Dudley Thompson Transitioned

Dudley Thompson Transitioned


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



“My message of thanks to you includes my personal appeal as a veteran Pan Africanist to teach our youth of today

their past history of yesterday and their potential of today that their days after tomorrow can be better if they take

their responsibility into their own hands and acknowledge their duty to a united Africa, as our real Motherland.”



 WADU Leader Dudley Thompson Transitioned



27 January 2012 On January 20, 2012, His Excellency Dudley Thompson, President of the World African Diaspora Union (WADU) was called to join the ranks of great African Ancestors such as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Honorable Marcus Garvey, Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Fannie Lou Hamer, Minister Malcolm Omowale Shabazz, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois, Ella Baker, Walter Rodney, Kwame Touré, Sekou Touré, Asa Hilliard-Nana Amankwatia Baffour and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Dudley was in New York City celebrating his 95th birthday and planning for the WADU Annual Executive Council Session in New Jersey when he made his transition. According to Dr. Leonard Jeffries “I was blessed to be with him as he took his last steps in his great and mighty Pan African walk.” His Excellency Dudley Thompson has been an enduring and relentless servant of African people and humanity. A WWII veteran of the Royal Air Force (RAF), he was a participant of the famous 5th Pan African Congress (PAC) of 1945 in England with leaders such as President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois of the USA, Amy Garvey of Jamaica, and George Padmore of Trinidad. He was also an attorney for Jomo Kenyatta during the famous Mau Mau revolution and a key supporter of the struggles for African independence. He also gave initial support to Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who at the time Ambassador Dudley was practicing law in what was then Tanganyika, helped Mwalimu Nyerere in setting up an office and assisted him with . . . writing the constitution of what was to be become Tanzania. Born in Panama, he became a Foreign Minister under the Honorable Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica, ambassador from Jamaica to numerous countries, especially in Africa (Ghana, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe) and an advisor to the late President-elect MKO Abiola of Nigeria. Thompson played an effective role in the independence movement of both Belize and Bahamas. He was a Member of both the Senate of Jamaica and the Leader of Government Business in the House and later a Member of the House of Representatives. In 2007, we elected Dudley Thompson as the first President of WADU. Dr. Dudley Thompson’s work as the President of WADU has been extremely successful beyond expectations as a senior elder. Before his election as President of WADU, the Pan African Movement was in a vulnerable state entering the 21st century due to the death and illnesses of many veteran Pan Africanists. Ever cognizant of this weakness, Baba Dudley decided to work with steel zeal to rebuild the Pan African Movement to play a decisive role in the world, as it did in the 20th century. Almost instantaneously after taking leadership with other great Pan Africanists over WADU, the African world responded positively and with great expectations under the robust and unified leadership of WADU. Thereafter, WADU has attracted other diverse powerful leaders bent on sharing WADU successes and more importantly to support WADU’s push toward Pan African victory. From the very beginning, Baba Dudley moved with resolute and unprecedented speed to formally established WADU as a powerful force in the African world. The initial plan crafted by Baba Dudley called for WADU to establish a leadership council with some of the most distinguished, dedicated, and diverse veteran Pan Africanists in the world. Second, with WADU unified Diaspora leadership, Baba Dudley pressed decisively to influence the African Union to hasten the unfulfilled objectives for African Diaspora representation, repatriation, citizenship, and sustainable development. Finally and most importantly, Baba Dudley provided the African Diaspora with a 21st century model for a comprehensive economic, political, and cultural plan for the African Diaspora, to accomplish the Pan African mission, with an integrated Africa. During his service in WADU, he consistently called for us to “establish a new global order of justice and equality for all and for African empowerment for the accomplishment of the African Renaissance.” In 2011, he stressed “military intervention is not an option..” “Africa’s glorious history and civilizations were disrupted by foreign influence, military interventions and genocidal warfare against the people of Africa.” In 2010, he announced, “Our work in Ethiopia is to hasten the long struggle and work for the re-integration of African people captured and dispersed from Africa for centuries, to now build new enterprises to restore dignity, pride and power of African people in the world.” Also in 2010, he supported the quest of Senegalese President Abdoulye Wade for Pan African unity and was one of the prominent guests when the Senegalese president unveiled the magnificent Renaissance monument in Dakar, Senegal. In 2009, Baba stated “My message of thanks to you includes my personal appeal as a veteran Pan Africanist to teach our youth of today their past history of yesterday and their potential of today that their days after tomorrow can be better if they take their responsibility into their own hands and acknowledge their duty to a united Africa, as our real Motherland.” In 2008, he warned, “The price of Justice is Eternal Vigilance. At a time when we are challenged by so many downturns and difficulties in our daily lives, we have now the clear duty and opportunity to save the next generation. ”In 2007, when the Ambassador took leadership of WADU, he proclaimed to the world “The result of the Summit is historic and a great leap forward for the full integration of the Africans of the Diaspora as a powerful family partner for the rebuilding of our Motherland, Africa.” Finally, on January 20, 2012, minutes before his death, Baba Dudley impressed upon Dr. Leonard Jeffries that “Dr. John Henrik Clarke was right, we must work for Pan Africanism or Perish.” Indeed, Baba Dudley was preparing to complete his final year as the President of WADU and to be elevated as the venerated WADU Chair of the High Council Elders. The global WADU family with sadness expresses peace with love to the “Living Legend” His Excellency “Burning Spear” Dudley Thompson. We especially send our condolences to Ambassador Dudley’s wife Cecile, his children, grandchildren, great-grand-children and the other members of his family. The official funeral will take place Friday, February 10th at 2:00 p.m. at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Jamaica. Ambassador Thompson’s burial will be with full military honors at Up Park Camp Cemetery, immediately after the service. The WADU leadership is extremely thankful to his eternal contributions and remains steadfast to his vision for a much brighter day for African people in the world. If attending, you can join our new WADU President Dr. Leonard Jeffries in a delegation to the funeral in Jamaica. Also, you can participate in global tributes and in the WADU 5-year campaign on behalf of our beloved leader for the union of African people. Please send all cards and condolences to Afrikan Poetry Theatre, 176-03 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica, N.Y. 11432-5503. We now close with the daily sacred words of Baba Dudley “PEACE AND LOVE.”

