A Prayer for Dark Folk

Remember, O God, thru’out the world this night those who struggle for better government and freer institutions…Help us to realize that our brothers are not simply those of our own blood and nation, but far more are they those who think as we do and strive toward the same ideals. So tonight in Persia and China, in Russia and Turkey, in Africa and all America, let us bow with our brothes and sisters and pray as they pray for a world, well-governed–void of war and caste, and free to each asking soul. Amen. The day has dawned when above a … Continue reading A Prayer for Dark Folk

Love Songs for the Prince Of Peace

I. Prelude: the Search Your smile is warming and knowing; It traps me like magnolias writhing against a garden gate. You lure me, in your promise of love lingering, the greatness of love. For you, the marshland sings with frogs, Turning a sharp green at the last wane of dusk, all quietly beckoning the truth of the lucid night; when death’s boatmen roam and deal in their deathly trades, remember, beauty is a dark woman’s eyes glowing against the moon of the waning night. II. Encomium: May I never stray far from your lotus feet, my Lord! Dare I share … Continue reading Love Songs for the Prince Of Peace

Mahatma Gandhi on Satanic Civilization

IT IS my firm belief that Europe today represents not the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan. And Satan’s successes are the greatest when he appears with the name of God on his lips. Europe is today only nominally Christian. In reality, it is worshipping Mammon. Young India, 8-9-1920 Neither railways nor hospitals are a test of a high and pure civilization. At best they are a necessary evil. Neither adds one inch to the moral stature of a nation. Young India, 26-1-1921 I wholeheartedly detest this mad desire to destroy distance and time, to increase … Continue reading Mahatma Gandhi on Satanic Civilization

The Indian Press Defended Paul Robeson in 1947

As revolutionary India entered the world stage as a free nation in 1947, The Hindu, a widely read Indian newspaper, condemned the banning of Paul Robeson’s public performance in Peoria, Illinois as a consequence for his agitation for world peace and the freedom of oppressed peoples everywhere. “If Paul Robeson is un-American, so much the worse for America,” declared the writer of the piece. The article was republished on the first page of The Baltimore Afro-American on May 24, 1947 In 1956, Robeson would be viciously targeted for his support of the erstwhile Soviet Union and his lifelong admiration for … Continue reading The Indian Press Defended Paul Robeson in 1947

Dandi Satyagraha

In early March of 1930, Gandhiji began his padayatra to mine salt from the brackish waters lapping the coastal village of Dandi in northwestern India. Britishers had declared Indian production of salt illegal and foisted an imperial tax on the necessity, rendering it a commodity and thus alienating the substance from the common Indian laborer, who was starving and physically ill as a result of the abuses inflicted upon him by the white man. Witnessing the suffering of his people, Gandhiji said, “Next to air and water, salt is perhaps the greatest necessity of life” and marched hundreds of miles … Continue reading Dandi Satyagraha

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