After a razor-thin victory in the Iowa caucuses, and a double-digit loss to Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary, Hillary Clinton is looking to South Carolina for a big win later this month. And she’s counting on strong black support in that state to give her a definitive victory.
It was a warm Midwestern day during the last week of July and hundreds of activists were gathered at Cleveland State University. They had all just wrapped up a conference called the Movement for Black Lives, the first formal convening of Black Lives Matter’s official and unofficial network of activists. After three days of talking about the the police violence that had roiled black communities, they were saying their goodbyes to one another and boarding buses back to their respective cities. Despite taking place in Cleveland, Ohio, a city recently in the national spotlight for the deadly police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, the week had gone by without any direct confrontations with police.
Until they spotted a 14-year-old black boy being questioned by police for allegedly carrying an open container of alcohol onto a bus.
“We saw this encounter happening, saw this young man being arrested and so a number of folks went over to talk to the police to see what was happening,” Treva Lindsey, an assistant professor at Ohio State University who witnessed the altercation, told Mic. “The situation escalated so quickly.”
What happened over the next hour made headlines across the globe. According to several witnesses who spoke to Mic and news accounts from the time, scores of conference attendees gathered to confront the police about the boy’s arrest. The police responded by pepper spraying the crowd, causing a scene that drew even more protesters to the scene. Amid the chaos, someone asked the boy for his mother’s phone number and called her. Soon, she was there talking to police, and the boy was released into her custody.
Overjoyed, the crowd, which now numbered close to 200 people, began chanting the refrain from Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-nominated song “Alright.”
“We gon’ be alright!” “We gon’ be alright!” “We gon’ be alright!”
I don’t like the image of Dedan Kimathi in the history books. You know the one? Where he is laying down, head on a white pillow, arms defeated. That’s the picture that was circulated by the colonial police of the day. Captured: No Freedom for you.
But of all the Mau Mau field marshals, why was this man so significant? Why print thousands of copies of this picture and send it to all the corners ofKenya? Well, Dedan Kimathi born Kimathi wa Waciuri, was a myth. Everyone knew about him but no one knew what he looked like. Children sang made up songs about him. Spreading rumours about him was habit. He was arrested several times and killed several times. He was once causing sleepless nights, by sharpening a machete outside their bedroom, for the white masters in different parts of the country at the same time. Psychological warfare. For Self rule. Freedom. Justice. Well, Kimathi was finally shot in the thigh by a Kikuyu home guard. Kimathi asked him, “Is it you who shot me?” He said yes. Kimathi said, “Ni wega.” (It is well.) Kimathi identified himself and was arrested. The picture was taken and he was killed many times after that. Self rule. Freedom. Justice. Were re inspired by his death. The home guard was rewarded and lived a life of Judas Iscariot. Wish I was an animator or an educator. I would fill children’s books with our version of events. If only to guard them from wishing to return to the slavery that took Dedan Kimathi to the forest. So many young and old men trying to be slaves again these days. I would surely refuse to publish that picture. I like this picture more.
Fresh off his commanding Tuesday win in the New Hampshire presidential primary, Bernie Sanders headed to New York to meet Rev. Al Sharpton for breakfast at Sylvia’s, a landmark as well known as a second home for Harlem power brokers as it is for grits and greens.