I know I said I would change to a different subject each week but I feel that African American (Black) History Month deserves at least two weeks of discussion. So today I am going to write about the top 10 lesser known African American activists of the Civil Rights Movement. The areas which they are known for within the Civil Rights Movement spreads all over the spectrum.
first one is Bayard Rustin. He was an organizer and architect of the american Civil Rights Movement. He was on of the many men who stood by Martin Luther King Jr. and helped him make decisions. The main reason why he is not talked about often is because he was openly gay and dealt with both the black community and the LGBT community.
The second person I am going to shed some light on is . She was one of the first black feminist writers, who was born a slave but escaped and became an abolitionist writer and speaker.She blazed the way with her motherhood, femininity, sexism and sexuality for many women to follow after her.
The third person I am going to discuss is James Baldwin who was another black LGBT supporter. He is a little more well-known then some of these other activists but is still not talked about as much. He strongly believed that all people should stand and fight for equality of all. He believed that we need to fight for all of us or we fight for none of us.
For the fourth person I am actually going to talk about a group of people, the Soledad Brothers more specifically. They were the founders of the Black Guerrilla Family (George Jackson-main founder, Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette). They were Marxists, revolutionaries and led a hunger strike and uprising in the San Quentin prison. Even though they were a prison gang they fought for the end of abusive, inhuman practices that were done on black inmates and ultimately lost their lives doing so.
The fifth person I am going to discuss is Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti who was a Nigerian feminist activist and mother of Fela Anikulapo Kuti. She was known as an educator and human and civil rights activist. She and another female activist helped fight for women’s rights in the 50s and she founded an organization for women in Abeokuta. She was killed by state troopers during a raid but her legacy lives on in many black feminists.
The sixth person is Ella Baker. She believed in helping everyone to work together and be able to lead themselves. She also liked to stay away from centralized authority, she believed that “strong people don’t need strong leaders.” She dedicated her time to empowering people to make good choices with their lives, while also fighting many battles including sexism within the movement.
For the seventh person I am going to discuss two people. John Huggins and Bunchy Carter were very powerful, creative and dynamic brothers who were Black Panthers. Bunchy led the fight to keep LA neighborhoods safe from white supremacist LAPD with the black community organization called the Slausons street gang. Huggins worked with the panthers and fought with Bunchy (and many others) to try to make a better world for everyone. They were assassinated by the FBI while organizing as students in UCLA’s High Potential Program in 1969. Their memorial is held annually on January 17th by African Student Union at UCLA.
The eighth person I am going to spread some light on is Assata Shakur. She was a Freedom fighter with the Black Liberation Army and the Black Panther Party. She provided guidance and leadership by organizing, writing that mentoring many within the movement. She now lives in Cuba where she has political asylum. She is technically labeled as a domestic terrorist by the FBI, however she continues to spread knowledge, truth and love to all. Side-note: she is also the god mother to Tupac Shakur.
The ninth person is David Walker. An abolitionist writer who is known for his writings, speeches and organization skill during slavery. Even though he was born a free man he made it his duty to try to abolish slavery for everyone. He helped people understand the political, social, economical and moral aspects of slavery in America.
The tenth and final person I am going to discuss is Steve Biko. He was a student leader who founded the Black Consciousness Movement, which empowered and mobilized most of the urban black population around the world. He became a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement and his writing an activism empowered many people of the black community. He is also famous for his slogan “Black is Beautiful” which he described as black people beings okay as they are as long as they saw themselves as human beings.
These are just a few of the unsung heroes of the Civil Rights Movement. Even though I personally think that African American History should not be shoved all into one month I do like to use the time during February to research more on African American History that is not taught in class or seen on TV. I hope that I helped spread some more light on the people who go unnoticed or unrecognized during this month or any other time African American History is taught.
Here is the link that helped me find most of this information: http://www.blackyouthproject.com/2012/02/my-top-10-lesser-known-black-heroes-get-to-know/