Tuesday would have been Yusuf Kirriem Hawkins 46th birthday.
The Brooklynite was viciously murdered in his own hometown almost 30 years ago when a quest to purchase a used car led him to a predominately white part of Brooklyn.
16-year old Yusuf Hawkins and three friends ventured into Bensonhurst on a summer’s night in 1989 to purchase a 1982 Pontiac. They were instead met with a racist mob who ambushed them. The mob of approximately 30 white men were armed with weapons, including a firearm and baseball bats. They shouted racial epithets at the black youths and violently attacked them.
Yusuf Hawkins was shot twice in his chest and killed.
Lynch mobs hunting black people has been propagandized as being a practice of an ancient past.
However, every generation has a story of such occurrences happening during their lifetime. These happenings leave indelible imprints on those who have watched them unfold directly or collaterally. We must never forget!!
A one time Dr. W.E.B Dubois lived in Brooklyn, New York. He lived at 31 Grace Court in Brooklyn Heights. Reportedly, Dr. DuBois bought the house from Arthur Miller, who wrote his play, “Death of a Salesman” at the address.”
I came across a 2012 Huffington Post article written by Alan Singer that explores how enslaved Africans built up Brooklyn. The article also discusses a Brooklyn-located African burial ground.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“At the time of the American Revolution about a third of the population of Kings County were enslaved Africans, but their contributions to clearing the forests, dredging the harbors, and building the infrastructure of Brooklyn has largely been erased from history. The former African cemetery in the Kings County town of New Lots is now a playground between Schenck, New Lots, and Livonia Avenues and Barbey Street under the IRT #3 line “El.” It is next to the New Lots branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.
Ironically, the park is named for one of the largest slaveholder families in the area…The plaque mentions that the “park was the site of Public School 72, which was abandoned in 1944,” but it does not mention the enslaved Africans who lived there and built the early farms, roads, and homes of Brooklyn.”