Jesse Williams reads Howard Zinn “The Problem Is Civil Obedience"
The first I heard of Jesse Williams [I admit], was when I came across his speech at the BET awards 2016. I will add that next. There he spoke about police brutality, the extra-judicial murder of unarmed black people, and systemic racism in the United States. Months later, Donald Trump would be elected to the presidency where he would tell us all that Frederick Douglass 'is an example of somebody who's done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more'. In one sense that was a nonsense, but in Williams' words, here and elsewhere, one can hear an echo of Douglass Frederick when he said 'Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.' Perhaps there was an inadvertent truth in what Trump said, and Douglass really is with us still. At any rate, Williams delivers these words astoundingly well, and this is a powerful performance of words which held a great deal of meaning when they were first uttered in a political context perhaps as charged as ours is today.
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