If You Tour The Marin County Civic Center, They Will Tell

1778 WordsApr 25, 20178 Pages
If you tour the Marin County Civic Center, they will tell you stories of architecture and Wright, of county supervisors and fairgrounds, of famed locals and proud histories; they will not, however, offer you the story of the revolutionary moment that called the Civic Center its beginning. On August 7, 1970, 17-year-old Jonathan Jackson launched an armed attack at the courthouse to demand the release of his brother George – a political activist who violently fought the white supremacist structures of the penal system – from San Quentin, the high-security prison on the San Francisco Bay. That mission failed, losing Jonathan his life, and leaving behind lengthy consequences for his alleged accomplice, the radical former UCLA professor Angela…show more content…
In one such sentence, explaining the importance of dangers of Blackness in America, he says, “There is always, of course, more to any picture than can speedily be perceived and in all of this—groaning and moaning, watching, calculating, clowning, surviving, and outwitting, some tremendous strength was nevertheless being forged, which is part of our legacy today.” This level of writing, with its elements of poesy and intellectualism, seems to be an appeal to educated audiences, particularly white moderates, who might have read this letter because of Baldwin’s fame as an author. But Baldwin addresses, just as clearly, the dissatisfied-yet-complacent Black people who disavowed the stigmatized violence of Black radicalism, and rhetorically places them in agreement with him, explaining, “We know that we, the Blacks, and not only we, the blacks, have been, and are, the victims of a system whose only fuel is greed, whose only god is profit.” This sentence reads, to a white audience, as a representation of Baldwin and Davis, but to a Black audience as a statement that includes the reader, thus manipulating the open letter format to bring that reader into radicalism through a fear of and discomfort with systemic injustice. In case that fear of the present would not suffice, Baldwin references pertinent historical

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