Garvey, Garbage United Negro Improvement Association, James Weldon Johnson discussed on The Zest

The Zest
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Mother were old time race. People and the context of that doesn't mean they were racist it. May you were an african american who knew your culture history and if you grew up in a house like that like i did you knew of the name and you knew the song and you're aware of who wrote the song so i think within african american communities if you grew up in a community in which your parents were were garvey. I'ts a members of marcus. Garbage united negro improvement association. Or like my. My mom was a recruiter membership. Recruited end up lacey pe- so she was an activist minded person. If you grow up in that in that environment. I would even say if you grow up in the church. You probably were aware of who he was. I think as time has gone on. Particularly the transition went from civil rights to the early to late nineteen sixties emerges of black power. It's best to say that he was more of a conservative he was he was not a radical like garvey. He was more of a conservative. There were other left of center radicals during the harlem renaissance period. I'd say in many ways of invisible man author. Ralph ellison left of center of of. So they're they're they're relatively the contemporaries but ellison is left of center birthdays. I even wkbd. Boys moves more to the left. Then johnson johnson is pushing for his people but he's not calling for a total destruction of american capitalism. He's calling marcus garvey. In many ways garvey him agreed in the sense. That garvey is a cultural nationalist. He's calling for for black folks directly see themselves differently culturally but when it came economically garvey's calling for capitalism black capitalism booker t. washington janesville. The johnson is calling for capitalism black capitalism. Burs you look at ralph l. saying look at wbz voice they move left of center and as we transition from the civil rights to black power. I mean i would even say toys. Into dr king's life one of the reasons why he's assassinated because he moves from just not only the beloved community but free feeding the poor and that seeing a capitalist system able to meet the needs of the poor unless something radically changed he didn't see that happening that position of moving left of center and challenging the validity and the capacity of capitalism never happened among james weldon johnson and i think that may be one of the reasons as black power activists like stokely carmichael h rap brown and other folks. They didn't look too. James weldon johnson as somebody that we should keep talking about. Because they didn't seem as radical off the panthers wouldn't have talked about him the ideal the negro national anthem. Remember our folks. We're not calling for the term negro to them to conservative calling for black african. That's not the kind of terminology. James bolton johnson proposed as yet of the of crisis nor new seat in his literature his speeches fighting against jim crow fighting against white supremacy. But you're doing away that later advocates black power would consider you conservative. Isn't it funny. How those like a sliding scale over time somebody who seemed radical becomes conservative or vice versa. As we wrap up here. You said that a lot of people didn't see him as someone we should still be talking about. But obviously you do. And i do. Which is why. I invited you to have this conversation. Why should we still be talking about him. What do you see as his legacy today. I think key documents appeared american history that we all have to know particularly when you think about some of the white supremacist activities. That go on now. I mean there's there's a scene in the or by the colored man in which the protagonist is in. I think it's right outside making georgia and he unawares walks into a town were a lynching is being organized and happens right in front of them like he's boarding and a house is a border at our house and all of a sudden he hears this commotion in town and he kind of pulls up his shade a little bit to see a lynching mob is mobilizing in a man is lynch and he watches all this. May we see similar. things happen. Actually where i live here in the state of massachusetts there is an investigation that protesters forced the local district attorney to take up on a young black girl. Six years old name michaela miller who was found in the woods in net for the same town where the boston marathon starts. She found in the woods after being jumped the night before reported this to the police and then the next morning they find her connected to a tree with a belt around her necker. Sounds like lynch to me. I mean so janesville. Johnson is documenting these kind of things. He's documenting the good bad and ugly of his time period. Turn of the century up until the nineteen fifties and the fact that you have a book that a college professor like me is using and express his all these things not only is he covering life for african americans. Georgia's lifetime but the autobiography next color. Man spins quite a bit of time over in europe where he gets to see the experience of black expats living in europe. It is a fascinating description of life and then add to that. If you're into food like man you are. There's all this documentation of what people doing including the scenes in new york in which he's eating at some of the first chinese restaurants that exist at the time. So it's just the stories of the speakeasy during that time. I guess you would almost call speakeasy that clubs. That are there. And he's documenting also the experience of your light enough in complexion or what. My students call today color. 'isms your light enough to assembly into white society and then you have to make the decision to do so. The protagonist is the offspring of a wealthy white southern family and relationship. That happens between one of the one of the older children. College age children are this wealthy family and the white domestic servant who was a teenager to this is this is the discussion and you know how do you how do you. How do you deal with it as a family when something happens away. Wealthy payment deal with it. And how do you deal with as a black woman. Who's in his love affair with this man who has power and money but refuses to accept who you are and the child that you sire. I mean it's just so much there that still goes on now as as my wife likes to say i she she coined this term. So i'm going give her credit for the protagonist is she calls it ambiguously black. You can't really tell who he is. And i challenged your your audience to look at the tv commercials. That are happening now for the first time. You're seeing these commercials. And which if it's a couple there. It's usually a black man with a white spouse or it may be ambiguous looking woman as my mother. A woman has got flying buttermilk for the white man and then have children. That looks like this sony. Things we're seeing happening in terms of marketing and on the tv. He's talking about at deterred of the century. How're those people treated what jobs they have. What kind of exceptions did they have by a white society. What kind of acceptance or rejection did they have my.

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