This emergency episode was made quickly during a time of uprising following the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless other African Americans by police. We begin by hearing “Credo,” a prose poem written by W.E.B. DuBois in 1904 in which he outlines his philosophy on racial equality. This version, a compilation of 36 diverse voices reading from DuBois’ proclamation, was conceived and produced in the summer of 2020 by Dr. John Michael Cooper. This is a digital method to embody and share the truth that Black Lives Matter now; that Black voices speak truth to power with poetry and music; and that all Americans can be moved and changed through a justice-focused interlocking of art, education, activism, and pride.
Cooper intercuts two pieces of music: original music written in imitation of the setting of the “Credo” by African-American composer Margaret Bonds, along with African-American composer Florence Price's arrangement of the spiritual “Some of These Days.” This allow us to hear as score and prose the project’s HardTruth #36: “African American History is real.” History feeds us in today’s struggles. This episode’s shared voicing of a call for justice also aligns with HardTruth #98: “peace can be the most powerful deterrent of all.”
DuBois writes: “I believe that armies and navies are at bottom the tinsel and braggadocia of oppression and wrong; and I believe that the wicked conquest of weaker and darker nations by nations whiter and stronger but foreshadows the death of that strength.”
Agree? Join us in the change! (For more HardTruths about African American history and the long struggle for freedom, please also see: #40, challenge the narrative of (African) American progress about the art of Edgar Arceneaux, and #56, subversion through grinning; learn truths from radical black artists who lived through civil rights written by filmmaker Stephen Winter.)
To learn more about DuBois, the Credo, Bonds, and Dr. Cooper’s work on these subjects, please visit his blog: https://cooperm55.wixsite.com/jmc3/post/testimony
Read or respond to a poem or hardtruth found at the online primer of digital media literacy, #100hardtruths-#fakenews or fakenews-poetry.org. Organize your own Fake News Poetry Workshop.
Reach out with questions or content @firstname.lastname@example.org.
YouTube: 100 Hard Truths
See this original hardtruth:hardtruth #36: history is real
See the poetic response to hardtruth #36:
Alexandra Juhasz and Gavin McCormick read "Practicing Strategic Contemplation"