Educate to Liberate

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I finally got down to the Oakland History Room to check out Billy X. Jennings' exhibit on the Black Panther Party children's schools. You'll never see more adorable pictures of revolutionary education.

There are a few photos downstairs and more upstairs in front of the elevator and inside the Oakland History Room. I was especially into the shots of the kids doing Karate.


RIP William Buckley

Old-school conservative windbag William Buckley Jr. died today. Bankrolled by the ill-gotten wealth of his oil-speculator daddy, Bill Jr. can be remembered for his bold pro-segregation stance and his innovative ideas on public health (he stated in a New York Times OpEd that, “Everyone detected with AIDS should be tattooed in the upper forearm to prevent common needle users, and on the buttocks, to prevent the victimization of homosexuals"). Let's look back at Buckley's glory days as he gets his rhetorical butt kicked by a youthful Noam Chomsky:


Books for Kids

I try not to be too heavy-handed about politics with my kids but I do hope they will get some basics about how we are where we are. Here are two "messagy" books I've been reading to them lately:

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And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole is the sweetest little bit of gay propaganda you could possibly read to your children. It's the true story of two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who entwined necks, vocalized together, had sex with each other (OK, that part's not in the kids book), and were finally given the opportunity to raise an adopted penguin chick. You have to be a truly homophobic grinch to remain untouched by what sweet dads the gay penguin pair made. And the story is not too preachy feeling - what kid doesn't want to hear about penguins?

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Freedom on the Menu by Carole Weatherford and illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue tells the story of the 1960 Greensboro lunch counter sit-ins that led to the desegregation of Woolworths' and other restaurants throughout the South. I love how Freedom on the Menu emphasizes community action instead of just one or two key leaders. And even though it deals with the painful topic of segregation, it feels optimistic and hopeful about the power of collective action. The lunch counter sit-ins were started and led by college students and the book is told from a child's eye view which makes it easier for a five year old to connect with.

Bring on your suggestions for kids' books about activism and history folks!


Oakland Memorials

This project ended with the close of the year but it's worth checking into: blogger nic b. documented the site of every homicide in Oakland in 2007 on his site Oakland Makeshift Memorials. Especially heartbreaking are the comments left by loved ones of the deceased.


Happy New Year!

East Oakland is snapping with fireworks and standing on my back porch I can smell the sharp warm smoke that's everywhere in this little town tonight.

It's the Year of the Rat folks! Happy New Year!

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photo from hoogrrl


In case you, like me, fail to keep up with Hollywood, I'll fill you in that Milk, a biopic about this country's first openly gay politician, has been shooting in the Castro this week. Unfortunately, I snoozed on my opportunity to serve as an extra in the movie but because I'm a sour grapes type, I'll go ahead and say that I have a hard time picturing Sean Penn as the charming and sexy, Jewish and gay Harvey Milk. Castro Shopper has good photos of the current Castro 70s Makeover, but if you want to get to know Harvey, I suggest tracking down the moving documentary The Times of Harvey Milk. Here's an excerpt:


More Carolina Chocolate Drops

A couple weeks ago I posted some videos from the adorably old-timey Carolina Chocolate Drops. Today blogger Undercover Black Man posted about them including a link to their cover of Hit 'Em Up Style.

And speaking of Undercover Black Man aka: David Mills, writer from some of TVs most favorites including The Wire, he's promised to do a bunch of Black History Month posts and if you're interested in good writing and history I suggest checking him out. He's never shy about addressing controversy, as his inaugural Black History Month post demonstrates.


Friday Night Videos

I said I was going to start posting videos on Fridays, and then I kinda bailed, but now I'm back with the classic/ultimate in Bay Area Radical Music. In fact, they've been around long enough now that they're kinda historical too. Ladies, gentlemen, and none-of-the-above: The Coup!

Giant Burger represent!

Oakland, California 94610

Smash up the place

(I picked old ones for the history angle folks)
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