by refixico

Watts 1966 003Tribute to Beah 2

Congratulations, To the Watts Community and the Organizers and Participants of all the 49 Festivals and to the triumphant Survivors and their Descendants of the the 1965 Watts Rebellion. I’m Proud to be from Watts, Ca,. Below you see two photos of me. In the photo on top, I was a 14 year old Watts Gang Member and Youthful Offender. I was suffering from an Identity Crisis and I had become a product of the negative side of my environment. As a gang member, i was a plague on my family, my school and my community. I spent approximately a year, in four different Juvenile Institutions before I was 15. However, with the unconditional Love of the Community and the help from Professional Counselors ,in particular those Counselors at the Los Angeles County Probation Camp Joseph Paige (who came to my life like it was a building on fire) I was able to turn it around and have a future.

In the photo above, taken in 1966, I was chosen to appear in the the First Watts Summer Festival and Parade because I had completed a 10 month Vocational Training Program as a Surgical Technician given at the USC Medical Center L.A. County General Hospital.The program was part of the War on Poverty under President Johnson’s Administration put on by the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. I spent over 30 years of my life working in the medical field as a result of this training. For 6 and a half years I worked at the Watts Health Foundation in the Emergency Room and for 23 years I worked in the Beverly Hills Plastic Surgery Community assisting some of the world’s top Plastic Surgeons at top Surgery Centers including the Beverly Hills Surgery Center and the World Famous Lasky Clinic. The sad part about the Watts Rebellion was that legislation for these programs had been passed in 1964 ,but the country was slow to put them into effect. Thus the conditions of long term poverty (19%) and a sense of hopelessness produced the tinder-box condition that was ignited by a Law Enforcement Traffic Stop gone wrong.

I didn’t confirm the identity of my biological father until I was 52 years old my genealogy was researched by the Smithsonian Institution and I was featured by them in a book and exhibit entitled: “indiVisible” African-Native American Lives in the Americas. I found out that I am a Seminole Maroon Descendant . Ironically, a few years ago, through my own research I found out that Rena And Marquette Frey are my Black Indian/Seminole Maroon cousins both I and them have roots in Dosar Barkus Freedman/Maroon Band of the Oklahoma Seminole Nation . Our Maroon Ancestors won their Freedom and a ticket to Indian Territory as a result of their fighting in the 2nd Seminole War, which costs the United States 40 million dollars just like the Watts Rebellion. Undeniable progress has been made in America as evidenced by the Presidency of Barack Obama. In closing ,after confirming my identity almost 17 years ago, I have become an Activist.

The most powerful Maroon Descendant group in the Western Hemisphere (Jamaica,Suriname.Trindad &Tobago), known as the Maroon Women Chamber of Cooperation has chosen me as the North American Maroon Representative to participate in the 255th Anniversary Celebration of Maroon Freedom in Suriname (Thank you Ambassador Dr, Fidelia Graand-Galon), It takes place in Paramaribo, Suriname, South America. God is so good and greatly to be praise…God Bless America! “Through Warm Tears of Gratitude” Phil Wilkes Fixico, North American Maroon Representative and Private-Sector-Partner for the National Underground Railroad/Network to Freedom 1998 Act.

P.S. Special thanks to Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Watts Summer Festival Executive Director Ms. Pamela Garrett, Wm. L. Katz the author of “Black Indians and Dr. Kevin Mulroy, the “World’s Leading Authority on Seminole Maroons” and my Smithsonian Institution Researcher.