Friday, January 31, 2014
Black History Month will soon be underway and I would be remised I did not pay homage to Alex Haley's groundbreaking television mini-series, “Roots”. This powerful story was the first time African Americans, or dare I say, the world got to see and feel the slave experience. Sure we have seen pictures and read books but the visual presentation of the mini-series was an eye opening experience for most who witnessed the epic story. It remains one of the highest rated television shows of all time.
The story chronicles the life of an African boy living in Gambia, West Africa in 1750. The main character, Kunta Kinte, was trying to carry out a simple task to catch a bird when he sees white men carrying firearms, along with their black collaborators. He is captured by these black collaborators under the direction of white men, sold to a slave trader and placed aboard a ship to endure the Middle Passage for the long journey to America.
The ship eventually arrives in Annapolis, Maryland, where the captured Africans are sold at auction as slaves. Kunta was sold to a Virginia plantation who him the name Toby. The owner of the plantation assigns an older slave, Fiddler, to teach him to speak English, and to train him in the ways of living and working as a chattel slave. Kunta in a persistent struggle to become free makes several unsuccessful attempts to escape to preserve his Mandinka heritage and maintain his Mandinka roots.
The most chilling aspect of the story, for me, was when an overseer gathers the slaves and directs one of them to whip Kunta after his latest attempt to escape and continues whipping him until he finally acknowledges his new name. Then to settle a debt to his brother, the owner transfers several of his slaves, including Toby and Fiddler, to another plantation where Kunta tries again to escape and a pair of slave catchers seize him, bind him, and chop off half his right foot to limit his ability to run away again.
As we watched the mini-series, it took us on a journey through generations of suffering until the climax where Chicken George, Haley’s grandfather, accumulated enough money to move his family to Tennessee to what was as close to freedom as they could hope for at the time. Chicken George purchased land based on the concept “God Bless the child that has his own”.
I don’t want to tell the whole story because I am sure you know it. If not the movie is well worth viewing again and again. There were those then and some now, who say the epic journey of Kunta Kinte was a myth and that it was mere fiction. Those are the people who refuse to understand or see the wretchedness of the state sectioned institution of slavery. To these people, unfortunately this is the foundation of America and for African Americans this is our sorted legacy that I will argue remain scares untreated to this very day.
I’ll end by sharing these words by Maya Angelou: “history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” We need to see this story and it was shown at the right time for us to understand! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…
Thursday, January 30, 2014
In a few days, America will celebrate a month of Black history. This year, let us be more broad minded to where we will look at Black History Month through the prism of American History. It is a fact that there would be no America without us.
Therefore, I suggest as we journey through the twenty-eight days, let’s take a look at yourself and free your mind. Look into a mirror and ask: “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 before you who you can see. You will say that you love God; ask yourself do you.
You know you have prejudices that you were either taught or came to know base upon your experiences. White people in most cases are prejudice against blacks and everyone else. Blacks are prejudice against whites, and blacks. Moreover, every nation on the face of the earth has a prejudice against someone mainly because they are different. I am going to suggest that religion oft-time is also a reason.
If you think about this and understand that your enemies have invested in your soul, which is a 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 understanding designed by our creator? 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 mother needs you. Being black means nothing to those of the other hue – I say it’s time to mean something to each other. I will not judge - 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 ...
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
I was unable to reblog this article from India Arie’s Tumblr Page. There I have shared her open letter via Thought Provoking Perspectives. The outspoken singer addresses and issue that many in the African American community have complained about for a long time. Now, musicians and artist are now speaking out. What are your thoughts?
The outspoken singer India Arie, who is not afraid to speak her mind, let loose after the Grammys for 2014. Speaking along with a chorus of many other black performers who are determining that the Grammys are virtually worthless, Arie gave her honest opinions about this and other musical awards shows, which are focused mainly on awarding popularity and sales, but only concerned with musical quality as a complete afterthought.
Writing on her tumblr page, Arie started off by stating that the “Music industry’s biggest night” is not what it’s cracked up to be:
Though it’s called “Music industries biggest night” the #Grammys are NOT about the music, it’s a popularity contest. The voting process allows people, to vote on name recognition alone – the music industry politics is a whole NUTHER conversation. Too much to go into here.
The American Music Awards is a show that awards sales and popularity – the #Grammys are SAID to be about the music.
Arie, who is known for producing conscious and authentically black music, also says that the African American musical community loses when its best artists are not represented at the show every year. She says that this is a consistent pattern of denial and embarrassment toward the black musical community that simply should not be tolerated.
NOW the BIGGER losers, are ALL of black music. Where was the black music community represented in last nights #Grammy show? Performers and Winners (or not) … Where were the black artists?
