Category Archives: African-American Experience

Rest in Peace my Brother

Fifty-six years ago, civil and human rights icon Malcolm X was assassinated. To this day, some like to push the false narrative that all he was about was hate and racism but what he was is a man molded by the inequalities of the times in which he grew up in. He preached the importance of Black empowerment, which even to this day is threatening to some. What many who push this false narrative about him neglect to point is that he was not only a man of courage and conviction but a man who was unafraid to allow his personality to evolve as he was exposed to new things, and after a visit to Mecca he stated that seeing Muslims of “all colors, from blue-eyed blonds to black-skinned Africans,” interacting as equals led him to see Islam as a means by which racial problems could be overcome. 

Rest In Peace, my brother

Today is the beginning of Black History month, and for the second day in a row, several HBCUs we’re the target of bomb threats; now more than ever, with certain segments of our society seemingly determined to turn back the clock while simultaneously restricting the teaching of history, we must take every measure to learn about our heritage and be proud of not only how as a people we have overcome the barriers put in place to keep us down but be proud of the vast contributions African Americans have made to this country. Contributions that have made us an indelible part of its fabric.

We Are Still Here

I posted this years ago, but today’s efforts to block voting rights, white supremacists for the first time in many decades no longer hiding in the shadows, the ongoing crusade against teaching the history of inherent racism, and the Senate minority leader drawing a distinction between “Americans” and “African Americans” I thought I would dust it off and repost. So with a nod to Morpheus from the Matrix here is “We Are Still Here”

Believe me when I say we have a difficult time ahead of us. But if we are to be prepared for it, we must first shed our fear of it. I stand here, before you now, truthfully unafraid. Why? Because I believe something, you do not? No, I stand here without fear because I remember. I remember that I am here not because of the path that lies before me but because of the path that lies behind me. I remember that for 400 years, we have endured slavery, racism, and the denial of fundamental human rights. I remember that our names and heritage were ripped from us. That our men were beaten, and our woman raped. Our children were taken from us and sold as property, and when we were finally freed from the chains of slavery, we remained in bondage. We were denied education and the right to vote, held down by Jim Crow, and terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan. Even after a man of color rose to serve as our President, a man of extraordinary strength and intelligence, there are still those that look to demean our character, challenge our intelligence, to hold us down. To if given the opportunity, destroy us. But what I remember most is that after 400 plus years, WE ARE STILL HERE!

Creating breathtaking works of literature and inspiring others in art and music and producing lifesaving breakthroughs in science and medicine. With each step, we leave our indelible fingerprint on the very fabric of a country that once tore itself to pieces because half of it believed that: the “negro” is not the equal of the white man; that subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition.

Despite all our accomplishments, our journey is far from complete. Our achievements produce fear among those who still preach hate, who look to divide, those who do not believe in brotherhood but would hold on to the old ways of subjugation and bondage. But no matter how far we have to go, know this we are still here, and we are not going anyplace.So today, let us send a message to those who preach hate and wish to divide us not on the content of our character but the color of our skin. Let us shake this country, tremble these amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties from sea to shining sea. Let’s make them remember; this is America where we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people, regardless of color, are created equal; they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, principally among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.

From Till to Arbery a new day is dawning…Slowly but it is dawning.

Sixty-Six years

It’s an age that many Americans are still working.

It’s thirteen years less than the average life expectancy in the United States. 

Nick Saban, who will coach the Alabama Crimson Tide in Monday’s college football championship game, is four years older.

Legendary New England Patriot head coach Bill Belichick is three years older.

