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Truth Hidden From View

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During this passage through time I have come to realize that there are milestones, mountains, and valleys that we must encounter. This speaks loudly to the challenges of a proud people – African Americans. From time to time, I feel the need to share this because it is not taught and you would be hard pressed to find much information about this shameful event. In my novel, “Just a Season” titled for the religious knowledge referring to a period of time characterized by a particular circumstance, suitable to an indefinite period of time associated with a divine phenomenon called life. It is all God gave us – “Just a Season”!

Let me tell you about one of America’s best kept secrets – “Black Wall Street”. This story is will inspire, enlighten, empower, and make you aware of the history of a people at a time when the odds were against all odds. It was during a time called segregation, when Jim Crow ruled and “separate but equal” was the law of the land. Because of this de facto Apartheid like system African American were forced to live in communities dependent upon each other in order to survive, and survive they did.

The place – Tulsa Oklahoma known as “Black Wall Street” a name fittingly given to the most affluent all-black community in America. This community was the epitome of success proving that African Americans had a successful infrastructure known as the golden door of the Black community during the early 1900’s. Although, it was in an unusual location – Black Wall Street was a prime example of the typical Black community in America that did business far beyond expectations.

The state of Oklahoma was set aside to be a Black and Indian state that included over 28 Black townships. Another point worth noting, nearly a third of the people who traveled in the terrifying “Trail of Tears” alongside the Indians from 1830 to 1842 were Black people. The citizens of Oklahoma chose a Black governor; there were PhD’s, Black attorneys, doctors and professionals from all walks of life contributing to the successful development of this community. One such luminous figure was Dr. Berry who also owned the bus system generating an average income of $500 a day in 1910. During this time physicians owned medical schools to empower and develop African Americans.

The area encompassed 36 square blocks, over 600 businesses with a population of 15,000 African Americans. There were pawn shops everywhere, brothels, jewelry stores, churches, restaurants and movie theaters. Their success was monumentally evident in that the entire state of Oklahoma had only two airports, yet six blacks owned their own planes. Just to show how wealthy many Black people were, there was a banker in a neighboring town who had a wife named California Taylor. Her father owned the largest cotton gin west of the Mississippi. When California shopped, she would take a cruise to Paris every three months to have her clothes made.

There was also a man named Mason in nearby Wagner County who had the largest potato farm in the west. When he harvested, he would fill 100 boxcars a day. Another Black man not far away was doing the same thing with a spinach farm. The typical family averaged five children or more, though the typical farm family would have 10 kids or more who made up the nucleus of the labor.

What was significant about Black Wall Street was they understood an important principle – they kept the money in the community. The dollars circulated 36 to 1000 times within the community, sometimes taking a year for currency to leave the community. Something the African America community of today does not fully appreciate or practice because a dollar will leave the Black community today in 15 minutes. This community was so tight and wealthy because they traded dollars hand-to-hand because they were dependent upon one another as a result of the Jim Crow laws.

Another powerful image, and extremely significant, was education. The foundation of the community was to educate every child because they understood that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. When students went to school they wore a suit and tie because of the morals and respect they were taught at a young age. In addition, nepotism contributed greatly to the success of this community as a way to help one another – a tactic that needs to be instilled in our culture today.

A postscript to Tulsa’s legacy is the world-renowned R&B music group the GAP Band. The group of brothers Charlie, Ronnie & Robert Wilson chose the group’s name taken from the first letters of the main thoroughfare Greenwood Avenue that intersects with Archer and Pine Streets; from those letters you get G.A.P. Another legendary figure from Tulsa is their favorite son, basketball great and jazz musician the late Wayman Tisdale. These are just a few luminaries that Tulsa has produced, surely the most recognized today.

An unprecedented amount of global business was conducted from within the Black Wall Street community, which flourished from early 1900 until 1921. Then the unthinkable happened and the community faced a valley or more accurately stated feel of a cliff. The Black Wall Street community suffered the largest massacre of non-military Americans in the history of this country.

