Speaking & Teaching

Dec. 14, 2019

“TOUSSAINT L’OUVERTURE” (CA. 1891)

Douglass penned this essay as an introduction to the American edition of Vie de Toussaint-Louverture (1889) by the French abolitionist and statesman Victor Schoelcher. The planned edition fell through, however, and the essay is published here for the first time. It is Douglass’s only extended assessment of Toussaint that exists which makes so historically important.

Dec. 13, 2019

Ella Baker (1903—1986) played an instrumental role in the development of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Baker was born in Norfolk, Virginia, and grew up in rural Littleton, North Carolina. After graduating from Shaw University, she organized consumer cooperatives in New York and worked on consumer affairs for the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In the 1940s Baker became a national field secretary of the NAACP, traveling throughout the country organizing branches and developing membership drives. Increasingly,Baker became disaffected with the NAACP's leadership, because decision-making occurred primarily in the national office rather than in the branch organizations. In 1957 Baker joined King to help found the SCLC. She directed the SCLC national office and was instrumental in coordinating major civil disobedience actions. She became critical of the SCLC because of its emphasis on charismatic leadership. In 1960 Baker was the principal organizer in helping student protesters establish the SNCC. She solicited funds for SNCC and assisted in planning strategies for voter registration drives and desegregation campaigns. Baker eventually broke with the SCLC after she disagreed with ministers who felt that SNCC should simply be an arm of the SCLC, rather than an independent organization. Although she preferred working behind the scenes to playing a public leadership role, she is widely regarded by scholars as one of the central leaders in the Black Freedom movement. The 83 years of Ella Baker's full life were so remarkable and she touched so much of American history. Her life was indeed bigger than any hamburger as was Ella Baker's mission to serve.

Dec. 12, 2019

On June 20, 1926, Howard University the mecca of black colleges and universities in this nation selected Wyatt Mordecai Johnson to be the first African American who be its University President. One of the greatest educators this nation has ever produced Wyatt Mordecai Johnson was born in Paris, Tennessee in 1890. A lifelong educator, Johnson held degrees from a number of institutions including a 1911 A.B. from Morehouse College and a Doctor of Divinity degree from Howard University. Three years after his graduation from Howard Divinity School he became the first African-American​ president of that Howard University and remained at the university’s helm for the next thirty-four​ years.

Dr. Johnson was one of the foremost committed religious leaders this country ever produced. As a matter of fact, it is well known that Dr. Johnson had a profound impact on the philosophical thoughts of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was Dr. Johnson who introduced the strategies of Gandhi to Dr. King when King attended a sermon in Philadelphia that featured Wyatt Mordecai Johnson. Dr. Johnson served Howard University until 1960. During that period of time, profound changes took place at HU. The university became the leading institution for developing not only graduates who directed civil rights efforts. It also was the location where those successful strategies were formally initiated especially in Howard University’s School headed by Charlie Houston.

In 1922, Wyatt Mordecai Johnson was selected to be the commencement speaker at Harvard University. It was then that he delivered this speech on "The Faith of the American Negro". Today, in honor of Dr. Johnson, I will bring his profound words to my blog with my voice. So many great black educators have influenced the multitudes of African American today. In his time with us, Dr. Johnson was one of those educators leading the way in forging excellence in our communities. His reach still continues to light a pathway to greatness today. Let's continue to honor Dr. Wyatt Mordecai Johnson's memory by doing our best to assisting our communities to forge continued black excellence each and every day.


Dec. 12, 2019

Tuesday, a major league baseball player signed a 324 million dollar contract to play 7 years for the New York Yankees. It made me wonder because I am a history buff exactly how much would the greatest baseball player in Negro Baseball League History be worth in today’s market?

There was a time when the greatest baseball players in this nation were shut out of America’s Pastime. The greatest position player of all time Joshua Gibson was never allowed to play ball in the major leagues. He was restricted because of his race. Today, I pay tribute to Josh Gibson on my blog.

Dec. 11, 2019

The Thirteen Brave Black Souls

Sgt. William Nesbitt
Corp. Larsen J. Brown
Corp. James Wheatley
Corp. Jesse Moore
Corp. Charles Baltimore
Pvt. William Brackenridge
Pvt. Thomas C. Hawkins
Pvt. Carlos Snodgrass
Pvt. Ira B. Davis
Pvt. James Divine
Pvt. Frank Johnson
Pvt. Rosley W. Young
Pvt. Pat MacWharter

13 black soldiers who were hanged on December 11, 1917,​ without the ​benefit of an appeal after being convicted of participating in the Riot of Houston, Texas that occurred on August 23, 1917. The Blackman Who Reads Aloud reads accounts of the riot as well as the unjust hanging of these thirteen brave black souls who showed no fear when certain death awaited them in a nation that had no respect for their rights as soldiers or citizens.

This isn’t the history that is retold in America’s textbooks that ignore the reality of America’s racist past. This is the history that one must uncover to mask the racial hatred that our ancestors had to endure. So as I look back a century I cannot fail to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice these soldiers faced without as much as a whimper. I hope on this day we won’t allow that sacrifice to forgotten.