Source: John Watusi Branch, World African Diaspora Union (WADU)

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PanAfrican and Jamaican statesman Dudley Thompson has died. He was 95

By Jacqueline Charles



21 January 2012

He was a historical figure in the politics of Jamaica and in the larger global struggle to unite people of African descent. Hard to miss with his cheerful disposition, intellect and passionate conversations, Ambassador Dudley Thompson drew crowds no matter where he went.

A former Jamaican cabinet minister who served as a minister of national security, justice and foreign affairs, Thompson died Friday morning in New York, the day after he turned 95. He was scheduled to celebrate the next week in New Jersey. He lived in Weston. “We will miss his intellect, his stature,” said Jamaica’s Miami Consul General Sandra A. Grant Griffiths, whose office confirmed the death. “He was all over the place.”

Griffiths last saw Thompson in December when he attended a holiday gathering at her residence. There, like elsewhere, he drew crowds to his side as he discussed Jamaica, and Africa, the continent where he served as an envoy in several countries including Nigeria, Namibia and Ghana, and practiced law as a young man. It was while defending the late Jomo Kenyatta during his Mau Mau rebellion trial in Kenya that Thompson became well-known across Africa.

Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller described Thompson as “a man of firm convictions, articulate, sharp on his feet and witty. Dudley Thompson loved his country with a passion and served it with honor and distinction.” Thompson was up with the times. He blogged and had his own website. His dream was to see a united Africa and was president of the World African Diaspora Union..