As you might well imagine, the lower-economic Europeans looked over and saw how prosperous the Black community had become and destroyed it. I don’t know the true reason, jealousy was mentioned, but racism was certainly at its core. Lead by the infamous KKK, working in concert with ranking city officials, and many other sympathizers.

The destruction began Tuesday evening, June 1, 1921, when “Black Wall Street,” the most affluent all-black community in America, was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of resentful whites. In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving black business district in northern Tulsa lay smoldering. A model community destroyed and a major Africa-American economic movement resoundingly diffused. The night’s carnage left some 3,000 African Americans dead and over 600 successful businesses lost.

Among them were 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores and two movie theaters, plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half-dozen private airplanes and even the bus system. This historic event, you would think should be common knowledge – but not so. One would be hard-pressed to find any documentation concerning the incident, let alone an accurate accounting of it.

Not in any reference or American history book documenting the worst incidents of violence ever visited upon people of African descent. This night of horror was unimaginable. Try if you will to imagine seeing 1,500 homes being burned and looted, while white families with their children standing around the borders of the community watching the massacre much in the same manner they would watch a lynching. It must have been beyond belief for the victims.

I wonder if you aware of this little known history fact, where the word “picnic” came from? It was typical to have a picnic on a Friday evening in Oklahoma. The word was short for “pick a nigger” to lynch. They would lynch a Black male and cut off body parts as souvenirs. This went on every weekend in many part of the country with thousands lynched in the first part of the last century. Unfortunately, that is where the word actually came from.

The riots weren’t caused by anything Black or white. It was caused as a result of Black prosperity. A lot of white folks had come back from World War I and they were poor. When they looked over into the Black Wall Street community and saw that Black men who fought in the war came home as heroes also contributed to the destruction. It cost the Black community everything – justice and reconciliation are often incompatible goals because not a single dime of restitution was ever provided, to include no insurance claims have been awarded to a single victims.

As I began, there are milestones, mountains, and valleys which surely encompassed this community and its people. This is why it is so important to teach these lessons because those who neglect the lessons of the past are doomed to see it repeated. Life is not a race you run, it is a relay and it is your responsibility to pass the baton.

Our youth, the next generation, must be prepared and know when they look at our communities today that they came from a people who built kingdoms. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

This link offers a detailed account of the incident: 

http://www.theroot.com/views/who-killed-black-wall-street?page=0,1

Just a Season

Legacy – A New Season 

AMAZON


Remembering Trayvon Martin

On this day, a year ago, a coward was acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin. Everyone PLEASE take a moment to remember the injustice of this child’s murder as he is now a symbol of injustice, alongside of Emmett Till and others. Next time, it could be your child… God bless you Trayvon.

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JUST US!

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My message for today comes from a powerful video that you should be sure to WATCH. Every single thing the speaker is saying can be proven without a shadow of a doubt. Just look at the power of the prison lobby and the massive increase in prison population since the 1980’s.

America has MORE prisoners in jail than China or any other country on the planet. How is it possible that we have a higher prison population than China who is extremely oppressive and has four times our total population? The overwhelming proportion of the population are people of color. How can this be when we represent such a small portion of the overall population?

I’m sharing this message with hopes that it is food for thought. Stop dancing to the tomb!!! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


A Must Read Novel 

Just a Season

Just a Season is a luminous story into the life of a man who, in the midst of pain and loss, journeys back in time to reexamine all the important people, circumstances, and intellectual fervor that contributed to the richness of his life. It is a must read novel that will cause you to see the world through new eyes.

This fictional narrative begins with a grief-stricken father visiting the grave-site if his beloved son who was killed in a tragic accident; a moment that he and no other loving parent should ever have to face. As he sadly gazes at his son’s headstone and reads what is inscribed there, the dates 1981 – 2001 brings about an illuminating discovery.

The tiny dash that separates the years of one’s birth and death represents the whole of a person’s life. So if this tiny dash were to tell his life’s story, what would it say? In Just a Season, the dash of this man’s life is revealed and what emerges from the pages of this book is a legacy of true benevolence and grace. This is not a story you will read, it is a story that you will live as you travel in time through one man’s extraordinary eyes as he vibrantly relives his family legacy. It’s the journey of a lifetime.

