Welcome to the radio magazine that brings you news, commentary and analysis from a Black Left perspective. I’m Glen Ford, along with my co-host Nellie Bailey. This is one of the most difficult shows we have ever done, coming in the wake of the death of Bruce Dixon, a co-founder of Black Agenda Report. We’ll have comments and commentary by his colleagues. A committee in Congress has been collecting powerful testimony on the need for Reparations for the descendants of enslaved persons in the United States. And, Mumia Abu Jamal confronts the soul-chilling fact that he may be going blind.
Bruce Dixon, the managing editor of Black Agenda Report, was scheduled to speak at a number of panels at the Left Forum, the yearly conference of left-wing activists in New York City. However, Dixon succumbed to blood cancer only days before the event. The entire conference was in mourning for Dixon, the former Black Panther and lifelong activist who co-founded BAR in 2006, and was a key force in the Green Party. BAR executive editor Glen Ford remembered his comrade.
That was BAR executive editor Glen Ford. Margaret Kimberley is an editor and senior columnist of Black Agenda Report. She and Glen Ford co-founded the publication along with Bruce Dixon, 13 years ago. Kimberley paid her respects to Dixon. She also found some comic relief in the antics of New York City mayor Bill De Blasio, who is one of the 20-something Democratic candidates for president. At the debates in Miami, De Blasio seemed to be channeling the ghost of Che Guevera.
Danny Haiphong is a regular contributor to BAR, and co-author of a new book, titled, “American Exceptionalism and American Innocence: A People’s History of Fake News, From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror. Haiphong was part of the BAR panel at the Left Forum. He began with some words on the dearly departed Bruce Dixon.
That was BAR contributor Danny Haiphong. BAR executive editor Glen Ford followed Haihong on the panel. He talked about why its necessary to have publications like Black Agenda Report.
Back in 1989, Congressman John Conyers first introduced his bill calling for a study of the question of reparations for the Black descendants of people enslaved in the United States. The HR 40 legislation languished with few co-sponsors for decades. But this year, reparations is an issue in the Democratic presidential race, and co-sponsors are popping up all over the place. Plus, HR 40 now has a companion bill in the U.S. Senate, which means it is finally a serious piece of legislation. Last week, the House committee holding hearings on reparations heard from Katrina Browne, who produced and directed the Emmy-nominated film, “Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North.”
Mumia Abut Jamal, the nations best known political prisoner, has been incarcerated by the state of Pennsylvania for the past 39 years in the death of a Philadelphia policeman. Abu Jamal has suffered a number of health crises due to atrocious medical treatment in prison, including a battle with Hepatitis C contracted in prison and left untreated for years. Now the prolific author and journalist is losing his sight. He files this report for Prison Radio. It’s titled, “Walking in the Dark.”