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Black Education, a Continuing Struggle, Stalled

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial on black education and black colleges and universities - a black college in the westIn a recent interview regarding black colleges, a young white reporter asked me why I thought there were no black colleges or universities outside the south. I answered that I understood the reason for starting black colleges was because blacks were not allowed into public colleges in the segregated and Jim Crow-ruled south. The creation of the black colleges was to compensate for the absence of Black educational institutions and the need for a black educated population. The second part of the answer is that with integration becoming the law of the land, following the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education and subsequent Civil Rights victories, there appeared to be no need. These victories gave the false impression and a false sense of security that Blacks could then go to any school they were qualified to attend. That sense of security has been shattered by the ongoing efforts of an unrelenting group of white supremacists and self-hating Blacks like Clarence Thomas and Ward Connerly.

In their book, I'll Find A Way Or Make One, Juan Williams and Dwayne Ashley make the point that the principal measure of Black progress over the generations is the growing number of educated Black people trained and positioned to produce better Black churches, businesses and colleges. During and following slavery, it was so important to educate the masses to the point that many risked their lives to even learn to read.

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Black History and Education

African American news from Pasadena - editorial on Black History month and educationAfter all is said and done, Black History Month is an opportunity to emphasize the importance of education for, by, and of Black people, worldwide. It is not just about African Americans. It is about Black folks across the world and the Diaspora, if you please. Why Educate is a question that is addressed in a 2009 book by Mike Rose entitled, "WHY SCHOOL". It is also a question addressed by African Americans, ever since they arrived on the shores of the so-called United States of America. The reasons addressed by Rose and writers from the Black Diaspora are different. That should come as no surprise. Rose says education's primary purpose is to secure a place in the economy, whereas writers from the Black Diaspora also feel, in addition to the economic reason, education as also a method of passing on our culture and our traditions.

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Celebrating Family, Valentine’s Day and Black History

Black news from Pasadena - Editorial on marriage and our families are our historyMy wife and I attended a conference on marriage as participants and presenters, last week. The event was sponsored by Abundant Harvest Christian Center of Altadena where pastors Anthony and Michelene McFarland serve as leaders. The event is held annually, in conjunction with Valentine's Day and, therefore, is conducted in a romantic setting with dinner, speakers, workshops, games to magnify marriage and have some fun with music, dancing entertainment, along with ministry intertwined dealing with serious issues of marriage.

The romantic location this year was the Queen Mary ship (hotel) in Long Beach, California. The event provided an opportunity for my wife, Miss Ruthie, and I to share a few of the things we have learned over the fifty years we have been together with other couples and leaders who also served as presenters. Marriage is, after all, hard work and needs constant attention to make it work and keep it working. We say thanks to Abundant Harvest leaders for focusing on what is important to communities, i.e.; keeping families together. That is more important than anything for a church to focus on, including the offering, the pastor, or the building fund.

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Remembering the Lynching Tree

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial on remembering the lynching treeEvery 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.

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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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