Dedicated to Samuel Younge Jr. & The Army Of Right
Memorial Day 2017
Today as we begin to honor those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in protecting liberty and freedom for those of us alive today. I take this time to give reverence and thanks to those of our people who engaged in the battle for the civil rights of people of color. When people think of service to a nation the first thing that many of us immediately point to is those who gave their lives in military engagements around the world. We think of our nation’s battles in Europe, The Middle East, The Far East and our battles against the tyrants who want to create world domination. We also we remember the internal battles that were fought on our own nation’s lands protecting the union of the states as well as remembering the initial battles fought in the founding of America. We think to the western expansion within this nation that involved battles with the original inhabitants of our country. They were seeking to maintain their lands while past leaders of our nation were intent on taking those lands for their gain. America has indeed been grounded in military engagements since the country’s inception. The small flags will be ever present on cemetery grounds across our shores from the Atlantic to the Gulf and reaching the Pacific and beyond. I do in fact give honor to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice as they fought for freedom. Some even gave their lives not totally understanding, nor believing totally in the battles being waged. I salute each and every one of those who laid their lives on the lines for American democracy.
However, another battle has been going on ever since the first ship moved up the James River heading towards the settlement of Jamestown. You see when my ancestor came off one of those ships to this so-called new land. He was faced with immediate inequities that came simply because his skin was dark. He was not any less intelligent, and less weak in strength, or any less weak in character. He was however shackled with chains because he didn’t own his life. His life was owned by another. Since that day for my family and other black families across this nation, a battle has been waged. The battle for basic civil rights, basic equality in treatment, true judicial rights, equal educational opportunities, fair housing and fair employment rights, the right to be treated as a person, not of color but a person of character. We have been beaten, whipped, strung up on oak trees, shoot to the point of not be recognized, dropped in creeks, rivers, and oceans in this so-called land of democracy. We have been classified as inferior in all facets of human development. We have had no more rights this a farm mule or pig. Yet through it all, we have been caught up in our personal battle for human citizenship in this country.
So today I pay homage to all of my ancestors who took up the battle for our civil rights today. I think that brigade of warriors who wore sometimes tattered clothes, no shoes, and had little or no education understood that our freedom army was the most important army in the entire world. It was an army that had little in terms of the military armaments needed for battle. It was an army that had taken numerous defeats along the way to fulfilling its goal of justice. This goal of total justice and total equality is still being fought today, 400 years or more from the original declaration. You see we couldn’t write a formal declaration of war against oppression. They would have simply ignored our demands as there have always done and inflicted more pain and misery on our people. So we had to make that declaration in terms of action against our oppressors. It was a battle that saw many moral victories for our people. The battle plans of our oppressors were complex and they used every resource available to maintain some semblance of control. Yet our armies outnumbered survived on wit and guile. They always fought with an unbelievable level of innate spiritual power that couldn’t mitigate. Our legions included our children, our women and our men who not only battled the oppressor they also fought internal battles with those of our people who wanted to give in and give up.
So today I express my ultimate and deepest feelings of thanks to the civil rights warriors who stood up against incredible odds. These ancestors knew that if they gave in their were indeed giving up on the entire race of color in this nation. They took as good as they gave and still stood strong against those who sought only the complete extermination of our people. These same oppressors wiped out almost entirely the native tribes of this country. Yet still we stand, and still, we stood unfailingly in our determination to make a way from no way and lift our spirits high. We made have been down but we were never out. People will say this is no formal army but I say today that our army was grand and glorious. So place a flag on every soul that lived through our oppression. We will continue to demand our rightful place in this land that our forefathers built. We will never give up nor give up the view from Martin’s mountaintop. So I bless this day the common man of color along with his wife and child who sought freedom and blessings. When all of this world was seemingly against him. We are Jacobs Army under Joshua’s command and with the faith of Almighty God will won’t concede to evils demand.