Citation

What African American Freedom Means

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Abstract:

The central theme in African American history is recognized by many as the struggle for freedom. African descendents in the United States have historically pursued freedom through three major mass-oriented strategies: integration; self-determination; and societal transformation. To be sure, gains have been made through the use of each strategy in Black community uplift efforts.

However, given their contemporary underdeveloped condition and marginalized location throughout the landscape of the United States, African Americans experience the least of the best and the most of the worst in every significant index of quality of life. Indeed, neither the strategic streams nor their tributaries or offshoots have led to the elusive freedom. Confusion abounds today as to which direction(s) African Americans must move in en masse for development and freedom. Some even doubt whether that prospect is viable. Others presume African Americans are already free.

The overall problem is compounded by a seeming popular unclarity about what freedom means for African Americans, and by imprecise criteria for and measurements of their freedom as a group. For instance, what is freedom for African Americans both in the United States and in a multicultural global context? Is the historical freedom project driven by notions of freedom for something(s)? By freedom from something(s) What are these” things? Do we assess the distance African Americans have traveled to freedom relative to the degree to which other groups have become free? Is African American progress determined by recognizing how far they have come over the decades and/or by what they must yet accomplish in order to be free?

The contemporary crisis engulfing African Americans has historically rested on distinctive structural pillars of their underdevelopment. These include: racism (the worldwide system of white supremacy); economic exploitation; cultural domination; patriarchy and gender discrimination; spiritual impoverishment; psychological incarceration; and political oppression. Any conceptual framework, agenda, organizational initiative, or social movement that purports to service African American freedom should take these structures, which are not static in their manifestations, into account. With these pillars in mind, criteria for becoming free and sustaining freedom, which also need to be viewed dialectically, must be established against which African Americans’ forward motion could be determined.

The session cites and exemplifies the institutionalized means through which African American group development is discouraged or stifled. It also identifies and explores criteria – enlightened political empowerment, economic self-sufficiency, social-cultural integrity, gender equity and justice, spiritual salvation, physical and mental health and wellness, and fundamental human rights – by which freedom is defined, sought and achieved, and the proximity of African Americans to freedom is better understood. The criteria for African American freedom are redefined as needed, and the conventional group freedom strategies are re-examined and as necessary, revised for specific ongoing freedom work presented by workshop participants.

This workshop is an interactive and multi-media experience
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Association:
Name: 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies
URL:
http://www.ncbsonline.org


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p369681_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Colon, Alan. "What African American Freedom Means" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown, Atlanta, GA, <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p369681_index.html>

APA Citation:

Colon, A. "What African American Freedom Means" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 33rd Annual National Council for Black Studies, Renaissance Atlanta Hotel Downtown, Atlanta, GA <Not Available>. 2014-11-30 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p369681_index.html

Publication Type: Panelist Abstract
Abstract: The central theme in African American history is recognized by many as the struggle for freedom. African descendents in the United States have historically pursued freedom through three major mass-oriented strategies: integration; self-determination; and societal transformation. To be sure, gains have been made through the use of each strategy in Black community uplift efforts.

However, given their contemporary underdeveloped condition and marginalized location throughout the landscape of the United States, African Americans experience the least of the best and the most of the worst in every significant index of quality of life. Indeed, neither the strategic streams nor their tributaries or offshoots have led to the elusive freedom. Confusion abounds today as to which direction(s) African Americans must move in en masse for development and freedom. Some even doubt whether that prospect is viable. Others presume African Americans are already free.

The overall problem is compounded by a seeming popular unclarity about what freedom means for African Americans, and by imprecise criteria for and measurements of their freedom as a group. For instance, what is freedom for African Americans both in the United States and in a multicultural global context? Is the historical freedom project driven by notions of freedom for something(s)? By freedom from something(s) What are these” things? Do we assess the distance African Americans have traveled to freedom relative to the degree to which other groups have become free? Is African American progress determined by recognizing how far they have come over the decades and/or by what they must yet accomplish in order to be free?

The contemporary crisis engulfing African Americans has historically rested on distinctive structural pillars of their underdevelopment. These include: racism (the worldwide system of white supremacy); economic exploitation; cultural domination; patriarchy and gender discrimination; spiritual impoverishment; psychological incarceration; and political oppression. Any conceptual framework, agenda, organizational initiative, or social movement that purports to service African American freedom should take these structures, which are not static in their manifestations, into account. With these pillars in mind, criteria for becoming free and sustaining freedom, which also need to be viewed dialectically, must be established against which African Americans’ forward motion could be determined.

The session cites and exemplifies the institutionalized means through which African American group development is discouraged or stifled. It also identifies and explores criteria – enlightened political empowerment, economic self-sufficiency, social-cultural integrity, gender equity and justice, spiritual salvation, physical and mental health and wellness, and fundamental human rights – by which freedom is defined, sought and achieved, and the proximity of African Americans to freedom is better understood. The criteria for African American freedom are redefined as needed, and the conventional group freedom strategies are re-examined and as necessary, revised for specific ongoing freedom work presented by workshop participants.

This workshop is an interactive and multi-media experience


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