Jamal Joseph Talks Revolution

Jamal Joseph Talks Revolution

The author and professor sits down to rap about his critically-acclaimed memoir and his thoughts on the next generation, community organizing and what change looks like today

Safiya Farquharson

by Safiya Farquharson, July 23, 2012

Jamal Joseph Talks Revolution

Jamal Joseph

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia

and go, "You were a Black Panther?" means that we are keeping legacy alive.

EBONYSo the Ten Points Program. What does that look like today, in 2012?

JJ: Sadly, the Ten Point Program looks the same as it did 45 years ago. I wish I could say that there’s a point on the program that has been fully realized but all of those things still need to be addressed. Some things are better. Some things are worse. We want the power to determine the destiny of our community – we still don’t have that. (Program point) number two, we want full employment for all of our people. They talk about the national unemployment rate hovering around 9 percent. Our rate is always double that. Sometimes triple in some communities. Don’t have that! We want decent housing fit for shelter for human beings. We don’t have that. Point number 7: We want an immediate end to police brutality and the murder of Black people. Don’t have that. So sadly that’s a document that still we can look at and go, "Wow! The Panthers wrote this in 1966.  We still have work to do."

EBONY: You’re a professor at Columbia University, an institution that you once exhorted students to burn down. How has being a professor changed you?

JJ: I’m lucky that I teach in the School of the Arts and artists question the world a little bit more than everyone else. I have found that what I do in terms of perspective and conversation have been welcome. And when I’m in the room, I try not to go in with an agenda. I try not to go in thinking at the end of the course that everyone is going to be radicalized. I try to think that I give them the tools to really investigate their craft and along the way share some of my stories and some of my ideas but not too much because the main thing is for them to find voice. I was surprised because I thought I was coming here to teach one course for one semester and here I am 14 years later as a full professor and the former chair of the department.

EBONY: So I hear that you wrote the screenplay for this book?

​JJ: I did. I wrote a screenplay for Panther Baby and looking for support so that we can do it in Harlem and independently as a film hopefully next year.

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