Pan-African Legend: Freedom Fighter Elombe Brath Honored with Street Renaming

2017-09-30 00

Brother Elombe hosted Nelson and Winnie Mandela in Harlem.

New York Honors Elombe Brath with Harlem Street Renaming.

On Saturday, September 30, 2017, a street renaming ceremony to honor Elombe Brath will be held from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM in Harlem on the South west Corner of 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell jr. Blvd.

If it rains the event will commence at 11:30 AM at The Art Gallery on the second Floor in the Harlem State Office building. All attendees must have an ID to enter the building.

The Black Star News caught up with one of Brother Elombe’s son Cinque Brath.

BSN: Tell younger readers who may not have an opportunity for better grounding in Pan-African history what your father did and why it was important for the entire Global African community.

CINQUE: His work was important to the entire Global African Community because his work was about connecting the Global African Community. He started out organizing Jazz artists when he founded Ajass, working with unknown Jazz artist as well as legends like Max Roach, Abby Lincoln and Miles Davis and it evolved to co-founding the Patrice Lumumba Coalition and eventually planning and organizing with Africa’s future leaders and working with them in regard to the liberation struggle in their respective countries and most importantly getting their messages out all over the world via his radio program or via TV due to his work at Like It is with Gil Noble.

Q: Your father had a vision for Africans in America and for Africans on our motherland before and when he started visiting the continent. What was that vision and what were some of the many things he did to help fulfill that vision.

A: I am on a journey myself to totally understand the visions and I am not finished confirming that yet but ultimately I can assure you that it’s not very different from what Marcus Garvey advocated for us in terms of the need for our independence from colonialism or neo-colonialism, Black Economic power and how we need to be spending our money with each other.

The love of Africa and its people and that the continent was very rich, not poor as they would have us believe. I always like to remind people of how the teaching chain went from Marcus Garvey to Carlos Cooks to Elombe Brath. He really was influenced by those two men as far as his political foundation is concerned.

Q: How can we create conditions that create more people like Brother Elombe and Malcolm X both of whom were great in articulating the need for global African unity and explaining the benefits that can spring from them. Malcolm said ‘You can’t hate the roots of a tree without hating the tree.’

A: That’s a tough one but I would probably say start discussing ideas and Global politics with your children at a very young age. Having a great, progressive journalist like Clenell Wickham as a cousin, created many discussions at dinner table over issues like labor, class, race, etcetera.

Understanding why Clenell Wickham was exiled by the conservative government of Barbados for what they considered radical politics required a lot of early reading and analysis from a young age. At that time families ate together at the dinner table and talked. No TV on. It was a different time. He was very focused early on.

Q: Knowing what you know about brother Elombe Brath, were he looking at the African landscape today — what are some of the things that might disappoint him. What are some of the things that might give him hope?

A: I think he would be most disappointed in life in South Africa for the average South African and how things are not moving in the direction he had hoped. In terms of optimism, I would rather not speculate on what he was most optimistic about at this time because that is an area that I told members of the Elombe Brath Foundation that I wouldn’t talk about because it’s related to a possible future project and I don’t want to hint.

Q: Your father brought Nelson Mandela to Harlem. Share a story from that visit that few people know about. Also list a few of the African leaders whom Brother Elombe knew, respected, and admired.

A: It’s hard to pinpoint a single story that I can tell of my father’s relationship with an African leader without going into too much backstory.There are too many stories of my father’s interactions with African Leaders who my father knew, respected and admired but they all require some backdrop. But if I had to tell one it would be the lengths he would go to cover a story and bring it back to audiences.

I recall he was in Congo interviewing Laurent Kabila and at the time, rebel forces were making an attempt to overthrow Kabila and he was calling home and wanted me to let my mom know that he was okay and was safe but it sounded like he was in a war zone and I could hear rocket fire over the phone. It was pretty intense. My mother would have been freaked out if she had answered the phone that day and not me. When you heard the interview later he recorded for his show Afrikaeilodoscpe it was so tranquil, that you would never know the danger involved in that interview.

Q: With the street naming on Saturday Brother Elombe, deservedly, joins a list of stellar warriors for African liberation and development. Tell the Global African community why this is important and what this means.

A: This is important because African Liberation struggles and events are basically ignored today in Diaspora culture. For example a huge museum was built in Washington, D.C., under the Smithsonian. Took nearly a billion dollars in donations and created a technologically advanced and aesthetically superior museum and the only person that is highlighted that falls under African Liberation and Development is Nelson Mandela. No Samora Machel, no Thomas Sankara, no Patrice Lumumba, no Kwame Nkrumah. I could go on but my point is that this area gets ignored all the time and intentionally moved out of history.

So we have a museum that is dedicated to excellence of people of African descent but no space is created for this important area. African American history and African Liberation struggles are interconnected but like I said it’s missing there. So if they won’t honor and teach it, we have to, and this is a part of documenting and telling that history.

Q: Tell readers about any other plans or projects to honor Brother Elombe and to keep the lessons of his life and dedication to Africa alive and how people can help.

A: We have several plans and projects to honor Elombe coming up in the future. We are working on a Video documentary on Elombe’s life. The video will feature a lot of footage from his Patrice Lumumba Coalition Forums at the Harriet Tubman School in Harlem, as well as rare footage of him speaking during African Liberation Day to a crowd of 60,000 people in Washington, D.C and many other film goodies that haven’t been seen by others.

An autobiography of his life and a compilation book of his writings will be available very soon.

People can help by supporting the Gofundme effort.

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