Tag Archives: Martin

Black Women and Faith

I came across a newspaper article that I found interesting – yet troubling. It was a nationwide survey conducted by the Washington Post and Kaiser Family Foundation that revealed that black women are among the most religious people in the country.” Now, having know a few black women in my time this was not that much of a surprise because I have found that most will out Pope the Pope!

I am going to say from the outset that I am expecting hate mail but if you read my words they are simply designed to provoke thought on the topic. Therefore, I say think about what you read – maybe even step back and look in the mirror. Early in the article there was a powerful statement made by the author who asked, “For what purpose are you seeking an education? Is it not that you may relieve the suffering of humanity?”

There was a woman quoted as saying she found on her phone this: “Finding that verse at that moment was no coincidence… God had spoken. Instantly, a sense of calm and confidence enveloped her. In times like these, when she feels anxious, afraid or unsure… relies on her faith.” Just so you know faith is that what you believe to be true what cannot be seen. Keep reading I have some thoughts on this too! But first let me talk about the survey.

This nationwide survey found that nine in 10 African American women reveals that as a group, black women are among the most religious people in the nation. The survey found that 74 percent of black women said that “living a religious life” is very important. On that same question, the number falls to 57 percent of white women and 43 percent of white men.

I understand that during times of turmoil, which is living in America. Black women endure much more than any other group causing them to turn to their faith to get through. Black women, across education and income levels, say living a religious life is a greater priority than being married or having children, and this call to faith either surpasses or pulls even with having a career as a life goal, the survey shows.

If you are from the African American culture you more than likely would have grown up with gospel music in your background or maybe as your foundation. This more than likely included a mother or grandmother who insisted on all-day church on Sundays and Bible school in the summers. It is inextricably woven into our culture giving us the sense that devotion and faith in God is somehow more strongly connects due to our slave ancestor’s survival of the institution.

Stacey Floyd-Thomas, an associate professor of ethics and society at Vanderbilt University Divinity School, says “Black women have been the most mistreated and scandalized group in U.S. society and culture as they wrestle both individually and collectively with the triple jeopardy of racism, sexism and classism.” To this I agree!

For roughly a quarter of black women who responded to the survey, religion plays a less-than-primary role in their lives; a scant 2 percent of them said it is “not at all” important. To that point Sikivu Hutchinson who describes herself as an atheist makes this point: “What has religiosity and belief in supernatural beings really achieved for African Americans in the 21st century — and in particular African American women, given our low socioeconomic position?”

Looking back on her childhood, Hutchinson wonders: “Why would children be compelled to profess belief, especially when they look around them and see that the world is overpopulated with adult believers flaunting their immorality?” Hutchinson contends that perhaps there aren’t more black women grappling with that answer because there is little in their community that supports a different perspective.

The article went on to say “for most African American women, absolute trust in a higher power has been a truism for centuries. In follow-up interviews with some of the black women surveyed, there seemed to be little or no angst about their religious beliefs or their role in the church. The women said their focus is on one thing: their personal relationship with God.”

LAW AND ORDER THEME!!!

Ok, here is where I am sure to upset some. First, we were brought to America as slaves and there were two choices; take the Bible or die – by way of the rope or gun. Let me remind you there was no word G-O-D in any African language before the coming of Europeans. In addition, the first registered slave ship was named the “Good Ship Jesus”. The WORD, supposedly given by God, that most so fervently believe was rewritten twenty-eight times with the last revision ordered by the diabolical King James of England who stood to benefit from his rendition. My point here is that maybe we should not take the WORD literally.

I want to make two more points; the image of the deity that hangs on most church walls is that of a blonde haired blue eyed European who could not possibly have come from that region of the world, which was in North Africa. The other point is this: there is a church in most communities on every corner, so I say if that was the answer why is it not working.

Let me close by saying that “I believe in something greater than I and I chose to call it God”. This in the practical sense should be adapted to mean “Good Orderly Direction”. I would respectfully suggest that we and black women in particular, look to what is within to find strength to survive. Lastly it might be a good idea to not be so devoted and blindly follow con artist, or maybe I should say, pimps in the pulpit and you know who they are.

As we have just lived another Black History Month. Let’s get back to family which is your strength! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com

 

 


Remember Trayvon Martin

IN THE NAME OF GOD – GIVE THIS FAMILY JUSTICE…

traIt’s been nearly a year since George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old Black young man on his way back to his father’s townhouse. In the weeks following the shooting, the story captured the nation’s attention, culminating with Zimmerman being charged with second-degree murder last April and Zimmerman’s trail set for this summer.

