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By H. Khalif Khalifah

JULY 27, 2010

SOUTHAMPTON COUNTY, VA – Three well known Black Community Organizers in the Northeast are dialoguing to find consensus to recharge the dormant Reparations Movement. It began as a simple conversation on a open internet forum, but may evolved into an important, serious discussion to find consensus to upgrade our Demand for Reparations from the United States of America.

The dialogue comes in the light of recognizing the opportunity to acquire power in the presently catastrophically, issues prone Criminal nation. But the devastation that was visited on the Captive African population has been so severe, survival requirement hamper the effort to “seize” the time; and properly use the acquired power.


The USA is documented to have participated in what is generally thought to be the greatest “Crime Against Humanity” in the annuals of History: The continuing Chattel Enslavement, Second-Class Citizenship and other forms of oppression over four centuries, in the “Trans Atlantic Slave Trade.” Yet, the verve of the Black Race is such that even in the face of an open enemy, with a document record of unreserved brutality, the Community Organizers still “dare to struggle and dare” to demand Reparations.”

Led by a Sam Anderson, who was one of the young student organizers in the 1970’s that made a mighty contribution to the fall of the South African apartheid regime, presently with the Reparations Mobilization Coalition. Ari Merretazon is Northeast Regional Chairman of N’COBRA. and the erstwhile Attorney, Ajamu, a former BOD member of N’COBRA and Leader of N’COBRA’s legal Strategies Commission.


Brother Ari, You and I are old enough to have been part of the Civil Rights movement. In retrospect, many folks will tend to selectively emphasize what they are most comfortable with emphasizing. We must be rigorously honest when we look at that whole period, especially if we want to extract valuable lessons.” Replied Ajamu.

Ajamu was responding to a loose characterization of the body politic of Leaders of the Black Golden Generation, of the 1960’s. Brother Ari summed up the entire decade as having used Race identity for self empowerment. This is not correct: Black people, whose work shook the foundations of America, were men and women who “seized the opportunity’ to acquire power in a multitude of ways; they did have One Common Objective. That is to Free Black people from all vestiges of the aftermath of the various forms of oppression we have survived for 400 years. Our Proper use of power in the 1960’s is essentially what created the opportune period in this day and time.

The opportunity to “seize power” is available to all with a certain UNDERSTANDING of the KNOWLEDGE: The WISDOM derived from the understanding is being used effectively to achieve specified goals. How this is forged into a vanguard movement to match the dictates of the time is the challenge to the Leadership today. There are any number of examples of Black men and women who are tapping into the power made possible by the Golden Generation. All are using it for individual enhancement, or to advance within “the system.” While this is effectively using power it is not the Best Use of Power.


So while it is correct to call Dr. King the leader of the Civil Rights Revolution, it is incorrect to say that we were all struggling to support his main thrust; that was to integrate with white people as the way to achieve freedom, justice and equality. While Dr. King did not practice Race Identity politics, many of us certainly did. The best known of these were Minister Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton, Carlos Cooks, Kwame Ture, H. Rap Brown, Imari A. Obadele, Robert Williams & etc.

All the above named, regardless to their methodology, shared the common goal of desiring Liberation for Black people. They also shared one other major reason they were successful in moving the mass of our people to support their programs.

They understood the time was ripe to reap some real power. It is too complex to detail any of the reasons why the opportunity was prevalent to build real power during the 1960’s. Nor will I use this space to detail any of the reasons and ways they Properly used the power they acquired. What we do want to say in no uncertain way is that we are presently living in a similarly opportune time to amass and utilize power to serve the liberation necessities of Black people. We also assert that, contrary to much prevailing thought, it is not necessary to forsake time honored, staunch position, in Race Identity to properly use the power (as many appear to insinuate)

As near as I can tell, Ajamu, Ari and Sam Anderston are embarking on, at the least, ONE OF THE MEANS that the Leaders of the 1960’s employed: Whatever was their chosen method to serve the overall objective, enough of the leadership wisely found ways for a strategic working together (on some projects). They knew that United Power is the strongest power.

H. Khalif Khalifah is the author of “A Brief History of N’COBRA and the Reparations Movement.”

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