Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Jimmy Slater passes

Jimmy Milton Slater

Tuesday, Nov. 27 Comrade Jimmy Slater (b. Sept. 3, 1946) made his transition, and Saturday, Dec. 1 we celebrated his return to the ancestors at a wonderful event hosted by his family, daughter and son-in-law along with grandchildren and many guests.

BJ recalled Jimmy’s arrival in Oakland after successfully working to get the first black mayor elected in Cleveland, Ohio. Here he registered voters and helped with the Bobby Seale for Oakland Mayor campaign. Melvin Dixon spoke about his friend’s co-founding of the Commemorator Newspaper when Huey P. Newton was killed, while Tarika Lewis played “African Village” on acoustic violin. Steve McCutchen spoke of meeting Jimmy for the first time in 1972 at the West Oakland Community Center. His daughter shared a dream she had just as her father was making his transition where she told him to not worry, that the family would take care of her mother and sister. Jimmy’s grandchildren sang original songs, composed for the program. It was one of the most serene and peaceful and loving tributes to a person’s life I have even witnessed. I hadn’t realized the kind man, whom I’d see as I walked the Lake often parked in one of Parks and Rec. trucks, was so African-centered. His family and children know who they are. When we arrived at Roselawn Cemetery in Livermore, when I asked if the family had a plot there, Neico told me that her brother was buried there. Benjamin was killed last year in one of many random, senseless homicides. Jimmy is survived by his wife of 35 years, Cynthia A. Slater, daughters, Neico S. Slater-Sa Ra, and Rashidah K. Slater, son-in-law, Kokahyi Sa-Ra, a brother, grandchildren, and many other relatives and friends.


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