But as the story has receded from the headlines, the legal case has plodded along. Let us not forget the memory of this you man to include the many who fallen victim to people of this ilk. So here is an updated timeline of what you may have missed:

1. Zimmerman has spent over $300,000 in donations over the last year and is desperate for more funds to finance his defense. Zimmerman has “spent more than $125,000″ on living expenses — not including security — over the last year. His lawyer acknowledged that “Zimmerman’s personal spending may seem exorbitant.” Zimmerman is considering asking the court to declare him “indigent, meaning the public would have to pay for Zimmerman’s defense.” Zimmerman was also sued by a security company for unpaid bills. [Orlando Sentinel, 1/20/2013; Miami Herald, 12/27/12]

2. The trial has been set for June 10. Zimmerman recently asked for a delay of the trial until November but a judge denied his request. Zimmerman’s lawyer says it is “physically impossible for us to be prepared” for trial at that time. A separate proceeding, essentially a mini-trial, to determine whether Zimmerman is immune from prosecution due to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, is scheduled for April 22. [Orlando Sentinel, 2/5/13; Headline News, 2/13/13]

3. New forensic analysis “casts doubt on Zimmerman’s timeline on the night he shot and killed the unarmed teen.” The analysis was done by “Michael Knox, a retired Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office detective and crime scene investigator.” According to Knox, “based on the times and distances Zimmerman said he covered, Zimmerman would have still been on the phone with Sanford police when he claims he was attacked by Martin.” Knox says that other aspects of Zimmerman’s story, like the claim Martin was leaning over him at the time the shot was fired, are supported by forensic evidence. [News 4 Jacksonville, 2/10/13]

4. Zimmerman has gained 105 pounds. [Orlando Sentinel, 1/20/2013]

5. The defense team acquired Trayvon Martin’s school records. According to Zimmerman’s lawyers “some information in Trayvon Martin’s file could be relevant in the defense of George Zimmerman.” State prosecutors and the Martin family attorney opposed Zimmerman’s efforts to acquire the records arguing “because Zimmerman did not know Trayvon before the Feb. 26 shooting, the teen’s past was not a factor in the case.” [Orlando Sentinel, 1/16/13]

6. Zimmerman is suing NBC News. In the suit, Zimmerman claims NBC unfairly portrayed him as a “racist and predatory villain.” [ABC News, 12/6/12]

7. The judged denied Zimmerman’s request to be removed from GPS tracking. [Fox Orlando, 12/11/12]

8. Trayvon Martin would have turned 18 on February 5. [Huffington Post, 2/5/13]

A heavy and cruel hand has been laid upon us. As people, we feel ourselves to be not only deeply injured, but grossly misunderstood. Our white country-men do not know us. They are strangers to our character, ignorant of our capacity; oblivious to our history and progress, and are misinformed as to the principles and ideas that control and guide us, as a people. The great mass of American citizens estimates us as being a characterless and purposeless people; and hence we hold up our heads, if at all, against the withering influence of a nation’s scorn and contempt.

—- Frederick Douglass, in a statement on behalf of delegates to the National Colored Convention held in Rohester, New York, in July 1853. [Now what has changed]

My prayers and sympathy go out to this family. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!!!


A Story of US

Since the year of our Lord 1619, when African’s were first dragged onto American shores of this place they called “merica”; our people have been chastised, criticized, punished, beaten, robbed, and murdered. These atrocities where done while the culprits enjoyed wealth and prosperity as a result of our never ending allegiance and patriotism, often blindly. Even today when we have ascended to the White House there are those who castigate much vial abuse upon this uniquely qualified man of African heritage or at least he looks like us.

We are a unique people, a forgiving people, a steadfast people, and a brave people unlike any known to the world. It was our labor that built this country and is responsible for the great wealth America enjoys to this very today. When you look upon America’s enormous wealth and the power derived from its tremendous control of resources think about the sacrifices our families made to make all of this possible. We have looked out for this country for hundreds of years and still doing so today, which is simply amazing.

Upon our backs, laden with the stripes of punishment for what they believed was for discipline and in spite of our loyalty, diligence and tenacity – we loved America. Even when America refused to allow us to even walk in the shadows – we followed; believing that someday we would come to be accepted and be treated like men and women. Our strength in the face of adversity is vastly understated.

