THE PROJECT ON THE HISTORY OF BLACK WRITING

Monday, April 8, 2013

Black Writing, Culture and Memory

[By Jerry W. Ward]

To focus on black writing rather than black literature, it might be argued, is to attend with greater passion to dynamics of literacy within our culture. As theories of modernism and globalization lead to camps of blissful forgetting, there is some urgency in ordinary instances of black writing. Obviously, a young person walking down a sidewalk on the way to somewhere as she or he practices “rapping skills” is creating pre-conditions for literature. That young person may one day be viral on YouTube or have work published in a best-selling anthology.
Pre-conditions for literature also exist in commonplace email messages. They can inform us about our vibrant culture and certain uses of memory, of cooperation as an act of resisting the contemporary individualism that is quite the rage. Writers who are not selfishly worshipping their own egos do seek to help other writers. In the antiquity of classic African American culture, cooperation was simply a matter of being “in the tradition.”

Keenan Norris, author of the forthcoming and psychologically provocative novel Brother and the Dancer, was “in the tradition” when he sent out the following email on April 4, 2013. I quote the email with his permission.

Hi everyone,
I’m writing on behalf of Lynel Gardner and his debut book, BEAST: The Destruction of Charles “Sonny” Liston. Lynel is looking for a publisher and for leads to publishers. I’ve also included a bio about Lynel, whose life and work have been both dramatic and inspirational. Lynel’s work on the life of Liston will be profiled on an upcoming ABC Sports show.

Lynel has an agent and is working through his agent to find a publisher. However, he’s also looking to work through all other available channels as well. I figure this is as good a forum as any to see if my virtual community of fellow writers and artists might have connections with editors and publishers that would be appropriate for Lynel’s work. Lynel can be reached at lynel_gardner@yahoo.com

Below is his bio and a synopsis of BEAST.

Thanks,
Keenan

Bio: Lynel Gardner is a performance artist, novelist and playwright. His work with the Hittite Empire Performance Art Group started in 1989. They toured the country and the UK doing work based on black male silence. An all-male performance art group, they focused on issues of the day: the “wilding incident”, the Central Park rape case in New York and the LA riots. He has written a play called Stories I Never Told My Father about growing up with a pimp for a father, how he survived, and found God in the process of trying to find his father before he died. The life experiences of Lynel’s uncle (and several other family members) served as the basis for the movie The Mack.

Lynel’s debut book is based on the life of his grandfather, heavyweight boxing champion Sonny Liston. The book dispells many of the popular misconceptions about Liston. Lynel is the founder of Theater as Prevention and frequently speaks to inmates in the California prison system about fatherhood and reform.

Partial Synopsis:
When Muhammad Ali explained to the world in 1965, that he had been taught the “Anchor Punch” from Stepin Fetchit, who had learned it from Jack Johnson, the world stood in disbelief. It would be the first time ever that Charles “Sonny” Liston, who was trying to regain his title, would be knocked to the canvas, in his professional career. Muhammad Ali had indeed “Shook up the world” in their first championship fight together and in their second contest, he would boggle the mind. And from that point on, boxing, and its fans, would never be the same. The Liston Family, the Ali family and the Palermo family would forever be remembered, for being a part of some elaborate conspiracy, fix, and or “Phantom Punch.” Sonny Liston would go to his grave, never to be forgiven, by the public at large, for what had happened in those two fights. And even though Muhammad Ali would one day go down in history as “The Greatest” boxer of all time, the public would forever hold him suspect; marking him with a “Scarlet Letter” for somehow being partly responsible, for what is still believed to be, one of the greatest hoaxes, of the twentieth century.

It struck me that BEAST: The Destruction of Charles “Sonny” Liston had a no-nonsense title akin to some made famous by Holloway House, and I suggested to Norris that Gardner should explore the possibility of being published by that firm. Holloway House was willing to give attention to core black culture well before academic guardians of African American culture (including noted Black Arts Movement critics) were willing to acknowledge the little people, the core that Langston Hughes celebrated in poetry and fiction. From what Norris mentioned about the projected ABC sports special, it was apparent that Gardner might get offers from more powerful publishers who would want to cash in on a hot topic. Nevertheless, racial wisdom teaches us to cover all bases, to leave little to chance or accidents of fortune.