And this isn’t the first time the #Grammy’s has had a show all but excluding young black America and black artists in general, although we set the worlds musical trends. Why NOT televise the lifetime achievement awards of the Isley Brothers? SURELY they deserved to be on televised stage LAST NIGHT! While other artists were on stage TWICE?
So, India Arie makes some valid points in her letter, which leads to an open question: Why don’t black artists simply boycott the Grammys? Rather than complaining about the Grammys to people who don’t care, she might be able to mobilize other artists who think the same way and get them to join her in a battle against the awards show by simply not showing up. Her complaints about the Grammys are nothing new and have been around for 40 years. Is it time to do something or just keep getting upset because someone else is choosing not to acknowledge you?
Sunday, January 26, 2014
It gives me great pleasure to introduce Kathryn Sabir-Beach, who will be a frequent contributor to Thought Provoking Perspectives. This profound lady of thought will offer writings concerning issues that are of interest to women. Moreover, she is a budding poet and will share some of her poetry. Kathryn is new to the literary world but aspires to one day become an English Professor, as she strives to hone her creative writing skills.
Kathryn is a Honolulu native currently living in the Washington DC Metro area seeking to live a childhood dream to touch the hearts and souls of the world through her passion and literary skills. Her passion has been confined or maybe caged within for far too long and now have expressed a strong desire for it to be free. Kathryn is currently working on her first book with hopes of its release later this year. I am very pleased and take great pleasure in allowing this very special lady the opportunity to offer her expressions through this vehicle.
Through one of our communications with Kathryn she remarked: “I want my passion and devotion for the written word to be the mirror of my mind for all to see.” I was profoundly impressed with that statement and compelled to lend my assistance to a young woman who has the drive and creativity to touch the minds of mankind. I believe the rent for our existence is to be of service to the benefit of others. Therefore, I cordially ask that you welcome my friend as warmly as I have and feel the passion that comes from deep within her soul.
I'll love you until tomorrow,
and since tomorrow will never come,
I'll love you until forever,
until there Is no moon or sun.
We’ll do this together, I promise,
and my promise is no lie.
I would fight the world for you
until our souls may fly.
and since tomorrow will never come,
I'll love you until forever,
until there Is no moon or sun.
We’ll do this together, I promise,
and my promise is no lie.
I would fight the world for you
until our souls may fly.
So breathe in this peace I offer you
feel it in your soul.
Breathe out the pain that's followed you,
before the darkness swallows you whole.
The love I've grown to love is beautifully untold.
It was vowed, mine to have and hold.
feel it in your soul.
Breathe out the pain that's followed you,
before the darkness swallows you whole.
The love I've grown to love is beautifully untold.
It was vowed, mine to have and hold.
There’s no need to fret my dear.Know deeply that I love you.
For your love is protected here.
If a smile it may bring,
I would fight the world for you
until all sorrows learn to sing.
For your love is protected here.
If a smile it may bring,
I would fight the world for you
until all sorrows learn to sing.
Trust deeply that I care.
Even when your sun has set
this darkness we will share.
For I'll love you until tomorrow.
And if tomorrow never comes,
you'll be loved until you're forever, until our souls may fly as one.
Kathryn Sabir-Beach © 2014
Saturday, January 25, 2014
The Republican Party (GOP) is really interesting to watch these days; frankly that is an understatement! Two of the parties shining stars are alleged to have been less than ethical in doing the public’s business. I have said many times that “If you follow the money, you will also get the correct answer”. The interesting thing about both of their situations, even though it appears that they did have their fingers in the cookie jar, they stand before us self-righteous pretending not to be crooks. I remember a guy named “Tricky Dick” who did the same thing and we saw how that turned out.
As a result, now the deck gets shuffled because both of these guys are done. Unfortunately, these two, the Golden Boys, were suppose to be the cream of the crop, which means the GOP now has to deal from the bottom of the deck, and my lord there are some really bad cards in the deck. In my view, this is emblematic of the GOP whose mantra is to preach righteousness while they practice deception. Both of the situations that involve these two are simple about “greed”.
Both of these guys had presidential aspirations with strong conservatives support. Could you imagine having men like these two being in the most powerful position in the world? But then, we have seen them before in the likes of, in my view, all of the republican presidents since “Ike” had similar fallacies. And to be honest, we have not had a president in eighty years to think of the middle class and none since Johnson that showed an interest in African Americans.
So let’s look at some of the other cards in the deck where there are the same noise makers being recycled. There is always the possibility of Caribou Barbie, Mr. Huckaberry, Perry, the Cruz Missile, the Cuban, and others just as or more extreme that are in the equation, as prospects who are down-right frightening. But of all of these characters there is one, who is also extreme but the other make him looks like a moderate. Mr. Paul speaks well and has become more seasoned as a politician. However, his past is recorded and that past is ominous.
