Tag Archives: freedom

Commentary: We Have “Not Overcome”

200_1000theLet’s be real, the ancestors left lessons and told us what to do. We know all the horrible tales of lynchings, rapes, murders, and the pacification of white folk never end. If they care so much about black people – they would have told the truth about history instead of creating hi-story, which are lies to cover-up their dastardly deeds. I want anyone reading this to ask yourself – does it really take 400 years to end the systematic system of racism?

I’ve lived through segregation and knew the evils of the Jim Crow system first-hand and what I see today not much has changed. In fact, I don’t think the wretched system of racism is worse. Justice is still unjust and black people are still viewed as “less than” as the Constitution says and you know white folk love them some constitution! You do know it say we are 3/5ths human and the Supreme Court decision made it law that “a Negro has no right that white man is bound to respect” in the Dred Scott Decision.

Just as they always done, they hold up a few to make it appear as if we have “overcome” or achieved some measure of advancement. Malcolm would have called some of these folks who keep telling us everything is alright – “House Niggers” – I will call them covert operatives. It was Solomon that said “there is nothing new under the sun.” This is a powerful statement because very little has changed since the 1960s, even though they remind us of this mythical dream!

If you look at history, you will see that it repeats itself; the system is designed to protect the system, and that system excludes black people. They would deport black people if they could but there is nowhere to send us – remember they kidnapped us! Malcolm told us that “Anywhere south of Canada was south”, meaning wherever you are in America you were subjected to discrimination regarding the “separate but equal” laws and racism is the unwritten law of the land.

I am not just saying this to be as I have been called, a “race baiter”. It is the honest truth but white fold are in denial that racism even exists. Republicans Party in particular want to turn back the hands of time and take back their country, which they did by electing Trump who is the embodiment of all that white supremacy means. Their attempts to suppress voting rights is in no way different than the poll taxes from the days of segregation, so this is not new either – it’s just the American political structure. There have been many ways to suppress people over time; unfortunately, black people have endured the brunt of these efforts.

So there continue to be “Black Codes” which are laws passed designed specifically to take away civil rights and civil liberties of African American people. However, the difference today is that they just use different codewords to make it politically correct. This is the reason conservatives speak of taking back their country and have a strong desire to uphold “States Rights”; because at the state level laws can be unimpeded by the federal government. You can see this clearly today by the upsurge in the police killings and corruption under the cover of law all over the country while the country rushes to save those on distant lands wasting trillions.

I wrote an article a few weeks ago titled “The Making of a Slave” to which I received a comment from a guy; I’ll call Mr. White Man. I should assume he was a white man because he vociferously defended the American way! In the article, I talked about the Willie Lynch Syndrome. This guy goes on to tell me or in his mind educate me on the subject by telling me there was never a Willie Lynch and that the supposed letter was debunked years ago. He went on to say that there was no truth to the myth. However, what he did not understand that true or not, there is a system in place to ensure black people “love and respect only” them.

He went on to say, “how sad that I write about the bad things in history; how lucky I am for all that America has done for my people, and I should leave that stuff in the past”. Normally I don’t take the time to respond to fools because my grandfather taught me a long time ago “never argue with a fool”. However, his comment proves my point that he knows the game is rigged against people of color. He also knows he benefits from a privilege decreed by the “American Way”.

Truth is those fools who sung that old Negro spiritual “did not believe “we shall overcome” either! Malcolm X once said that it is time to stop singing and start swing! Overcoming is not insight unless we fight!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


A Slave Holiday Experience

African Americans are, arguably, the most religious people on the face of the earth and have always been since arriving in this place the slaves called “merica.” With that said, I am sure many have wondered, in spite of the wretched system of slavery; how was it celebrated by the slave population?

The American slaves experienced the Christmas holidays in many different ways. Joy, hope, and celebration were naturally a part of the season for many. For other slaves, these holidays conjured up visions of freedom and even the opportunity to bring about their freedom. Still, others saw it as yet another burden to be endured.

I suppose, if there was ever any joy, it might well have been during the Christmas holidays for the enslaved African Americans. At least their captures, in the spirit of Jesus’ birth allowed them to have a day free from drudgery. The prosperity and relaxed discipline associated with Christmas often enabled slaves to interact in ways that they could not during the rest of the year.

They customarily received material goods from their masters: perhaps the slave’s yearly allotment of clothing, an edible delicacy, or a present above and beyond what he or she needed to survive. For this reason, among others, slaves frequently married during the Christmas season. More than any other time of year, Christmas provided slaves with the latitude and prosperity that made a formal wedding possible.

On the plantation, the transfer of Christmas gifts from master to slave was often accompanied by a curious ritual. On Christmas day, “it was always customary in those days to catch people’s Christmas gifts, and they would give you something.” Slaves and children would lie in wait for these pittances.