The point?  Sixty-six years is not that long ago.  But it was only sixty-six years ago, in September of 1955, that an all-white jury found Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam not guilty of Emmett Louis Till’s murder.   Till, who was only 14 at the time of his death, was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after being accused of offending a white woman in her family’s grocery store.  Protected against double jeopardy, the two men publicly admitted in a 1956 interview with Look magazine that they had killed Till.  During the trial, Sheriff Strider welcomed black spectators coming back from lunch into the courtroom with a cheerful, “Hello, Niggers!” jury members were allowed to drink beer while deliberating.  Many white male spectators wore handguns into the courtroom.  Emmett Till’s murder only reinforced the notion that you could be subject to violence if you were black, and the law would not protect you.  According to Deloris Melton Gresham, whose father was killed a few months after Till, “At that time, they used to say that ‘it’s open season on n*****s.’ Kill ’em and get away with it.” [

Sixty-six years later, on January 7, 2022, Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and William “Roddie” Bryan was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole by Judge Timothy Walmsley in the death of Ahmaud Arbery.

Arbery was only twenty-five when he was “hunted down and shot” for the crime of running in a Georgia neighborhood in 2020.  The verdict and sentencing in the lynching of Ahmaud Arbery send a message that rings from sea to shining sea.  A message that sixty-six years after Emmett Till America, while still dealing with issues when it comes to race, it is a new dawn; No longer is it open season on African Americans now there will be consequences for your racist and vile actions.

Slowly but surely, the Coalition of the Righteous, a group united regardless of race, religion, gender, economic status, and sexual orientation, is rooting out those with hatred in their heart for anyone who does not look, sound, worship, love, or act like them.  As Martin Luther King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.

If a tree falls in a forest – The Critical Race Debate

The age-old question asks If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? As conservatives enact laws to shut down the teaching of topics such as critical race theory, an academic movement that seeks to critically examine social, cultural, and legal issues as they relate to race and racism. The question to ask today is if we ignore the inherent racism that has played a pivotal role in so many aspects of this country since its birth did racism ever exist? 

Anyone who looks at the history of American with an objective eye would have to agree that several factors, including redlining, underfunding schools in communities of color, the lack of culturally diverse teaching in schools, disproportionate incarceration of people of color, disproportionate disciplining of students of color, negative media stereotypes, lack of employment opportunities and a host of other factors have contributed to today’s America being 100-meter dash with one group being afforded a 90-meter head start.

The argument that students—predominantly white students—will be exposed to supposedly damaging or self-demoralizing ideas is nonsense.  Germany has not tried to sweep its Nazi past under the rug.  For example, as the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz drew near. Angela Merkel delivered a speech at the Auschwitz Memorial, where she expressed a “deep sense of shame for the barbaric crimes that were here committed by Germans.”   Major German cities boast monuments, museums, and centers dedicated to the study of antisemitism and the Holocaust.  Its schools present a conscious and responsible approach to dealing with the past sins of Nazi-era Germany.  The past has already taken place, it cannot be changed, and it cannot simply be ignored because it makes some feel uncomfortable. It must be taught so we learn from our past mistakes and understand how we can change and develop for the better as people. If we ignore it, we doom ourselves to repeating those same mistakes and never growing as a society.

OUR LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED OUR VOICES WILL NEVER BE SILENCED

When a segment of a society willfully marginalizes another segment is not surprising to see unrest. It is not surprising to see the very foundation that it was built begin to crumble. It is not surprising when it starts to crumble from within; For society’s good, the masses must rise and denounce those who spew racism and bigotry. Reject what makes them different, listen, and learn about each other and embrace their diversity. A diversity that has made them stronger. Only then will society be able to say with one voice this the true spirit of our humanity; these are the thoughts, insights, and musing of an everyday African American on the state of race relations in America today.

OUR LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED
OUR VOICES WILL NEVER BE SILENCED

Available at Amazon.com in paperback or as an e-book.

We got Justice today. Now we need change tomorrow.

GUILTY
GUILTY
GUILTY

The Derek Chauvin verdict was finally justice but let be clear we got Justice today, now we need change tomorrow. We need to come together as a people, people of all colors, and make those who preach racism uncomfortable. Uncomfortable so that they have no choice but to swallow their racism because it will no longer be accepted. Uncomfortable so that they are ashamed even to be seen because we will rebuke them at every turn. Uncomfortable because the America they knew, one of hate, racism, and division is gone and that all people will finally be treated equally. Today was just the first step. We must keep marching.

