Long Live the Spirit of the Million Man March

The Million Man March at Noon: Oct. 16, 1995The headline on this photograph was inspired by the poignant Wesley Snipes/Woody Harrelson film “White Men Can’t Jump.” The photograph and headline appeared on the front page of the News Dimensions newspaper (Oct. 19, 1995 issue) edited by the late Barry Murray, who originated the headline to accompany the picture and a feature article. At the time, the U.S. Park Police had estimated the crowd size of the Million Man March to be a mere 400,000. That figure was challenged and disproven by several professional analysts, including the highest Metro Subway usage to date (at that time), and it led to the Park Service declining to do any further crowd estimates.

This photograph was taken at Mid Day. Notice the shadows in the foreground of the men standing on the West Steps of the U.S. Capitol. Their shadows are perpendicular to the National Mall, cast by the Sun overhead in the South. The Sun is in this position, shortly after Noon at this time of year, proof positive that the National Mall was full and filling with many, many, many hundreds and hundreds of thousands of men, as many as 2 million in all.

Notice also the men on the side streets, as well as men on the Mall all the way back to the Washington Monument at 16th Street. This photo was taken several hours before The Hon. Min. Louis Farrakhan spoke at approximately 6:00 p.m. The picture was taken when tens of thousands of men were still arriving at the Mall.

Long Live the Spirit of the Million Man March!

John Brown’s Body

If I had lived in the time of John Brown, I wonder what I would have done.

On Oct. 16, 1859 “Captain” John Brown, led a small column of men consisting of 16 Whites, three free Blacks, one freed slave and one fugitive slave on what was tactically an unsuccessful attack, but which hastened the onset of the Civil War, and the end of what was delicately referred to as America’s “Peculiar Institution.”

John Brown was a bold captain, a role model for Brother Malcolm X and militant North Carolina NAACP leader Robert Williams (author of Negroes With Guns, published in 1962), among others.

Just about 100 years before Bob Williams and Brother Malcolm first saw the light and struck out on their own courses to bring liberation to Black people in America, Capt. Brown led small groups of volunteers during the Bloody Kansas border war in 1856.

John Brown called for violent action in response to Southern, slaveholder aggression against the abolition movement. “These men are all talk,” Brown reportedly said of his contemporaries. “What we need is action – action!” He was no pacifist. Continue reading

White Americans: What is your “Cause?”

Front Page Headline: “Almost a lost Cause”

An Army officer, now deceased complained about the futility of his platoon’s assignment in Afghanistan, months before he led his men on a mission which cost his life and the lives of several others, fighting to defend a position which U.S. commanders eventually abandoned. Futility indeed.

So, as I read on about this un-winnable battle in this un-winnable war, I wondered,, and I wished I could dialogue with White people: “Why are all your sons fighting and dying on mountaintops in Afghanistan?”

“What is the ‘Cause’ for which your blood and treasure is being spent?” Continue reading

President Jimmy Carter, still far ahead of his time

The author meets Pres. Carter, Natl Press Club 1978An “overwhelming portion” of the public animosity directed at President Barack Obama and his efforts at healthcare reform this summer is based simply “on the fact that he is a Black man,” according to former Pres. Jimmy Carter, a southerner, who grew up in racially divided Georgia, personally witnessing Jim Crow segregation in all its forms.

“I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a Black man, that he’s African American,” Mr. Carter told a town hall meeting days after the outburst during the President’s speech to Congress Sept. 9, by South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson.

“I live in the South, and I’ve seen the South come a long way, and I’ve seen the rest of the country that shared the South’s attitude toward minority groups at that time, particularly African Americans. That racism inclination still exists. And I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people, not just in the South, but around the country, that African Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply,” the former president continued.

Mr. Carter grew up on a farm in the 1930s, where he admits he “stayed barefoot from the middle of March until the middle of October,” has worked to overturn racial segregation throughout his career in public office. When he was sworn in as the 76th Governor of Georgia Jan. 12, 1971 he declared in his inaugural speech that the time of racial segregation was over and that racial discrimination had no place in the future of the state.

He was the first statewide office holder in the Deep South to make this declaration in public, and he appointed many Blacks to statewide boards and offices, during his term. As president, elected in 1976 he continued that policy, appointing Blacks to a number of positions never before held by Blacks.

“When a radical fringe element of demonstrators and others begin to attack the President of the United States of America as an animal or a reincarnation of Adolph Hitler, or when they wave signs in the air that say ‘We should have buried Obama with Kennedy,’ those kind of things are beyond the bounds of the way presidents have ever been accepted, even with people who disagree,” Mr. Carter told NBC News. “And I think that people who are guilty of that kind of personal attack against Obama have been influenced to a major degree, by a belief that he should not be president because he happens to be African American. It’s a racist attitude.” Continue reading

Mayor Adrian Fenty, a big disappointment!

I am sorely disappointed with the job being done by D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty.

It’s not personal. Let me begin by declaring I support the decision to give his children preferred admission into an elite D.C. Public School. It is not unfair to other children in the system that the Mayor’s children should be granted special consideration. My son received it. He was admitted into Hearst Elementary School, instead of West Elementary, simply because of a compelling case for an exception made by his mother.

At the same time, I am not especially perturbed that the swimming pool at “the” recreation center where His Nibs swims daily got “Pimped Out” with heaters and other World Class improvements. There’s nothing wrong with installing the accouterments at the pool where Da’ Mayor swims every day to train for triathlons and such… They had to put the fancy stuff somewhere… Why not at his pool? It’s public property isn’t it…

So, I don’t have any beef with the outcome of those matters concerning Mayor Adrian Fenty.

