Jesse Who?

The Rev. Jesse Jackson told me once that he once returned to his hometown, Greenville, South Carolina, where he had been known as “Bo.” By this time he had marched side by side with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his picture had been on the covers of Time, Newsweek and Jet magazines, he had frequently appeared on the Nightly News and on various Sunday interview shows.

When he walked through the streets of Greenville folks who remembered him would shout: “Hey, Bo! Where you been? What you been doing?”

That Rev. Jackson. Such a sense of humor.

Then, he went on and ran for President of the United States, winning the 1984 presidential primary in his home state, and earning more than 7 million votes all over the country. And the rest, as the expression goes, is history. History because in 1984 the Rev. Jesse Jackson spoke other than the truth in a desperate ploy to save that political campaign, when he said he had never used the term “Hymie-town.”

I heard The Country Preacher use that very expression four years earlier, off-camera, after a 1980 taping of the TV show “America’s Black Forum.” Continue reading

Black, anti-Obama Republican ads

I wondered to myself why Shannon Reeves, the Republican National Committee head of African American Outreach was a no-show at the June 17 monthly forum of the Washington D.C. Black Republican Committee. Maybe he had “fatter fish to fry” that night, than to meet with the party’s local Black loyalists.

The shindig was at Duke’s City Restaurant on U Street and was intended to help Blacks in the local GOP better understand what the Republican National Committee is doing about outreach to African American voters and to offer the GOP higher-ups, some insight on what African Americans want from the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

I spoke with members of the DCBRC casually about the non-event. They were disappointed at the Reeves non-appearance. He sent three deputies. Some members wanted to cancel the meeting to protest the non-attendance of Shannon Reeves, but the will of the group was to hear the three deputies out. Ironically, the DCBRC members with whom I spoke confidentially, are not really ready yet to publicly complain about what some consider a slap in the face from the GOP-HNIC.

So, what do I discover, but an item on the Huffington Post, under the headline: “Black Republicans Launch Racial Anti-Obama Ads.”

Now I’ve got to know: What does Shannon Reeves think about that? I’m certain I will soon learn.

“Look beyond Barack Obama’s skin color and soaring rhetoric and you will see an arrogant, elitist millionaire whose voting record is the most liberal in Congress,” says one of the radio ads produced by The National Black Republican Association, according to author Sam Stein. “Look at the people around Obama, and you will understand that Obama lacks the judgment to be our next president.” Huh? Continue reading

Is Obama ‘The Man’ or ‘The Omen?’

Is Barack Hussein Obama “The Man?” Or is he “The Omen?” Is he “The One?” Or is he Neo? The Shadow knows. Seriously.

I always thought the fundamental question facing America–White America–this presidential election cycle would boil down to a question of whether or not America–White America–could accept its salvation if it meant that the “Savior” had to be a Black man? Would Americans–White Americans–vote their best interests, or would they, blinded by racism vote for their own doom, because they just could not support a Black man in that office?

But that’s just part of the picture. Now, I have discovered, there are some militant (White) “U.S. Christians who regard the prospective presidency of Barack Obama in the nature of a biblical plague visited upon a sinful people,” so said columnist Robert D. Novak on May 12, 2008.  And in late June conservative Christians openly challenged Sen. Obama’s biblical interpretations.

What Bible are those Christians reading?

The prospective presidency of Barack Hussein Obama, just might be a biblical plague visited upon a sinful people? Where is that? I guess it’s near the chapter and verse where it says a slave is supposed to love his Master more than he loves himself.

In 1831, the Terrorist Nat Turner understood that same Bible very differently. He was in Southhampton, Virginia, and to him the Bible said that on a certain day he should rise up and lead his followers to murder their slavemasters and seize their freedom by force of arms. Same Bible. That’s the Bible (coincidentally) I believe in. The one that says the slaves will be set free! That Black Liberation Theology. Same Bible. Continue reading

I’ve got your ‘terrorist fist jab’ Lady

I’ve got your “terrorist fist jab” right here lady, and I know just where to put it.

Please excuse the coarse language.

I am more than just a bit agitated.