Again

I know many of you reading this are not people of color but are parents, and I want you to ask yourself how you would feel if your child left the house and every time you had to worry if they were coming home. How you would feel if you were visited by the police, who informed you your unarmed child was shot and killed by a police officer. How you would feel if you turned on FOX News and all they were talking about was “Chaos in the Streets,” ignoring the reason for the “chaos” was the killing of your unarmed child. How would you feel if you saw video after video of unarmed white youths not complying with officers telling the officers they have rights, don’t have to get out of the car, and don’t have to give their names, and nothing happens to them.

Men of color, particularly black men of color, have been stereotyped since the minute we were brought here in chains as a threat, simply because of the color of our skin. It is well past time that we stop pretending that everyone who puts on a police uniform is above reproach. Like every aspect of society, there are bad apples among them, and those bad apples see communities of colors not as communities; they are charged with protecting and serving. But as enemy combatants, they must subdue, and if those bad apples make up only one percent of police forces around the nation, that is one percent too many. As Chris Rock once said, American Airlines can’t say most of our pilots like to land; we just got a few bad apples who like to crash into mountains; please bear with us.

We have to do better; We have to have better police training, we have to weed out ALL the bad apples, we have to tune out all the voices looking for excuses and trying to blame the killing of an unarmed black man on the black man who was killed and if you can’t see that. If you can’t get behind that 100%, then you are part of the problem.

With Liberty and Justice for all…No really for All

You feared us from the minute you saw us. So you stripped us of our culture, religion, and name. You shackled us in chains, raped our women, and killed our men.  You separated our families. You donned white hoods and rode through the night to terrorize us. You denied our children access to the type of education your children enjoyed. You silenced our voices by denying and then intimidating our access to the vote. You redlined us out of neighbors and unfairly denied us loans to secure the American dream of homeownership.  You disproportionately incarcerated us. You used the media to stereotype us as killers, thieves, drug dealers, prostitutes, and pimps.  

Yet today, you look, and to your disbelief, we are still standing, and your fear is growing. You use words like “Our America” and wish for a bygone time when segregation and racism were the norms with slogans like “Make America Great Again”   Even more worrisome to you is the coalition of all races, religions, and genders standing with us now. You know the truth is out there.  You are losing your America. “Your” America was flawed. It is being replaced by a more enlightened America, one for everyone. An America with equality, liberty, and justice for all.  

A Promise To My Child

The first time I held you and looked into your eyes, I saw myself looking back at me only with innocence and optimism that has long ago been stripped from my soul. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you, no lengths I wouldn’t go to protect you. Tears filled my eyes the first time I held you. Those around me took them as tears of joy, and make no mistake, the joy I felt at that moment was overwhelming, but sadly the tears also represented guilt, sadness, and fear. Guilt that I had brought you such a bright light into such a dark world. Was my desire to have a child selfish? Was I only thinking about my wants and desires and putting aside how this world will treat you because of the color of your skin. Sadness because I knew all too well how it would, that no matter how brilliant you may be, how much hard work you put in, how good a person you are, the challenges ahead of you will be daunting, challenges others will not have to face but will be there every day because of the color of your skin. Fear that one day my phone will ring or there will be a knock at my door, and someone will say to me the words that no parent should ever hear you have been found shot and killed—killed because of the color of your skin. How many more parents must, on what should be unquestionably one of the happiest days of their lives, look into the eyes of their baby and be consumed with worry that no matter how much they try, they will not be able to shield that baby from the ugliness that they will confront? How many more times must we mourn the loss of another bright light extinguished by hate. How many more times must our communities echo with the sound of grieving parents as they stand over the lifeless body of the child they once held in their arms before we say enough! I look back at your smiling face and the innocence in your eyes and see a bright future with unlimited potential ahead of you that they will try and deny you of. At the moment, I make you a promise that as long as there is my breath in my body, I will protect you and do everything in my power to ensure no one takes that away from you. My blood flows through you, I am responsible for bringing you into this world, and it is my responsibility to protect you from its hatred. Our bond is forever. You are my child, and I will always love you and be there for you.