Spring 22 Wrap-up

 

Course wrap-up

Please complete your final reflection essay and cc the instructor on it via email by (or before) Friday May 20th. Details on the Assignments Page

Malcolm X birthday events

May 19 is Malcolm X’s birthday and celebrated by two important community-wide events.

First, there’s an annual pilgrimage to his gravesite at Ferncliff Cemetery that’s organized by the Sons and Daughters of Afrika and the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee. There’s a powerful ceremony at the grave. Cars will leave from the State Office Building in Harlem. The past few years the ceremony’s been streamed–stay tuned for details on that option if it will be done again. Details for the livestream from 11 AM -2:30 EST at the Facebook event page.

Later in the day, the December 12th Movement holds a rally at the Harlem State Office Building on 125th St. at 12 noon and then a march across 125th St to close local businesses in observance of Malcolm’s birthday from 1-4 PM. Check their website for details.

Looking further ahead…

The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s annual DanceAfrica street fair is held on Memorial Day weekend. Vendors with African clothing, crafts, and (hopefully) books and DVDs usually line the streets around their location close the the Atlantic Ave subway complex. It’s a good opportunity to get some things you need, buy some gifts and practice Ujamaa (cooperative economics).

The annual International African Arts Festival returns to Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park (near downtown Brooklyn) over July 4 weekend with dozens of vendors selling clothing, books, art, furniture, and accessories from across the African world and daily/nightly performances, including some children’s-specific programming. Thanks to some of you, whose work with them this semester helped the event move forward! Check their website for announcements of virtual programs on Zoom and updates on the outdoor festival pending developments with the pandemic.

The National Black Political Convention will be held in Downtown Newark NJ from August 4-7

 

Spring 22 Final Presentation and Papers

First some logistical points:

  • Our Zoom meet for final presentations is next Wednesday May 11 at 6 PM. Same Zoom info as previous meets.
  • See the Assignments Page for instructions for the final presentation. There are alternative options for both for those who couldn’t successfully do work with an organization.
  • Look for an email with the presentation order for Wednesday or more details for those of you doing alternate projects

Malcolm X birthday events

May 19 is Malcolm X’s birthday and celebrated by two important community-wide events.

First, there’s an annual pilgrimage to his gravesite at Ferncliff Cemetery that’s organized by the Sons and Daughters of Afrika and the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee. There’s a powerful ceremony at the grave. Cars will leave from the State Office Building in Harlem. The past few years the ceremony’s been streamed–stay tuned for details on that option if it will be done again. Details for the livestream from 11 AM -2:30 EST at the Facebook event page.

Later in the day, the December 12th Movement holds a rally at the Harlem State Office Building on 125th St. at 12 noon and then a march across 125th St to close local businesses in observance of Malcolm’s birthday from 1-4 PM. Check their website for an update with details.

Looking further ahead…

The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s annual DanceAfrica street fair is usually held on Memorial Day weekend. Vendors with African clothing, crafts, and (hopefully) books and DVDs usually line the streets around their location close the the Atlantic Ave subway complex. It’s a good opportunity to get some things you need, buy some gifts and practice Ujamaa (cooperative economics).

The annual International African Arts Festival returns to Brooklyn’s Commodore Barry Park (near downtown Brooklyn) over July 4 weekend with dozens of vendors selling clothing, books, art, furniture, and accessories from across the African world and daily/nightly performances, including some children’s-specific programming. Thanks to some of you, whose work with them this semester helped the event move forward! Check their website for announcements of virtual programs on Zoom and updates on the outdoor festival pending developments with the pandemic.

May 4: The Candidate Selection Process

Amiri Baraka at the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary IN

Important announcements

  • See the assignments page for posted instructions for the the final individual presentation on class on May 11
  • We returned to weekly meetings starting April 27. See schedule on the syllabus with any changes announced in class and posted in the weekly updates (like this one)
  • Prof. Williams Zoom live chat hours: Tuesdays from 6-8 PM! on Zoom here. Or call: +1 929 205 6099 then add meeting ID: 528 450 5381

Highlights from 4/27 class: 

What to do for Wed. May 4: 

Chapter 10 deals with the candidate selection process for elected officials. Think about this in relation to the last two chapters focused on the process of influencing legislation and public policy.

Read the subsection “The Need for a Black Political Party” (pp 216-219) slowly and carefully. Do you agree with his arguments here? How might you argue this in light of the current political situation and the upcoming fall elections?

