Tag Archives: poor people

A Message From The King

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It is important during these difficult times that we behold on to these inspiring words spoken by the late great Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The ethos of the body King touches my spirit, and these words should also touch your spirit too. As far as I’m concerned he was the most revered leader of our time.

Dr. King’s legacy was to secure progress through civil rights for the American Negro and poor people in the United States, and for this he has become a human rights icon recognized as a martyr. He has posthumous been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, a National Holiday, and honored with a monument on the Washington Mall in DC.

Although, his true story has been sanitized to where most view him as a dreamer. Whereby, this characterization of his legacy is not correct. Let us remember Dr. King as the revolutionary he was; he, like Moses, saw this country as the Egypt of our time. I would ask that you listen to “The King” in his own words. The attached video is, in my view, one of his most succinctly clearly spoken words concerning the American Myth. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

LISTEN TO THE KING IN HIS OWN WORDS

 


America’s Shocking and Ugly Truth

 A picture is worth a thousand words.

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Enough said, and that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Hoodwinked: The War on Poverty Failured

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It’s been over fifty-years since LBJ declared as part of his “Great Society” plan a war on poverty. As declared, this was a set of government programs designed to help poor Americans pull themselves out of poverty; such as employment, job training, and improvement of housing. Well, we see how well that worked out! I think we can all agree that the war on poverty was costly and in my view tragic mistake; particularly, when the results show there was no intent to achieve the goal.

It goes without saying that the people who’ve remained and are in poverty today have known it was a failure for decades. Federal and state agencies poured billions and billions of dollars into the so-called war on poverty and 50 years later the poverty statistics are worst than the when President Johnson declared such a war. However, we can rest assured the white folk benefitted greatly!

This is what I see; feelings of hopelessness have become so deeply entrenched with many Americans they have long forsaken any expectation of a better life; mainly due to high and lasting unemployment. Then, for the most part, the governments attempt to treat the despair with welfare programs. Today more people require and receive federal assistance, including food stamps, AFDC, and SSI disability payments, which is evidence that such a concept has not worked.

This begs the question, why did the war on poverty fail? Do we blame the politicians, activists, or the administrators who set up the welfare programs in the 1960s or do we blame those who are poor for being poor. Sargent Shriver once told Congress during his political career that the nation had “both the resources and the know-how to eliminate grinding poverty in the United States.” President Lyndon Johnson echoed the claim. “For the first time in our history,” Johnson declared, “it is possible to conquer poverty.” I personally agree with both and believe – yes we can!

To most people, these claims seem incredibly naïve. While the state of neediness, we call poverty does not lack material resources. As a result, what it has created is a systemic system of dependency. This involves psychological and moral problems, weak motivation, lack of trust in the system, ignorance, irresponsibility, self-destructiveness, short-sightedness, alcoholism, drug addiction, promiscuity, and violence. To say that all these behavioral and psychological problems can be “abolished” seems almost impossible to overcome.

I say it is the result of no serious effort or maybe a denial of the common-sense Biblical teaching that the wealthy know the poor will always be with us. In fact, according to the way the system was established there must be a permanent underclass for the rich to sustain what they’ve taken. Invariably this has bared a heavier burden upon the black and non-white community.

This is an outrage that in a nation with a technology that could provide every citizen with a decent life constantly marred in financial scandals should inflict such social misery.” The Republicans will tell you that this is not a moral imperative, which makes them seem selfish and insensitive.

Particularly, when most view the poor as being part of the 47% that they call “takers”. Many also say if the poor stopped engaging in the behavior that plunged them into neediness. Such, as they say, apply themselves, to work, save, stop using drugs, stop having babies they couldn’t support, or to make any other kind of effort to improve themselves.

Let me suggest they remove the moniker of all the wars on whatever because any time they claim or impose a war on anything – it is doomed to fail. It is about helping the rich get richer, and the poor remaining poor. Let me add and be clear, the only war worth fighting is the war to save Black America! Is it because of race that it was designed to fail. One word, YES!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Please read: http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/history/webid-meynihan.htm


A Long And Mighty Walk

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A season is a time characterized by a particular circumstance, suitable to an indefinite period of time associated with a divine phenomenon known as life. One of the first things I learned in this life was that it is a journey and as an African American it has been a long and mighty walk. During this passage through time, I have come to realize that there are milestones, mountains, and valleys that everyone will encounter. History and even His-Story shows that people of African descent have endured more adversity 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. It can also be said that we may not have succeeded in the civil rights movement without a strong Rosa Parks to push Dr. Martin Luther King into bringing the civil rights movement to the forefront of America’s consciousness. The movement evolved to become known as the Black Power Movement that was so strong and so serious that it caused an urgency for America to change rather than prepare for violence from civil unrest.

Dr. Clarke was the powerful mind that many leaders came 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 – “The ballot or the bullet.”

