Saturday, March 31, 2012

What Would Jesus Say?

I woke up this morning feeling blessed; obviously delighted to see another day. As I poured a coffee, I turned on the news and heard a conservative commentator say “the nation is divided”. This guy made it seem as if feeding the homeless, the lack of healthcare, poverty, the murder of Trayvon and other acts of violence were the reasons for the American civilization’s despair.

He then said that none of this is the governments concern! Yet, he went on to support the war in Afghanistan and spoke of starting more wars by adding that scripture says “there will be wars upon wars”. My sense was that he was saying this was the natural order of things or maybe God’s plan for life. I cannot and will not speak for God, but I do not believe this is what God planned when he created mankind.

As I continued to listen, he went on this diatribe about hate, race baiting, and religion. As you know all of these issues are commonly used by the right-wing nuts to vilify the least of thee. Admittedly, and shamefully, race is and has always be a stain on the soul of America. At that point, I began to ponder his thoughts wondering just what kind of country we would have without a government that mandates laws for civilization to exist.

More disturbing were his thoughts on religion, God, and Jesus; I began to wonder if this guy and those who think like him realize that on any given Sundays between the hours of 9 AM – 1 PM are the most segregated hours in the country. He went on talking about his savior – Jesus – and at that point I asked myself; if he or any of those right-wing zealots ever took the time to wonder what Jesus might think about America’s current state.

I can’t speak to what is in the mind of others except for what they say, and some of the vitriol, gives a good indication as to what’s in their hearts. I, in good conscience, rail against the assassination of Trayvon Martin, the racially charged politically environment, and for sure the tea baggers designed declaration of “taking back there country”.

Maybe understanding that Jesus came from that region of the world where his hue had to be of color could more likely be one of the reasons why he had to be crucified! Just as was the case with the murder of Jesus; there are people who are killing the messenger of truth now.

What I think Jesus would say, as his mission was for the salvation of the least of thee, I think he would say - “Thou shalt not Kill”. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Shot Heard Around The World

The death of Trayvon Martin has turned out to be the shot heard around the world. It is very possible that the birth of this child was intended to change the world. Let me remind you that the Arab Spring of last summer began in a similar manner. Think about it!!!

Raise your voices and join celebrities who are privileged beyond belief to have a public following. The have exploited media to gain success. Now its time to exploit the media for the benefit of humanity as a whole. As purveyors of content and media, all of us need to use our voices to stop injustice at the site of its origin.

Please follow the campaign on Twitter by using the hashtag #fearkillsloveheals

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Which America?

This year’s elections will be the most pivotal in our nation’s history. They will be as consequential as the elections of 1864 when Lincoln was re-elected. 

Perhaps you believe this to be more than slightly overstated but, consider this.

In 1864 the nation was still at war with itself. The election results would literally determine what type of nation the young United States would become.  On Election Day, November 8, 1964, the New York Times editorial read: To elect Lincoln was to choose “war, tremendous and terrible, yet ushering in at the end every national security and glory.” And, to elect his opponent, McClellan, was to choose “the mocking shadow of a peace…sure to rob us of our birthright and to entail upon our children a dissevered Union and ceaseless strife.”

This year the nation is faced with just as stark a choice. We can reelect our first African American president who came into office when the global economy was staring into the yawning abyss of a financial collapse that would lead to social chaos - a president who moved boldly to avert catastrophe and chart a better course for our nation and future – even when some of those policies were strongly opposed by many. 

Our other choice? To return to the party whose policies turned our national surplus into the largest budget deficit in our nation’s history and launched wars on 2 fronts without bothering to pay for them. A party that offers up candidates who demonstrate a lack of vision and show themselves incompetent to move the nation forward because they each long for things that have been left behind us.

Oh yes, this election is most consequential. We have the choice of moving confidently into an uncertain yet hopeful future or, engaging in a disastrous attempt to return to the failed policies of the past. Fortunately, for now, we still have the ability to choose the America we would prefer.
By Jackie Lambert

LTAI Word of the Week:

Proclivity – an inclination or predisposition toward something; especially a strong inherent inclination toward something objectionable.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Shock and Awe!

I think the trepidation of the title is appropriate in light of the circumstances of today, particularly as it relates to African Americans. Since the Trayvon Martin case has, unbearably, consumed our consciousness they are now calling racism "bias".

Admittedly, we all know there is a long history of African American suffering from injustice in the state of Florida. Does anyone remember the incident in “Rosewood”? By the way, Malcolm X famously said, “anywhere south of Canada is south” which means injustice is embedded in the culture of America.

The Rosewood incident is not withstanding to the countless events where African Americans, and others, have come up on the short end of the long arm of the law in Florida. This police department where the Martin murder occurred has an unconsciously notorious history of abuse at the hands of the law. Before I go any further, let me state clearly that my interpretation of the Martin murder has changed. It was an ASSASSINATION!

Let me go further and connect this to the age old theory of States Rights, which means in a society or at least the belief in a dynamic that those who feel entitled are now endangered species. The extreme elements then revert back to what is instilled in their consciousness that the promise of Manifest Destiny is dead.

America, today, where millions of white people out of work, a president of color, and some say outnumbered by a multi-cultural society has given rise to hate. This I would argue is a huge problem concerning the conversation of racism that has raised its ugly head in this continuous political environment. Maybe this is synonymous with what some call a cultural of whiteness with the feeling of entitlement being lost.

When we talk about race, the major problem that exit is that most of society believes it does not exist. For example in 1963 85% of white people surveyed said black people had as much chance of receiving a good education as white children. Now, let’s look at this statistics! Brown v Board was decided in 1954 that gave us those profound words - "With all deliberate speed" but in fact it was not for 13 years that equal education showed any semblance of reality to the ruling in the form of education.

There were many whites in 1963 in the same survey that said, most whites thought everything was fine in terms of race relation. They also said Dr. King was wrong to stir up the coloreds and they were happy with their current state at the time. I will remind you that this was the same argument that those who where ardent slaveholder and supporter of that immoral institution made at the time of slavery. Also be reminded that almost all president up to Lincoln owned slaves.

So it is my contention that if the system is designed to protect the system - how can people of color who were referred to in the constitution as being less than human expect justice for all? I’ll leave you to answer this question. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective.


Eventually, You have to pay the Price

Premiere Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Communications, sent an email to its affiliates on March 9th, listing 98 large corporations that have requested their ads be placed only on shows that are “free of content that you know are deemed to be offensive or controversial (for example, Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Tom Leykis, Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity).

Over all of the years that Rush Limbaugh and his ilk have been insulting women and various minority groups over the airwaves, there has never been a serious backlash against this style of programming – until now.  Limbaugh’s attack on third year Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke has created a backlash of near biblical proportions as major corporations scramble to escape justifiable feminine rage at the latest right-wing attack on women.

Some people may wonder why, given more than 2 decades of this type of bile being spewed over the airwaves, that this particular affront is the last straw.  The answer is just that – it’s the last straw.  Women are sick and tired of having their reproductive rights litigated over, and over, and over again by evangelical kooks, Republican culture warriors and mean-spirited talking heads.

Their justifiable outrage has been given expression through the internet which provides an instant forum by which women can effectively voice their opposition and organize a response.  Given the fact that women comprise 52% of the American population, a plurality of the electorate and make the majority of purchasing decisions, women are the most powerful interest group in the United States.  And they are skillfully exercising that power.

