On a beautiful late Saturday morning in Harlem on August 13, the December 12th Movement led by its leader, Viola Plummer, and other members of the Black Power Movement, including the Nation of Islam, Operation Power, New Black Panther Party, All African People’s Revolution Party, and the Patrice Lumumba Coalition staged a march in Harlem with the theme: Recognize and Celebrate
Plummer, who also is the chief of staff for City Councilmember Charles Barron, a former Black Panther who has remained a freedom fighter, and others, spoke on the theme: “Pan-Africanism or Perish” at the rally held on 112th St. and Malcolm X Blvd., also known as Lenox Ave.
The afternoon’s keynote speaker was the Hon. Louis Farrakhan, leader of The Nation of Islam.
A curious crowd of a few thousand community residents gathered to hear speakers from across New York City speak on issues such as: ending the bombing in Libya; ending the illegal economic sanctions in Zimbabwe and New York Mayor Bloomberg’s “destruction of education, housing and healthcare,” and the “imperialists’ war on Libya against President Muammar Gadhafi’s government.”
They spoke about the African continent being re-colonized, hi-tech drone warplanes’ killing of innocent women and children while on missions to kill terrorists in Afghanistan.
In his speech, standing in front of a plastic bullet-proof shield, Minister Farrankhan said, “…the standard of living for the Libyan people is the highest on the African continent.
“When Moammar Gadhafi came to power, the life expectancy of the average Libyan was 44 years … and now the expectancy of the Libyan people is 75 years of age… “This is the man they want to kill.”
“When he came to power, the literacy rate in Libya was 20 percent, now 83 percent of the Libyan people are educated, and everyone has free medical care and medicine, free….
“In the meantime, Libyan rebels said yesterday they had seized a second strategic town near Tripoli within 24 hours, completing the encirclement of the capital in the boldest advances of their six-months-old uprising against Moammar Gadhafi.”
It was interesting to see the Fruit Of Islam — the Nation of Islam guards neatly attired in their suits, white shirts and red bow-ties proudly standing together a few blocks from the famous Mosque # 7, formerly located on 116th Street and Malcolm X Blvd.
You could feel the presence of the late Malcolm X, with so many of the “Fruit Of Islam” brothers with all of his mannerisms and grace.
One speaker remarked about how so much has changed with the gentrification of Harlem, with its million-dollar condos, co-ops and brownstones, and rent for one-bedroom apartments at over a thousand dollars a month; and about African American youth standing on street corners, uneducated, in this hi-tech society, smoking cigarettes that cost $7.00 a pack.