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In Comparison, Bundy Ranch Supporters 2016 & MOVE Bombing 1985

NB Commentary: Let’s Talk About the Difference Between Who is Considered a Patriot and Who is Considered a Terrorist.
While the MOVE Organization was not officially declared a Terrorist Organization they were indeed treated like they were Enemies of the State. I am from the area and was there when it happened.
The group was/is called MOVE. they were/are a back to nature group of Africans who leader’s name was John Africa. They felt that the government was vile and used vile language to express their contempt for it.
On the other hand, they were mostly self sufficient, planted their own food and were vegetarians and wore dread locks.
A group of them moved onto Osage Ave., in West Philadelphia and built a fortress within the house because they had been threatened jailed and tortured by the police for their way of life. They claimed freedom of speech and continued to express their discontent with the government, local, national and global.
In 1978 they previously lived in an area of West Philly called Powelton Village

where a blockade was place upon them, no food or water was allowed to get to them and no one could interact with them or be arrested. This stand off ended with them firehousing the house till its collapse and the members were forced to leave. Delbert Africa was brutally beaten.

In 1985, the Philadelphia Police Department dropped a bomb on the house located on a city block of Osage Ave. There was a bunker on top of the house and the fortress was so well constructed that the police after firing multiple rounds could not penetrate the walls of their home. The next option was to drop a bomb, this bomb ignited a fire that cause the MOVE members to escape while others, women and children, died in the blaze. Because it was allowed to burn, the entire block succumbed to the fire and was destroyed, and the mostly homeowners, displaced and/or homeless.

 The city did a make-shift job rebuilding their homes but never could they return to those people the valuables and memories and momentums. Some of these people had lived on this block their whole lives and had grand children who visited them there. It was devastating to the neighborhood, who simply believed that by asking the city government to intervene that they would simply remove the occupants of the MOVE home and all would go back to normal. This blazing inferno could be seen for at least a mile radius. It turn a beautifully sculptured community neighborhood into a war zone.

Jason Osder spent ten years making Let the Fire Burn, a harrowing documentary account of the confrontation – and ensuing conflagration – between members of MOVE and the Philadelphia Police Department, resulting in the death of six adult members of the Afrocentric back-to-nature organization, and five children. Read more at  http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/entertainment/movies/MOVE-doc-gets-theatrical-distribution-Will-open-in-fall.html

The war against civilians is not a recent occurrence. However, it is demonstrated in a certain and accurate strategy of terror, control and manipulation and in many cases is racist at best and xenophobic at worse.
One thing that is certain, if they can drop a bomb on a residential area in the middle of a large city, no place is safe from the aggression of the militarized police. 

“I took a cab to the 6200 block of Osage Avenue this week, to the block where

the City of Philadelphia dropped a bomb on a rowhouse in 1985.  I had been at work that day, in my office which is also in West Philadelphia and I wanted to see for myself what the location looks like now.  While the driver waited, I walked up and down the sidewalks with my cellphone camera and my small Cannon PowerShoot A2500.  The street was narrower than I had imagined.   I was shocked by the townhouses that had been built to replace the homes destroyed in the bombing and fire.  At most they were a step off the ground.  No stairs to sit on, no porches.  Small areas for a chair or two are enclosed with black wrought iron fencing.  Many houses are boarded up.  Others appear occupied but look unfinished.   There are flowers and other signs of life where people are living.  I tried to be discrete as I took snapshots.  I failed.  A man came up from the western end of the block … grumbling.  He pointed out 6221, the location of the MOVE house; maybe he assumed that was what I was looking for.  I introduced myself to a woman sitting in front of her property.   She expressed mild dissatisfaction with visitors/voyeurs like me. She said that all she wants is for the city to fix up the vacant properties and allow the neighbors to live in peace.  Thirty years and the MOVE fiasco is not over yet for either of us.” Source: https://www.law.upenn.edu/live/news/5657-collective-trauma-transitional-justice-and-two


