Tuesday, 07 February 2012 20:59
Every Easter the world remembers the cross and the death of Jesus, as a symbol of Jesus Christ's dying to save the world. Every February, Americans remember the contributions of Black Americans to the greatness of America. What is missing is a day to recall the terror and the pain that Black Americans suffered at the hands of white supremacists for the purpose of maintaining the illusion of white supremacy.
In his book,"The Cross and The Lynching Tree", Black theologian, Dr. James Cone, points out the fact that the cross and the hanging tree are both symbols of death. Why do we honor one but are ashamed of the other? People proudly wear crosses with Jesus' body on them around their neck to tell the world they are Christians. But we shudder to think of a picture of a Black man hanging from a tree in an American city. Some of you are even turned off at reading this reminder.
I suggest that you take a look at the photographs in James Allen's book, "Without Sanctuary." The accompanying post cards, announcing and sometimes depicting the hanging, tell the story of the terror that Black folks lived with for three centuries in America and the freedom of whites to do as they pleased to African Americans. It also tells the stories of what Blacks had to endure in this land and the fact that they survived without becoming a race of insane people.
The untold story of the lynching tree is a gap in American History. The remnants of the psychic that perpetuated the lynching tree answers the question of why Affirmative Action, why Black colleges, why we are the last hired and the first fired, and it answers the questions about police officers who feel they have a license to harass and use excessive force on Blacks. It also answers the question of why there are angry Black men and women.
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 22:00
There is an old Black Gospel song that says, "If I ever needed the Lord before, I sho (sure) do need him now." I can relate these words in these hard economic times that the world is going through right now. I think about Black History because Black folks as a people have seen hard times before, and survived, leaving the world to wonder what makes us so strong. Truth be told, we should have all been dead, or crazy, with what we have had to go through, but we keep coming back, strong.
Reverend Jeremiah Wright addresses our strength in his book, What Makes You So Strong?. You recall Rev. Wright. He was Barack Obama's pastor until white folks started analyzing him and determined that they couldn't deal with the truth of what he was preaching and failed to understand the context in which he delivered his messages.
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 20:47
I recently wrote an article based on a question asked of one of my granddaughters. I called her Miss E in the article [December 1, 2011]. This week my wife and I took Miss E and her brother, Seth, my oldest grandson, to see the movie, Red Tails, for his eighteenth birthday. Once again Miss E, who is an A student, had one of her soul searching questions. She wanted to know if what she saw really happened. Red Tails is, of course, part of the story of the Tuskegee Airmen. The answer was "Yes, Miss E, it really happened. And even worse things happened to them than shown in the movie. The movie showed a mild version of what really happened.
As an aside, anyone watching the movie has now seen another reason for abandoning any efforts to normalize and mainstream the "N" word. Of course you have to have knowledge of the past and self respect to understand what I am saying. Too many of our young people don't!
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 21:19
-- Communities Must Partner Together
The Wednesday, January 11, 2011 New York Times published a front page story about a Black South African mother who was trampled to death waiting in line to get her child a seat in the state funded University. This was an opportunity to get a top quality education in one of the schools where Blacks were not allowed to attend during Apartheid. Thousands of Black South Africans waited in the lines before the break of day to try to get a seat. These South Africans understand that education is their ticket out of generational poverty, homelessness and joblessness.
The struggle to get an education is universally recognized as the key to progress and the road that leads out of poverty to better health, fewer unwanted pregnancies, less violence, less infant mortality, and fewer High School drop-outs. Of course, it leads to better employment and higher educational opportunities. This week I encountered a single, unemployed mother of three children at the courthouse. She has two of her children in the system and was trying to get the message to them that education, progressive friends, and not shortcuts or crime, was the best road to success. This mother should not be alone in her struggle to keep her children in school. We all need to find a way to help her and others like her.
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 19:56
. . . Or It Could Wither and Die
My wife and I spent this past weekend in Atlanta, Georgia attending the Trumpet Awards. The Trumpet Awards is an annual event saluting African American Achievement. The event was created in 1993 by Dr. King's longtime associate, Xernona Clayton. Ms. Clayton, who worked closely with Dr. King at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, became the first African American person to host her own television show in the south, in 1969.
Guests of Ms. Clayton get to participate in and play a small part in the Trumpet Award's weekend of events. The events included the induction of Civil Rights' giants into the Civil Rights Walk of Fame at the Ebenezer Baptist Church where Dr. King served as pastor during the height of the Civil Rights struggles of the sixties and seventies. Our son, Dr. Jamal Hopkins, delivered the invocation at the induction ceremony a couple years ago. This year, I participated in the program as a Ribonier to one of the inductees.
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