NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 74
THE TWO BEDROOM frame house that served as the Center for Black Education ’ s base in Guyana , South America , was situated midway the block , near the entrance to Ruimveldt subdivision in the capitol city of Georgetown .
But as I arrived at the intersection that morning , an irresistible impulse urged me to head south rather than east toward my destination at ascria ( African Society for Cultural Relations with Independent Africa ), the organization I was assigned to in the country .
I ’ d woken up that morning feeling frustrated and jaded about my recent appointment as the Center ’ s head honcho in Guyana . Six months earlier I ’ d been a Washington , d . c ., newspaper reporter , when my “ love jones ” for a tall-and-tan , former homecoming queen turned Pan-African ambassador , had come tumbling down . She had been dispatched to her first nation-building outpost and had written me long , rambling , and poetic letters about her life in a farming cooperative deep in the Guyanese hinterland . I was inspired . The next thing I knew I had up and volunteered for a mission to train young Guyanese journalists to staff and run an independent newspaper dedicated to the cause of African unity .
I was psyched up even before I arrived in the country , and the newspaper project had taken off sooner than projected . Several months into the workshop , the Center , based in Washington , d . c ., fingered me as their new point man . Most of the folks associated with the Center , who sat on its board , and who wore the title “ Political Coordinator ,” had rendered frontline service to the movement as vanguard members of sncc ( Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee ); folks I regarded with the highest respect . They were the ones who had gone into Alabama , Georgia , and Mississippi in the early to mid-sixties to face racist white mobs and vigilantes , the Ku Klux Klan , club-wielding sheriffs ’ deputies , water hoses , and attack dogs in pursuit of the right to vote for black southerners .
For many of these folks the Center represented a new base of operations and a new paradigm that gave birth to a cutting edge thrust to support nation-building efforts on the African continent and in the African Diaspora , which included the government of President Forbes Burnham in Guyana .
Among the Center for Black Education ’ s honor guard were folks like Stokely Carmichael , H . Rap Brown , Ralph Featherstone and his wife Charlotte , Courtland Cox , Jennifer Lawson , Charlie Cobb , Cleve Sellers , and Jimmy Garrett , among others . At 24 years old , I was flattered at first by the vaulted title of “ Political Coordinator .” But lately I ’ d begun to feel like a patsy . Especially after receiving a letter from the Center ’ s director charging me with responsibility for over-seeing the day-to-day activities of a tough Boston street gang who now saw themselves as soldiers in the African Revolutionary Army . It didn ’ t take me long to discover that the gang was also into blood sacrifice . The night before my arrival at the crossroads , I had learned via a slip of the tongue that it was my blood that they required .
So instead of following my usually strict regimen , I decided to take a detour to Brown Betty ’ s diner located in the city ’ s hub for a sausage and egg biscuit and a cup of coffee to help lift myself out of the doldrums . I was hoping that maybe I could even cop a seat at my favorite table near the jukebox ( which was stocked with r & b hits ) and cozy up to some Al Green or Marvin Gaye .