Speaking & Teaching

Apr. 10, 2019
Sometimes in your life, you just need to revisit those events in the past that have had a profound impact on your life. For me, one of those impactful times came on April 9, 1968, when I was watching Martin Luther King Jr.'s final services from Ebenezer Baptist Church. I couldn't, of course, understand that day the full impact of day until much later in my adult life. Reverend Ralph Abernathy, read the words from one of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s sermons at the conclusion of the funeral service that turned out to be quite prophetic. In this sermon, King addressed the issue of choices made today by the black communities and how today's choices would impact future black generations. Dr. King wrote of our black communities choice of choosing a non-violence path versus choosing a violent path in solving the issues confronting our black communities. Dr. King forecasted in that speech read by Dr. Abernathy that dark day in black history the perils that afflict many of our communities today. It was almost like Martin Luther King Jr. had been given the gift of being allowed to move ahead in time for the purpose of forewarning us of wrong choices.
 
What possessed Ralph Abernathy to choose that specific sermon to read from during Martin Luther King's final homecoming services? As a matter of fact, had Coretta Scott King not requested that a recording is played from Dr. Martin Luther King's, February 4, 1968, drum major sermon that has historically been noted as Dr. Martin Luther King's preaching his own eulogy. The words that Martin Luther King wrote and Ralph Abernathy spoke would've been more poignant. I mean King forecasted that if our black communities chose poorly our communities would end up destroying themselves. King forecasted that we would be turning the sword of violence against ourselves if we choose the wrong path. You really need to revisit listening to the words Ralph Abernathy as he read King asking our black communities choosing love over the words an eye for an eye, or a tooth for a tooth.
 
Was it that day, in that Atlanta Georgia church that the concept of black love died? Was it the final nail that closed the coffin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. life that killed black love? Is that the reason that 51 years later after seeing the prophet of peace murdered and buried that black communities simply decided that love for love's sake was useless? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted us just to love somebody, anybody. He lived his life on the precipice believing that a man could love another man unconditionally based not on his skin color but on the content of that man's character. However, Martin Luther King Jr was murdered because of the color of his skin not the content of his character. Did that make it easier for black men to kill other black men because they cared not about either about color or character? Unable to strike out against the true enemy of oppression did blacks simply learn to strike out against their own because the essence of black love died in our community when that bullet silenced the messenger of love and peace?
 
I don't dare venture into this discussion any longer. I do know that each and every day in black communities across the United States the evidence that Dr. King words warned us about are evident. The multiple younger black generations that have followed since April 9, 1968, have been more and more violent towards each other than being blessed. We must find a way to rediscover the concept that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted each of us to internalize black love for ourselves and each other.
Apr. 9, 2019

Paul Robeson should be one of the most revered individuals in the history of the United States. By America standards of historical excellence and measurement, Paul Robeson would stand in a company of few regarding achievements in one's life. Paul Robeson was intellectually gifted, physically gifted, born with a singing voice that could shake mountains. Paul Robeson basically knew no equal in any room he entered. He was as comfortable in a room filled with international leaders and dignitaries, as well the common laborer, and the oppressed masses.

Paul Robeson spoke 20 languages, had Paul Robeson's clone lived during this period of time. Paul certainly would've been elected the first multi-lingual black President of the United States, However, Paul Robeson wasn't born in this period of history. Paul Robeson was born during a period when the oppression of black people no matter how gifted was at its highest peak in this nation. For Paul Robeson to be fully appreciated he would have to cross mighty oceans to get the respect he so rightfully deserved. Loved and admired in almost every European nation Paul Robeson was despised and hated in the country of his birth.

You see​ , Paul Robeson was a black man​ who refused to shuffle along and be that acceptable negro. The pride that his ancestors built into his human fiber would not allow Paul Robeson to the happy go lucky negro. He just couldn't be that negro who accepted his fate and the fate of his people by simply pocketing the monies and bowing to visible oppression. That personal black pride in need to lift up his black brothers and sisters along with the multitude of oppressed people throughout the world made Paul Robeson the targeted enemy of the United States government and all of its agents. In Paul Robeson's life the State Department, FBI, CIA, Congress, Judicial Branch, US Military Intelligence and the Executive Branch of the United States would initiate plans to destroy this man, Paul Robeson, simply because of his strong beliefs and skin color.

Paul Robeson was proud of his blackness. Paul never hid from his blackness nor hide from his black heritage. Paul enjoyed learning about the many communities around the world. That is the reason Paul Robeson took to learning multiple languages. His social media reach spanned many thousands of miles as well as millions upon millions of people. Paul Robeson also demanded that white America respect every man, woman, ​and child no matter their race, creed, or economic standing. That demand was a true problem for the race haters who saw negroes as second-class citizens.

It was also that philosophy of Paul Robeson during the era of Jim Crow, The Red Scare, and shuffling to get along negroes that put Paul Robeson on the wrong side of American justice. So, this brilliant​ man who mastered 20 languages and whose voice was a gift from God was erased by white historians due to his stands on human justice. You wanna talk about personal sacrifice well Paul Robson sacrificed his singing earning career to stand for human justice. You wanna talk about being an identifiable​ threat by the US Government? Well, Paul Robeson was poisoned by our government to silence his powerful voice. Even the NAACP that on this date October 18, 1945,​ awarded Paul Robeson The Spingarn Medal, it's the ​highest award for individual black achievement. The NAACP ran for cover because of the ill-conceived damage that Paul Robeson could bring to the organization's fundraising​ efforts. The NAACP cast Paul Robeson aside because they didn't want the power of the United States government coming down on them.