According to his website, he was born in Panama and raised in Jamaica. He served in Britain’s Royal Air Force during World War II, and he was a Rhodes scholar. In the early 1950s, he practiced law in Tanzania and Kenya, and became involved in the nationalists struggles in both countries. In October, Thompson made history when the African Union made him the first person to become a citizen of the continent and gave him a passport. Dozens of African presidents attended the ceremony, said Djibril Diallo, senior advisor to the executive director of the UNAIDS and advisor to the President of Senegal on Diaspora Affairs.

Diallo said Thompson left him a voice mail on his cell phone just days ago telling him to call because he had some suggestions on their ongoing collaboration to promote Africa. “I was working on getting him an honorary ambassadorship for the entire African continent,” said Diallo, whose relationship with Thompson dates back more than 20 years. “He’s amazing as a Pan-Africanist, and has worked to the last hour just preaching Africa and the diaspora.’’Herald special correspondent Daraine Lutton contributed to this report from Jamaica.

Source: Miami Herald

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Dudley Thompsons rich legacy

A brighter legal mind was hard to find

By HG Helps


22 January 2012

The late Jamaican Cabinet minister and outstanding legal mind, Ambassador Dudley Joseph Thompson has left an indelible mark on the fields of life that he touched. Thompson, who died Friday in New York, a day after he celebrated his 95th birthday will, for some, be remembered for his legal expertise, as well as his political and diplomatic journeys for which all stories may not be told. Few could equal Thompson’s oratory and courtroom dramatics when he went before judge and jury. . . .

Dudley Thompson had hoped that he would have lived to age 100 and by that time there would have been an official United States of Africa. His legacy as a politician and lawyer preceded him into a fruitful life in the field of diplomacy and Pan Africanism where he managed to move tough mountains that for ages had divided African states. “They (African states) are moving in that direction. The constitution is being ironed out now, a Parliament is being looked at, and I hope to see it before I die,” Thompson said in a Sunday Observer interview two years ago.

“The target is 2017, that’s seven years from now. In seven years from now I hope to see a federation or confederation of Africa. In seven years from now I will also be 100, God willing. I have been through it and I have known every one of the leaders,” Thompson said. “It would mean one government of a whole Africa . . . a federal government, which would include the diaspora as the sixth district, by which I mean a jurisdiction of a Central Africa over North Africa, South Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa and the diaspora as an integral part of the African scenario. That is our aim, and once we do that we would place Africa, us, as a major player in global affairs.

“We have been so far cut off from Africa that I have been trying my very best to rejoin. We have neglected Africa, and we are African, no matter how you take it. We must consider ourselves non-resident Africans—Africans residing or naturalising abroad, whatever your citizenship, whatever your residence, whatever your domicile, our ancestors did not give up their citizenship . . . they didn’t have any passports. They were wrenched from the heart of Africa, taken by force and dispersed throughout the world.

“We who descended from them have always kept up that African-ness. Why is it that we feel good when we hear of a black success . . . a Michael Jackson, for example? Why is it that we feel good when we see a Muhammad Ali on top? It’s because we feel something with them. There is an ethnic relationship. We have never lost our African-ness and so we are Africans who happen to be residing abroad. That is our status. That is what I have been working for over the last five years in the World African Diaspora Union,” Thompson said in the interview at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

The former Jamaican ambassador to African nations Nigeria, Namibia, Senegal and Ghana, who earned the nickname ‘Burning Spear’ because of his defence of Kenyan Jomo Kenyatta (who later became president of Kenya) in the Mau Mau treason trials of 1952, told this newspaper that Africa has been treated unfairly, globally. He wanted all that to change. “The portrayal of Africa is quite unfair. People think of it as a continent of corruption, and military coups. That is there, but we are thinking about a place that is large enough to include, geographically, the whole of the United States, the whole of India, the whole of China, the whole of Argentina… all of that could fit into Africa. It’s a big place,” he said. “Nigeria alone is about 80 times the size of Jamaica. Now, with a place like that you can always pick out the sores and the warts, but there are some very good spots there.

