Sunday, April 29, 2012

HISTORY – Truth or Fiction

History in its purest sense has always intrigued me but the problem with that statement is that it is in no way pure. In one of my writings I refer to history as a time characterized by a particular circumstance, suitable to an indefinite period of time associated with the phenomenon of human existence. One of the first things I learned during my existence was that we are on a journey to which I’ve come to realize that there are milestones, mountains, and valleys that each of us will encounter.

Others have defined history this way; Webster’s dictionary defines history as “a tale, story, and a chronological record of significant events (as affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes.” This would affirm what I have been saying since the first lie was told to me, which is that history is most often “His-Story” because it is written by the victor.  

Then there was the great scholar John Henry Clarke who gave what I thought was a brilliant definition of history. He said, “History is a clock people use to tell their historical culture and political time of the day. It’s a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. The history tells them where they have been, where they are and what they are. But most importantly history tells a people where they still must go and what they must do.”

In no way am I going to rewrite, give a dissertation, or history lesson but I will give you a few examples of how history is skewed. For example, there was once a terrorist organization called the KKK that ebbs and flows depending upon where we are in time. Today, in my opinion, it has reinvented itself as the Tea Party. I will go further and say the Tea Party is just the KKK in street clothes, sort of like the Citizens Counsels of old.

Then there was the lie that Europeans discovered the new world. Let me ask, how is it that you discover something that already exists. If you can recall, and agree, that there where people living where His-Story tells us they made this discovery and the people had a culture. Then they removed from the pages of time how they destroyed the cultures of these people and all of the conquered nations they claimed to discover.

Finally, and the most shocking is the story of Jesus. How could a man born in that part of the world have blonde hair and blue eyes? Or that from the sixteen hundreds, all Christian have believed this, what I would say false, representation presented by an Italian who used a family member as his study. As history has recorded, almost all wars are started because of or involving a religion and I don't want to start one – I just wanted to make a point! Believe what you want – just know what you believe.

I have lived long enough to witness history and seen it change to suit the need of the time. So I ask if history that I have witness and know to be true has been changed to something other than true. How can I believe much of anything history has said as truth? I am grateful that speech is not illegal - YET. So I say, lift your voice and if you do you will find true. Think about it! 

And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Inner City Blues

Today I am in a mellow but always socially conscience as to the way of the world. So today I will share a grove that will make you move and provoke thought!

 If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything! And that's my Thought Provoking Perspective... Enjoy!!!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Beating And The Aftermath

It’s hard to believe that two decades have passed since the beating of Rodney King and the verdict that resulted in the most violent episode of social unrest in U.S. history, which unfolded before our eyes. Maybe I should qualify that to say in modern times, because there are many instances of unrest and riots that, in my opinion, were worst.

Nonetheless, the crime in this case occurred when four white policemen were accused of delivering a vicious beating unto Mr. King, a year before, during a traffic stop. The criminals were acquitted and the city of LA exploded. Lest be mindful that the beating was captured on videotaped and the whole world saw what African Americans have alleged for years.

Since America has been America it has faced challenges as it relates to racial tension that has divided blacks, whites, Latinos, Asians, and nearly all non-whites. Is it getting better? I would say no and I would use the current case of Trayvon Martin as an example of the disparity of justice as an example. It has been so bad so long, with respect to racial profiling, it's hard to see the difference, particularly in many African American communities. Let me add this is not unlike what happens in many African American communities.

I’m sure if we could put ourselves in the shoes of King, now 47, who must continue to live in the shadow of the beating he took from the four cops in 1991. This event fueled an already heated racial tension that existed in Southern California, particularly between the African American community and the Los Angeles Police Department.

To be sure, King is still pained by the incident and his life since has not been easy. He has had several run ins with the law, battled depression, alcohol and drug abuse, as seen on VH1's Celebrity Rehab in 2008. He made a statement during an interview where he said, "I wouldn't want to be in black skin, 30, 40, 50 years ago. I wouldn't want to undergo what they went through." King went on to say the incident “exposed the LAPD for what it was, and it exposed some of the courts and brought attention to people's minds to what was so unfair.”

The uprising killed 55 people, destroyed 1,573 businesses and cost $1 billion in the initial three days, eclipsing the damage done in the Watts Riot of 1965. Like Watts, the hardest hit area was South Central, home to much of the city's African American population. I suppose the only positive to come out of this was that in 1992, 60% of the LAPD was white - now it is 60% minority.

On the other hand there are still the institutional issues as they were in 1992. For instance, the graduation rate, according to most recent Los Angeles Unified School District statistics is 56%, well below the national average of 75%, meaning jobs in California's increasingly technological and skilled trades-based economy are less accessible to those without at least a high school diploma.

I wanted to mention this huge event because with what may happen in the Trayvon Martin case we may see history repeat itself, as history has been known to do. God forbid Trayvon’s assassin should get off, found not guilty, like the murderers of Emmett Till and as we saw with these cop who beat King nearly to death.

Just saying, and that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Greatest Pitcher Never Known

I was listening to the Tom Joyner Morning Show and I must say it is a great source of empowerment for our community - thank you Mr. Joyner and the crew. He has a thing once a week called the Little Known Black History Fact. This particular fact got my attention because I am a huge fan of the players who have been virtually erased from the book of history or at least and for sure His-Story.

Sure we know Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige but that is about the extent of our knowledge of a game African Americans championed. We this story was about the man referred to as “The Greatest Pitcher Never Known” and his name was Will “Cannonball” Jackman. Jackman joined the Boston Colored Giants in the 1924-1925 season and played ball until he was well into his sixties. He won more than half of the 1,200 games he pitched over 20 years, with nearly 800 strikeouts and more than 40 shutouts. His record was 52 and 2.

Sometimes nicknamed the “Satchel Paige of New England,” it was reported that Will Jackman earned $175 a game and $10 per strikeout. But later in his career, he reportedly received $500-$800 for playing against white semi-pro teams in the exhibition games. This was only a portion of what the white players received, but on the high end for most black players. Jackman’s worth, however, was said to be more than the combination of several white players; New York Giants coach John McGraw was recorded saying he would “pay $50,000 to the man who could make Jackman white.”

The actual date of his birth was stated between 1897 or 1899 in Carta, Texas. He may have found his love of baseball while watching the nearby spring training camp of the New York Giants in San Antonio. Jackman started playing with the Houston Black Buffalos, drifting to Maryland and New York before actually joining the Boston Colored Giants in 1925.

Although he was payed for his crowd-appealing pitches, Will Jackman took a side job as a chaffuer to send money to his family, keeping his job during the off seasons and well into retirement.