Chapter presentation by Atyana and Mia

Watch to the following 8-minute interview with Charles Barron (Go to the direct link on Youtube if you don’t see the video embedded below.) Think about how Barron approaches the electoral process and how it relates to Wilson’s vision in the chapter.

 

What’s next:

  • Wednesday May 4: Chapter 10–The Candidate Selection Process, presentation by Mia and Atyana
  • Wednesday May 11: Final class meeting. Student final presentations, reflection

April 27: The Policy Formation Process

How often think tanks are cited in news reports

Important announcements

  • See the assignments page for posted instructions for the interview assignment due Monday April 25 and the final individual presentation on class on May 11
  • Important note on the interview assignment: multiple students working with the same organization can conduct a single interview but must write them up separately!
  • Keep working on your presentation of a chapter of Wilson with your partner (see updated sheet on the assignments page for the date/chapter/partner) and meet with your org if it’s already approved or finalize details if we’re still finding you a spot
  • We return to weekly meetings starting April 27. See schedule on the syllabus with any changes announced in class and posted in the weekly updates (like this one)
  • Prof. Williams Zoom live chat hours: Tuesdays from 6-8 PM! on Zoom here. Or call: +1 929 205 6099 then add meeting ID: 528 450 5381 [NO LIVE CHAT ON APRIL 19: ENJOY SPRING BREAK!]
  • The 2022 Association for the Study of Classical African Civilizations (ASCAC) Conference runs through this weekend via Zoom. Registration details and schedule here

Highlights from 4/13 class: 

  • Student intro presentations on organizations

April 20: Spring break: we don’t meet.

What to do for Wed. April 27: 

We’ll start the class with a guest lecture by Michael Partis, Executive Director of the Bronx Community Development Initiative. See his bio here.

After the break, we return to Amos Wilson:

Read Chapter 9 (“The Policy Formation Process”) in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power slowly and carefully. Only one chapter this week, as it is longer than most. This chapter lays out the process by which public policies are formed and the views of people in influential positions are shaped by various forces.

Chapter presentation by Ann-Marie and Shanika

Pay special attention to the following chapter sections:

  • Think Tanks
  • The Need for Afrikan centered Information and Strategy Centers
  • On the Black Hand Side: Black Power Networks and Institutions of Higher Learning
  • Look carefully at the connections on Wilson’s diagram on page 170

Questions to think about as you read:

  • How do foundations and think tanks influence public policy?
  • How does this process aid those already in power?
  • How has corporate and private funding shaped the role of Black higher education?
  • How might Afrikan centered think tanks/policy centers intervene?
  • How does your organization engage in the policy formation process?

What’s next:

  • Wednesday April 20 is CUNY spring break: we do not meet
  • Monday April 25: interview assignment due
  • Wednesday April 27 we return to weekly meetings for the last 3 weeks of the semester
  • Wednesday May 4: Chapter 10–The Candidate Selection Process, presentation by Mia and Atyana
  • Wednesday May 11: Final class meeting. Student final presentations, reflection

April 13: Intro Organization Presentations

Important announcements

  • See the assignments page for posted instructions for individual presentations in April 13‘s class and the interview assignment due Monday April 25
  • Keep working on your presentation of a chapter of Wilson with your partner (see updated sheet on the assignments page for the date/chapter/partner) and meet with your org if it’s already approved or finalize details if we’re still finding you a spot
  • We’ll be meeting alternate weeks during most of March/April to allow some extra time for fieldwork assignments. See schedule on the syllabus with any changes announced in class and posted in the weekly updates (like this one)
  • Classes are now archived on the archive page in case your Internet fails or you have to miss a session
  • SCHEDULE UPDATE: individual conferences will be scheduled next week: the week of April 6. Please use the Doodle sign-up link below. Same Zoom room as the live chat–also below.
  • Prof. Williams Zoom live chat hours: Tuesdays from 6-8 PM! on Zoom here. Or call: +1 929 205 6099 then add meeting ID: 528 450 5381
  • Medgar Evers College’s National Black Writers’ Conference runs from 3/30-4/2 and is running online this year via Zoom.  Details/ schedule/ registration here
  • Considering graduate school? Join one of the workshops by Lehman’s Pre-Graduate Advising Program or their weekly office hours. Details here

Highlights from 3/30 class: 

  • COVERED chapter 8 (Power Process of the Ruling Class) in Blueprint for Black Power

April 6: individual student conferences

Sign up for your preferred time here. Times are for Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Note that this isn’t an evaluation, quiz, or test! The goal is one-on-one discussion to see how your fieldwork assignment (and the course itself) is going and give us a chance to discuss anything you might want to talk about.

