Crusader: Martin Luther King Jr. – Exhibition Opening Reception

January 15, 2019 5:00pm – 7:00pm

Join us for the official opening of Crusader: Martin Luther King Jr. in the Latimer/Edison Gallery.

Crusader: Martin Luther King Jr. is a Schomburg Center Capsule Exhibition of archival photography from the Photographs & Prints Division. The exhibition presents an intimate photo travelogue of King’s pilgrimage to India, Nobel Peace Prize acceptance in Oslo, Norway, and his work as a non-violent crusader for civil rights captured by select photographers of the day. Crusader Without Violence by Dr. L. D. Reddick is the first biography about Martin Luther King, Jr. published in 1959. This exhibition coincides 60th anniversary of its publication.

Photo: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife Coretta being greeted by Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. (left) and labor leader A. Philip Randolph (right) at the Pan American World Airways terminal, in New York City” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1950 – 1959.

Events are free and open to all, but due to space constraints registration is requested. We generally overbook to ensure a full house. Registered guests are given priority check-in 15 to 30 minutes before start time. After the event starts all registered seats are released regardless of registration, so we recommend that you arrive early.

More Info: 

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard at 135th Street
New York NY 10037 US

On the 132nd Anniversary of Pioneering Black Radical Hubert Henry Harrison’s Birth…

hubert-henry-harrison01The same folks who’d have us believe politics is just Republicans and Democrats, and that the current black political class is the culmination of black history have tried to erase the history of black giants like socialist Hubert Henry Harrison, whom historian Joel A. Rogers called “the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time.” and who was a mentor to Marcus Garvey.

Hubert H. Harrison (1883-1927) is a true giant of Black, Caribbean, Diasporic African, and U.S. radical history. He was a brilliant writer, orator, educator, critic, and political activist who was described by the historian Joel A. Rogers, in World’s Great Men of Color, as “the foremost Afro-American intellect of his time” and by A. Philip Randolph as “the father of Harlem Radicalism.”

Harrison was born to an immigrant mother from Barbados and a formerly enslaved Crucian father on Estate Concordia in St. Croix, Danish West Indies (now U.S. Virgin Islands), on April 27, 1883. On St. Croix he lived amongst immigrant and native-born working people, learned customs rooted in African communal systems, and grew with an affinity for the poor and with the belief that he was equal to any other. He also learned of the Crucian people’s rich history of direct-action mass struggle including the 1848 enslaved-led emancipation victory; the 1878 island-wide “Great Fireburn” rebellion in which women played prominent roles; and the October 1879 general strike.

After arriving in New York as a seventeen-year-old orphan in 1900 Harrison made his mark over the next twenty-seven years by struggling against class and racial oppression and by helping to create a remarkably rich and vibrant intellectual life among those he affectionately referred to as “the common people.” He played unique, signal roles in the development of what were, up to that time, the largest class radical movement (socialism) and the largest race radical movement (the “New Negro Movement”/Garvey movement) in U.S. history. His ideas on the centrality of the struggle against white supremacy anticipated the profound transformative power of the Civil Rights/Black Liberation struggles of the 1960s. His talks before large crowds at Wall and Broad Streets (on Socialism) and in Harlem after the 1917 pogrom against the East St. Louis African-American community (East St. Louis is less than 12 miles from Ferguson) were precursors to recent “Occupy” and “Black Lives Matter” movements.

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  1. Blogs Jeffrey B. Perry’s blog

This Day in Black History: April 15, 1889

Civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph was born.

072611-National-Black-Herritage-Stamps-A-Phillip-RandolfA. Philip Randolph, a major force leading the 1963 March on Washington, was born on April 15, 1889, in Crescent City, Florida.

Randolph moved to Harlem to become an actor after graduating from Cookman Institute. He held several jobs and later co-founded the Brotherhood of Labor to organize against impoverished conditions for waiters on a steamship where he worked.

In 1925, Randolph founded the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and served as its president. He also pushed the federal government to address racial discrimination in the war industry workforce and the U.S. Armed Forces.

Perhaps his most noted accomplishment was speaking at the March on Washington alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Randolph would later receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon B. Johnson for his dedication to labor and civil rights.

Randolph died on May 16, 1979, at age 90 in New York City.

By Natelege Whaley
Posted: 04/15/2013 08:00 AM EDT
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Book doesn’t detract from Malcolm X’s legacy

I recently read about historian and scholar Manning Marable passing away, just days before the publication of his controversial book, “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention.” The book has ignited a firestorm of commentary, which is not surprising.

The coverage took me back to when I was a teenager in New York in the 1960s when Malcolm was holding Harlem rallies in front of Micheaux’s National Memorial African Bookstore. Saturdays, when I worked in my father’s grocery store in New Rochelle, the radio would be tuned to Malcolm’s rally. I vividly recall a broadcast in which Malcolm described Black separatism and how the Black man was like strong black coffee; and when you add milk to coffee, it weakens it.

Respected his call

My father would buy a Muhammad Speaks newspaper every Saturday and give the Muslim brothers a space in his store to sell their bean pies. My dad understood the importance of not relying on anyone –– except perhaps his family – to achieve his goals.

Malcolm’s Black Nationalist rhetoric did not strike a chord with my teenaged self.  It made me uncomfortable – maybe because what he was saying was too close to some truths I was just beginning to take in. I had dismissed him as a hotheaded radical who chided the leaders of the civil rights movement as being Uncle Toms because of their more measured approach to breaking down barriers.

As I matured and learned more, I began to appreciate the Malcolms and the Martins.  I also discovered that sometimes what you read is not necessarily how it really is.  The media had set Malcolm and Martin against each other – the raving radical and the peaceful preacher.  It sold newspapers and increased Nielsen ratings.

Opened up

Malcolm X voiced his disapproval of the integrationist philosophy of the civil rights movement, but he did become more open in later years, especially after his break from the Nation of Islam and his journey to Mecca in April 1964.

Prior to that, there was evidence of Malcolm’s expanding perspective when he reached out in a letter to Whitney Young of the Urban League.  Dated July 31, 1963, Malcolm invited Young and Black leaders including Dr. King, U.S. Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., James Farmer, A. Philip Randolph, Ralph Bunche, James Forman and others to speak at a Harlem rally in August.  The purpose was to form a “United Front.” Malcolm urged the leaders to “submerge our ‘minor differences’ in order to seek a common solution to a common problem posed by a common enemy.”

Almost a year later, he sent Dr. King a telegram while MLK was jailed in St. Augustine, Fla. for attempting to integrate a Whites-only motel and restaurant.  Malcolm wrote, “We have been witnessing with great concern the vicious attack of the white races against our poor defenseless people there in St. Augustine.  If the Federal Government will not send troops for your aid, just say the word and we will immediately dispatch some [of] our brothers there to organize self-defense units…”.

More to come

Writers and historians will be revisiting and revising the narrative of Malcolm X’s life as more research is made available through his personal papers, undiscovered archival material, and accounts from new sources.  It is up to each of us to read carefully these accounts and take from them what we can.

Malcolm X’s contribution to the history of Black America is immeasurable.  Revisions to Malcolm’s personal history may be interesting, but it should not detract from his legacy.  What matters is Malcolm’s tremendous personal sacrifice, his advocacy of self-determination for African-Americans, and his fight for global human rights.

Linda Tarrant-Reid is an author, historian and photographer. This commentary was originally published in The Westchester County Press.