From Havana to Baltimore

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Film, Storytelling


The Black and Cuba roadshow continues Sunday June 4, 2017 in Baltimore at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum 2pm 803 Pratt Street. Join this caring and vibrant community for what’s sure to be a lively dialogue after the film. If you can’t make it Sunday, Black and Cuba is also available on DVD and on demand at iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.

"Black and Cuba" Now Streaming on Vimeo on Demand

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Activists, Artists, Black Resistance Screening List, Field Notes, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers
The Harlem Chorus, narrators of Black and Cuba, following the Black studies tradition
                            The Harlem Chorus, narrators of Black and Cuba

The award-winning documentary Black and Cuba is now available for streaming.  The film follows street smart students who are outcast at their elite university, band together and adventure to Cuba, whose population is 60% Black.  Black and Cuba’s release comes on the heels of President Obama’s announcement that the US will thaw relations with Cuba and ease travel restrictions to the island.  See the film and see Cuba for yourself.  This weekend only, the filmmakers are offering a limited number of 10% discounts to subscribers in order to express their gratitude for your support.  Go to Vimeo on Demand and use the promo code SHAKUR15. 

Film Review: The Spook Who Sat by the Door

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in Activists, Artists, Black Resistance Screening List, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized
Image courtesy of :
Image courtesy of :

40 years ago, Sam Greenlee’s novel and 1973 film adaptation, The Spook Who Sat by the Door, examined racial issues in the United States; many of its key points remain relevant today. At the time, very small gestures were being made in an attempt to appease the Black community. Token representatives were granted access to high level positions in the U.S. government as “proof” that the country was equal for all. In the film, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is forced by an image-conscious senator to accept a group of Black recruits. The protagonist, Dan Freeman, is the only member of the group to pass all of the tests, despite White agents’ numerous attempts to sabotage him.


One Vote

Posted 6 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers
Civil rights activist Gracie Hawthorne played an important role in voter registration canvassing during the Freedom Summer of 1964.

Voter apathy and disillusionment may be on the rise among low-income communities and communities of color. The economic recovery has been particularly harsh on communities of color and the 14.1% unemployment rate for Black Americans is nearly double that of white Americans. Some voters don’t have a strong opinion about Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, arguing that neither candidate is pursuing issues that matter most to their community. Furthermore, political impasse and infighting, coupled with an influx of negative political ads, leave these voters with an impression that there is little hope for progress in the future.



Posted 5 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers
Police arrest three young women for suspected drug dealing in the San Francisco area. 1995, San Francisco, CA.

It’s that time again! It’s the time when hollow buzz words such as “prosperity” and “freedom” dominate the airwaves, bombarding the senses yet falling short of truly addressing the issues. Yes, folks, its election time in the United States! With less than a week left before the election, partisan bickering is nearing its highest levels and the pressure to “choose sides” is increasing with each day. Two of the largest voting groups that are being targeted in these final weeks are students and black voters. Large supporters of Barack Obama in 2008, these constituencies could be the deciding factor in ever-important swing states such as North Carolina and Ohio. However, there is a disturbing lack of discussion regarding the topic of mass incarceration in the United States, a systemic epidemic that disproportionately affects Black and Latino youth.


War on Drugs or War on Democracy?

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers


In one week, most of us will head to the polls to cast our vote. This year’s decisive election will mean that every vote will count, especially in swing states where there is a tight race between the candidates. Unfortunately, 5.85 million Americans will not be able to voice their political views this November due to voting regulation laws which deny convicted felons the right to vote in most states. Since the 1970s, there has been a 500% increase in felon disenfranchisement due to the War on Drugs, which disproportionately affects poor, African American and Latino communities. This means that 7.66% – 1 out of every 13 African Americans – will be barred from the vote, an estimate that is four times greater than the rate for people who are not of African American descent. Out of the 10 states with the highest disenfranchisement rates, 7 are in the South. Florida, a state that is almost always critical to an election victory, has the highest disenfranchisement rate in the country with 23.32% of its African American population unable to vote. Disenfranchisement laws have swung Presidential elections (more…)

Dismantling Democracy One Voter at a Time

Posted 8 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies
African Americans demonstrate in favor of a strong civil rights plank outside GOP convention hall, Chicago, Illinois, July 1960. Photo: Francis Miller/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

This past August at the Republican National Convention, Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan stated, “The right that makes all the difference now is the right to choose our own leaders.” Despite the recent victory in Pennsylvania, voter ID laws continue to threaten to disenfranchise an alarming 21 million eligible voters, something that does not echo Ryan’s patriotic affirmation. These laws require specific forms of picture identification – which are not widely used nor easily obtained. Opponents of the new legislation claim that the laws will disproportionately restrict the voting rights of African Americans, Latinos, elderly, poor, and college students.

Advocates of the strict laws claim they’re designed to prevent in-person voter fraud. But fraud prevention is a fallacy. An independent study from News21 negates the existence of in-person voter fraud.  And State Rep. Mike Turzai’s assertion that “[The] voter ID [law]… is going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania,” only affirms that the laws are motivated by partisan politics rather than justice. These laws are dangerous because they do not protect the democratic process – they dismantle it. Voter suppression plants seeds of discouragement, instilling a sense helplessness to those most affected and lessening the civic participation that democracy should be dependent on.