Celebrating Black history in Connecticut

Proclaiming the theme, “We Will Not Be Silent,” the 33rd annual African American History Month celebrations of the People’s Weekly World/Nuestro Mundo in Connecticut stirred inspiration and activism last weekend.

At events in Hartford and New Haven, participants remembered George C. Springer’s significant contributions to the labor movement and to the struggle for equality and peace. They vowed to carry on the legacy of the former teachers’ union leader.

Sharon Palmer, president of AFT Connecticut, called on everyone to think of a way they can carry on Springer’s legacy. She announced that her union is sponsoring two shiploads of books to South Africa, where two school libraries will be named for Springer.

Libero Della Piana, National Organization Secretary of the Communist Party USA, addressed the relevance for today of Martin Luther King’s speech, “A Time to Break Silence,” delivered 40 years ago at Riverside Church in New York City. King’s call for a “revolution of values” in our country to overcome racism, extreme consumerism and militarism is reflected in the movements to reverse the agenda of the ultra-right, end the war in Iraq, and achieve universal health care and the right to unionize, Della Piana said. He added, “Part of African American history month is the responsibility to reclaim Dr. King’s radical tradition.”

The events, attended by 150 people, featured music, dance and spoken word performances by local artists. Participants were urged to bring family and friends to a statewide rally in Hartford on March 17 to end the Iraq war.

Springer’s son expressed appreciation for the recognition of his father and agreed that his father would be in the forefront of the efforts to end the war in Iraq and to eliminate child poverty.

The events raised over $1,500 for the People’s Weekly World’s 2007 fund drive. This year’s drive in Connecticut is dedicated to George Springer. A full page message honoring his contributions is being organized for the May Day edition. For more information call (203) 624-8664.

joelle.fishman @ pobox.com