Check out this information: 25 Years Ago: Philadelphia Police Bombs MOVE Headquarters Killing 11, Destroying 65 Homes
Remembering Philly’s infamous bomb-dropping, guns-blazing, child-murdering day.
BY MICHAEL COARD  |  MAY 12, 2015 AT 12:05 PM
In this May 1985 photo, scores of row houses burn in a fire in the west Philadelphia neighborhood. Police dropped a bomb on the militant group MOVE’s home on May 13, 1985 in an attempt to arrest members, leading to the burning of scores of homes in the neighborhood.
A version of this article was originally published in 2012.
On May 13, 1985 at 5:20 p.m., a blue and white Pennsylvania State Police helicopter took off from the command post’s flight pad at 63rd and Walnut, flew a few times over 6221 Osage Avenue, and then hovered 60 feet above the two-story house in the black, middle-class West Philadelphia neighborhood. Lt. Frank Powell, chief of Philadelphia’s bomb disposal unit, was holding a canvas bag containing a bomb consisting of two sticks of Tovex TR2 with C-4. After radioing firefighters on the ground and lighting the bomb’s 45-second fuse — and with the official approval of Mayor W. Wilson Goode and at the insistence of Police Commissioner Gregore Sambor — Powell tossed the bomb, at precisely 5:28 p.m., onto a bunker on the roof.
This was followed shortly thereafter by a loud explosion and then a large, bright orange ball of fire that reached 7,200 degrees Fahrenheit. That day, Powell, the mayor, the police commissioner, Fire Commissioner William Richmond, city Managing Director Leo Brooks, and numerous police officers committed, in the words of Philadelphia Special Investigation Commission (better known as the MOVE Commission) member Charles Bowser, a “criminally evil” act that led to the death of 11 human beings, including five completely innocent and defenseless children, the destruction of 61 homes, and the incineration of thousands of family photos, high school and college sweetheart love letters, heirloom jewelry, inscribed Bibles and Korans, and many other totally irreplaceable mementos.
Mr. Bowser, my mentor and the author of the powerful tell-all expose entitled Let the Bunker Burn, told me that five of the city’s most influential black political leaders met at the mayor’s home before dawn on May 13, 1985, in response to the mayor’s invitation and warning that “I’m going to make a move on the MOVE house … (this) morning.” This was in connection to what Goode described as complaints by Osage Avenue neighbors and outstanding arrest warrants. By the way, it should be noted that those same neighbors attempted to stop the police department’s siege of their community as soon as they realized what was developing. In fact, as the five influential black leaders watched the television broadcast of the military-like assault unfolding with shots and tear gas, two of them repeatedly urged the Mayor to call it off. In particular, City Council President Joseph Coleman, sitting at the Mayor’s kitchen table, told him the 500-strong police action was “excessive” and State Senator Hardy Williams, standing near the kitchen entrance, said “Why don’t they just back up and relax? Nobody’s going anywhere.”
MOVE: An Assault That Never Would Have Happened in the Northeast
More than 500 cops fired more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition in less than 90 minutes — in a middle-class, black neighborhood. WTF? No, let me say it: What the Fuck?! This was blatantly outrageous brutal racism. It never would have happened in the Northeast or in South Philly, even if the Hell’s Angels had kidnapped then-President Ronald Reagan. And everybody knows it.
The cops would have simply sent in a hostage negotiator. And if that didn’t work, they would have cut off access to electricity, water and food, and then waited the criminals out. And if that didn’t work, they would have sent in a professionally trained SWAT unit to storm that specific house with surgical precision. Goddamnit, even Osama’s house and neighborhood in Abbottabad weren’t firebombed. The mayor, police commissioner, fire commissioner, managing Director, and the cops — and especially the public — would not have approved, allowed or tolerated the burning down of a white neighborhood and the destruction of 61 white homes.
And don’t tell me some shit about the incineration of Osage not being racist simply because the mayor and the managing director were black. It’s the victims that make it racist! They were black. And they lived in a black neighborhood. Furthermore, Powell, the bomb-dropping cop, was white. Moreover, William Klein, the cop who made the bomb, was also white. As eloquently stated by Bowser, “Goode and Brooks did not shoot 10,000 bullets into that house. They did not put military explosives into the bomb. They did not decide to let the bunker burn. And they did not shoot at children trying to escape the fire. I know none of that would have happened in a white neighborhood and so do you.” That’s exactly why the MOVE Commission pointed out, in one of its final official comments, that none of this would have ever happened “had the MOVE house and its occupants been situated in a comparable white neighborhood.”
MOVE: The Making of the Bomb
Tovex TR2 was a commercial explosive invented in the 1960s as an option to dynamite, and its purpose was to dig trenches through rock in order to lay pipes. The “TR” is the abbreviation for trench, and the “2” refers to the second DuPont Company item in its trenching products. The company’s explosive products division was located a little more than a half hour from Philadelphia in Delaware. But not one fire or police department official ever cared enough to contact DuPont and ask what could happen if TR2 were used in a residential neighborhood. And that’s because they didn’t give a shit about black people. If they had asked, DuPont would have told them that it had been designed exclusively for, and had been used exclusively for, underground purposes. And the last time I checked, every black man, woman and child in the Osage community lived above-ground.