Dr. Clarke never wrote an autobiography, but he had a huge impact on the minds of his people who continue to embrace the knowledge he left for us. 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 for Dr. Clark written by The Los Angeles Times:

John Henrik Clarke: Activist, Professor and Educator

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!

Let’s pay homage to one of the most profound and unsung voices of our time. And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…


Blind Faith

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I wrote an article a few months ago titled “Pimps in the Pulpit”. I know it sounds bad, but there is a hint of truth in that description. Trust me, I know that talking about religion or the church is never a good idea. Having said that, I’m sure I will be berated for this writing but I hope most will understand that my point is this: when will the black church community take an honest look at itself?

Don’t get me wrong. I love the “Lawd” as much as the next person who say they do. In addition, I appreciate “The Word” and respect “some Pastors”, and there are a few good ones out there to which we should support. I know there are some who have raised hell all of their lives, gone to prison and worse, who now claim to have been called, but not all are what they seem or claim to be. Therefore, we should not confuse the man or church with Christianity or Spirituality.

Let’s be real, you know the scenario – I’ll call it the drama. A pastor gets caught up in some scandalous behavior like stealing money, committing adultery, having children by members of the congregation. The word spreads, a few fed-up members leave the church. The “incident” is down-played or swept under the rug and eventually the congregation moves on as if nothing ever happened. Black churches are notorious for their unwillingness to shake bad leaders. Even in the face of undeniable evidence of gross sin, some congregations maintain their commitments to these shady characters with an almost addictive-like quality.

When this happens, it tends to inflict damage far greater than their collective work. Frankly, it spells disaster for its mission, its people, and its community. The little country church I attended as a child had a preacher that I always admired because he told the truth. He once said, “The bible has been rewritten 28 times. If the first version was God’s word, why then would man need to rewrite God’s word so many times?” There is a lot of money in the name of Jesus.

So in a sense it could be said that it’s like the wolf guarding the sheep. There was a time when the church was there for the community, and now it seems the people are there for the church. Think about that for a moment. During the Civil Rights era, black preachers changed the world; put their lives on the line, and many died for their community. Do you know one preacher who would do that today? Probably not!

I went to church a sometime ago – a mega church. The first thing I saw was an ATM machine. What came to mind was the day Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple, which should not have come to mind. My point is this; let thy soul be guarded with respect to the messenger. Some churchgoers believe pastors (even bad ones) are virtually untouchable, or they are all knowing, like God speaks through them. They are human, and most have an agenda. Let me add that in most cases; it’s not to benefit you.

Because of their position and function within the church, they are seen as being above any charge of indiscretion. People who hold this view will protect a corrupt pastor by immediately denying and dismissing any allegation of misconduct before careful consideration. Sometimes the congregation will blame the victims for their victimization. For instance, many women find themselves blamed for having been sexually harassed. Should they find the courage to speak out, they are often branded as “troublemakers” and demonized as a part of the devil’s scheme to bring down the ministry.

For the record, the Bible does offer human protections for congregations in the form of multiple pastors. It also promotes real pastoral accountability from a group of people who know the day-to-day ins and outs of that particular congregation and who are qualified to recognize and call out pastoral misconduct. I know this is a HUGE paradigm shift but before you prejudge it, check out these biblical references to see if they support a single or a multiple pastor model for local churches. (see Acts 11:30, 14:23, 20:17, Philippians 1:1, Titus 1:5, 1 Timothy 5:17, James 5:14)

The Bible never says that Christians should remain loyal to corrupt leaders. In fact, the Bible clearly forbids churches from clinging to such pastors. 1 Timothy 5:20 says “As for those [pastors] who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.” There are precious few congregations willing to obey this biblical command. Can you imagine a local Black church publicly reprimanding a corrupt pastor by bringing him before the congregation, calling out his sin, and “sitting him down?” I doubt it!

It says in 1 Timothy 5:21 that even pastors should receive no special favors or leniency when it comes to sin. It says, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.” We need to take pastoral integrity very seriously and avoid the physical, psychological, and spiritual devastation to our communities and ourselves by demanding that pastors obey the Bible’s clear direction.

Who do you follow God or man? Some of these people and places will lead you where you don’t want to go – HELL. If you noticed, I stopped short of saying “game knows games” because most are playing a game with your soul. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

 


March On Washington

007_1000It was fifty-years ago, on an August day when the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was held. It was a mass protest designed to helped energize some of the most critical social legislation in the nation’s history. It inspired a generation of activists focused on ending poverty, racism and violence against black people. I remember where I was on the day of this historic event as a small child. As time passed, I never thought 50 some odd years later we would still need to march for the same things – ending poverty, racism, violence, and police brutality.

However, overtime I’ve learned that as sure as things change – they remain the same. The march was attended by more than 250,000 people that was said to be the largest demonstration Washington had ever seen at the time. The march reached a galvanizing high point with Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, which stands today as one of the best known and most beloved speeches.

