by Elombe Brath

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929 in Atlanta, Georgia and was assassinated April 4, 1968 in Memphis, the largest city in Tennessee, which was named after the city in ancient Kemit (KMT), where the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt was decreed by the Pharaoh Menes as the first capital of the newly united kingdom in 3100 B.C. and reign for a thousand years as the principal city of the first Egyptian dynasty.

Patrice Emery Lumumba was born on July 2, 1925, among the Batatela people in the Kivu region of the then-Belgian Congo, and he was assassinated by a CIA-instigated coup d’etat on January 17, 1961, in Katanga Province (now Shaba) six months after he had led his country to its newly, hard fought for independence. The suppression of his assassination for over a month later, February 13th, by those who murdered the popular Congolese leader was an added testimony to his critical role in the vortex of the then raging African anti-colonial movement.

In the past the international African community to observe and commemorate the birthday of Dr. King, which as been officially designated to be celebrated on the first Monday closest to the day of his actual birth, and pay homage to the life of Patrice Lumumba by observing the date of his assassination by paying tribute to him for his tremendous, supreme sacrifice to advance the cause of Pan-Africanism. But since this year the official date to commemorate the birthday of Dr. King falls on the actual historical date of Lumumba’s assassination, there will be a joint commemoration dedicated to both prominent leaders to reflect upon specific commonalities in what unites the struggles of African people whether they are living in Africa or those of us residing in the African diaspora.

Given the current deteriorating status of the everyday living conditions of Black people in Africa, the U.S., Caribbean, Canada and elsewhere, especially in the wake of the recent debacle that took place during the congressional hearing regarding political irregularities in the 2004 Presidential election and the attempts by mostly members of the Black Caucus, none who actually demanded that the so-called Electoral College not be authorized to certify the “re-election” of George W. Bush for four more years as president of the United States. In a slightly different scenario to the 2000 Presidential Election scene which Michael Moore brilliantly pointed out in his Fahrenheit 9/11, where not one senator would step forward to deny certification of George Bush as president of the U.S. because of voting irregularities, one senator did attempt to right the wrong this time. But it was the Californian Sen. Barbara Boxer who courageously refused to endorse the 2004 calamity, not even Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and of John Edwards (D-NC), the Democratic nominees for president and vice-president respectively who stood to gain the most if by chance a reversal did occur. Neither was it New York Senators Charles Schumer or Hilary Clinton, nor Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy. And even more sadly, not even the African-American new senator, Barack Obama, the one vote many Black people surmised was a guarantee.

Likewise, the continuation of Cold War era low intensity - but bloody - covert wars of destabilization that are, both literally and figuratively speaking, have been “bleeding Africa white”, since the post-World War II period, particularly following the U.S.-Belgian intervention in the Congo, will be examined this coming Monday, January 17th, from 6:30 PM until PM at Sista’s Place, 456 Nostrand Avenue (corner of Jefferson), in Brooklyn, New York

The program will look at the revolutionary aspects of the lives of Dr. King and the Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in the context of the times both men lived and were assassinated ant the reasons they were so vigorously opposed by their enemies, as well as why their respective legacies continue to be so highly respected. Presented by the Patrice Lumumba in conjunction with December 12th Movement, guest speakers scheduled to present analyses are Elombe Brath and Viola Plummer, among others. Further information can be obtained by calling (718) 398-1766.