Monday, February 21, 2005

Undelivered ...

This morning I discovered in AlterNet a column written by Christopher Rabb of Afro-Netizen. It was sharp and cogent and struck a nerve that sent me to his website to respond. The email was returned by Daemon as undeliverable. I felt frustrated. I wondered how many other African Americans who inhabit cyberspace simply knew nothing about this valuable resource, and that he had been "our" man in New York during the November convention as a credentialed blogger? How I wish I'd known. It may take years before we'll learn to organize using the power of this magical instrument and make of it the kind of political asset that it has begun to create in other communities. There has to be a beginning place. Maybe this is one of them. There may be other African Americans reading here for whatever reason, and just maybe they'll find a way to help to connect the dots between the various forms of "The Drum" so that our power can be expanded and enhanced. If anyone knows Mr. Rabb, do let me know so that I can add at least one more small fragment to the quilt he's been trying to create over what appears to be several years.

This was my message:

Dear Mr. Rabb:

"I'm a West Coast African American elder (83) who has been online since the Internet was called "The Well," and blogging since fall of 2003 (

I, too, am anxiously waiting for greater black representation among the
bloggers, so that through this magical medium, we can skip through the
generations of change by passing along the history that precedes current

Those of us whose lives have spanned slavery, Jim Crow, the Civil Right battles of the Sixties, the periods of regressions that followed, have a duty to inform. I was 27 when my slave ancestor joined hers. She was born in 1846 and died at 102 in 1948. I was born in 1921. Just think of the history embedded in brains like mine; and the opportunity now to "download" that into the Blogosphere for our progeny to build upon. It's mind-boggling! But we're not only hauling around this genetic windfall but many of us are continuing to contribute to and mold history through activism and continuing influence.

Not sure how many of my contemporaries are "out there" and still coherent, but given the longevity that my own family enjoys, it would not surprise me a bit to find many. It's quite possible that those of us who are descendants of those hardy survivors of the Middle Passage carry strengths as yet unrecognized.

Delighted to have found you.

Betty Reid Soskin,
Richmond, California

If Afro-Netizen has gone dormant it would be a pity. Mr. Rabb has made an important contribution to black online political life and nothing would please me more than to become a part of that in some small way. I found his listed links to be an extension of my own. Perhaps you'll find the same. Perhaps one day I'll list the places online that I visit regularly; should that be of interest. That might mean that -- should we ever meet -- we can start our conversations in the middle of the sixth paragraph.

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