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Purchase the novel today!!! 

 

Praise for Just a Season

Just a Season is a thought provoking novel by author, John T. Wills. …focusing on various topics such as pain, suffering, love and life. The characters and the plot are captured very well. It is very well written from beginning to end. This is one of those books, where you cannot judge the book based on its title and cover.” Congratulations well done! Afrika Asha Abney

Thank you for your example of tenderness and discipline in what I know is a story of love, delicately shared with readers in a way that says, this life, though brief, is significant. So hold it in highest regard for “the dash” is our legacy to love ones, indeed to the world, which we are blessed to share, albeit, for Just a Season.” Excellent! Sistah Joy, Poet, Cable TV Host

“Author John T. Wills has a remarkable gift for writing, a unique talent for story creation. In his book, “Just a Season”, John carries us wonderfully through the life of a boy who becomes a man with the special guidance of a loving and wise grandfather. His writing grasps us emotionally in the first few pages, and keeps us there as he reflects on and reveals this close, heartwarming relationship between grandson and grandfather. The story takes us into the “growing pains” of a boy-child, the diverse and difficult heartbreaking moments this main character experiences, as well as the many humorous antics of a boy seemingly born to be wild.

However, always hearing his grandfather’s voice pressing into his conscience, whether near or far, he learns valuable, stem and stabilizing lessons that remain with him throughout his life. I see a special “wit”, along with an insightful style as he tells the story in real-time, artfully integrated with history’s most monumental events. You feel as if you somehow become an invisible character in the unfolding of this epic narration. “Just a Season” is enjoyable to say the least, enriching and exciting at its best, and definitely a must-read. Silver Rae Fox, Actress, Model, Radio Personality

“This is the stuff movies are made of… not since “Roots” have I read a story that so succinctly chronicles an African American story! Amazing! Cheryl, Avid Reader

“Wills pulls you in from the very first page… Just a Season is a heart-wrenching story about growing up and believing in yourself. I highly recommend this book to young men in high school, trying to find themselves and feeling like they have nowhere to turn.” Cheryl Hayes, APOOO Book Club

“Not since The Color Purple have I read a book that evoked such emotions. John T. Wills possesses the ability to transport the reader directly into the life and struggles of his main characters story. I was educated in a way that did not afford me the benefit of truly understanding the significance of the historical events taught from a stand alone perspective. This book actually touched my heart and inspired me to increase the equity in my “dash”! Excellent! Tonja Covington

“John T. Wills captures male bonding between generations and lets the reader passively watch as family love and closeness unfold on the pages . . .” Outstanding — A great read! Cheryl Robinson, Host and Executive Producer of Just About Books Talk Show

“JUST A SEASON is laced with thought-provoking commentary on the Vietnam War, the assassinations of the 1960s, the migration of crack cocaine into inner-city neighborhoods, and a myriad of other ills that have rocked America. This is a very good piece intertwined with several history lessons spanning many decades.” Dawn Reeves, RAWSISTAZ Book Club

“John T. Wills particulars each notion so eloquently that you feel that you’re actually right there with him… this is an inflicting history lesson that I believe all African American males should experience.” JUST A SEASON is a pivotal read.” Carmen, OOSA ONLINE BOOK CLUB

“From the first page you are transported into John’s world as if you are there and are experiencing it with him. I am amazed at how John is able to use the events of the time to let you know where you are in time. I felt as if I was teleported… his ability to describe what was going on during that time makes me extremely proud of my heritage. You will come away with a feeling of, now I know why that is. I thoroughly enjoyed “Just a Season”. Mia L. Haynes

“Just a Season is a work of love, respect and honor… A book filled with the wonder of life, and the pain and growth encountered in living it.” Outstanding! Ron Watson, Editor, New Book Reviews.Org

“in the final analysis the tiny little dash represents the whole of a person’s life . If someone, for whatever reason, were to tell the story concealed within my dash. What might they say? A thought provoking and powerful read that will forever resonate within my soul. Speechless! Carron

http://johntwills.com

Legacy – A New Season 

AMAZON

Just a Season


The Mis-Educated Negro

22I once taught a college course where “The Mis-Education of the Negro” was the required class text. It was an amazing experience because I realized that the message remains relevant today. This great work was originally published in 1933 by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, known as the father of BLACK HISTORY MONTH. I feel this book should be mandatory reading for all African America’s – young and old.

