A Lesson Learned By Myrtle Thompson-Curtis

A Lesson Learned

By Myrtle Thompson-Curtis

September 16, 2015

Myrtle T Curtis
Myrtle T Curtis

– Feedom Freedom was part of a collective effort to organize a free concert on Manistique this past Saturday the 13th.  The event gave people a vision of neighborhood organizing and a belief in grassroots folks creating the beloved community.

I witnessed musicians freely give their talents to assist and support the defense of Lela Whitfield in her fight against eviction foreclosure.  The grassroots efforts were applauded and supported. At the height of the event there were 200 people in attendance.  The musical talents ranged from hip- hop to classical with some bluegrass funk as well.  Children played violins and a drum band marched in.

One young mc performed his talent using language that he thought was what he needed to say to “make it” in the music business. One woman in the audience got upset and expressed her opposition. This was understandable but in our experience, anger ad walking away only reinforces separation between adults and youth.  We talked with the young mc and asked him to think about intentional messages of inclusion for everyone in the audience. We asked him to think about the impact of his words.  We are trying to find ways to offer loving guidance to our youth by supporting their courage to stand in front of a crowd and perform.  At the same time, we want to help young people think about other people and their receiving our messages. The crowd was a mix of every age, ethnicity and faith. How do we include all while still being true to our message?

I along with many of the artist shared the message of being visionary while resisting. Lela Whitfield should remain in her home that her mother left for her. She should be able to leave this to her son and granddaughter.

Tom Barrow, a man I voted for every time he ran for public office, was in attendance and expressed the need for neighborhood organizing! The Pastor or the neighborhood church gave support and expressed gratitude for community coming together.  Children played and mingled with elders in a safe, productive environment. We shared food, music, laughter and hope.

We look forward to follow up events and want all supporters for Lela to go to the Detroit Eviction Defense web site to see how they can provide assistance to keep Lela in her home.

Collectively we can create the neighborhoods we want to live. A collective and responsible vision is in direct contradiction to individualism and materialism. Many folks do not have income or jobs and are relying on one another.  It feels good to have neighbors and friends that support one another during difficult times.

Feedom Freedom Growers is an urban garden that services the members of our community with cooking demonstration, art for children and early childhood garden learn & play programs as well as hosting youth led roundtable discussion. For more info about how you can become connected contact  me, Myrtle Thompson-Curtis at 313 632 0991 or visit the Boggs Center Web Site.

Black Mothers Honeycomb

Dear Black Mothers        Honeycomb


Black Mothers 
remember you are warriors
the root of African Nations

you hold truth on your side
you are light 
in the devastation
makers of ways
when there are none
your existence is revolutionary

their institutions 
will try and convince you
to chew up 
and spit out 
your Black seeds
but you must remain firm
resistant to their racism
and heteropatriarchy

they will try and manipulate your psyche
into doing their bidding
they will lynch you 
in the media
champion you
in the media
coerce you 
with their thug shaming agenda

but you must be wiser than their tricks
their stones 
and their sticks
though their words may hurt
you will persevere

you are survivors
polished through flame
you are the calm
in torrential rain

the line in the sand is before you
cross over it
with village in tow
carry forward the torch of our Ancestors
lift up your vibrations
and seek out the answers
you will find they are inside you

~ Honeycomb ®

street talk jim perkinson 12-8-14



jim perkinson 12-8-14


hands up!

like an aerobic exercise

over the graveyard of america

hands up!

knowing where the bones are


convening ezekiel plots of skeletal moans

under the coffin covers

ready to riot into resurrection conflagration

inside the court of imperial condemnation

where all the air goes

when all the “i can’t breathe” shows

of power over dark souls

and stolen red soils

and disappeared john does

speaking “no goes” to blue-suited foes

of people hopes and hard core

“ain’t goin’ down without a fight” swing-lows

throw down a street flow of bodies

marching in hot rows of organized

shoot-backs with bullet-words of resolve

to un-solve the corporation solution

for neighborhoods of conniption

refusing their delegation to a homeless

situation or the cell-block of renegade

non-cooperators igniting a revolution

of conscience like a mumia in a philadelphia

dungeon bouncing grenades of truth

off prison walls into young suburban ears

while parents skyrocket in fear

at the leering grin of daughters suddenly

hip to the slaughter or sons reconnoitering

the supremacist logic with a heart tipping

towards a schematic of liberation led by

an mc like tef poe in st. louie

or will c at the crossing-of-the-strait city


this is a mike brown wake up

an eric garner take up of breath

like a spirit come back into the supine

limbs of a tamir rice rising like an army

of ice as cold hard in refusal of compromise

as a detroit momma pirating water from a

shut off meter in civil disobedience for her

granddaughter’s father locked into a dialysis

tube as fodder for big ag and big pharma profit


it is all a racket . . .

for the sake of a quick loan macking

of emergency management tactics serving

the lord of jacked up markets and climate



it is all a racket!


but beware—

when one too many bodies have been

smacked down

what comes back up on a mission of high-stakes


will not ask permission          or care about the season


is there any reason at all to hope?

the answer may be “nope”

but that is no reason

not to rise up and speak and organize!



James W. Perkinson
Professor of Social Ethics,
Ecumenical Theological Seminary
Special Lecturer in Communication Studies,
Oakland University
www.bgntvgospel.com, 4 minutes into show on 8-17-14


Read at Boggs Center Holiday party 12-13-2014


The Boggs School’s message to kids is, ‘I’m so glad you’re here’

The Boggs School’s message to kids is, ‘I’m so glad you’re here’
by Lucy Perkins Originally published by Michigan Radio News
Over the last year, Zak Rosen and Andrea Claire Maio have been following students and educators at the James and Grace Lee Boggs School.   Maio and Rosen have done pieces in the series about control in the classroom, two young students at the Boggs School who are best friends, and about making school more human.
For the series’ last piece, Maio focused on the Principal of the Boggs School, Julia Putnam — a cornerstone of the school.
Putnam met Grace Lee Boggs, the school’s namesake, when Putnam was 16 years old.
julia and grace (Boggs and Putnam)
“I was searching. What was going on in my life was not as full and meaningful as I wanted it it to be. Meeting Grace helped me understand what was missing.”
“I know how skeptical Grace has been about starting a school, and whether or not that was the most  revolutionary or the most strategic thing to do in terms of creating real change,” Putnam said.
“I think a group of adults who are saying I’m so glad you’re here is strategic.”
Read, listen, and watch more stories from the Boggs School series here.