “partnered” by Amazon, AT&T, Google, JP Morgan, Vulcan and a diamond dealing jewelry company named Ben Bridge. It further boasts that its “Supporting Sponsors” include US Bank, Coca Cola, Costco Wholesale, Eli Lilly & Company, Kaiser Permanente and Uber; and that its “Gold Sponsors” include Starbucks, G3 & Associates, Port of Seattle, New Seasons Market, Goodwill Industries, Pepsico, Alaska Airlines, Fred Hutch, Perkins Coie, The Byers Group LLC and Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Many of the above are similarly represented on its Board of Directors.

While the Urban League claims to be a Black organization, the middle managers who constitute its leadership are not—in any way, shape or form—a national bourgeoisie of any Black economy. Rather, they are a collection of comprador tokens who’ve been allowed into the lower ranks of the Amerikan bourgeoise (the one whose founding document divides Turtle Island’s population into “citizens”, “Indians” and “three fifths of all other persons”).  For this reason, while the Urban League can dole out some philanthropic crumbs to the poor, it is only capable of advancing the political interest of that Amerikan (aka “white”) ruling class. Were it to cease doing so, that class would immediately set up a different channel through which to disburse those philanthropic crumbs. The Urban League’s need to serve as a political transmitter of white capital’s agenda into the Black community is also the reason why it is frequently at the center of corruption scandals, such as the infamous Seattle Public Schools’ Regional Small Business Development Program fiasco of 2011.

Whenever a small group of rich folks negotiates with a large uprising of poor folks, several dynamics are always the case:

  1. The poor folks are negotiating because we want to, while the rich folks are negotiating because they have to, and only after they’ve exhausted every ploy to try to avoid having to negotiate.
  2. The rich folks don’t want to directly negotiate in person. They would rather send hired emissaries who are themselves poor instead of rich, who preferably look like the people they’re being sent to interface with and who—most importantly—are not actually empowered to make any negotiating decision but only to report back information to their employers. The poor people want and need to negotiate directly with an actual decision maker of the rich folk’s side. Otherwise, the “negotiations” are a mere charade while the rich folks buy time to crush the uprising and escape having to negotiate at all.
  3. If the rich folks are finally forced to truly negotiate, they want to do it with the smallest possible group of decision makers among the poor folks whom they can possibly corner, and, if possible, decide whom exactly that small group of poor folks will be. The rich will open side channels to poor folks they think can be compromised, and will try to elevate those folks into the position to close the negotiations with them. It is in the poor folks interest for the negotiation to be conducted as publicly as possible, in front of as many poor witnesses as possible, and by as large and unified a negotiating team as the poor folks can possibly organize.

Whenever the Urban League’s actual shot callers finally decide to recognize the existence of the AAHM&CC, we are more than willing to engage them in relevant conversation. For the above stated reasons, we will of course insist that this be done publicly in front of a mass assembly of the people. We think that Jimi Hendrix Park would be an excellent location for such a function, and that one potential appropriate date would be the 191st anniversary of the 1829 completion of David Walker’s Appeal (September 28th).

Free The Land!

-The African American Heritage Museum & Cultural Center

NOTE: At approximately the same time as the NAAM published its August 17th Post, the Urban League delivered a letter to our registered agent by private courier. The Urban League’s letter was addressed as if to one individual privately, but was written as if to be shown to a broader audience. It contained similar lies and misinformation to that being published by the NAAM. We delivered our formal response to that letter (to both UL and NAAM) on August 26th. Because this correspondence is about matters that impact everybody, we are publicly posting both sides of the letter exchange right here.