Monday, June 15, 2009

The Fergusons 'Return to the Land'

PO BOX 340084
718-949-5153 OR 212-928-5165

June 13, 2009



On Saturday, June 27th, the House of the Lord Church will be filled to the rafters to send off one of the city's most revolutionary couples, Baba Herman Ferguson and his Queen Iyaluua Ferguson as the two prepare to leave New York after a life here of extraordinary commitment in order to "return to the land," using the bold language of the New Afrikan Independence Movement.

The sendoff will begin at 6pm. The House of the Lord Church is located at 415 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. The Fergusons are relocating to North Carolina in July.

To the New Afrikan Independence Movement, of which the Fergusons are pioneering founders, North Carolina is a part of the five state territory where the majority of our ancestors worked to lay the wealth foundation for the American nation as slaves.

"If our people truly pursued separation instead of integration, that would be part of our national territory," explained Zayid Muhammad, who was authored the oath of New Afrikan citizenship by Baba Ferguson and the late Safiya Bukhari-Alston in 1996.

The other four states are South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama.

In recent years, the Fergusons are best known for their role in directing the Malcolm X Commemoration Committee, which was founded in 1993.

Their commitment is much more extensive. Baba Ferguson, an incredibly robust 88 years old, of course, is a founding member of both the Muslim Mosque Inc. (MMI) and the Organization of AfroAmerican Unity (OAAU), under the immortal Malcolm X.

After Malcolm's assassination in 1965, Ferguson, a principal in the New York City school system with a clear independent agenda, was one of the few survivors of the organizations to actually try to pick up the work standing squarely on several of Malcolm's core principles. In his beloved Jamaica Queens, he formed the Black Brotherhood Improvement Association and the Jamaica Rifle And Pistol Club. The latter became a true training ground for young Black revolutionaries around the city at the time. It also made Ferguson a serious FBI COINTELPRO target.

On March 31, 1968, in a bold assertion of national liberation, Ferguson, along with many others who have since have gone in very different directions, founded the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika. They came under armed fire at their `Declaration of Independence' in Detroit for daring to do so. The Black Legionnaires, the armed wing of the provisional government, under the leadership of another New Afrikan legend, Imari Obadele, returned fire and fought the police to a standstill!

In 1969, Ferguson, among the core who remained true to charge of New Afrikan independence, was insanely charged with conspiracy to assassinate civil rights leaders Whitney Young and Roy Wilkins in a COINTELPRO frame up and convicted.

Defying that conviction, Ferguson fled the country and exiled himself for 20 years in Guyana. His young new wife, Iyaluua, also an educator in the New York City school system in her prime years, left the country and joined her husband as soon as she possibly could.

"Everybody knows what Herman went through. But we should not forget what Sis. Iyaluua went through and sacrificed also. A stately and elegant Black woman in her prime years, she walked away from a good career and everything to join her husband in circumstances over which they had no control," explained Dequi Sadiki, who now serves as co-chair of the Committee with Mani Gilyard.

"That is class suicide," she emphasized, "and not too many sisters, or brothers for that matter, would do that."

They were not idle exiles in Guyana. Herman, true to his military and educational background, saw a real opportunity to commit to a nation building process and seized the time.

He played a leading in role in the development of Guyana's national civil defense, retiring as a full colonel in their armed forces. He also played a leading role in the development of their national curriculum for their schools.

In 1989, Ferguson, wanting to clear his name and to be able reunite with his family, returned to the United States. He was arrested on the plane headed back to America and immediately sent to prison to serve the sentence for the '69 conviction. In the appeal process, the late legendary judge, Bruce Wright, threw out the conviction in the interests of justice and had him released.

In 1993, Ferguson, along with other comrades from the OAAU, including the revered Yuri Kochiyama, the brilliant warrior Earl Grant, the unflappable Jean Reynolds and the late neckbreaker `Butch' Gladstone Alexander, and other seasoned activists in the nationalist tradition, formed the Malcolm X Commemoration out of concern that the state and the media's efforts to co-opt Malcolm's legacy would keep it from inspiring our youth to resist.

"I was working on a project of my own at the time out of the same concern called the Malcolm X Ancestral Memory Project, where I had people like former Malcolmites Dr. Clarke, Earl Grant and Alice Windom, and revolutionary scholars who were truly upholding his legacy in new scholarship like Zak Kondo, Guyanese giant Jan Carew, Rosemari Mealy and Bill Sales, come into Newark and into Harlem. I had Mama Iyaluua come and talk about Baba Herman, while he was still inside."

Recalled Bro. Zayid fondly. who still serves as press officer in addition to now being a national leader in the New Black Panther Party.

"Then all of sudden, without me knowing about it, Herman got out. I cussed out the nationalist elders who were around me at the time for not telling me. Herman just grabbed me and said `Thank you, son,' and within weeks, I was his press officer for the newly founded Malcolm X Commemoration Committee."

The Fergusons have made other underappreciated commitments during these recent years that deserve attention as well.

They were absolutely important in the survival and the maintenance of the Jericho Movement, forged by the late Safiya Bukhari-Alston and others in 1997 to be a national support vehicle for political prisoners in the United States. Even less appreciated was their contribution on the propaganda front with their creation of the incredible newspaper Nation Time, The Voice of The New Afrikan Liberation Front.

The paper, published by Herman and edited by Iyaluua, ran seasonally for ten consistent years with no outside resource support whatsoever. It provided the New Afrikan Independence Movement with a vehicle to get out the word of their work. It is now archived at the Schomburg Library.

The tribute will be held from 6-9pm. For more information, please call 856-591-3623 or 917-627-9473.

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