Our history is one of unbelievable struggle. We’ve been brave on the battlefield despite being classified as three-fifths of a man. This was and is outstanding and frankly beyond the call of duty considering that we have lived through slavery and under an Apartheid like system through most of our time here. To be honest we were considered a race of people living in a nation without a nationality. We have raised America’s children, attended to its sick, and prepared their meals while those forefathers were occupied with the trappings of the good life.

Even during the times when they found pleasure in our women and enjoyment in seeing our men lynched, maimed and burned – we continued to watch over America’s soul. We labored in the hot sun from can’t to can’t to assist in realizing the dream of wealth, good fortune, and made America a great world power. We were there when it all began, and you are still here today, protecting the system from those Black people who have the temerity to speak out against America’s past transgressions.

It was us who warned about Denmark-Vessey, told you about Gabriel Prosser’s plans, called your attention to Nat Turner, Malcolm, and yes Martin too. It was us who sounded the alarm when old John Brown came calling on Harper’s Ferry and there are still some sounding warnings today. Black Nationalism has died and as result our community brings 95 percent of what it earns to other businesses while keeping little for itself in spite of the fact that other people controlled at least 90 percent of all the resources and wealth of this nation.

We purchase things like Hilfigers, Karans, Nikes, and all of the other brands that I assume make people feel as if the system is giving back something for their patronage. After all, in the past, the brands and scares placed upon us were worn quite painfully but those of today are proudly worn because they give a false sense of self-esteem. Our community’s super-rich; athletes, entertainers, intellectuals, and business persons, both legal and illegal, exchange most of their money for cars, jewelry, homes, and clothing. The less fortunate among us spend all they have at neighborhood stores, enabling other cultures to benefit by opening more stores and taking our wealth; this is the result of our not doing business with each other.

In today’s business environment we sadly do not support each other and just keep doing business with the larger community; in fact any other community. Some say we, as a people, were very successful doing this after slavery ended and even as recently as 1960 but you know what happens when you began to build your own communities and do business with one another – you’re pitted against one another and destroy ourselves. Notwithstanding, we dance, sing, fight, get high, go to prison, back bite, envy, distrust, and hate one another.

Oh, less not forget we pray a lot hoping that when we die you will find a place where there is a mansion waiting for you with streets paved with gold somewhere in the sky. We resisted the messages of trouble making Blacks like Washington, Delaney, Garvey, Bethune, Tubman, and Truth for fighting and dying on the battlefield for us. Yet, most have forgotten the names and take no reverence in their sacrifice due to a lack of reciprocity and equity.

This includes our acquiescence to political agendas, abdicating our own economic self-sufficiency, and working so diligently for the economic well-being of other people. Even though the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments were written and many died for the rights described therein, we did not even resist when they changed Black Rights to Civil Rights and allowed virtually every other group to take advantage of them for their progress. This goes beyond the imagination, irrespective of the many promises that have been made and broken.

Moreover, we went beyond the pale when we allowed our children to be turned over to the American educational system. With what is being taught to them, it’s likely they will continue in a mode similar to the one we have followed for the past 45 years. Remember, Mr. Lynch when he walked the banks of the James River in 1712. He prophetically said he would make African’s slave for 300 years; little did he realize the truth in his prediction because next year his promise will come to fruition.

But with two generations of children going through this education system, we can look forward to at least another 50 years of despair. We can change that come to understand that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. When you continue to do what you’ve always done; you will get what you always got and that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective.

http:johntwills.com


A Day for a King

On this January day, we celebrate the Birthday of Dr. Martin Luther “The King”. I am grateful that God sent him to us with a special gift to change the world. Today HIS-story speaks of the good reverend with profound reverence, in fact placing him second only to Jesus. Now, please understand that I believe Dr. King’s place in history is well deserved, secure, and beyond reproach. However, I lived through and during the time in which he lived meaning HIS-story does not accurately reflect what I remember, witnessed and know to be true.

Dr. King’s career or national presence began in 1955 when a seamstress refused to give up her seat on a segregated public bus in Birmingham, Alabama. He was responsible for the hugely successful boycott that paralyzed the city and forced changes to long held separate but equal policies. It was during this period that his home was bombed with his lovely wife and babies inside. He was arrested many – many times for peacefully asking for the most basic of human dignities. He was assaulted, stabbed, trampled by horses, and made out to be a communist. He was called a villain and names like “Martin Luther Coon”, and worst. In fact, he was viewed as a terrorist in his day.

