A is for Angela Davis
Angela Yvonne Davis, activist, educator, scholar, and politician, was born on January 26, 1944, in the “Dynamite Hill” area of Birmingham, Alabama. The area received that name because so many African American homes in this middle class neighborhood had been bombed over the years by the Ku Klux Klan. Her father, Frank Davis, was a service station owner and her mother, Sallye Davis, was an elementary school teacher. Davis’s mother was also active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), when it was dangerous to be openly associated with the organization because of its civil rights activities. Angela Davis emerged as a prominent figure in the Black Power Movement as a member of the Black Panther and Communist Parties. Davis later went on to become a University Professor, and has authored numerous books about issues of race, class, and gender, while continuing to fight for the liberation of black people across the world.
B is for Black Power
Black Power is a political ideology and rallying cry first uttered by SNCC chairman Stokely Carmichael. Carmichael described Black Power as “a call for black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, to build a sense of community [and]… to define their own goals, [and] lead their own organizations.”
C is for Amilcar Cabral
Amilcar Cabral was a Guinea-Bissauan revolutionary and anti-colonial leader. Cabral founded the African Party for the Independence of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, which led the nationalist movements of Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde and the war of Independence in Guinea-Bissau. He was assassinated on January 20th, 1973, about eight months after Guinea-Bissau declared their independence.
D is for Self-Determination
Self determination means the ability to define oneself, to choose one’s own political leaders, to establish one’s own aesthetics and art forms, and to exist outside of the definitions imposed upon yourself by others.
E is for Elaine Brown
Elaine Brown is a political activist and artist who was the only woman to serve as chairperson of the Black Panther Party. Brown was an integral part in the development of the Black Panther Liberation School. Elaine Brown continues to advocate and work for the liberation of black people across the world to this day.
F is for Franz Fanon
Franz Omar Fanon was an Afro-Caribbean psychiatrist, physician, philosopher, writer, and revolutionary. As a young man, Fanon fought as a revolutionary soldier in the Algerian War of Independence. Later in life, his books Black Skin, White Masks, and The Wretched of the Earth became foundational texts in the world of anti-colonial theory.
G is for Grenada
Grenada is a Caribbean island which experienced a bloodless revolution in March of 1979, when the New Jewel Movement, led by Maurice Bishop, assumed power of the government in an armed takeover. Grenada served as a site of inspiration across the African diaspora, as evidence that a revolutionary party can take and keep power without extreme bloodshed.
H is for Homecooked
Revolutionaries need to eat. Homecooked meals often served as the fuel that allowed revolutionaries to heal and continue their struggle for liberation.
J is for Julian Bond
Julian Bond was an American political activist who helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee(SNCC) and served as the organization’s communications director for its first five years. In 1965, at the young age of 25, Bond was elected to a seat in the Georgia State Legislature.
K is for Kwame Nkurmah
Kwame Nkurmah was the first prime minister and president of Ghana, after leading Ghana to independence in 1957. Nkrumah was also a founding member of the Organization for African Unity, and a foremost advocate of of Pan-Africanism.
L is for Lowndes County
Lowndes County, Alabama, is an 80% black county in Alabama that had no black registered voters in 1965. Under the direction of SNCC, black voters in Lowndes county were registered to vote, and the Lowndes County Freedom Organization was formed, an independent political organization which ran multiple candidates for office in county elections. Although no candidates were elected to office, the Lowndes County Freedom Organization and their symbol of the black panther served as the inspiration for the Black Panther Party.
M is for Marcia Griffiths
Marcia Griffiths is a Jamaican singer and songwriter, and member of the I Threes, the group which sang the harmonious back up vocals for Bob Marley at the heights of his career. Griffiths went on to write and sing the song, Electric Boogie, a song whose accompanying dance has since become a staple of black parties and gatherings in the US.
N is for Nina Simone
Nina Simone is an african-american singer, songwriter, and activist whose songs like To Be Young Gifted and Black and Backlash Blues provided a soundtrack to the Black Power Movement.
O is for Organize
The struggle for Black Power was organized and intentional. Organization meant establishing political parties with explicit goals, planning events to reach people, building coalitions and much more.
P is for Pan African
Pan-Africanism is an intellectual, political, and cultural movement which asserts that all people of African descent have common interests and goals around which they should be unified.
Q is for Queer
Black people cannot be free unless all black people are free, and that includes queer black people. Queer people were vital in the movement for Black Power, although they are rarely included in its history.
R is for Rastafari
Rastafari is a revolutionary religious and political system originating in the Caribbean island of Jamaica. Rastafari seeks to affirm blackness in the face of a white supremacist world, and is best known for its aesthetic and artistic aspects, such as dreadlocks, dread talk, and reggae music.
S is for SNCC
SNCC, or the the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was a political organization primarily made up of students and young people which was one of the most radical and important groups of the Black Power Movement. SNCC organized the Freedom Rides, which aimed to desegregate buses in the south, Freedom Summer, which aimed to register voters throughout the south, and The Lowndes County Freedom Organization, which served as the inspiration for the Black Panther Party.
T is for Tanzania
Tanzania is an African country whose capital city, Dar es Salaam, served as a meeting site for African revolutionaries fighting for independence throughout the late 1960’s and 70’s.
U is for Us
We are important, and must take care of each other. Revolution cannot be just be about individuals, but must be about “us”.
V is for Brother Valentino
Brother Valentino is a Grenadian born calypso artist, whose songs like Stay up Zimbabwe and Barking Dogs expressed a revolutionary sentiment and served as the music and sound to the Black Power Movement.
W is for Walter Rodney
Walter Rodney was a prominent Guyanese scholar, theorist, and activist, whose writings and speeches about the ideology of Black Power were extremely influential throughout the Black Power Movement and across the diaspora. Rodney was a professor at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, before being banned from the country, and later served as a leader of the Working People’s Alliance in Guyana, before being assassinated.
X is for Malcolm X
Malcolm X was an African-American Muslim minister and political leader, who rose to prominence as a leader within the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X was a staunch advocate for black self-determination, and argued for liberation “by any means necessary,” and for the creation of an autonomous black state.
Y is for The Young Lords
The Young Lords was a Puerto Rican nationalist group based in Chicago and New york, which advocated for Puerto Rican independence and the liberation of Afro-Latinx people living in the U.S. The Young Lords carried out many direct-action occupations of vacant land, hospitals, churches and other institutions to demand that they operate programs for the poor.
Z is for David Ze
David Ze was an Angolan musical artist and revolutionary who was a member of Agostinho Neto’s Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola.
This collection also includes an extra card, which could be used in place of or in addition to the A for Angela Davis Card. The card was included in the deck as it allows you to use this collection with variation, starting with a different card every time you use the deck to teach. It was also important to include this extra card, as both Angela Davis and Assata Shakur are figures of extreme importance to the Black Power Movement, whose knowledge must be passed to the next generation.
A is for Assata Shakur
Assata Shakur is an american activist, scholar, and revolutionary who was a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. Shakur is currently living as a fugitive in Cuba, where she has been granted political asylum from the U.S. government. Shakur’s affirmation chant, “it is our duty to fight for freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains,” is recited at protests across the country to this day (if comfortable, please recite this chant with your children).