What concerns me about Mr. Paul, who became a cult figure among libertarians and Tea Party activists, not unlike his father, both known for marching to a different drummer. This republican has little regard for the GOP party line and believes in a philosophy that might best be described as radical individual freedom and privatizing as many functions as possible to reduce government to its barest bones.
In a past interview Paul has said, he could not bring himself to endorse the Americans with Disabilities Act or the Civil Rights Act of 1964. "I think there's a lot to be desired in the Civil Rights Act... I haven't read all through it, because it was passed 40 years ago and hadn't been a real pressing issue on the campaign whether I'm going to vote for the Civil Rights Act" suggesting that he might not have voted for it if he was around. In addition, he continued with his view that businesses should not be forced by government to adopt anti-discrimination rules. He had to be dragged into recognizing some of the largest moral achievements of recent American history, while still suggesting that the country should go back to the days of old.
It's simply astonishing in this day and age that a possible nominee for anything would try to breathe life into the long discredited notion that the Constitution might protect an individual business owner's 'right' to exclude customers on the basis of race. Sometimes saying nothing is worst that saying what you really mean but I can hear what he is not saying. This philosophy has the virtue of being easily explainable and the drawback of being impossible. Separate but equal is the remedy for what was not accomplished during the last eight years, which I suppose is the message that he wants to return to those days.
The current federal role did not grow primarily because of the statist ambitions of liberals; it grew in response to democratic choices and global challenges. Federal power advanced to rescue the elderly from penury, to enforce civil rights laws, to establish a stable regulatory framework for a modern economy, and to force by law a wicked system that was designed to suppress the helpless. I might add that these are the same people who benefit from these same government handouts.
There are reasons why movements were necessary and gains achieved. This it is not black people along seeks equality and they have attached women. If you know anything – the worst thing you can do is to scorn a women. Therefore, I am certain they will pay a price in November. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…
Friday, January 24, 2014
It is often stated the knowledge is power, which could be true. However, it is my opinion that a more factual assessment of that statement is that “Information is Power. Malcolm X use to say, MAKE IT PLAIN! When he would say it he was about to drop some powerful knowledge, which would give you a view that you thought but was afraid to say out load. Let us remember African American history was never told. In fact, it was until sometime in the twentieth century that birth certificates were issued for Negroes.
Truth was and has been always been denied to this cultural group of people. Today we access to information and can find the truth. Therefore, I will say again that “Our story is the Greatest Story Ever Told”. I always pay homage to the ghosts of the greats who paved a might trail for us to walk. I think we have a responsibility to be empowered and to teach our truth to others. I was blessed to have had the privilege to live during the civil rights era to witness groups and individuals fight to end racial segregation and the unequal treatment of African-Americans.
I have added a few of the many significant links to events and about some of the brave and courageous solders in the army that changed America, and dare I say, the world. History unknown and its unlearned lessons are as ominous as death. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…
Events in the Civil Rights Movement
- Civil Rights Movement
- Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)
- Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955)
- Integration of Central High School (1957)
- Greensboro Sit-In and the Sit-In Movement (1960)
- Freedom Rides (1961)
- Integration of Ole Miss (1962)
- March on Washington (1963)
- Birmingham Church Bombing (1963)
- Freedom Summer (1964)
- Civil Rights Act (1964)
- Selma to Montgomery March (1965)
- Voting Rights Act (1965)
- Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. (1968)
Solders of the Civil Rights Movement
- Martin Luther King Jr.
- Rosa Parks
- Malcolm X
- Stokely Carmichael
- Thurgood Marshall
- Medgar Evars
- Jesse Jackson
- Fannie Lou Hamer
- Emmett Till
- Congress of Racial Equality (CORE)
- Studen Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
- National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
I receive lots of distasteful comments concerning the content posted on Thought Provoking Perspectives regarding African American history. I am called a “race hustler” often and I am continuously told to “get over it” as if my articles are not factual. Although, it is true that America is better than most countries on the planet. It cannot be proud of its despicable past.
To those who use Klan tactics hiding behind the computer screen under the name “Anonymous” know that your bigoted rants cannot change what your ancestors did to African Americas and the Native Americas.
For example, attorneys will present evidence in South Caroline in a case they feel warrants a new trial for George Stinney, Jr. If you don’t know the name. George Stinney was a 14-year-old Black teenager who was put to death for the murders of two White girls nearly seventy years ago. Why is he significant? Stinney was the youngest person executed in the United States last century, that we know of, but there is no official record of the day-long trial in which the boy's fate was decided in a mere ten minutes after the defense and prosecution rested their cases.
