Tag Archives: epic novel

Remembering A King

On April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was shot to death in Memphis, Tenn. He was 39 years old. Traveling through time remembering his legacy and our past has made me realize where we’ve come from and how far we have to go. Dr. King’s Dream of unity within our society has yet to be fully accomplished. We shall overcome!!!

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land.”

“My husband was a man who hoped to be a Baptist preacher to a large, Southern, urban congregation. Instead, by the time he died in 1968, he had led millions of people into shattering forever the Southern system of segregation of the races.” ~ Coretta Scott King (1927-2006)

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

“I submit that an individual who breaks the law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.”

“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“From every mountainside, let freedom ring. When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”

“I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

“If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”


Nightmare on MLK

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We hear a lot of talk about this street or that street; namely Wall Street and Main Street but who’s talking about MLK Street. When they talk about Wall Street, they are usually talking about the 1% or more aptly put the “Robber Barons”.

Main Street is supposed to be where the rest of us reside surviving on the crumbs or what little we can scrape to survive. I suppose its reasonable to place everyone in these two camps, but not so much because MLK Street is never added to the conversation.

There was a term or distinction devised calling neighborhoods where MLK Streets are located – the “Ghetto”. As cool and hip as it sounds it is not a positive description of the communities where people of color reside. I should say that the distinction has been upgraded to what many have embraced – “the Hood”. As it is by design, it carries the usually, although sounding cool, negative connotation of the black community and MLK Street is always in the “Hood”.

In this place depicted as crime riddled and drug infested with gangsta’s residing over the lives of the disenfranchised and the hopeless. There are no jobs or in many cases no way to survive – it breeds despair. I think we all know that this is cleaver social engineering at work and a misconception by design! Not a single soul living in the “Hood” has the means to bring in the drug or weapons into the community.

Moreover, when the people of these neighborhoods are deprived of educational opportunities as a result of being segregated – hopelessness is the by product. Let me suggest that if you are ever in the Nation’s Capital, ride by the Capital Building and you will notice that just a few blocks away you will find neighborhoods where just such a place exists – The Hood!

I firmly believe education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. This nation is the richest nation on this little rock called earth. So my plea is that instead of investments in war and helping the rich. Invest in “US” which means end the nightmare on MLK!

Dr. Carter G. Woodson challenged his readers in the epic novel “The Mis-Education of the Negro” to become empowered by doing for themselves. He said, 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.”

Nowhere in America will you find a street named after the dreamer in a neighborhood other where people of color live. So the next time you turn on MLK Street make no mistake you’re in a place called the “Hood” and what is a hood: something you hide. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

 


Granddaddy’s Lessons

just a season book cover.One of the books I’ve published speaks to a subject rarely explained to children of this generation concerning the African American struggle. “Legacy – A New Season” is a stand-alone story rich in the history of the African American Diaspora. It is the sequel and the continuation of the novel “Just a Season”.

This long awaited saga to the epic novel “Just a Season” will take you on an awe inspiring journey through the African American Diaspora, as told by a loving grandfather to his grandson in the oral African tradition at a time when America changed forever. I wanted to share this particular excerpt from “Just a Season” that I hope it will enlighten, empower, motivate, and touch your heart.

Today we live in a world where there is no Granddaddy to share that precious wisdom necessary to guide our young men and women into adulthood. I was fortunate or maybe blessed, to have had a loving grandfather who shared many valuable lessons with me.

These lessons formed the foundation of my very being…

Excerpt from “Just a Season”

“Granddaddy would say if you really hear me, not just listen to me, you will inherit life’s goodness. I would hear him talk about things like “God bless the child that’s got his own.” He constantly reminded me that everything that ever existed came from a just-single thought, and if you can think it, you can figure out how to do it just put your mind to it.

I would also constantly hear that a man must be able to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done regardless of the circumstances. “I raised you to be a man and as a man, you don’t know what you will have to do, but when the time comes, do it.” Granddaddy drove home the point, the difference between a man and a boy is the lessons he’s learned.

Granddaddy would also say you will always have an enemy. Your enemy is anyone who attempts to sabotage the assignment God has for your life. Your enemy is anybody who may resent you doing positive things and will be unhappy because of your success. These people will attempt to kill the faith that God has breathed within you.

