Tag Archives: prayers

The Aftermath Of Integration

1I recently had a conversation with a group of young people, none of which lived during the age of government segregation. Each had strongly convoluted opinions about the era that were not based in fact. This made me think about how much the current world view has changed the reality of black life, as it relates to a historical perspective.

First, white folk never wanted it and chatted go back to Africa at the time. It was never intended to be fair or equal! I am not suggesting that integration should not have happened, but it did have a negative impact on black life and the future of African Americans in many ways. Two prominent ways were in the areas of family and black business.

One thing that happened, for sure was that the black community stopped supporting the businesses in their own communities. After segregation, African Americans flocked to support businesses owned by whites and other groups, causing black restaurants, theaters, insurance companies, banks, etc. to almost disappear. Today, black people spend 95 percent of their income at white-owned businesses. Even though the number of black firms has grown 60.5 percent between 2002 and 2007, they only make up 7 percent of all U.S firms and less than .005 percent of all U.S business receipts.

I took the opportunity to educate these young people that in 1865, just after Emancipation, 476,748 free blacks – 1.5 percent of U.S. population– owned .005 percent of the total wealth of the United States. Today, a full 135 years after the abolition of slavery, 44.5 million African Americans – 14.2 percent of the population — possess a meager 1 percent of the national wealth.

If we look at relationships from 1890 to 1950, black women married at higher rates than white women, despite a consistent shortage of black males due to their higher mortality rate. According to a report released by the Washington DC-based think tank the Urban Institute, the state of the African American family is worse today than it was in the 1960s, four years before President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act.

In 1965, only 8 percent of childbirths in the black community occurred out of wedlock. In 2010, out-of-wedlock childbirths in the black community are at an astonishing 72 percent. Researchers Heather Ross and Isabel Sawhill argue that the marital stability is directly related to the husband’s relative socio-economic standing and the size of the earnings difference between men and women.

Instead of focusing on maintaining black male employment to allow them to provide for their families, Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act with full affirmative action for women. The act benefited mostly white women and created a welfare system that encouraged the removal of the black male from the home. Many black men were also dislodged from their families and pushed into the rapidly expanding prison industrial complex that developed in the wake of rising unemployment.

Since integration, the unemployment rate of black men has been spiraling out of control. In 1954, white men had a zero percent unemployment rate, while African-American men experienced a 4 percent rate. By 2010, it was at 16.7 percent for Black men compared to 7.7 percent for white men. The workforce in 1954 was 79 percent African American. By 2011, that number had decreased to 57 percent. The number of employed black women, however, has increased. In 1954, 43 percent of African American women had jobs. By 2011, 54 percent of black women are job holders.

The Civil Rights Movement pushed for laws that would create a colorblind society, where people would not be restricted from access to education, jobs, voting, travel, public accommodations, or housing because of race. However, the legislation did nothing to eradicate white privilege. Michael K. Brown, professor of politics at University of California Santa Cruz, and co-author of“Whitewashing Race: The Myth of a Color-Blind Society” says in the U.S., “The color of one’s skin still determines success or failure, poverty or affluence, illness or health, prison or college.”

Two percent of all working African Americans work for another African American’s within their own neighborhood. Because of this, professionally trained Black people provide very little economic benefit to the black community. Whereas, prior to integration that number was significantly higher because of segregation people in the black community supported each other to sustain their lives and families.

The Black median household income is about 64 percent that of whites, while the Black median wealth is about 16 percent that of whites. Millions of Black children are being miseducated by people who don’t care about them, and they are unable to compete academically with their peers. At the same time, the criminal justice system has declared war on young Black men with policies such as “stop and frisk” and “three strikes.”

Marcus Garvey warned about this saying:

“Lagging behind in the van of civilization will not prove our higher abilities. Being subservient to the will and caprice of progressive races will not prove anything superior in us. Being satisfied to drink of the dregs from the cup of human progress will not demonstrate our fitness as a people to exist alongside of others, but when of our own initiative we strike out to build industries, governments, and ultimately empires, then and only then will we as a race prove to our Creator and to man in general that we are fit to survive and capable of shaping our own destiny.”

Maybe this proves that once past truths are forgotten, and the myths that are lies are born with an unfounded reality detrimental to all, but those who seek to benefit. As I have often said, “I firmly believe education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. We can change the world but first, we must change ourselves.” And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Twitter @JohnTWills

Source: Black Atlanta Star

The Concept Of Hell


I am sure most of us have been damned to “Hell” at one time or another. With much talk of the Resurrection have you ever stopped to wonder about this place called “hell”, where exactly is this place of damnation or where did this concept originate? Is it really in the center of the earth as the church tells us? Or is there no such place that ever existed? All of these are interesting questions.

Hell had been taught in Greek philosophy long before the time of Jesus. The concept of a soul within us cannot die first became a Christian doctrine at the end of the second century AD and was an important part of Christian doctrine at the Conference at Nicaea. It was at this conference that Christianity was formed established to represent what we know today.

The teaching of an everlasting place of punishment for the wicked is the natural consequence of a belief in an immortal soul. By the year AD 187, it was understood that life, once we have it, is compulsory; there is no end to it, either now or in a world to come. We have no choice as to its continuance, even if we were to commit suicide to end it. Of course, this is according to the church and its belief in “Life Ever Lasting”. Maybe I should say religion because almost all religions have a version of purgatory in one form or another.

Christianity altered the thinking because they figured out a way to monetize the concept of this mythical place through human speculative reasoning and the teachings of God’s Word. Such words and phrases as the continuance of beings perpetual existence, incapable of dissolution and incorruptible began to appear in so-called Christian writings. Other phrases used were “the soul to remain by itself immortal” and “an immortal nature.” It was taught that this was how God made us but, in fact, this idea derives from a philosophy, not divine inspiration. There are no such words in the Bible.

It was Athenagoras, a Christian teacher, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, responsible for the strongly tinged Platonism, who had introduced the teaching of an immortal soul into Christianity. In this way, he paved the way for the logical introduction of eternal torment for sinful souls. This was a hundred years after the time of the apostles and came straight from popular philosophy. The apostles had consistently taught that death is a sleep, to be followed by resurrection. The early church leaders also believed that death is a sleep, taught that the wicked are destroyed forever by fire; their punishment was to be annihilation. These leaders did not teach of an immortal soul to be tortured by fire in hell for eternity.

About AD 240 Tertullian of Carthage took up the teaching of an immortal soul. He taught the endless torment of the immortal soul of the wicked was parallel to the eternal blessedness of the saved, with no sleep of death after this life. It was the result of Pagan rituals that the darkness of the infiltration of man-made beliefs into Christianity deepened until the Dark Ages had smothered almost all the light of God’s Word. It is at this time that such beliefs, held by most Christians today, had their origin. An ever-burning hell has remained a commonly taught doctrine of the Christian religion to this day. It was not based on the Bible but on philosophy. Bible verses were later sought to uphold the ancient philosophies of the Greeks, and added to the teaching.

Eventually under the influence of Augustine, AD 430, the concept of endless conscious torment was brought into general acceptance by the Catholic Church. They began to teach that Purgatory was a place of purification. If of course, the believer gave money or material possessions to the Church. Then you could be relieved of eternal damnation. This arose out of the Gnostic idea that the body, flesh, and matter, is inherently evil and must be purified and purged by fire elsewhere. But we know bodies can be exhumed for examination, so it cannot be true that the flesh goes elsewhere.

A similar view was held in Egypt, with prayers and services for the dead and payments made to priests for them to intercede for the dead. The idea of a place like purgatory did not have its beginnings in the Christian church but in ancient pagan religions. Purgatory was added, and later fully confirmed by Pope Gregory the Great, about 582. Purgatory could not be supported by the standard canon of the Bible, and it was the books of the Apocrypha that were used to justify this new idea.

A similar teaching appeared in Moslem and Jewish belief. The inhabitants of the world were seen as good, bad and ‘middling.’ It was believed that, if one died for curable offenses, these would be purified by pain and torment as a preparation for heavenly bliss. By 1439 the teaching of purgatory, with services and prayers for the dead to spare them years of this pain, was fully accepted in the Western Catholic world – Italy, Spain, England, France and was ratified by Pope Eugenius IV.

It is sometimes taught that even the righteous go to such a place for a lesser time so the stains of sin can be burned from them, and this can be greatly hastened if certain exercises are undertaken. At the end of this time, any that are incorrigible are sent to hell forever, and the righteous go to a place of eternal blessedness.

Heaven and hell are seen to exist together side by side forever and ever. This means that Jesus the Savior can never see an end of the sin and misery he came to die for. Any teaching of the eternal co-existence of evil and good is not in the Bible but is a teaching from Greek philosophy.

The concept of hell is where hatred lives and not alien to black people. It is what we live each day here in this earthly realm, particularly anywhere south of Canada. If there is a hell, I know it will be filled with “devils” as Brother Malcolm described. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

America’s Shocking and Ugly Truth

 A picture is worth a thousand words.


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



As we travel this journey called life – each of us will endure mountain, milestones, and valleys. Most of us have become an “Opera Periode”, which is a definition that describe who most of us have become. If you are unaware of what I mean by that; it’s a character in an Italian opera, who entertains so many and puts on a happy face for the audience and the world to see. Yet, inside this character is tormented and lives a life of pain. Maybe Smokey Robinson said it best; it’s like the tears of a clown.

I am reminded of Pharaoh, who held his people in bondage for centuries. Then came, a black man, whose name was Moses, who fought Pharaoh to let his people go. Yes, his people were slaves and to be a slave one must be mentally conditioned to accept that condition. I use this metaphor because far too many of us await someone to come and take us away from the modern day Pharaoh. Many people and African American’s, in particular, think it’s Obama. I am as proud and honored as anyone for him and his accomplishments but “he is not our savior”. Our Savior rests within our soul!

There are about 1500 different religions and every one of them teach that a man will come to free us or as the good reverend might say “deliver us from evil”. I am here to tell you no one is coming! Power is never given – it is always taken as a result of the spirit and free will that comes from your heart. If we are to be free, it must come from what was given at birth. To make it plain, “free your mind and you soul will rest”.

Let me remind you of the universal law, every woman who bores a child do so in fainting and in pain to produce a life thought the vassal of her womb from which her spirit. It doesn’t matter; rich or poor; black or white; Latin or Chinese; learned or unlearned! When that baby cry, it is a universal language that everyone human regardless of the language one speaks, everybody knows what that baby needs. This law makes us all equal from birth.

We forget that we come into this strange place with nothing and we spend all the time we have in this life trying to obtain “things”. Things are worthless, but life is priceless because you will, for certain, not take any of those “things” with you when you leave this world. Going back to the story that has been so distorted, neither Jesus nor Moses is coming! You are the one who must face what they tell us is a Day of Judgment. You will have to atone for the gift of life given to you. When you stand in judgment will God, Allah, or our creator be happy with the work you’ve done?

Maybe this might sound biblical but it isn’t my intention. Rather, just saying in my way – don’t leave this world backward the way you did when you came here. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Under Cover Of Law

1The recent headlines in the news of police brutality, police killings, the police in gas masks and military garb attacking American citizens protesting peacefully shocked some, but frankly this story is as old as America itself. It is the same story of implicit bias, black pain, disenfranchised communities and systemic racism. What this means is that most have forgotten true history and the rest think that the cries and pain of black people are fictitious. Nothing to see here!

Eighteen-year-old Michael Brown was killed by a police officer when he was stopped for walking in the middle of the street. Witnesses say Brown put his hands up and said “Don’t shoot” to the officer as he dumped more than a dozen rounds into his body. The police, however, have remained quiet on Wilson’s version of events, choosing instead to make the victim the focus by releasing grainy video footage of the teen allegedly robbing a store keeper over a pack of pilfered cigars. This is a familiar theme portrayed in the name of justice; blaming of the victim in nearly every such situation at the hands of the law.

This summer there has been weekly brutality by the police and several murders under cover of law. Yet, they ask why such community outrage. For example, the mayor and police chief of tiny Ferguson say there is no problem here – our darkies are happy and love living here. We’ve heard this before as far back as slavery and segregation! In other words, it is just contempt and how they devalued the lives of its black citizens. Instead of trust and healing, the streets of Ferguson were full of tear gas and militarized police. In the place of justice, there is only anger, reminiscent of scenes we have seen before.

Judith Browne Dianis, a veteran civil rights attorney, put it this way:

“Fifty-nine years ago last week, 14-year-old Emmett Till was murdered for allegedly “whistling” at a white woman. His death and open-casket funeral revealing the boy’s brutalized body caused a national outcry, demonstrating how African Americans were viewed as less than human in many parts of our society, and that those who kill them would likely go unpunished. But the killings of Emmett Till and those like him, for infractions small or imagined, didn’t start 59 years ago. These killings and the divide they illustrate are rooted in 400 years of oppression.

In her article, she added and said, “Michael Brown is now part of a tragic legacy, a member of a group that includes Till. You’ll also find Trayvon Martin there, killed last year by a self-appointed neighborhood watchman who stalked him as he walked home. You’ll find New Yorker Eric Garner, choked to death by police last month for asking why he was being harassed. There’s John Crawford, killed by police the same week as Brown for holding an air rifle — essentially a toy gun — in an Ohio Wal-Mart. Ezell Ford’s death this month either came from resisting arrest or lying face down in the street, depending on whether you believe the Los Angeles police or Ford’s mother.

A 2012 study revealed that police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes extra-judicially killed at least 313 African Americans that year alone. This means a black person was killed at the hands of a “security” officer every 28 hours. But these dire fates are not inevitable. They are the result of generations of suppression and inequality, devaluing the lives of African Americans to the point where we invest little in economic equality, education and the other types of policies that create opportunity in other parts of America.”

The police are paid to protect and serve all people, yet for too many communities of color, police are an occupying force using suppression-only tactics, indicting residents by the color of their skin, not differentiating between them and the criminal element they seek. The police domination of black communities reminds me of Hitler’s Gestapo and storm troopers that occupy not protect and serve.

The question before us is whether or not we will continue to accept this brutal oppression? Four hundred years of this has lasted far too long, and it’s time to say enough is enough! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Dick Gregory Speaks

The Pious Convict

1On Wednesday, Former Governor Robert “Bob” McDonnell openly wept like a pitiful little girl, as he sat in a federal courthouse in a Richmond, Virginia to hear the jury render its verdict convicting him of eleven felony counts. Governor “gifty” and his wife, the former Virginia first lady, who a witness called a “nut bag” were convicted on almost all of the fifteen counts they were charged in their federal corruption trial. This trial was more like a soap-opera than that of the saintly person he and others portrayed him to be, which was a morally righteous conservative.

The 71st Governor of Virginia was viewed as a rising star in the Republican Party and was on the short list for Vice President in 2012 and considered a presidential candidate in the next presidential election. He served on the executive committee of the Republican Governors Association, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves, served in the Virginia House of Delegates, and was Attorney General of Virginia. In January, he will become an inmate in a federal prison for a longtime.

His promising career can now only be described as the quickest and sharpest fall from grace of any Politian in modern times. What makes this so distinct is that outwardly he appeared and talked as if he was “the holier than thou”! He spoke of bringing Christian values back to Virginia. Yes, the family values guy who championed marriage “threw his wife under the bus” during what was vastly different then his fake persona as soon as the trial began in the most disgraceful way I have ever see.

The holder of several degrees in business to law, an attorney, and selected to a public policy program where he obtained joint degrees from the Christian Broadcasting Network University; now known as Regent University. Not surprisingly, his most ardent supporter is the so-called preacher often view as wacky Pat Robinson who praised by him as a great servant of the Lord. Now, we see he was nothing more than a crook and proven such via the trial.

Governor “Ultrasound”, as he was known during his administration for his extreme views on abortion and other conservative issues. It could said that he and Caribou Babe, the Huckster, the Cruzer, Big Boy, and the rest of the Republican demagogues are nothing more than self-serving holding no value other than to fool the fools who follow and believe in them. This bunch pious fakes attacks our president on every issue and says he must go. To which I say none of them are worthy or capable of being his match in any moral realm. Thieves in the temple!

However, the one-time Governor suck to the script, he said upon leaving the courthouse that his “trust rests with the Lord”. I don’t know how he could say such a thing with a straight face. More disturbing is that he could even pretend to believe it himself. This was the most appalling trail and disgrace of a human being that I have ever witness, which just speaks to the man who fooled everyone until his deception was revealed.  I will say in the aftermath of his disgrace, as he believed as a lawyer, I’m sure, he was judged by a jury of his peers and that justice was served.

No worries, there are more fake conservatives in line waiting to follow you. So don’t pick up the soap. The way “We the People” think it’s about time. Finally, you still have to face judgment day and dude, Jesus is not going to be happy with you. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Ferguson, Missouri: A Perfect Example Of What Happens When Blacks Don’t Vote

Guest Blogger: George Cook of the AfricanAmericanmReports.com

10514657_10202131902970802_7641807366571926388_nWhen I first started blogging I had a blog titled Let’s Talk Honestly, and I think it’s time to talk honestly about the town of Ferguson Missouri. First I want to give my condolences to the young man’s family and to voice my support for those who are PEACEFULLY protesting.

But now back to talking honestly. How is it possible that a town that is predominantly black only have one black elected black official? There is an answer, and it’s one some may not like but I think it’s a sad truth.

In light of the Michael Brown shooting, we are hearing a lot about the town of Ferguson Missouri. It is a town of about 20,000 people that is 70% black. It is also a town with only ONE elected black official.

During an interview on NPR the town’s democratic chair Patricia Bynes made the following statement when asked why there was only one black elected official.

…Well, anything other than a presidential election there is low voter turnout. And the African-American community has been disenfranchised for a very long time. When you have people who are worrying about can I get a job – can I get to work – can I put food on the table – when election day on Tuesday comes around, that is the furthest thing from their minds. And the whites that live in the community – they participate. And so they vote for who they want for council and mayor, and they don’t always put practices in place that are best for the majority population there.

While Bynes made what some may consider some valid excuses they are just that, excuses. Our ancestors faced death, and some did die get us the right to vote and if nothing else we should repay that sacrifice by voting. How can you have tremendous power and cede it to someone else?

The only way a town that is 70% black can only have one black elected official is a complete lack of political involvement and engagement in the black community.

We know that black voters are there because in the chairs statement she says that they come out for presidential elections. But they obviously don’t understand that local elections are the ones that impact your daily life.

Some will say that because of racism or the gold boys network it’s hard for people to get involved politically. I’m not going to deny that, but the low voter turnout in Ferguson shows that racist don’t have to hold blacks back because they are not trying to move forward.

Because of that low voter turnout they have a police force that doesn’t reflect the diversity of the community it serves and a local government that seemingly is not worried about the black communities concerns.

The people in Ferguson have to do better; if they want better and stop with the damn excuses on election day. I sincerely hope that the tragic death of Michael Brown spurs more political involvement in Ferguson and other communities. I also it becomes an example of what happens when African Americans don’t participate politically.

See more at: http://www.africanamericanreports.com/2014/08/ferguson-missouri-perfect-example-of.html#sthash.S8bIZeVT.dpuf

Please Mr. President

1549544_10201525536561628_1876359458_nI want to preface this writing by saying I have been one of the most-ardent supporters of the First Black President. I happen to believe that no event in history was more significant than the election of a black man to the office of “President of these United States.” Having said that, I, like many people of color are losing faith in you! You came to office telling us that we have entered an era of “post-racial” America and preached hope. But Mr. President, we see no hope and now feel more hopeless than on your first day as the most-powerful man in the world.

You held a news conference after the Trayvon Martin’s tragedy and told us you know what it’s like to be black; being followed around like a criminal in stores, and that before you got secret service protection women clinched their purses when you came near. We understood and know this to be true because it still happens to most black men, and you statement came from a man raised by a white family. You told us, vociferously, not to worry and that you were the president of all Americans. With all due respect, you do know we are also American people!

We see every other group, particularly those not brown and black, having benefited from your power. Not to mention, people around the world; why not us? As we have witnessed the horrifying atrocities of racism escalate and the blatant killings at the hands of authorities – black people have yet to see this power you hold. If I am wrong sir, I apologize! But African Americans are in the worst position, living or health wise, than any other cultural group in America.

The people in Iraq stuck on that mountain, or anyone anywhere in the world, get your help within hours. In Detroit, the government deprives its citizens of the second most-important commodity needed to live –“water.” You sent million of gallons to the mountain half-way around the world, while you sent no relief to Detroit. Every week, you witness, like the rest of us, murders by the police around the country of unarmed black men. Is this hope we can believe?

I am not expressing my grievance without a solution. With respect to the brutal police actions that are blatantly inflicted upon people living in black communities, and all too often, where people live who look like you. It is this simple: “Instead of sending billions of dollars to Iraq and other places, or sending tanks and armaments from the war to these police forces to occupy these communities. Use your power and that of the Justice Department to order that every police office wear a camera to record their activities and to have every police car equipped with a dashboard camera.”

On the issue of race, I can only recall you talking about it a few times and it saddens me to say, you have done nothing for us and that is troubling. The African American community is only asking that you pay attention to their needs, and these needs are worsening. Policing or the occupation of black communities, when you have the power to intervene is not the legacy of how you should be remembered.

We know the GOP, the right-wing, and for that matter many whites are against you, and they are against us too. But, we have never left you. Don’t leave us! I must respectively ask, is the genocide of the Iraqi people more serious than the genocide of your own black citizens? And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Tricky Dick

3There has been a lot of talk about Richard M. Nixon, AKA Tricky Dick, as we remember the upcoming anniversary of his resignation for crimes committed during his presidency. I remember that time well and thought his six years in the White House was pivotal in American military, diplomatic, and political history. Let me be clear, based upon my recollection of that time and the tremendous amount of information released since he resigned to avoid impeachment and possibly prison was that he was a crook. Plain and simple!

Nixon’s presidency was for Nixon – not America, which is why it was cut short by Watergate and his many crimes. Nixon was no doubt “complex” and often “contradictory”. Some scholars view him as liberal, others as moderate, and many more say conservative; all can find ample evidence for each label and conclusive evidence for none of them. As President, Nixon was only as conservative as he could be and only as liberal as he had to be. This was a President, who meant to move the country to the right, and he did. Maybe this is why his personality caused him to be a transitional political figure.

Nixon’s most-celebrated achievements as President was the nuclear arms control agreements with the Soviet Union and the diplomatic opening to China that set the stage for the arms reduction pacts and careful diplomacy that brought about the end of the Cold War. Likewise, the Nixon Doctrine of furnishing aid to allies while expecting them to provide the soldiers to fight in their own defense paved the way for the Reagan Doctrine of supporting proxy armies and the Weinberger Doctrine of sending U.S. armed forces into combat only as a last resort when vital national interests are at stake and objectives clearly defined.

While his slow withdrawal from Vietnam appeared to be a practical application of the Nixon Doctrine, his secretly recorded White House tapes reveal that he expected South Vietnam to collapse after he brought American troops home and prolonged the war to postpone that collapse until after his reelection in 1972.

The Nixon years witnessed the first large-scale integration of public schools in the South. Nixon sought a middle way between the segregationist Wallace and liberal Democrats, whose support of integration was alienating some Southern whites. His hope in doing this was doing well in the South in 1972; he sought to dispose of desegregation as a political issue before then. Soon after his inauguration, he appointed Vice President Agnew to lead a task force, which worked with local leaders, both white and black, to determine how to integrate local schools. This became known of his “Southern Strategy.”

By September 1970, less than ten percent of black children were attending segregated schools. By 1971, however, tensions over desegregation surfaced in Northern cities, with angry protests over the busing of children to schools outside their neighborhood to achieve racial balance. Nixon opposed busing personally but enforced court orders requiring its use. In addition to desegregating public schools, Nixon implemented the Philadelphia Plan in 1970; the first significant federal affirmative action program. He also endorsed the Equal Rights after it passed both houses of Congress in 1972 and went to the states for ratification.

In light of his loss of political support and the near-certainty of impeachment, Nixon resigned the office of the presidency on August 9, 1974, after addressing the nation on television the previous evening. The resignation speech was delivered from the Oval Office and was carried live on radio and television. Nixon stated that he was resigning for the good of the country and asked the nation to support the new president, Gerald Ford. Ford was conveniently chosen as his replacement to pardon him for his crimes, meaning “he got away” with all crimes.

His downfall was the result of the Watergate break-in and the tapes recorded by Trick Dick himself. He said, I have succeeded and sometimes I have failed, while famously saying “I am not a crook.” Nixon’s speech received, generally, favorable initial responses. However, it was an unprecedented humiliation as he was the first American president to resign the office.

Ultimately, the White House tapes did shape the assessment of Nixon’s impact and legacy. They ended his presidency by furnishing proof of his involvement in the Watergate cover-up, fueled a generation’s skepticism about political leaders, and today provide ample evidence of the political calculation behind the most important decisions of his presidency. They make his presidency an object lesson in the difference between image and reality, a lesson that each generation must learn anew.

In my opinion, his worst crime and shameful legacy was his initiation of the “War on Drugs” that was the beginning of the mass incarceration of black people. Frankly, his presidency is responsible for the prison industrial complex that has destroyed millions of lives and families. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

George Duke: Rest In Peace

th (15)Its been one year since we lost the Grammy-winning jazz keyboardist George Duke. Mr. Duke was a producer whose sound infused acoustic jazz, electronic jazz, funk, R&B and soul. Duke was born in San Rafael, Calif. During his stellar 40-year-plus career, he appeared on a number of Frank Zappa albums and played in the Don Ellis Orchestra, Cannonball Adderley’s band and with jazz musician Stanley Clarke. Duke also played keyboard on Michael Jackson’s multi-platinum 1979 album, “Off the Wall.”

Duke began taking piano lessons when he was four years old, after seeing Duke Ellington perform. He said on his website, “I don’t remember it too well … but my mother told me I went crazy… I ran around saying, ‘Get me a piano, get me a piano!’”

Like most of the greats, Duke learned a lot about music from going to church, which helped him add a funk style to his sound. He played in high-school jazz groups and was heavily influenced by Miles Davis. He earned degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco State University.

On tour as part of the George Duke Trio, he performed in Los Angeles at a show where Adderley, Zappa and Quincy Jones were in attendance. Duke soon joined Zappa on a tour for a year in 1969. He joined Adderley’s band in 1971. He met Clarke through Adderley, and they formed the Clarke/Duke Project. Their song “Sweet Baby” was a Top 20 hit on the Billboard pop charts.

Mr. Duke became a solo artist in 1976 and released more than 30 solo albums. He also produced for Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole. His latest album, “DreamWeaver,” was released and features a touching tribute to her. He worked as musical director for the Soul Train Music Awards and other special events. He also scored songs on soundtracks for “The Five Heartbeats” and “Karate Kid III.”

Every life is born with a purpose. I am honored that I had the pleasure of being inspired by the wonderful music from this man of class and stature. I send my love, respect, and sympathy, from the depth of my heart to the family of George Duke for all the love he left the world. Rest In Peace and we will remember the “Dukey Stick”! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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