What Norris mentioned in the biographical sketch on Lynel Gardner and in the synopsis set my ideas flowing. Gardner has ancestral motives for wanting to tell his grandfather’s story (and his grandmother’s) in a culture that feeds on mass media’s stew of confusions. His efforts to tell a story that rescues Charles “Sonny” Liston from the shadows cast by Muhammad Ali are like those of writers who rescue the real soldiers of the Civil Rights Movement from the shadows cast by Martin Luther King, Jr. There is, as the poet Sterling D. Plumpp has reminded us, a story always untold, a story that should be told within the boundaries of African American literature but often is destroyed by literary politics. I applaud the cultural authenticity of Gardner’s efforts to broadcast “a truth.”

My applause is all the louder as a result of having read Thabiti Lewis’s Ballers of the New School: Race and Sports in America (2010) and his claims regarding the desperation of mythologizing White masculinity in fiction and film. Referring to the Rocky films, Lewis indicts Stallone for culling “portions of real fights —along with the real personalities of Frazier, Liston, Foreman, and Ali —to write the four installments of the Rocky industry” (211).

Appropriation is a two-way street. Recall Charles Johnson’s deformation of Herman Melville’s “Benito Cereno” in the neo-slave novel Middle Passage. In the reclamation of Liston’s story, Gardner is quite on point about race, sport, and the power of re-enacting Puritan uses of the scarlet letter in contemporary American culture. And he only has to appropriate his family’s history. He is promoting one of the key functions of black writing: the correction of misrepresentations or absences that induce cultural amnesia about the being-in-this-world of African Americans. Despite endless attempts to devalue it in favor of black literature, black writing continues to be one of our strongest weapons in the post-whatever combat/contact zone.

We should support Norris and Gardner as affirmative writers who use their talents wisely in trouble-saturated times. They affirm the nexus of writing, culture, and memory.

Posted by The HBW Blog at 9:33 AM

RODNEY MARTIN

FACT VS FICTION: JOURNALIST VS SONNY LISTON

It is almost like there is an “Old Boy Network” in the news agencies. Especially on the East Coast. But Walter Annenberg had a lot of “Yellow Kids” on his payroll. And some of them are still around, and still writing about Sonny, and still telling negative stories about Sonny, on behalf of the Walter Annenbergs. And remember that Walter Annenberg had Sonny Liston on his BlackList. The best thing Walter Annenberg, the owner of Philadelphia Inquirer ever said about Sonny, was that “He was a bum. I didn’t want to give him publicity”. – AMAZON, Beast: The Deconstruction of Charles Sonny Liston

Rodney Martin AMERICAN, Dadx9, Lety’s in Heaven/Grandpa,Ex Boxer, CEO, Analyst, Retired Judge,Former Congressional Aid, @TrumanScholar ,LBJ Fellow RT NOT endorsement SPEAKS ON SHOWTIME special, PARIAH, THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF SONNY LISTON.

It’s intellectually dishonest, a hit piece, racist. I hope Sonny’s Estate sues. It is factually incorrect and omits info that discredits its “narrative”. Sonny was a true success story, they had to tear him down. I’m very disgusted at the many #BoxingHistorians who know better but are silent. Shame on them. #NoIntegrity.

 

FACT VS FICTION: SHOWTIME, “PARIAH: THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF SONNY LISTON”. Based on the book, “THE MURDER OF SONNY LISTON: LAS VEGAS, HEROIN AND HEAVYWEIGHTS”. Is misleading, because it is described as documentary. But if you study the syntax of everything that is being said in the show, it is all scripted.

 

PARIAH: THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF SONNY LISTON
Simon George. Writer Director
Based of the book, The Murder of Sonny Liston: Las Vegas, Murder, and Heavyweights
Black Professors used as props. They state that all black people think alike. A racist trope.
THEY HAVE BASICALLY CREATED A “Who Done It” Without the concern of getting to the truth of the matter.  
#1 LARRY GANDY
My partner and I got a call from dispatch. Says, “ Any narcotics detectives in the area of Ottawa drive to come back”. I went up to the bedroom, there was Sherriff’s deputies running around the place like ants, they were everywhere. It didn’t even look like Liston, he had been dead for so long. He had been dead for four or five days. He was bloated, full of methane gas. It really made me sick to my stomach. Because he was such a predominant figure, in the sports world. I just thought it was a disrespectful way for him to go.
#2 SHAUN ASSAEL
Sonny Liston was the greatest heavyweight who ever lived. I have no doubt about that. He was a bonafide monster. He punched with the force of a government crash test.
#3 MIKE TYSON
Sonny was the first intimidating fighter. With the mean scowl, and the mean grin. He was a real badass. A real menace, a
force.
#4 SHAUN ASSAEL
The way Sonny won most of his fights was before he got into the ring. Those eyes.
#5 LISPSYTE
He was an ex-convict. He was brutal, he was mobbed up. He was a symbol of the Champ we didn’t want.