It is widely believed that Stinney did not commit the murders and was instead used as the scape-goat for a town blindly seeking revenge for the girls. This type of behavior or dare I say murder was often imposed on blacks and sanctioned under the cover of law. I am really not sure if there will be a positive outcome, after all the argument for a new trial is in South Carolina. But the boy's family will try and prove that Stinney's conviction was tried under the most egregious of circumstances and that a new trial is in order.
Observers say, their efforts to reopen the case is a long shot at best, according to news reports. Solicitor Ernest "Chip" Finney III, the prosecutor who will appear at the hearing this week for the state said, "There's not going to be enough evidence to open it up."
Here is some background on the case reported by Newsone:
When two White girls, 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 8-year-old Mary Emma Thames, went missing in Alcolu, S.C., on March 22, 1944, after riding in to town on their bicycles, Stinney was arrested the following day for allegedly murdering them.The girls had allegedly passed Stinney’s home, where they asked him where they could find a particular kind of flower. Once the girls did not return home, hundreds of volunteers looked for them until their bodies were found the next morning in a ditch.Because Stinney joined the search team and shared with another volunteer that he had spoken to the girls before they disappeared, he was arrested for their murders.Without his parents, Stinney was interrogated by several White officers for hours. A deputy eventually emerged announcing that Stinney had confessed to the girls’ murders. The young boy allegedly told the deputies that he wanted to have sex with the 11-year-old girl, but had to kill the younger one to do it. When the 8-year-old supposedly refused to leave, he allegedly killed both of them because they refused his sexual advances.To coerce his confession, deputies reportedly offered the child an ice cream cone.There is no record of a confession. No physical evidence that he committed the crime exists. His trial — if you want to call it that — lasted less than two hours. No witnesses were called. No defense evidence was presented. And the all-White jury deliberated for all of 10 minutes before sentencing him to death.On June 16, 1944, his frail, 5-foot-1, 95-pound body was strapped in to an electric chair at a state correctional facility in Columbia, S.C. Dictionaries had to be stacked on the seat of the chair so that he could properly sit in the seat. But even that didn’t help. When the first jolts of electricity hit him, the head mask reportedly slipped off, revealing the agony on his face and the tears streaming down his cheeks. Only after several more jolts of electricity did the boy die.While no surviving participants from the trial are around to testify, people who claim to have known Stinney are. In a recent interview with the Post and Courier, friends of the slain girls said that they are convinced that Stinney was guilty:Sadie Duke said she always believed Stinney was guilty because only a day before, he had threatened her and her friend Violet Freeman as they went to a church to collect water.“He said, ‘If you don’t get away from here and if you ever come back, I will kill you,’” Duke said.Evelyn Roberson, who was 15 at the time of the crime, said her husband often fought with Stinney as they tended cows near the town. “They called the (Stinney) boy ‘Bully’ because he was so bad to everybody,” she said. “Everybody he met he wanted to fight.”Roberson said Stinney first confessed to the crime to his grandmother, who called the authorities. “I don’t feel like it’s an open case,” she said. “I think he did it, and he should have gotten punished for it and he did.”Bob Ridgeway of Manning said he was 13 at the time and remembers his father joining the search party for the girls, and the mill whistle blowing for a long time, signaling that their bodies were found and the search was over. “There was never any question in anybody’s mind to my knowledge that he did it,” he said.
There is no dispute regarding the injustice inflected on African Americas, then and now. When there was no Internet or available access to information atrocities happened without regard to morals. Remember, Jim Crow was the law of the land and therefore, it was easy for those in power to do the most despicable acts.
The Tea Party and the conservatives shout vociferously that they want their country back. This may well be what they are asking for! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
The 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington in 1963 for Jobs and Freedom, a watershed moment, has recently been celebrated. Yet, the African American in particular, is poorer and in a worse position now, than in 1963. In America, the premise of the American system dictates that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer!
However, we must be mindful that it was not a welcomed event as most of white America and the Kennedy Administration were very much against the March on Washington for equality. In fact, a survey at the time records that most of white America stated “the negro is happy”, therefore, the request for equality is coming from a few outside agitators. In spite of a quarter of a million people walked, rode buses and trains to make the statement that they are just plain wrong.
I'm not saying that there has not been significant and important progress in the last 50 years. Surely for some, but if Dr. King were to have an opinion – he would be very displeased. I don't profess to be as honorable or noteworthy as some of our so-called leaders but the disparity between black Americans and white Americans when it comes to jobs, income, healthcare and wealth remain vast and much too large. When you look at the urban communities - the African American plight is worse than ever in most categories.
Recently, several organizations gathered for the release of the annual "State of Black America" report, which highlighted the economic forecast for African Americans. Although the report is presented annually, this year, the Urban League commissioned a half-century study to commemorate the 1963 March on Washington.
