Aug. 14, 2021

Herndon Bogan Age 76 North Carolina Slave Narratives: The Federal Writer's Project

As I, The Blackman Who Reads Aloud, continues my journey through The Federal Writer's Project, North Carolina Slave Narratives. Today, I read the recollection of Herndon Bogan who was interviewed while incarcerated at the North Carolina State Penitentiary in Raleigh, North Carolina. We must never forget the experiences of our ancestors who were held in the savage bonds of slavery.

Aug. 14, 2021

Join Me, Assist Me -Erasing Black Male Illiteracy - Cash App $smoke74a

This is a little-known fact that many people in our black communities don’t readily comprehend or fully miss the ramifications. The individual states, as well as the federal government, utilize the standardized reading levels of our 8 and 9-year-old babies to determine the number of prison cells necessary to house those babies once they reach adulthood.  The literacy or lack of literacy skills is one of the major components that drive prison construction.  That is one of the main reasons our educational centers focus on having children reading by grade level by no later than the fourth grade. The reason is that most of the intervention models cannot accelerate on-level reading achievement for a vast number of our brown and black babies. At the current time, almost 2/3 of the black children enrolled in our public schools are reading at the most basic levels or below.  This means that our mushrooming black illiteracy rate will not decrease in the coming decades. The rate of illiteracy will increase and that means more constructed prison cells and fewer constructed classrooms.

The choice is ours as a community, only we can disrupt this classroom to prison cycle for our brown and black babies. In essence, we can develop tens of thousands of Blackmen Who Read Aloud and build universal black literacy for the coming generations.   We must link together, band together as brothers to advance the cause of literacy for all. We also must integrate the multiple available community resources that promote and engage learning with this population of students.  The task will not be easy because once our children reach the middle grades to the beginning of high school educational frustration sets in. This means that the joy of learning decreases and boredom sets in. Young adults want to do anything but be engaged in a failed system of learning.

 About 60 months ago I started a project to read black historically relevant books aloud in sessions of one hour to expose our struggling population of adult readers to our glorious black history. Because illiteracy has closed the door to them getting this type of vital historical information. It is said that learning one’s history develops a sense of purpose and a sense of desire.   The Blackman’s Read Aloud Hour Project should be nationalized because it will assist in delivering a digital solution to the many brown and black struggling readers. It will also illuminate the issue of black illiteracy as well as promote the goal of black universal literacy, It can also be used as a teaching tool. The project must be developed professionally with the assistance of black digital marketing specialists to ensure that it has the necessary exposure to drive interest. That is the primary reason why I established The Blackman Read Aloud Hour Project to assist in the elimination of black male illiteracy in America.  Every little donation helps, so, go to my cash app and make a pledge because the ebooks I read cost monies and I can always upgrade my home equipment. I promise you that Blackman Read Aloud Hour Project will have complete transparency.  My cash app is $smoke74a and the monies will be solely used to maintain and build my program. I am in the process of developing a 5013C non-profit to expand the reach of the project but until then I depend on these types of individual donations.

Every brown and black baby enrolled in school should be able to read at grade level but even if that doesn’t happen we must ensure they can read as adults. Just think about this potential pitfall that the COVID 19 school shutdown caused in 2020, the fact that so many black and brown babies lost years' worth of direct classroom instruction directed towards literacy development. This loss of literacy instruction partnered with the usual loss of educational growth in the summer will mean that our babies will not ever be able to catch up in the race towards reading proficiency. You see not only we’re the school buildings closed but also all the libraries that housed the books needed for children to practice developing literacy skills. Now more than ever projects such as mine are as important or more important than ever. The Blackman Read Aloud Project has an essential place as an important tool in assisting our babies to gain those missing literacy skills.



