Jun. 16, 2019

June 16, 1966 Stokely Carmichael Introduces Black Power

Greenwood, Mississippi
Meredith March Against Fear

On June 16, 1966, Stokely Carmichael changed the course of the American Civil Rights Movement for African Americans in the muggy evening air in Greenwood, Mississippi with two powerful words, Black Power. These two words embolden the youths in America's black communities to thrust themselves into a new militancy. They no longer felt the need to wait for a change. These two words, black power, demanded substantive change. So, when a new militancy arrived with those two words, black power, the young blacks started to want to turn a cheek and settle for nonviolent discord. Those two words, black power, created a renewed systematic battle that was launched by local, state and federal government forces to disrupt those calls for change.

America's urban areas became battlegrounds as well as areas that saw an influx of guns and drugs delivered by a government that conjured up methods of destruction that literally erased complete black communities. These institutional strategies of destruction caused widespread death, incarceration, collapsing of black institutions, increased poverty and delivered severe blows to our communities that are still being felt 53 years later in 2019. Those two words, black power, put the fear into the white establishment powers that those two words could possibly empower a mass of people to demand positive changes in their black communities.

Those positive changes that Carmichael envisioned on this day 53 years ago still are unattainable today. Yet we must hope that power in blackness will be achieved in the near future. Because our numbers are dwindling as more and more ethnic groups change the dynamics of what was dream unified black power.

Jun. 14, 2019

June 14, 1877 Henry O. Flipper Becomes The First African American To Graduate From The US Military A

Today, June 14, 2019, I celebrate the life of Henry O. Flipper who overcame blatant overt racism to make a significant mark in this nation. Henry Flipper saved countless lives and suffering from his invention of Flipper's Ditch. He also had to leave the service of his country because of racist overtures and accusations. He died in 1940 still unable to reserve that unjust verdict. It took another quarter century after his death for the US Army to right that wrong. It then took another 20 years​​ for Henry O. Flipper to receive a Presidential Pardon from Bill Clinton. Today, The Blackman Who Reads Aloud celebrates Flag Day 2019 by remembering a ​man who served the nation and the flag with honor, Henry Ossian Flipper.

Jun. 13, 2019

June 13, 1967 - Thurgood Marshall Nominated To The Nation's Highest Court

Thurgood Marshall ​ wasn’t a perfect man. No man who resides in this world lives a life deemed perfect. Was it not the Jesus Christ that stated let the man without any sin cast the first stone? Perfection is a goal that is unattainable except maybe on just that one day a baseball pitcher records 27 outs. Thurgood Marshall like myself was born in Baltimore City. He, however, was born during a period of time that racism and segregation were at its pinnacle. Myself, I was born the year of Thurgood Marshall's greatest triumph, the unanimous decision by the Earl Warren Supreme Court that struck down the country's separate but equal state statutes in public education, 1954.

I imagine that on the day of that court victory, May 17, 1954, the furthest thing from Thurgood Marshall's mind was that 13 years later he would achieve the nomination to that very court. One of Lyndon Baines Johnson's greatest achievement was providing the pathway to the Supreme Court for Thurgood Marshall. Thurgood Marshall fought the numerous battles involved in securing a society that would be based on one's content of character and not one's skin color. I'm sure that even in 2019, Thurgood Marshall would be totally disappointed in America's progress in attaining that goal. For as comprehensive a battle for public school integration was for Thurgood Marshall and the of attorneys working for the NAACP. The very fact that so many public schools in America are still cast by skin color is disheartening. I truly think that a nation still waiting after 65 years to truly confront this issue would have disturbed Thurgood Marshall greatly.

There are many injustices in this nation that still exist but Thurgood Marshall's battles against the injustices in this nation were historic confrontations. Thurgood Marshall risked his life numerous times traveling deep south to uncover injustice. It was his calling. I'm am sure that Thurgood Marshall could've had a cushy office in a New York firm. Yet, Thurgood Marshall choose to work in the cramped office at the NAACP national headquarters. You see Thurgood Marshall had an inner desire to seek perfect justice his black communities across the United States. It was that lifelong mission that continues to hold the spirit of Thurgood Marshall in the highest of esteem. ​

Thurgood Marshall strongly believed in the virtues of the American Constitution, it's law and the Constitution's ability to fight the oppressive forces of bigotry, hate, and repression of black Americans.
Even though the founding fathers had a flawed vision of African Americans. Thurgood Marshall understood that these men were not perfect, nor was the Constitution perfect. He believed that the evolved Constitution could be made more perfect, however. That was Thurgood Marshall's greatest gift finding the pathway to that more perfect document.