This ironic annual inversion of power occasionally allowed slaves to acquire real power. Henry, a slave whose tragic life, and death are recounted in Martha Griffith Browne’s Autobiography of a Female Slave, saved “Christmas gifts in money” to buy his freedom. Some slaves saw Christmas as an opportunity to escape. They took advantage of relaxed work schedules and the holiday travels of slaveholders, who were too far away to stop them.

While some slaveholders presumably treated the holiday as any other workday, numerous authors record a variety of holiday traditions, including the suspension of work for celebration and family visits. Because many slaves had spouses, children, and family who were owned by different masters and who lived on other properties, slaves often requested passes to travel and visit family during this time. Some slaves used the passes to explain their presence on the road and delay the discovery of their escape through their masters’ expectation that they would soon return from their “family visit.”

Jermain Loguen plotted a Christmas escape, stockpiling supplies and waiting for travel passes, knowing the cover of the holidays was essential for success: “Lord speed the day freedom begins with the holidays!” These plans turned out to be wise, as Loguen and his companions were almost caught crossing a river into Ohio, but were left alone because the white men thought they were free men “who have been to Kentucky to spend the Holidays with their friends.” Harriet Tubman helped her brothers escape at Christmas.

Their master intended to sell them after Christmas but was delayed by the holiday. The brothers were expected to spend the day with their elderly mother but met Tubman in secret. She helped them travel north, gaining a head start on the master who did not discover their disappearance until after the holidays. Likewise, William and Ellen Crafts escaped together at Christmastime. They took advantage of passes that were clearly meant for temporary use.

Christmas could represent not only physical freedom but spiritual freedom, as well as the hope for better things to come. The main protagonist of Martha Griffin Browne’s Autobiography of a Female Slave, Ann, found little positive value in the slaveholder’s version of Christmas equating it with “all sorts of culinary preparations” and extensive house cleaning rituals but she saw the possibility for a better future in the story of the life of Christ.

“This same Jesus, whom the civilized world now worship as their Lord, was once lowly, outcast, and despised; born of the most hated people of the world . . . laid in the manger of a stable at Bethlehem . . . this Jesus is worshiped now”. For Ann, Christmas symbolized the birth of the very hope she used to survive her captivity. Not all enslaved African Americans viewed the holidays as a time of celebration and hope. Rather, Christmas served only to highlight their lack of freedom.

Frederick Douglass described the period of respite that was granted to slaves every year between Christmas and New Year’s Day as a psychological tool of the oppressor. In his 1845 Narrative, Douglass wrote that slaves celebrated the winter holidays by engaging in activities such as “playing ball, wrestling, running foot-races, fiddling, dancing, and drinking whiskey.” He took particular umbrage at the latter practice, which was often encouraged by slave owners through various tactics.

In My Bondage and My Freedom, Douglass concluded that “all the license allowed [during the holidays] appears to have no other object than to disgust the slaves with their temporary freedom, and to make them as glad to return to their work, as they were to leave it.” While there is no doubt that many enjoyed these holidays, Douglass acutely discerned that they were granted not merely in a spirit of charity or conviviality, but also to appease those who yearned for freedom, ultimately serving the ulterior motives of slave owners.

Now we know, and it was not all that grand occasion! That’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!

“Just a Season”

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Legacy – A New Season

Thank you Mr. President

Much maligned and hated but in the end the black man white folk never wanted to see has appeared!

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The One And Only

On October 1, 1945, the world was gifted with a singer/songwriter/keyboardist best known for his duets with Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway. Donny fused R&B, gospel, jazz, classical, and rock strains in a modestly successful solo career. He was raised in St. Louis by his grandmother, Martha Pitts, a professional gospel singer. From the age of three, Hathaway accompanied her on tours, billed as the Nation’s Youngest Gospel Singer. He attended Howard University in Washington, DC on a fine-arts scholarship.

He worked as a producer and arranger for artists such as Aretha Franklin and the Staple Singers. After serving as the band director the Impressions, he recorded the single “I Thank You” for Curtis Mayfield’s label and sang backup with the Mayfield Singers. His first single “The Ghetto, Part 1” reached #23 on the charts. After recording several more singles and an album, Donny recorded “You’ve Got a Friend” with Roberta Flack. Their single “Where Is the Love?” reached #5 on the charts & earned them a Grammy Award.

He sang the theme song for the television program “Maude” and was hired by Quincy Jones to score the soundtrack for the 1972 film “Come Back Charleston Blue.” In 1973, reportedly suffering from periods of depression, his partnership with Flack deteriorated and Hathaway faded into relative obscurity. Five years later, he recorded “The Closer I Get to You” with Flack. This was their biggest hit & reached #2 on the charts as well as earned them another Grammy nomination.

Gone too soon, but he left a profound footprint upon the souls of mankind. We loved you Brother Donny and miss the gift you shared with the world but you will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace!