It gets worse. As horrifically explosive as TR2 was, Klein fired things up even more. Exercising his independent judgment, he decided that TR2 wouldn’t be strong enough to breach the bunker. So what did he do? He unilaterally placed a one-and-one-quarter-pound block of C-4 on top of the two sticks of Tovex — despite the fact that the U.S. Army in 1979 had ended distribution of C-4 to all local police departments throughout the country. But, as documented in an October 22, 1985, letter from a special agent who headed the FBI’s Philadelphia office, approximately 30 blocks of C-4 had been delivered to the city by an FBI agent without the city requesting it and as a proposed solution during discussions regarding an anticipated confrontation with MOVE. Wow! And the rest, as they say, is history — or better said, it’s Philly’s 9/11, but as our own city, state and federal governments’ inside job.
MOVE: The Scene of the Crime
If that’s worse, and it certainly is, here’s worst: The children, and some of the adults, were shot at or shot and killed by police as they were fleeing the flames and surrendering. Wow, again! The police covering the alley leading from the rear of the MOVE house had automatic weapons and shotguns. No one ever claimed that MOVE had automatic weapons or shotguns at the scene, and no automatic weapons or shotguns were found among the ashes. Police officer William Stewart, a 28-year veteran of the department and a firearms instructor at the academy, was asked by investigators, “Did you hear gunfire at this time,” meaning when people were fleeing the MOVE house from the alley in the rear. With his lawyer present, he responded “Oh yes, automatic fire.” And when asked about who was firing the weapons, he replied, “Police officers. All the stakeout officers were running into the alley. They all had Uzi machine guns.” Strangely, though, 16 days later, he told the MOVE Commission that he never heard any police gunfire in the alley.
Fire Department Lt. John Vaccarelli and fireman Joseph Murray, who were veterans of the Vietnam War and who were in the vicinity of that very same alley, said they did, in fact, hear automatic fire when the MOVE members were running away from the flames. In fact, Vaccarelli pointed out that he saw at least three MOVE members in the yard next to the alley. This was corroborated by police officer James D’Ulisse. So since these people were outside the property lines of the interior of the house itself, how is it that their bodies were later found inside those property lines among the charred rubble? Only the police (and no reporters or other civilians) had access to the sealed-off crime scene during and after the inferno. Hmmm …
And why does the official report of the city’s own medical examiner provide proof from the autopsies of six of the 11 dead — namely, 7-year-old Tomasa, 9-year-old Delicia, 10-year-old Phil, 11-year-old Netta, 13-year-old Tree, and 25-year-old Rhonda — that they did not die inside from flame-fire but died outside from gun-fire? If, as the police later testified under oath, these victims died from the flames that exceeded 2,000 hellish degrees inside the house, why were Tomasa’s long locks still long? Why was Phil’s body not burned? Why was Netta still wearing her white blouse with red trim? Why were Tree’s pubic hair and blue jeans still intact? And why did Delicia’s body and Rhonda’s body have in them metal fragments consistent with shotgun pellets as noted by an FBI ballistician? You think maybe they were fatally hit when they all were being shot at while trying to run from the flames and surrender?
Even MOVE Commission Chairman William Brownstated, “I firmly believe that more people got out than Birdie and Ramona and that’s something that still nags at me. I believe that someone, someday will deliver a deathbed confession …” And the Commission itself noted in Finding Number 28 of its official report that “police gunfire in the rear alley prevented the escape from the fire of some occupants of the MOVE house.”
Also, consider this: Detective William Stevenson, who was assigned to take contemporaneous notes during the entire confrontation, wrote that Sgt. Donald Griffiths, a commander on the scene, “from stake-out is in the rear of Osage Avenue, 6221, and is pointing to an area that he states, ‘I dropped an adult male from the MOVE property who fired at me when the female and child escaped.’” And Battalion Chief John Skarbeck said he had overheard a police sergeant say, “something to the effect that ‘I got one back there’ or ‘I shot one back there.’” But Sgt. Griffiths testified that he had been misquoted, that what he really had said was people had “dropped out of sight” at that particular time and place. Yeah. He actually said that. With a straight face, too.
The overkill police presence, the military-style assault, the malicious bombing, the callous burning, and the evil shooting at fleeing victims were not just “grossly negligent” and “unconscionable” as the MOVE Commission properly and officially noted in Findings Number 15 and 18. They were also murderous. And justice demands the prosecution of each perpetrator because there’s no statute of limitations for murder. If it were your family, your neighborhood, your home, your property, and your memories — even if it weren’t — wouldn’t you agree?
If you do agree, join Dr. Cornel WestAngela DavisChuck D of Public Enemy, Fred Hampton Jr., me, and hundreds of others by attending the daylong “Memorial and Empowerment” event beginning at 11 a.m. on May 13th at 62d and Osage — 30 years to the day after the bombing. For more info, call 215-307-3960.
Michael Coard’s radio show, “The Radio Courtroom,” airs at noon on Sundays and Wednesdays. It can be heard locally on WURD 900 AM and on the Internet at 900amwurd.com. Follow @MichaelCoard on Twitter.
“It’s the week of the 29th anniversary of the MOVE bombings, and for those who were in the middle of it and are still with us, the memories of those tragic events still linger all these years later. As the haunting story unfolds in Jason Osder‘s Let the Fire Burn, which premieres tonight on Independent Lens on PBS (check local listings), you may be curious as to what became of some of the people involved.”