#6 PROFESSOR HASAN JEFFRIES/ OHIO STATE UNIVERSITYAmerica needed to remind the broader white public of the danger that was black folk. And nobody represented that danger more than Sonny Liston.

#7 PROFESSOR RANDY ROBERTS UNIVERSITY OF PURDUE
Geraldine knew how Sonny died
We don’t know how Sonny Liston died. And in the void created by the absence of rational explanation conspiracy filled it like a foul odor.
#8 SHAUN ASSAEL
Geraldine believed that he died of natural causes. Because of Sonny’s life insurance
The medical examiner called it natural causes. But know one around Sonny believed that. Everyone believed he was murdered. So many people wanted Sonny dead. The only question is, who got to him first.

#9 NIGEL COLLINS RING MAGAZINE

Nobody really knows when Sonny Liston was born. He often gave a date of May 8, 1932. He was probably older than that. There were no records. Not even the family bible had his birthdate in there. So he was a mystery right from the start. Sonny was the 24th of 25 children. His father Tobe was a sharecropper. And with that many mouths to feed. It must have been tuff. Sonny knew what it was like to be hungry. He knew that.

# 10 HELEN JEAN LONT SONNY’S NIECE
In Fare City Arkansas, we were trying to survive. Day to day survival. Cause poor people, we were poor people. So we try to live from day to day.
#11 NIGEL COLLINS RING MAGAZINE
Geraldine taught Sonny to read and write
He didn’t get much of a education. He never learned how to read and write. He was out in the fields working. By the time he was eight years old.

#12 JERRY IZENBERG JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR

The story and I think that it is more than apotholic. The mule dies, and his father says, you’re the mule. Hooks him up to a harness, and he’s… He was whipped by his father to make him work harder. And Sonny had the marks to prove it.

#13 MIKE TYSON
Being beaten as a child really effects your outlook on how you see things. If you had hope for a better life. You would live your life differently. He didn’t have hope for a better life.

#14 Professor Randy Roberts Purdue University

All Sonny knows is violence. And if Sonny looks at the world around him. What does he see? He sees violence toward black men, black children.

#15 Dr. Hasan Kiwame Jeffries- Ohio State University

Jim Crow America was violent, Jim Crow America was dangerous. You could be walking down the street as a young man, as a boy, as a woman. And literally, your life could be snuffed out. That’s what Jim Crow was.

#16 Ring Magazine Editor
1946, Sonny’s mother left to have a better life in St. Louis. Sonny was still living on the plantation, got a bus ticket to St. Louis.

#17 Dr. Hasan Kiwame Jeffries- Ohio State University

They called it black folk in search of the promised land. You get a couple of million black folk, literally. You’re looking for a better way of life. The reality though, was that the promised land was fabled.

#18 Professor Randy Roberts- Purdue University

Sonny finds his mother. Is the mother, she happy to see him? Maybe a little, maybe not. Sonny is another mouth to feed. And then he’s on the streets.

#19 Mike Tyson

He was on the dark side of St. Louis. And he saw how the poor got money. They robbed and stole.

#20 Don Majeski Journalist
Sonny Liston, after some minor infractions, went to the big time. He went to rob a gas station. He went to rob a restaurant. He used a gun in the commission of crimes. Sonny always wore a yellow shirt. Police knew that they were looking for a guy in a yellow shirt. And they got him. After, Sonny was tried and got 5 years in jail. That was the sentence for armed robbery at that time.

#21 Shaun Assael

He went to the penitentiary in Jefferson. Which was a really tuff place. Time Magazine called it, the bloodiest 47 acres in America. Gangs ruled it, there were fights all the time. Guards were afraid to patrol some of D Block.

#22 DON MAJESKI JOURNALIST
Liston was brutalized early In prison. I believe that Liston had to fight for everything he got there. And I think that he took a fair share of beatings. It was a Darwinian existence.

#23 Dr. Leah Wright Rigueur Yale Kennedy School

His story becomes about survival. His story has always been about survival. But it takes on a new element.

