Good day, Happy Tuesday … and Happy Black History Month!
This Black History Month is very special for me … and I am hoping … for many others. Of course, I know folks may be asking why I think that this Black History Month is so special?! That’s cool, I’ll tell you.
It all started when I was a kid … no seriously … that’s the time that I became familiar with people … great people … not personally familiar but educationally familiar with great people like Dr. King … Cassius Clay aka Muhammad Ali … shucks, Malcom X even, Maya Angelou and Stokely Carmichael. Any of y’all remember Angela Davis … Nikki Giovanni … Mr. Leroi Jones aka Imamu Amiri Baraka … Bobby Seale … Rosa Parks … The Civil Rights Movement’s “movers and shakers”?!? I mean, I lived through some serious movements and actions to get and challenge the lack of equality in America … “the land of the free … the home of the brave” … 100 years after the abolition of slavery … just 40 years after women were “given the right to vote” in the late 1920’s … and in some of the Southern states in the “land of the free, home of the brave” … ” … with liberty and justice for all!!”. There is more interest in Black History as a result of the accomplishments of so many “true heroes” in so short a time! The Jessie Owens story … Paul Robeson who actually LEFT America because he lost faith in “The American Dream”, are just a few of the stories we know.
Look at the SAG Awards quickly dubbed “The Un-Oscars” where both African American women and men were given awards and cheered on by their non-black colleagues at The SAG Awards! Right on the heels of the “Oscar Fiasco”, all types of people came together at the SAG Awards to show the diversity of America. We didn’t wait to protest and march and even use the criminal justice system … when and where possible … to bring charges against whites who literally murdered blacks … I don’t usually simplify things to black and white but the Trayvon Martin case was just that!! An unarmed black boy lost his life to an armed “non-black” aka George Zimmerman after the gunman sought, fought and trapped Trayvon so he could take his pistol out and kill him!! In most places, that is called “pre-meditated murder”; but in Florida, it is called “the stand your ground”, which was also challenged state-wide and has rippled nation-wide, too! We try to use “the system” and “the courts” to bring justice to those of us who were mistreated and had their rights violated! Isn’t that what Dr. King wanted?!? I mean, look at Barack H. Obama … this man did some incredible work while in office … using the system to challenge its unfairness while simultaneously serving the nation as the POTUS!!!
That was just 50 years ago that Dr. King died to get “blacks” to mobilize with many many white counter-parts to call on the nation to protect the “civil rights” this country proclaims to advocate. Dr. King had the lack of justice “put on television” so the whole world could witness the racist tactics used by certain states in the South … Alabama to be exact! Notice the movement has slowed, yet, with some events that clearly indicated some illegal behavior on the part of law enforcement in Chicago … in Baltimore … in NYC with Eric Garner … and in Missouri, too! We mobilize now … yes, some of us get mad because we shouldn’t be forced to deal with this “crap” in the first place – and decide to loot and vandalize … even their own neighborhoods!! That’s how deep the anger is in some of “us” who have been wronged to no end!! As one friend of mine from Kentucky used to always joke when we talked about how “racists” expect “blacks” to act, may you R.I.P., Doug Williams: “Uh … Sir, … would you be so kind as to take your boot off of my neck!” Perfect imagery, right?!? Black Lives Matter, indeed, as suggested by the numerous movements that sprung up across this country, as well as conversations held in classrooms across the country, thanks Dr. Karen Hurley of Columbia University!
What type leadership are we looking for in this country as many candidates for the presidency state, when we espouse, “We’re gonna take this country back.”, a la Marco Rubio. Who is he suggesting “has” the country NOW?! Sounds pretty racist to me, when he states over and over, “After 7 years of Barack Obama, we’re gonna take this country back!” Most feeble minded Americans don’t even realize how racist that sounds!! Lead the “free” world?!? …. Marco, “Shut your mouth”! a la Gary Coleman. We have raised our awareness in this country, a la Martin Luther King, Jr., with marches and protest, meetings and the utilization of the legal system, flawed as it is. Remembering ALL the people who “Marched on Washington” to make their voices heard from the days of Selma to the hundreds of movements supported by people of ALL races, that “Black Lives Matter”!! Why do we have to say that?!? Because “black lives” have been taken left and right by citizens and law enforcement in various places alike!! Remember Selma when those innocent little black kids were blown up in a church, just fifty years ago … in “the land of the free, the home of the brave”? … Let Freedom Ring! Yes, this is a very important and special Black History Month for me!! What about you? Gain some knowledge and get involved in making desperately needed changes … Let Freedom Ring!
John I. Cook, Director