What Farrakhan actually said about Obama

(CHICAGO–Feb. 24, 2008) The nations–the Nation of Islam, the United States of America, the entire world–have simultaneously arrived at a divinely positioned crossroads, where ideals are pitted against selfishness and greed, and where young people, and one young man in particular are “the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change,” the Honorable Min. Louis Farrakhan told 20,000 supporters Feb. 24 in his 27th annual Saviours’ Day address.

That young man is presidential candidate and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

“We have been taught by The Honorable Elijah Muhammad that Master Fard Muhammad had a Black father and a White mother. The man that we call The Saviour was born of the two people,” Min. Farrakhan said, describing the founder of the Nation of Islam in North America and Mr. Muhammad’s Teacher, who was born in Mecca, Arabia Feb. 26, 1877.

“A Black man with a White mother became a saviour to us. A Black man with a White mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall,” Min Farrakhan said, pointing out that Sen. Obama does not represent the politics of yesterday, politics which have led this country to the brink of ruin.

“This has been the most difficult text that I have ever had to put together,” the Muslim leader told the audience made up of people from Chicago, Los Angeles, Newark, Baltimore, New Orleans, Denver, Holly Springs and Jackson, Miss., Boston, London, Paris, Ottawa and Toronto, Canada, and dozens of other cities and towns who came to participate in the three-day meeting, which included workshops and gala events, and the annual reunion of Nation of Islam members who answered Min. Farrakhan’s call.

Sen. Obama, “is not only about changing who sits in the White House; he’s talking about changing the mindset of those that led us into the war in Iraq.” Continue reading

What’s Ralph Nader been smoking?

Ordinarily, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the political skills and vision of Ralph Nader. He’s a brilliant man, who has made enormous contributions to safer lives for all Americans.

A Princeton, then a Harvard Law School graduate, in 1965, he wrote Unsafe at Any Speed, a study that demonstrated that many American automobiles were unsafe, no matter what speed you drove them, especially the Chevrolet Corvair.

Nader’s advocacy of automobile safety and the publicity generated by the publication of Unsafe at Any Speed, along with concern over escalating nationwide traffic fatalities, led to the unanimous passage of the 1966 National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. The Act established the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and marked an historic shift in responsibility for automobile safety from the consumer to the manufacturer. That’s “juice.”

In 1999 a New York University panel of eminent journalists ranked Nader’s book Unsafe At Any Speed No. 38 among the top 100 pieces of journalism of the 20th century. In 1990 Life Magazine, and again in 1999 Time Magazine, named Nader one of the 100 most influential Americans of the 20th Century. That’s impressive.

And then, there’s his “Dark Side.” Maybe it’s vanity. Maybe it’s ego. Continue reading

Obama and the ‘Garvey Question’

From my “Department of Where the Rubber Meets the Road…”

If Illinois Sen. Barack Obama were to become the 44th President of the United States, a question which could fairly be brought to him, then might be, whether or not he would grant a pardon to Black self-help leader Marcus Garvey.

A committee to exonerate Garvey continues to campaign for Congressional support of legislation authored by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) for 20 years now. The measure–H. Con. Res. 24–expresses the sense of the Congress that the President should pardon Mr. Garvey “to clear his name and affirm his innocence of crimes for which he was unjustly prosecuted and convicted.”

That is the last decision a ‘President Obama” would want to have to make early in his term: to have to give long, long overdue justice to a Black man, and by so doing appear to be appeasing Black radicals, instead of correcting a wrong; or to let the Good Name of an unfairly convicted and disgraced Black icon remain stained by White American race hatred?

Don’t expect any quick pardons during President Obama’s First 100 Days in the White House. That’s all the first acknowledged Black President would need to give him premature gray hair: a Marcus Garvey Case.

Don’t forget, it took 110 years after his death for Congress in 1977, to approve legislation restoring the citizenship of Confederate Commander Gen. Robert E. Lee. Lee’s act of treason against his country was not forgiven, for more than a century. But the Right Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s only crime was a desire to organize Black people into a strong world wide force for improvement of the Black Condition. Continue reading

I sold my chance to be President

In the summer of 1961, when “Negro” anything, always meant “first” something, I was a rising senior, attending John C. Fremont High School in Los Angeles. I was a member of the Scholastic Sports Association, a daily high school sports reporting network associated with the Los Angeles Examiner newspaper.

One of the SSA brass was affiliated with the Hollywood “Miracle Mile” Post of the American Legion. In 1961–as it had done for countless years and most certainly continues to do even now–the American Legion took 800 boys to the State Capital in Sacramento for a week-long camp-out, ultimate reality show, and exercise in the American form of government called California Boys State. I was chosen to represent the American Legion Miracle Mile Post in 1961.

At the conclusion of Boys State, two boys are chosen to represent that state in the ultimate assembly: Boys Nation.

It was at Boys Nation one year later when Arkansas Boys Nation Delegate William Jefferson Clinton had his picture taken with Pres. John F. Kennedy, causing young Bill to believe he was then destined to himself become President of the United States of America. Which he did.

There were seven other Black boys at California Boys State in 1961. Most were very impressive “First Negro” type of Dudes. They all seemed to be scholar-athletes destined for great things in the future.

Me? I was more the Class Clown. Hey: Dare to Giggle. Dare to Grin. That’s my motto.

So, in a cynical moment, I sold my chance to be President of the United States, for $5. Here’s how the deal was “structured.” (I realize that no White Boy worth his salt would have paid any Negro Boy good money for the Negro Boy’s life-long chance to be President.) He paid me in special 1961 California Boys State money! Worth only slightly more than your basic “Monopoly” money.

But I still think I got the better part of that deal. Continue reading

Political ‘miracles’ do happen

There’s a story that back in the 1960s when legendary football coach and racist symbol Paul “Bear” Bryant was the coach at the University of Alabama, he was approached by federal agents who told him that he had to integrate his team. Coach Bryant–whose protégé include “Broadway” Joe Namath and Kenny Stabler, among others–resisted the entreaty.

It was Alabama, in the 1960s, The Bear complained. The governor of the state, George Corley Wallace, would have none of it, he insisted. The feds put their foot down. Integration was the order of the day.

But the alumni would withdraw their support, the Bear replied. He couldn’t have an African American player on the Crimson Tide squad, it just wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t work, he complained and complained. But the feds said, they would at least have to let a Black player try out for the squad.

Finally, Coach Bryant relented. Bring the player and he would let him try out for the squad, he said. When the feds showed up with the player, the coach told him he would first have to return a punt. The Black player awaited the ball all by himself. When the ball was in the air, the coach told all the rest of the players on the team, offense and defense to cover the punt, all of them. “Go get him!” the coach said.

The Black try-out caught the ball and began to run toward the mob. The squad rushed forward. They collided at mid-field in a cloud of dust. Then, as the dust cleared, the Black player broke free and began to sprint toward the goal line.

The coach jumped to his feet and pumped his fist into the air. “Look at that Puerto Rican go!” he shouted. As the story goes, the player made the team. Miracles do happen. Continue reading