The capitolist. (Middletown, Pa.) 1969-1973, December 02, 1971, Image 6

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    Page 6
Copyright 1971 DNS Int.
New York (Community
News Service)--Until recently,
black parents were answering
Shakespeare’s “What’s in a
name?” by memorializing
through their children such
historic figures as Roosevelt,
Lincoln, and Washington.
But now Harlem’s side
streets ring with such cries as
“Lumumba, dinner’s ready” and
its stores with “Kenyatta, don’t
touch that.”
And according to Harlem
Hospital, which reported more
than 60 African names out of a
total of 233 births in January,
there’ll also be a lot of Angelas
(named for Angela Davis)
running around soon.
“We’ve finally reached a
point where we’re acting like
proud, black people and it’s time
for us to show it in the children
who are coming up,”
commented the mother of
three-month-old Lumumba
Baraka Pryor.
“I hope he’ll emulate the
men he’s named for. Both men
(Patrice Lumumba and Imamu
Amiri Baraka, or Leroi Jones)
contributed a greal deal to the
black struggle for liberation and
as he grows up, I’ll tell him who
they are and what they stand
for,” said 22-year-old Jackie
Gives, Lumumba’s mother, in
explaining, the trend toward
African and Arabic names.
The trend, noticeable in the
publication of numerous books
on the subject, birth records
from hospitals located in black
communities, and inquiries made
at the Schomburg Collection of
Negro Life and History in
Harlem, has become increasingly
“Inquiries come in every
day,” lamented an overworked
Ruth Ann Stewart, assistant
curator of the famed Schomburg
Collection. “We try to help as
many people as we can over the
phone, but we also encourage
them to come in and do
individual research on the
meanings and translations of
There’s a new newspaper in
town-the Harrisburg
Independent Press. With offices
at 1004 N. Third Street,
Harrisburg, H.I.P. is now
entering its second month of
publication. It is the product of
the full-time efforts of five
dedicated people--Edward
Zuckerman, Anita Harris, Mary
Walsh, Dick Sassaman and Sarah
Zuckerman, who recently
gave up his post of Editor in
favor of the “more democratic”
editorial staff, is largely
responsible for the paper’s early
success. Originally the brainchild
of Fred Solowey of the
Harrisburg 8 defense committee,
H.I.P. owes its existence to the
organizing and recruiting
abilities of Mr. Zuckerman.
Contacted in July of this year,
Zuckerman went to work and,
with the help of his colleagues,
produced the first issue on
October 7, 1971.
As stated in the first issue, the
Harrisburg Independent Press is
Books in the collection,
which houses numerous Swahili
and Yoruba dictionaries, are
reportedly wearing out from
overuse. “There’s definitely a
growing interest in African
names and I suspect we’ll hear a
lot of them in the near future,”
said Ms. Stewart.
Omar, Nairobi, Tonya,
Tarshian, Kenyatta, Tamara,
Kobie Modeira, Africanus and
Taifa (Swahili for nation) are
other popular names of toddlers
in the Harlem community.
The Drum and Spear Press, a
black publishing company in
Washington, D.C., reports it is
now in its second printing of a
publication entitled “The Book
of African Names”. The $l,
42-page paperback contains
popular West, East and Central
African names and meanings and
is the company’s second
best-selling book.
“More than 5,000 copies
have been sold since it came out
less than a year ago,” said Garret
Stark, Drum and Spear’s
promotion manager. Several
other publications, many of
them only mimeographed sheets
published by cultural groups or
individual researchers, have also
come out on the subject, she
“We’ve gotten orders from
Vietnam and cities in the
South,” she noted, adding that
the trend toward African names
is not confined to such large
cities as New York and
Washington, D.C.
“Black people have to go
through a total renaissance,”
said Les Campbell, head of a
black political and cultural
complex in Brooklyn called The
East. “We have to look toward
that which identifies us with our
backgrounds.” All four of his
daughters--Kweli, Nandi, Taifa
and Domali-have African names.
“It’s not just enough to have
the hair and the dashiki,” said
black anthropologist and history
professor at Mary Mount
College, Dr. Yosef ben
Jochannan. “The name is
important, too. It’s all part of
our reawakening.”
a “...truly independent
newspaper, dedicated to: (1)
Serving the Greater Harrisburg
Area with a responsible
alternative journalistic voice; and
(2) Providing the most complete
coverage available anywhere of
the trial of the Harrisburg 8.” To
date, H.I.P. has offered some
articles about the Harrisburg 8
defendants and some authored
by the defendants themselves.
Some articles have examined a
defendant’s motives for
participating in the
war-resistance movement. Others
have provided a look at the legal
manuverings and the
government’s mis-handling of
the case.
In addition to the moral,
personal and legal aspects of the
Harrisburg 8 mis-trial, H.I.P. has
also provided the promised
alternative news voice to its
readers. Articles on Nixon’s
economic plan, the state
legislature and a variety of local
happening have appeared. A
recent issue included both a
The Alternative in Harrisburg
by Karl Purnell [Mr. Purnell is
Washington correspondent for
Dispatch News Service
Washington, D.C.-When 261
women prisoners staged a
general strike at the Alderson
Federal Penitentiary in West
Virginia this fall, their primary
goal was no less than the reform
of the powerful bureaucracy
which controls their freedom.
