Speaking & Teaching

Mar. 25, 2019

Please continue to support my blog as a former resident of Baltimore City. I care about what holds in the future for my black brothers and sisters in my hometown. What did Sam Cooke sing in 1964 “A Change Is Gonna Come”. Well, You Gotta Believe It.

Mar. 25, 2019

Our black history need not ever be a black mystery. In the late 19th century, and early 20th century there lived a black woman who stood up firmly against murderous injustice. Ida Belle Wells-Barnett was a newspaper publisher of truth and an ultimate defender of human, civil and social justice for Americans of African Descent. Once ancestor Wells dedicated herself to the issue of murderous acts of lynching. She worked tirelessly to ensure that it would be defeated by any means necessary.

Ida Well Barnett sought out to expose those black men, women, and children hanging like strange fruits from trees. Our ancestors who were being burned alive and murdered in this nation. These atrocious acts simply because of the color of their skins. She couldn't live with herself without speaking out against these terrorist activities being perpetrated by white people in this country. Ida Wells-Barnett placed her life on the line to bring these horrendous crimes from the beneath the veil of hatred and indignation.

In today's salute, I bring you a speech that Ida Wells-Barnett gave in Chicago in 1900 about the lynch laws in the United States. This wasn't an easy subject to broach during that period but Ida Wells-Barnett wasn't afraid to confront injustice head-on. She saw her purpose as a battle against those who sought to destroy the humanity and lives of Americans of African Descent.

Throughout most of her adult life, Ida Wells-Barnett fought to make visible the most despicable acts of violence perpetrated on our black ancestors. While Mrs. Wells-Barnett fought to put a light on these atrocities​ much of America attempted to keep these acts of violence darkened and forgotten. The Blackman Who Reads Aloud brings you today the words of Ida Belle Wells-Barnett on the anniversary of her final journey to go home with our ancestors.​

Mar. 24, 2019
This afternoon I don't want to revisit this topic but the murkiness of the situation in Baltimore City simply cannot be avoided or ignored. Healthy Holly books and Mayor Catherine Pugh demands an acknowledgment by this blogger today. Now it seems that nearly 71,300 books that were supposedly printed and distributed to children in Baltimore City have mysteriously disappeared. The Baltimore City Public School Warehouse in East Baltimore is currently housing 8,700 copies of the books but the remaining Healthy Holly books have somehow managed to be hidden away in some cubby hole in possibly the book's author imagination.
 
The Mayor already acknowledged that she returned $100,000.00 to the University of Maryland Medical Center's Board of Directors for 20,000 or the 100,000 books that were to be printed and distributed to Baltimore City's elementary school children to promote healthy habits. So that takes the number of books that were to be printed and published down to 80,000 books, 20,000 of each of the 4 titles. If those 71,300 books were buried in a Baltimore City landfill then every resident in Baltimore City deserves to know that fact. If those 71,300 books were never actually printed and published and were part and parcel of some illicit backroom dealing for services rendered the Baltimore City residents deserve to know that fact as well.
 
I remember growing up in Baltimore City when backdoor dealing amongst city elected politicians with private and public agencies was the norm. Then the monies that exchanged hands came in the form of direct bribes. Nowadays, politically motivated shiftiness that leads to financial inducements for services rendered or soon to be rendered. It's just getting a handle on how those funds exchange hands become harder to decipher. The 2016 election for Mayor was a tight race between a former Mayor whose administration was marred by illicit activities which forced her from office. The other candidate swore to the Baltimore City residents that she would never be caught up or entangled in any backdoor dealings.
 
Well, not only is Mayor Catherine Pugh's financial entanglement far worse than that of former Mayor Sheila Dixon it also was far more lucrative it seems. The indignity of Pugh's actions is that she used the children that could have benefited from funds and actual resources to build healthier lifestyles. Baltimore City's school kids suffer from many maladies related directly at unhealthy choices in lifestyles because so many of their parents and guardians encourage or promote those unhealthy choices. It seems that many black officials elected to put our "black children first" don't seem to have the capacity to understand the harm they do when the path they choose to "get paid" means that putting "black children first after you line your pockets. If those Healthy Holly books minus the 8,700 stored in that Baltimore City Public School Warehouse cannot be located. It would seem that in reality only 10,000 books were printed 2,500 of each titled book in the series. This would mean the following: based on Mayor Pugh's public accounting of that it cost $4.00 to print each one; only $40,000 was most likely spent on the Healthy Holly scam; and that someone pocketed $360,000. Now if that is the case, Mayor Catherine Pugh should consider immediately resign from her position as Mayor of Baltimore City.
 