The Negro League pitcher left a trail of strikeouts while playing with teams in Texas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts.  Throughout his career, Will Jackman went on to play for the Philadelphia Giants, the Philadelphia Tigers, the Brooklyn Eagles, the Newark Eagles, and the Boston Royal Giants. In the 1952 Pittsburgh Courier’s player-voted poll of the “all-time great Negro League players,” Will Jackman was voted number one.

When the Boston Red Sox were scouting for African-American players to finally join their roster in the 1950’s, they looked to Will “Cannonball” Jackman for guidance and recruiting.

Will “Cannonball” Jackman died on September 8, 1972 surrounded by friends and family. In his honor, the Cannonball Foundation, an organization that promotes baseball play among youth in low-income urban communities, was formed.

This was, I thought, an amazing story of one of the greatest to ever play the game and because he received no acclaim I want to say I honor you, and thank you. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Source the Little Known Black History Fact

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Does History Repeats Itself?

This is a powerful video that you must see!!! It explains how history repeats itself and what happens when power corrupts, and in the case of the last administration, was corrupt absolutely.

 In a stunning indictment of sweeping policy changes during the Bush years, best-selling author Naomi Wolf (The Beauty Myth) makes a chilling case that American democracy is under threat. We must vote and not go back to the past.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

He Can't Handle The Truth

I like to write, which goes without saying that I am passionate about literacy and the written word. Having said that, I can recall reading somewhere that someone said, "I think therefore I am". Now, I don't say that to imply that what I think or write is "RIGHT"! But I hope my views though this vehicle will provoke conversation on a wide range of subjects and maybe some sane dialog that will lead to enhancing unity and intellectual civil discourse.

There are many-many concerns, as I see it, which is not in the best interest of furthering humanity. One, and maybe the most dangerous discourse, is the scary political environment today. For example, the challenger to president Obama and the vitriol of the right harkens, in my opinion, back to the days of Jim Crow. If you can't remember this era or don't know what this is; it was a time when overt racism was the law of the land. If you don't agree, let me suggest that you view footage of some of the conservative gathering and you will see the faces of one hue.

But on this Sunday morning, I want to not do what I am accused of doing by some, which is to play the "race card". Nonetheless, I’ll tell you that I have live long enough to know that there are two constants in the American Diaspora. One is money and the other is race. I have seen, and believe true, that conservatives will say or do anything to support their position on matters relating concerning either. For example, the presumed challenger, who many republicans call "Him", has a long documented history in this area. He will say anything – regardless of fact and more often than not fiction.

He gave a speech recently and started by saying - “Good morning”. The problem with that was it was in the afternoon. The accuracy of his statements went downhill from there. He blamed the president for the “weakest economic recovery since the Great Depression.” When in fact, it was the last president whose name they never mention who was responsible for that problem.

He went on to say that he would save “about $100 billion a year” eliminating Obamacare and accused the president of “taking a series of steps that end Medicare as we know it.” He made the claimed that the president had created an “unaccountable panel, with the power to prevent Medicare from providing certain treatments.” Incorrect, wrong, , not true, and fictitious. This is just an example taken from one speech delivered by Romney on a given day. Fortunately, there are fact-checkers.

Because he does not always, mostly not, tell the truth is hardly news. Voters and most knowledgeable people already know there are lies, damn lies, and politics. Certainly, Romney has abundant company in his mendacity. But the fact that fibs are routine doesn’t make them less insidious. Romney’s fast-and-loose play with the facts — deployed equally against his Republican rivals and Obama — is particularly disappointing because it is unnecessary.

PolitiFact has awarded Romney its “Pants on Fire” or “False” ratings for 32 claims. Among them are these: that Obama “didn’t even mention the deficit or debt” in his State of the Union address, that “our Navy is smaller than it’s been since 1917,” that Obama “never worked in the private sector,” that Obama “gave” the automakers “to the UAW,” and that “we’re only inches away from no longer being a free economy.”

The recent speech that I began with, where Mitt said "Good Morning", alone had more than a dozen distortions, including allegations that: Obama “has failed to even pass a budget” (Congress passes budget resolutions, which the president doesn’t sign); Obama created a panel empowered to deny treatments under Medicare (the board can only make recommendations, and only if Congress fails to find Medicare cuts), Obama “has added regulations at a staggering rate” (the Business Roundtable just said it “lauded” the administration’s attempt at regulatory reform).

In that same speech PolitiFact noted that no fewer than three Romney claims merited their covenanted “Pants on Fire” rating: that Obama led “a government takeover of health care,” has been “apologizing for America abroad” and is ending “Medicare as we know it.” Romney’s assertions that Obama “is the only president to ever cut $500 billion from Medicare” and that eliminating Obamacare saves “about $100 billion” were rated false.

For Romney to resort to such gratuitous falsehoods discredits him, in my opinion, as a man ethically challenged and someone with limited moral character, and not the kind of man I want to be president. All of this and these kinds of untruths leads me to concluded that when you have nothing to say, you will say anything! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Heavenly Choir

Let me start this post today by offering my remembrance to the amazing crooner – the great Luther Ronzoni Vandross. Today would have been the man known to the world as LUTHER, a prolific singer-songwriter and record producer, who would have been sixty years old.

During his career, Luther sold over twenty-five million albums and won eight Grammy Awards; including Best Male R&B Vocal Performance four times. He won four Grammy Awards in 2004 including the Grammy Award for Song of the Year for the track Dance with My Father. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUTHER!

As I drove to an appointment today listening to my favorite Luther CD looking upward into the clouds. I began to wonder what it must be like in heaven where the ghosts of the greats gather to sing in that heavenly choir. The harmony must be simply amazing. When these great artist where alive and with us black music – soul music - was awesome. Thankfully, they left us their gift to forever enjoy.

I’ll just name a few choir member that are walking around haven all day: Whitney Houston, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Ali Ollie Woodson, Marvin Gaye, Billy Preston, James Brown, Etta James, Donny Hathaway, Isaac Hayes, Nic Ashford, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Tammie Terrell, Teena Marie, Levi Stubbs, Barry White, Grover Washington, Johnny Taylor, Bob Marley, Gerald Levert, Ray Charles and Michael Jackson. I can’t name them all BUT WE MISS YOU AND LOVE YOU!
Times were much difficult for black people, but the struggle brought out such creative music from the souls of these greats be it in the secular world and in the church. Today’s black artists do not know what it is to be innovative and create their own music and if they do, they do not have what I know as soul, you hardly feel anything. The late 90′s and into the 21st century was the worst time in the world of soul music. New generations start producing their music, then it negatively affects the black community, because they did not learn from the great artist that came before them or know what it means to be creative.