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chair Marcia Fudge reported that “the unemployment rate is double for blacks than for whites, we've lost more homes to foreclosure than whites and we've lost more wealth than whites”. Yet, they say the percentage of blacks living in poverty has declined 23 points and the percentage of black children living in poverty is down by 22 points since 1963.
A point to note, the march was prior to the signing of any of the landmark civil rights legislation which adds little credibility to that statement. It is also noteworthy to remember that at that time, in 1963, Jim Crow was the law of the land and its restrictions did not allow us to use the same bathrooms or eat at lunch counters. So, if you consider this environment - minimal gains have been made to be viewed as great progress.
The report credits the civil rights measures that were enacted to open the doors of opportunity for blacks in education and standards of living. Rep. Chaka Fattah said, "It is without contradiction that African Americans have made extraordinary progress in the report... But, compared to the majority, we still have some room to grow". I wonder if his constituents would agree in Philadelphia. Moreover, the civil rights of people of color only took about three hundred years to achieve.
Morial then said, as the budget debate continues in Washington on whether to cut critical program funding, the "State of Black America 2013" highlights a harsh reality. "Budget cutting fever will cause economic pneumonia. If we are to move toward a lasting economic recovery, full equality and empowerment, we must apply sustainable solutions keenly focusing on jobs for all Americans and closing the gaps that result in a tale of two Americas”.
I will tell you that I have lived long enough to have witnessed and know that people will say anything, regardless of complication, on any subject. Many will say “there is no race problem because there’s a black president. Or they will point to the few, out 42 million, successful African Americans as progress. But the reality is most African Americans see the remnants of the Dr. King's Dream more as a “Nightmare”. I have to say from my vantage point the forecast looks GRIM! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…
Monday, January 20, 2014
On this great day, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday is wonderfully inspiring to behold. The ethos of the body King touches my spirit each January during the celebration of his day. As far as I’m concerned he was the most revered leader of our time.
Dr. King's legacy was to secure progress of civil rights for the American Negro and poor people in the United States, and for this reason he has become a human rights icon recognized as a martyr. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, a National Holiday, and will be honored with a monument on the Washington Mall in DC.
Although, his true story has been sanitized to where most view him as a dreamer. This characterization of his is not correct. Let us remember Dr. King as the revolutionary he was; he, like Moses, saw this country as the Egypt of our time. I would ask that you listen to “The King” in his own words. The attached video is, in my view, one of his most succinctly clearly spoken words concerning the American Myth.
LISTEN TO DR. KING IN HIS OWN WORDS
HAPPY KING DAY! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…
Sunday, January 19, 2014
In September 1958, Dr. King was an emerging activist who was hosting a book signing for his book, “Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story” at Blumstein Department Store in Harlem, New York. On that day Dr. Martin Luther King was almost taken from us. Imagine what our lives and the world would be like today – if he had not survived the attack. Not many people know the name Izola Curry or that Dr. King barely escaped death that day.
While signing books, Dr. King was approached by a 42-year-old black woman, Izola Ware Curry, who asked if he was really Martin Luther King Jr. After responding yes, witnesses say Curry promptly took a letter opener out of her purse, closed her eyes and plunged it into Dr. King’s chest.
With the help of local police officers, first responders and the Harlem Hospital surgical team, Dr. King fortunately survived the stabbing, but doctors said because the opener grazed the surface of his aorta, if she had stabbed harder or if someone removed the object improperly, he probably would have drowned in his own blood.
“If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had had. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been down in Selma, Alabama to see the great movement there,” Dr. King famously said ten years after the incident in his last speech, ”I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.”
While local media reported Dr. King’s attempted assassination in the following weeks, the story did not become national news because he was not a prominent public figure at the time.
But mystery remains surrounding attacker Izola Curry. Who was she? What happened to her? And why did this woman attempt to kill one of the greatest civil rights leaders?
Two filmmakers claim that their upcoming documentary, When Harlem Saved A King, will answer all of these questions and also shed light into Curry’s life, who has remained, as of now, virtually unknown to the public.
“Everybody is fascinated with this story about Dr. Martin Luther King. Everything you hear about him is from history books, but this puts a different spin on Dr. Martin Luther King’s rise to fame and it’s absolutely true,” says executive producer Wayne Davis in an interview with theGrio.
While the mystery behind Curry is alluring to historians and the public alike, both the director, Al Cohen, and Davis, say their film will also pay homage to the “unsung heroes” from the Harlem community who helped save Dr. King’s life.
“Harlem was never given a badge of honor as it relates assisting in the Civil Rights Movement. This particular project that we’re doing helps bring that shade to the Harlem community. We can stand up tall and realize that we had a very major impact in the Civil Rights Movement,” said director Al Cohen in the interview.
The two Harlem natives have spent the past several years researching and tracking down firsthand sources and information to figure out what happened to Curry and community members who played a role in saving Dr. King.