On June 6 on that “Fair and Balanced” Fox News network’s “America’s Pulse,” host E.D. Hill promoted an upcoming discussion on the gesture Sen. Barack Obama shared with his wife Michelle after clinching the Democratic nomination. They touched fists. It’s the “Cliff’s Notes” version, it’s what has become of the “Soul Handshake.”

And so there was an actual prime time, network cable television news discussion about that gesture!? Let me get this straight. We also have to pay in order to watch cable news networks? Right?

“America’s Pulse” host E.D. Hill teased: “A fist bump? A pound? A terrorist fist jab? The gesture everyone seems to interpret differently.”

“A terrorist fist jab?” have you lost your mind lady? What’s next, a collard greens joke? Maybe a “Watermelon Jihad” reference, or a “Fried Chicken Hostage?”

What in heaven’s name made the word “terrorist” come out that Fox News Network anchor’s mouth?

I join with all those who have already signed the online petition at in saying with my full throat: to Fox News, to Roger Ailes to Rupert Murdoch, to Junebug Jabbo Smith; and to Lottie, Dottie, and Everybody: that racist, xenophobic comment by E.D. Hill on the Fox News Network is appalling and unacceptable, and I demand an apology from E.D. Hill!

What did she mean, “a terrorist fist jab?” anyway? Continue reading

I’m no way jealous of Benjamin Jealous

You know you’ve grown older (not “old,” just “older”) when you are older than the President of the United States.

For the last 15 years, the Resident-in-Chief at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has been junior in age to me: Bill Clinton by one year; George W. (for Worst in history) Bush, by two years. And the next President is all but certain to be much, much younger than I am. I have made peace with that reality.

But now, the Executive Director of the NAACP, the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization is not just younger than me, he’s in fact the same age as my daughter! That’s an entire generation gap.

When I met Benjamin Jealous a decade ago when he was Executive Director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association–the Black Press of America–he behaved like a man who was wise beyond his years. I had no idea he was a neophyte. Continue reading

Wright’s wrong. But White’s right?

Granted, when the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright “threw up The Hooks” symbolizing Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. during his remarks at the National Press Club, he quickened the pulse of many Ques in the room and those watching on television. But his timing was way, way off.

Later in that question-and-answer session, when he defended himself and the savage, unjustified, taken-out-of-context attacks against his distinguished career as a pastor, a scholar, and a veteran of military service in both the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps, by likening the attacks on him as nothing better than the Black-ghetto, school-yard tradition of “Yo Momma” trash-talk known as “The Dozens,” he had already stepped way over the line.

Even truth, when spoken out of season, does not bear fruit.

So, to continue in the ghetto vernacular metaphor, presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), was bang-on-right to “Pimp Slap” his former pastor, and throw him overboard for the sharks to devour.


So, what if a White candidate for office speaks before a group which wanted to discuss the effects of pornography and prostitution on young “White” women and girls, but not “all” women and girls? Does making that kind of a distinction in a political contest rise to the level of “reject and denounce,” “denounce and reject?” Continue reading

No anti-Obama Press Club ‘Jeremiah’ conspiracy

A lot has been said recently about the April 28 National Press Club appearance of the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.

A lot!

Because of the event’s apparently toxic effect on the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the post-appearance discussion has generated a lot of heat, but very little light, especially among Black journalists.

As far as I’m concerned, the most disturbing assertions are that Press Club Speaker’s Committee member, the Rev. Dr. Barbara A. Reynolds, “set up” the retiring Senior Pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ–the church where Sen. Obama has been a member for more than 20 years–set up the “Black Liberation Theologist” to appear there, in order to boost the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.).

No way.

That’s a bit much, because, who could have known that the distinguished pastor who has been unfairly lambasted by the corporate-owned, mainstream media, would respond on the national news stage with the back of his hand for USA Today reporter Donna Leinwand, vice president of the Press Club, who presided over the reverend’s rare breakfast speaking appearance; and that he would show the rest of White America his bare backside. Continue reading

Thoughts on ‘race’ in the Presidential race

Many of the supporters of the presidential campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are more than just a little bit peeved these days that the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright has gone public in his defense of reputation, his theology. Black Liberation Theology. Where’s the “contrition” in that philosophy?