The backdrop for the march was the outrage sparked by media coverage of police brutality in Birmingham, Alabama. Where attack dogs and fire hoses were turned against peaceful protesters – many of whom were in their early teens or younger. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and jailed during those protests writing his famous “Letter From Birmingham City Jail,” which advocates civil disobedience against unjust laws. Dozens of additional demonstrations took place across the country, from California to New York, culminating in the march.

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The March represented a coalition of several civil rights organizations, all of which generally had different approaches and different agendas. The “Big Six” as they came to be known organizers were James Farmer, of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Martin Luther King, Jr., of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); John Lewis, of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); A. Philip Randolph, of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Roy Wilkins, of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); and Whitney Young, Jr., of the National Urban League. There was only one female speaker that day, Josephine Baker, who introduced several “Negro Women Fighters for Freedom,” including Rosa Parks.

The stated demands of the march were the passage of meaningful civil rights legislation; the elimination of racial segregation in public schools; protection for demonstrators against police brutality; a major public-works program to provide jobs; the passage of a law prohibiting racial discrimination in public and private hiring; a $2 an hour minimum wage; and self-government for the District of Columbia, which had a black majority.

President Kennedy called the leaders of the big six to the White House because he wanted to discouraged the march supposedly for fear that it might make the legislature vote against civil rights laws in reaction to a perceived threat. Kennedy demanded that the language be changed and that the voices for justice toned down to almost meek words. Once it became clear that the march would go on, he stationed troops “on the ready” around the city while publically he claimed to support the march.

The AFL-CIO remained neutral and outright opposition came from two sides. White supremacist groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, were obviously not in favor of any event supporting racial equality. On the other hand, the march was also condemned by some civil rights activists who felt it presented an inaccurate, sanitized pageant of racial harmony. Malcolm X called it the “Farce on Washington,” and members of the Nation of Islam who attended the march faced a temporary suspension.

Lewis represented the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, a younger, more radical group than King’s group. The speech he planned to give, circulated beforehand, was objected to by other participants; it called Kennedy’s civil rights bill “too little, too late,” asking “which side is the federal government on?” It declared that they would march “through the Heart of Dixie, the way Sherman did” and “burn Jim Crow to the ground -nonviolently.” In the end, he agreed to tone down the more inflammatory portions of his speech, but even the revised version was the most controversial of the day, stating:

The revolution is at hand, and we must free ourselves of the chains of political and economic slavery. The nonviolent revolution is saying, “We will not wait for the courts to act, for we have been waiting hundreds of years. We will not wait for the President, nor the Justice Department, nor Congress, but we will take matters into our own hands, and create a great source of power, outside of any national structure that could and would assure us victory.” For those who have said, “Be patient and wait!” we must say, “Patience is a dirty and nasty word.” We cannot be patient, we do not want to be free gradually, we want our freedom, and we want it now. We cannot depend on any political party, for the Democrats and the Republicans have betrayed the basic principles of the Declaration of Independence.

King’s speech remains one of the most famous speeches in American history. He started with prepared remarks, saying he was there to “cash a check” for “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” while warning fellow protesters not to “allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.

Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.” But then he departed from his script, shifting into the “I have a dream” theme he’d used on prior occasions, drawing on both “the American dream” and religious themes, speaking of an America where his children “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” He followed this with an exhortation to “let freedom ring” across the nation, and concluded with:

When this happens, when we allow freedom to 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.

One could say, Brother Martin was wrong! The KKK now wear black robes, justice is still denied, we see James Crow Esq. – the son of segregation, a new Citizens Council called the Tea Party, poverty, and joblessness is worst than it was in his day. Now, for a man of peace who fought, struggled, and died for equality; he has been reduced to a four-word phrase – “I have a Dream”.

Maybe they were right when they said what he preached was just a dream! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Time To Wake-Up!

5Seems like every once in a while I am compelled to share this message because it behooves me that most of us cannot and has not gotten the message. I am sharing this because there are troubles predicted by our ancestors and too many unresolved problems in society that continue to negatively affect the lives of a people who remain oppressed. Particularly, when the black community is under attack on every front.

Since the year of our Lord 1619, when people from Africa were first dragged onto American shores; African Americans have been chastised, criticized, punished, beaten, robbed, and murdered. All while the culprits have 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.

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 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 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 even to walk in the shadows, we followed, believing that someday we would come to accepted and treated like men and women. Our strength in the face of adversity is vastly understated.

Our history is one of unbelievable struggles. 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. 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.

In today’s business environment, we do not support each other and just keep doing business with the larger community or in fact any other community. Some say we, as a people, were very successful 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.

This is to include 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.

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. Last year, 2012, seemed to for fill his prophetic prophecy.

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 all. Yet, Mr. Lynch’s message reigns supreme. 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 by simply understanding 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. It is time to “Wake Up”! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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Just a Season


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