​So, today, The Blackman Who Reads Aloud will read from two speeches given by Paul Robeson. The first speech, Paul Robeson gave as a 21-year-old valedictorian​ in 1919 at Rutgers University. The second speech, Paul Robeson gave as a 54-year-old black man. Paul Robeson's historical greatness has almost been erased by Americans of both races because of Paul Robeson's bold stances for human justice. Today's black communities mustn't allow history to erase the majesty of Paul Robeson. Paul Robeson's greatness and many of our ancestors who stood against the tide of injustice must not be forgotten. The dimmed light of ignorance will eventually be replaced by the sunlight of absolute knowledge.

Apr. 8, 2019

Today is a historic day in the annals of black history related to agitation and civil disturbance against injustice in the United States. In Raleigh, North Carolina, at Shaw University, on April 7, 1960, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded. Out of this organizational founding came some of the most memorable people that participated in the struggle for black civil rights. The establishment of SNCC afforded young African Americans students an independent voice of leadership as well as the direction of the black freedom movement.

The initial leading groups of the black civil rights movement were the alliance of black southern ministers (SCLC), the NAACP, CORE, and the Urban League. These four organization drew its strengths from the middle-class sectors of the black community while SNCC was going to pull its momentum and power from the black youth, especially young black college students. Most of these black students were enrolled in historically black colleges and universities. Why? Because of societal segregation which forbade black students from attending this country's white universities and colleges.

So these black brothers and sisters became the young leaders who transversed the United States southern states fighting and directly confronting racial bigotry, racist oppression, and racist violence. Stokely Carmichael, Courtland Cox, Bob Moses, Julian Bond, Marion Barry, John Lewis, James Bevel, Diane Nash, Angeline Butler, Ruby Doris Smith-Robinson, Oretha Haley, James Forman, Charles McDrew, Jean Thompson, Charles Jones, H Rap Brown and so many others joined the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee with the intent to erase racially motivated bigotry and segregation in the United States. Where would this country be without the energies the members of SNCC provided to uplift our black communities?

"The Greensboro And Nashville Lunch Counters Sit-Ins, Freedom Summers, Southern Voting Registration Drives, The Lowndes County Freedom (originator: black panther symbol),
Supporting The Development Of Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Driving The Initial Opposition Against The Vietnam War, And So Many Other Causes Essential To Black Community Uplift."

The ultimate sacrifice of SNCC member Sam Younge who was murdered in cold calculated blood. The first black college student killed in the black freedom movement. Of course, SNCC became a direct enemy of the United States government. The COINTELPRO plan to erase any organization that wanted to move this nation towards true democratic principles led eventually to the demise of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. However, the impact and energy of SNCC are still prevalent today. So today on the 69th Birthday of this historic organization I deliver the words of the founder Ella Baker speech given during the founding events of SNCC, "It's Bigger Than A Hamburger".

Apr. 7, 2019

The next book on coming to The Blackman Read Aloud Hour on Facebook Live is Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom. The reading project that focuses on sharing the incredible history of our black ancestors. The 5 stars that are the keys to unlocking our black communities greatness that my fraternal organization, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity focuses and should be abundant in everyone's life are brotherhood, leadership, scholarship, citizenship, and fidelity.

The purpose of my read-aloud program is centered around building foundations around these stars to promote progress in our black communities every day. It is my sincere desire to enhance the historical knowledge of every member of our black communities by offering these read alouds not only to elevate learning but also focus attention on building comprehending strategic black readers of all ages.

Frederick Douglass was a self-taught black man who refused to be illiterate, refused to succumb to the cruelty of enslavement, and wanted to ensure freedom for every one of his black brothers and sisters. So join me on my reading journey as I read aloud Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, written by David Blight (2018).

#joesmokethoughts #theblackmanwhoreadsaloud #theblackblogger #universalblackliteracy

Apr. 6, 2019

The Blackman Who Reads Aloud reflecting on the events that occurred on April 6, 1968, the murder of Bobby Hutton in Oakland California. We must never forget the violent injustice that permeated our black communities, communities that were havens for acts of criminality by agents of law enforcement agencies. Was Bobby Hutton killed because of his crimes or because of​ Bobby Hutton was a direct threat to the system of white supremacy​?

​Lil' Bobby Hutton was only 17 years old when the Oakland Police Department assassinated him on April 6, 1968. Bobby Hutton was killed merely two days after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered by the U.S. government. Known for being the first known recruit of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Bobby Hutton was a charismatic young black man who never really had the chance to fully emerge as the leader of the black freedom movement. Bobby Hutton served as the Party’s treasurer during his short tenure in the Black Panther Party.

Bobby Hutton was just one of the hundreds of young African Americans that would join the Panthers or engage in other revolutionary organizing activities during the height of the Black Liberation struggle. Bobby Hutton is an iconic figure in our magnificent black history, but during the height of the Black Revolution, he wasn’t an anomaly. Young African Americans throughout the country during the late ‘60s fearlessly participated in the revolutionary struggle, up until the point that the U.S. government initiated an assault on our movement towards black progress. It is important that our young black people never forget the ultimate sacrifice that Bobby Hutton gave because in his young life he sought a triumph for all our black communities.​