After years of being the biggest bully on radio, it appears that Rush has kicked women one too many times and now he is paying a price.

By Jackie Lambert

LTAI word of the week:

Scatological – interest in or treatment of obscene matters, especially in literature

Sunday, March 25, 2012

All Hail the Queen - Aretha Franklin

I so very honored to have this vehicle to communicate to and with so many people all over the world. Today I want to use it to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to "The QUEEN".

Aretha Franklin, the world renowned Diva, who is without question the most profound voice of our time and universally considered as the Queen of Soul. However, she is not only a giant of the soul music genre, but to pop music as a whole. More than any other performer, she epitomized soul derived from her gospel-charged roots.

The Queen established an astonishing run with hits like "Respect," "I Never Loved a Man," "Chain of Fools," "Baby I Love You," "I Say a Little Prayer," "Think," "The House That Jack Built," and so many more great tunes during her career that we love.

Aretha or Ree Ree, as we affectionately call her sometimes, earned the title "Lady Soul" early in her career, but I think "Queen of Soul" is more appropriate, which she has worn uncontested since she recorded her first tune. Yet as much of an international institution as she's become, much of her work, if not all, is fitfully inspired by her gospel roots making her music a must, and in some cases a necessity, for our listening pleasure.

Franklin grew up in the bosom of gospel music, one of six children, and daughter to a Baptist preacher. Moving from her birthplace of Memphis, Tenn. and finally settling with her family in Detroit. Her early years were filled with musical experiences and environments from two cities that were brimming with groundbreaking music – from gospel to soul to R & B – in the 1950s and 60s.

Franklin’s first recordings with Columbia did not receive the accolades the label thought they would receive, and it wasn’t until she began her career at Atlantic Records did she find her real place in music, eventually becoming the recipient of 18 Grammies.

Aretha’s voice has been the prize to which so many females over the last 50 years have set their eyes, striving to emulate with success her depth of feeling, her soulful cadence and the natural essence that seems to flow from within her and into her music. From girl groups to solo artists, so many women, young and old, see her more than just a role model for music, but for womanhood in general.

As a compliment to the Queen, I see her in the metaphorical sense like the guy from the movie "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", which was about a man who gets younger as he ages. She gets better with time! Aretha's ongoing lifelong career is bar-none one of the most profound and greatest of our time. Her music remains the foundation for so many to live-by and love, and it has stood the test of time.

God Bless you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY our Queen.

“If I had a son, he would like just like Trayvon Martin.” President Obama

No Justice – No Pease. And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Living Yesterday – Today!

Let me first say to all who follow THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVES that I am indeed honored that you read my words. I try to provided and add a prospective to reality whereby you may be empowered and maybe, just maybe, see the world through new eyes. If you knew me personally, you would know that I rarely ask for anything, maybe that is a fault, but I am a benevolent spirit and this is my way of giving.



I have lived long enough to have witnessed many vial and unspeakable things done under the auspices of RACISM. I remember the first time I saw the brutally beaten corpse of little Emmitt Till, which was done because of a way of life. I can recall crying that day and I cry today for the murder of Trayvon Martin. As I see it, these two horrible events are strangely similar and equally frightening.

It shows that we, as African Americans, are still a nation of people living in a nation without a nationality. Translated – no justice!

Of course, we don’t yet know every detail of the encounter between Martin and the monster who murdered this unarmed 17-year-old high school student. But, we know enough to conclude that this is an old familiar story with the same tenets rooted in RACISM. Emmitt’s murderer got away with it and so far so has this guy.

Now let me ask, how many guys named George are out there cruising the streets? How many guys with chips on their shoulders and itchy triggers fingers with loaded handguns? How many self-imagined guardians or more aptly put vigilantes who say the words “black male” with a sneer? You do know that was the Klan’s mantra!

Whether Zimmerman can or should be prosecuted, given Florida’s “stand your ground” law providing broad latitude to claim self-defense, is an important question. But, the more important question is: “we should stand up to repeal these deadly laws designed to give license to “Kill Black People”. This often happens because this bull’s-eye that black men wear throughout their lives, and in many cases, just caught on the wrong street at the wrong time.

Protect, teach your children, and may this child’s soul rest in peace. I have lost a child through tragedy and I know this pain. My heart and prays go out to the Martin family.

If you never took a stand for anything – now is the time. And that is my Thought Provoking Prospective…

Friday, March 23, 2012

Mitt Speaks About Slavery

In yet another seemingly faux pas moment for the former governor and presidential candidate, Mitt Romney tells a crowd of supporters in Alabama that he can relate to the plight of black individuals because his ancestors were slave owners in the 1800′s.

Mitt Romney was addressing a crowd in Prattville, Alabama this past Monday when he stated:

I understand how difficult it can be for an African-American in today’s society. In fact, I can relate to black people very well indeed. My ancestors once owned slaves, and it is in my lineage to work closely with the black community. However, just because they were freed over a century ago doesn’t mean they can now be freeloaders. They need to be told to work hard, and the incentives just aren’t there for them anymore. When I’m president I plan to work closely with the black community to bring a sense of pride and work ethic back into view for them.
Is this the man we want as PRESIDENT???

The Peril’s Of Justice

We as African Americans understand, as Richard Pryor famously said, when it comes to justice what we find is JUST-US! This statement could not be more profound today as it relates to some of the news stories that involve African Americans, namely the recent murder of the young child Trayvon Martin.

Frankly, this case takes me back nearly sixty-years when another young black child was murdered where the culprits did not receive due justice. I wonder if the story would be different if the victim was white and the shooter was black. I think we know the answer to that!!!

But I read a piece today written by Mr. Jonathan Capehart and like him I had the same questions that he asked in this article. First, he asked, what was Zimmerman’s relationship with the Sanford, Fla., police department? Then he asked why was Zimmerman portrayed as a volunteer neighborhood watch captain when he was not part of a registered neighborhood watch program? Further he asked, did the Sanford Police Department ever warn him about his activities in this unofficial capacity?

When you consider that Zimmerman was known to have placed, as it was reported, 46 calls to that department between Jan. 1, 2011, and the Feb. 26 shooting; did the Sanford police have specific orders on how to deal with him? Did they have a file on him? Did they have him on any kind of special watch list?

To these questions, the Police Chief said, “we don’t have the grounds to arrest him.” Yet, Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense was sufficient justification to not arrest him. My next question was why did Chief Lee accept Zimmerman’s self-defense plea on its face? Did the police run a background check on Zimmerman? Did his previous arrest, for resisting arrest without violence, raise any red flags with police? Did Lee attempt to establish probable cause? How did he go about it? Was Zimmerman tested for drugs or alcohol? If not, why not? Was Zimmerman’s gun confiscated? Was it tested? Where is that gun now?

These are all valid questions that demand answers.

Now, here are a few questions that come to mind with respect to the crime scene. What did police do with Trayvon’s body at the scene? What did police do with Trayvon’s body once taken from the scene? Why was it tested for drugs and alcohol? What did police do with Trayvon’s personal effects? Where is his cell phone? Did police try to contact Trayvon’s 16-year-old girlfriend, who was talking to him during the initial moments of the confrontation with Zimmerman and who tried several times to call him back? Hmmmm!

So as you can see there are many more questions than answers and frankly a thorough investigation would have answered these questions. Thankfully, the Department of Justice has decided to review the case to ensure that some of these questions are answered – maybe. There is such a thing as right and wrong; some things are right and some things are wrong. When you look at the aforementioned questions in this case that are unanswered - it stinks of wrong. Oh, and for sure racism!!!

