On April 7th, 2023, Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin was invited by SCI-Arc faculty and students to deliver an impromptu verbal meditation on a series of topics, including humanity, hope, the individual, collectivity, transformation, strategy, oppression, ungovernability, resistance, the mind, equality, unbuilding, and joy. At the vibrant age of 76 years, Lorenzo did not disappoint, leaving us with the ultimate gifts of blueprint and possibility. Lorenzo was the culminating speaker of the seminar “Do the Poor Weep For Rome? Reading Mike Davis Into the Future” organized by SCI-Arc faculty Thabisile Griffin and John Cooper to honor and invoke the spirit of the late, great historian, urbanist, and activist Mike Davis who was faculty at SCI-Arc in the 1990s and who passed in Fall 2022.
Elder, anarchist, teacher, former member of Black Panther Party and SNCC, and life-long revolutionary, Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin has catalyzed the movement for liberation on many fronts. Agitating against war and racial segregation in the ‘50s and ‘60s, Lorenzo participated in NAACP youth group sit-in protests that helped end racial segregation in Chattanooga. In 1969, Lorenzo was framed for the murder of a KKK leader, but escaped by hijacking a plane to Cuba. Captured by the CIA in Eastern Europe, Lorenzo was extradited back to the US and sentenced to life imprisonment. Lorenzo’s activism did not cease, and in 1979 he authored Anarchism and the Black Revolution, revised and republished in 2021, which remains the original and ever-radical statement of Black Anarchism, empowering and imparting struggle methods to many. An international campaign led to Lorenzo’s release from jail after 15 years, and Lorenzo continued to fight against criminality in the governing regime through Concerned Citizens for Justice, while based in Chattanooga.
With his wife, also a former Black Panther Party member, journalist, and veteran organizer– JoNina Abron-Ervin, he has organized rallies and marches against police brutality, founded the Memphis Black Autonomy Federation, and initiated the Black Autonomy podcast. Lorenzo continues to speak and organize internationally.
Crew Credits –
SCI-Arc Channel Creator and Executive Producer - Hernan Diaz Alonso
SCI-Arc Channel Executive Producer - Reza Monahan
SCI-Arc Channel Creative Director - William Virgil
Segment Producers - Thabisile Griffin/John Cooper
Director - William Virgil
Director of Photography - Alex Velasco
Swing Techs - Jacquie Velasco/Michael Rice
Sound Engineer - Carli Plute
Story Producers - Thabisile Griffin/John Cooper/William Vigil
Editors - Michael Rice/Reza Monahan
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