Sep. 14, 2019

There Was A Time That Black Folks Found Belief and Relief In Each Other

Provoked Saturday Thought
There Once Was A Time, Really

There was a time when building elevators operators were indispensable and most of these operators were black. There was a time when this nation's steel mills were churning out steel and those urban cities near those steel mills were flourishing. There was a time when our black middle class was driven by US Steel, Bethlehem Steel, Tennessee Coal & Iron Company all these companies required laborers specializing in hard grueling work. There was a time when the United States Postal Service was thriving a government agency making profits. You see there was a time when there weren't emails, text messages, video conferencing and not a hint of social media networks. Our black communities postal workers were thriving with secure jobs and outstanding benefits. There was a time in our black communities when laborers, federal workers, professionals, educators all resided in our communities and dollars earned were dollars that stayed in our communities. Yes, there was a time when earners spent their dollars in the only businesses that would respect them and their dollars. There was a time when companies actually had guaranteed pensions for it's retired workers along with a secured social security check. There was a time when reading and writing were skills to be perfected not neglected.

There was a time when our communities were restricted. There was a time when we couldn't shop in downtown department stores. Yes, there was a time when there were actually department stores downtown even those department stores that restricted our dollars. There was a time when black folks had tremendous obstacles just spending a dollar. There was a time when all the taxis in the cities were yellow and all the hackers in the cities were black. There was a time when the uber generation was defined by a black man unable to hale a taxi opening the door to initial ubers drivers blacks with cars. There was a time before the internet, cell phones, and messaging that people in our communities actually could carry on a decent conversation face to face, race to race, in any place. There was a time if you were black, 21 and you could vote you would vote because we understood the sacrifice shared by that right to vote.

There was a time when going to school in our community was a responsibility necessary to grow our cities. There was a time when getting an education wasn't considered a chore. There was a time when our educators of color were high in the highest regard. There was a time when learning was a source of power and knowledge of one's ancestry was defined by knowledge, not by one's DNA. There was a time only the black communities most difficult issues was dealing with getting down the number of folks drinking wine and gooch. There was a time when our black communities body counts were minimal even on the weekends. There was a time that even in our urban center's children could run and play all day and into the night without a care and returning home unharmed was not a dare. There was a time when urban cities were sprouting homeowners not growing disgusting vagrant houses.

There was a time when we knew our neighbors and actually when over their homes to borrow sugar. The was a time when we had neighbors and not an empty home. There was a time when love was here, there, and everywhere and even in the tunes, we sang. When Detroit, Philly, and Memphis were cities not of gloom they were vibing cities moving to special beats. There was a time that Harlem was our special place. Yes, my people there was a time when we actually thought that America could be our home. That is the time I long to return to. When our black communities were unified in a belief that they actually could find relieve and a belief in each other.

Sep. 10, 2019

WWCGWT? Reading Beyond The Classrooms

One year ago today my cousin a future attorney and a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University placed this post on his Facebook Page:

"Pick up a book, cut back 30 minutes a day from social media or television and read something. There is a wealth of knowledge available to us. Discover something new."

Bryce Johnson

I think Brother Johnson's message should be sent to every person who resides in our communities across this nation. Now more than ever it is vitally important for the younger people in our communities to recognize the importance of acquiring knowledge beyond the classrooms that they occupy daily. The fact of the matter is that our educational institutions cannot be the only avenue of learning that our children experience. Our children also cannot be overly dependent on the entertainment industry to awaken their consciousness. It is most imperative that our children accept a degree of personal responsibility to acquire the knowledge essential to being competitive in today's technology-enriched society.

Learning beyond the STEM classrooms requires a deep understanding of the rich history of their elders, ancestors and experiences that have paved the way for them today, and tomorrow. Yesterday my two posts celebrated the founding of Carter Goodwin Woodson organization the Association for the Study of Afro American Life and History which was founded in Chicago, Illinois on September 9, 1915. Today, I would like to reflect on this thought, are we too dependent on our educational institutions to do the work necessary to enhance our children's knowledge of community and self? Are we providing the needed motivation to our children to see that they take every opportunity to learn about their own historical stories? No one can truly tell the stories of our ancestors better than we can? Do we actually think that the knowledge learned in the classrooms is the final word to our children's learning experiences?

That is the reason why the issue of promoting literacy every day is a vital outreach to the transference of knowledge in our homes, churches, community centers, and learning centers beyond the traditional classrooms. What Brother Johnson was referring to in his post was simply a beautiful thought. Take 30 minutes, just 30 minutes per day, or 3 and 1/2 hours per week, or 15 hours per month, or 180 hours per year to completely change the fabric of learning in our communities across this nation. If you did that as a parent in a read-aloud setting you could essentially pave the way for your children's success for a lifetime. If you taught your children this literacy methodology beyond the traditional classroom. It would be transferred to generations of our children in our communities many tomorrows.

The question many in our community's religious institutions ask on Sundays is what you Jesus think? The question I ask today in my continued celebration of the great life works of one Carter Goodwin Woodson ask is what would the spirit of Dr. Woodson think? Could we truly erase the miseducation of the Negro or the Afro American? Just another thought from The Blackman Read Aloud Project for September 10, 2019.

