Wednesday, August 12

bloody lowndes: hasan kwame jeffries

book info: published in 2009 by New York University Press
author info: Hasan Kwame Jeffries is a professor of history at Ohio State University. He is the nephew of Dr. Leonard and Rosalin Jeffries.

During the mania that was the election of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, the euphoria was adamantly expressed by members of the new generation. The energy of young, liberal-minded Americans was felt throughout the country. Some young college-aged African Americans said that they suddenly felt a
sense of entitlement here in America. However very few acknowledged the sacrifice, plight, and struggles of the first African Americans in this country who raised to say "Enough!" and sought political power. This began the moment Africans set foot in the New World. In the contemporary era this was characterized by the Civil Rights era and Black Power movements. An important area of this struggle began in little known Lowndes County, Alabama. In this excellent work, Dr. Hasan Jeffries, recounts the story of the quest for self-determination of the African people living in Lowndes County. Those well-versed in the history of the Black Power movement will remember the story of the Lowndes Country Freedom Organization, aided by Kwame Ture (aka Stokely Carmichael) in the 1960s. This party had as its emblem, the black panther, and was the original Black Panther Party, running a political campaign in Lowndes County. In this book, Jeffries talk about that struggle but gives a succinct history of the region going back to Reconstruction.
The struggle for humanity waged in Lowndes County was characterized by much sacrifice, and we must continue to acknowledge those elders and and ancestors who put their lives on the line for a much greater cause than the election of a Black president. For them, the struggle encompassed a greater aim.

"Thus the obstacles that African Americans sought to overcome in the civil rights era were neither new or short-lived. These harsh restrictions, however, failed to extinguish the desire of African Americans to live autonomous lives. Although the limitations that whites imposed on African Americans, influenced the timing, tactics, and goals of the Lowndes Movement, they were not solely responsible for shaping its contours. Equally important, was the unique understanding of freedom that African Americans developed during slavery, which served as the basis of their post-emancipation political agenda." (pg. 9)