It's either find the missing books or find the missing monies but whatever the case. The stain that continues to blot on my hometown seems to be everlasting.
Mar. 23, 2019

I'm done, why aren't you America?

Another black man's body is decomposing

What that's you say justice is simply posing

Or is it that so much of America is off somewhere dozing

Three shots in the back

What that you say? White society's jury is back

Is that black man's body still decomposing

The jury's verdict confirms that justice for blacks is definitely posing

Did you just say that black man was sound asleep?

He was shot six times now that is simply too deep

He was caught sleeping while black

I'm done, why aren't you America?

I'm sick and tired of being tired of justice for the black man posing

While it seems so much of America is off somewhere dozing

Hey! What's that you say Captain Marvel saved the day

Except for that black man's body which is still lying in the streets

decomposing

Stop it America!

Lady Liberty is still in the New York harbor posing

While justice for blacks is off somewhere dozing.

#joesmokeblackthoughts
Mar. 22, 2019

Our black houses of unity are on fire we need to bring the waters of hope, compassion, eternal love, and inner strength to overcome the blaze that confronts us today.  Justice is an illusion but fixing it together as black men and women doesn't have to be a delusion feed by constant confusion.

Why is injustice such a valuable commodity in the United States? Why does the system we demand to be equal in scope to all peoples no matter the race or creed seem to swing the pendulum of blind justice towards injustice to Americans of African Descent? Is that illusion of a perfect union meant only to include those who biological makeup is absent of melanin? Questions that I tend to ask myself more and more as I get a little older and hopefully just a tad bit wiser.

On this March morning in 2019, I had thought similar to a provoked thought I had 4 years ago. On that day while I  viewing that day's Huffington Post. I was looking for something that would engage my social media thought for a day postings. This was before I had developed my now blossoming internet blog. On that particular morning, a winter’s cold chill had finally arrived in my Maryland neighborhood. Today, March's blustery winds have come to announce the coming of spring in that same neighborhood. 

While reading the Huffington Post I came across an article written by Marian Wright Edelman. It was a thought-provoking essay that posed this question, “Why are guns more valuable than children in America?”. Marian Wright Edelman wrote of America’s love for the rights of gun-owners other the sacrificed lives of children aged five and under killed by those weapons of immediate destruction. Marian even indicated that 30 more preschoolers were killed by guns in the United States then law enforcement officers were killed in 2014. The evidence was clear that in 2015 more pre-schoolers will be killed by guns than law enforcement officers that year as well. The article was fair in Marian Wright Edelman's final assessment that something needs to be done in the United States by legislators in Congress to put an end to the senseless, needless violence done by these weapons of immediate destruction. You can imagine nothing has changed in the United States related to curtailing gun violence.

However, Marian Wright Edelman's article provoked another mental thought for me that morning,  it aroused in my mind this question? Since it seems many, many Americans cannot be moved to lessen the damage inflicted by guns, are those same Americans also the people who also promote the damage of racism in the United States?

Why is injustice towards Black Americans a distinctly more valuable commodity then the act of promoting and providing justice, real justice to Americans of African Descent?

Oh, it’s easy to for the initial answer to evolve around “racism” that is the most simple response to this question. That white people simply hate and castigate blacks in the United States. They always have and they always will. Hell, those white bastard's ancestors' stole us off our homelands in Africa. Hell, there is even talk that many of our blacks ancestors were already here in America when the white Europeans encroached on our homeland in what is now the United States of America.  So, not only did these evil white people's ancestors steal us from our African homeland they also stole this land from beneath our feet.   They white ancestors killed our ancestor's brothers and sisters enslaving both African and American black people. My thought today as it didn't five years ago isn’t going to redress or address either of these scenarios.

Today's thought is simply going to ask the question and wonder why since the emancipation of our ancestors in 1865,  has the United States done so much to impede justice from being applied to every black citizen in this nation? Oh, some will say the assassination of Old Abe sat back the plans to provide the impetus to secure those rights promised by the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments of the Constitution. In someways, this could be explained as a truism since his predecessor in the White House, Andrew Johnson was not a true friend of the abolitionists or the recently freed black man and woman. Those fought for blacks securing freedom prior to as well as after the Civil War was also no friend of Andrew Johnson.  Johnson did come within one United States Senate vote from being impeached because of his lackadaisical efforts to equalize justice for the recently freed peoples held in bondage.