What to do for Wed. April 13: 

No reading assignment this week. The entire class will be short presentations where you introduce the rest of us to your organization.

What’s next:

  • Wednesday April 20 is CUNY spring break: we do not meet
  • Monday April 25: interview assignment due
  • Wednesday April 27 we return to weekly meetings for the last 3 weeks of the semester

March 30: Power Process of the Ruling Class

Important announcements

  • Keep working on your presentation of a chapter of Wilson with your partner (see updated sheet on the assignments page for the date/chapter/partner) and meet with your org if it’s already approved or finalize details if we’re still finding you a spot
  • We’ll be meeting alternate weeks during most of March/April to allow some extra time for fieldwork assignments. See schedule on the syllabus with any changes announced in class and posted in the weekly updates (like this one)
  • Classes are now archived on the archive page in case your Internet fails or you have to miss a session
  • SCHEDULE UPDATE: we’re off next week (March 23) but will not have individual conferences scheduled as planned. Those will be the week of April 6 instead. You can, of course, drop in during my Zoom chat hours listed below or email me to meet during class time next week
  • Prof. Williams Zoom live chat hours: Tuesdays from 6-8 PM! on Zoom here. Or call: +1 929 205 6099 then add meeting ID: 528 450 5381
  • Medgar Evers College’s National Black Writers’ Conference runs from 3/30-4/2 and is running online this year via Zoom.  Details/ schedule/ registration here
  • Considering graduate school? Join one of the workshops by Lehman’s Pre-Graduate Advising Program or their weekly office hours. Details here

Highlights from 3/16 class: 

  • COVERED chapter 7 (Class, Race, and Power in America) in Blueprint for Black Power

No class meeting March 23: work on your chapter presentation and fieldwork assignment or finalize details if you haven’t yet

What to do for Wed. March 30: 

Read Chapter 8 (“The Power Processes of the Ruling Class”)  in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power for our 3/30 Zoom meeting.

Presentation by Brianna and Joseph

Questions to think about as you read:

What does Wilson mean by the ruling class?

  • How does the ruling class use legislation to consolidate its power?
  • What role do special interests and lobbyists play?
  • What’s the “government within a government” and what’s its role?
  • What relationship do Blacks have (as a group) to government process?

Focus on:

  • The “Special Interest Process,” “Second Government Within a Government,” and “Blacks and Government” subsections of chapter 8

Think about this in relation to your chosen fieldwork assignment via their funding source and how it might impact their work if they’re getting grants from foundations.

Announcement:

 

For March 16: Class, Race, and Power

Important announcements

  • Start working on your presentation of a chapter of Wilson with your partner (see updated sheet on the assignments page for the date/chapter/partner) and meet with your org if it’s already approved or finalize details if we’re still finding you a spot
  • We’ll be meeting alternate weeks during most of March/April to allow some extra time for fieldwork assignments. See schedule on the syllabus with any changes announced in class and posted in the weekly updates (like this one)
  • Classes are now archived on the archive page in case your Internet fails or you have to miss a session

Highlights from 3/9 class: 

  • COVERED chapter 31 (Crisis of Leadership) in Blueprint for Black Power

What to do for Wed. March 16: 

Read Chapter 7, “Class, Race, and Power in America” in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power.

Presentation by Tishona and Katherlean

Here are some questions to guide your reading:

  • How does race and social class connect, according to Wilson?
  • What is the role of class consciousness?
  • Pay close attention to the “Preparing for Power” subsection in chapter 7. What social institutions transmit power?
  • What 4 processes does the ruling class use to dominate government?

Think about the institutional structures that Wilson argues the ruling class uses to transmit power and how parallel structures could be created. Think about how this might apply to your organizations this semester. What are they doing (or could they do) to create structures to increase the Black community’s power in society? How might we want their approach to be different from that of the institutions that currently hold power?