“The objective of When Harlem Saved a King is to unravel mysteries, expose secrets and misconceptions; and answer unanswered questions. The pieces of this untold story will be woven into a compelling 60 minutes through the creative integration of eye-opening interviews [with firsthand witnesses],” according to the documentary’s website.
After the stabbing incident, Curry was taken into custody and was found to be incompetent to stand trial for assault charges. She was later diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and was committed to the Matteawan State Hospital for the criminally insane according to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute.
Although the media portrayed Curry as a deranged woman with no real motive to kill Dr. King, both Cohen and Davis say that they have compelling evidence that Curry may have been part of a larger conspiracy to thwart the impending Civil Rights Movement.
“I think people will find an ironic twist about [the story]. Many said she was deranged woman, but it could possibly something bigger than that, a bigger conspiracy,” says Cohen. “It’s not just a crazy woman who got in an argument against [Dr. King] and just wanted to defend herself. It was more calculated than that.”
“For a deranged woman who acted solo, why was a lot of money in the south raised for her defense?” adds Davis. “That’s all I want to say. You will find out in the documentary what happened to her.”
Additionally, there are no records indicating Curry died at the mental institution and if she is still alive, she would be 96 years old today. Cohen and Davis say that the documentary will be groundbreaking because it will reveal what happened to Curry and if they were able to locate her.
“Nobody was ever able to get to [Izola Curry]. We have no information or any interviews or any leads about this woman, [except] the things we have found,” explains Cohen. “There is nobody out there that anybody has spoken to her outside of what we have found.”
The two filmmakers promoted their documentary throughout Black History Month to shed light onto a part of African-American history that has almost been forgotten. Just last week, the two hosted a screening of the trailer at Harlem Hospital.
“If Dr. King had died, would we be here talking with you today? We don’t know!” says Davis. “Maybe [the Civil Rights Movement] wouldn’t have progressed as soon as it did. Maybe it wouldn’t have progressed at all.”
The two filmmakers say that they are currently finishing the film’s production and they hope to premiere the documentary at the end of July.
I think this is a worthwhile project and one we should support. Therefore, I am reposting the article originally posted on theGrio to lend my support of this historical documentary. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective.
Webpage: When Harlem Saved A King
Saturday, January 18, 2014
I wrote this piece sometime ago, but I thought it was appropriate to share it on this celebratory weekend of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King. It is relevant because some have proclaimed that a slave is born. I do not agree with this notion because a slave is made by means of a defined calculated and well thought-out plan devised for the purpose of being a beast of burden.
We know the reasons for this atrocity. It was done to build a nation on the back of human beings to obtain wealth. But what is not understood, en mass, is how it was designed to be sustainable or that slavery continues in varying forms overtime and this footnote to history seems to go unnoticed. For example, today's prison system does the same thing to minorities who are over represented in the system.
This reminds me of the powerful words Harriet Tubman expressed succinctly concerning the effectiveness of this system of mental conditioning. She was asked shortly before her death, if she knew how many slaves she freed while conducting the Underground Railroad. She did not think about it, replying quickly, “I could have freed a lot more, if they had only known they were slaves.”
From that day in 1619, when it is believed the first Africans were dragged onto the shores of Jamestown to today where we’ve witnessed the first man of color elected President of these United States (or as Jesse would put it – from the outhouse to the White House), there is no doubt that our story is the greatest story ever told. As it was said in scripture, “the first shall be last and the last shall be first.” But let’s understand that there was a plan, a sinister master plan, conceived at some point to ensure that people of our hue remain the least of thee.
As the story goes, a British slave owner from the West Indies was invited to Virginia sometime during the year 1712 to teach his methods to slave owners. Willie Lynch was the name of the man credited with a speech delivered on the banks of the James River. It is noteworthy to mention that the James River was named for the diabolical King of England, who was ironically the same guy responsible for the twenty-eighth version of the cherished Holy Bible.
Lynch brought with him, as he put it, a foolproof method for controlling black slaves that will last for a thousand years. Consequently, it is believed the term “lynching” was derived from his last name as a way to pay homage to him for delivering this ingenious approach. The name Willie Lynch is interesting because it may be a simple play on words. For example, Will Lynch or Will he Lynch. Whatever the reason, it no doubt had significant psychological implications that played heavily on a naive race of people.
Lynch began his historic presentation with a warm greeting: “Gentlemen, you know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems. I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them. In my bag here, I have a foolproof method for controlling your black slaves. I guarantee every one of you that if installed correctly it will control the slaves for at least three hundred years. My method is simple…The black slave after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self refueling and self generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands….” The seeds of devastation were fertilized and the process of destruction was underway for the making of a race into slaves.