Aug. 13, 2021

Change The Narrative Change The Outcome

I Love My Brother And Care Not To Do Him Harm Or See Harm Placed Upon Him

In order change the dynamics of our black communities that are thrust into a web of seemingly unceasing acts of violence. We who care, we who live day by day amidst that violence as well those who commit these unconscious acts of violence must be willing to look at the vernacular that supports this violence in a different way. Being from Baltimore City the term “snitches get stitches” was popularized to shield the guilty while terrorizing not only the victims of violence but also the innocent bystanders who live in those communities that sometimes immortalize the criminal element while discouraging those who simply want to live in decency and humanity. One of my very best friends in the entire world, never mind the fact that he was also my fraternity brother Toby Miller created a direction that those of us who see wrong and try to right it. It is with these new directions that we can recreate the way words are perceived and attitudes are changed. This visualization came to me when I saw what Toby had done with the word S.N.I.T.C.H. it is so powerful and has such positivity. Thank you Toby Miller for your creativity.

Aug. 13, 2021

Andrew Boone: North Carolina Slave Narratives: Federal Writer's Project: Age 90 years-old

Listen as I, The Blackman Who Reads Aloud, reads Andrew Boone's recollection of the horrific treatment of our ancestors held in slavery along with the neglect that extended into his supposed freedom from slavery by this nation. I read from the North Carolina Slave Narratives of The Federal Writer's Project.

Aug. 13, 2021

Just A Little Respect, America, Just A Little Respect

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin passed away three years ago on 8/16/2018, and I can only think about the gift God gave the world when she was born. This weekend the movie RESPECT comes to the movie theatres across with Jennifer Hudson playing the role of Aretha Franklin. The shoes of Aretha Franklin are simply too large for Ms. Hudson to fill but still, I'm happy to see Aretha Franklin's life story come to the big screen. While I personally won't venture out to see the movie I do hope that it captures the essence of this powerful black woman and doesn't focus solely on the negative to build audience interest.


Aretha Franklin was to me the symbolic treasure of the later days of the Black Civil Rights Movement as well as the symbolic treasure of the early days of the Black Power Movement. I cannot fathom where our black communities would have been having not Aretha Franklin graced us with God-given talents. Aretha Franklin was the daughter of a great missionary of God, C.L. Franklin, who stood up to the powers of racism never once failing to back down. He demanded that the downtown forces of white institutional racism respect the manhood and womanhood of those blacks in his flock. Of course, Reverend Franklin's flock included the blacks residing in the entire city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and the entire nation.


It's no wonder that the revelation he and his wife Barbara produced, Aretha, became a powerful voice in the call for justice during the civil rights movement. No, Aretha wasn't tasked to make speeches demanding justice. That was not the talent God had given her to assist a nation of black people to rise up against the forces of bigotry and hatred. The talent that God gave her was an angelic powerful voice that rose above the elements of white hatred, rose above the oppressive living conditions faced by our ancestors, rose above the lost dreams and hopes of so many black people in America. It was a voice that reached across the racial aisles and touched those white people willing to have just a little understanding of a nation of black people's plight.


Aretha Franklin took a song that was written and first sung by Otis Redding, RESPECT, and created a genuine masterpiece. The song was all about a black people's movement upward in America. Show me a little respect was personalized in the song about a relationship between a man and woman but in reality, the connection was Black America telling White America for just some respect. Aretha always sang the lyrics of her songs with incredible emotional passion, an element of passion that moved her audience. It didn't matter if that audience was in the auditorium listening live or in their living rooms listening to her records, or on the streets listening to her music on the radio stations.


When the SCLC was struggling for funds, Dr. Martin Luther King would put a call too Aretha for assistance. King asked and Aretha always answered with an affirmative "YES" and she would be on a stage somewhere promoting the cause of civil rights. Just like Mahalia Jackson's voice was distinctive and immediately recognizable. So was the voice of Aretha Franklin and both of these bold black sisters were embedded in the fight for our peoples' rights to gain social and civil equality. Aretha Franklin never backed down to calls that her activism was threatening her earning power. Because inside Aretha Franklin was a desire to see her Black America rise up and be respected. I am sending my prayers today to Aretha Franklin knowing full well that whatever the results. The ultimate Queen of Soul has done well for the time she has been on the planet. I know that the hands that lead her over these troubling waters will provide comfort and grace today and forever. She is and will always be "the most natural of black womanhood".