What I see and hear, for the most part, black music could be at the point of no return. Furthermore, the artists who are now deceased singing in that glorious choir in this place called haven were originals who never imitated any other music artists to gain fame. These days, you have a lot of imitators and this is one of the main reasons why we have no more black artist with real soul that touch our souls when they sing.

Moreover, it appears that the new generations have no knowledge of what soul music means or even how to just be an original artist. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Thursday, April 19, 2012

NASCAR's First Black Driver

There are millions of NASCAR fans all over the world but do you know that the first NASCAR driver was Wendell Oliver Scott from Danville, Virginia. History has recorded Scott as the only black driver to win a race in what is now the Sprint Cup Series. He could be compared to Jackie Robinson in the sense that he broke the color barrier in Southern stock car racing. The memorable day occurred on May 23, 1952, at the Danville Fairgrounds Speedway.

Scott gained experience and winning some local races at various Virginia tracks before becoming the first African-American to obtain a NASCAR racing license. It is unclear when the license was issued in 1953, although NASCAR does not have the exact date. As you can imagine, Scott's career was repeatedly affected by racial prejudice and problems with top-level NASCAR officials. However, his determined struggle as an underdog won him thousands of white fans and many friends and admirers among his fellow racers.

It is said from the day was born he wanted to be his own boss. In Danville, two industries dominated the local economy: cotton mills and tobacco-processing plants. Scott vowed to avoid that sort of boss-dominated life. He once said, “The mill's looked too much like a prison. You go in and they lock a gate behind you and you can't get out until you've done your time”. From boyhood, Scott raced bicycles against white boys. In his neighborhood, he said, "I was the only black boy that had a bicycle." He became a daredevil on roller skates, speeding down Danville's steep hills on one skate.

He ran an auto-repair shop. As a sideline and for fun, he took up the dangerous, illegal pursuit of running moonshine whiskey. This trade gave quite a few early stock car racers their education in building fast cars and outrunning the police. The police caught Scott only once, in 1949. Sentenced to three years probation, he continued making his late-night whiskey runs. On weekends, he would go to the stock car races in Danville, sitting in the blacks-only section of the bleachers, and he would wish that he too could be racing on the speedway.

Scott was thirty years old at the approximate times when he was sitting in the bleachers of local speedways, watching white men race. Up to then, he had lived his whole life under the rigid rules of segregation. He could neither use a white bathroom or a white drinking fountain nor eat at a white restaurant. Nothing in his past had prepared him for the unusual, life-changing experience that was about to take place.

The Danville races were run by the Dixie Circuit, one of several regional racing organizations that competed with NASCAR during that era. Danville's events always made less money than the Dixie Circuit's races at other tracks. "We were a tobacco and textile town -- people didn't have the money to spend," said Aubrey Ferrell, one of the organizers. The officials decided they would try an unusual, and unprecedented, promotional gimmick: They would recruit a Negro driver to compete against the "good ol' boys."

To their credit, they wanted a fast black driver, not just a fall guy to look foolish. They asked the Danville police who was the best Negro driver in town. The police recommended the moonshine runner whom they had chased many times and caught only once. Scott brought one of his whiskey-running cars to the next race, and Southern stock car racing gained its first black driver.

Some spectators booed him, and his car broke down during the race. But Scott realized immediately that he wanted a career as a driver. The next day, however, brought the first of many episodes of discrimination that would plague his racing career. Scott repaired his car and towed it to a NASCAR-sanctioned race in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. But the NASCAR officials refused to let him compete. Black drivers were not allowed, they said. As he drove home, Scott recalled, "I had tears in my eyes."

A few days later he went to another NASCAR event in High Point, North Carolina. Again, Scott said, the officials "just flat told me I couldn't race. They told me I could let a white boy drive my car. I told 'em weren't no damn white boy going to drive my car." Scott decided to avoid NASCAR for the time being and race with the Dixie Circuit and at other non-NASCAR speedways. He won his first race at Lynchburg, Virginia, only twelve days into his racing career. It was just a short heat race in the amateur class, but for Scott, the victory was like a barb on a hook. He knew that he had found his calling.

He ran as many as five events a week, mostly at Virginia tracks. Some spectators would shout racial slurs, but many others began rooting for him. Some prejudiced drivers would wreck him deliberately. They "just hammered on Wendell," former chief NASCAR photographer T. Taylor Warren said. "They figured he wasn't going to retaliate." And they were right--Scott felt that because of the racial atmosphere, he could not risk becoming involved in the fist-fights and dirty-driving paybacks that frequently took place among the white drivers.

Many other drivers, however, came to respect Scott. They saw his skills as a mechanic and driver, and they liked his quiet, uncomplaining manner. They saw him as someone similar to themselves, another hard-working blue-collar guy swept up in the adrenalin rush of racing, not somebody trying to make a racial point. "He was a racer -- you could look at somebody and tell whether they were a racer or not," said driver Rodney Ligon, who was also a moonshine runner. "Didn't nobody send him [to the track] to represent his race -- he come down because he wanted to drive a damn racecar." Some white drivers became his close friends and also occasionally acted as his bodygards.

Some Southern newspapers began writing positive stories about Scott's performance. He began the 1953 season on the northern Virginia circuit, for example, by winning a feature race in Staunton. Then he tied the Waynesboro qualifying record. A week later he won the Waynesboro feature, after placing first in his heat race and setting a new qualifying record. The Waynesboro News Virginian reported that Scott had become "recognized as one of the most popular drivers to appear here." The Staunton News Leader said he "has been among the top drivers in every race here."

In 1961, he moved up to the NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) division. In the 1963 season, he finished 15th in points, and on December 1 of that year, driving a Chevy Bel Air and won a race on the one-mile dirt track at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida becoming the first and to date only top level NASCAR event won by an African-American. Scott was not announced as the winner of the race at the time, presumably due to the racist culture of the time.

Ironically, the second-place driver, was initially declared the winner, but race officials discovered two hours later that Scott had not only won, but was two laps in front of the rest of the field. NASCAR awarded Scott the win two years later, but his family never actually received the trophy he had earned till 2010--37 years after the race, and 20 years after Scott had died.

He continued to be a competitive driver despite his low-budget operation through the rest of the 1960s. In 1964, Scott finished 12th in points despite missing several races. Over the next five years, Scott consistently finished in the top ten in the point standings. He finished 11th in points in 1965, was a career-high 6th in 1966, 10th in 1967, and finished 9th in both 1968 and 1969. His top year in winnings was 1969 when he won $47,451 ($300,723.94 in today's money).

This is not unlike much of what the ghost of the greats had to endure but their sacrifice changed the sport and the world. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

(Resource: Wikipedia)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Death of a Legend – R.I.P.