“Having observed the
workings of the U.S. Parole
Board and its effects on our
sisters here, we join with the
prisoners of the Federal Prisons
at Danbury and Springfield in
demanding that necessary
changes be made.” they wrote in
a signed statement of protest.
The riot and the demands
were virtually ignored by the
press, although as a result
sixty-six women were exiled to a
reformatory in Kentucky and
additional male guards hired at
the prison to prevent further
The U.S. Parole Board also
came under recent attack by a
group of prisoners at the
Danbury Federal Penitentiary in
Connecticut who asked for a
congressional investigation of
the parole board.
“We protest the operations of
the Federal Parole Board. At
present the Board conducts its
business arbitrarily in secret and
with maximum delay. Its
methods place the board’s act
beyond public scrunity,” they
These harsh attacks on the
parole board came as a surprise
to many penal officials who have
traditionally considered parole
as a privilege which prison
inmates could earn if they
proved themselves deserving.
Now, with increased public
awareness of the need for prison
reform, theparole board has lost
its traditional immunity from
One former prisoner who
recently was released from the
federal penitentiary in
Lewisburg has called the board a
“bastion of arbitrary and
unchecked power.”
“The parole board is simply
another club for keeping
discipline. It keeps the prisoners
so up-tight they never have a
chance to think about
rehabilitation,” he said.
revealing story about a
Harrisburg drug bust and a
report on area hamburger joints.
One standing column, “HIP
Consumer” is of interest to
everyone who buys goods in the
Of the “alternative
newspaper” role, Zuckerman
stated, “In any one newspaper
town, the public is at the mercy
of one editor or staff, and I feel
that Harrisburg has been a one
mediocre-newspaper town.” He
feels also that the
PATRIOT-NEWS is guilty of
surface journalism and that more
digging has to be done in many
cases. “I think there are other
communities which must be
served in Harrisburg. The
PATROIT does little for the
Black community, for example.”
His outlook for the H.I.P. is,
understandably, good. “I think
there are enough ‘liberal-minded’
people in Harrisburg who
understand the need and who
will appreciate the Harrisburg
Independent Press.”
U.S. Parole Board
Under Attack From inmates
The board consists of eight
full-time members appointed by
the President for six-year
overlapping terms, eight
examiners, and a support and
clerical staff, all based in
Washington. There are no local
federal parole boards, and the
examiners must travel to the
various federal prisons to review
a prisoner’s file and request for
Dissatisfaction with the
board’s actions centers around
three areas. First, many
prisoners say that it takes too
long to find out whether parole
has been granted. According to
the Danbury prisoners, delays in
reporting run six to eight weeks
for an inmate to find out
whether he will be released.
Secondly, the board is being
faulted for keeping secret
dossiers which prisoners are not
allowed to see. In many cases, a
prisoner is “written up” by a
guard, the report is placed in his
parole file and the offender has
no way of determining the
accuracy of the charge. This, it is
claimed, allows the prison guards
an unchecked and arbitrary
power over the inmates.
Finally, the board is not
required to inform a prisoner
why his parole is not granted.
This, it is argued, leads to to
arbitrary decisions.
To George Reed, the
heavy-set articulate chairman of
the parole board, these criticisms
are unfounded. A political
appointee under the Nixon
administration, Reed claims that
prisoners usually find out what
is in their files from the prison’s
parole officer and that reporting
is usually accomplished in a few
days. AIS for telling a prisoner
why parole is denied, Reed says:
“If we give reasons, an inmate’s
lawyer could take us to court
and question our findings.”
Reed claims that the Board’s
decisions are based solely on the
prisoner’s behaviour in prisons
and his chances of re-adjusting
to society if released.
When questioned about the
Board’s refusal to grant parole to
a political prisoner, such as Dan
Berrigan who would seem to
meet all requirements for parole,
Reed says simply: “I will not
discuss that case.”
This gap between the reality
of a prisoner’s world and the
You can help. The H.I.P. will
continue to provide coverage of
the Harrisburg 8 trial, and will
provide the alternative news
voice only as long as the funds
hold out. Your subscription will
help this necessary voice to be
heard. Go ahead, learn
something about
Harrisburg-subscribe to H.I.P.
Subscription Form
1004 N. Third Street
Harrisburg, Pa. 17102
□ 6 months for $5.00
□ 1 year for $B.OO
□ Sponsoring Subscriber, 1 yr. $20.00
Thursday, December 2,1971
conceptions of the world as seen
by the members of the parole
board shows no sign of
narrowing. Backed up by federal
statute which calls parole a
privilege, the board stands secure
in its position.
Nevertheless, the growing
sentiment for a change in the
prison system, particularly in the
post-Attica atmosphere of
America, now threatens even the
seemingly indestructible U.S.
Board of Parole. (Copyright 1971
Dispatch News Service