‘Elombe Brath Way’ in Harlem

Elombe Brath’s widow Nomsa Brath, and their son Cinque Brathwaite (Photo by Bill Moore via Amsterdam News)

Three years after the death of Elombe Brath, public officials, dignitaries, family, friends and fellow activists honored the Brooklyn-born, Bronx-raised “freedom fighter” at a street co-naming ceremony Sept. 30, on what would have been his birthday. The Elombe Brath Foundation, along with community activists, have called for the corner of 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, also named “African Square,” to bear Brath’s name ever since he died.

On Saturday, reports Herb Boyd for Amsterdam News, people remembered Brath and his contribution to Black and African communities.

After the traditional African ceremonial libations by Nana Camille Yarbrough and a percussion choir, Cinque Brathwaite, one of Elombe’s seven children and president of the Elombe Brath Foundation, moderated what Yarbrough defined as a “dream event.”

“Elombe was a family man who brought us closer to Africa,” she intoned before offering a sustained ululation in tribute to Brath.

Council member Charles Barron said that “Elombe spoke truth to power unrelentingly. He gave us the courage and truth we needed in our fight against white supremacy and imperialism.”

Others spoke of Brath’s roles and achievements, among them:

  • Hosted “Afrikaleidoscope” on NYC’s WBAI radio station
  • Co-founded the December 12th Movement, a Black human rights organization in NYC
  • Co-founded Grandassa Models and started the “Black is Beautiful” campaign
  • Consultant on African Affairs for ABC’s “Like It Is” with host Gil Noble
  • Co-founded the Patrice Lumumba Coalition, which advocated for African liberation

Former Assemblymember Keith Wright spoke of how the new “Elombe Brath Way” sign is “showing us the way forward.”

He added, “It’s Elombe’s way of telling us the way to go down Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard, pass Dr. John Henrik Clarke Place, and even where my father’s sign is posted. Elombe was unapologetically Black and always showing us the way to go.”

For more from the ceremony on the life of Elombe Brath and his accomplishments, as well as on complaints over the “African Square” sign, go to Amsterdam News.

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