The seemingly ageless Dick Clark, with his wholesome appearance and ever-present grin, was promoted as “America's oldest teenager” and was among the most powerful arbiters of pop-music for 35 years, died April 18 at a hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., after a heart attack. He was 82.

Clark, a television host and entrepreneur who sold rock-and-roll to Middle America on the dance show “American Bandstand” and counted down the New Year with millions of TV viewers as emcee of an annual celebration in New York's Times Square. He was regarded as a man with an unerring sense of what Americans wanted to hear and see, and he achieved his greatest renown for an ability to connect with the tastes of the post-World War II baby boom.

From 1952 to 1987, Mr. Clark hosted various incarnations of “American Bandstand,” first over the radio in Philadelphia and later on national television. The program was a sensation because of the prominent role it gave teenagers — who were always shown clean-cut in jackets, ties and sweaters — to vote on their favorite song.

By the show’s 30th anniversary, almost 600,000 teenagers and 10,000 performers had appeared on the program. Among those to make early national appearances on the show included Buddy Holly, James Brown, Ike and Tina Turner, and Simon and Garfunkel. If you did not know the first performer to appear on the show was Elvis Presley. The show was known to introduce such dance crazes such as the Twist and the Watusi to the American public.

“Dick Clark was significant in transforming the record business into an international industry,” read the citation in 1993 when he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The citation went on to say that “his weekly televised record hops — which predated MTV by 25 years — played an integral role in establishing rock and roll, keeping it alive and shaping its future.”

After “American Bandstand” ended its run on ABC in 1987, Mr. Clark took it into syndication for two years and then handed it over to a new host, David Hirsch. It went off the air shortly thereafter. Despite his prominence on-camera, Mr. Clark said the vast majority of his work was done behind the scenes as a producer.

Dick Clark Productions provided ABC with the “New Year's Rockin' Eve” television spectacular every year since 1972. Mr. Clark had initially pitched the show as a hipper alternative to the longstanding broadcast tradition of airing Guy Lombardo's big band playing “Auld Lang Syne” from New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel. Mr. Clark drew in audiences that inaugural year with performances by Three Dog Night, Helen Reddy, Al Green, and Blood, Sweat and Tears.

Richard Wagstaff Clark was born Nov. 30, 1929, in Mount Vernon, N.Y. As a teen, he staffed the mailroom of a Utica, N.Y., radio station where his father was a manager, and eventually became a weather announcer there. At his high school, he was class president and involved in the dramatics club. He was voted “Most Likely to Sell the Brooklyn Bridge.”

He sniffed at those who called his professional work trivial. “I am in a commercial business,” he once said. “What is wrong with giving people what they want, what they enjoy?” What I remember most about the man was that he fought against racism in the industry allowing many black performers to regularly appear on American Bandstand. It also was the inspiration behind the imagination of Mr. Don Cornelius who produced and founded “Soul Train”.

Thank you Mr. Clark for your vision and support of black music, may you rest in peace. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Never before in the history of America has such vial despicable language been espoused against a sitting president. PLEASE LISTEN as the honorable Minister Farrakhan exposes the hate-filled rhetoric and writings of right-wing conservative elected officials and influential members of American society directed at President Barack Obama and his family.

Forget what you may perceive as the Ministers politics – this is the reality of truth.

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Magic of #42

There are moments in time where time itself demands change. There was such a moment in the Spring of 1947 when an African American baseball player named Jackie Robinson stepped up to the plate and changed the face of the game. It is an honor for me to pay homage to Mr. Robinson whose character, stature, and integrity was beyond reproach.

Born January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in the so-called major leagues in more than fifty years. Throughout his decade-long career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he made advancements in the cause of civil rights for black athletes. In 1955, he helped the Dodgers win the World Series. He retired in 1957, with a career batting average of .311.

Now, as is often the case with His-Story much of what we know about history is a myth. Let me use a quote that I often use by the prolific French writer, historian, and philosopher Voltaire who said, “History is a pack of trick we play upon the dead”. What I mean by that is this dynamic historical event actually was a simple as a black man being allowed to play a game with white people as a result of the rigid “Jim Crow” laws mandated by the law of the land – America.

At the time, the sport as well as America was segregated. African-Americans and whites played in separate leagues with Robinson who played in the famed Negro Leagues, but was chosen by Branch Rickey, a vice president with the Brooklyn Dodgers, to help integrate major league baseball. He joined the all-white Montreal Royals, a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers, in 1945. He moved to Florida in 1946 to begin spring training with the Royals, and played his first game on March 17 of that same year.

Now, we have been told that Branch Rickey did this out of good conscience and for the cause of civil rights. Well that is not exactly true. Rickey saw an opportunity to make money. The Negro league was prospering and the white league was barely surviving. He knew if he could convince one Negro player, and Robinson was not the best player in the Negro league, Rickey knew others would follow, and they did. Hence, the Negro league ceased to exist. Let me add that Mr. Robinson, an average player, was better than all of the white players playing in the white league at the time.

It is not my intention to neither demean nor take away from the significance of the huge step toward equality. Despite the racial abuse, particularly at away games, Robinson character prevailed as he endured the most brutal harassment, threats, and derogatory language hurled at him on and off the field. It is because of his superb character that we should celebrate this great man.

Jackie Robinson succeeded in putting the prejudice and racial strife aside, and showed everyone what a talented player he was. In his first year, he hit 12 home runs and helped the Dodgers win the National League pennant. That year, Robinson led the National League in stolen bases and was selected as Rookie of the Year. He continued to wow fans and critics alike with impressive feats, such as an outstanding .342 batting average during the 1949 season. He led in stolen bases that year and earned the National League's Most Valuable Player Award.

Robinson also became a vocal champion for African-American athletes, civil rights, and other social and political causes. In July 1949, he testified on discrimination before the House Un-American Activities Committee. In 1952, he publicly called out the Yankees as a racist organization for not having broken the color barrier five years after he began playing with the Dodgers.

In his decade-long career with the Dodgers, Robinson and his team won the National League pennant several times. Finally, in 1955, he helped them achieve the ultimate victory: the World Series. After failing before in four other series match-ups, the Dodgers beat the New York Yankees. He helped the team win one more National League pennant the following season, and was then traded to the New York Giants. Jackie Robinson retired shortly after the trade, on January 5, 1957, with an impressive career batting average of .311.

Let me close with what really happen that day – number 42 was just a number until Mr. Jackie Robinson wore it! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Necessary Voice

We all know, and I for one appreciate, the flamboyant activist of the National Action Network; the Reverend, Brother, Pastor Al Sharpton who has been on the front lines fighting for equality and justice within our communities for a long time. For what I think is an outstanding commitment, I want to say thank you to the Good Reverend for his dedication and socially conscience efforts to seek justice for the voices that would otherwise go unheard.

