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What is Your Legacy?

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - your legacyThis week I received a call from a man who was the first Black professor at Pepperdine University. He was hired in 1968 as a result of what was called the radical and militant first Black Student Union at Pepperdine. I was a founding member in 1967. As a note, the provost Pepperdine at that time was former PCC president and State Senator Jack Scott. The professor had called to say, essentially, thanks for the militance of over forty years ago. He had spent a thirty-five year career at Pepperdine and, in effect, was saying he had heard I hadn't changed. He was saying I was right then and, in a sense, I am still right because there is still work to be done. I accept that phone call and what it meant as part of the legacy of my life.

Also this week, the world watched as Steve Jobs, one of the founders of Apple Computers, died. He left a legacy of being a great entrepreneur. His words a few years ago, as he contemplated death, are still haunting and profound. He said, "Your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Jobs was adopted because his mother's family didn't want her to marry the Syrian father, I guess because he wasn't pure WASP. Jobs said his working class adopted family had little money by the time he entered college, so he dropped out of Reed College after one year. But he was a driven genius who, at age thirteen, went to William Hewlett, head of Hewlett Packard Corporation, and asked him to give him old computer parts so he could complete a class project. The rest of his technological genius is history. He died at 56, leaving four children and a wife of twenty years to carry on.

Another story this week is of entertainer Michael Jackson's doctor which played itself out in the courts of Los Angeles. There, the power forces are working to prove that someone other than Michael Jackson was at fault for his untimely death. Jackson's legacy will be that he was a musical genius but he was also a drug addict, plain and simple. His addiction killed him. Now the alleged drug dealer is on trial.

We watched this week as the conservative American White power structure continued to work tirelessly to destroy the American economy. Their goal is to make sure that a Black President will be blamed for the destruction of the economy and not be allowed to serve another term. The American electorate is being treated to tricks and ploys to keep the Black man out of the Presidency. One person called the American election system "a lottery" rather than an election, and the one who has the most money wins the lottery and elects the next political leader and President.

We also watched as it was exposed that the White wife of the Black Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, has taken over one million dollars in gifts for an organization she heads. The money is ostensibly to influence his vote on the upcoming case regarding the upcoming Health Care Bill, called Obamacare. That will be the Clarence Thomas legacy – that he was bought and paid to keep Black folks and poor folks in poverty. He also voted with the other four conservatives on the court to determine that a corporation is a person and has the right to influence voting with unlimited amounts of their money.

Shirley Chisholm's saying of, "un-bought and un-bossed" will never be associated with Thomas. But one certainly can attribute Chisholm's statement as part of Jobs' legacy. I like what Steve Jobs said because he was essentially saying that you should live your life your way and don't worry about what others will say . . . I have never let the noise of other's opinions drown out my inner voice. What is the legacy you would want to leave?