Black-ish Trailer, Would You Watch This Series? Yes/No Why?

Black-ish Trailer, Would You Watch this? Yes/No Why?

Watch First Full Trailer For ‘Black-ish’ Starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laurence Fishburne

http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/watch-teaser-for-black-ish-starring-anthony-anderson-tracee-ellis-ross-laurence-fishburne

I laughed at the trailer. I can also relate. I can relate to the father. I went to catholic school grade school and high school, and off to an all girls’ college who was seeking to reach a quota for federal funding and PR. My mother was strong about being black in America, but  she did not do it to the point of identifying with her culture from Africa, or not even identifying with African American culture. She did it because it had become a popular thing to do. We are talking about the 60’s.

Angela Davis

My mom was one of the first people I knew to have an Afro hairstyle. But again, not for the cultural aspect of it, but because it was popular. She had fried our hair up until that point. In fact, she fried the hair of other friends in the community we lived in. I can still remember that smell of frying hair.

She didn’t talk about black power, or to be young gifted and black, nor did she wear a dashiki, or any other African garb. She wasn’t a nationalist, socialist, communist or a fan of Angela Davis. She was always changing her hairstyle so I guess, it was just a change of hairstyle that she was after. And let me not forget, my mother was a rebel, in her own right, and since wearing an Afro meant you were rebelling against the system, well she did it, just to be rebellious.

Left, me with my Afro @graduation, 1969

At the time, I did not see it as rebellion. I thought she was expressing her strong sentiment about her African heritage. Quite frankly, I took that literally and want one myself, just like mom so I could identify with her and possibly make her happy one day????? Like I said, I can relate to this story line.

We grew up in North Philadelphia, a part of Philadelphia, where we were constantly being reminded of how it used to be all white years ago and how after the “blacks” moved in the property value and neighborhood went down, down, down. There was an elder gentleman who had a shoe shine stand on the corner of 29th & Dauphin Streets… He would hire young boys in the area to help him shine shoes. That would be his story, whenever you walked by you would hear him talk about all the white folks that use to live in the area, and now look at it. Well, the area had become all black. Black business, black stores, black churches, black dentist, black doctor, black shoe repair man, black milk man, black post man. In fact, the entire area was “black” except for the insurance man who visited homes on Saturday morning, the landlords, and the man who owned the fish store. Well, I must admit that the school, though full of black people, only had white priests, and nuns… In fact, though I wanted to grow up and be the only black nun I knew, I doubted that I would NOT be the only Black nun in the entire world!! Ha, I found another in college years later.