There are so many more questions than answers and I pray we get them answered, and justice is served. With that said, I would suggest that you compare this to little Emmitt Till and recall the Peril’s Of Justice.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Dorothy Irene Height

Dorothy Irene Height, (March 24, 1912 – April 20, 2010), the Matriarch of the civil rights movement passed away early Tuesday of natural causes in a Washington hospital. Dr. Height established a national reputation as a graceful insistent voice for civil rights and women's rights. She was regarded as the “Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement” and a tireless crusader for racial justice and gender equality spanned more than six decades.

Dr. Height was born in Richmond, Virginia. She moved with her family to Rankin, Pennsylvania near Pittsburgh early in her life where she attended racially integrated schools. She was admitted to Barnard College in 1929, but upon her arrival she was denied entrance because the school had an unwritten policy of admitting only two black students. She pursued studies instead at New York University earning a degree in 1932 and a master's degree in educational psychology the following year.

Dr. Height served on the advisory council of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the National Advisory Council on Aging. Her awards included 36 honorary doctorates from colleges and universities, including Harvard and Princeton. In addition, Dr. Height was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and on her 92nd birthday, she received the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest decoration Congress can bestow.

Dr. Height was among a coalition of African American leaders who pushed civil rights to the forefront of the American political stage after World War II. She was instrumental, and a key figure, in the struggles for school desegregation, voting rights, employment opportunities and public accommodations in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Dr Height was president of the National Council of Negro Women for 40 years, relinquishing the title at the age of 95.

National Council of Negro Women is a four million member advocacy group consisting of 34 national and 250 community based organizations. It was founded in 1935 by educator Mary McLeod Bethune, who was one of Height's mentors. Dr. Height was a civil rights activist who participated in protests in Harlem during the 1930’s. In the 1940’s, she lobbied first lady Eleanor Roosevelt on behalf of civil rights causes and in the 1950’s she prodded President Dwight D. Eisenhower to move more aggressively on school desegregation issues.

President Obama issued an official statement White House that reads as follows: Dr. Height was "a hero to so many Americans… Dr. Height devoted her life to those struggling for equality . . . witnessing every march and milestone along the way… And even in the final weeks of her life -- a time when anyone else would have enjoyed their well-earned rest Dr. Height continued her fight to make our nation a more open and inclusive place for people of every race, gender, background and faith."

As a young woman, Dr. Height made money through jobs such as ironing entertainer Eddie Cantor's shirts and proofreading Marcus Garvey's newspaper, the Negro World. She went nightclubbing in Harlem with composer W.C. Handy. Dr Height began her professional career as a caseworker for the New York City welfare department. She got her start as a civil rights activist through the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Sr., pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and from the pastor's son, the Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., who later represented Harlem in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In the 1940’s, Dr. Height came to Washington as chief of the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA branch. She joined the staff of the national YWCA board in 1944 through 1975. She remained on that staff with a variety of responsibilities, including leadership training and interracial and ecumenical education. In 1965, she organized and became the director of the YWCA's Center for Racial Justice, and she held that position until retiring from the YWCA board in 1975.

Dr. Height became national president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority in 1947holding that position until 1957 when she became the fourth president of the National Council of Negro Women. She was a visiting professor at the Delhi School of Social Work in India, and she directed studies around the world on issues involving human rights.

During the turmoil of the civil rights struggles in the 1960’s, Dr. Height helped orchestrate strategies with major civil rights leaders including the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, Whitney Young, James Farmer, Bayard Rustin and John Lewis, who later served as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Georgia. Congressman John Lewis said when Dr. Height announced her retirement as president of the National Council of Negro Women - "At every major effort for social progressive change, Dorothy Height has been there." She was also energetic in her efforts to overcome gender bias, and much of that work predated the women's rights movement.

Dr. Height was the most influential woman at the top levels of civil rights leadership, but she never drew the major media attention that conferred celebrity and instant recognition on some of the other civil rights leaders of her time. In August 1963, Dr. Height was on the platform with King when he delivered his "I have a dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Less than a month later, at King's request, she went to Birmingham, Ala. to minister to the families of four black girls who had died in a church bombing linked to the racial strife that had engulfed the city.

In 1995, Dr. Height was among the few women to speak at the Million Man March on the Mall, which was led by Louis Farrakhan, the chief minister of the Nation of Islam. "I am here because you are here," she declared. Two years later, at 85, she sat at the podium all day in the whipping wind and chill rain at the Million Woman March in Philadelphia.

She would often remark, "Stop worrying about whose name gets in the paper and start doing something about rats, and day care and low wages. . . . We must try to take our task more seriously and ourselves more lightly." She also famously said, "If the times aren't ripe, you have to ripen the times". It was important to dress well she said, "I came up at a time when young women wore hats, and they wore gloves. Too many people in my generation fought for the right for us to be dressed up and not put down."

"She was a dynamic woman with a resilient spirit, who was a role model for women and men of all faiths, races and perspectives. For her, it wasn't about the many years of her life, but what she did with them," said former U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexis M. Herman. Dr. Height is a national treasure who lived life abundantly and for the abundance of others. She will be greatly missed, not only by those of us who knew her well, but by the countless beneficiaries of her enduring legacy.

In my novel “Just a Season”, I talked about a “Dash” that will be place on our final marker between the years of one's birth and death that will represent the whole of a person’s life. I said that to say, this tiny little dash on Dr. Height's marker will not adequately give enough credit for her outstanding life’s work. It should have an inscription that says - “Servant of God, Well Done."

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

"Just a Season"
Legacy – A New Season is Coming!

Listen to the author's interview!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Essential African American Writers

Though things have steadily improved a bit over the past few decades, the literary canon is still dominated by what's commonly criticized as "dead white men." Because of this phenomenon, the contributions of female and minority writers, philosophers, scholars and activists fall to the wayside — sometimes completely missing opportunities to pick up prestigious awards.
Readers from all backgrounds hoping to diversify their intake of novels, poetry, essays and speeches would do well to start here when looking for African-American perspectives. Trust and believe that there are far more than these 20 fantastic writers, but the ones listed here provide an amazing start to your literary empowerment.

Maya Angelou (1928-): This incredible Renaissance woman served as the American Poet Laureate, won several Grammy Awards, served the Civil Rights cause under the venerable Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., taught numerous classes and enjoyed a respectable performing arts career — all while never losing sight of her elegant poetry and prose. Her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings remains one of the most essential and inspiring examples of the genre, often finding its way onto syllabi across the nation. Like every other entry on this list, she's more than an essential African-American writer — she's an essential component of the literary canon, period.

James Baldwin (1924-1987): Writer, activist and expatriate James Baldwin fearlessly tackled challenging, controversial sexual and racial subject matter at a time when hate crimes and abuse against the African-Americans and members of the LGBTQIA community ran riot. The impact of religion, for better or for worse, amongst the two marginalized minorities comprises one of his major themes. Go Tell it on the Mountain, Baldwin's sublime debut novel, pulled from his own life experiences and opened readers up to the realities those forced to the fringes of society must face on a daily basis — and how they find the strength to continue in spite of adversity.