As the class read the assigned chapters and we discussed them I was struck by the fact that we have not understood the powerful message contained within its pages. The thesis of Dr. Woodson’s book is that Negro’s of his day were being culturally indoctrinated, rather than taught, in American schools or not taking advantage of education period. This conditioning, he claims, causes African Americans to become dependent and to seek out inferior places in the greater society of which they are a part. This assertion is clearly evident nearly eighty-years later.

He challenged his readers to become empowered by doing for themselves, regardless of what they were taught: “History shows that it does not matter who is in power… those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.”

Today with all the advantages concerning educational opportunities, business exposure, and social networking we are in the best position to succeed than at any time in our history. So the question is “why are we not networking and doing business with each other?” Every other ethnic community takes advantage these options to strengthen and empower themselves – while robbing our communities in the process. We will let anybody setup shop in our communities and take our money.

My point is: we must learn to do business with each other in order to gain wealth by keeping the money in our community. Some say; we spend TRILLION’S annually, and nearly all of it leaves our community within 15 minutes. Let me remind you that the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result. We can change the world but first we must change ourselves.

Here is a quote from the “The Mis-Education of the Negro”:

“When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”

To the many who have read my blog know that I believe education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. So I say it’s time to know where you came from to know where you’re going, if we are ever going to get there. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com


Black History: Brown V Board of Education

It’s been nearly sixty years since the landmark Brown v Board of Education case successfully argued before Supreme Court of the United States. This case changed the face of America in away unlike any other decision heard by this body.

The Brown Case, as it is known, was not the first such case regarding civil rights argued before the court. However, it was the most significant of what some would say was the final battle in the courts that had been fought by African American parents since 1849, which started with Roberts v. City of Boston, Massachusetts.

It is important to note that Kansas was the site of eleven such cases spanning from 1881 to 1949. With that said, I would like to take the opportunity to pay homage to the valor of a skillful attorney, Thurgood Marshall, who brilliantly won this case and more than fifty other cases before the Supreme Court – winning all of them.

The Brown case was initiated and organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leadership who recruited African American parents in Topeka, Kansas for a class action suit against the local school board. The Supreme Court combined five cases under the heading of Brown v. Board of Education: Delaware, Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The ultimate goal sought by the NAACP was to end the practice of “separate but equal” throughout every segment of society, including public transportation, dining facilities, public schools and all forms of public accommodations. The Case was named after Oliver Brown one of 200 plaintiffs.

The Brown Supreme Court ruling determined racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional in Brown I, the first opinion. The court’s implementation mandate of “with all deliberate speed” in 1955, known as Brown II. In 1979, twenty five years later, there was a Brown III because Topeka was not living up to the earlier Supreme Court ruling, which resulted in Topeka Public Schools building three magnet schools to comply with the court’s findings.

As had been the case since Homer Plessy, the subject in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, when the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a Louisiana law mandating separate but equal accommodations for blacks and whites on intrastate railroads was constitutional. This decision provided the legal foundation to justify many other actions by state and local governments to socially separate blacks and whites.

Now that I have provided some history related to the case let me add my commentary. It has been said, “As sure as things change they remain the same”. First, it took 60 year to overturn Plessy with Brown and it took “with all deliberate speed” 13 years for integration to begin fully. During this period from 1954 to 1967, Governors blocked school entrances and actually closed schools rather than comply with the law of the land. I am not going to touch on the violence that caused President’s to send the US Army and National Guard troops to schools in order to protect the safety of those the ruling was intended benefit as a result of the Brown decision.

Since then and over time many scams have been devised to disenfranchise minorities and African Americans in particular – need I remind you of “No Child Left Behind”. This brings us to where we are today. Schools are equally as segregated, poorly funded, dilapidated facilities, and a police presence to save, often times, the kids from themselves. The dropout rate averages 2 to 1. These are just a few issues and by any measure of academic standards or common sense – is a failure.