Sep. 9, 2019

Part Two: The Initial Conference For The Association for the Study of Negro Life and History: Septem

Part Two: Celebrating The 104th Anniversary of Carter Goodwin Woodson's Dream
The Blackman Read Aloud Hour Project
September 9, 1917
Looking Back As We Look Ahead

Carter G. Woodson didn't want any parts of the miseducation​ of the ​black Americans living in this nation. He surely didn't want to see this nation's history whitewashed by white prejudice. Carter G. Woodson also understood the importance of literacy in 1915, 1917, and 1933 when he published the epic book The Miseducation of the Negro. Today, we celebrate the historic dream that was established on September 9, 1915,​ by reading the minutes of the very first national meeting of the Association For The Study Of Negro Life And History held in 1917, two years after the founding. It is vitally important that we address the concerns that Carter Goodwin Woodson uncovered in his life's work. We must ensure that every child of African American descent in this nation is capable of uncovering the story, his/her story of their black ancestors'​ accomplishments in this nation and throughout the world. They can only do this by being a literate comprehending strategic reader. That is the objective of my mission. If you agree with me make a donation to my cause.

Sep. 9, 2019

Part One The Association of Negro Life and History: September 9, 1913

Today is a very important day in the compilation of black historical experiences for every black American of African Descent in this nation. Because it was on this day 104 years ago today, September 9, 1915, that in the City of Chicago, Illinois, 52 years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by President Abraham Lincoln that the Association for Study of Negro Life and History was organized. This organization was the brainchild of Carter G. Woodson who understood the importance that black Americans have a true knowledge of their history now only on these American shores but also understand that the history of black Americans reached back to the birthplace of civilization on the continent of Africa. In order to fully comprehend the magnitude of this organized effort to spread black knowledge. You need to understand the barriers that existed in this nation that carpeted black history to our communities in 1915. 52 years of freedom for enslaved black Americans had seen a revival and reverting of many of the same terrible murderous, depraved conditions that our black ancestors across this nation faced during slavery. You had Jim Crow laws not only across the southern states but across the entire nation. The vast majority of our black ancestors were either illiterate or subjected to educational conditions that encouraged illiteracy. The white history books not only in the south but across the nation denied any role black Americans played in the development of this nation's prosperity and freedom. There was literally a ban for black children attending school for no more than 4 months a year in the southern states. The educational environment that both students and teachers in those black-only schools were horrid, despicable, and unseemly. So, Carter G. Woodson recognized that without an educational historical intervention black history in this nation would be completely erased off the map and minds of black America. So, today I am celebrating this day with two posts. First the story of Carter G. Woodson and second the minutes from the first national meeting of the Association of Negro Life and History. Today, we celebrate Carter G. Woodson's accomplishments and dreams with Black History Month but in reality, Carter G. Woodson wouldn't be happy with the pigeon-holding of our black historical experience to one month a year. It was Carter G. Woodson's dream to fully immerse our true black historical experiences so that that could be studied each and every day in classrooms across this nation. When you think of black history today and every day it is my wish that you honor the man, Carter G. Woodson for that dream.

Sep. 7, 2019

Celebrating The Publication Date The Warmth Of Other Suns: September 7, 2010

One of the most impressive, historical, thought-provoking books that I have ever read on "The Blackman's Read Aloud Hour Project was the Warmth Of Other Suns, it was written by an HBCU Howard University Graduate, Isabel Wilkerson Class of 1983. Nine years ago today on September 7, 2010, this epic story of black migration within the United States by African Americans escaping the horrid racist conditions of the Jim Crow South was published. While many immigration stories are written and told of Europeans moving across the Atlantic Ocean to seek a new way of life as they moved away from their lives in their native lands. The Warmth of Other Suns tells the tale of the millions of African Americans who moved within this nation towards a life free of the oppression of bigotry and hatred they were facing in the South.

The Warmth of Other Suns details the epic migration of blacks to the East, West, and Central United States in vivid detail through the lives of Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, George Swanson Starling, Robert Joseph Pershing Foster, Isabel Wilkerson's parents and the millions of other African Americans who sought to seek a renewal of hope not in a foreign land but a land within the land they lived. What an outstanding book The Warmth of Other Suns is. This book which not only tells a series of magnificent stories but also provides the reader with a sense of hopefulness in dreaming for something more in his/her life. Every home, especially African American homes should have a copy of The Warmth of Other Suns in its home library. It quite simply is a masterpiece that should be owned and read for generations to read forever. There aren't many books that reach the level of excellence that The Warmth of Other Suns reach that is why I, The Blackman Who Reads Aloud recommends that you should own a personal copy. It is an excellent read-aloud book that will lead to a wonderful discussion of your own family's ancestry with your children. I so love for the diligent work and persistence that Isabel Wilkerson put in creating The Warmth of Other Suns. I celebrate the 9th anniversary of this, one of the first books I read on The Blackman Read Aloud Hour Project.