Thursday, August 23, 2007

What's It Time For?


IMG_0214, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

Well, I've been avoiding blogging about this for a while now but a kind reader sent in a great photo. The reader writes:
"This sign is on 11th St - kinda freaks me out, but not sure why."

So here goes: 11th Street between Wonderland and Red Rocks is home to a very curious storefront. I think you can tell from the photo but it reads "Up You Might Race...It's Time". I gulp every time I walk past it. So a few questions naturally come to mind, first and foremost - what the hell is this? Is this group active or is it a blast from the past? I think I've seen one person walk through a side door once. It always seems to be closed. So is this for real? Does it make anyone else a little uncomfortable when they walk by. In all honesty, I think it is the coolest sign in town...if it doesn't mean anything. But if it is for real, well for once, I don't know what to say.

19 comments:

poo poo said...

eh... that kind of freaks me out too!

i think it's a leftover of the days of yore.

i hope so, if it's what i think it means.

i'm gonna have to pass by there and get a 'feel' for it....

reuben said...

Oh dear. The more things change....
We folks of color have to know our playbook and yours, too.. But.. Okay, I'll contextualize this for you. The quote is from Marcus Garvey.. Please "google" him... As for the fear this engenders.. Wow. I'll stop there...

Prince of Petworth said...

Wikipedia quotes Mr. Garvey as saying: "Up, you mighty race, accomplish what you will." I think that has a totally different connotation. But I do feel ridiculous now. Thank you Reuben for the explanation and please don't judge me too harshly even though I may deserve it.

Anonymous said...

This is a quote by Marcus Garvey. Most African-Americans (like me) know this. It was a quote of encouragement to the oppressed.

odentex said...

I think the purpose of the sign is to let all the brothers and sisters know "it's time" to freak out some white boys with cryptic quotations.

Ruben: fair enough... but how many young folks in DC, black or white, do you think know about what happened in their own back yard (literally, at 14th and U) 40 years ago? Forgetting the past is as American as apple pie.

Oh, and an apropos Stokleyism: "Black power can be clearly defined for those who do not attach the fears of white America to their questions about it."

Anonymous said...

When I see that sign, it gives me hope that all of the oppressed people in this city and this country will one day take it back from the corporate thugs that run it. But that's just me.

poo poo said...

oh. well...

shows how much i know about anything.

another day, another lesson.

kinda funny how the place with that sign is... 'empty'.

what is that quote that the famous asian quote that that native american guy translated about the latinos rising and accomplishing stuff?

guess i'm in the wrong city for anyone to know about that. maybe when i'm in tempe arizona i'll ask around.

i seem to remember it was pretty inspiring to those folks.

Christina said...

It's fine not to know where the phrase comes from, Odentex. There's lots of things I don't know. But to "gulp" when you see it or be kind of freaked out about it? In this day of Google when the answer and context is right at your fingertips? That seems a little overwrought.

Prince of Petworth said...

In my own defense, I think you have to look at the building as well. It just seemed a little bit sketchy. But now knowing the origin of the quote of course I feel ridiculous. But I am glad we have discussed it here because I can almost guarantee you that many people don't know what it means. Now, knowing of course I shan't gulp, I shall only smile remembering this discussion...

DCDireWolf said...

I have noticed that sign and automatically assumed (without knowing it was a Garvey quote) that it was connected to some sort of black empowerment message or movement.

What is interesting to me is that because I figured it was a black empowerment message, it didn't cause any fear or curiosity or anything like that. However, if it had been a white empowerment place, some sort of white power meeting place, THEN, I would have been freaked out and upset and a little bit worried.

Not sure what that says,if anything, about me, society in general, or this city. But I found it interesting.

Peace.

odentex said...

DCDire: "white empowerment"? ROTFL! You made my day with that, causing me to imagine some Bob Dobbs-type character, in a smoking jacket, lifting a martini glass high slurring "White Power, Don'tchaknow!"

Christina: not only do I expect PoP to memorize all of Marcus Garvey's famouser quotations, I am also assigning him a book report on H. Rap Brown's little known opus "Whitey, You're in Trouble Now"

;)

Anonymous said...

It might be a quote for and by African Americans, but the font is definitely asian.

Christina said...

I believe that font is called "Chinese Restaurant." :-)

Anyway, we all, meaning me too, should try to be less afraid of things we don't know about. And also not afraid to ask questions...I thought it was Malcolm X who said it,myself (civil rights-type guy whose name begins with an M, close enough)

DCDireWolf said...

"white empowerment". I meant a KKK branch office or a neo-nazi group or some nutcase with a book club who used to work for David Duke or something similar.

I'm well aware that generally speaking whites are way too empowered for their own good and definitely anyone else's.

IntangibleArts said...

As an incurably mellow white guy, I saw the sign, and simply took it as an empowering blast of energy for the folks in the neighborhood. I probably muttered something like; "wow, very cool..."

You certainly don't have to be black to agree with the sentiment. I dig the look of the place, especially the sign. Vacant or not, I hope the sign stays for ages.

Anonymous said...

nice sign...good dialogue

Anonymous said...

The storefront used to have baseball shirts from the Negro League in it on dress forms/mannequins.

Anonymous said...

Okay--well now that we know what it is, I'd like to know what is done with the building! I've seen one or two people coming in once, but never anything else--shouldn't there be empowering activities there--community meetings, or some sort of history display, or a place to organize, or something? Or is it already being used like that and you just have to be in the know?

Anonymous said...

Does anyone else (regardless of color) besides me have an anal retentive side that only shows its self in the face of conspicuously absent punctuation?

One well-placed exclamation mark (or comma, depending on how you "hear" him) could have eliminated the cause of this entire confusion...

"Up! You mighty race, you can accomplish what you will."

Take away the exclamation point and it could easily be read as an "Up You!"

Ah, the power of grammar.