#24 RING MAGAZINE DON MAJESKI
Father Stevens who was working at the prison got him into the boxing program. Father Stevens was trying to do a good turn for somebody he felt that might have a chance to break away from a life of crime.

#25 Jerry Izenberg

Boxing has always been a step ladder for poor people without other skills. And Sonny fit that picture 100%

#26 TYSON

Sonny Liston saw boxing as a way out. They didn’t want to live that life in prison no more, they did not want to live that life in the streets. And that is why he excelled ad did so well.

#27 Don Majeski

Sonny was a prodigy, was a revelation. This is a guy who can be a really exceptional athlete a great fighter.

#28 PROFESSOR RANDY ROBERTS

And this is something good. That he can hang his identity onto. This is what his identity is about. Sonny had beaten up all the inmates that got in the ring with him.

#29 Ring Magazine
BOXING IS A NEW ELEMENT OF SURVIVAL FOR SONNY
Sonny had beat up all the inmates that dared get in the ring with him. Father Stevens thought, well lets say what he could do with a pro. So they brought in Thermon Wilson. Who was considered the best heavyweight in the neighborhood. He lasted two rounds with Sonny.
#29 Don Majeski
History of Race Relations leading all the way to Sonny
The manager Mitchelle who brought him in said. I don’t think I should be managing Mitchelle. I should look into handling Liston.
#30 RANDY ROBERTS PURDUE UNIVERSITY
That’s with everything with Sonny Liston. There’s always a subtext. It turns out that Frank Mitchelle is connected to Jonny Vatalli. Johnny Vitali is in the mob. And before you know it Sonny is paroled. He does not have to serve his full year.  Also, Jonny Vitali can offer two things. One he can offer an outside job which is breaking people’s legs.
#31 Don M.
Sonny Liston would be head breaking against union breakers. And there was racketeering and there was picking up money for the Lone Sharks.
#32 Randy Roberts Professor Purdue University
But secondly, John Vitali knows, a guy by the name of Franky Carbo. He is the underboss of boxing.#32 Ring MagazineYou couldn’t get a big fight in most divisions if you didn’t have Carbo on your side. That’s just the way it was. In a way boxing has been corrupt forever. So it wasn’t anything new. But Carbo was more powerful because he had an organization behind him. And he had a reputation as a murderer.
#33 VINCENT
100% Gangster, what does that even mean. Boxing was a way to clean their money legitimize themselves. Find a way out of the game.
Franky Carbo would kill you on a dime. Franky was the real thing. He was 100% gangster. There was no question about that. But Franky loved boxing.

#34 RING MAGAZINE

Sonny decided if I’m ever going to make anything out of my life. I got to go with these guys. Because their the ones that can get me where I want to
go.

#35 Dr. Hasan Kiwame Jeffries- Ohio State University

He chooses this path. And I don’t know how many of us would choose something any different. Given that same set of choices that we had.

#36 Professor Randy Roberts Purdue University
Before you talk professional, its good to get an amateur career. An amateur tryout if you will. So Sonny, enters into the Golden Gloves tournament. He won the Chicago Golden Gloves.
#37 SELF PROCLAIMED FIGHT FIXER
If you wanted to build a perfect Heavyweight. You would use Sonny Liston as your model. He heralded in the era of giant Heavyweights. Without the fact of being a giant Heavyweight himself. He was only a bit over 6’ tall. And he weighed about 200lbs. Liston’s reach was 86”. Which was the greatest reach of any Heavyweight Champion in history. With the possible exception of Prima Vera.

#38 RANDY ROBERTS PURDUE PROFESSOR

He was enormously powerful. Through the shoulders. He had long arms. His fist was like huge hams. His jab was his greatest weapon. And it’s the greatest jab any heavyweight has ever had.

#39 TYSON

Most fighters jabs are just to set the opponent up. Usually its not that hard. But Sonny Liston used it as a weapon to Knock you out. To knock you down.

#40 RANDY ROBERTSON PURDUE PROFESSOR

Sonny’s left jab was a nose cracking, teeth busting, jaw-dropping experience. And they said getting hit by it, was like being hit by a pole.

#41 TYSON

Well, Sonny had a big menacing tuff reputation. And that super ceded him in the ring. He intimidated the fighter. The fighter was really beaten before he got in the ring. Sonny could pull it off. I could pull it off. Not many people could pull it off.

