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If We Ever Needed to Know Black History Before, We Need to Know It Now!

Black news from Pasadena - Black history and strong black women and menThere 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.

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Racism Takes No Holidays

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary on racism and the Red Tails - Tuskegee airmenI 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!

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Education, Still the Key to Success

-- Communities Must Partner Together

Black news from Pasadena - Commentary on education, the key to successThe 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.

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MLK's Dream Must Be Watered . . .

. . . Or It Could Wither and Die

African American news from Pasadena - Commentary on Republicans and Martin Luther King Jr. and the Trumpet AwardsMy 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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Thoughts for 2012

Black news from Pasadena - Commentary on 2012One year ago I started this forecast with a review of a message preached by my youngest son, Dr. Jamal Hopkins, for Christmas 2010. He brought the message at Pasadena's Scott United Methodist Church where Pastor James Stephens is the senior Pastor. This year we were blessed to have him invited to Altadena's Metropolitan Baptist Church where Pastor Tyrone Skinner is the senior Pastor. The 2011 message was from the book of Jeremiah. He spoke about the people of Israel being captive in a strange land.

The message seemed particularly appropriate for African Americans today, even though our ancestors arrived here under less than ideal circumstances nearly four hundred years ago, we still find ourselves in a strange land where we are still treated as "less than."

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