port of harlem magazine

March 8 - March 21, 2012


Publisher's Point

What Happened to the Retooling of Our Minds?


wayne a youngI was born to my parents in time to come of age during the 1960s’ Black Cultural Revolution. During this era of change, I grew up optimistically believing that the doors of equality, including the doors of cultural and economic equality, were opening for the children of the formerly enslaved.

Framing that opening were the elections of Richard Hatcher of Gary (my hometown) and Carl Stokes of Cleveland as the first Blacks elected as mayors of major American cities, attending Black Expos in nearby Chicago, Black women competing for the first time in White beauty pageants, and Afro wearing dancers and beauty queens on Soul Train and in the Ms. Black America pageant pumping pride across the air waves.

Even more dramatic was that Johnson Products, a Black-owned company using Ki-Swahili phrases (e.g., Watu Wazuri) to sell their products, was the financial sponsor of our weekly ride on the Soul Train. It seemed like Black Americans were beginning to embrace themselves and rejecting the view of the children of their former masters, that most things, if not everything Black, were inferior and not worth emulating.

Full Story

champion services travel - group travel

Harley-Davidson Exhibit Defies the Notion of a Biker - March is Women's History Month

Before visiting the Harley-Davidson Museum’s small exhibit on African-American bikers, my notion of bikers was that they are similar to NASCAR fans--people who would have the classless audacity to publicly wave the American flag while booing the nation’s First Lady. However, the museum’s recent acknowledgment, through promotional materials, of African American bikers and the impact they have had and are having on the biking community changed that notion--somewhat.

Part of the museum's exhibit salutes Los Angeles based Sugar Bear (pictured left with a customized Harley he created), who does not publicly share his given name. The 73-year-old biker community icon is considered one of the best custom designers of motorcycles. Customizing bikes, he says, is not work, “I have been retired ever since I opened my shop.” He appeared at the museum with his wife to be, Fuji.

Like the larger world, the biker community is not without its sexism attests biker Sandra “Goldie” Sowers. The college educated motorcycle enthusiast says that she has had experiences in “boy” bike clubs where members did not expect women to be in leadership positions, but welcomed to perform housekeeping duties. In POH’s first video, the Atlanta-based biker shared a story about a sexist encounter where the male bikers expected her to wash dishes and how she handled the situation.

Biking is not an inexpensive hobby. Bikes can range in price for $7,800 to $37,500, with helmets ranging from $69 - $450. One Harley-Davidson sales lady suggested that bikers can spend up to $1,500 to be completely outfitted. The Milwaukee museum also features the largest collection of unrestored Harley-Davidson bikes.

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Election 2012

Black conservatives with the Project 21 leadership network are condemning the"welfare state" cheerleading of Jesse Jackson, who claimed President Obama deserves a "big hand" and "honor" for being a "food stamp President."  Jackson was referring to a comment by Newt Gingrich for his assertion that President Obama is a "food stamp president.”

"This is twisted logic. Dr. King didn't march and die for the perpetuation of the welfare state," said Project 21 spokesman Jerome Hudson. "They are doing little more than perpetuating a class of jobless and poor people to shore up the rest of the economy. Not only is it a cop-out to focus on subsidies over job-creation, but it's creating a slave-like existence where people must rely on the government for food, medical care and other essentials."

Maryland White Senator Raps
Maryland Black Senator on Black History

Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s, MD), who is Black and senior pastor at the Ark of Safety Christian Church of Upper Marlboro, introduced an amendment to the recently passed Civil Marriage Protection Act allowing same-sex marriages in Maryland.  During the debate he said the “Same-Sex” marriage bill should have been renamed the Marriage Redefinition Act. 

“Should this law go into effect we are going to change the definition of marriage. If that’s what we’re going to do, let’s be clear and call it what it is,” Muse said. “A bill that says ‘protection’ leads one to believe that something that is law is under attack. It is not, it is a redefinition of what we have all understood our marriage to be, between one man and one woman.”

Sen. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Montgomery, MD), who is White and a constitutional law professor who served as floor leader for the bill, fought back. He said marriage had been changed many times in Maryland and never branded with such a title.

“There was a law against slaves marrying, and when that was changed, that was not called the marriage redefinition act,” Raskin said. “There was a law against interracial marriage up until 1967, when this chamber voted against it, and that was not called the marriage redefinition act.”

Muse is also running for U.S. Senator against incumbent Ben Cardin.



Bayard Rustin's 100th
Birthday Celebration
March 17, 1912 – August 24, 1987

It was 1941 and Coretta Scott was in the eighth grade when a northern Black man (Bayard Rustin) came to Alabama and spoke to Scott's class about India's use of nonviolence to free itself from British colonialism.  She would hear this man speak again on nonviolence while attending college in Ohio. According to Jervis Anderson, in Bayard Rustin:  Trouble I've Seen, when this man came to Montgomery to advise Martin Luther King, Jr. on using the tactic during the Montgomery bus boycott Coretta Scott King (then married to Martin) greeted him at the door by saying, "I know you, Mr. Rustin."

Left to right: former President of the National Council of Negro Women Dorothy Height, former D.C. Mayor Walter Washington, former Maryland State Senator Clarence Mitchell and Bayard Rustin (circa 1978).