Sterling Allen Brown (1901-1989): Folklore, jazz and Southern African-American culture greatly inspired the highly influential academic and poet. In 1984, Sterling Allen Brown received the distinguished position of Poet Laureate of the District of Colombia for his considerable contributions to education, literature and literary criticism — not to mention his mentorship of such notable figures as Toni Morrison, Ossie Davis, Stokely Carmichael and many more. Along with Langston Hughes and many others during the "Harlem Renaissance" (a term Brown considered a mere media label), he showed the world why poetry written in the African-American vernacular could be just as beautiful, effective as anything else written in any other language.

William Demby (1922-): In 2006, received a Lifetime Achievement recognition from the Saturday Review's Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. He has only written four novels to date, with 1950s reflection on West Virginian race relations Beetlecreek garnering the most attention. These days, he works as a contributing editor for the nonprofit, bimonthly literary journal American Book Review after having retired from academia in 1989.

Frederick Douglass (1817-1895): Today, schoolchildren across America remember Frederick Douglass as one of the most inspiring voices in the pre-Civil War Abolitionist movement. Because of his autobiographies and essays — most famously, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, a Slave – readers fully understood the mortal and dehumanizing dangers found on slave plantations and farms. Following emancipation, Douglass continued working as a political activist and lecturer, traveling all over the world to discuss issues of slavery and equal rights.

Paul Laurence Dunbarr (1872-1906): Even those unfamiliar with the amazing Paul Laurence Dunbar's writings still know of them tangentially — "I know why the caged bird sings," the inspiration for Maya Angelou's autobiography, comes from his poem "Sympathy." Way before that, though, he earned a reputation as the first African-American poet to gain national renown, though his oeuvre stretched into novels, plays, librettos and more as well. Most literary critics and historians accept that the sublime 1896 piece "Ode to Ethiopia" the defining work that launched him to national acclaim, paving the way for later writers from a number of different marginalized communities to shine through.

Ralph Ellison (1914-1994): To this day, Invisible Man remains one of the most intense portraits of a marginalized community (American or not) ever printed. Writer, literary critic and academic Ralph Ellison bottled up the anger and frustration of African-Americans — specifically men — shoved to the fringes of society for no reason other than skin color, paying close attention to how they channeled such volatile emotions. Even beyond his magnum opus, he made a name for himself as an insightful scholar with a keen eye for analyzing and understanding all forms of literature, and he published numerous articles fans should definitely check out.

Bell Hooks (1952-): Gloria Watkins, better known by her pen name bell hooks, stands at the forefront of postmodern feminism. Thanks to her impressive activism work meaning to break down racial, gender and sexual barriers, she published some of the most essential works on the subjects — including the incredibly intelligent and insightful Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. Today, she continues to lecture, publish and teach classes that carry on her philosophies pushing towards a more equitable, harmonious society.

Langston Hughes (1902-1967): Regardless of whether or not one considers the Harlem Renaissance a broad media label or a legitimate literary movement (or somewhere in between), few argue that Langston Hughes emerged as one of the most essential American writers of the period. He worked in a wide range of styles, from plays to novels to essays to songs, but today's audiences seem to know him from his poetry more than anything else. Though the short story collection The Ways of White Folks still garners plenty of attention for its sarcastic take on race relations in the early decades of the 20th Century.

Zora Neale Hurston (1891-1960): Because Zora Neale Huston intently studied anthropology and folklore, her fictional characters crackle with nuance that becomes more apparent in subsequent readings. Her oeuvre stretches across four books, with Their Eyes Were Watching God easily the most recognized, and over 50 plays, short stories and essays — all of them considered some of the finest examples of Harlem Renaissance literature (not to mention American in general!). Interestingly enough, her conservative leanings placed her at odds with her more liberal contemporaries from the movement, most especially the heavily influential Langston Hughes.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968): The passion and backbreaking effort Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. put into nonviolently protesting the state of African-Americans and other minorities needs no further introduction. His historical impact, still resonant and relevant today, came about through his eloquent, inspiring writings — largely speeches, essays and letters. "I Have a Dream" and "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" are essential readings for anyone interested in history, Civil Rights, politics, culture and even excellent persuasive nonfiction.

Toni Morrison (1931-): Among Toni Morrison's litany of accomplishments sits two incredible awards — both the Pulitzer Prize (which she won for Beloved in 1988) and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Along with the aforementioned novel, The Bluest Eye and Song of Soloman have both received plenty of acclaim for their fearless approaches towards racial, sexual and economic divides. Today, she remains politically, educationally and creatively active, touring the world to receive some impressive, distinguished honors and promote the importance of literacy and equality.

Barack Obama (1961-): Though known more as a politician than a writer, America's 44th president published the incredible memoir Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance in 1995 — right at the very beginning of his political career. Such literary giants as Toni Morrison have praised Barack Obama's writing style and very raw exploration of his biracial identity at a time when such things were not exactly embraced. Most of his writings these days center around politics, naturally, but the autobiography remains essential reading for anyone interested in American history, race relations and other similar topics.

Sojourner Truth (1797-1883): Because of Sojourner Truth's unyielding strength and integrity, both the abolitionist and women's rights movements propelled forward and changed American history forever. Her writings bravely addressed some incredibly controversial subject matter, and she put her beliefs into practice with the Underground Railroad and the recruitment of Union soldiers. To this day, the haunting "Ain't I a Woman?" speech remains her most celebrated, influential and inspiring work, encapsulating how frustrated and overlooked she felt as both an African-American and a female.

Alice Walker (1944-): The Color Purple rightfully earned Alice Walker both a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award in 1983, and to this day it remains her most cherished and essential work. Inspired by the Civil Rights movement and professor Howard Zinn, she used the novel format to expound upon the double marginalization of African-American women, speaking frankly about tough racial and sexual issues. She wrote many other novels, short stories and essays tackling similar subject matter as her more famous book — any fans should certainly head towards her more "obscure" works for more in-depth explorations of such complex themes.

Booker T. Washington (1856-1915): As with many other early African-American writers of note, impassioned activist and educator Booker T. Washington used his talents towards abolishing slavery and establishing equal rights. Though he butted heads with many other Civil Rights leaders of the time — most especially W.E.B. DuBois — his efforts certainly lay the foundation for Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and other leaders who rose to prominence in the 1950s, '60s and '70s. Washington wrote 6 books in his lifetime, among many other formats, but his autobiography Up From Slavery earned him the honor of being the first African-American ever invited to the White House in 1901.

Phillis Wheatley (1753-1784): In spite of her unfortunate slave status, this absolutely essential writer became the first African-American woman to see her lovely poems pushed to print. So impressed was the world at large by her lyrical prowess, she received special permission to travel abroad and meet influential English politicians and delegates — though she only attained freedom following her master's death. Most of her poems revolved around historical figures, close friends, Classical ideas and images and Christian propriety rather than the plight of the enslaved and the female.

Harriet E. Wilson (1825-1900): Most historians and literary critics accept 1859's Our Nig as the very first novel ever published by an African-American writer in the United States. Drawing from her own life story, Harriet E. Wilson used her pen to shed light on the true horrors of slavery, but unfortunately it fell from the public's attention until Henry Louis Gates, Jr. rediscovered her talents and revealed her significance. Outside of her writing, she also garnered some degree of attention as a political activist, lecturer, trance reader and Spiritualist.