Let’s make sure we understand that public education was not created to develop minds, rather it was intended to simply teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. It was created to maintain a permanent underclass. Maybe the word “class” is the operative word in all of this – the haves have and the have not’s will have not. So as sure as things change they remain the same.

That is why it is imperative for us to celebrate this Black History Month and continue the struggle for equality, as the ghosts of so many died for a simply principle; “education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair”.

Black History is American History! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

“Just a Season”
 
Legacy – A New Season the sequel is coming!


Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination

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Some say America lost its innocence that fateful day in November 1963 in Dallas, Texas when the shocking news of the assassination of President Kennedy. One thing for sure there has been no shortage of conspiracies, theories, or doubt as to what actually happened on that fateful afternoon. Sherry merges modern CSI knowledge to examine the JFK Assassination in her new book – Enemy of the Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the Kennedy Assassination.

The Kennedy assassination is a particularly timely topic since November 2013 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the shooting death of the 35th President of the United States. While the most studied murder investigation of the 21st century, it remains plagued by questions and a variety of theories. However, applying modern forensic investigative techniques to this high profile homicide can reveal new information—some of which is startling.

Sherry Fiester has applied current forensic disciplines to eight different aspects of the assassination providing scientific answers to some of the Kennedy assassination’s most puzzling questions. Fiester details how today’s trajectory techniques used to reconstruct shootings when applied to the assassination prove the shooters location for the fatal head shot eliminates both the sixth floor sniper’s lair and the Grassy Knoll. Fiester also addresses the abbreviated forward movement of Kennedy’s head followed by the familiar “back and to the left” movement observed in the Zapruder film, debunking the idea of two almost simultaneous gun shots to the head.

Fiester is a court certified expert in Louisiana State Federal Court and 30 Judicial Districts in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida in Crime Scene Investigation, Crime Scene Reconstruction and Blood Spatter Analysis and Reconstruction. She is published and recognized as an instructor at state and national levels. In 1995, Fiester began to apply her expertise to the Kennedy assassination. Later that year she spoke at the 1995 Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA) Conference in Washington, DC. Fiester was the featured speaker at the Dealey Plaza Echo Kennedy Assassination Conference in the United Kingdom in 1996.

A regular presenter at JFK Lancer November in Dallas Conferences since 1996, she is a recipient of the prestigious JFK Lancer-Mary Ferrell New Pioneer Award given in recognition of her contribution of new evidence and advancing the study of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Now retired from police work, Fiester is utilizing various forensic fields to promote a better understanding of the Kennedy assassination. The results have been a variety of speaking presentations and more recently, completion of the book, “Enemy of Truth: Myths, Forensics, and the JFK Assassination.”

Image3Why I wrote the book: I believe the historical narrative of our country concerning the Kennedy assassination is distorted with biased and unverified information. Many people still believe in a single shooter, regardless of the scientific facts that prove otherwise. Sadly, the majority of the conclusions and purported facts concerning the death of President Kennedy are anecdotal, unrealistic, and incorrect statements kept alive by those who would prefer fabrications that promote sensationalism as opposed to the quiet reality of fact. I want to fight the unsubstantiated allegations that continue to rear their head, summoning the naive to join forces in a “truth is stranger than fiction” campaign.

Although imaginative and sometimes thought provoking, these theories rely upon the suspension of common sense and fly in the face of forensic research. I want to correct those misconceptions. Polls have consistently shown that the American public’s confidence in their government has steadily declined since the Warren Report was issued in 1964, and now over 80% of the people refuse to believe Kennedy was killed by a lone, deranged gunman.

The American people are convinced they have never been told the truth about the tragedy of November 22, 1963 and many will not stop in their search for the truth concerning his death and the subsequent cover-up. This book is part of my fight to bring the truth to light and restore accuracy to our history.

Sherry Fiester Interview

Buy It At AMAZON.COM

Knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving.

Legacy – A New Season 

AMAZON

Just a Season


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