December 20 marked the 20th anniversary of when Brooklyn warrior Sonny Abubadika Carson joined the ancestral realm, and several of his close comrades reflected on his legacy. For many decades he was on the frontlines, fearlessly fighting against systematic oppression on behalf of his community. The education Sonny Carson provided remodeled several neighborhoods in the People’s Republic of Brooklyn. He advocated Black self-determination and self-reliance.

“Founding the Committee to Honor Black Heroes is indicative of him tasking himself with the arduous mission of extracting out of the minds of the Negro the negative psychological pillars (thinking of oneself as stupid and cowards) erected by the enslavers, proponents of the myth of Black inferiority,” stated Brother Tarik Black Panther. “Each street sign or school bearing the names of our enslavers, and replaced with names of intelligent and courageous Africans, was done with the intent of remaking the Negro back into being a proud African.”

Along with renaming some locations, he also retraced his African heritage.

“The prophet Ezekiel asked, ‘Can these bones speak again?’ The Sankofa bird represents freedom, Africans who came to America and are looking back to the Motherland,” noted Carson’s comrade, Brother Ali Lamont Jr., prior to explaining how Abubadika returned some of his ancestors’ bones to Africa and had them reinterred. “That’s us as a people. That was a journey. How did we lose it, and how do we get it back?”

Sonny Abubadika Carson 20th Anniversary Sista’s Place Kujichagulia 2022 Credit: Omowale Clay photo

Sonny’s clout also extended beyond the streets and always included succeeding generations.

“He was responsible for getting so many of our young people construction jobs, and also made sure there was a Black principal, teachers and curriculum in the schools,” recalled elected activist Charles Barron. “When he thought they were messing with my wife, Inez, who was a principal at a school in Bed-Stuy, he called her up and asked, ‘What do I need to do?’ and just the thought of that, they backed off. He said ‘If anybody messes with you, we’ll be there for you.’”

Furthermore: “He, Rev. Daughtry, and others, stopped the African Burial Ground from being decimated by the federal government. He made them stop excavating once the remains of our ancestors were found there.”

Barron referred to Abubadika as a “Black radical, revolutionary cultural icon in our community.” He noted his close affiliation with Brooklyn’s December 12th Movement and the renaming of East New York’s Linden Park as Sonny Abubadika Carson Park before saying, “He is surely missed. His spirit will live on in our community.”

Tarik concluded, “For having struggled for us and for the innumerable sacrifices he has made, Sonny should be commemorated every year.”

The campaign to co-name Bed Stuy’s Gates Avenue as “Sonny Abubadika Carson Way” continues.

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  1. I remember meeting Sonny Abubadika Carson during the protest for the African burial grounds in Manhattan New York. He was very compassionate about the struggles of people of color during that period in America. I will always respect him as a warrior for the injustices that were plaguing Black communities and still quite as it is keep.

  2. I grew up in Bedford Stuyvesant in the 60s,Fulton St! I remember him. He helped alot of teens in Bedford Stuyvesant. 💙💙💙..

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