Richard Wright (1908-1960): Regardless of whether or not one picks up Richard Wright's fiction or nonfiction, he or she will be treated with some oft-controversial observations on race relations in America prior to the Civil Rights movement. Black Boy is, by and large, probably his most popular work, regardless of format. Most of his works, like many other African-American writers of the time, revolved around promoting awareness of the marginalization they experienced because of restrictive laws and general antipathy from mainstream society.

Malcolm X (1925-1965): 1965's The Autobiography of Malcolm X remains an incredibly essential read for anyone desiring to learn more about American history and the Civil Rights movement. Journalist Alex Haley interviewed and assisted the activist in compiling what became his only book, published with an addendum following his assassination. However, for a deeper glimpse into X's beliefs, his relationship with the controversial Nation of Islam and his efforts to further the African-American cause, one must also pick up his published speeches as well.
"Just a Season"

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Trayvon Martin Shooting & The 911 Call



From The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander:

A heavy and cruel hand has been laid upon us. As people, we feel ourselves to be not only deeply injured, but grossly misunderstood. Our white country-men do not know us. They are strangers to our character, ignorant of our capacity; oblivious to our history and progress, and are misinformed as to the principles and ideas that control and guide us, as a people. The great mass of American citizens estimates us as being a characterless and purposeless people; and hence we hold up our heads, if at all, against the withering influence of a nation's scorn and contempt.

---- Frederick Douglass, in a statement on behalf of delegates to the National Colored Convention held in Rohester, New York, in July 1853. [Now what has changed]

My prayers and sympathy go out to this family.

Use whatever means at your disposal to call for justice in this case. And that's my Thought Provoking Perspective!!!

The Jig is Up

I love to praise the most powerful man on the planet, particularly because he looks like me. Our president is strikingly handsome, articulate, likable, a family man, and accomplished as the incumbent in the White House that the fools who call themselves Republicans want to defeat.

They make stuff up, which is exactly what the GOP has been doing since President Obama took office. I get the sense that before this campaign is over one of them will call the Chief the “N-Word”; after all one of those guys had a lodge that was called the N-Word Head. Hmmmm.

We know they have tried to do everything they could to make sure the history making event that made him president is over with this term. Now, it is my opinion that they want to make sure that no other black man or person of color ever lives in the White House again. This man, my hero, has done more than the last several presidents to save us from destruction. Yet, it is the GOP who would rather see American destroyed. What a deplorable lot but I’ve seen their kind before in the form of a group called the “Citizens Counsel”.

I can go on and on but I won’t because we can all see this power play. They have been doing it since they stole the land from the Indians. His opponents will go so far as to prevent job creation to put the blame on President Obama. They have not presented a jobs plan that would actually create jobs since taking control of the House of Representatives or at any time for that matter. They have been too busy trying to prevent women, gays, and unions from having rights of their own. They have unanimously voted against any bill that would create jobs presented by President Obama, simply because it was presented by President Obama.

Many parts of his jobs plan include old Republican ideas that the GOP has been quick to disavow now that Obama presents it back to them. When the only thing you have against Obama is something that you have to manufacture to make him look bad, you will be the ones to look bad in the end. President Obama was indeed born in the USA and it has been proven more than once. President Obama is certainly not a Socialist, as evidenced by his love for capitalism and how he helped save it. He doesn’t want the government to run your life; he simply wants a government that enables people to be able to run their own lives.

Obama actually granted more gun rights by allowing individuals to be able to carry a weapon into national parks. President Obama’s health care law simply holds insurance companies accountable to actually care for the people they insure, and to provide a mandate that will end up being cost-effective because fewer people will be reliant on the government dime. The Affordable Care Act also prevents insurance companies from neglecting individuals that need care the most.

Saying that Obama hates white people or rich people is about as useful as throwing sand in the sand box… it’s obviously childish, and holds absolutely no proof or clout except for being a nuisance. Obama has undoubtedly proven that he is not soft on terror by his recent international take-down of the worlds most sought after terrorists.

He has also proven that he is not weak on immigration with record numbers of deportations every year since he has taken office. Obama has opened the lines of communication up further than most Presidents in the past have been able to between Israel and Palestine. He has also made it clear that he believes it’s a woman’s right to choose, and his choice is life. Lest they not forget he got be Laden and a whole lot of others. That is really something to consider as they make up or manufacture “Bull S###”. Get used to it the jig is up; he will be reelected.



"Just a Season"

Friday, March 16, 2012

Finally, Recognition!

There are many travesties in the long storied history of our country. With that said, I recently became aware of what I think is one of the worst indignities.  Well, at least in modern times. It’s been forty-four years since civil rights leader, icon, and dare I say martyr Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

There are streets named in his honor in every city across the country but in the cities where “The King” was murdered happens to be the last place to honor him with a street name. Dr. King gave so much to invoke change in a system that was nothing more than apartheid. Yet, nearly half a century later, the city of Memphis will finally rename the one-mile stretch of Linden Avenue to Dr. M.L. King Jr. on the anniversary, April 4, of his brutal murder.

This prestigious honor has even taken place in foreign countries like Italy, who honored King by renaming streets after him in no less than 10 cities. According to, as of two years ago, there are 893 places that have roadways memorializing King in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Yet not even in the entire state of Tennessee, much less in the city where King was brutally murdered, is there one street dedicated to his memory. Shocking isn’t it!!!

Journalist Jonathan Trilove in his book “Black America’s Main Streets” talks about how Dr. Martin Luther King streets serve as points of pride and struggle, yet finding the most appropriate thoroughfare is oftentimes accompanied by the difficulty of convincing Whites that King’s impact and legacy is an inspirational one that provided a coalition of conscience all across the board. Former Memphis City Councilman Berlin Boyd, who helped lead the street-naming effort in Memphis said, “We never wanted to address losing Dr. King’s life here”.

Commemorative movements are usually spearheaded by Blacks and the renaming of streets has oftentimes been a controversial process that has been met with significant public opposition. The inscription of King’s legacy on to streets and the controversy that has surrounded it on numerous occasions has led to the placement of his name on minor streets or portions of roadways that are primarily populated by Blacks.

Memphis has chosen the very busy downtown Linden Avenue, home of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, for the renaming because King marched there in support of sanitation workers. “He marched along this street; we wanted something that had a real nexus to this city,” said Mayor A.C. Wharton.

With there being a monument and a national holiday, it is about time Memphis has done the right thing. And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

"Just a Season"
Legacy – A New Season is Coming!

Listen to the author's interview!

The Enemy Within!

This is a must see video!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Televised Republican Revolution

Brother Gil Scott Heron wrote a song back in the day titled ““The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”. Well, if he were around today, particularly with respect to the GOP candidates in this primary race, he would witness a political revolution taking place, and it is televised.

With that said, a revolution has to be brutal by its nature and we see the chaos being left in its wake. Frankly, it’s a little too late for the republicans to shut down their presidential nominating contest just because the party is in the midst of upheaval wrought by the growing dominance of its extreme right wing.

This is not to mention their unresolved attitudes toward the Bush’s presidency, and the terror that the GOP rank and file has stirred among the more moderately conservative politicians who once ran things. It started with nine, or more, resulting in four now with Romney, who they cal "Him", as the front-runner who keeps failing to bring this pitiful show to a close. Apparently, even republican supporters will never see him as one of their own. They will keep signaling their refusal to surrender to the Romney machine with its torrent of nasty advertisements and its continuing education courses in delegate math designed to prove that resistance is futile.

