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LEVEL
Higher Learning. A publication from Medium for the interested man.

Black Panther

In LEVEL. More on Medium.

Movie studios and actors profit from the pain and names of political prisoners but rarely lend a hand in their fight

Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo: Glen Wilson

In 2018, the house in which Fred Hampton was assassinated went into foreclosure. Since then, his son, Fred Hampton Jr., who was still weeks away from being born when his father was killed in 1969, started a GoFundMe campaign to save his family’s Illinois home. By early February, “Save the Hampton House” had yet to reach its goal of $350,000. Promotion for the movie , which chronicles the events leading up to the Black Panther chairman’s death was in full bloom. …


“My father deserves to be free.”
“My father deserves to be free.”

ABOLITION FOR THE PEOPLE

Russell ‘Maroon’ Shoatz and Russell Shoatz III share how they built an unshakable relationship in spite of incarceration and separation

LEVEL,

Russell “Maroon” Shoatz is an activist, writer, founding member of the Black Unity Council, former member…


I’ve mourned many of my heroes. It never gets easier.

Chadwick Boseman
Chadwick Boseman
Photo: Gareth Cattermole/Disney/Getty Images

“Chadwick Boseman died,” I said. I kept it simple and direct. I didn’t know how else to deliver the news to my sons, ages 12 and 14. How do we explain to our kids that their hero in real life is no more?

It just so happened that my boys were sprawled on the sofa, watching ,another film in the Marvel Comics universe. We take our love for all things Marvel very seriously in this house. …


It doesn’t take much to understand that if you’re vulnerable in your environment, you may need to act in self-defense

Two members of the Black Panther Party are met by Police Lt. Ernest Holloway on the steps of the State Capitol in Sacramento, CA on May 2, 1967. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

I’d just moved into a beautiful, cozy home, a lovely two-bedroom with a massive backyard for the dog to waddle in the dirt, in Oildale — by far the shittiest part of Bakersfield, California.

Let me say now: I was warned multiple times. Not by posters or signs, but word of mouth. (There’s a bit of an oral tradition in Oildale.) But this is 21st-century America, I thought, and this is California! It couldn’t be that bad. I soon learned that Bakersfield was a sundown town, a city that was rooted in racism.

I quickly acclimated to the town —…


Illustration: Freddy Carrasco

After a decade that saw comic-book movies and fantasy shows take over pop culture, we’re the ones calling the shots

I was lucky to grow up a comic book fan.

My parents saw my early love of comic books — the way I’d hide out at the Waldenbooks in the first floor of West Jackson’s Metrocenter Mall while they shopped, the way I talked endlessly about storylines I’d written myself — and indulged it. Maybe one day they thought I’d eventually write comics for a living, or write about them, or something. Every Wednesday when new issues dropped, they would drive me to the comic book store in a neighboring town, and sit patiently in the car while I went…


‘In my wildest dreams, there is no king. I killed the king. The king is dead. All power to the people.’

Louisa Bertman

I began to become African a little over twenty-five years ago. That was when I left Nigeria and moved to the US. I had been born in the US in the summer of 1975 and had been taken to Nigeria in the fall of the same year. For the next seventeen years, Nigeria was home. But I also knew I was American, that the US was a kind of home too, because I had been born there. But was I African? I didn’t feel it. What I felt was that I was a Lagos boy, a speaker of Yoruba, a…

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