I read a column today written by one Dana Milbank where he said, “The Rev. Al Sharpton is lord of all he surveys.” I found that comment very interesting because that does not appear, to me, to be the Rev’s persona! Now, some may call him a leader or our leader – I beg to differ. I call him an advocate for right who is very necessary in this climate where racism still exist and bigotry has raised its ugly head in ways not seen in generations.

With regard to the article; I continued to read it while I enjoyed my first cup of coffee wondering if this writer or many people, particularly African American, understood the context of a term used in the piece – “power player”. I could have appreciated what may have been intended as a compliment, if he had said it in a different way or from a different perspective – like “speaks to power”. This would imply that the Rev challenges the wrongs of society.

For example, the Trayvon Martin assassination for instance. The main stream media paid no attention to this hideous crime for weeks. It was black media, and Reverend Al in particular, that caused the story to be brought to light for the nation then the world to see. Other than the NRA, any person with children should have felt compassion and want justice because next time it could be your child or you.

Nonetheless, this guy, who I enjoy, reading his work, went on to say that “everybody wants to be on Sharpton’s good side these days. Adding that …No fewer than five Cabinet officers and a senior White House official went to this year’s convention to kiss his ring.” I this think this is a bit cynical.

The article went on to say, “Sharpton has pulled off one of the rarest second acts in American public life: from pariah to power player.” I suppose he was referring to the Rev’s effective use of the media in the Martin case to rally so many people for justice – which was needed.

I will agree with the Good Reverend as he put it regarding justice for Trayvon:
“It was a huge moment, because it was the coming together of everything,” Sharpton said, with his trademark vainglory. “We had the attorney general here and one of the biggest civil rights cases of the 21st century, and having to do TV and radio shows at the same time, it was all combined for everybody to see.”
Mr. Milbank closed his piece by saying; “And this reborn pariah feels good.” I will close by saying; “the the Good Reverend puts his life on the line for the voiceless and stands up for the powerless.” Yes, that is a good thing and necessary!

Let us remember Trayvon, not just for the moment, nor forget the many others in situations where justice has been deferred –keep up the fight for right. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Civil War - Beware the Facts Might Change!!!

The prolific French writer, historian, and philosopher Voltaire said, “History is a pack of tricks we play upon the dead”. This statement could not be more profound. I refer to history as His-Story.

If you are not aware, we are about to enter into five years of untruths, unreal assessments, and in some cases out and out lies, as we mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. This was a critical point in time because a divided nation faced a crisis. It started in the early morning hours of April 12, 1861, when Confederate batteries fired upon federal troops occupying Fort Sumter. Union forces surrendered the next day after 34 hours of shelling; the bloodiest war in the nation’s history had begun.

There is no question this was a significant event in the country’s history. However, we should be candid about its causes and not allow the distortions of contemporary politics or long-standing myths to cloud our understanding of why the nation fell apart. There will be a lot of misinformation that will surely come, as both sides of the debate relive this chapter of American history. So be prepared for the revisionists to create many illusions pertaining to the facts as they relate to the realities of Civil War history.

It’s already begun with a surge of activity, especially among conservatives, to adjust the story to reflect contemporary political positions. One prominent effort occurred in Texas when the state school board revised social studies standards to increase study of Confederate leaders and reduce emphasis on the Founding Fathers’ commitment to separation of church and state. Some wanted to stop referring to the slave trade and substitute a euphemistic phrase, the "Atlantic triangular trade." Thankfully, after opposition, that idea was dropped.

There was a case in Virginia where the Department of Education conceded its error in allowing a misleading textbook to be used in classrooms. They, against opposition, allowed the history book to continue to be used and the offending passage remained. Even after admitting that the inaccurate passage was "outside of accepted Civil War scholarship." The disputed passage was a gross falsehood that says two battalions of African American soldiers fought for the Confederacy under famed Gen. Stonewall Jackson. The department would go on to say that it anticipates teachers "will have no difficulty working around one objectionable sentence".

Also in Virginia, a few years ago, the new Governor signed a proclamation honoring the Civil War and made no mention of slavery, which again after considerable controversy he revised the proclamation. Let me add that Richmond, Virginia was the home of the Confederate capital. Sure the First Amendment protects the Confederate sympathizers' right to write this nonsense but it is up to us to do our due diligence to understand, although we were never taught the truth, that it is untrue.

Before I go any further, let’s be clear, the war was NOT fought to free the slaves. That narrative came much later when the north was not winning and needed a reason to allow colored solders to fight. Abraham Lincoln, Honest Abe, although not a proponent of slavery, had no desire to end slavery at the onset of the war. He was for the free-labor ideology of equal opportunity and upward mobility.

The issue of slavery, as he stated, “was the morality and future of the slaves and of slavery”. He believed if the nation remained divided on the issue of slavery, the nation would not last. If you recall he borrowed a statement made by Jesus to support this position; “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Actually, Honest Abe was considering the option of sending the slaves back to Africa or somewhere outside of America to solve the problem. IN FACT, as an experiment, he sent thousands to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. This experiment was not successful because many became ill and died causing him to reevaluate the decision. He also had another plan, which was to acquire land in South America to host this unwanted population to include other locations as well.

On the other side, the south, secessionist, saw it this way. Their leader Confederate President Jefferson Davis, a major slaveholder, justified secession in 1861 as an act of self-defense against the incoming Lincoln administration. Abraham Lincoln's policy of excluding slavery from the territories, Davis said, would make "property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless . . . thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars."

The Confederate vice president, Alexander Stephens said, "Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea… Its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical and moral truth." These guys were very straightforward in their belief that the proper status of the Negro in America’s form of civilization, if free, would be the immediate cause of the rupture.

Views such as this continue today, from various quarters, because there remains enormous denial over the fact that the central cause of the war was our national disagreement about race, slavery, or more specific states' rights. The historian Douglas Egerton says, "The South split the Democratic Party and later the country not in the name of states' rights but because it sought federal government guarantees that slavery would prevail… routinely shifted their ideological ground in the name of protecting free labor." I believe it was all about states’ rights similar to today’s conservative perspective.

Let’s be clear slavery was about one thing – economics. The institution and the economics derived from it built America and that wealth made America a powerful force in the world as a result. Therefore, those who try to rewrite or obscure the reality of this evil do so wishing the greatest crime ever inflected upon a people had never ended or that it would return. I suggest that you listen carefully to those who use the code word “States Rights” and hear what they are not saying.