“If you go to Dakar in Senegal, you will see wider streets than you have in any part of the West Indies. Wide streets that are kept clean with street sweepers all dressed in uniforms. “You will see people who are educated and sartorially dressed… you will see advanced people, but we don’t know anything about that.

“There are good things that we can take from Africa. There are more people of African descent in Brazil than any country in Africa, except Nigeria. Therefore we (African/Americans) have the buying power in the trillions of dollars. Now, if 10 per cent of that were invested in Africa, you wouldn’t have these pictures of starving babies and famines and so on. We need to make the connection. We can bring some things to Africa. We have the know-how. Being African alone doesn’t qualify you to become a member of the diaspora, because we have people on the outside who say, ‘Oh I don’t want to hear anything about Africa… I am not African,’ etc.

“To be a member of the diaspora and to qualify, aside from your descent from your ancestors, you need to have a mind that Africa is your motherland and you have a duty to help her to reach that position of number one in the world. You need to have that mind and that contribution… that’s when you qualify,” said Thompson.

He was equally passionate about Jamaica and its development. Following stints abroad when he practised law in Tanzania and Kenya after graduating from Oxford University where he had gone in 1947 as a Rhodes Scholar — the only man from Mico College to achieve that—he returned to Jamaica to do his bit to overcome the challenges that existed for the masses. He had served as a minister of state for foreign affairs when the PNP swept the JLP from office in 1972 and stayed in that position until 1975. But Thompson had been a part of the political process before, when he, now an established lawyer, sat on the PNP side of the Senate in 1962, following his loss in the general election of that year to Edward Seaga in West Kingston. He served in the Upper House until 1978 when he successfully contested a by-election for the St Andrew West seat.

Thompson left an indelible mark on the proceedings in the Parliament despite his short stints as minister of mining and natural resources, as well as national security and justice between 1977 and 1980. He was Jamaican by naturalisation, having come to the island as a youth from Panama, the same country that eight years before him produced another adopted Jamaican, the legendary cricketer George Headley.

Despite his age, Thompson remained lucid and was a reservoir of knowledge and history. . . . The high esteem in which Thompson is held resonates across the spectrum of the legal profession. “Ambassador Dudley J Thompson, OJ, QC, the ‘Burning Spear’, was the advocate extraordinaire, an intellectual, Rhodes Scholar, war hero, statesman and raconteur of the highest order,” said former Jamaica Prime Minister PJ Patterson. “Dudley Thompson was simply the best, in whatever field he chose to serve. His contribution to the building of Jamaica as a nation — to its constitution, its jurisprudence, its diplomacy, its political system, global reputation and its international standing — is unparalleled,” Patterson said. Colleague and close friend, attorney Neita was equally descriptive.

“He was a jack of all trades and master of many. He was very diverse. He excelled in everything that he did,” Neita said. The outstanding Miconian that he was had seen a young Thompson becoming principal of the Retreat Elementary School in Western St Mary by 1937 before he was 21, the youngest headmaster of a public school in Jamaica’s history. He was later succeeded by Vin Lawrence Snr, father of the former chairman of the Urban Development Corporation Vin Lawrence Jnr and one of the architects of the December 29, 2011 victory by the PNP, who was born at Retreat, the same birthplace of former Jamaica and West Indies cricketer, now radio commentator, Maurice Foster.

Source: JamaicaObserver

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Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America

By Melissa V. Harris-Perry

According to the author, this society has historically exerted considerable pressure on black females to fit into one of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the Matriarch or the Jezebel.  The selfless Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.     

Professor Perry points out how the propagation of these harmful myths have served the mainstream culture well. For instance, the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for black females to feel a maternal instinct towards Caucasian babies.

As for the source of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their own bodies during slavery given that they were being auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless, it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate indiscriminately.

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—


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The White Masters of the World

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By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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posted  28 January 2012




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