They would rather discuss your past than your future because they don’t want you to have one. Your enemy should not be feared. He would say it is important to understand that this person usually will be close to you. He would tell me to use them as bridges, not barricades. Therefore, it is wise to make peace with your enemy.

“Just remember these things I say to you.” I certainly could not count all of these things, as it seemed like a million or more that I was supposed to remember. However, he asked me to remember above all else that there is no such thing as luck. The harder you work at something the luckier you get. I would tell him that I was lucky, maybe because I had won a ballgame or something. He would smile and tell me luck is only preparation meeting opportunity. Life is all about survival and if you are to survive – never bring a knife to a gunfight. This would be just as foolish as using a shotgun to kill a mosquito. Then he asked me to remember that it is not the size of the dog in the fight; it is the size of the fight in the dog.

Granddaddy’s words had so much power, although it would often require some thinking on my part to figure out what he was talking about, or what the moral of the story was supposed to be. It may have taken awhile but I usually figured it out. For example, always take the road less traveled, make your own path, but be sure to leave a trail for others to follow. Life’s road is often hard; just make sure you travel it wisely. If you have a thousand miles to go, you must start the journey with the first step. During many of these lessons, he would remind me not to let your worries get the best of you.

Sometimes he would use humor. For example, he would say something like “Moses started out as a basket case.” Although most often he assured me that hard times will come and when they come, do not drown in your tears; always swim in your blessings. He would tell me he had seen so much and heard even more, in particular those stories from his early life when dreadful atrocities were done to Negroes. Some of the stories included acts of violence such as lynchings, burnings, and beatings. He would make a point to explain that the people who did these things believed they were acting in the best interest of society.

He would tell me about things he witnessed over time, that many of these atrocities were erased from the memory of society regardless how horrible the event was. Society’s reasoning would make you think their action was right, fair, and justified. Granddaddy would add, if history could erase that which he had witnessed and known to be true, how can you trust anything history told as truth? He would emphasize that I should never, never believe it, because nothing is as it seems.

I would marvel at his wisdom. He would tell me to always set my aim higher than the ground. Shoot for the stars because if you miss you will only land on the ground and that will be where everybody else will be. When he would tell me this, he would always add, please remember you are not finished because you are defeated. You are only finished if you give up. He would usually include a reminder. Always remember who you are and where you came from. Never think you are too big because you can be on top of the world today and the world can be on top of you tomorrow.

I think Granddaddy had the foresight to see that I could do common things in life in an uncommon way, that I could command the attention of the world around me. Granddaddy impressed upon me that change is a strange thing. Everyone talks about it but no one ever tries to affect it. It will take courage and perseverance to reach your place of success. Just remember that life -is not a rehearsal. It is real and it is you who will create your destiny don’t wait for it to come to you. He would say, can’t is not a word. Never use it because it implies failure. It is also smart to stay away from those who do use it.

He would tell me that I was an important creation, that God gave a special gift to me for the purpose of changing the world around me. It may be hard sometimes, you may not understand, you may have self-doubt or hesitation, but never quit. God gave it to you so use it wisely. He would add often times something biblical during his teaching, or so I thought, like to whom much is given, much is expected. It is because we needed you that God sent you. That statement profoundly gave me a sense of responsibility that I was duty-bound to carry throughout my life.

Granddaddy’s inspiration, courage, and motivation still humble me, and I’m filled with gratitude that his example profoundly enriched my soul. So much so that in those times of trouble, when the bridges are hard to cross and the road gets rough, I hear Granddaddy’s gentle voice reciting words once spoken by the Prophet Isaiah: “Fear not for I am with you.”

And that is a Thought Provoking Perspective from a loving Grandfather…

Praise for Just a Season

This Must Read Novel can be purchased through AMAZON

All Rights Reservedbook 1

www.johntwills.com


The Power of Words

I want to add my Thought Provoking Perspective to a Tweet that has gotten everybody in an uproar. Chris Rock posted a Tweet recently that said in essence Independence Day is a “white man’s holiday”. I thought there was such a thing as freedom of speech at least that is what is professed in the Constitution. It reminds me of the saying “the truth hurts” – people – what Chris said was true!