Somehow, I managed to truly identify with my African culture. I was inclined towards African dance, and

Me @ African Dance Performance, 1968

African fabrics, and while I didn’t have access to African fabrics during those days, I managed to create something from some fabrics that looked African, at least to me. I doubt that my emphasis on African culture would have happened had it not been for my perception that my mother was into it.

When I went to college, there were 7 African Americans on campus of 1500 students. My mother told me to go to that college. She knew about racism. I knew she knew, though it was not spoken aloud, except the little innuendos that were said when we shopped in a store that was not black owned. I would watch my mother transform and speak “proper” English so that she could impress the cashier. She would do that on the phone too, when she was making important business calls. It was funny to watch her transformation, but we knew deep inside, she wanted to appear educated and talking like we did in the house among ourselves, friends and family, did not make us appear educated. So again, I can relate.

My mother’s agenda for encouraging me to go to an all white, catholic girls college was simple. “You are a fly in a bowl of milk. They will not, not teach their own, simply because you are there.” We knew what that meant on so many levels. I would definitely get a good education because they give their own a good education. I may miss my “black” friends, but that’s no problem, I can always come home on school breaks to be with them, and… after college, I will still be “black in America”. Yeah, I can relate. Plus, I really wouldhn’t have too much trouble getting along there, my high school was 75% white. It wasn’t too popular for African Americans to be Catholic during those days. Those of us who went to Catholic School were often teased and called “stuck-up” mainly because Catholic school was not free, like public school, and if your family could afford Catholic school, you must have had some money. At least enough to put you in a class slightly upper than the rest of the neighborhood folks. This perception was hard to comprehend, since we lived in the same neighborhood as everyone else, but Catholic education was considered elite during those days. It was brutal, but that’s a topic for another blog.

In 1969, I went to Marywood College, in Scranton, PA. I have to admit it was a culture shock. Grass, trees,

Marywood University

mountains and open spaces????? Full meals cooked 3X’s a day??? Food I had never seen eaten before. White people doing the laundry, cutting the grass, picking up the trash and serving us meals in the Dining Hall?? Yeah that was a culture shock for certain. I had to get used to that. In fact, when they hired ONE African american Service Staff person, they called me in to ask, “How should we treat her?” I was baffled by the question. We never wondered how we should treat white people, what was the problem? My response may have been a bit abrupt but I said, “Treat her like a human being, like you treat everyone else around here.” Not quite the answer she expected, but I was not going to give her a crash course on race relations because they decided to hire ONE Black person as personnel. I wondered who she asked when she got the 7 black students to come to her college.

I am not sure if it was the times, the protests or my desire to affirm my identity, but after a while I had to do
something. I started to lose myself, the way I spoke changed. I began to speak “proper, just like my mom. I did not like that one bit, and I made a concerted effort to reclaim my identity by speaking Ebonics (Black English). Of course I did not use it in my research, term papers and tests, but out of the class, I had to, it was all I had to hold on to. My roommate made innocent fun of me, she would mimic my saying “Maf” and Baf” “You’re going to Maf class and you gonna take a baf.” She was wonderful and very very cool, we would laugh together, and her mother made excellent brownies, but I digress. After a while I found myself speaking Ebonics on purpose, I was getting lost in the sauce.

One day, Arthur Hall Afro-American Dance Ensemble came to Scranton! What a shot in the arm that was for me. I seemed to remember that I was African, Black and that I could hold on to my identity and still attend an all white college. I totally embraced this concept and started a black power movement on campus. I started a Black Student Union. BOSS, Black Organization of Students in the Struggle, by now there were 9 of us. We represented the Macrocosm, as every single type of “us” was there.

Arthur Hall Afro-American Dance Ensemble

I read “Black Muslims in America”, “The Souls of Black Folks”, “Black Cargoes” “The Outsider”, “Black Rage”  Nikki Giovanni and several other books about Black Americans that I found, interestingly in the College Library. Imagine that!

I started wearing the “Black Power” pins and pendants, red, black and green hat and belts, a khaki jacket and walked around campus like I was a genuine black panther. My English Professor, called me a Pink Panther…. I didn’t take it to mean she was racist or demeaning. Besides, when I found out what the Black Panthers were really about I knew what she meant.