Between the first Chicago student sit-ins in 1942 and the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts in 1964 and 1965, Rustin had a hand in nearly every major nonviolent civil rights activity in the United States. 

His grandmother was the first to set in motion his passion for achieving justice nonviolently. His family members were Quakers.  It is a Quaker tradition to do no violence to others and to respect all people.   
He lived with "unrespectable" baggage in a world that often oppresses people who carry such.  His mother, young and not married when he was born, allowed his grandparents to raise him as if his mother was his sister.  He was left handed during a period when teachers compelled left-handed students to write with their right hand. 

Rustin, a talented musician, singer, and athlete supported New York Governor Al Smith, a Catholic, in his failed run for the Democratic presidential nomination.  During the race he learned that Protestants were prejudiced against Smith's religion.

Rustin was high school valedictorian and attended Wilberforce University where he experienced his first same-sex relationship.  "We never had any physical relationship, but a very intense, friendly relationship.  At that point, I knew exactly what was going on," he said.  He was asked to leave Wilberforce after he organized a student strike for better food.  He never finished college and while living in Harlem, he joined the Communist Party.

Eventually he began to work with A. Phillip Randolph, one of America's leading  organizers, and several civil rights organizations.  As a Quaker he could have legally avoided World War II, but instead spent about two and one half years in jail for refusing to register for the draft. 

In Ghana, he helped the country's future president and ardent Pan-Africanist Kwame Nkrumah organize the youth division of his political party. 

He was in Pasadena, California organizing a series of marches when police arrested and subsequently jailed him for 30 days for "sex perversion" in 1953. After his California arrest, Randolph continued to work with Rustin despite pressures to let him go.

Dr. King felt the same pressures.  However, starting with the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, Rustin not only worked with King but wrote the first article ever published under King's name as well as drew up the plans for the organization that became the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

However, his relationship with King became cool in the early 1960s after Harlem Representative Adam Clayton Powell threatened to publicly accuse Rustin and King of having a sexual relationship.
When Rustin began to organize the March on Washington, Strom Thurmond rose on the floor of the U.S. Senate and attacked Rustin as a draft dodger, homosexual, and communist. 

Despite his "baggage," the march leaders did not relent and chose Rustin to organize the march where Dr. King delivered his now famous, "I Have a Dream" speech.  He was even instrumental in organizing activities around the sanitation workers' strike in Memphis in 1968 where King was killed.



Quaker Meeting House; 15 Rutherford Place; New York City; Thursday, March 15; 6:30p – 9p.

Reading and panel discussion surrounding a new book, I Must Resist:  Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters by Michael G. Long. (212-388-7999)

Marriage Equality Organizers are planning a celebration Saturday, March 17 from 12p until 12:30p in D.C. at the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument--or where ever the participate is at that time.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, panel discussion, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY, Friday, March 30, 7p to 8:30p. (212-491-2200)

More Celebrations

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ivan brown realty

Wanted: Underground Railroad Free Press Awards Nominations

Each year, the Underground Railroad Free Press (URRFR) awards Free Press Prizes for each of the following: leadership, preservation and advancement of knowledge.  The group awards individuals or organizations in the international Underground Railroad community. You may now submit a nomination for a 2012 prize.

The nomination period closes Saturday, June 30. The URRFR will announce the winners in the September issue of Free Press.



Josephine Tonight!


By POH Ticket Winner Mari Lee

I greatly enjoyed Josephine Tonight!  I attended the performance Friday, February 3, 2012.  It was my first time at MetroStage.  It is a small venue, but it provided a wonderful setting for this show. The acting was energetic, the singing was great, the information was good and parts of the show were very amusing.

Although the actors played several different characters, everything was fabulous.  I was actually very surprised that it was so good!

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Things to Do

The Rhythm Road: Jed Levy Quartet and The Earth String Band

National Geographic Center

17th and M Streets, NW

Washington, DC

The National Geographic Society provides free

underground parking for its evening and weekend events

Thu, Mar 8, 6p & 7:15p, free

New African Film Festival

POH Publisher’s Choice: THEMBA

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center

8633 Colesville Rd.

Silver Spring, MD   

Fri, Mar 9, 5:15p, $7-$11.50

A Tribute to Wangari Maathai

The National Geographic Museum

1145 17th Street, N.W.

Washington, D.C

The National Geographic Society provides free

underground parking for its evening and weekend events

Tue, Mar 13, 7p, $10

Sheryl Lee Ralph

Signs Redefining Diva

Hue-Man Bookstore

2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd.

Harlem, NY

Tue, Mar 13, 6p, free

Dandy Lion: Articulating a Re(de)fined Black Masculine Identity

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore

830 East Pratt Street

Baltimore, MD

through Sun, May 13, $

The Sensation Nightingales
The Kings of Harmony
New Jerusalem 3
St. Paul Baptist Church
6611 Walker Mill Road
Capitol Heights, MD
Thu Mar 17, 3p-5p
Kids Under 12 | $7.50; Adults $17

Josephine Tonight!

Metro Stage

1201 North Royal Street

Alexandria, VA


(free parking)

through Sun, Mar 18, $25 - $50


  • Don Cornelius

September 27, 1936 – February 1, 2012

Whitney Houston

August 9, 1963 – February 11, 2012

So Emotional
Whitney Houston on the SOUL TRAIN Line


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