His rival Slick Rick Santorum is a superb vehicle for this cry of protest. This guy has pitifully few resources compared with the vast treasury at Romney’s disposal, but this only feeds the David narrative against the Goliath in this contest. Now, Slick Rick’s purity as a social and religious conservative is unrivaled, and his traditional family life — he’s always surrounded on primary nights by a passel of kids — contrasts nicely with Newt Gingrich’s rather messy personal history. So this is why he is viewed as the “Anti-Him”.

They both, and in fact all of them, shout to the heavens against class warfare when in fact it is about saving their wealth. The revolt of the right-wing masses means that Romney stands alone as the less than ideal representative of a relatively restrained brand of conservatism. The growing might of the conservative hard core, reflected in its primary victories in 2010, led other potential establishmentarians to sit out the race in the hope that the storm will eventually pass.

This group of clowns, I am sorry, candidates, who almost never speak Bush’s name because of the disaster created by his administration knows that we know it will happen again if they were elected. It is to Santorum’s discredit that he did not dare defend his perfectly defensible vote of Bush’s No Child Left Behind education program. Santorum, too, fears the Tea-Baggers who see any exertion of federal authority as leading down a road to serfdom.

So as we watch this ridiculous farce that is little more than a defunct reality show. Or let’s call it a rerun of an old sitcom that should have never been rerun. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

"Just a Season"
Legacy – A New Season is Coming!

Listen to the author's interview!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Game Changed

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to watch the HBO movie “Game Change”. To be honest, I am not a big fan of Caribou Barbie but it made you feel sorry for Sarah Palin? More to the point, watching it was absolutely smashing and, in fact, terrifying to think how close we were to utter insanity or to America's ruin.

The movie has been scalloped out of the book by the same name and focuses on Palin, rather than on the entire 2008 presidential campaign. The decision to do so was absolutely correct. With her selection as John McCain’s running mate, American politics lost its way — and maybe its mind as well.

I want to be fair and give credit to Washington Post Opinion Writer Richard Cohen. This was a very good piece to which I will quote from it because it was perfect:
“The movie portrays Palin as an ignoramus. She did not know that Queen Elizabeth II does not run the British government, and she did not know that North and South Korea are different countries. She seemed not to have heard of the Federal Reserve. She called Joe Biden “O’Biden” and she thought America went to war in Iraq because Saddam Hussein, not al-Qaeda, had attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. Not only did she know little, but she was determinately incurious and supremely smug in her ignorance.”
How can someone aspire to being a heartbeat away from the Oval Office without a firm grasp of basic history and current events? Of course John McCain defended his choice of Palin as running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign. In the movie she was portrayed as a liar. In fact, she was called exactly that by McCain’s campaign chief, Steve Schmidt, who came to realize, a bit late in the game, that one of Palin’s great talents was to deny the truth. When confronted, she simply shuts down — petulant, child-like — and then sulks off.

The thing that struck me was the movie has been endorsed by most of Palin’s top campaign aides to put its veracity in doubt. Some of them had come to revile the Alaska governor — enough to leak some awful facts but not quite enough to go public. Had the election been really close, I wonder if they would have run out into the street yelling that Palin — a heartbeat away from the possible presidency — was a monster.

It seems to be the norm in today’s political environment where we see a deluge of dysfunctional presidential candidates. For example, we saw Herman Cain for a while was a front-runner. He had a nonsensical tax plan, zero knowledge of foreign affairs and had never held elective office. Yet, for a brief but terrifying moment, many Republicans were saying he should be the next president of the United States.

Michele Bachmann told a touching fib about vaccinations and slick Rick Perry did not know squat about who governs Turkey, a NATO ally and a vitally important Middle East power. He got wrong the number of justices on the Supreme Court — he said eight — and could not remember a Cabinet department he had vowed to eliminate.

Let’s not forget Rick Santorum who pretends to know his stuff, but his stuff includes a wild denunciation of John F. Kennedy’s famous speech about the proper role of religion in public life and a characterization of President Obama as a snob for extolling the value of college. Newt Gingrich has the wattage to be president, but so does Hannibal Lecter, if you get my drift. As for Ron Paul, he appears to be running for president of some theme park.

I have excluded Mitt, you know the guy the Republicans call “Him”, from the list of fools and knaves because he has too many other issues. But there once was a time when “Him” would not have stood out as the only candidate who knew something about the issues that confront a president. Since Palin, though, ignorance has become more than bliss. It’s now an attribute, an entire platform: Vote for me, I know nothing and hate the same things you do.

I want to repeat as Mr. Cohen said:
Palin is no longer an anomaly. McCain didn’t choose her for her intellectual or experiential qualities, nor because he was geographically or ideologically balancing the ticket. She was an antiabortion woman with a pulse: Enough! She, like the out-of-nowhere Obama, had the stuff of celebrity — the snap, the dazzle, the self-assurance, the sex appeal. She didn’t need to dance with a star. God told her she already was one… The movie had it right. Sarah Palin changed the game.
And in my opinion for the worst!

Former Alaska governor, who abandoned the post, is increasingly irrelevant political figure who continues to make some interesting remarks about President Barack Obama. Like the comment made during a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where she said, she thinks President Obama is trying to take America back to the days before the Civil War. She went on to say that she believes that all of us are “created equal,” and that President Obama is seeking to divide the nation.

This was such a powerful commentary that I could not expound upon and wanted to share my sense of it. I will say this: I am so thankful that Caribou Barbie is on Fox and Fools and not in the White House, and to that I say God Bless America.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

"Just a Season"

Legacy – A New Season is Coming!

Listen to the author's interview!

Monday, March 12, 2012

“The 41 Cent Secret”

As you look at the coins to your right and think of the change in you pockets. What you will find interesting is that most people probably have no idea there is a subliminal message concealed within what I call “The 41 Cent Secret”.

The legacy of America is a heritage that is controlled by economics, no matter what, nothing trumps cash, and cash only. The lure of money is so powerful that you will sell your soul for it. Most people think racism is about the color of your hue but it’s not. It is about color true, but the color is green. Therefore, the phrase on money, “In God we trust,” is really a catchphrase suggesting that economic superiority is the cornerstone of this legacy. As we know slavery and the economic profits derived from it built a capitalistic society and this message speaks to the heart of it.

I’m sure you know that a secret is designed to elude observation because it contains information that, if disclosed, could endanger. Therefore, secrets are never to be told or shared. So this is just between you and I. I would like for you to take a quarter, nickel, dime, and a penny placing them in a row in that order from left to right. Look at the coins very carefully. What do you see other than the obvious - forty-one cents. Notice the faces on the coins. You will see four presidents - but there is more.

“Let me explain.” There is Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln. Washington was the father of the country who instituted, by law, slavery as an American institution and owned many slaves. Jefferson, well we all know his storied history relating to slaves. Then there was Roosevelt who had the same philosophy but live in the era of segregation.

Now notice that Washington, Jefferson, and Roosevelt have turned their backs on Lincoln arguably the most significant of all presidents. Lincoln is on the lowest denomination of all money and it is made of copper, the cheapest metal. Now, notice that the penny looks like you in color (if you are African American). This was done to scorn Lincoln for all eternity because he freed the slaves. Anytime someone comes along who changes the system, status quo, they will be scorned or destroyed. You have heard of assassination.

You have carried change in my pockets all of your life but did you know there was a subliminal message. It is important to understand that “The system is designed to protect the system.” Now, let me put this into perspective. It takes an act of congress to get a face approved to be put on a postage stamp. This was no accident.