 

 

SYNTAX OF ALL THE SPEAKERS UP UNTIL THIS POINT

Proof that everything that was said in the Showtime Special up until this point was pre-scripted. By having 14 different Speakers in this section, it gives the illusion of a general discussion. There are added lines from the special included below. I will be dissecting the rest of the script at a later date.

My partner and I got a call from dispatch. Says, “Any narcotics detectives in the area of Ottawa drive to come back”. I went up to the bedroom; there were Sherriff’s deputies running around the place like ants; they were everywhere. It didn’t even look like Liston; he had been dead for so long. He had been dead for four or five days. He was bloated, full of methane gas. It really made me sick to my stomach. Because he was such a predominant figure, in the sports world. I just thought it was a disrespectful way for him to go.
Sonny Liston was the greatest heavyweight who ever lived. I have no doubt about that. He was a bona fide monster. He punched with the force of a government crash test. Sonny was the first intimidating fighter. With the mean scowl, and the mean grin. He was a real badass: a real menace, a Force. The way Sonny won, most of his fights were before he got into the ring. Those eyes.

He was an ex-convict. He was brutal; he was mobbed up. He was a symbol of the Champ we didn’t want. Sonny was in the epicenter of the perfect storm as far as what was going on in society. The Civil Rights Era was just starting, and he was the guy in the middle, that took all the grief. America needed to remind the broader white public of the danger that was black folk. And nobody represented that danger more than Sonny Liston.
We don’t know how Sonny Liston died. And in the void created by the absence of rational explanation, conspiracy filled it like a foul odor. The medical examiner called it natural causes. But no one around Sonny believed that. Everyone believed he was murdered. So many people wanted Sonny dead. The only question is who got to him first.

Nobody really knows when Sonny Liston was born. He often gave a date of May 8, 1932. He was probably older than that. There were no records. Not even the family bible had his birthdate in there. So he was a mystery right from the start.
Sonny was the 24th of 25 children. His father Tobe, was a sharecropper. And with that many mouths to feed. It must have been tuff. Sonny knew what it was like to be hungry. In Fare City, Arkansas, we were trying to survive. Day to day survival. Cause we poor people, we were poor people. So we try to live from day to day.

He didn’t get much of an education. He never learned how to read and write. He was out in the fields working. By the time he was eight years old. The story and I think that it is more than apocalyptical. The mule dies, and his father says, you’re the mule. He hooks him up to a harness, and he was whipped by his father to make him work harder. And Sonny had the marks to prove it.
Being beaten as a child really effects your outlook on how you see things. If you had hope for a better life. You would live your life differently. He didn’t have hope for a better life. All Sonny knows is violence. And if Sonny looks at the world around him. What does he see? He sees violence toward black men, black children. Jim Crow America was violent, Jim Crow America was dangerous. You could be walking down the street as a young man, as a boy, as a woman. And literally, your life could be snuffed out. That’s what Jim Crow was.
1946, Sonny’s mother left to have a better life in St. Louis. Sonny was still living on the plantation, got a bus ticket to St. Louis. They called it black folk in search of the promised land. You get a couple of million black folk, literally. You’re looking for a better way of life. The reality though, was that the promised land was fabled. Sonny finds his mother.

His mother, she’s happy to see him. Maybe a little, maybe not. Sonny is another mouth to feed. And then he’s on the street. He was on the dark side of St. Louis. And he saw how the poor got money. They robbed and stole. Sonny Liston, after some minor infractions, went to the big time. He went to rob a gas station. He went to rob a restaurant. He used a gun in the commission of crimes.
Sonny always wore a yellow shirt. Police knew that they were looking for a guy in a yellow shirt. And they got him. After, Sonny was tried and got five years in jail. That was the sentence for armed robbery. Liston was brutalized early in prison. I believe that Liston had to fight everything he got there. And I think that he took his fair share of beatings. It was a Darwinian existence. He went to the penitentiary in Jefferson, which was a really tuff place. Time Magazine called it the bloodiest 47 acres in America. Gangs ruled it; there were fights all the time. Guards were afraid to patrol some of D Block.

 

 

 

BREAK DOWN OF HOW SHOWTIMES, “PARIAH: LIVES AND DEATHS OF SONNY LISTON”, based on the book, THE MURDER OF SONNY LISTON: LAS VEGAS, HEROIN AND HEAVYWEIGHTS, stole my concepts and ideas.

BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON
When I started my research for this book in 2008, I knew that this theory I had for the reason why the world was booing Mr. Ali and favoring Sonny Liston in both their two fights together would become a point of contention for those who would read my book. Why did Sonny Liston become the odds on favorite to beat Cassius Clay? Cassius Clay was the “People’s Champion” and he had won the gold medal at the Olympics. If Sonny was so easy to hate, then shouldn’t Cassius Clay have been that much easier to love? I found that this negative image I had of Sonny was a reflection of my own negative self-image. Sonny reminded me of how I saw myself. And I hated myself. But I didn’t know why. A self that I had been running from for most of my life, an image of myself that I wanted to hide, a negative self- image that I projected onto the face of Sonny Liston. He was the “killing machine, an indomitable-if evil force, a brute, condemned to a life of trouble, and a person of questionable ways’, not me. But at the time there wasn’t any way for me to put my theory to the test. My theory was based entirely on my personal experiences with racism in America. The core of my book would be based on this premise. I was taking an incredible risk by basing my entire book on this idea. But for me, the race issue was the only explanation I could come up with for why the world was responding to both fighters so uncharacteristically. Racism was the only thing in my mind that actually made any sense. And on August 2, 2012 while doing my research on the Liston/Ali fights, I found this quote.
“Clay’s brashness did not endear him to white America, and in fact, made Liston a more sympathetic character; In the New Republic, the magazine’s Editor Murray Kempton (a future Pulitzer Prize- winner for distinguished commentary) wrote,” Liston used to be a hoodlum; now he is our cop, he was the big negro we pay to keep sassy Negroes in line.”
I was the first to use Sonny Liston in this political context of, race, Nation of Islam, Darwinism/ Charles Darwin, Malthus’ Essay, Aristotle, Muhammad Ali, Sport, FBI, Black Community, Racism in America. That is unique to my own experience. As the boxing business side of the Liston family.
My words and concepts are interchangeable. Whenever convenient, they just plugged them into their narrative structure.
BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON
WAR OF WORDS
“I’m going to put him into shock”
LYNEL TEXT. Unfortunately for both Liston and Patterson, they would be swept up into the politics of the day and the picture that politics had painted for them was of two fighters, one good and one bad. Floyd Patterson would be the Prototype and Sonny Liston would be his antithesis. And those few in politics who wanted to control the many would force us not only as a nation but also as black people to make a choice between Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston to be our hero. Like Pontius Pilate who told the crowd to choose between releasing Barabbas or Jesus, the Kennedy administration and the NAACP asked the crowed that same question and the crowed demanded the release of Floyd Patterson and said of Sonny Liston, “Crucify Him!”
PARIAH: THE LIVES AND DEATH OF SONNY LISTON
PROF. RANDY ROBERTS TEXT. Floyd Patterson VS Sonny Liston Fight. There are very few fights like it. Very few in boxing history. In boxing you always want a good guy and bad guy.
BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON
LYNEL TEXT. We have to remember that the Civil Rights Act was not passed until 1964. And that America had had a long and successful history of creating the myths of heroes and anti-heroes, and the belief in the power of good over evil. Using the silent era of cinema as an example, especially the genre of the American Western, how did the audience react when the good guy came on screen? They cheered for him, and how were they able to identify who was the good guy and who was the bad guy? The bad guy always wore a black cowboy hat and the good guy always wore a white cowboy hat. Therefore, once we had determined who was good and who was bad, then we as the audience were ready for the narrator to begin our morality play. We now had our anti-hero and our hero. We were told through the telling of the story who would represent good and who would represent evil, all based on who wore which hat. We cheer for good because of our belief; the belief that good triumphs over evil. That is what religion has taught us to believe.
PARIAH: THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF SONNY LISTON
PROF. RANDY ROBERTS TEXT. In boxing your always want a good guy and bad guy. You want a black hat and a white hat. You want the white hat to win.
BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON
LYNEL TEXT. But when we go to another silent Western with a different title and we find out that those same two actors that we saw in the last film are playing the leads in the new western, except the actor who was playing the bad guy in the last Western is now wearing the white hat. Through this process we realize over time that not only are the cowboy hats interchangeable but so is the telling of this story.