In the speech, Lynch outlined a number of differences among the slaves. He stressed to his audience that they should take these differences and make them bigger. These differences included such things as age, color, intelligence, fine hair vs. coarse hair, tall vs. short, male vs. female. These tactics were not new; however they were more than likely put together collectively for this specific purpose for the first time as keys to control.
This short eight paragraph speech was profound in that it was the embodiment of the cruelest demoralizing agenda ever imposed upon a people since the days when the Romans crucified our Lord. As Lynch closed his speech that day, he said, “They must love, respect, and trust only us.” This is the key to producing a successful strategy. Whether this story is true or not is cause for much speculation. However, as history demonstrates, a manufactured plan was developed by someone to achieve these results that continue to this day.
The Willie Lynch letter first appeared in the early 1970’s but gained widespread notice during the nineties, when it began appearing on the Internet. Since then, it has often been promoted as an authentic account of slavery during the 18th century, but its inaccuracies and anachronisms have led historians to conclude that it is a hoax. Let’s be honest, I don’t think any reasonable person would think that those persons present, if there was a meeting, took written notes. However, the same reasonable thinking person can see that there was a designed plan created by someone in order to sustain such division. It may have been something as simple as “divide and conquer.”
So let’s suppose the Willie Lynch story is a modern creation; either the concept was ingenious or the biggest urban myth ever. Then it begs the question, why are we still fighting amongst ourselves. Further, how can the ruling people, or anyone for that matter, justify a philosophy for building and maintaining a government which sanctioned murder, among other atrocities, to enslave human beings? This I know, and mind you I was not taught this in school nor did anyone explain that the government, through legislative sessions, passed laws to ensure that our bondage was sustained.
This wicked system was sanctioned by the church in the name of God. Therefore, it is important to understand, when the church endorsed slavery and the vehicle that drove it, this meant in the eyes of the system that God himself authorized this immoral agenda. If this was the mentality of the church, and it is a historical fact that religion sanctioned and justified enslaving people for centuries. It begs the question, does that mentality still exist?
When I look at the mass and over population of today’s prisons with mostly people of color; I don’t see much difference than the chains around ones neck or on the wrists. And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective...
Friday, January 17, 2014
It is always a great pleasure for me pay homage to the ghost of the greats who made a huge impact on the world and the lives of us who live in it. Today, artists have one or two hits and they are called legends. I find this laughable because, frankly, there is no body of work, in most cases, to support the label or prove worthy of attention. Black artists and icons have mastered their craft and created genres that will last forever.
NO ONE did it better than the man we affectionately call “Teddy” - Theodore Pendergrass – one of the greatest R&B singer and songwriter of our time. Teddy rose to fame as lead singer of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes in the early 1070s prior to his hugely successful solo career at the end of the decade. In a horrible twist of fate, in 1982, Teddy was severely injured in an auto accident resulting in his being paralyzed from the chest down. After his injury, he founded the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, a foundation that helps those with spinal cord injuries.
Teddy was not unlike most R&B singers he sang often at church and dreamed of being a pastor being ordained as a minster at the age of 10. In his early career, he sang with the Edison Mastersingers and dropped out of school in the eleventh grade to pursue the music business, recording his first song "Angel With Muddy Feet." The recording, however, was not a commercial success.
It was the result of a chance encounter with the Blue Notes' founder, Harold Melvin, who convinced Pendergrass to play drums in the group. Then fate stepped in and during a performance Teddy began singing along, and Melvin, impressed by his vocals, made him the lead singer. Before Pendergrass joined the group, the Blue Notes had struggled to find success. That all changed when they landed a recording deal with Philadelphia International Records in 1971, thus beginning Teddy’s successful collaboration with label founders Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff. From this point there was no turning back.
I will briefly list a few of Teddy’s most memorable hits that took him high in the stratosphere starting with his self-titled album, which went platinum on the strength of the disco hit, "I Don't Love You Anymore." Its follow-up single, "The Whole Town's Laughing At Me," became a top 20 R&B hit. It was quickly followed by Life Is a Song Worth Singing. That album was even more successful with its singles including "Only You" and "Close the Door.”
The disco single, "Get Up, Get Down, Get Funky, Get Loose" was popular in dance clubs and after that came two more successes, Teddy and the live release, Live Coast to Coast. Hits off Teddy included "Come and Go With Me" and "Turn Off The Lights.” This was followed by the album, “TP” that included his signature song, "Love TKO” and "Is It Still Good to You." Between 1977 and 19981, Teddy landed five consecutive platinum albums, which was a then-record setting number for a rhythm and blues artist.
Teddy’s popularity became so massive at the end of 1977 with sold-out audiences packing his shows; his manager soon noticed that a huge number of his audience consisted of women of all races. They devised a plan for his next tour to play to just female audiences, starting a trend that continues today called "women's only concerts."
