Brooklyn celebrated the life of Jitu Weusi and his decades of service at the Boys and Girls High School, 1700 Fulton Street, on June 1. The event preceded a one-hour viewing on Monday followed by funeral service at Brown Memorial Church, 484 Washington Avenue. The community empowerment advocate died May 22. Best known for his advocacy of quality education in the Black community the acclaimed warrior transpired after fighting a valiant battle against cancer of the kidney.
Weusi was a public school teacher in the 1960s. His controversial stance to challenge the Board of Education by demanding community control of schools indelibly placed him front and center in the struggle to decentralize schools in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville campaign. He demonstrated a model of his alternative by establishing an independent Black school named Uhuru Sasa Shule.
He was probably known also as one of the founders of the Black United Front, the annual International African Arts Festival (initially known as the African Street Festival) and The East. Its mission he said was “to bring enlightenment to our people — recreational, philosophical…”
He was an acclaimed promoter of jazz and co-founder of the Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival.
Since January when he was diagnosed, concerned community members have been monitoring his health condition. In April, he detailed the struggle he was engaged and seemed prepare to face the challenge with the support of family and friends.
He wrote that despite the critical health condition diagnosed, family who resided in other states helped him maintain a positive state of mind. He credited Nandi Campbell, Makini Campbell, Taifa Graves and Hazina Campbell-Dorius with being supportive and comforting.
He said “they all came in at various times to attend to my health and well-being.”
“My sister Shirley Clarke came in from California and showered me with attention. I had weekly visits from my brother and his wife, Job and Muslimah Mashariki,” he added. “Visits from concerned nephews and nieces also served as a source of comfort. “
“I thank God,” Weusi said. “I thank my entire family, eight children, 12 grandchildren, my wife and friends and relatives for the support given to me in making this journey possible.
I am thankful for the many calls, letters of concern, words of encouragement and overall outpouring of love.”
“We rejoice in the fact that he is now with the ancestors,” Angela Weusi, his wife of 28 years said. She added that a celebration of Weusi’s life and funeral arrangements were still being finalized.