But as far as the way he has governed is concerned, I am gravely disappointed with the job being done by the Mayor. I’m even concerned that there are sinister “hidden agendas” in some of his policies and decisions. Continue reading

Dismantling Obama administration, brick by brick

President Obama, Sept. 1, 2009 The White House State Dining Room

Tell me again, who exactly won the Presidential Election in 2008. Was it Barack Obama or Glenn Beck? Inquiring minds want to know.

I’m not being facetious. In just one week, two Obama administration appointees, who would seem to serve “at the pleasure of the President,” resigned their positions under pressure from the sharp-tongued TV talker. A star is born, and it looks like this guy is in for more than simply “15 minutes of fame.”

The case of Mr. Beck’s pressure resulting in the resignation of Van Jones from the conspicuous position of White House Green Jobs Czar was widely reported. Less well known is the plight of Yosi Sergant, who had assumed the post of Communications Director at the National Endowment for the Arts, resigning his position following accusations of a conflict of interest by the self-same loud-mouth.

So, was there a secret election held since January, and a new President chosen by the electorate and quietly sworn in?

What’s worse, Glenn Beck and his crew are not done yet. They now have their eye on Cass Sustein, confirmed by the Senate as the President’s Director of Information and Regulatory Affairs, and then Mark Lloyd, Diversity Director at the Federal Communications Commission, and once they’ve notched those scalps on their belt they plan to aim straight for the President’s jugular–Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett. Continue reading

They don’t really care about us!

Michael Jackson, Jan. 16, 2004

Michael Jackson was correct. “They don’t really care about us!”

In his most controversial composition ever, he says again and again: “All I want to say is that/ They don’t really care about us!” The “they” involved being the all-powerful, oppressive, White, authoritarian, rulers; and the “us” being the poor, righteous masses who live under “their” boots on “our” necks.

Someone should sit President Barack Obama down to watch the two versions of that video (one in which the “us” are poor Black Brazilian street children and the other in which the “us” are Black inmates in a penitentiary) and then explain to the President that contrary to what he may have thought when he was inaugurated, he and his agenda of good for the masses of Americans is not a “they,” but rather is an “us.”

In his case, the “they” are clearly gun-toting, White Republicans and other sundry conservatives, who mean him and his ambitious plans for reform absolutely no good. Continue reading

Edward Kennedy’s Last Quorum Call

Sen. Edward Kennedy's Last Quorum Call 

I joined more than 5,000 people at the East Plaza of the U.S. Capitol Aug. 29. It was the only opportunity for members of the general public here in Washington to pay respects to Sen. Edward Moore Kennedy of Massachusetts, the last surviving brother in a political dynasty and one of the most influential and longest serving senators in American history. He died Aug. 25 at his Hyannis Port home after a 15 month-long struggle with brain cancer. He was 77.

Where did they hide their tears? I wondered as I watched his family members assemble for a brief prayer outside the Senate chamber. They were so stoic. It was, after all, their hurt, their loss, their father, their uncle whose remains were at the front of that long, long cortege.

Dozens in the crowd who knew him only by reputation, wiped away tears or sobbed silently. How did his family members retain their composure? Where were their tears? Had they cried themselves out in private?

The sun dipped behind the Capitol Building before his body arrived. There were periods of sun, then the buttermilk sky looked like it might rain. Onlookers reminded one another that rain at a funeral was a good sign, from Heaven. Continue reading

Ramadan for everyone

Growing up in the United States, it’s impossible to not know when Christmas and Easter come around. It may be difficult to figure out in advance when Easter arrives each year (it is the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox, by the way), but everyone in this country pretty much knows when it’s Christmas and Easter time.

In one of my favorite songs by The Queen of Soul–Aretha Franklin–she sings a line almost as if she knows everyone already knows it: “We must believe in each other’s dreams.” Indeed.

So, along comes this Muslim Tide in the United States (converts as well as immigrants), and all of a sudden it’s the 21st Century and there are millions of Muslims here and they are observing “Ramadan,” a month-long fast during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. And because the Islamic calendar is measured in lunar time, rather than solar time, it’s almost as hard to figure out the precise dates of Ramadan as it is guessing the date Easter will fall next year. The lunar calendar is about 11 days shorter than the solar calendar.

Ramadan began this year following the sighting of the New Moon on Friday Aug. 21. It should end around Sept. 21 or 22 with a celebration called the “Eid-ul-Fitr,” the Feast of Thanksgiving.

We must believe in each other’s dreams. Continue reading

Why not Medicare for all?

Yeah 

It doesn’t matter how you dice it–swastikas this time, nooses in the past, and don’t forget lynchings–there is a consistent theme in American White male thinking which must be openly repudiated if America is to survive, let alone reform the healthcare industry: and that is: “If you’re White you’re right. If you’re Black get back.”

This healthcare debate has brought all kinds of skeletons out of the closets. It even goes deeper than some White Guys just wanting to re-decide the Civil War in favor of the Confederacy, they really want to re-decide The Crusades of 1,000 years ago. And they’ve got a lot of White people gung-ho about it!

So, all of this swastika painting at the office of Georgia Congressional Black Caucus member David Scott is like a burning cross in the days of yore, by someone who did not want to get arrested: Send the message of racial hatred, but don’t show your face.

A lot of this hatred is coming to the surface now, because there is a Black President of the United States. And that is what is so counter-intuitive in the typical white supremacist-mind and is the source of confusion and frustration. “Now therefore you are cursed, and some of you shall always be slaves, and hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of my God.”–Joshua 9:23. That verse from the Bible, True Believers believe, refers to Black folks.

That is why there can be no Medicare for all in the United States, because it can’t be segregated for Whites only. Continue reading