Speaking & Teaching

Jul. 31, 2022

Growing up in the 60’s while watching 1 of 3 networks on a Sunday afternoon. You were almost assured of seeing the Boston Celtics lead by Bill Russell play basketball to perfection. Bill Russell was the demigod of winning it seemed he never was on the losing end of a basketball game. I always went to see the Celtics play when they took on the Baltimore Bullets and I was never disappointed at the result because I was going to see Bill Russell’s team. Bill Russell was a defiant black man born in the period of Jim Crow’s Louisiana when a black man dared not look eye to eye towards any white man but Bill Russell never it seemed tilted his head down. Bill Russell was majestic, towering, and graceful, Bill Russell was the ultimate winner. All this talk about this GOAT and that GOAT, well all Bill Russell had to do was to lay down his eleven rings and stop the argument right there. You see Lebron and MJ didn’t have to face the threats of lynching, murder, deification on their beds, racist catcalls almost every night, growing up with night riders looking to terrorize them, so don’t tell me about GOATS because the true GOAT was BILL RUSSELL. Bill Russell epitomized blackness never ran away from it owned his blackness and defied anyone who asked him to yield to his blackness. When I think of black male sports heroes I think of Ali, Owens, Louis, Brown, Chamberlain, Robinson, Aaron, Gibson, Paige, Johnson,and the ultimate winner Bill Russell. Rest well big fella you earned your place in the pantheon of life’s legends.

Jul. 25, 2022

Emmett and Louis Till were both victims of what for many African Americans past and present is a crime of being,” that is, being a black American in a nation that still sees color first and the hell with the content of character. This quote about the crime of being came from John Wideman's book "Writing To Save A Life". The book was a featured read-aloud on my Facebook Live Project. Louis Till was no saint and Emmitt Till was as close to innocence as a young boy could be. Yet both father and son were lynched by a nation that sought no semblance of justice for either. On this day Emmitt Till’s 81st birthday, father and son are remembered for the savagery of racial injustice. One Louis Till was murdered by a military tribunal that didn’t dig enough for the facts before the unjust sentence of the hangman’s noose was carried out. The other Emmitt Till was murdered a decade later by a vengeful collective of hate-filled racist white men who felt authorized by the State of Mississippi,  a state that cared little for that boy’s justice. Mississippi, only that Emmitt Till pay for supposedly upsetting the social structures that separated white and African American people in the belly of the beast that was southern racial hatred. Neither Louis Till who is buried in a small box on European soil nor Emmitt buried, and reburied in a Cook County Cemetery will ever face peace until this nation pays for the harm and pain it caused the Till family. You see murder has no statute of limitations. America, the nation was deemed guilty but America the nation has yet to have faced its punishment. “The crime of just being” has managed to continue to be promoted by this nation for these past four centuries of African American oppression. Isn’t it time for African Americans to be relieved of the perceived sin of color in America, as well as the crime of just being?

Jul. 19, 2022