Listen to the music I’ve added; trust and believe it will warm you heart. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Put Your Hand In The Hand

Young, Gifted, And Black

What’s Goin On

“Just a Season”

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Legacy – A New Season


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

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There Is Only One Truth

136820802I have hesitated to write anything about the despicable actions of Christopher Dorner. Therefore, before I begin what can only be called a sad commentary; I want to make it perfectly clear that I do not think the former police officers actions, taking innocent lives, were justifiable reasons to address his grievances. Frankly, Christopher Dorner, the former Los Angeles police officer, was a sick individual!

This is the whole point of this commentary with the horrible history of police misconduct, particularly the past history of the LAPD, it begs the question how many other sick cop’s are among their ranks. Despite the departments claim that the department has evolved well beyond their troubled racial legacy of Rodney King and the O.J. Simpson trial; it begs the question – have they?

Domer’s well publicized “manifesto” alleged that his career was undone by racist colleagues conspiring against him which prompted a string of vengeance killings depicting himself as a black man wronged, whose badge was unjustly taken in 2008 after he lodged a complaint against a white female supervisor. He says, as well as others in the LAPD that the LAPD have not improved much since the King beating but have “gotten worse.” I am not suggesting who to believe but these allegations are at least worth considering if any truths exist.

Do you remember N.W.A.? This was a rap group back in the 1980s whose gangster rap spoke about the conditions in the urban areas of this country, particularly in the communities of LA and their relations with the LAPD. Not many believed or took notice of the abuses until we saw the video of Rodney King which this department claimed was a necessary evil.

As a result of Domer’s allegations a community of online sympathizers formed, echoing complaints against police that linger in some communities. For example, a Facebook page supporting Dorner quickly attracted over 2,300 fans that said “this is not a page about supporting the killing of innocent people. It’s supporting fighting back against corrupt cops and bringing to light what they do.”

Let’s take a look at the LAPD that was once synonymous with violent and bigoted officers, whose culture and brand of street justice was depicted by Hollywood in films such as “L.A. Confidential” and “Training Day.” Or let’s remember what was done to the Black Panthers. Or in 1965, 34 people died when the Watts riots, triggered by a traffic stop of a black man by a white California Highway Patrol officer, exposed deep fractures between blacks and an overwhelmingly white law enforcement community.

In the 1980s, gang sweeps took thousands of youths into custody. The O.J. Simpson trial deepened skepticism of a department already tarnished by the videotaped beating of King, the black motorist who was hit with batons, kicked repeatedly and jolted with stun guns by officers who chased him for speeding. Rioting after a jury with no black members acquitted three of the LAPD officers on state charges and a mistrial was declared for a fourth lasted three days, killing 55 people.

Then there was the Rampart scandal of the late 1990s, scores of criminal convictions were thrown out after members of an anti-gang unit were accused of beating and framing residents in a poor, largely minority neighborhood. A handful of officers were convicted of various crimes and the scandal led to federal oversight that lasted eight years. Even the Fed’s were involved with COINTELPRO!

I repeat this is neither a commentary in support of nor sympathy for the killer who took innocent lives. However, it is to beg the question – has the LAPD really changed. I will close with a quote from Malcolm X and I agree; “I am for truth, no matter who tells it. I am for justice, no matter who it is for or against”. I am for humanity! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


The Case That Changed America

brown-v-board-of-educationOn May 17, 1954, the Warren Court’s unanimous (9-0) decision stated that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” This was the day that the landmark Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court decision changed the face of America unlike any other decision before or since.

This major ruling was the cornerstone that laid the foundation for all of the civil rights African American’s know today, just as the late Thurgood Marshall, who brilliantly argued and won this case envisioned. It is also very appropriate to recognize the skillful talent of Justice Marshall for his more than fifty victories before the Supreme Court, more than any other attorney in history.

The Brown Case, as it is known, was not the first such case regarding civil rights argued before the Supreme Court. It was just 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 also important to note that Kansas was the site of eleven such cases spanning from 1881 to 1949.

The case was named after Oliver Brown one of 200 plaintiffs. 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 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 Brown Supreme Court ruling determined racial segregation in public education was unconstitutional in Brown I, the first opinion. The court’s implementation mandated “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 that 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 of time 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 Presidents 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. I need only remind you of “No Child Left Behind” where we see persistent patterns of underachievement for lower-income students on standardized test scores. These standardized tests serve as gatekeepers to a child’s academic future, which I don’t believe was the spirit of the Brown case.

Malcolm X famously said, only a fool would allow his enemy to educate his people. Just think about the deplorable education system and the fact that most of what is taught, particularly when it comes to history, is a fallacy. Then consider the extremely high dropout rates among our children. For example, it has been reported that in the City of Baltimore more than two thirds of all students who enter high school do not graduate.

After fifty-five years, it is not unreasonable to seek and ask that the spirit of Brown be honored with effective and meaningful equal rights under the law. I 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. Much like it was then, a travesty, in many ways it remains a travesty for the children in most Urban Public School System’s.

I, like Dr. King believe in the dream but we have unfinished business and as it stands – it is a dream deferred. That’s why it is imperative for us to celebrate this milestone and continue the struggle as the ghosts of so many greats who died for this principle: “education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair”.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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