Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Every year, Black History is celebrated, from coast-to-coast.

Great Black names are recalled, their exploits praised, and February, the shortest month, staggers to an end.

But what shall we say today?

A month may come and go, but for millions of young Black people, they’ll know less and less, year by year.

That’s because they have no idea about their history, for who will teach them?

School teachers? DJs? Preachers? Rappers? Barbers? Parents?

These questions aren’t strictly rhetorical. For the answers to all of them are, “no.”

About a year ago, a man came up to me, telling me of a discussion he had with a younger man.

The Younger had a question for the older: “Was Martin Luther King a rapper?”

Think about that. ‘Was Martin Luther King a rapper?’

(As my mother would say, “Umph-umph-umph!”)

Generations ago, leaders like the great DuBois, Paul Robeson, Malcolm X, Dr. Ben (Yosef Ben-Jochannon), Dr. John Henrik Clarke- these learned men- were heroes of the Black World.

It’s not like that now, for the waters of our culture, our music, has been polluted by the greed of the corporations – and their interest to bring harm to the Black community.

Today, ignorance is bliss.

History? ‘We ain’t into that!’

Woe to those who forget their history – for they know not from whence they came.