Roland Sheppard


A Collection of Roland Sheppard’s Essays

PaintersLadderThe View From The Painters Ladder

Front CoverWhy the U.S. Government Assassinated Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. $2.95 (USD) Purchase the e-book

In the 1960s, I regularly attended Malcolm X’s meetings in Harlem. I am one of the few remaining people who personally witnessed the assassination of Malcolm X in the Audubon Ballroom.


Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘Dream’ is not possible under the ‘Nightmare’ of capitalism. The system of capitalism is based on the exploitation of Labor, and racism is required to divide and weaken the working class. As Malcolm X said: “Racism is profitable. If it was not profitable, it would not exist.


The previous Civil Rights Movement offers valuable lessons for today: if we don’t let them divide us; if we keep our politics independent of the Republican and Democratic Parties and the Government; if we rely only upon our own power in the streets, in the schools, and at work; if we take up the struggles of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the many other heroes of the movement – we can win. – Roland Sheppard


Roland Sheppard Speaking Against Gentrification San Francisco City Hall 4/26/06

My name is Roland Sheppard, I am a retired Business Representative of Painters Local #4 in San Francisco. I have been a life long social activist and socialist. Prior to my being elected as a union official in 1994, I worked for 31 years as a house painter.

House painting was my vocation, but working for a better world has been my lifelong avocation. I became especially interested in the environment when I was diagnosed with cancer due to my work environment as a painter.

I have led a unique life. I am one, of the few people remaining, who was at the Audubon Ballroom when Malcolm X was assassinated.

I learned how to write essays, when I first got a computer, in 1998.  Using the Internet and my word processor, I was able to put together all the medical legal arguments on my breakthrough workers’ compensation case in California, proving that my work environment, as a painter, had caused my cancer. During the course of the five-year struggle, I won a $300,000 settlement of my court case and, incidentally, I learned how to write.

My essays are my view from the Painter’s Ladder. I was in the words of Robert Tressell, a Ragged Trousered Philanthropist, a phrase that Tressell used, in his book, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist, to explain the exploitation of workers, under capitalism, who willingly sell their labor and donate the surplus value, which their labor produces, to the boss. (Hear A Lecture About The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist)

In my retirement, I am writing about my life experiences as a socialist, as a participant in the Black Liberation Movement, the Union Movement, and almost all social movements. My, essays are based upon my involvement in the struggle for workers democracy and freedom for all humanity. It is my hope that these essays, which I regularly update, when I discover more facts, will help future generations of Freedom Fighters.

My web page stands for equality of all people, These essays are written from my ground floor view as a participant in the Antiwar movement, the Black Liberation Movement, the Women’s Movement and the struggle for workers democracy and freedom for all humanity. For Socialism!

If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation—want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. . . . Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. — — Frederick Douglass

The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make the criminal look like he’s a the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. — Malcolm X