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A tremendous four-day salute to the late Dr. Manning Marable

HERB BOYD Special to the AmNews | 5/3/2012, 4:33 p.m.

Burroughs did a wonderful job of situating Marable within the journalistic tradition, particularly his column that earned him national acclaim and paved the way to the countless essays and subsequent books, while Biondi focused her comments on Marable's concern for feminist issues, "and his struggle against patriarchy."

Despite the occasional interruptions during their conversation, the dialogue between Davis and Abu-

Jamal was as informative as expected, and they both proved eminently informed on the problem of mass incarceration. "I'm well-schooled on that subject," Abu-Jamal almost said in jest, having spent 29 years on death row and now in general prison population.

Abu-Jamal delivered a riveting story about the visit of his literary agent Francis Goldin to the penitentiary and her reaction to the "dog cages" that contained the inmates. "She broke down in tears at something I had come to accept as normal," he told Davis.

"If you are free, then you must free someone else," Davis repeated during her closing remarks.

Abu-Jamal's most salient conclusions were directed at the media, which he said were most responsible for the demonization of young Black men. After noting the travesty of justice surrounding the Trayvon Martin case, he observed that "the real killer is the media that criminalizes young Black men."

The media and its impact on American social and political thought was at the core of the discussion on one of the final panels, where Vicky Gholson, Lez Edmond and Jared Ball provided provocative and thorough analysis of the media, especially the corporate merging that has all but eliminated the voice of the people.

Save for the critique of his book, it was a discussion that Marable would have enjoyed and met with the full force of his phenomenal intellect.

It was an exhausting four days, and I only regret not being around for the final plenary and the appearances of Raymond Santana and Korey Wise, two of the Central Park Five who were falsely accused of raping a jogger in 1989. Their cases were eventually vacated when another confessed to being the assailant.