The Confederacy broken up the United States and launched a war that killed 620,000 Americans in a vain attempt to keep 4 million people in slavery does not confer honor upon their lost cause. It’s been 150 years of folks, like back then and now, trying to change the narrative to justify why the war was fought. Some say slavery. Some say tariffs. Others say the Constitution. I found this quote where one captured Confederate soldier, as he was being marched off to prison, was asked, "Why are you fighting?" He is said to have grunted, "Because you're here."

If I can remind you this sounds very similar to what the Tea Baggers and the conservatives are saying now! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

This Court!!!

The Supreme Court is shaping up to be very significant in terms of issues involving race, at least the way I see this session. The justices are poised to decide some high-profile cases that could have long-term effects and certainly a huge impact on African and Hispanic Americans.

This is very serious because Ray Charles can see that the Roberts court is more conservative than any of its recent predecessor which surely does not bode well for minorities. Can I remind you that they do wear robes, which are more dangerous than the folks who wear the white ones.

Their decisions will have a huge impact on the president who suddenly finds himself running for reelection not only against Mitt Romney and the House Republicans, but now against the Court as well. The influence of the four conservative justices has already been witnessed in the January decision on Texas' redistricting maps.

The big thing before them is the future of Healthcare, which is critical but there is another hot-button issue - anti-immigration laws. The top court will hear oral arguments April 25 on the Obama administration's challenge to Arizona's controversial law. The administration says such laws are irreconcilable with federal laws. Should the court uphold Arizona's law, Latinos would feel the effects nationwide as other state will surely follow with more to do the same.

More serious, in my opinion, is the court's ideological shift on affirmative action in an upcoming case that could undo the compromise reached in Grutter v. Bollinger. That 2003 ruling barred public colleges from using a point system to boost minority enrollment, but allowed race to be taken into account to achieve academic diversity. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a key swing vote, wrote the majority opinion is not there this time and her replacement, Justice Samuel Alito, reflects the court's extreme rightward turn.

Another indication is that Robert’s made this statement that should provide some insight to his thinking: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race". He wrote this regarding a 2007 decision striking down school desegregation programs in Seattle and Kentucky. If the issues of race and education or poverty were that simple!

The way this court has rendered decisions harkened back to a time I thought was long past. Maybe you can remember the Dread Scott Decision during slavery or Plessey v Ferguson which ushered in what history has recorded as “Separate but Equal”. If that does not ring a bell how about calling it as it was –Apartheid American style.

I am going to go out on a limb and say the fate of Obamacare is not as dire as it appears at this moment. I think it is possible, even likely, that the Court will uphold part if not all of the legislation because the Court is keenly aware of public opinion and hopeful still has a bit of sanity. With the public’s trust of the judicial branch tying a historic low of 63 percent, down thirteen points from just two years ago, it’s doubtful that Roberts—who has wanted to be seen as an impartial “umpire”—would choose to imperil that trust even further with a ruling that would place the Court squarely in the election-season crossfire.

Overturning Obamacare would be a political decision but this is the court that thinks – corporations are people. With that said, the other two issues – all bets are off! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

BUT FOR: A Legal Term

I was having dinner with a lawyer friend of mine today as the prosecutor was giving her press conference concerning the charges (finally) being brought against the Trayvon Martin assassin. I found it interesting how much we don’t know about things and often rely or accept what we hear from others.

Let me say that the press conference announcing the charges and arrest was long overdue. I thought it was a good PR in the sense that it was, in my opinion, a way to let us and the world know that no one wants a long “Hot Summer” if they did nothing.

My friend, the attorney, said something that I found very interesting. She said, “there is a test in tort law linking the tort and the damages (aka causation), which is stated as: "but for" the defendant's negligence, the plaintiff would not have been injured.”

I was too mesmerized at the time with her that it did not strike me at the time the power of that statement. Later as I thought about what she said I realized that “if the murderer had not stalked this young child – no crime would have been committed.”

I have written on the assassination of Trayvon and like most of the world had an opinion. But yesterday, where I live, a police officer shot a twenty-one year old man and he was immediately place on administrative duty for his actions, which as is almost always the case – justifiable – a good kill as cop’s say.

Now, let’s compare that to the Martin case and what we know. If these Bull Connor type down in Florida has followed something close to reason in light of the murderer’s obvious connections – wouldn’t the guise of injustice have remained hidden from view.

I am not a lawyer but my friend is a good one. Listening to her representation of this case, as she sees it, reminding me that justice is blind, we’ve been “had” and we are being hoodwinked. Trust and Believe when it comes to justice for African Americans what we get is “Just Us”.

And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

My Heart – Prayers – and Support are with the Martin family, and may their son Rest in Peace.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

I’ll open this post with a Hmmmm! If you are among the 8,000 followers or one of the hundred thousand plus readers my words – I thank you - and if this is your first-time welcome.

I am looking forward to the comments and your thoughts with regard to the question. Since the Trayvon Martin assassination and the recent incident in Tulsa Oklahoma last week it begs the question or at least consideration of thought – “Does race matter?”

This is a conversation that most Caucasians struggle with, at least in an open or honest way, and most are scared to talk about race, and we aren’t any different. Now, African Americans see matters of race from a completely different perspective. It’s like; if you’ve felt the brunt of this wretched ideal you know it and see it.

The stories of oppression, racism, segregation and even slavery are very real and most African Americans have experienced it in one form or another and know it is real. Of course slavery was not physically visited upon us today by law. However, it exists mentally and institutionally.

You cannot view the history of America and not see that race has and still does matter. Naturally, the obvious differences in neighborhoods, employment, schools, and the legal system – causes one to ask why. I read a poll recently that said the Trayvon Martin story differed tremendously along political and racial lines. Many said, the murderer had a right to kill this child (white-conservatives) and others say absolutely not (Black-liberal). Personally, I side with the sane and not insane.

More to the point, there was a time in my life where I saw police trample peaceful protesters, marchers beaten in the streets, and fire hoses turned on people, American citizens called negro’s at the time, for asking and in most cases begging for the basic human right to live – it came to be known as Civil Rights. Then a few years prior to that, in the first half of the last half century, black men where lynched by the hundreds for entertainment. Yet, most of white America believed and by law supported these actions as moral.

Was this colorblindness that dictated these policies that allowed justice which is blind to permit the wretchedness of racism to exist in the hearts and minds of people? You may realize that whenever the conversation of race comes up; there is the usual quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “we want to judge people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” If the issue of race was that simple – the world would be a better place, but it’s not. So let’s talk about it – honestly.

