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Minneapolis: Hundreds attend Black History month events featuring Frank Chapman

By Jess Sundin |
February 11, 2020
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Frank Chapman speaking in the South High library, at Black History Month event.
Frank Chapman speaking in the South High library, at Black History Month event. (Leila Sundin)

Minneapolis, MN - Hundreds of people came out for several events marking Black History month with Chicago’s Frank Chapman, who is a leading member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

“I had one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had during my over 50 years as a Black freedom fighter and a red. I spoke to about 150 Black, brown and white students, and if that wasn’t amazing enough I was invited to speak by the Black Student Union united with an organization of Marxist students,” Chapman said of his visit to Minneapolis South High School on Friday, February 7. Both the Black Student Union and the Student Marxist Assembly of South High (SMASH) are new groups formed at South High this year.

Chapman continued, “They wanted to celebrate Black History month by having me talk about the historical relationship between Black liberation and socialism and the strategy for achieving Black liberation and socialism in this present moment. What an honor! What an opportunity to share with these remarkable young people the legacies of two of the greatest revolutionary traditions of all people of all times. Here I was an old warrior for freedom being honored by these young high school revolutionaries. I let them know that when I was their age I entered the Black freedom struggle and the struggle for socialism through the U.S. prison system. And they let me know that they are entering the struggle through high school to break the school to prison pipeline, to stand up to the powers that be, to demand justice and to fight for Black liberation and socialism. I never knew that before I would die I would have the privilege of experiencing the future of our movement in this manner. All power to the people!”

Then, on Friday evening, Chapman spoke to a crowd of about 100 at a Freedom Road program on “The Radical History of the Black Freedom Movement.” There, he talked about the historic fight of Black people for equality and self-determination, and the unbreakable ties between the struggles for Black liberation and socialism, as well as the tasks of our movement today.

Chapman’s final event was hosted on February 8 by the Twin Cities Coalition for Justice 4 Jamar (TCC4J) and focused on the work of building the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR), of which Chapman is the executive director. He spoke in the heart of Minneapolis’s Black community, less than a mile from where Jamar Clark was murdered by police in 2015, and where protesters occupied the police precinct for almost three weeks, demanding justice for Jamar.

Local families of those impacted by police murder and wrongful convictions also spoke about their work, including Myon Burrell’s father, Michael Toussaint; Cordale Handy’s mother, Kimberly Handy-Jones, and Toshira Garraway Allen, the fiancé of Justin Tiegen and mother to his son. Chapman spoke to the importance of waging a fight not just for justice for individuals, but to overturn the corrupt and racist system that stole these lives. He called for Minnesotans to join the Alliance.

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