During the time in which he lived it was well known in our community that Dr. King had a mutually antagonistic relationship with the government’s top police agency; particularly its director, who ordered surveillance of him and his organization for years. Wiretaps were placed in his home, office phones and they bugged his hotel rooms as he traveled around the country. The agency tried to discredit him through revelations regarding his private life. Reports regarding his supposed extramarital and sexual affairs were distributed to the executive branch, friendly reporters, funding sources, and potential coalition partners, as well as to his lovely wife.

They had followed his every step, yet claimed not to know who fired the shot. So in light of all this surveillance and counterintelligence activity it was not too difficult to conclude that they knew exactly who murdered him and all involved. When the culprit was arrested it was revealed that he was merely a petty thief who was not capable of robbing the Girl Scouts. Let me put this in context, this guy had a few hundred dollars in twenty dollar bills yet managed to escape traveling halfway around the world before being caught.

I can vividly recall that dreadful day, April 4th, 1968, asking the question most of us asked; how could the Prince of Peace be murdered? WHY? My knowledge of history tells me that anytime someone appears who has the power to change the system, eliminating the change agent is the system’s way of preservation. In other words the system is designed to protect the system. Aside from winning the Nobel Peace Prize, leaving us with brilliant written words, the enormous sacrifices risking his life, and losing it for peace – I honor this great man on this day and always. It is because of that wretched part of society that demonized him while he lived that we should appreciate his life and take into consideration as we celebrate his legacy.

My deepest heartfelt memory of Dr. King was the night before his death when he gave a speech that appeared as if he knew he was going to die. It was the most passionate speech I had ever heard. In that speech, he proclaimed that he’d been to the mountaintop and had seen the other side. Further, he proclaimed he did not fear any man for his eyes had seen the coming of the Lord.

HIS-story calls him a dreamer as they say he had a dream. I say, he was a brave visionary or maybe by exercising the wisdom of God’s gift that he could see the future. Dr. King’s left us with a very powerful message delivered August 28, 1963 on the Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC via the famous “I have a Dream Speech” – (Excerpts):

• “In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.”

• “It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.”

• “The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people. For many of our white brothers as evidenced by their presence here today have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.”

• “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

• “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.”

• “I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.”

• “This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

• “Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

• “Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow 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!”

Never forget that injustice to anyone is an injustice to everyone. We can change the world but first we must change ourselves. The “Kings” message was simple like Moses he was saying “Let my people go”…

JUST A SEASON


My favorite Negro – the Man of Steele

I’m writing this article not from the perspective of disrespect rather from an inquisitive concern, but frankly I am vexed. As you know, from past articles, I delve into the political arena every once in a while and I was compelled to say something about the Republican’s puppet. Although I must admit, I really find it hard to understand or find the words to describe the “Black Face” of the Grand Ol’ Party. So I will use Malcolm’s words and say he has been hoodwinked, bamboozled, or maybe more appropriately stated “run a muck”. How can an “educated” Negro be so out of touch with reality?

Before I add my commentary, let me explain. Last Sunday I was watching “Washington Watch” hosted by Roland Martin whose guest was none other than the man of Steele. Roland asked Chairman Steele to name two issues that “speak to black voters that Republicans have a shot at.” Steele replied, “Education and the economy. Education and jobs. Education and small business.” I was surprised because I thought “finally” this guy was going to reconnect with his identity.

Roland then pointed out that he has long criticized the GOP because “white Republicans have been scared of black folks.” Uh-oh. Well that’s when my man Steele relapsed meaning “foot in mouth disease”. Faced with this loaded statement, surely the first African American chairman (after six ballots) of the overwhelmingly white and increasingly Southern party would use some tact or at least realize he was being viewed by an African American audience – people who looked like him even if he is not one of them.

So, how did Steele defend his party’s honor?

“And what if, eh, . . . No, you’re absolutely right,” Steele said. “I mean, I’ve been in the room and they’ve been scared of me. And I’m like, I’m on your side. You know, so I can imagine going out there and talking to someone like you…” WOW!!!

Let me be perfectly clear, I am all for ANYONE having a hustle. If you can succeed and are trying to accomplish something – GREAT – but this guy is severely challenged with respect to his ideals or identity. Now, he has every right to be as foolish as he wishes and I understand that there have been house Negro’s since they’ve been Negro’s – but Negro Please!!!

As we celebrate the most significant event since the resurrection of our Lord, the first African American President, we also must be subject to this throwback to the days of a Blackface minstrel show. So to the man of Steele, I say I am scared because you are the face of the Grand Ol’ Party.

More and more he reminds me of my uncle whose name is Tom…

JUST A SEASON


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