Black History Event at FCI Otisville (Submitted by PP Sundiata Acoli)
After having the approved date for the first Black History Event at FCI Otisville in 12 years moved from Feb. 10, 2011, to Feb. 17, to Feb. 21 and finally to Feb. 24th, the frustrated 5 potential outside guests regrettably but understandably ran into scheduling conflicts which forced them to cancel their appearances. As a result the Black History Event was done with prisoners only.
Akbar Pray opening remarks energized the audience. Raheem acted as moderator and introduced the following events: A skit by Boo, Al-Tariq, Shane, Jaws, T.I. and Tim in which the youngsters learned the importance of Black History from the O.T.’s (Old Timers,) T.I. then recited a inspiring poem:”God, Why Did You Make Me Black?,” Shane and Jaws Jason did a sizzling conscious rap song and would reappear several times during the later program to do other raps, Sebastian Abu Williams did a great Call and Response poem: “Because You Already Know,” Melvin did an impromptu introductory speech, Rauf did 3 of his classic poems, the main one being “Uncle Sam’s Dope Habit,” Joe Gerald held the audience spellbound with his story: “My Life: Why I Became Interested in History,” Supreme Magnetic enlightened all on the “History of Clarence 13X of the 5% Nation,” Sundiata spoke on “Why Black and Afrikan History “(printed below,) Black Warrior spoke on the “Life of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad” and Righteous Born Everton closed the program out with and very conscious and rousing oration on “The History of the Elders Passing Knowledge Down to the Youth!”
Why Black and Afrikan History?
by Sundiata Acoli
There’s an Old Proverb that asks: “What happened to the people of Sumer, for ancient records show that these people were Black.” And the answer was: ” They lost their history, so they died.”
Is that just talk or can a people really die from losing their history?- and how do they lose it? Well it usually happens when a people have been invaded, conquered and subjugated in war…and we all know that TRUTH is the first casualty in war …and that history is always written by the victors who usually portray themselves as noble, courageous and wise while slandering the defeated as cowardly and stupid savages — or they simply write them out of World History altogether. Those missing pages are a defeated peoples’ lost history until they regain knowledge of it. Marcus Garvey said: “A people without knowledge of their history, origin or culture is like a tree without roots.”…and a tree without roots dies!
So the question is: Have we, Blacks in the u.s., lost our history?…and could we die as a result? Afrika was invaded and overthrown 2500 years ago from which it/we have yet to recover. Our libraries at Alexandra, Egypt, in Afrika, were looted, books taken back to the western world and Library burned to the ground. Our history was rewritten to make our conquerors look noble and us look like ignorant savages – and our real history was left out of World History altogether. Thus we have lost our history ….so the other question is:” Can we die from it?”
We’re told we’re free and equal yet we continue to be discriminated against . Also we continue to be hit with every lethal affliction in the book: AIDS, crack, abortions (now the #1 killer of Blacks, i’m told,) gang warfare, police, prisons, death penalty, obesity-diseases, Katrina, you name it…. and both you and i know it’s only a matter of time before there is an outbreak of some new affliction more deadly than the ones before… and that it will “just happen to” kill more Blacks than anyone else. That’s just too many coincidences; they look more like “campaigns” to me than “coincidences”. And frankly there’s no guarantee that we can keep surviving these deadly attacks, the next affliction may wipe us out completely. So yes, it’s possible that Blacks in the u.s. could die just as the people of Sumer did…unless we do something.
SANKOFA, an Old Afrikan Proverb, says “Go forward by going back to fetch it.” Fetch what? Our lost Afrikan history!: our collective memory, our mind! We use Our History, and History period, as a starting point to go forward, to go where we still must go, to get free and be whatever we choose to be.
Malcolm X said: “Of all our studies, history is best qualified to reward our research.” It’s also best qualified to provide solutions to our problems. Again Malcolm: “And when you see you’ve got problems, all you have to do is examine the historic method used all over the world by others who have problems similar to yours. Once you see how they got theirs straight then you know how you can get yours straight.”
History is where a people go to learn, research or regain past knowledge about themselves and the world, to find solutions to problems in their lives, and go forward. That’s why we need History, why we study History and how we use History.
If you would like to write Sundiata please send your letters to:
Sundiata Acoli #39794-066 (Squire)
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. BOX 1000
Cumberland, MD 21501
Funds supporting his legal defense are always appreciated and can be sent to:
PO Box 766 Harlem Station
New York, New York 10027
Checks and money orders should be made out to The Sundiata Acoli Freedom Campaign