 

 

For March 9: the Crisis of Leadership

Important announcements

  • ADDED CLASS MEETING on Wed. March 9 to cover Chapter 31 of Blueprint that we didn’t get to this week!
  • Start working on your presentation of a chapter of Wilson with your partner (see updated sheet on the assignments page for the date/chapter/partner) and meet with your org if it’s already approved or finalize details if we’re still finding you a spot
  • We’ll be meeting alternate weeks during most of March/April to allow some extra time for fieldwork assignments. See schedule on the syllabus with any changes announced in class and posted in the weekly updates (like this one)
  • Classes are now archived on the archive page in case your Internet fails or you have to miss a session

Highlights from 3/2 class: 

  • Presentation on Amos Wilson by Sababu Plata, editor and publisher of Wilson’s books at Afrikan World Info Systems
  • Intro to chapter 31 (Crisis of Leadership)

What to do for Wed. March 9: 

Read Chapter 31, “The Crisis of Leadership” in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power: pages 824-859. Here are some questions to guide your reading:

  • What are the key ideological orientations of leadership Wilson identifies?
  • What are the weaknesses/strengths of each?
  • How does Wilson define nationalism and what type does he call for?
  • Why the need (in Wilson’s mind) for Black Nationalist-oriented leaders?

Pay particular attention to Wilson’s critique of and analysis of nationalism at the end of the chapter in the section “Contemporary Black Nationalism: Absence of Organization, Creed, and Plans.” Think about (if?) this relates to the current situation more broadly and examples/evidence of these issues. Focus on this part and think about how this might apply to your organizations this semester. What parts of this do they do well? What do they do poorly? What might they do better?

March 2: The Crisis of Leadership

Sababu Plata, Afrikan World Info Systems editor and publisher at Lehman College, March 2020. Photo: Hank Williams

First, some logistical points:

  • Please remember to check the site weekly for reading assignments! Subscribing to the website updates (see box on the right of the page) will get you notifications as soon as I do a new post
  • If I’ve approved your fieldwork choice, you can start working with your organization.
  • SEND ME a cover letter and resumé for your top two choices for fieldwork organizations. See details on the assignments page
  • CHECK the date for your paired presentation–sheet on the assignments page
  • Missed class or Zoom connection dropped? Archived audio is on the new Archive page
  • INFO: National Black Political Convention (August ’22 Newark NJ): conference details here

Highlights from 2/23 class: 

  • Reviewed chapter 2 (Organizations) and sections of chapter 3 (from the previous week) on religious institutions

For Wednesday March 2, we’ll start class with a guest lecture by Sababu Plata of Afrikan World Info Systems, editor and publisher of Dr. Amos Wilson’s works. He’ll talk about Wilson, Blueprint for Black Power, and the logistics of publishing/furthering the work.

For the second half of class, we’ll return to our reading of Blueprint.

Read Chapter 31, “The Crisis of Leadership” in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power: pages 824-859. Here are some questions to guide your reading:

  • What are the key ideological orientations of leadership Wilson identifies?
  • What are the weaknesses/strengths of each?
  • How does Wilson define nationalism and what type does he call for?
  • Why the need (in Wilson’s mind) for Black Nationalist-oriented leaders?

Pay particular attention to Wilson’s critique of and analysis of nationalism at the end of the chapter in the section “Contemporary Black Nationalism: Absence of Organization, Creed, and Plans.” Think about (if?) this relates to the current situation more broadly and examples/evidence of these issues. Focus on this part and think about how this might apply to your organizations this semester. What parts of this do they do well? What do they do poorly? What might they do better?

 

For February 23rd: Chapter 2–organizations as resources of power

First, some logistical points:

  • Please remember to check the site weekly for reading assignments! Subscribing to the website updates (see box on the right of the page) will get you notifications as soon as I do a new post
  • If I’ve approved your choice, you can start working with them. See the updated list on the Fieldwork page for ideas
  • SEND ME a cover letter and resumé for your top two choices for fieldwork organizations. See details on the assignments page (EDIT: now on the assignments page)
  • CHECK the date for your paired presentation–sheet on the assignments page
  • CONFERENCE ON HAKI MADHUBUTI: Online stream this Saturday 2/19. Schedule and registration details here
  • National Black Political Convention (August ’22 Newark NJ): conference details here

For Wednesday February 23rd:

REVIEW the following sections of chapter 2: Religious institutions and power, the institutional Black church, and the spirit of war. Focus on Wilson’s recommendations at the end of the chapter in “the spirit of war”

Read chapter 2: (“Organization and Ethnic Resources”) in Amos Wilson’s Blueprint for Black Power. You can skim the chapter intro, but pay special attention to his list of power resources on p. 28. Also pay special attention to the following subsections:

  • Organizations and Institutions as Power Sources
  • Sources of Organizational Power
  • Factors Affecting Group Power
  • Organizing for Black Power
  • The Afrikan American Nation Within a Nation

Think carefully about the points of strength Wilson suggests in having an organization and reflect on the current organization you’re with. Is it fully utilizing its strength and resources? What might they do differently?