I wrote a blog a few days ago where I talked about the glory of the celebration and the fact that this freedom it represents was only for some and that blacks, women, and everyone but white men were excluded from the concept of freedom. I am sure most of you have heard of this thing called slavery that ended after a half a million people died to end it nearly a hundred years later!

Let me ask that you Google “Juneteenth” and maybe you will get a different perspective of what the African America community knows that has today been forgotten. Then there was this thing called Civil Rights that has not been fully achieved to date. I will go further and say “this is still the last plantation”. As evidence of this might be a comment by the insane Herman Cain it the video I have added.

Maybe, just maybe, we could address the race issue if America and its people would face the reality of the story, His-Story, was true. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Legacy – A New Season is available…

It’s been several years since “Just a Season” and it’s time to move on. Generations have come and gone, life is bearable after all, and hope lives in a little boy and in a man who almost lost all hope. “Legacy – A New Season” is the long awaited saga to the epic novel “Just a Season” that will take you on an awe inspiring journey through the African American Diaspora, as told by a loving grandfather to his grandson in the oral African tradition at a time when America changed forever.

http://johntwills.com

 


A Long and Mighty Walk

thA season is a time characterized by a particular circumstance, suitable to an indefinite period of time associated with a divine phenomenon that some call life. One of the first things I learned in this life was that it is a journey. During this passage through time I have come to realize that there are milestones, mountains, and valleys that everyone will encounter. It saddens me that African American’s have had to endure more than any other culture!

Dr. John Henrik Clarke famously said, “History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is also a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. History tells a people where they have been and what they have been, where they are and what they are. Most important, history tells a people where they still must go, what they still must be. The relationship of history to the people is the same as the relationship of a mother to her child.”

There are many ghosts of the greats who sacrificed so much for us to exist today. We would not have had our history known if it were not for the great historian Carter G. Woodson, we may not have succeeded in the civil rights movement without a strong Rosa Parks to push Dr. Martin Luther King into bring the civil rights movement to the forefront of America’s consciousness. Then came the Black power movement that was so strong and so serious that it gave even more urgency to the White House and American government to change rather than prepare for violence.

Dr. Clarke was the powerful mind that many leaders of the Black power movement would come to for his knowledge. People like Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown and the most notable of the all – Malcolm X. Clarke became Malcolm X’s chief consultant and best friend. His work with Malcolm resulted in one of Malcolm’s greatest speeches, indeed, one of the greatest 100 speeches made in America, “The ballot or the bullet.”

Dr. Clarke never wrote an autobiography but he had a huge impact his teacher and what he left the minds of his people. Clarke was born in Union Springs, Alabama on New Year’s Day, in 1915. His was a family of poor sharecroppers. But they soon moved to Columbus, Georgia when he was about four years old. There, he met a school teacher named Eveline Taylor. Clarke said Ms. Taylor told John that she saw something special in him. She saw a thinker. And she said to him:

“It’s no disgrace to be alone. It’s no disgrace to be right when everyone else thinks you are wrong. There’s nothing wrong with being a thinker. Your playing days are over.”

Here’s a eulogy of him written by The Los Angeles Times:

John Henrik Clarke: Activist, Professor July 18,198

John Henrik Clarke never got around to writing his life story, which encompassed some of the more turbulent periods in American history.

Dr. Clarke is remembered as someone who put the forgotten history of Africa back into the textbooks, and gave an analysis of history that wasn’t mainstream and for this we honor him so dearly. This man who descended from a family of sharecroppers was born in 1915 in Union Springs, Ga. He left Georgia in 1933 going to Harlem where he became one of the greatest unsung heroes of our time.

His political and community activism began quickly, when Clarke opposed the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the 1930s. Later, he became a close friend of black activist Malcolm X. Clarke helped to forge a link between Africans and African Americans.

Clarke studied history and literature from 1948 to 1952 at New York University and later at Columbia University. During his career, Clarke edited or wrote 27 books. His editing work included the classic “American Negro Short Stories” in 1966. I just wanted to remind us of this man who brought into remembrance of our Great, Mighty Walk!

And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com

 


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