Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Dr. J. Vern Cromartie On Tookie Williams Essay by Dr. M

Brother Marvin,

Once again, you have provided insightful analysis of
the social conditions faced by Black people in the
Amerikkka. Your essays, poetry, plays, and
autobiographical statements have certainly enhanced my
understanding of Black life in this country and
elsewhere. As I have told you before, I have been
reading your work since about 1968 when I was 14
year-old Geechee in Georgia. Yes, your work had
penetrated the South in the 1960s and young Black
people there were studying your words.

As for your remarks about Stanley Tookie Williams, you
are right on time! I participated in the protest
demonstration on November 10, 2005 at San Quentin
wherein we made our voices heard that we opposed the
death penalty for Tookie (and all others on Death
Row). I also participated in the vigil outside San
Quentin in the early hours of December 13, 2005 when
the killers of the State took Tookie's life. As a
college professor and former student of yours, I want
you to know that Tookie's book, "Blue Rage, Black
Redemption," is one of the best books I have ever read
in my life. Tookie's analysis of Black-on-Black crime
deserves to be read by everyone. In my view, Tookie
clearly went through a process of redemption wherein
he transformed himself from a street thug to a
conscious Black man concerned with the liberation of
Black people from oppression and exploitation. Long
live the memory of Tookie!

I want to close by saying I believe that the
cold-blooded murder of Alprentice Bunchy Carter left a
leadership void in Los Angeles. Bunchy, who was a
former leader of a street gang called the Slausons,
abandoned gang banging and became an outstanding
leader of the Black Panther Party, one the most
important social movements Black people have ever
created in this coutry. Bunchy was able to politicize
and raise the consciousness of many youth in Los
Angeles. Upon Bunchy's death, the Black Panther Party
lost a tremendous leader and young people in Los
Angeles lost a person who could raise the
consciousness of gang bangers. Unfortunately, that
void was soon filled by unconscious leaders like
Raymond Washington and the old Tookie. I am glad that
Tookie changed. I wish that it had been sooner. What
if all those Crips had become cadre in the Black
Panther Party under Bunchy's leadership? I am sure
that the Glass House and COINTELPRO considered the
possibilities and went to some dastardly work!

Yours in solidarity,

J. Vern Cromartie

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