The Bronze Legacy (To a Brown Boy) – Effie Lee Newsome

‘Tis a noble gift to be brown all brown Like the strongest things Up this earth, Like the mountains grave and grand, Even like the very land, Even like the trunks of trees – Even oaks, to be like these! God builds his strength in bronze. To be brown like thrush and lark! Like the subtle rain so dark! May, the king of beasts were Brown: Eagles are of the same hue. I think God then, I am brown. Brown has mighty things to do Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel no. 11: Food had doubled in price because of … Continue reading The Bronze Legacy (To a Brown Boy) – Effie Lee Newsome

Poem: The Rosenbergs, June 1953 – W.E.B Du Bois

From floods of wrath, avenging God, Pour down the curse on us the murderers, who crucify the Jews! Hammer home the nails, thick through our skulls; Crush down the thorns; Rain red the bloody sweat, Thick and heavy, warm and wet. We are the killers, hurling mud! We the witch hunters, drinking blood! To us shrink all the lynched, the thousands mobbed, the millions dead in useless war. But this, this shameless deed we do this day, the senseless blasphemy of mother and child, Fills full the cup! Hail hell and glory to damnation! Oh bloodstained nation, Stretch out your … Continue reading Poem: The Rosenbergs, June 1953 – W.E.B Du Bois

The Poet of the Râmâyana

There was a young man that could not in any way support his family. He was strong and vigorous and, finally, became a highway robber; he attacked persons in the street and robbed them, and with that money he supported his father, mother, wife, and children. This went on continually, until one day a great saint called Nârada was passing by, and the robber attacked him. The sage asked the robber, “Why are you going to rob me? It is a great sin to rob human beings and kill them. What do you incur all this sin for?” The robber … Continue reading The Poet of the Râmâyana

Ahimsa as a Science Of Love and Social Action

Impure means result in an impure end. Hence, prince and the peasant will not be equaled by cutting off the prince’s head, nor can the process of cutting off equalize the employer and the employed. One cannot reach truth by untruthfulness. Truthful conduct alone can reach truth. —Gandhiji The artist of this untitled piece, K.H. Ara, was a satyagrahi who was imprisoned for his participation in the famous Salt Satyagraha. The production of salt, a dietary staple, was heavily taxed by the British colonial administration. Satyagrahis marched for nearly a month on foot to the sea. More than 80, 000 … Continue reading Ahimsa as a Science Of Love and Social Action

The Heroism of Satyagraha

Our heroes must be spiritual. –Swami Vivekananda What does the method and philosophy of Satyagraha reveal? It exposes the heart of human nature, in all of its contradictions. The law of satyagraha compels us to act with soul force, which necessitates activation of our soul memory, our spirit consciousness. If it follows that we were still born though we do not remember our babyhood, then it is also true that our soul-force stores memories from many lifetimes through which we have traveled. Just because we do not remember our babyhood, for example, does not mean we did not exist. This … Continue reading The Heroism of Satyagraha

The Star Of Ethiopia

In 1913, Du Bois wrote and presented The Star Of Ethiopia, a historical pageant chronicling the history of black civilization and its contribution to world history at the fiftieth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation in New York City. In many ways, the play is an early enactment of the story he so painstakingly documents in the idiom of social science in his 1946 monograph, The World and Africa. Foregrounding African-American drama’s connection to African dramatic and spiritual traditions as well as its historical distinctions, his chief purpose in imagining it was to create a complete work of art, one capable … Continue reading The Star Of Ethiopia

Ottam Thullal (2018)

A poetic dance form originating in the Tamil and Malayalam literary tradition, OttamThullal was developed by Kunchan Nambiar in eighteenth-century India. The form, traditionally accompanied by a double-headed hand drum (mrindagam) and a drum-and-cymbal (edakka), stages important sociopolitical questions, deploying satire, humor, and irony in order to shed light upon prevailing social maladies. Jawaharlal Nehru would refer to it as “the poor man’s Kathakali,” as many of the facial expressions of Ottam Thullal are drawn from Kathakali, which is an older theatrical form in the region, though one that tended to reinforce the values of the feudal aristocracy. By contrast, … Continue reading Ottam Thullal (2018)

Oraa Aamaader Gaan Gaaite Dyay Naa: A Bengali Panegyric to Paul Robeson

On June 27, 1938, a large crowd of supporters welcomed Jawaharlal Nehru, the future Prime Minister of independent India, and Paul Robeson, African-American artist, leader, and freedom-fighter, at London’s Kingsway Hall. Rajani Palme Dutt, an Indo-Swede who served as the … Continue reading Oraa Aamaader Gaan Gaaite Dyay Naa: A Bengali Panegyric to Paul Robeson

“The Truth Shall Make You Free”: The Friendship Of Paul Robeson, Shirley Graham Du Bois, and W.E.B Du Bois

Paul Robeson was a great admirer of Dr. W.E.B Du Bois and was acutely sensitive to the significance of Du Bois’s contributions to literary, scientific, and philosophical inquiry in the common struggle of the dark nations against Western imperialism in … Continue reading “The Truth Shall Make You Free”: The Friendship Of Paul Robeson, Shirley Graham Du Bois, and W.E.B Du Bois