Look at it this way, there was an old man who was bent over. Someone told him to stand up. The old man had been bent over so long – he said, “I thought I was!” And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Look in the Mirror

 I want to ask, you who are reading my words to look into the mirror and ask yourself: “Who am I?” This is important because you might, if honest, see a person that is the representative of your life. Let me explain, you say that you love a God who you have never seen; yet you do not love the man or woman who you can see.

You know you have prejudices that you were either taught or came to know though your experiences. White people in most cases are prejudice against blacks. Blacks are prejudice against whites, and blacks. Moreover, every nation on the face of the earth had a prejudice against someone mainly because they are different in some form. I might religion is often time a reason.

The Bible says, “The will be wars and rumors of wars”. This is very interesting because this speaks to the interest of those who have a vested interest in this brutality. I am going to be more specific and relate this to Pharaoh in the sense he was the entity that was in control of man; then came Mosses to set his people free with the promise of leading them to the promise land.

If you think about this and understand that your enemies have invested in your soul that old tried and true principle of divide and conquer. I say this specifically to address the issues that exist between the African American male and female. God created us (man and woman) to join in a union to live and to recreate in order to continue the species. Now, how is it that we have lost this simple teaching. The war against us is against all of us, both black men and women.

Our hope rests within us – not in what is inserted into us by an enemy. So black women, you’ve been had, hoodwinked, when you distance yourself for the black man. There is a biblical passage that says “you will reap what you sow”. You have a convent with the black man by virtue of your birth - your children need him and so do you.

Black men, you too must be that man you were created to be. The children you create - need you; that woman needs you. Being black, you know that we mean nothing to those of the other hue – I say it time to mean something to each other. I will not judge either, just saying, while I will remind you that scripture says, “Judge not lest you be in danger of being judged”. The ghosts of the greats who sacrificed their lives for you are watching!

It is time for you/me/us to think differently and make a change – and the time is now! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective on this day of resurrection…

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Our Resurrection

African American remains a nation of people living in a notion without a nationality. Some will say, America has a black president – how could that be? Well, this speaks to the institutions within the context of society that dictates the continuation of the system that exists within the country. It is because of this system, which has been in existence from the founding of America that has caused the demise of people of color.

Now, let me speak to the concept of leadership: Dr. Carter G. Woodson who wrote the powerful novel “The Mis-Education of the Negro” in 1933, or there about, challenged his readers to become empowered by doing for themselves.
He said: “Regardless of what we are taught history shows that it does not matter who is in power... those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they did in the beginning.” This speaks volumes.
I believe, if you can control a man is thinking you never have to worry about what he thinks. I will speak for me, no matter how messed up the world is and the minds of man; I am glad God made me! We must take responsibility for ourselves because life demands the survival of the fittest, just like in all other parts of the animal kingdom. As a people, African Americans have waited far too long and become much too dependent on those who are in charge of the system.

Therefore, I say it is time to remove the shackles of bondage that mentally remain in many communities and in the minds of man. Malcolm X once said, “We spend too much time singing and not enough time swinging”. Let me be clear, I did not repeat this statement to advocate violence. Rather to suggest that we have spent centuries believing, following, and listening to the messages communicated to us by those who control our destiny - making us believe that there is a better place for us when we are dead. I say we have a right to live NOW!

I want to propose an idea that could be the answer to our salvation. There is about 38 – 40 million African Americans living in America. If each person contributed one dollar per week; it would add up to forty million dollars. Multiply that time’s fifty-two weeks; that’s over two-trillion dollars annually. We have people who run some of the world’s largest corporations who could manage that money – invest it and make more money and as such many of the problems we face would go away.

Overtime we’ve won many civil rights battles, which should never have had to be fought as human beings. Yet, we still don’t have the necessities we need to survive. So I say, as tenacious beings, it is time for survival and the time is now - if for no other reason than for our children.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Message For Easter

Easter is the most important day Christian observe the world over because it is a celebration of deliverance, with Easter Week providing powerful imagery of faith. I have always been moved by this presentation of Jesus from a Catholic Eucharistic prayer: “To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation, to prisoners, freedom, and to those in sorrow, joy.”

Holy Thursday and the Last Supper have an ominous feel because they are in preparation of Good Friday and the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. Yet two days later, the tale ends in triumph and resurrection. Whatever questions Christians may have about the meaning of that empty tomb, most of us have experienced a sense of joy when the words “He is risen!”

The basis of Christianity is inextricably linked too and rooted in the idea of liberation. I have long seen the Exodus and Easter as twin narratives involving a release from oppression and the victory of freedom. These promises have left a permanent mark on the culture outside the traditions from which they sprang.

Yet even in the Easter season, it’s hard not to notice that most people of faith, like it has been with Christmas, have lost much of its message. What I mean is that it has been hijacked by man in the commercial sense and Christianity’s, many, do not project the true meaning of this day or present their faith in the best light.

For example, with the assassination of Trayvon Martin, and other criminal acts, mankind seems to have lost the understanding of the symbolic subordination of a rich tradition of social justice. What is more concerning is that popular Christianity often seems to denigrate rather than celebrate intellectual life or critical inquiry into injustices within our society.

What I would like to suggest, as with the civil rights movement, is that the church or at least Christians must not be disengaged from politics. In fact, the early Christian movement was born in politics. If you can recall, Jesus died in opposition of injustice for the least of Thee. I know there is great debate over how to understand the relationship between Jesus’ spirituality and his approach to politics, but his preaching clearly challenged the powers-that-be. He was, after all, crucified.

Now, if we truly claim the life of Jesus Christ is true, then we should be among the most active, most serious and most-open minded advocates for justice. So if Easter is about liberation, this liberation must include intellectual freedom and the right to fair and equal justice.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspectives!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Snake

My Granddaddy use to tell me fascinating stories designed to make me a man. In fact, he would tell me every day that “I raised you to be a man and as a man, you don’t know what you may have to do but when the time comes, you do it.” He said it so often throughout my youth that it was embedded into my mind and to this very day a warm smile appears “when I have to do it”.

I loved this wise man more than life itself. I knew, even then, his teachings were an inspired declaration of his celestial will or more simply put - his vision that shaped my destiny and it defined my purpose. Pop’s would teach me lessons, often times, like an Aesop Fables to make me think and it was my job to figure out the moral of the story.

This is my favorite:

The way the story was told to me, Granddaddy’s friend, Mr. Bob whose job was to offer a prayer every Sunday morning at church during the service prior to the preacher’s sermon, a job he had held for years. Sunday was a special day for the community, and for him to have a position where he would have the attention of everyone was a big deal. More accurately stated it was a platform for him to perform. He would have been a great entertainer.

