April 2018 FOLWCC Newsletter
“On the American side, the Negro saw limited military service until the war dragged on into its third year. This negative attitude toward enlisting the Colored man, sprang from a reluctance to deprive the slavemaster of his chattel slave, and from the fear of putting guns in the hands of a class of persons most of whom were not free. In the main, the Negro was thought of as a servile laborer, rather than a potential warrior. But when manpower needs became acute, whether in the volunteer forces, the militia, or the continental troops, fears were put into the background and the Negro was mustered in.”
May 18-20, 2018
National Assembly for Black Liberation
Legendary Jazz Musician; Milford Graves has an Independent Film circulating in USA and Europe
MILFORD GRAVES FULL MANTIS is the first ever feature-length portrait of renowned percussionist Milford Graves, exploring his kaleidoscopic creativity and relentless curiosity.
Graves has performed internationally since 1964, both as a soloist and in ensembles with such legends as Albert Ayler, Giuseppi Logan and Sonny Sharrock. He is a founding pioneer of avant-garde jazz, and he remains one of the most influential living figures in the evolution of the form.
The film draws the viewer through the artist’s lush garden and ornate home, into the martial arts dojo in his backyard and the laboratory in his basement - all of this just blocks from where he grew up in the housing projects of South Jamaica, Queens. Screening information here.
Justice in the Factory: How Black Lives Matter Breathed New Life into Unions
After decades of decline unions have found a new champion in efforts to organize workers: the Black Lives Matter movement.
Unions have suffered as manufacturing has moved south away from their old strongholds in the north of the US. Membership rates were 10.7% in 2016, down from 20.1% in 1983, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the same time the shift from manufacturing to service industry jobs has hurt them too.
But as the Black Lives Matter and other social justice campaigns increasingly focus on economic justice, unions see a new opportunity. And ironically, a series of defeats for labor in the south is helping to fire up recruitment drives and attracting international support in the process. Read more here.
Searching for the Black Organizational Past
By Melissa Wooten
Growing up I heard many stories about my parents’ involvement in the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, a collective dedicated to eliminating racial discrimination. What started as a protest of racist practices in one automotive factory quickly moved beyond the plant to include “neighborhoods, schools, and places of recreation” throughout southeastern Michigan.
As someone who now studies organizations, when I think about the League I am struck by how fortunate it is to have a record of its activities. Most organizations, especially those started by Black people, are not so lucky. The paltry historical record means that we have a limited ability to appreciate the range of organizations started, transformed, and operated by Black people. Read more here.
“State of Emergency,” Fruit of Labor Singing Ensemble New CD
The Fruit of Labor Singing Ensemble, our songs and music were born out of the struggle of organizing African American workers in the “Black Belt” region of North Carolina and the South. Read more here.
John M. Swails