LYNEL GARDNER TEXT. But in the Championship fight between Max Schmeling, a German, and Joe Louis “The Brown Bomber”, the crowd was cheering for Joe Louis who was a Negro and booing the Aryan Max Schmeling. Did this hero worship switch have something to do with the fact that we were about to fight tyranny by going to war with Germany.  In the telling of this story Max Schmeling had the black hat and Joe Louis had the white hat.
PARIAH: THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF SONNY LISTON
PROF. RANDY ROBERTS TEXT.  Joe Louis VS Max Schmeling, representative of Democracy VS Nazi Fascism.  The Patterson/ Liston Fight, was the same thing, I mean it’s good VS Evil. Fight no, it was a morality play. When Liston goes into the ring figuratively wearing his black hat. He’s booed. It’s almost as if your in a movie. Sonny Liston was very comfortable for wearing the black hat by this time. He knew that was the only one he was going to wear. Then suddenly rumors appear that Cassius Clay has secretly joined the Nation of Islam. At this time, they are viewed as an anti-white hate organization.
Similar words BEAST/ PARIAH
Swept away, good and bad, good guy bad guy/good over evil/ silent era of cinema/ black cowboy hat/ white cowboy hat/ morality play/ anti-hero/ hero/ Max Schmelling/ German/ Joe Louis/Cheering booing/ Aryan/ hero/ fight tyranny/ Germany/ Democracy VS Nazi Fascism/ Patterson VS Liston/ Good VS Evil/ Morality play/ figuratively/ Cassius Clay/ Nation of Islam
BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON
“ I’m the king of the world, I am the greatest, I’m Muhammad Ali, I shook up the world, I am the king of the world.”
LYNEL TEXT. One day I just started thinking; what in the world did these statements Cassius Clay was making have to do with boxing. I began asking myself what did Cassius Clay mean by saying “I’m the King of the world?” And why did he change his name to Muhammad Ali? There was a change occurring in society in the 1960s; some would call it a paradigm shift. And what is a paradigm shift but a change in the world view. It wasn’t just a “Black Power” movement happening in America at that time but there was a generational change occurring. A youth movement  occurring and every revolution throughout history begins with its youth.
PARIAH: THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF SONNY LISTON
PROF. RANDY ROBERTS TEXT. The  Liston Clay Fight in Miami in 1964 was a pivotal moment really in America history, America was changing. Changing in Fundamental ways. In November the President of the U.S. had been assassinated. The country had gone into a period of morning Then in February there was a glacial shift in American culture. In music the Beatles arrived from Great Britain Everybody recognized somethings changing. There’s a new wave coming in. Then you have this young brassy, a fighter like no other Cassius Clay. So the Liston Clay Fight has to be viewed in this continuum.
BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON
LYNEL TEXT. Cassius Clay was young and he was articulate. Unlike Sonny Liston who came across as a bit shy , quiet and docile. Sonny gave black people an eerily reminder of a Stepin Fetchit or an Amos and Andy. Sonny’s public persona had a lot to do with his inability to read and write. Cassius Clay on the other hand, was young, irreverent, rebellious, vibrant and energetic.  Cassius Clay had an in-your-face attitude that was new, refreshing and in step with the times.
SIMILAR WORDS BEAST/ PARIAH
1. Fundamental ways/ Glacial Shift/Change/ New wave/ Paradigm shift / continuum are interchangeable words.
2. Brassy is interchangeable with irreverent, rebellious, vibrant and energetic.
BEAST: THE DECONSTRUCTION OF CHARLES SONNY LISTON
FROM CASSIUS CLAY TO MUHAMMAD ALI
“I’m not what you call me, I’m what I respond to.” (African Proverb)
LYNEL TEXT.  Cassius Clay and the Nation of Islam, and the leaders of the “Black Power” movement were secretly encoding messages to the American negro that we were not Negroes but Kings. That negroes were not only black but beautiful and that we could “float like butterflies and sting like bees.” We as people were declaring war on the infidels, a “jihad” and it was time to mobilize. History was about to repeat itself and another “Holy War” was about to begin; was bout to begin; this was going to be as the godfather of soul, James Brown, once put it, “The Big Payback” for the Europeans stopping the expansion of the Moorish Empire into Western Europe.
PARIAH: THE LIVES AND DEATHS OF SONNY LISTON
PROF. RANDY ROBERTS TEXT. Malcom X goes into Clays locker room and says to him. This is your cross and your crescent. Christianity VS the Nation of Islam. So he’ sure that this fight is going to be important. And sure enough he’s right.
SIMILAR WORDS AND MEANINGS PARIAH/ BEAST
1. Prof. Roberts. Cross and Crescent reference = Symbols of Christianity and Islam/ Crusades