Speaking & Teaching

Feb. 14, 2020

The more I read about Catherine Pugh’s current situation in the Sunpapers regarding her upcoming sentencing hearing, the more dismayed I become. How could she do this to herself . Wasn’t she surrounded in her life by Baltimore’s finest establishment of black leaders. She was an active member of one of the largest church congregations in the city. She was a confidant to many political and business leaders. She was a friend to the current President of the college she attended Morgan State University. She was considered a close friend to the late Elijah Cummings. She went to school with and has been friends with former NAACP President Mfume. She was business partners with City Comptroller Joan Pratt. So many black friends and no one couldn’t step in and save Catherine Pugh from herself? Now in 11 days she will face the gravel of justice.

Those friends who couldn’t save Ms. Pugh are writing testimonials to the sentencing judge asking for mercy. Where were these testimonials when Ms. Pugh really needed them? Before she threw her life away at all 60+ years of age making poor decisions that lead to her current misfortune. The federal government has requested 60 months of incarceration in a federal penitentiary while Catherine Pugh’s legal team has requested 366 days of incarceration. The fact that Ms. Pugh is 70 years old should account for limiting the amount of time she is given. I hope the result of Ms Pugh’s sentencing ends the downward spiral which has taken its toll on her emotional and psychological well-being. The sentence shouldn’t be deemed a life sentence it however cannot be a slap on the hand either. I just wonder where all these advocates for Catherine Pugh’s well-being where when she was making these terrible life changing decisions that destroyed her standing in a city she loved and supposedly loved her.

Feb. 14, 2020

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was the name given to a slave born someday in February 1818. He told the name Frederick Douglass after escaping from slavery at the age of 20. Who would’ve know that this man born in physical chains but not mental chains would change the course of American history? Frederick Douglass never knew the exact date of his birth, exact records were never kept for chattel which Frederick Douglass was at the time of his birth. So he took February 14, 1818, 202 years ago as his date of celebration. He could’ve taken September 3, 1838 as his birth date because it was that date the path of American history changed dramatically for the better for black Americans.

In 1848, Frederick Douglass felt the necessity to write a letter to his former slave owner Thomas Auld. I recorded this video in his words my voice on 5/8/2017. I felt that for Frederick Douglass this gut-wrenching letter was a deliverance message that made his new found freedom a reality. Maybe, if all Black Americans had written these letters to their past masters and detailed the agony, horror, terror, and brutality of forced servitude​. We could've released those demons that controlled so many aspects of our ancestors lives. Who do we write letters to today to unleash the pain of still being black in America in 2020? Because blacks in this nation are indeed still suffering but we must understand the mantra of Frederick Douglass that there is no progress without struggle.

Feb. 12, 2020

During my years at Morgan State College/University, Mr. Al Jarreau was a fixture on my college campus. Al Jarreau graced and visited many HBCU campuses across the country. The Jarreau albums seemingly were created for conscious college students. His voice was his musical instrument and that voice was simply magical.

That’s why Al Jarreau’s musical style encouraged thought and conscious enlightenment. His voice was indeed the perfect instrument to partner with any instrument of sound. I was lucky enough to meet him on a couple of occasions during his visits to Morgan State. We as students were mesmerized with his complex talent, the range of voice, his simply incredible talents.

That's why students could see him every year because he bought something new to each of his performances. Today, Mr. Jarreau passed on to glory and now his voice has been shared with those from all the ages. I can only thank GOD that I was allowed to be in his presence of his genius for just a little while. Continue to Rest In Peace sir my written tribute to my older brother and friend. You see once you met Al Jarreau, you instantly became his lifelong friend.

Feb. 12, 2020

On this date 155 years ago on a chilly Sunday morning,​ a former slave was invited to be the first American of African Descent to speak at the US Capital during a special Sunday Service. The first of the Civil War Amendments had passed Congress and were headed towards the states for ratification. The President was celebrating his birthday while the nation was still enthralled in a confrontation between the Union forces and the Confederacy rebels.

Henry Highland Garnet, pastor of the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. The sermon "Let The Monster Perish" was a celebration of the recent passage of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution abolishing slavery by the US House of Representatives. So, on this day in honor of that historic speech The Blackman Who Reads Aloud will​ deliver the words spoken by Henry Highland Garnet to that body of elected officials and honored guests.

Henry Highland Garnett is a man whose fight against the oppressive forces of chains on our ancestors should ever be forgotten. In my mind a complete wing of Congress should be dedicated to the men and women of color who saved our nation from tyranny. Henry Highland Garnett would be prominently displayed in that wing.

Feb. 11, 2020

On February 12, 1900 in celebration of the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln. The Johnson brothers created this majestic piece to honor not only the late President but also the prideful dark peoples who were released from enslavement.
Shortly afterward his brother, John Rosemond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson moved away from Jacksonville to New York, and the song passed out of our minds.

However, not in the minds of those school children of Jacksonville. They kept on singing Lift E'vry Voice and Sing. During that time period,​ 95% of Black Americans lived south of the Mason Dixon Line. So the capture rate for the song's popularity was centered in the region Black Americans live. So they went off to other schools and sang it; they became teachers and taught it to other children. Within twenty years the song was being sung over the South and in some other parts of the country. Today the song, popularly known as the Black National Anthem is quite generally used at every significant event in black communities throughout the nation.

The lines of this song repay me in an elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung by Negro children." James Weldon Johnson wrote this about his most famous creation. I'm sure that every time it is sung still today, Lift E'vry Voice and Sing lifts the eternal spirit of James and John, the original Johnson Brothers, who delivered greatness to our black communities with this song.​