Under New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), the defendants in Pagones v. Maddox et. al. had to prove that ADA Steven Pagones of Dutchess County was a “public figure” and Pagones, on the other hand, had to prove that the defendants acted negligently in disseminating information about him. Justice S. Barrett Hickman wrongfully upped the ante by charging the defendants with sedition.
Defendant C. Vernon Mason sought to show that he had a legal basis for claiming that Pagones had raped Tawana Brawley. Unfortunately, he would have to rely on a documentary by Trans-Atlantic Productions which had failed to record it pursuant to CPLR § 4518. Justice Hickman, accordingly, characterized the documentary as inadmissible hearsay.
Both Dr. Yosef A.A. ben-Jochannan and Dr. John Henrik Clarke were perennial guests on
WABC-TV’s “Like It Is.” They gave spell-binding interviews on Black history. These interviews gave rise to “public affairs programming.” With the demise of its host, Gil Noble, “Like It Is” was changed deliberately, to “Here and Now.” This was a constructive burial of these men and their “good works” which were not accompanied with community protest.
In an article entitled Jada F. Smith “At a Historically, Black University, Filling in Wikipedia’s Gap in Color”, NY Times, February 20, 2015 at A 18, Black researchers are short-changed. It shows the dangerousness of putting one’s history in the hands of one’s oppressor. History is a full-time, business operation. Its staff must, at least, include a full-time researcher, a full-time professional secretary, an accountant and an attorney.
The deaths of “Dr. Ben” and Dr. John Henrik Clarke have not aborted their works. Among other things, they are lightening rods. There must be an eternal flame. History and culture are the twin pillars of business. See, for example, United African Movement being in Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC for Black tours of Black venues on April 11-12, 2015. Frequent the Cotton Club for an appreciation of Black culture.
Absent competent personnel, any organization is no more than a “social club.” Most Blacks are unable to define a business model. Even when an attorney has to save the character of an organization, the organization still refuses to see the need to have an attorney, an accountant and a professional secretary. These are the essential rules of business.
UAM was relentlessly attacked by the Anti-Defamation League because of its refusal to sanction censorship. Dr. Clarke and “Dr. Ben” were at the center of ADL’s grievance. Without legal creativity to secure legal representation for UAM, the ADL would have succeeded in banning both men from the Slave Theater. A similar problem arose with the African Burial Ground. The savior had to be a competent and zealous attorney in addition to Dr. Clarke, “Dr. Ben” and Cong. Gus Savage.
It would seem that both UAM and the Freedom Party would have acquired valuable lessons. White supremacists are bilingual. They only speak “legalese” and “military science.” “Those who fail to learn from the lessons of history must repeat them.” For this reason, Ramsey Orta will be without Black counsel in Staten Island on March 30, 2015. Blacks will not support me nor him.
We should not enjoy a moratorium because of “Dr. Ben’s” death. His death should serve as a wake-up call. He must be remembered as an intellectual giant. For example, WABC-TV’s “Here and Now” is pledging to recognize “Dr. Ben” on April 5, 2015. Community outrage had to be the accelerant. Bro. Reginald Peavy of the Freedom Party received the message.
There is much work to be done including a demand for reparations. Income inequality in the Black community must be addressed through reparations. Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. among many others, have identified it as a serious problem. Any argument for reparations has to be grounded in Black history.
Dr. Ben and Dr. Clarke deserve a “Symposium on History and Race.” The symposium should be scheduled for April 4, 2015. Both men were scholars-in-residence at the Slave Theater. United African Movement and Freedom Party should spearhead this effort. Blacks usually make sure that their burials place both their remains and their research in the ground. Most of our history is buried in cemeteries.
History should also play a critical rule in Loretta Lynch’s Senate confirmation hearing for U.S. attorney general. The hearing should not be about Lynch. It should be about the inadequacy of this nation’s civil rights laws. Terrorism started in America after the Thirteenth Amendment and spread abroad. We were America’s earliest victims.
Frederick Douglass has given Blacks their marching orders: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” Blacks must reverse the stages of our struggle and dismantle the “silver rites” movement. Current Negro leadership consists of silver-tongued demagogues. At home plate, they are crafty, switch-hitters.