2008; the year of hope and change. The year of the black president. The year of Barack Obama.
His campaign unlocked the door to America’s political process in ways unseen before. Millions donated to the Obama election fund; even more exercised their democratic right to vote for the first time, recognizing the power of the collective voice. America was ready for a black president and African Americans ready for a new reality.
The work of the Redefining Black Power Project is simple; to document the black experience during the ‘Age of Obama’; African American history is unique, and so is the black perspective on this key moment in the United States’ political and social development. Beginning in 2009, hosts and producers including Margaret Prescod, Lucia Chappelle, Sabiha Khan, Aimee Allison, Esther Manilla and Gloria Minnott, recorded roundtable discussions at Pacifica stations nationwide. These conversations were followed by a special documentary series, phone in programs, and now the book and this online portal of history. Via these outlets, we’ve collected voices and opinions through the lenses of the legal system, the economy, media, social justice advocacy, faith, politics, education and more.
As the 2012 election approaches, our voices are ever more important.
But President Obama’s victory doesn’t exist in isolation; his success stands on the shoulders of black freedom fighters throughout history, like Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King and so many others. The voices of these racial justice advocates are housed in the Pacifica Radio Archives, the oldest public radio collection in the United States. Without the Archives and its director Brian DeShazor, the Redefining Black Power Project would not exist. His vision and partnership with City Lights Books to extend the mission of the Pacifica Radio Archives beyond the spoken word is what you see today.
Redefining Black Power is about more than documenting history. We want to change the conversation on race and the negativity of images and discussions surrounding blackness; the ongoing conversations surrounding African American graduation rates; our so called ‘broken’ homes; unhealthy lifestyles; “angry black women” and “absent fathers”.
We want your stories of the good that is being done in your community, the positive images of black America we rarely see.
Email your videos, audio clips, photos or blog entries. Engage with us on Facebook and Twitter
It’s your voice. It’s our time. Participate, create and inspire.