Highlights from AfroPunk 2013

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Thanks to everybody who made it out to the 9th Annual AfroPunk Festival! We’re already looking forward to next year’s festivities!

On August 24th and August 25th, an estimated 30,000 people from all walks of life united at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn to celebrate “the other black experience.”

Progressive Pupil tabled on Activism Row during both days. We made new friends while discussing Black studies with festival-goers, sold Progressive Pupil tees, tanks and totes and promoted our film Black and Cuba. Many people also took advantage of our invitation to ask Principal Organizer Dr. Robin Hayes any Black studies question!

According to Joselyn Cooper, festival organizer, “We describe AfroPunk as a free space for African Americans — and anyone else who wants to come onto that space — to just be who they are, and not being defined by monolithic definition of what, sort of, the outside culture puts on us as African American people.”

So, what does AfroPunk mean to you?

By Claudie Mabry

Photographs by Dr. Robin Hayes and Alexis Handcock

Call for Submissions: AfroLatin@ Heritage Month

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Image Courtesy of DemocratandChronicle
Image Courtesy of DemocratandChronicle


Progressive Pupil is looking forward to celebrating AfroLatin@ Heritage Month in September and we need your help! Artists, teachers, activists, local business leaders, we want to hear your stories about working for racial justice in your community and share your struggles and triumphs with our readership. Essays, photo journals, film reviews and creative fiction are all welcome. Please limit submissions to 750 words or less and include at least one photo or video. Send submissions to: community@progressivepupil.org

After the Verdict: “Where do we go From Here?” Black Studies For Everybody

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Activists, Allies, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers
Black Studies protest, May 1968 University of Washington.  Image by Steve Ludwig. Courtesy of Antiwar and Radical History Project.
Black Studies protest, May 1968 University of Washington. Image by Steve Ludwig. Courtesy of Antiwar and Radical History Project.

Some people can’t understand why people concerned about racism—especially African Americans–are so upset about the George Zimmerman verdict.  Some folks think that there is no evidence to suggest that Zimmerman’s even a racist since he is Latino.  These misunderstandings reveal there remains an empathy gap when it comes to White understanding of Black experiences.

George Zimmerman is a White, second-generation Hispanic who felt empowered to racially profile Trayvon Martin.  His light skin, accent-free English and fear of Black men inspired something in the millions of white Americans who reached out to support him during the trial. His acquittal stunned us because it highlights how some people of color embrace anti-black racism.  Zimmerman’s privilege allowed him to disavow the idea that race was involved in the shooting at all.

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See Yourself Clearly

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Faces and Phases Exhibition.  South African lesbian artist Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of artnews.org
Faces and Phases Exhibition. South African lesbian artist Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of artnews.org

Is your nonprofit organizing an empowering local event? Is a neighborhood gallery or community-based museum exhibiting your art? Are you an independent filmmaker, writer or musician creating work that inspires and excites? Share your creativity and political action with us so we can share it with the world. Email community@progressivepupil.org a photo or video clip with a few words about your event, art exhibition or current project so that you and other progressive pupils can see your work clearly on our blog, Facebook and Twitter.

20 Influential Black Protest Songs

Posted 4 CommentsPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers

Black Fist

The history of Black struggle is intricately tied to the history of Black music. From slave songs to Civil Rights hymns, hip-hop to jazz, blues to punk, Black musical expression is an arena of political engagement. This is Progressive Pupil’s list of 20 influential Black protest songs. Be sure to let us know what your favorites are in the comments!

1. Get Up Stand Up by Bob Marley

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7iXcKKpdx0]

Get up, stand up: stand up for your rights!
Get up, stand up: don’t give up the fight!

The simplicity of the hook embodies the entire revolutionary spirit of Bob Marley. This live performance in Germany of his iconic call to arms also highlights Marley’s master showmanship.

2. We Shall Overcome by Mahalia Jackson

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TmR1YvfIGng]

Simultaneously heart-wrenching and inspiring, the incomparable Mahalia Jackson sings this Civil Rights Era standard.

3. Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud by James Brown

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Knw_rUP64wM]

Lest we forget, Brown reminds us to be proud of our heritage.

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Commencements

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Congratulations to our interns Rebecca Alvy and Alexis Hancock for earning their Master’s in Management from The New School.
Congratulations to our former interns Rebecca Alvy and Alexis Hancock for earning their Master’s in Management from The New School.

¡Viva Class of 2013! Progressive Pupil celebrates the achievements of graduates who are fighting for racial equality and human rights. Their diplomas and tassels symbolize the aspirations of many young people to learn and improve — aspirations that too few are able to fulfill. After the understandable euphoria of commencement settles into the reality of work life (or the reality of searching for work), I hope this cohort continues their commitment to making this dream possible for others.

At my own school’s commencement ceremony this year, I was reminded of the true value of an education. I watched with my fellow professors as each student grinned with anticipation of hearing their name, proudly shook the Dean’s hand and triumphantly posed with their degrees for a personal crowd of supporters who cheered and demanded poses for a camera. Afterward, my colleagues and I met our students’ parents, partners, aunts and cousins and for the first time connected faces to the life experiences students brought to our classrooms.

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Love Black Studies? Then “Like,” “Follow” and “Click”

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Ida B. Wells, journalist, editor, Civil Rights activist and suffragist. Photograph by Oscar B. Willis, courtesy of the New York Public Library's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.
Ida B. Wells, journalist, editor, Civil Rights activist and suffragist. Photograph by Oscar B. Willis, courtesy of the New York Public Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Our Social Media Education and Outreach program is a big part of how we make Black studies for everybody. Rarely seen pieces by beloved artists, thrilling performances and fascinating facts about Black history are consistently featured on our Facebook page andTwitter feed.  There is also inspiring information about the work of grassroots organizations that are currently solving problems such as violence, lack of educational access and police misconduct in Black communities around the world.  “Like,” “Follow” and Click to make Black studies and progressive change a part of your everyday life.  It’s an easy way to be part of the solution.

The Chinese-African Connection

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Funded by the China National Mechanical and Equipment Corporation, the Imboulou Dam in the Republic of Congo is a 120-megawatt power plant that will double the DRC's national production of electricity and bring light to a large part of the country. Photo courtesy of Time Magazine/Paolo Woods.
Funded by the China National Mechanical and Equipment Corporation, the Imboulou Dam in the Republic of Congo is a 120-megawatt power plant that will double the DRC’s national production of electricity and bring light to a large part of the country. Photo courtesy of Time Magazine/Paolo Woods.

On the anniversary of Ghana’s independence, we wrote a blog piece about Former Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah‘s Pan-African ideology and how important it is to be aware of neocolonialism — the use of economic, political, and cultural pressures to influence other countries. While the definition of neocolonialism generally refers to the exploitation of former colonies, China’s recent economic boom has led to an increased investment in the many resources that makes Africa a literal and figurative goldmine.

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