Nevertheless, I became a spokesperson for everything black. Being the most outspoken and outgoing of all the other Black Students on campus, it fell upon me to explain it all to them. There I was in the middle of conversations about being black in America. I would discuss what growing up was like for me in my neighborhood, where we never used the term impoverished, deprived or ghetto. We were resourceful and creative, making a way of no way, making a dollar out of 15cents.

I was in the middle of discussion attempting to explain to folks that Flip Wilson, WAS NOT YOUR AVERAGE BLACK MAN IN AMERICA, when that is all they knew. I was in the middle of discussion with folks who had never seen an Black person up close and were extremely curious as to why my hair grew up and out instead of down. I became the First African American Freshman Class President! Why?? Because I stood out, imagine that, and they didn’t know each other or who to vote for, so why not our token black girl.

I was in the middle of my own desperation along with a Black Classmate, who could tolerate being in that all white environment anymore!!! So one night, we made flyers and put them under the doors of the Nuns who lived in the dorms with us, along with other adult staff who lived in the dorms with us. What did our signs say?

BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL     POWER TO THE PEOPLE      BLACK POWER   

We did that, it was a desperate attempt to retain, reclaim, reaffirm and identify with our heritage, a heritage we knew so little about, but one we felt the need to hold onto at all costs. So yes, I can relate.

Baba Tunde Olatunji-Drums of Passion

We knew we were black in a bowl of milk, and that racism was alive and well, no matter how much those around us pretended it wasn’t. We were in the middle of the Civil Rights movement, they had just raided the Black Panthers in Philadelphia, strip them naked, and posted that on the front of Newsweek. They were fire bombing, lynching and terrorizing black folks in the south. They had just opened the restaurants for black folks to come to along with white patrons. They had just killed Dr. Martin Luther King! Yeah, we were certainly aware of the racism but we knew little about our African Culture. And for certain, the administration of the school knew little as well, so when they asked me to do an African Dance for their World Cultures Course, they never knew I was making those steps up and dancing to Baba Tunde Olatunji Drums of Passion. I may have been a fly in a bowl of milk, but I never lost my wings, or my desire to fly.

I remember my trips home, and how different I felt being among African Americans in my familiar environment than I did on campus. Every trip home required a major adjustment.

