Omali Yeshitela

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Omali Yeshitela
Born Joseph Waller
1941
Occupation Political activist
Political party African People's Socialist Party-USA
Movement The Uhuru Movement
Spouse(s) Ona Zene Yeshitela
Children Yes
Website http://apspuhuru.org

Omali Yeshitela (born Joseph Waller) is the founder of the Uhuru Movement, an African Internationalist organization based in St. Petersburg, Florida with members throughout the world.

Early background[edit]

Born in St. Petersburg, Florida, Yeshitela participated in the Civil Rights Movement in his youth during the 1950s and 1960s as a member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. At the height of the Civil Rights Movement in St. Petersburg, Waller was jailed for in 1966, when he tore a mural displayed at City Hall which depicted black musicians serenading white partygoers, a scene Waller termed a degrading caricature of African Americans. However, Herman Goldner, the mayor of St. Petersburg at the time and a civil rights advocate himself, rejected Waller's claim. "I find nothing offensive in the portrayal of strolling troubadours and picnickers at Pass-a-Grille Beach. ... I think you know that I, personally, am not a racist. I think ... that all of our minority groups must mature to the point where self-consciousness is not a motivating factor for complaints."[1]

Waller spent two and a half years in jail and prison.[1] After Waller's release, he was stripped of his right to vote for decades until Governor Jeb Bush and three members of the Florida Cabinet restored Waller's voting rights in 2000.

Civic activism[edit]

In his civic activism in his native St. Petersburg, Yeshitela has stressed his view that political and economic development will bring and end to the oppression of African communities throughout the world. He moved to Oakland, California in 1981, living and working there.[2]

Yeshitela served on St. Petersburg Mayor David Fischer's Challenge 2001 Steering Committee and on the St. Petersburg Housing Authority's Hope VI Advisory Committee, two projects dedicated to attracting jobs and investment to South St. Petersburg. He has also chaired the political action committee of the Coalition of African American Leadership, made up of a number of black churches and civil rights groups in the area, and served on the board of radio station WMNF community radio. Along with eight other candidates, Yeshitela made a run for mayorship in February 2001. Although he did not make it to the runoff, he won every African-American and mixed precinct but one in the entire city.

Yeshitela is also the founder of Citizens United for a Shared Prosperity.

Uhuru movement[edit]

Main article: Uhuru Movement

The Uhuru Movement refers to a group of organizations under the principle of "African internationalism," or the liberation of Africans in both the continent of Africa and in the African Diaspora. 'Uhuru' is a Swahili word for freedom. The Movement is led by Yeshitela's African People's Socialist Party (APSP).

The APSP has formed several organizations, each with specific tasks and purpose. Affiliated organizations include The International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, African Socialist International, African People's Solidarity Committee, and Burning Spear Productions, the African People's Education and Defense fund and the All African People's Development and Empowerment Project.

In May 1972, after his release from prison, Yeshitela founded the St. Petersburg-based African People's Socialist Party (APSP), a political party founded on an ideology combining black nationalism and socialism called "African internationalism." [3] Yeshitela later set up an organization for white people to join in solidarity with the APSP's goals, the African People's Solidarity Committee.

Later, the APSP formed the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement to work under the guiding principle that the only way for Africans to achieve liberation and self-determination is to struggle for an all-African socialist government under the leadership of African workers and poor peasants.

Yeshitela has also established the African People's Education and Defense Fund, which seeks to address disparities in education and health faced by African Africans, and Burning Spear Productions, the publishing arm of the APSP.

The APSP is affiliated with the African Socialist International, an organization Yeshitela helped establish that seeks to unite African socialists and national liberation movements under a single revolutionary umbrella in opposition to imperialism and neocolonialism.

He calls for reparations for the black community. Yeshitela has set up a coalition promoting reparations for slavery, arguing that African people worldwide are due reparations for more than slavery, but also over 500 years of colonialism and neocolonialism. [1]

In popular culture[edit]

Excerpts of a Yeshitela speech are played in multiple tracks of the album Let's Get Free by the hip-hop duo Dead Prez.

Publications[edit]

Self-published with Burning Spear Uhuru Publications / African People's Socialist Party:

  • On African internationalism (1978)
  • Tactics and Strategy for Black Liberation in the US, 1978
  • The Struggle for Bread, Peace and Black Power, 1981
  • Stolen Black Labor, 1982
  • Reparations Now!, 1983
  • A New Beginning and Not One Step Backwards,1984
  • The Road to Socialism is Painted Black, 1987
  • Izwe Lethu i Afrika! (Africa is Our Land) (1991)
  • Social Justice and Economic Development for the African Community: Why I became a Revolutionary (1997)
  • The Dialectics of Black Revolution: The Struggle to Defeat the Counterinsurgency in the U.S. (1997)
  • Overturning the Culture of Violence, by Penny Hess and Omali Yeshitela, 2000 (ISBN 978-1-891624-02-5)
  • One Africa! One Nation! (2006), ISBN 978-1-891624-04-9
  • Omali Yeshitela Speaks: African Internationalism, Political Theory for our Time (2005) ISBN 978-1-891624-03-2
  • One People! One Party! One Destiny!, 2010 (ISBN 978-1-891624-07-0)
  • An Uneasy Equilibrium: The African Revolution Versus Parasitic Capitalism, 2014 (ISBN 978-1-891624-11-7)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Andrew Meacham, "Mayor packed ideas, pipe tobacco in rich public life," September 15, 2010". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved June 1, 2014. 
  2. ^ Project Oakland.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 2, 2007. Retrieved January 18, 2007. 

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]