Speaking & Teaching

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?

Apr. 4, 2020

Provoked Thoughts Of Day

52 years ago today Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was living his last hours of powerful life. He had made his last speech the previous evening in Memphis, Tennessee. That speech, I've Been To The Mountaintop, foretold of his demise which would occur within 18 hours of the time in which he made that momentous speech and said the following magnificent and powerful words:

"I been to the mountaintop, and I looked over and I have seen the promised land.I may not get there with you but we as a people will get to the promised land"

Well, 52 years later we as a people are still searching for that promised land. Dr. King didn't get there because he was taken from us by an assassin's bullet at 6:30 pm. We haven't reached the nation of pure justice and equality. We are still searching to make Dr. King's final dream a reality. The only way we will ever reach that land of promise is that we unite our energies in a positive direction. We must choose a change in self and a resolute goal of uplift for those in need.

Dr. King lived an unselfish life, he reached out to assist others first rather than satisfying any need or personal thirst for individual gain. We, as a people must understand that this divine philosophy of life in the final analysis is as strong as those around you. It has been said that no man is an island and man stands alone. We have somehow lost the meaning of this perception of humanity. Many of us are driving towards individual gains regardless of the effect those gains have on others around us. So, today the question I ask myself is am I working to the betterment of simply myself without even thinking about how I can better the lives of others? Is that promised land an island of one or is that promised land, a land of plenty for plenty?

Did James Earl Ray kill Martin Luther King Jr.? Was it his bullet that pierced the body and took the life of Dr. King? That question has been asked and never truly answered many times. What is for certain is this, when Dr. King’s earthly remains was void of life America’s cities were aflame and the band of racism, prejudice, and hatred played on.

Apr. 3, 2020

My muse Bill Withers passed away today. I loved Mr. Withers for his lyrics engaged me to think beyond myself. I hope that everyone had a favorite Bill Withers song, my favorite Bill Withers album came out the year I graduated from high school. I played Still Bill so much Who Is He, Use Me Up, Lean On Me so much musical magic. I can only say I hope we all have a Lovely Day and Grandma you can now hold hands with her grandson Bill from Slab Fork, West Virginia.

Apr. 3, 2020

On April 3, 1968 the weather in Memphis, Tennessee was frightful, thunderstorms and heavy rain was playing havoc with the attendance at the major meeting of the sanitation workers rally. This meeting was scheduled because the initial march for the Memphis sanitation workers lead by Dr. Martin Luther King has been disrupted by violence. This meeting was to ensure that the next march would follow the guidelines of direct nonviolent action. The weather was so bad that initially Dr. King had told Reverend Ralph Abernathy to give the main speech. However, the emotion of those in attendance that night was so strong that a call was placed to the Lorraine Motel for Dr. King to come and speak. There was no other choice but for Dr. King but to honor the crowd. What followed was the final speech in the life of the Prince of Hope, the Messenger of Love, and the moral center of this nation. The speech came to be known at the Mountain Top Speech but I am highlighting the aspect of the speech that focused on wealth redistribution in this nation. The fact of the matter it wasn’t the peace and civil rights aspect of Dr. King’s works that lead to his assassination. It was Dr. King’s work towards economic equality and his proposed Poor People’s Campaign that frightened the powers in this country. For if King could coalesce all the poor white, brown, red, yellow, and black it could shake the foundations of white economic supremacy at its core. Let’s spend a moment thinking about that possibility as we still experience the multiple aspects of disparity in this nation.