Speaking & Teaching

Apr. 6, 2020

William Monroe Trotter was an incredible force of nature. He was before his time by right on time in the struggle for black civil and social rights. Mr. Trotter came from a family of activists who lead the mired towards the abolition of slavery. He was directly related to Hemings family line with the Jeffersonian Americans of African Descent. Mr. Trotter put in all to ensuring that our ancestors were provided the truth in the press. His newspaper The Guardian was the ultimate voice of black communities not only in Boston where it was published but also across the nation.

In addition to fighting the white voices of oppression, Mr. Trotter fought the primary black voices of social accommodation lead by Booker T. Washington. Mr. Washington was the most notable person of color in America but that didn’t stop Mr. Trotter from challenging his views regarding racial progress in the nation, and how to achieve it. In addition to those battles Mr. Trotter was instrumental in the formation of the historic Niagara Movement which eventually lead to the formation of the NAACP.

Mr. Trotter was focused, intent, and determined. These characteristics also included a brashness that could turn off associates in the struggle. But no one questioned Monroe Trotter’s passion or his desire to get the job done. That is why two of his best encounters included confronting the President of the United States Woodrow Wilson first when Wilson attempted to hush him during a White House meeting of black leaders regarding the segregation of federal departments employees. The second when he went toe to toe with Wilson and D.W. Griffins on that god awful film, The Birth of a Nation. Which Wilson had the audacity of showing to a White House audience.

You couldn’t hush William Monroe Trotter not a President or any other person if Mr. Trotter knew he was on the right side of justice. As the years went by the stress of constant battles took there toll on William Monroe Trotter and he took his own life. But in reality America took his life for Mr. Trotter couldn’t bear to continue to fight a battle that seemingly had no end. Today, I celebrate his birthday but more than that I would like our black communities to put William Monroe Trotter on the highest of pedestals for delivering services to our people’s. The impact of his valuable work is still evident today. I read the book Black Radical on my reading project, The Blackman Read Aloud Hour Project. So many of my followers are familiar with William Monroe Trotter because many of the books I’ve read mentioned him. Today we should cherish the man and his spirit for that spirit should be in each of us who strive for a compassionate and just society.

Apr. 6, 2020

When I was kid growing up in Baltimore we were lucky that our Baltimore Colts didn’t look at skin color first when choosing its players. They may have looked at skin color but when superior talent was exposed then the player’s color was not the first deciding factor. Maybe that’s why the Baltimore Colts were constantly playing winning football. While the Baltimore Colts had Lenny Moore, Jim Parker, Big Daddy Lipscomb, Johnny Sample, and Sherman Plunkett leading the team to championships. The team 40 miles south the Washington Redskins were were a lily white football team owned by George Preston Marshall and because he owned the team skin color did in fact matter. More than the team’s name was racist. The Redskin entire management was locked on white.

At the end of 1961 season the NFL and the Federal Government forced the issue of integration on the bigoted Marshall. Since the Redskins had the #1 pick they traded the draft pick which turned out to be Syracuse University running back Ernie Davis to the Cleveland Browns for Bobby Mitchell. Hence, Bobby Mitchell became the first player of color to suit up for the now integrated Washington Redskins. The Redskins lucked out with this trade because Ernie Davis never played a down of football for the Browns because of his leukemia diagnosis and eventual death. While Bobby Mitchell continued to perform at a Hall of Fame level for a mediocre Washington Redskin team. It wasn’t until Vince Lombardi and George Allen arrived in the Nation’s Capital did the image of race fairness in player selection come to pass.

I always disliked the Washington Redskins but I loved watching Bobby Mitchell play. Bobby Mitchell passed away yesterday at the age of 84. He not only changed the reflection of skin color on the football field in Washington. Mr Mitchell also served on the management team for the Washington Football Team. The only task that Bobby Mitchell didn’t complete in his final journey yesterday was the name change to a more honorable name. I am sure that Mr. Mitchell was dedicated to the burgundy and gold colors of the Washington Football Team but I also feel that Mr. Mitchell cringed at the team insignia. Mr. Mitchell was at the forefront of racial equality and racial fairness in his life. So, if the Washington Football Team wants to pay tribute to the greatest offensive player in the team’s history it should change the name in his honor. Mr. Mitchell spent the major portion of his life working for the Washington Football Team and I am sure he doesn’t want Redskins represented at his memorial services.

Apr. 6, 2020
Apr. 5, 2020

April 5 in America’s History brings me to the birthdate of two significant individuals who life’s accomplishments were exceptional. The first individual was the warrior of Charleston, South Carolina, Robert Smalls, born into slavery in 1939. Robert Smalls became a Civil War hero when he managed to take the Confederate ship The Planter and hand it over to Union Naval forces. Robert Smalls, not only became that Civil War hero but he also became on the elected black congressional representatives during reconstruction. Yes, Robert Smalls exemplified during his life what a true warrior was.

The second individual came to be known as the Wizard of Tuskegee, he was probably the most recognized American for a period of more than 20 years. Booker T. Washington was born into slavery in 1856 and during his lifetime he founded the most significant college for Americans of African Descent in this nation. We could talk endlessly about the many life attributes of Mr. Washington but my most rewarding historical note about Mr. Washington is that he wanted our ancestors to achieve economic power along with educational excellence.

Both Robert Smalls and Booker T Washington experienced many incidents of racial degradation during their lifetime. But both men fought the good fight towards our ancestors reaching levels of achievements. So today, April 5, 2020, I remember the names and life memories of Robert Smalls and Booker T. Washington.

Apr. 4, 2020

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent his life battling the forces that treated the least of us in this society with abject neglect. As this nation faces the most dangerous enemy in modern times. An enemy that knows no race, or economic status when it strikes. I’m sure that Dr. King would be on the frontlines ensuring that those essential hospital workers that aren’t medical professionals but who keep the hospital doors open would be getting more than adequate pay. I am thinking about those workers today as I am sure Dr. King was thinking of those Memphis sanitation workers during the last hours of his life. Are we supporting them for their sacrifices with pay and respect? Will we give them their just deserves when this pandemic is over?