Reconstruction was initially implemented during Andrew Johnson's Presidency and there indeed sp truly magnanimous plans put in place in those former Confederate southern states to bring a degree of true freedom to newly freed slaves. During the brief years of Reconstruction white overt racism in those southern states could indeed answer the question posed by my thought this morning. Yet, why wouldn’t it have been easier through just to allow let freedom ring after the most heinous battle this nation had ever encountered?

Why was it necessary once Blacks were unlocked from the bonds of slavery to continue to impede the full implementation of equal rights and true justice to each and every one of our ancestors. I mean why even have national judicial considerations that created an unjust decision in the Plessey vs. Ferguson case ? Why have a segregated united armed force until 1947 in true equality was ever the goal for Americans of African Descent? Why did Woodrow Wilson separate the races in federal workplaces?  Prior to Wilson's edict, it had been shown that neither race had shown no problem with that workplace condition prior to Wilson’s change in direction? Why did the United States Government allow the destruction of Black Wall Street in Greenwood, Oklahoma to go unpunished? It was not prosecuted at the time of the horrific incident and even up to this very day there have been no economic reparations for damages done? 

 

Why were dead black bodies to hang on trees like strange fruits as Billie Holliday in a song so eloquently, so sadly? Why was no anti-lynching law ever passed by our United States Congress, or supported by our United States President when those black bodies were being lynched and mauled daily? Why was no white man in the south ever convicted of killing a black person even when the heinous acts were done in public view for all to view and admire their acts of hate? Why were ghettoes allowed to flourish in the so-called greatest economic nation the world had ever known? Why did 4 little black girls get blown to smithereens simply because they attended a church that stood for justice in a southern city fill with oppressive white racist hate? Why did the federal government not step to institute a policy that reimbursed the monies that were stolen from newly freed blacks who had placed their funds and faith in the Freedman Bank? When in the early 1970’s when the Central Intelligence Agency need funds to create havoc worldwide why didn’t anyone in the room say hell no when they decided to flood guns and drugs into America’s cities to get the cash necessary to engage in mischief worldwide? Why did no one say to Ollie North, Reagan’s chief architect of a misguided policy “you have lost your freaking mind” if you think you can flood the streets of Black America with drugs to pay to arm your little rebellion in Central America? 

Why is it to this day that even some blacks in our black communities feel that it’s best to ignore the rancid conditions rather than confront them? Why when unjust law enforcement bullets riddled black bodies our communities strikes straight to the streets crying injustice? Yet, when our own brothers and sisters riddle similar black bodies our community sits in silent acceptance of those acts? How can Americans black or white view entertainment monitors on a daily basis and see the destruction caused by weapons of immediate destruction and act as if those destructive actions won’t have some subconscious effect on the young minds that are captivated violent entertainment? Why do we rush to movie theaters for fantasies across the nation yet allow our black communities implode around us?  Is stellar fantasy destruction worth the price of admission but real-time community destruction not worth paying those same dollars to rebuild?

The question of why injustice is so easily attained is that justice takes the union of two forces aligning for a common magnificent objective. It seems that never in the history of the United States has that merging of objectives between the races ever been aligned. From either side when blacks needed the full force of the might of the US Government to attain a full measure of justice, real justice it was not there to answer the call. Can we simply answer our dilemma with “it’s whitey fault” you know that normal racist response?. You see in many instances blacks have been called to support there own and in many of those instances, those calls have gone unanswered. Brothers and sisters for real justice, I mean absolute justice the call for action must be answered as it was in Montgomery, Alabama, or Greenwood, Mississippi, or Selma, Alabama, or the Mall in Washington DC as it was in 1863, 1995, 2015, and 2019. Those calls must be answered ten-fold and the response must elicit actions from both sides not just one side. If you have the attitude that it is always “whitey’s fault” then do something about it build up, link up and make a significant difference in the lives of those around you. If you feel that this world is more than about the color of someone’s skin but the content of his or her’s character then do something about it. Build up, link up and make a significant difference in the lives of those around you. See something familiar? Yes, same action but different feelings internally but the same actions aligned for the common good of all the people living around you brings real justice.