Jitu Weusi, Towering Black Empowerment Advocate, Dies

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Jitu Weusi. Photo credit: corenyc.org


Jitu Weusi, one of the founders of the Black United Front, an education advocate and a fixture in many of New York's political struggles to advance Black empowerment passed away this afternoon.

Weusi was also a big promoter of jazz, and co-founder of the Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival.

He had battled kidney cancer since he was diagnosed in January, this year and he wrote a moving essay about his heroic battle in April. Even though the family knew Weusi faced tough challenges after the diagnosis, his wife of 28 years, Angela Weusi told The Black Star News "we were prepared for this only somewhat."

"We rejoice in the fact that he is now with the ancestors," Angela Weusi added. She said a celebration of Weusi's life and funeral arrangements were still being finalized.

Weusi was a public school teacher in the 1960s and involved in the struggle to decentralize schools in the Ocean Hill-Brownsville campaign -- the community wanted more say and control over the schools.

The National Black United Front in a statement posted on Facebook said: "Baba Jitu K. Weusi, founder of the National Black United Front has crossed over to the realm of the Egungun (Ancestors) today. We are thankful for the contributions he has made to the liberation of Afrikan People. He will forever be missed and loved. May Olodumare, the Orishas & Egungun be pleased with his work."

Angela Weusi said a reporter from The Daily News who was preparing an obituary had contacted the family to ask about Weusi's alleged anti-Semitism. Weusi denied making anti-Semitic statements in a New York Times 1989 article and also told the newspaper that he had "repeatedly expressed regret, at meetings with Jewish groups, over his reading of" a poem in 1969, written by a student, that was denounced.

Information about Jitu Weusi's home-sending will be published as soon as it becomes available.



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