May. 2, 2019

The Children's Crusade 1963 & The Literacy Crusade 2019

Today, my plan was going to be writing little something about the beginnings of the Children's Crusade which began on May 2, 1963, in Birmingham, Alabama. This historic show of immeasurable strength from the children in Birmingham, Alabama was one of the defining moments in our struggle for civil rights. Birmingham, Alabama was one of the most virulent, vicious, fearful, and malicious cities in the United States for black Americans. It was a segregated city where if you were black you were expected to know your place around that city's white folks. That place was your black throat essentially under the boot of white Birminghamians. I was going to write a detailed description of how fearless these children of Birmingham were for that week of protests. How these children faced the vicious seeds of hatred that were unleashed against them by the agencies of the law supposedly sworn to protect them. I would write about Bull Conner's vicious dogs, the powerful water cannons that sent many of them hurling through the air due to the force generated by the onslaught of the water, the burning tear gas, the batons of hate striking and breaking bones in their bodies, being arrested and being placed in cattle pens without any cover from the elements, and finally knowing all these actions would occur before they left the posting site of the protest the historically powerful Sixteenth Street Baptist Church located in Birmingham, Alabama.

 
Yes, I would write about the level of hate that was generated by the Ku Klux Klan because of the fearless actions of these powerful black children. That within four months these evil white men who were so outraged because of black children of Birmingham wanting more from life than being abused as future black adults simply because of the color of their skin. That on a Sunday in September these hate-filled whites placed a bomb loaded with TNT in the basement of that Sixteenth Street Baptist Church and killed four innocent little black girls attending Sunday School. This was the KKK's payback for the actions of the thousands of fearless children striving for freedom constitutionally guaranteed by this nation. Yes, that is what I was planning to write about how SNCC and the SCLC with the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr., James Bevel, Denise Nash, Ella Baker, and many, many others proved that hate would not win over the power of righteous truth.
 
Yes, that was my plan but all that changed when I read an article in the Baltimore Sun this morning and my directional provoked thought took a major bypass. The story wasn't about the impending resignation of Mayor Catherine Pugh. No, the news article was right in the alley of one of my most prominent objectives for our black community, universal black literacy. The focus of this article was the work of author Dwight Watkins, a resident of Baltimore City's Eastside and his efforts to motivate our black children to become strategic comprehending readers. I mean that brother and I must somehow get together because we are both on similar planes. You see in order for black children to make conscious educated decisions in their lives they must be literate comprehending readers. Every day, on social media I attempt to encourage that effort on The Blackman's Read Aloud Hour. Sometimes I wonder if I am in the wilderness alone fighting this battle. Yet, this morning I met via the Baltimore Sun a comrade in books who are fighting the same battle of encouraging black boys to read. It's a black male voice activating and encouraging black boys and men to understand the power instilled in literacy. So, that is why my direction changed from the 1963 Children's Crusade to the 2019 Literacy Crusade.
 
Our black communities can change, even those urban areas that may seem completely lost, like Baltimore City. However, the change won't be done overnight. The change must be done with a huge degree of determination and a desire for personal want-too. That want-too desire must include the need to be prepared to uplift each other's weaknesses and make those weaknesses personal strengths. I would like everyone on my blog page to read this article because it captivates the essential elements of my personal objective of erasing black illiteracy in our communities.
 
“Reading every day is the only way you can guarantee success for your life,” 
 
Dwight Watkins