the current media attention being given to the war against terrorism,
African people should not forget significant events in our history. One
of the events we should not forget is the United States invasion of the
island of Grenada. The Caribbean island of Grenada has virtually been
banned from international news coverage.
It was thirty years ago that Grenada was a major international news
item as a result of the United States invasion of this African island
of 110,000 people on October 25, 1983.
The headlines of the October 26, 1983 issue of the New York Times was
the following: “1,900 U.S. Troops, With Caribbean Allies, Invade
Grenada And Fight Leftist Units; Moscow Protest; British Are Critical.”
Just as we observe the United States destabilization tactics in the
Middle East today, these were the same tactics used in Grenada thirty
These tactics go something like this: Since the African people cannot
govern and rule themselves; we must come to their aid in a humanitarian
manner. We must provide them with food and other necessities of life.
We must identify or create allies among the African people and create
an atmosphere of support for the efforts of the United States to bring
peace, harmony, and stability to the African people. Does this sound
familiar? Obviously, the majority of the people in the Middle East
oppose these tactics and are rebelling against them, just as the people
of Grenada resisted the United States invasion twenty years ago.
I began writing my weekly column thirty years ago because of what we,
in the National Black United Front (NBUF), observed as the continuing
white supremacy policies of the United States toward Grenada, the New
Jewel Movement and its leader Maurice Bishop.
This is what I wrote in my first column that appeared in the Chicago Defender on October 24, 1983:
Black Liberation Movement worldwide is deeply saddened by the death of
Grenada’s Prime Minister, Maurice Bishop. Mr. Bishop, along with other
Grenadian Officials, including Education Minister, Jacqueline Creft,
Housing Minister, Norris Bain, Unision Whiteman, a former foreign
minister, Secretary of Home Affairs, Vincent Noel and union leader
Fitzroy Bain were killed by the new army forces on October 19 in a
demonstration to free hundreds of Grenadians who were arrested because
of their support for Mr. Bishop. These supporters had been placed in
detention in Fort Rupert Army Headquarters, named after Rupert Bishop,
As I continued to write in this first column— “This Caribbean identity
simply means the interconnectedness of the African experience that
resulted in millions of African people being captured and brought to
this region of the world during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade of the
fourteenth through seventeenth centuries.”
Further, as I explained in this column, “This area of the world is
predominately African and the people in it have been struggling against
white domination in an effort to achieve independence and sovereignty.
Grenada under the leadership of Maurice Bishop was a shining example of
an African government and nation seeking independence and sovereignty.”
There are many lessons that the invasion of Grenada taught us. Lessons
that continue to plague the worldwide African Liberation Movement that
are steeped in the efforts of the white supremacy forces to always find
some African person or persons to keep us divided and fighting each
other, rather than focusing on and fighting the real enemy.
In the case of Grenada, an African man who Maurice Bishop had practiced
law with and became the Deputy Prime Minister, was the chief architect
of Maurice Bishop’s and the New Jewel Movement’s overthrow that
provided the open door for the United States’ invasion of the island.
As I wrote thirty years ago in my first column, and as so many had
stated before me, “The real question for the Black Liberation Movement
worldwide is when will we stop killing each other over political
disputes? This was clearly a political dispute between different forces
within the New Jewel Movement. All factions had pledged a commitment to
bring about change for the people of the island, and Bishop was
beginning to bring about that change as the popular outpouring of
support for him during the fighting intensified. Did someone want that
change to stop?”
In the same context I wrote— “One thing is certain, African Movement
forces must find political solutions to political disputes. Killing
each other is not the answer to changing systems that are exploitive of
We must always remember Grenada and the words that Maurice Bishop spoke
at Hunter College in New York on June 5, 1983. Maurice said, “Our
people, therefore, have a greater and deeper understanding of what the
revolution means and what it has brought them.”
The people of Grenada and the New Jewel Movement will return, as all
African people will once again find our place in the sun. Even though
it appears to be bleak, we must continue to struggle and move forward.