If you can see this and understand it, know that there are other forms of deception perpetrated by the majority people who control the system. In particular, systematic slavery, that continues, and designed to make sure people of a certain races remain a permanent underclass. This is what is meant when they referred to the system protecting the system. It is all about wealth, which drives the system.

And that's my Thought Provoking Perspective!!!

"Just a Season"
Legacy – A New Season is Coming!
Listen to the author's interview!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Killing Season

There have been many atrocities involving the story of the African American struggle. One of the most horrifying of such was a dreadful wave of lynching and anti-Negro violence that permeated the very fiber of America during the year 1919.

Lynching was so pervasive that James Weldon Johnson labeled it the "Red Summer”. During this year, race riots started by whites, inflicted devastation upon blacks across the nation. Let’s be clear there were many race riots but the difference this time was that blacks fought back!

Red Summer refers to the summer and fall of 1919, in which race riots exploded in a number of cities in both the North and South. The three most violent episodes occurred in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Elaine, Arkansas. On the afternoon of July 27, 1919, a stone throwing melee between blacks and whites began after a black youth mistakenly swam into territory claimed by whites off the 29th Street beach in Chicago. Amidst the mayhem, Eugene Williams, a black youth, drowned.

When a white police officer refused to arrest the white men involved in the death, and instead arrested a black man, racial tensions escalated. Fighting broke out between gangs and mobs of both races with violence escalating with each incident, and for 13 days Chicago was in a state of turmoil. By the time the riot ended, 23 blacks and 15 whites were dead, 537 injured, and 1,000 black families were left homeless. The Chicago riot was part of a national racial frenzy of clashes, massacres, and lynching’s. All of the incidents were initiated by whites.

In Washington, D.C., from July 19 to 23, four whites and two blacks were killed; whites were astonished that blacks dared to fight back. The NEW YORK TIMES lamented the new black militancy: "There had been no trouble with the Negro before the war when most admitted the superiority of the white race."

A "Southern black woman," as she identified herself, wrote a letter to THE CRISIS, praising blacks for fighting back. "The Washington riot gave me a thrill that comes once in a life time ... at last our men had stood up like men. ... I stood up alone in my room ... and exclaimed aloud, 'Oh I thank God, thank God.' The pent up horror, grief and humiliation of a life time -- half a century -- was being stripped from me."

From October 1-3, a race war exploded in Phillips County, Arkansas. On the night of September 30, a small group of black men and women were gathering a rural church to organize a sharecroppers' and tenant farmers' union -- the Progressive Farmers and Household Union of America. When two white law enforcement officers arrived at the church, one later claiming they were looking for a bootlegger, shots were exchanged. One white officer was killed and the other wounded.

As word of the shootings spread throughout the county, the local sheriff sent out a call for men "to hunt Mr. Nigger in his lair." The call went out to Mississippi to come to the aid of white men in Phillips County. Hundreds of armed men jumped into trains, trucks, and cars and, crossing into Arkansas, fired out of windows at every black they saw. Some said that if it was black and moving, it was target practice.

Frank Moore, one of the farmers at the church, saw the massacre as it unfolded: "The whites sent word that they was comin down here and kill every nigger they found. There were 300 or 400 more white men with guns, shooting and killing women and children." Soldiers from the United States Army eventually restored order, although some claimed the military participated in the killings. By the time the shooting ended, 25 blacks and five whites were listed as officially dead.

Many blacks believed that perhaps as many as 200 were killed, their bodies dumped in the Mississippi River or left to rot in the canebrake. The white establishment charged that blacks had formed a secret conspiracy to rise up and overthrow the white planters, take their land and rape their women. No evidence was ever produced to substantiate the charge.

This inhumane treatment was so blatant that civic and religious organizations began to speak out against lawless groups. One of the main opponents of lynching was the Federated Black Catholics under the guidance of Thomas Wyatt Turner. Turner was a supporter of civil rights and a devout Catholic born in Charles County, Maryland, Turner was a graduate of Howard University. Before he accepted the teaching position at Howard, he was the secretary of Baltimore's NAACP. However, his voice was not heard.

I could go on until all of the ink in the world is gone but what would be the point! Because history has recorded that the American Dream was more like a nightmare for people of color and minorities. So I will stop here and simply ask that you look into your soul and ask it: If you or I can see history lived which is known to be true – changed? How can you, we, or anyone believe anything history has ever told us?

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!


"Just a Season"
Legacy – A New Season is Coming!
Listen to the author's interview!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Teacher of Truth

I am a history fanatic and therefore I greatly admire anyone who can present a representation of history and can support it with facts. I have read many books on history and much of it; I have to say is simply “His-Story”, which is basically a lie. But I will let you chose truth over fiction particularly as it relates to African American history. We know this as fact that African history was stolen, and later erased from the minds of mankind by those with wicked agendas.

With this writing I would like to introduce you to the great teacher and truth seeker. I have read, studied, and compare the work of Professor Yosef Ben-Jochannan, affectionately known as Dr. Ben, the foremost Egyptologist, African American scholar and writer. In fact, Dr. Ben is considered the most prominent Afro-centric scholars to which I will argue that reading his research will allow you to see the world through new eyes.

Dr. Ben has taught at Cornell University for over 15 years, lectured widely on both sides of the Atlantic on the topic of the ancient civilizations of Egypt. His presentations placed him in great demand by students and community groups, especially those of African descent. Perhaps the high regard he enjoys stems from his long, unwavering theme that the ancient civilizations along the Nile were African, which makes as much sense to me as the concept that Jesus was Black. How can you come from that region of the world and not be Black?

For example, it is preached that the so-called major western religions were white folk's religions and offered the historically incorrect but universally accepted blond-haired, blue-eyed representation of Jesus Christ as proof that our deity was white. We quoted Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who said in his book, The Mis-education of the Negro, that the European destruction of African civilization was done under the guise of "saving souls." And we asked the rhetorical question, must one be dehumanized before one's soul is saved? In retrospect, we had allowed someone else to define that reality. Food for thought!

Dr. Ben was educated in Puerto Rico, Brazil, Cuba, and Spain, earning degrees in engineering and anthropology. In 1938, Ben-Jochannan earned a BS in Civil Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico and in 1939 a Master's degree in Architectural Engineering from the University of Havana, Cuba. He received doctoral degrees in Cultural Anthropology and Moorish History from the University of Havana and the University of Barcelona, Spain.

He immigrated to the United States in the early 1940s. He worked as a draftsman and continued his studies. In 1945, he was appointed chairman of the African Studies Committee at the headquarters of the newly founded UNESCO, a position from which he stepped down in 1970. In 1950, Ben-Jochannan began teaching Egyptology at Malcolm King College, then at City College in New York City. From 1976 to 1987, he was an adjunct professor at Cornell University.

Ben-Jochannan is the author of 49 books, primarily on ancient Nile Valley civilizations and their impact on Western cultures. In his writings, he argues that the original Jews were from Ethiopia and were Black Africans, while the white Jews later adopted the Jewish faith and its customs.

Ben-Jochannan has been criticized for allegedly distorting history and promoting Black supremacy. One might say that the history we are taught does the same thing. We have been taught to believe many things like Africans contributed nothing to world civilization and were nothing more than a bunch of savages with spears running around the jungle naked – you know like in the Tarzan movies. We also believe, or taught to believe, that George Washington never told a lie.

