Thomas Sankara in Harlem

The 5th President of Burkina Faso -Thomas Sankara (1949-1987) – visited Harlem in 1984 to give an impassioned speech asking for solidarity between Africans and the African diaspora.

Sankara spoke at Harriet Tubman Elementary School (P.S. 154) in Harlem, New York City, after the Reagan Administration denied President Sankara an official state visit to the White House – likely the result of Sankara’s socialist and Pan-African rhetoric. Sankara, who was in New York City to speak at the United Nations at the time, received word of the Reagan Administrations’ decision and headed uptown to Harlem.

President Sankara’s most inflammatory catchphrase was: “For the African Revolutionary, My White House is in Black Harlem!”

Note that the president also unhooked his belt and raised the belt and his pistol to emphasize his belief in direct revolution.

President Sankara was overthrown and killed in a coup three years later.

Amsterdam News Reports on the Plight of the small (Black) Landlord

Amsterdam News reports on how Black landlords are finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat in New York City.

Small homeowners — multi-generational, multi-family, often Black and brown homeowners – are increasingly leaving New York, or unable to continue as landlords in many of New York City’s residential and renter neighborhoods. 

Black and minority home and property owners have been left at the mercy of the financial crisis in the early 2000s, and the COVID-19 pandemic only furthered housing insecurity.

“We’ll never own property at the rate we owned. Never again,” said Community Activist Paul Toomer Muhammad. “This is the foolishness.” Muhammad has been a property owner in East New York in Brooklyn for almost 20 years. He had two properties. His neighborhood is 55.4% Black and 34.9% Hispanic.
Muhammad blames “aggressive” emergency pandemic policies like the city’s eviction moratorium and the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)/Landlord Rental Assistance Program (LRAP) for setting back small landlords in one- to four-unit homes because they were not distinguished enough from large commercial buildings or buildings with more than six rent-controlled units, and therefore not protected. 

Some Black landlords have joined the lawsuit five small landlords filed against State Attorney General Letitia James, claiming that the COVID Foreclosure Prevention Act hurt their interests.

“I’m in the same court system where you can stall a tenant in my house for a year and a half, but I still have to pay mortgage, water bill, tax, heat, electricity,” said Muhammad. “A foreclosure is an eviction to the landlord and the tenant.”

To read more, see: