Tag Archives: robber barons

Remembering A King

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Nightmare on MLK

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dr. Carter G. Woodson challenged his readers in the epic novel “The Mis-Education of the Negro” to become empowered by doing for themselves. He said, regardless of what they were taught “History shows that it does not matter who is in power… those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.”

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

 


Willard And The Culture Remark

For those who read and follow my writings, you know that my passion is to bring into remembrance the “Greatest Story Ever Told”, which is that of the African American Diaspora. However, in this extreme, and dare I say bazaar, political season where those on the right are desperately trying to turn back the hands of time in ways such as the 21st Century Poll Tax and voter disenfranchisement. I find myself expressing the reality that I see. Meaning I’ve seen this before!

In my lifetime I can recall the Jim Crow America, the Whites Only facilities existed, and the reality of segregation; once people like today’s Republicans were the Dixiecrats and the Tea Party folks where the terrorists who wore hooded robes, and coward under the cover of night. Now they wear suits!

I believe it was Solomon who said, “There is nothing new under the sun”. I will agree and add that it is just repackaged to fit the times, and these are dangerous times. Today, we are in a virtual police state. We have the system practicing “Retro-active Abortion” via the prison system and the Robber Barons of Wall Street are doing to the America people things unmatched by the thugs and drug dealers in the streets. Yet, these and other atrocities go unchecked by the system of justice and in some cases rewarded.

All of this brings me to the man who wants to be king. I believe “Willard” will make George W, the last Republican president, look like a cub scout. The reason I fear this guy is not because he flip-flops and lies as some say. Rather, because of his faith! Let me be clear, one can believe in or chose whatever faith they wish but Willard’s faith has a documented history of being anti-black. It was not until somewhere around 1968 that African American’s were allowed to join his church.

This speaks to the teaching and the mind of a man that might become the leader of the free world and would he bring this to the office. This dawned on me after Mitt’s recent trip abroad where he professed this notion of “culture” which in my opinion spoke volumes. What he said about the Palestinians during that trip could be interrupted in a way that would apply to black and white culture in America.

In Romney’s world the Darwinian influence of American culture fueled suburban manifest destiny for whites, enabling them safe passage and escape from urban ghettoes. People of color who were able to assimilate to Anglo American values took advantage of equal opportunity and prospered; those that weren’t were simply mired in backward ancestral traditions.

 “White U.S. southerners also insisted, during slavery and Jim Crow, that “their” Negroes were the best off in the world because of their exposure to white folks’ religion and way of life. Left to their own devices, however, Black folks’ innate cultural inferiority – i.e., depravity – would do them in…White liberals also believed in the Culture Demon. In the 1950s and early 60s, it was considered politically correct to describe African Americans as “culturally deprived” – meaning, Blacks are disadvantaged by lack of exposure to white culture. Power has nothing to do with it.” 

Comparing African American wealth to that of the Palestinians one could argue: “The 20 to 1 disparity between Israeli and Palestinian per capita income matches the wealth gap between American Blacks and whites (app. $5,000 vs. $100,000 for median Black and white households). The fact that such numbers do not provoke general shock and calls for reparations is proof enough that most whites view the disparity as more a natural phenomenon than evidence of cumulative injustice.

After hearing the culture remark I wondered could this be viewed as Daniel Patrick Moynihan, the liberal Senator from Massachusetts, who  spoke for white folks of the past, present and future when he posited, in 1965, that a Black ‘culture of poverty’ is what keeps Black people poor – not pervasive white racism.” And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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The Way I See It

History is never old; it is just refashioned as His-Story. If you follow my words you have heard me say that the greatest crime the world has ever known occurred that day in August of 1619, when the first Africans were dragged onto the shores of this country. I have given that some thought and want to add a caveat to that claim.

I would argue that the foundation or the beginning of this ideology, slavery, happened in 1492 when this guy that history tells us, was lost, and landed in the Caribbean calling it the “New World”. It is interesting that they phrased it this way because where Columbus landed – this place was not new at all – there were people living there thriving. Now, don’t forget history tells us “he thought the world was flat”.

I say what happened that day Columbus put in motion what lead to all of the crimes that were to follow. It was the foundation of what came to be established in terms of racism, as “Manifest Destiny”. What this means is that people of European decent had domain over all that existed in the world – its people and their possessions. Sort of like what we see now with the tyrants and criminals on Wall Street who orchestrate what I call “White Collar Crooks”.

You see, this principle means this think or principle makes them feel entitled or have the right to reduce all to servitude. We are being robbed by the robber barons and banks, which makes us slaves to the system. Just look at the conservative political movement. Their mission is to support the interest of the one percent of the wealthy not the 99 percent of Americans who are servants to their power.

Now, consider who their candidate is whose running for the president of the United States. A place that really does not seem very united today. Mitt, the rich man, is a man who built his wealth via this principle. Do you think he can relate to us and do you want him as president?

All I am saying is this principle of Manifest Destiny speaks directly to the conservative principles they are trying to sell us. And again, I say history is never old. Don’t forget we lived through the years of Bush and these republicans will make him look like a Cub Scout.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!

http://johntwills.com


A Long and Mighty Walk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John Henrik Clarke: Activist, Professor July 18,198

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

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

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

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

And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com

 


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