With that said, I would suggest that a reasonable thinking person would have an open mind, or let your mind be opened to something that is not, in my opinion, establishment truth or as I said HisStory. Research and read some of the following publications but the man of profound wisdom supported by fact. I have been known to say free your mind and your ass will follow!

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!
 African Origins of Major Western Religions
 We the Black Jews
 Black Man of the Nile and His Family
 Africa: Mother of Western Civilization
 New Dimensions in African History
 The Myth of Exodus and Genesis and the Exclusion of Their African Origins
 Abu Simbel to Ghizeh: A Guide Book and Manual

"Just a Season"
Legacy – A New Season is Coming!
Listen to the author's interview!

Friday, March 9, 2012

David Ruffin -The Man

I've been blessed to have lived during a time when the music of our culture reached center stage and changed the world. So when it was announced that the highly acclaimed TVONE series was featuring the Late Great David Ruffin. WOW!!! I was excited!

I know the Temptation story and not just from the movie. To tell you the truth I've blessed to have had my life enhanced by their music. Also, I was blessed to have met several of the group’s members over the years and one of its lead singers was a friend who I admired and miss, but I hear his voice almost daily in song.

I wish that friend was Mr. Ruffin but I am too young to have had that good fortune. Nonetheless, I want to pay homage to this man who's music was a huge influence upon my life, particularly my young life, to which I am grateful. As I watched the documentary something his son said struck me as profound. He said, “My daddy wanted love but he got fame”. We know from the many talented artists to leave us of late that there is a line between triumph and tragedy. That line is often thin and frequently ends sadly.

David Ruffin walked that line with tragic consequences. Ruffin will always be remembered as the mightiest of the Temptations’ lead singers. He was one of "the voices" that made the Temptations and his legacy will live on in the depths of our souls. We will always remember that sexy, gritty voice, those trademark glasses, and that stage charisma that sums up the one and only David Ruffin, and even that little crack in his voice was ok, well it wasn't ok, but that was David Ruffin.

His songs were like windows into his soul, exposing his greatest fears as a lover and a man. Even "happy" songs like "My Girl" brought out vulnerability in his voice. His relationship with the Temptations was a stormy one, but the marriage produced defining moments in 1960's soul and his voice inspired just about every singer who sung to include the likes of Rod Stewart, George Michael, Daryl Hall, and Bruce Springsteen, just to name a few - his influence is everlasting. We'll never know how good he might have been, but we can rejoice in what he left behind.

Born Davis Eli Ruffin, on January 18, 1941 in Whynot, Mississippi. A sickly child, inflicted with both rheumatic fever and asthma. His mother died in childbirth, and he was raised by his father, a Baptist Minister. He was a complex man and master vocalist with a gospel trained voice that would gain him the affection of several generations of listeners, but Ruffin had more than a voice - he had a persona.

In the best of his music, there was a dark, terrible, tragic, and personal beauty. A good example would be in his self-penned composition "Statue of a Fool", written when he was just 18 years old, in which he sees himself as a "man who lets love slip through his hands."

My favorite line in that tune was "On his face, a gold tear should be placed to honor every tear he shed. And I think it would show, and everyone would know, concealed inside is a broken heart." This was a powerful statement that spoke to the depth of his soul. However, as history would record he would share his most private pain in the Temptations’ biggest hits. Songs like "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" and "Since I Lost My Baby", and the chilling "I Wish It Would Rain.

All of these songs were rooted in gospel where David first began, singing in The Ruffin Family and The Spiritual Trying Four with his father, his sister Rita Mae and older brothers Jimmy and Quincy. David left home at 13 following his father’s footsteps to practice the ministry, but was sidetracked, singing in Memphis talent shows where he met a young Elvis Presley. He later sang with the gospel group The Dixie Nightingales out of Memphis, Tennessee, and toured with The Womack Brothers, The Swan Silvertones, The Staple Singers, and the Dixie Hummingbirds.

It was with these gospel groups that Ruffin would develop his stage personality, dropping to his knees and doing splits, just like the late Jackie Wilson before him, and David’s show stopping performances within the group would be enough to get him noticed on the secular side.

Then in 1964, when problems arose between the Temptations and group member Elbridge Bryant, David would be invited to join the group. Shortly after David’s arrival, the group would record "The Way You Do The Things You Do", a Smokey Robinson number with Eddie Kendricks on lead. Gone for a three-week gig in Saginaw, Michigan, the group would return home to find themselves with their first hit. It is said that when David saw the chart standings, he sat down on the long chaise lounge in the Motown lobby, took off his glasses, and cried like a baby.

Ruffin would turn out be an electrifying and dynamic force, when soon after he would bring them their first universal #1 hit, "My Girl", recorded just before Christmas in 1964, a tune that would turn the group into a household word and legends. The group began turning out one hit after another, and when David took such up-tempo hits as "(I know), I’m Losing You", to the stage, he became a magnetic field of charisma. His greatness would then shine and his permanent mark on the pages of history was sealed.

It is reported that Pop Star Michael Jackson paid for his funeral, and numerous celebrities were in attendance at his home going service, including Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves, Mary Wilson, members of the Temptations, the Four Tops, and the Miracles. At the service Stevie Wonder told the audience: "We’re confronted with a problem that touches every one of us. We’re confronted with the most devastating slave owner of all times." Minister Louis Farrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, who spoke told the mournful audience, "In David there is a lesson. We should not clap our hands and mourn, for he is out of trouble now. You are still in it."

It is not my intent to rewrite history or to re-tell a story that we all know. Rather to simply say, thank you TVONE for telling his story and reminding us that he is gone - but not forgotten.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


"Just a Season"

Legacy – A New Season is Coming!
Listen to the author's interview!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


In addition to Rick Santorum’s enthusiastic attack on women’s rights and individual liberties, he has recently been quoted referring to President Obama as a snob for wanting all Americans to be educated beyond the high school level. Mr. Santorum describes colleges as “indoctrination mills” citing a questionable study which suggests that a college education diminishes religious conviction.

Never mind that Mr. Santorum himself holds 3 university degrees yet, his religious convictions seem to be in tact. And, just ignore the fact that he intends to send his children to college. Could it be that only the Santorums and those like them have the fortitude to withstand the evils of secular indoctrination? Or, could it be something else?
Why would a candidate vying for the highest office in the land be such a vocal champion of ignorance?

From the time of Thomas Jefferson to this very day, suspicion and ridicule have been directed towards intellectualism in politics. Anti-intellectual sentiment is nothing new nor does it mean the absence of intellect. Richard Hofstadter wrote in his Pulitzer-prize winning book, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, that anti-intellectuals are neither uneducated or unintelligent rather, they comprise the ranks of the “half-educated” who are “…often obsessively engaged with this or that outworn or rejected idea.”

This observation could account for Mr. Santorum’s astonishing comments about post-secondary education. It could also account for his willingness to re-litigate the issues of contraception, abortion and the separation of church and state, instead of providing voters with his grand vision to lead the country into a better future.

We must never forget that the most important ingredient for a democracy to work is an informed, active and enlightened electorate. Because, in the words of Thomas Jefferson; "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."

By Jackie Lambert

LTAI Word of the Week – Indoctrinate

To imbue with a usually partisan or sectarian opinion, point of view, or principle.

Links for additional reading:

"Just a Season"
Legacy – A New Season is Coming!
Listen to the author's interview!