Thurgood Marshall was a stout integrationist who never seemingly wavered that in the final analysis in America man’s humanness would defeat man’s propensity to act against the grander democratic principles of an evolving Constitution Thurgood Marshall believed that forces of integration would overcome the embedded forces of institutional racism. Thurgood Marshall never settled for a stance any less than the stance of complete citizenship for any American regardless of race, creed, or social stature. You may disagree with his premise of how effective integration was, or should be, but you can never waver in Thurgood Marshall’s love for people of color. He didn’t want a separate America that ignored the rights of the many for the protection of the rights of the few. Today, The Blackman Who Reads Aloud honors Thurgood Marshall by reading his powerful words related to man's imperfections.​

Jun. 12, 2019

June 11, 2014 Miss Ruby Dee Passes Away, She Was Truly A Blessing

Ruby Dee lived a complete life of grace and determination. Ruby had her man, Ossie Davis, and together they provided an image what everlasting love should resemble. I remember my first image of Ruby Dee in the movie adaption of Lorraine Hansberry's historic play Raisins In The Sun. She played Walter's wife's character with such force and power. Yet she also had a quality of unique black beauty that I instantly fell in love with Miss Ruby Dee.

Five years ago when Ruby Dee passed away I wasn't shocked because of that fact that Miss Ruby Dee had lived for some 91-years. Nor was I sadden by her passing because I knew that in some other universe unknown to us, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis would meet up again and continue their passionate love affair. I'm simply thankful that Ruby Dee passed this way and the lit the world up like the tail of a fleeting comet that sparks in a darkened night. So bright was Ruby's star, so immense was Ruby Dee's artistic talent that many, many generations to come will be able to gain pleasure and strength from her performance.

Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of Ruby Dee's passing. I would like to give gratitude and most heartfelt respect to her wonderful and gracious spirit. Thanks for sharing your life with us all Ruby Dee, and making sure that your personal footprint demanded equality for justice for daughters and mothers who so resembled you. Continue to rest well, be peaceful, and know that forever this world will be blessed to have Ruby Dee as a symbol of intellect, power, justice, and equality. The Blackman Who Reads Aloud Salutes Miss Ruby Dee.

Jun. 12, 2019

June 12, 1963, Why Doesn't All Of America Still Not Love Medgar Evers?

Today, 56 years ago in Jackson, Mississippi the one singular voice of justice was silenced in the driveway of his home. Many men and women led the fight for civil rights in this nation. However, there was only one Medgar Evers, who sought and fought so relentless for the freedom of black Mississippians during an era when any black man fighting for human and social rights in that vile state festering with hatred and violence was sacrificing life and limb on a daily basis. Medgar Evers love a state that hated every drop of blood that ran through his black body. The majority of whites, from the White Citizen Councils to the Ku Klux Klan plotted almost daily on ways to silence his voice before it gained substantial national power. Each and every time Medgar Evers left his home, or NAACP office, or church, or meeting room, Medgar Evers was leaving with a target on his chest. Medgar Evers knew this but yet he continued to go out days, nights, weekends to press for black justice, black citizenship and voting rights for every black Mississippian.

Three weeks before Medgar Evers was murdered in the driveway of his home in Jackson, Mississippi on June 12, 1963. Medgar Evers gave this speech which spoke about his hope and love that he had for the state of his birth Mississippi. Why did he love a state that despised him so? Medgar Evers could've packed his bags and taken Myrlie and his children north, west or even east during the time of his ascension in the NAACP. Medgar Evers could've chosen to be a national figure traveling the highways and byways of this country far from the hatred infection that sickened Mississippi. However, Medgar Evers was a tried and true Mississippian who wanted the best for all Mississippians white and black. So, in this speech, he gave the reasons why Mississippi was his home. He also delivered reasons why he would never leave the Magnolia State. Byron De La Beckwith killed the man on that June night but he never ever could kill the spirit that embodied that proud black man of immense courage.

While Medgar Evers name may not be as well known as Malcolm or Martin, it isn't because of Medgar Evers being any less important to the cause of our civil rights. You see Medgar Evers worked in a state that forced blacks into a state of silence. Mississippi didn't want Medgar Evers to have a voice of influence so the white power brokers did everything possible to ensure his messages were kept to the smallest circle possible. However, no matter how hard they may have tried the message that Medgar Evers delivered was being heard. It would be further heard by Fannie Lou Hamer and the leaders of the Mississippi Democratic Party. It would be heard by those valiant and brave marchers in 1966 when the march from Memphis to Jackson was completed. It would be heard when Martin Luther King spoke from the Capitol steps in Jackson. It would be heard when Stokley Carmichael spoke of Black Power in Greenwood, Mississippi. Yes, you could silence the body of Medgar Evers but never the courageous spirit that energized him.

So today on the 56th anniversary of Medgar Evers assassination on June 12, 1963, The Blackman Who Reads Aloud will read the words of Medgar Evers love for a state that despised him. The question we should all ask today is why doesn't all of America still not love the spirit of Medgar Evers?​