On the other hand, Sen. Obama’s critics are ecstatic. They feel Rev. Wright has piled more fuel at the foot of the already incendiary stake to which Sen. Obama–a healer, a Rev. Jeremiah Wright at Press Club 2008reconciler, a conciliator, who has eschewed a race-base campaign all these months–has been bound. Somewhere, smirking, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) must be hoping someone will soon toss a torch onto the awaiting bonfire.

Just two months ago, Sen. Obama was forced to “reject and denounce” the unsolicited kind words said about him on Feb. 25 by Min. Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam. Min. Farrakhan’s name is still being bandied about in this latest contretemps, even though he has been silent on the subject for the last 60 days. Go figure.

Suppose, just suppose, in his remarks before the National Press Club April 28, instead of quoting the Bible: “God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, so shall he reap…” in defending his “incendiary” comment about America’s “chickens coming home to roost” on Sept. 11, 2001; suppose instead Rev. Wright had quoted James Russell Lowell’s poem, “The Present Crisis.”

“Truth forever on the scaffold, Wrong forever on the throne,–

“Yet that scaffold sways the future, and, behind the dim unknown,

“Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch above his own.” Continue reading

Hillary: maybe not ‘in it to win it’

Thankfully, I missed the fabled Pennsylvania presidential debate. Instead, I attended the 64th Annual Radio & Television Correspondents’ Association Dinner. Vice President Dick Cheney told jokes. Like the one about his wife, who said that calling The Veep Darth Vader, “humanizes him.”

After the dinner, I got a chance to chat with former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele. The prominent Black Republican’s observations about the Democratic nomination contest were instructive.

The Clinton campaign’s continuing attacks against Sen. Obama do “only one thing. Help Obama lose in November,” he said. Gov. Steele is now practicing law with a Washington firm specializing in Africa.

Later, a store clerk made the very same observation.

And then came the screams about all four of them–the two network interviewers, Republican Sen. John McCain, and Sen. Hillary Clinton, all piling on with hostile questions.

“Oh, stop whining Obama supporters,” I thought.

“This is the Big Leagues. Hardball.”

“How are you going to handle America’s adversaries on the world stage and you can’t handle George Stephanopoulos?”

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!”

“Hillary’s tough. Ready to whip John McCain in November. Ready to find Osama bin Forgotten, and whip his behind, after she gets finished whipping Barack Obama’s…” Continue reading

Bishop S.C. Madison: “Daddy’s” Gone…Long live “Sweet Daddy”

Daddy Madison

Bishop S.C. Madison, the Presiding Bishop of the United House of Prayer for All People has been laid to rest in grand fashion April 14. He was only the third leader of what must be considered the first Black “Mega Church.”

My hat is off to the UHOP. May God Be Pleased With You. UHOP members don’t stand out from other middle class, “Raisin in the Sun” type, striving Black folks, they don’t change their names to “El” or “Bey” or Rashideen. Of course their clean, well dressed, well represented. But there’s something else about their strength I admire. The way they worship, their exuberant musical tributes.

Bishop Grace–Sweet Daddy Grace–founded his first church in West Waltham, Massachusetts, around 1919. By the mid-1920s he had moved South, and was holding large, popular revivals and tent-meetings around Charlotte, North Carolina. In 1927, with an estimated 13,000 followers, Bishop Grace incorporated The United House of Prayer for All People of the Church on the Rock of the Apostolic Faith. The church grew rapidly and soon included branches all along the eastern seaboard, claiming some 500,000 people in 100 congregations in 67 cities.

Was he “charismatic” or merely “flamboyant?”

Charles Manuel Grace was of mixed African and Portuguese descent, born in the Cape Verde Islands around 1882. His family came to the United States during the first decade of the twentieth century. In the Cape Verdean communities of New Bedford and Cape Cod, Massachusetts, the young Charles Grace worked as a short-order cook, a cranberry picker, and a sewing machine and patent medicine salesman, before giving his life completely to his ministry.

Bishop Grace was said to have been a showman, but he was always a generous benefactor. He sponsored bands and parades, and tossed candy to his followers (hence “Sweet Daddy”) and to this day UHOP marching bands and steppers travel up and down the east coast in bright, shiny, dream-mobile-looking buses where they perform at various congregation meetings and rallies.

Daddy Grace dazzled with his long hair, multicolored robes, and colored fingernails. Continue reading