Did you know? February is Black History month in America. I’m sure, you’re all reading the social media posts which are honoring Black History or maybe you’re attending events themed toward Africa American culture, yes Black History has such a rich legacy embedded in American history.
Well, I just listened to the thought provoking audiobook The O’Dell File by Victor Navasky, a longtime editor of The Nation which is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States. Yep, The O’Dell File was just released yesterday via Audible.com. It was such a treat to myself, especially for Black History Month. I haven’t had the patience to manually read as much books as I would like too. So, once I received an audio book via email to review; I jumped at the chance being the life-long learner that I am.
What can I honestly tell you about The O’Dell File? For starters, let’s just say I’m hungry for more knowledge about the unsung history of my own African American heritage after reading the book. In The O’Dell File, Victor Navasky mysteriously constructed an eye opening biography forged together by the life and times of an unsung Civil Rights Hero named Hunter Pitts O’Dell, who was at one time a close confidant of American Civil Rights Legend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Did you know? Hunter Pitts O’Dell went by the name Jack O’Dell.
The back drop of O’dell’s story is chronicled by events that took place during the Civil Rights Era. On the flip side The O’Dell File is also a documentary whereas, Navasky created a story within a story boarder lining his own reality having personally interviewed Jack O’Dell coupled up with fact finding and research.
Inspired by an old secret Jack O’Dell FBI file, which; Navasky accidentally tumbled upon while doing research for another one of his books. Navasky uses The O’Dell File to narrate informative Civil Rights history through the trials and tribulations of a Black Revolutionist faced with lots of political drama.
Did you know? The Civil Rights Movement faced the ideology of Communism.
Well, I guess it’s not a total surprise because most of us are familiar with the challenges Booker T. Washington’s Black Nationalism, Malcolm X’s Nation of Islam and Marcus Garvey’s Pan- Africanism ideologies faced during the Civil Rights Era? Yep, you guessed it! A conflict of contracting ideologies can kill a movement and a people. United you stand, divided you fall!
Nevertheless, O’Dell’s story in The O’Dell File reads like six degrees of separation from a group of historical and notable people during the Civil Rights Era that we all know and admire. I’d bet you’d be curious to find out why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. fired Activist Jack O’Dell from a key leadership position he once held in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference organization. It’s also been said that O’Dell’s professional relationship was Dr. King was one of the reasons J Edgar Hoover, head of FBI during the Civil Rights Movement; has Dr. King wiretapped and bugged. You should also know American Voting Rights Activist Fannie Lou Hamer makes an appearance in the book. There’s also mention of the shaky relationship O’Dell had with American Civil Rights Activist Jesse Jackson in the book. Yep, Jack O’Dell was once a key player in the Rainbow PUSH coalition and he left PUSH because of a difference in political opinion with Jackson. All and all, there are many challenges one must face in life and Navasky does a great job in displaying the good, bad and ugly side of the life and times of Civil Rights Activist Jack O’Dell.
On the other hand, as an American Social Change Agent, Jack O’Dell left a positive footprint in the world through his unique political organizing skills and journalism endeavors via several African American newsletters; he was also a College Professor and mentored many. Navasky classified O’Dell as one of the greatest Political Fundraisers of the Black Freedom movement in America. O’Dell even has a building named after him. Not a bad life, I would say for an unsung hero!
Yep, Jack O’Dell was once labeled a Communist by the FBI. But, all things considered Navasky corrects this oversight by writing a book about this extraordinary human rights rebel with a cause that “helped take the American Civil Rights protests of the 1960s and forged them into a vehicle for contesting power at the national level” in America. According to Navasky; O’Dell had an unsung social and economic visionary plan for the greater good of the world. Yep, that plan is listed in the book The O’Dell File.
At the end of reading or listening to The O’Dell File you’ll too have a better understanding of what life was like for Hunter Pitts O’Dell, a man once labeled the #5 Communist in American during the Civil Rights Era. You’ll also have a better understanding of what kept one of the greatest American Social Change Agents full of optimum and guess what ya’ll he was a smart and skilled Black man.
Lastly, Victor Navasky’s take on the life and times of Hunter Pitts O’Dell; left me the listener with the idea that it’s a tragedy when the great ones with the most powerful voices miss out on the opportunity to truly sing on an international level. Be sure to download the audiobook at Audible here.