As Black History Month comes and goes, television shows that foster black pride also come and go. I understand that many black men attached their self worth and their manhood to the character Bill Cosby made famous. In retrospect, I do not believe we need to look at television to give us our self worth.
The White House group's agenda was deep--with racial concerns about criminal justice, agriculture, education, health care and economic development when African American leaders met with President Barack Obama last week.
Students (young and older) respond to instruction in the way that is expected of them. If taught as if they are slow, students will conform to that perception. Imagine what would happen if we treated all students, from the earliest years through their post-secondary studies, as if there were geniuses inside, simply waiting for recognition.
The ugly truth is white on white crime does exist. It is a growing pandemic in the white community, and if we don't call attention to this problem soon, there will be no more white people left to run the world.
Fitz is an extremely aggressive individual, and I often get scared watching his interactions with both Mellie and Olivia, but somehow the show still paints him as the victim, the "good guy," and I really don't think it is okay.
Fifty years after the bloody Selma march shocked Johnson and the nation into taking fast track action to right a glaring historic wrong, namely the denial of the right to vote to millions in America, that right is still under intense assault. This is why we still need a Selma today.
Ol Parker is back as the screenwriter, and John Madden returns as the director. Both try to give this sequel the same feel as the first, but they've run out of ideas. Buying a new hotel seems like a giddy capitalistic exploit.
Much like the great Sammy Davis, Jr., the unicycle ensemble from the South Bronx beat the naysayers and racists, as well as the pitfalls of their neighborhood with their talent. They achieved this while breaking down barriers and leaving a smooth trail of unicycle tracks for others, like myself, to follow.
Advocacy alone has limited value. Institutions must be led by competent executives and they must produce graduates with a credential that has value in the market place. HBCUs do not deserve support just because of their existence; they deserve the support of their alumni because of what they have done, are doing and are capable of doing.
The U.S. economy created 257,000 jobs in January. While this is a positive sign, shouldn't the Department of Labor be more nuanced in their job creation calculations? Wouldn't a better indicator be to delineate between jobs and quality jobs? But this raises the question of what constitutes a quality job.
While overall rates of disconnection from society are likely to trend down as the nation recovers from the Great Recession, history suggests that disconnected young men of color are in danger of being permanently left behind, and this has implications for future generations.
Watching Common and John Legend make history in what was an emotionally moving performance of "Glory," and win the Academy Award for Best Original Song was more than I could have dreamed. Everything else paled in comparison, and it wasn't long before we called it a night.
Too many of us have not been good to our HBCUs, but time and dwindling resources are moving faster than our own individual maturity. And for the HBCUs which need the support, the time for harvest is now; even from unyielding crops like me.
All loans are not created equal, and in recent years the personal loan has become a great option for people to use. However, you might be wondering just what makes a personal loan different from a traditional loan from your bank.
Washington, D.C. - Fifty years ago, almost to the day, 13 black and white teens and 20-somethings boarded two buses and headed into the Deep South.
Some were veterans of the early lunch counter sit-ins in their towns or activists on their college campuses. They set out that morning in May of 1961 on what was planned to be a trip from D.C. to New Orleans, with stops at bus terminals and lunch counters along the way to challenge the segregation of interstate travelers and to test the resolve of Southern racists who clung viciously to their Jim Crow laws.
They came to be known as the Freedom Riders, and the course they charted over the months-long movement would inevitably change American history.
But their journey wouldn't be without pain and bloodshed. In fact, that first group never made it to New Orleans. They faced mob and Ku Klux Klan violence. Many were beaten, jailed and humiliated for little more than ordering a cup of coffee at the wrong counter or sitting in the wrong section of a waiting room in towns like Anniston and Birmingham in Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; and Jackson, Mississippi.
The Freedom Riders braved the mobs, the unchecked hoodlums fueled by a hate that only God or the Devil could know. Metal rods crashed down like thunder claps on black and white skulls in equal measure.
"A lot of people will say that we went into the struggle unarmed," said Diane Nash, a Freedom Rider who organized students at Fisk University in Tennessee. "But that's not true. Just as there's that day in the military when a soldier is given a rifle, what we were given is power, energy generated by love."
Eventually more than 400 Freedom Riders descended upon the South, filling buses, trains and jail cells, forcing the nation and its leaders to take notice.
Those ghosts still linger along so much hallowed ground in the South, at boarded-up bus stations and one-time five and dimes in Mississippi and Alabama - towns that fought tooth and nail to keep blacks and whites separate and their ways of life intact.
While many people were seriously injured during the Freedom Rides, no one was killed, but many others would die in the years to come, struggling for equal rights.
"If you were to dredge the Mississippi River, you'd come up with the remains of many civil rights activists," said Nash.
So it was a few mornings ago that a handful of original Freedom Riders, their hair grayer and their steps just a bit slower, stood on a grassy knoll across the street from the now-shuttered Greyhound station, where part of the original group boarded the bus.
They set out on a journey through the South to revisit those days of tumult and give the group of 40 students who joined them a sense of the men and women behind the liner notes and the too-short school lessons on the Civil Rights Movement.
Robert Singleton and his wife, Helen, made the trip back from California to join the ride, still by each other's side as they were in the early days of the movement.
Joan Mulholland, a Virginian, is here too - her eyes are at once warm and steely. She has a head full of regal white hair that is pulled beneath a bandanna on most days. Ernest "Rip" Patton, a Tennessean with a deep, rumbling baritone voice, can be heard regaling students with stories of back when:
"If we had not continued the Freedom Rides then, I don't think there could have been another movement for a very long time," said Patton. "We would have had to get too many people killed."
Over the last couple days, the group made its way through Virginia and North Carolina, retracing the original trip, city by city. They stopped at important sites along the way like Virginia Union University, where many civil rights activists and Freedom Riders like Rev. Reginald Green emerged to lead sit-ins and peaceful protests.
"When I saw that bus in flames, I knew I had to get involved," Green said, recalling the moment when he saw the Riders' bus fire bombed and decided to join the Freedom Riders. "It's really emotional to see that we have students who are interested in learning what this all meant. Does something for my old psyche."
Yesterday, the group rolled into Greensboro, North Carolina, and visited the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.
The museum is a converted Woolworth's department store and lunch counter, where a group of courageous North Carolina A&T students led a sit-in that sparked similar movements across the South. The original counter, seats and tiles are still intact from those days in 1960.
But deep inside the museum, there is the wall of shame, with illuminated photos set behind fractured glass of lynchings and lynch mobs and the bloated and disfigured body of 14-year-old Emmett Till, who was murdered and dumped in the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi after he allegedly whistled at a white woman.
And for the first time it all became real for these students, black and white, whose eyes were wet with emotion:
"The inhumanity of man," said Tania Smith, 20, a student at American University in Washington, D.C., as she dabbed tears from her cheeks. It was Smith's first time seeing the photo of Till, which became a grotesque symbol of Southern brutality:
"For men to have so much hate. It shows how entrenched the system was. It was full blown hatred."
Beyond the hate, evident in the hole in Till's head, and the marks around his neck, where his white attackers tied an industrial fan (the better to sink him in the river with), Smith said the image and the wall of shame also spoke to the strength of those like the Freedom Riders who fought back with nonviolence and peace.
"It shows the bravery of the Freedom Riders and those in the Civil Rights Movement. It wasn't just a fight against segregation, it was a fight against hate," she said. "They fought with weapons of love."
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