True Black History: Snipers of the 1967 Newark Riots

Yesterday’s murderous Black thugs are tomorrow’s civil rights heroes.

True Black History: Snipers of the 1967 Newark Riots

by Gaius Marcius

New York, February 14, 2024

Draft of a U.N. address by Secretary General Obama

Esteemed Colleagues of the General Assembly,

I stand before you today to correct an historic injustice. For countless generations my ancestors and the ancestors of most of the world’s population suffered the indignity of the white supremacist holiday of the so-called Saint Valentine. The origins of this holiday in the hegemonic Roman empire, which crushed indigenous cultures and discriminated against non-citizens, is bad enough. But the exclusionary Christian history of Valentine’s Day is an even more ghastly catalog of bigotry and violence. How can we condone a holiday endorsed by those who slaughtered the emissaries of the Prophet Mohamed (Peace Be Upon Him)? Some Americans who still celebrate Valentine’s Day may claim that as atheists or liberals they are not complicit in Christian atrocities. I ask all such people: How can you ignore the modern oppression of non-White and LGBTTQQIAAP citizens on a day that glorifies heteronormative sexuality, perpetuates Eurocentric concepts of romantic love, and worst of all contributes to the White population?

I propose to the honored assembly that today is the day for change! For too long apathetic Americans who claim to be progressive have allowed this discriminatory holiday to infest their calendars, shopping malls, and even public schools. This is not who we are! It is time for immediate economic sanctions against the United States until every trace of Valentine’s Day is replaced by a holiday that reflects our values. I propose that this day, at the very heart of the sacred month of Black History, be set aside to honor Freedom Fighters of Color. Americans have begun to acknowledge that African labor and inventions built America, but FFOC Day will remind everyone that Black activists are the true heirs of American values; the only people with the courage to shake off their chains and water the tree of Liberty with the blood of Whites.

Following the glorious example of their brothers in Haiti, American FFOCs engaged in slave rebellions, protests, and civil disobedience; they refused to accept the dismissive attitudes of White liberals, and they took to the streets to combat bigotry and injustice wherever they found it.

One such case of injustice was in 1967 in Newark, New Jersey. I have drawn inspiration from the words of one FFOC who personally witnessed that struggle for dignity. Notice his palpable concern for his community, the inspiring solidarity of people of color, and the remarkable ingenuity of disadvantaged minorities trapped in a system that hates them:

“Five or six shots in the air are enough to draw cops thick as fleas on a dog and still give time to get away. We had other things on our mind than killing. The important thing is our people know we’re here. Will they follow? Damn right. They’re getting what they want, aren’t they? While the police are busy tearing buildings apart looking to kill snipers, our people are getting color television sets, refrigerators, clothes- whatever they couldn’t afford, they got it…”

A question about this group’s role in the killing of a police detective and a fire department captain was followed by a long silence. The man got up and walked out of the room. Later he returned, sat down, and started talking about something else…The truly surprising discovery in Newark is that the presence of the sniper organization has been widely known- though by no means condoned- in the Negro community…

“Once a riot is on, this community isn’t about to turn in any black man.  The blacks realize that the only way they’re going to get ahead is to stick together. And if the city administration will not let them fight one way, they’ll do it in another.”

— Russell Sackett, “In a grim city, a secret meeting with the snipers” Life Magazine July 28, 1967

These men did not seek the approval of White media or public opinion. Notice that when questioned they subverted the White expectation of Black silence and used it as a weapon against perverted White notions of so-called justice and twisted White standards of law and order. This fight was taken up again on the streets of Dallas in 2016 by Micah Xavier Johnson, and is continued today by Black Lives Matter across America. And so I call on the world community, along with every American who believe in the promise of liberty for all, to put aside thoughts of Valentine’s Day and take a moment to reflect on the Freedom Fighters of Color in Newark and the incredible sacrifices they made for the cause of Justice.

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