Me. 1969 Freshman in College

I mentioned the Microcosm of the Macrocosm… truly we were. Each one of us represent a different experience being in the African Diaspora. During my stay there I manage to find out where each of these young ladies’ head were. Again, the Microcosm of the Macrocosm. We are as varient in our expression in the African diaspora as we are in our skin color. Our identities span the gamut of Black Nationalism to Integration.
How did we each experience our own bowl of milk??
1.  Me (Freshman) – I have already explained my role.
2.  KG (Freshman) – from South Philadelphia and sincerely not interested in being in this bowl of milk. She looked forward to leaving next semester and made no bones about wanting to get out!! She didn’t hate white people she just did not want to live anywhere near them.
3.  BJ (Freshman) – she came from Northfolk, VA… there was no question in her mind about her identity or racism, she had experienced it first hand, and did not trust a single white person. She was a deep thinker, so deep she spent much of her time being depressed. She also wanted to leave.
4.  CF (Sophomore) – who had completely assimilated into her environment, she came there with several white friends and had no problem continuing to talk their talk and relate with them as her best of friends. She did have an Afro though which showed on some levels that she hadn’t completely assimilated, but was basically taking the path of least resistance. If you can’t beat em, you might as well join em.
5.  DS (Sophomore) – in a dark room, it would be hard to tell where she came from, or whether she was white or black. There was no indication in her voice that she was anything but a white girl who happened to have black (darkest out of all of us) skin. She was not interested in joining anything that was about Black, for Black, by Black or with Black. She was a person, a human being and she did not relate to the skin she was in at all.
6.  VS (Sophomore) She was from the Virgin Islands and due to the color of her skin, she was considered white. Her family was elite and well off. That she would come to the US for an education had her as upper class. She was completely intolerant and disdainful of all that Black stuff, and told me clearly, she considered herself white, as she was considered white where she lived.
7.  Novice (Senior) She was so intriguing to me, a black nun. What made her pursue it and stick to it to the point that after Senior year she would complete her training and be a real Nun. I later learned that the IHM order of nuns, had more African Americans in it than any other. And since I was taught by the Sisters of St. Joseph, I had no idea. She was sweet and cordial and very much into being a nun. Her main focus was on continuing her training and completing her journey. She was definitely not going to join BOSS!
Next Semester, lost two students and gained 4 black students, one female and one male in the School of Social Work and one Freshman and one Sophomore.
8.  DC (Freshman) came from Philadelphia, and she also attended Catholic High School, which at that time were majority White students there. She did not seem to have any trouble getting along with the other students but she was extremely homesick. She cried every night for the first semester it seemed, I could hear her in the hallway as I passed her room. She identified with me to the point of at least being able to have someone familiar to cling to. Her position was not political or religious, she just wanted to get through it all.
9.  BS (Sophomore) came from a family that had already assimilated. Nice car, nice, house, 2.5 children, two car garage, father a professional and recognized by the White Professional World, mother an educator who had taken time from her career to raise her children. They were very color struck in my estimation as I remember it being said that she was not allowed to bring anyone home darker than her. In fact, I could hardly tell if she was black or white due to the paleness of her skin and the way she blended. And of course she would not join BOSS. She did wear a curly Afro which she flattened on the weekends when she returned home. No way on God’s green earth would her parents allow her to wear an Afro!!! And since at that time, the Afro was our clarion call to arms, anyone without one was certainly not part of the struggle.
10.  JR (School of Social Work).. was from Philadelphia as well. She was older and more refined. She was more accepting of each of us being so different from one another and would often function as a mediator when we couldn’t come to terms with our differences. Primarily, I had become emboldened as I had never really learned about the Transatlantic Slave trade, or much else about African history predating Slavery. . It seemed there was none, well especially not in an inner city Catholic School. And here I am on an all white college campus, learning about these things and so much more.
My mom used to remark how they learned about what Black people did in her school. She lived in Virginia and the educational system was actually better than in the Northern City. She was quite surprised that we were not taught Black history as she was.
11.  RH (School of Social Work) was a male student from Harrisburg. It quickly became clear that he was going to be the most sought after Black “man” on campus. The numbers themselves showed the imbalance. He was the only male student on campus as the School of Social Work had opened to male students while the undergraduate school was not. Coming from Harrisburg he had some experience interacting with White folks, being the only black man on campus, he also became the star of every show, that is, those white women who were not adverse to interracial relationships sought him out and so did I.
When I think about it, I really didn’t have any competition with the Black women on campus, because none of them were really interested in him. It was more of “he is the only one and that’s all you got”??? But for some reason, I was interested in him and attempted to get him to join our organization to no avail, he was content, just being the only male student on campus. I think he shared mutual interest but I got the impression that he preferred white girls. Thus coming up from the rear is another aspect of the African diaspora, a black man who prefers dating white women.

By my junior year, two other black female students had come to Marywood. I won’t describe how they presented except to say that one was totally blind, and the other was also from Philadelphia, and the same high school I attended.

My identity crisis came to a head during my junior year. I became a Black Muslim. It was a radical change that made me feel completely uncomfortable on campus. I made the decision to quit college and return to Philadelphia and get married. Another long story.

I would like to note that today, Marywood College is now Marywood University and is coed and has Black folks in numbers. Something that I would have never imagined. I returned there a few years ago with my group, the “Voices Of Africa” Choral & Percussion Ensemble, and to my surprise there were Africans there from the continent!!! Along with the Nun who asked me to do an African dance for her World Cultures Course! Now I don’t know if I opened the door for that or if it is just a sign of the times or maybe a bit of both, but I was floored to find them there, along with African Americans functioning as administrative staff. The black population during my time there was a little over 300 and now they have staff members of color.

From Negro, to Black, to Afro-American, to African-American to African descendant… we have continuously been trying to identify ourselves in a world that is foreign to us, and no matter how much we assimilate, in a world (not just a nation) that has taken up the discourse about the superiority of a race based on skin color… it is quite evident that there will be several attributions made by each of us. These attributes will be affected by the way we are raised, along with how we process our reality.

So yes, I may watch this show from time to time, I don’t have a TV so I will see if it comes on the internet. But again, my own experience, helps me to relate and gives me some insight to the various challenges we face, trying to find our identity in a society that has stripped us of it, and caused us to look upon our heritage with disdain.

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