Thursday, October 22, 2009

Soulbook Editor Makes Transition

Mamadu Lumumba (Ken Freeman) was among the students at Oakland's Merritt College who came into black consciousness and sparked the black liberation movement in northern California during the early 1960s. He was a classmate of Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, Ernie Allen, Carol Freeman (his wife), Ann Williams, Richard Thorne, Isacc Moore, Sunni Shabazz, Marvin X and others who gathered on the steps of Merritt College, then located on Grove Street in the Oakland flatlands. Like most of the others, Ken was a member of Donald Warden's Afro-American Association, a black nationalist organization. He became the west coast editor of Soulbook, one of the major radical publications of the radical 1960s. Soulbook was associated with RAM or the Revolutionary Action Movement, spearheaded by Robert F. Williams and Max Stanford (Muhammad Ahmed). Ken also started the first Black Panther organization in the Bay.

For Mamadu Lumumba (Kenny Freeman)

Old warriors
go home to the sun
each day
we get the news
no longer shocking
we wipe our eyes
go about our work
it is lonely at the top
who can we visit
who can we call
have a drink at the bar
rap on the corner
smoke a joint

even women friends
join the sun
there is no escape
for anyone
only the line
to the sun.

--Marvin X

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