Mr. Bob would walk to church every Sunday morning, rain or shine, from his home. The trip was several miles up and down hills and around curves, and he would be dressed in his best suit for the morning service. During the walk he would practice his part for the service, the prayer, with the intention of making it a show complete with screams and tears. This show would sometimes last thirty minutes. There were many Sundays one would wonder how one man could have so much to ask of the Lord and maybe say, please, let somebody else get a blessing.

On his way to church this particular Sunday, Mr. Bob came across an injured snake. In what he perceived as divine intervention, God said to him, help this poor creature. He realized he did not have a prayer for that day’s service, so he thought, wow, if I help the snake I can pray for us to have the strength to help all of God’s creatures. Since the snake is the lowliest of all creatures, this would really inspire the congregation and hopefully give them the encouragement to do the same at least until next Sunday’s message. So he picked up the badly injured snake and placed him in a safe place until he could return from church.

With great energy, and now inspired, Mr. Bob went on his way. He planned and practiced his prayer as he marched on to church. After he arrived and exchanged a few greetings, the service began with a joyful noise, as they say, meaning full of song. Then it was his turn to pray. He began to pray with a powerful tone, full of emotion. He asked God to give each person within the sound of his voice the strength to reach out and help all God’s creatures, from the loving dove to the lowly snake. His message had many in the tiny church standing with shouts of Amen. He felt he had done his job as he closed, asking God to bless the church and said Amen. In his usual style this took about a half hour.

To his surprise, the pastor also chose a sermon nearly identical to his message which took about another hour and a half, talking about helping all of God’s creatures. What a great day it was, Mr. Bob thought. Normally after the service ended everyone hung around and fellowshipped as it was one of the few chances they had to socialize. Mr. Bob would not hang around on this day - he had a mission and left church in a hurry. He rushed back to the spot where his injured snake was placed hoping it would still be there. He was very excited when he arrived to find it was where he left it. He put his snake in a burlap bag he had gotten from the church and took the snake home.

Over the next several weeks Mr. Bob cared for this creature, desperately trying to save the snake and nursing it back to health. About three weeks later he thought it was time to take his snake back to where he found it, thinking it was well enough to be set free. The following Sunday, he put on his best suit and started his journey to church with snake in hand. As he arrived at the spot where he had found it, he thought, what a wonderful thing he had done. He was sure to receive God’s blessing for this act of kindness.

He rubbed the snake gently and said goodbye. However, when he reached into the bag to grab it, suddenly the snake raised his head and bit him. Then bit him again and again. Mr. Bob cried out, “Why would you bite me after all I’ve done for you? My God why?” I guess he was expecting an answer from God, but none came. He repeated his cry once more. Then the snake stuck his head out of the bag and said, “I am a snake and that’s what we do.”After hearing this story over and over again, I finally figured out what it meant. It was a lesson that would prove to be invaluable.

Be careful in your dealings with people because people, just like the snake, will hurt you - that’s what they do.

And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective!

Taken from the phenomenal novel "Just a Season"
© All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"We Shall Over Come"

This post dedicated to the life and memory of the “THE KING”!

Today marks the forty-forth year since that day that will live in infamy – the cruel and wanton act that killed Dr. Martin Luther King - the victim of an assassination.  I deplored it then and still do! Men of good will, noble purpose and pacific impulses enjoy no immunity from violence – I understand that and know that there is a special place on the other side of hell for all of those involved. It is possible to kill men like Martin Luther King, but the ideas for which they stand are never indestructible.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land.”

“My husband was a man who hoped to be a Baptist preacher to a large, Southern, urban congregation. Instead, by the time he died in 1968, he had led millions of people into shattering forever the Southern system of segregation of the races.” ~ Coretta Scott King (1927-2006)

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.”

“Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

“I submit that an individual who breaks the law that conscience tells him is unjust and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.”

“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”

“He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

“From every mountainside, let freedom ring. When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?” But… the good Samaritan reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

“Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.”

“I submit to you that if a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

“If physical death is the price that I must pay to free my white brothers and sisters from a permanent death of the spirit, then nothing can be more redemptive.”
Legacy – A New Season is coming!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

As I see it

History is never old; it is just refashioned as His-Story. If you follow my words you have heard me say that the greatest crime the world has ever known occurred that day in August of 1619, when the first Africans were dragged onto the shores of this country. I have given that some thought and want to add a caveat to that claim.

I would argue that the foundation or the beginning of this ideology, slavery, happened in 1492 when this guy that history tells us, was lost, and landed in the Caribbean calling it the “New World”. It is interesting that they phrased it this way because where Columbus landed - this place was not new at all – there were people living there thriving. Now, don’t forget history tells us “he thought the world was flat”.

I say what happened that day Columbus put in motion what lead to all of the crimes that were to follow. It was the foundation of what came to be established in terms of racism, as “Manifest Destiny”. What this means is that people of European decent had domain over all that existed in the world – its people and their possessions. Sort of like what we see now with the tyrants and criminals on Wall Street who orchestrate what I call “White Collar Crooks”.

You see, this principle means this think or principle makes them feel entitled or have the right to reduce all to servitude. We are being robbed by the robber barons and banks, which makes us slaves to the system. Just look at the conservative political movement. Their mission is to support the interest of the one percent of the wealthy not the 99 percent of Americans who are servants to their power.

Now, consider who their candidate is whose running for the president of the United States. A place that really does not seem very united today. Mitt, the rich man, is a man who built his wealth via this principle. Do you think he can relate to us and do you want him as president?

All I am saying is this principle of Manifest Destiny speaks directly to the conservative principles they are trying to sell us. And again, I say history is never old. Don’t forget we lived through the years of Bush and these republicans will make him look like a Cub Scout.

And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Recreation of the Murder

This video is intended to extend the conversation about the tragic death of Trayvon Martin and what it says about societal stereotypes. We do not claim to have the answers. We are starting with the questions hoping to find new ways to keep the dialog going until we, as a nation can find the answers together.

Please share with your email and social media contacts, then follow up with a dialog. Talk to your friends and family, co-workers and acquaintances, search for answers then share those answers with others. We must begin to educate each other and challenge our own deep seeded beliefs, in an effort to end bigotry, racial profiling and stereotyping.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

T.D. Jakes’ On Trayvon Martin Killing

The Good Reverend T.D. Jakes got emotional when asked a question about Trayvon Martin and getting justice for his death. Jakes explained why this case is bigger than Trayvon and what we all should take from this tragic loss.

“Amongst all the children that are lost every day, sometimes there is a catastrophic event that captures the fascination of masses of people and they become the icon of a bigger issue that is indicative of the society in which we live.”

This more that I can say but it is a Thought Provoking Perspective...