HomePrevious EditorialsOn the Road Along Freedom’s Highway, Watch Out for Snakes!

On the Road Along Freedom’s Highway, Watch Out for Snakes!

African American news from Pasadena - Editorial - Snakes along Freedom's HighwayBlack America has fought hard and long to travel freedom's road from slave ship and slave house, to the drawing rooms of corporate power, to America's White House. Along freedom's highway, Black African slaves picked up victories over oppression, and other passengers who had been discriminated against often became the victims of those they saved.

Programs and movements with names like Abolition preceded Emancipation, Freedom and Civil Rights. A Civil Rights program designed to create equality and redeem Blacks, called Affirmative-Action, gave rights to Blacks who had suffered so-called legal discrimination, Jim Crow Laws, and unthinkable humiliation, intimidation, and just plain unfair treatment. This was the circumstance of enslaved Black people in America. Black females suffered the additional indignities of rape by their captors and slave owners.

Groups following the African American Civil Rights struggle include Hispanics, white women, Gay Rights, Americans with Disabilities, and those fighting for Religious freedom. All these groups joined the passenger list along freedom's highway. Often those who joined the movement, such as white women, moved to the front of Blacks who had suffered first and struggled most. When the last count was done, those white women who had suffered least had moved forward, as leaders chose winners and losers following them. In choosing the winners, they forgot the strugglers who paved the way for them and chose those who looked most like them. This happened with group after group, pushing Blacks further and further back.

As is a historical fact and irony, that makes no sense. Those who fight to build the life-saving mechanism often never get to enjoy it before it is destroyed by a later generation. An example of this is best depicted in a song by Oscar Brown Jr. who sings about a lady that picked up a snake to nurse it back to health. At some point the snake recovers and bites her, proclaiming, "You knew I was a snake when you picked me up." Another example is the dog that bites the hand that feeds him. Blacks have always, with opened arms, accepted others who are struggling, but group after group have continued to shut Blacks out in favor of only their own kind.

Sadly, along with others turning against Blacks, we also have Blacks turning against Blacks. From the highest offices, such as Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, to the lowest such as Black on Black crime in our neighborhoods, and everywhere in between, such as the Larry Elders and Ward Connerly's. These Black Uncle Toms exist in city and state governments and in school districts. We've witnessed the token Blacks in the corporate board rooms and in management positions who think they are special by being the only (Black) one and will not reach back to help bring another Black in.

Recently, one of the newest passengers on the freedom train seeking equality was discovered in the Black Gay Lesbian Transgender (BGLT) movement.

One of the great achievements of the Black struggle has been the creation of the Historical Black Colleges and Universities. The Slave labor economy created a need for skilled labor and, from the beginning of America, that labor has been provided by Blacks whether they were enslaved Africans or post Civil War freedmen.

The need for education created a need for education, but education was either restricted to certain menial tasks or outlawed. The need for education resulted in the creation of Black schools and ultimately colleges and universities for Blacks who were shut out of white colleges and universities.

A unique Institution of Black Educational ingenuity was the creation in 1958 of The Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC). The Institution was the brainchild of Dr. Harry Van Buren Richardson and took the unique step of combining four denominations into one institution. The four denominations included Baptist, Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal, and Christian Methodist Episcopal, and were brought together to form ITC. Today there are twenty-one denominations represented with a core of seven denominations which include Disciples of Christ (Christian Church), Church of God In Christ, United Church of Christ, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Lutheran, Episcopal, and Roman Catholic. The founding Institutions were Morehouse School of Religion, Gammon Theological Seminary, Turner Theological Seminary and Philips School of Theology. Its stated mission was to eradicate societal ills through a high quality education allowing students of varying denominations to serve the Black Religious Community.

Nothing in the mission has changed at ITC, however, it seems that a rogue constituency, led by a Black female professor who champions the cause of the BGLT agenda, seems hell bent on changing the core mission of the founders of ITC from serving the Black community. Instead this ITC professor, along with the help of a new Black ITC president, sees the mission changing to serving the goals of a Black, Gay, Lesbian and Transgender community, exclusively. This ITC female professor and so-called supervisor seeking recognition for women decided that she would join the long line of persecutors of straight Black males. She sought to make a place for presumed lesbian women and plotted to fire and sacrifice an ITC Black male professor (a young brother and family man with young children) who does not promote the BGLT agenda. In crab-like tradition she sought to lift herself and her sisters up by pulling a brother down to the bottom of the crab barrel.

In this case, the young brother understood that his role as a father, a role model for his son and daughter, and his people, needed him to fight back, because freedom means having nothing left to lose. He further understood that to allow someone to take your dignity leaves you a legacy and reputation of losing a fight and allowing yourself to stand, pressed to the wall.

We can think of ITC as being a pie in ten pieces. Instead of trying to come up with creative ways to expand the pie, they have determined that they must deprive some to feed others. No creativity means no progress. The young brother has the right idea and a recipe for all to follow who are riding on the road to freedom. Stand up, push back, and beware of the snake!