With five platinum albums and two gold albums, Teddy was on his way to be what the media was calling him, "the black Elvis" not only in terms of his crossover popularity but also due to him buying a mansion akin to Elvis' Graceland, located just outside of his hometown of Philadelphia. By early 1982, Pendergrass was the leading R&B male artist of his day usurping competition including closest rivals Marvin Gaye and Barry White.
Then tragedy struck on the night of March 18, 1982, in the East Falls section of Philadelphia on Lincoln Drive near Rittenhouse Street, Teddy was involved in an automobile accident. He lost control of his Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit - the car hit a guard rail, crossed into the opposite traffic lane, and hit two trees and was trapped in the wreckage for 45 minutes; leaving him a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down.
He kept recording through the 1990s in spite of being wheelchair bond and give the world his final hit in 1994, which was a hip-hop leaning "Believe in Love". His most lasting memory for the world was “Wake Up Everybody” a tune that has been covered by a diverse range of acts from Simply Red, Patti LaBelle, Babyface, Little Brother, Kanye West, Cam’ron, Twista, Tyrese Gibson, DMX, 9th Wonder, and DJ Green Lantern.
Sadly, on January 13, 2010, the man we knew as “Teddy” left us to sing with the angels. I’ll tell you, and if you knew Teddy, the world will never be the same without his uniquely profound soulful voice. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…
Thursday, January 16, 2014
It is certainly no secret that Black People are the most religious people on the planet. They just love the “Word”! I know you are thinking, what is this guy saying or maybe you say its blasphemy. There should be no doubt that there is a distinct difference between religion and spirituality. I’ll talk about spirituality another time. I don’t mean to make anyone angry, which happens when I write about this subject. Nonetheless, I’ll say it, Black People out Pope the Pope!
I think of myself as a person well versed in time. When I say time, I mean history and there is also a distinct difference between “History and His-Story”. So I will begin with something that Machiavelli explained repeatedly that made a lot of sense. He said, “Religion is man-made, and that the value of religion lies in its contribution to social order and the rules of morality must be dispensed if security required it.” This is a very interesting statement in that he implies that religion is a tool of power.
I know most of you probably only know the name Machiavelli because the late Tupac Shakur often quoted him and he titled his last CD using the name. Let me share just a little background on the man who actually lived and walked the earth. Machiavelli was an Italian historian, politician, diplomat, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance period. He was credited as being the founder of modern political science; more specifically political ethics.
As a result of his written views a term “Machiavellianism” was coined, which is a widely used negative term to characterize unscrupulous politicians of the sort Machiavelli described in The Prince. The book itself gained enormous notoriety and wide readership because the author seemed to be endorsing behavior often deemed as evil and immoral.
In several writings, The Prince, the Discourses, and in the Life of Castruccio Castrucio, he describes "prophets", as he calls them, like Moses, Romulus, Cyrus the Great, and Theseus as the greatest of new princes. He called them the glorious and brutal founders of the most novel innovations in politics, and men whom Machiavelli assures us have always used a large amount of armed force and murder against their own people. He estimated that these sects last from 1666 to 3000 years each time, which pointed out by Leo Strauss would mean that Christianity became due to start finishing about 150 years after Machiavelli.Machiavelli's concern with Christianity as a sect was that it makes men weak and inactive, delivering politics into the hands of cruel and wicked men without a fight.
While fear of God can be replaced by fear of the prince, if there is a strong enough prince, Machiavelli felt that having a religion is in any case especially essential to keeping a republic in order. For Machiavelli, a truly great prince can never be conventionally religious himself, but he should make his people religious. Machiavelli's judgment that democracies need religion for practical political reasons was widespread among modern proponents of republics until approximately the time of the French Revolution.
When I read this the diabolical King James, who wrote the 28th version of the Holy Bible came to mind. Because it was used to transform the minds of the lands that England conquered. I believe it was this evil genius that said “the sun never sets on the English empire”. Moreover, it was what the people of Europe did to the minds of the African people transplanted to the lands for the purpose of slavery by erasing their known region forcing this man-made religion upon a people making them a nation of people without a nationality.
Thereby, this idea created a condition of submission to something other than what God planned that continue to erode minds to this very day. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
On this January day, the world was given the life of Dr. Martin Luther “The King”. I am grateful that God sent him to us with the special gift to change the world. Today, HIS-story speaks of the good reverend with profound reverence, in fact placing him second only to Jesus. Now, please understand that I believe Dr. King’s place in history is well deserved, secure, and beyond reproach. However, I lived through and during the time in which he lived meaning HIS-story does not accurately reflect what I remember, witnessed or know to be true.
Dr. King’s career or national presence began in 1955, when a seamstress refused to give up her seat on a segregated public bus in Birmingham, Alabama. He was responsible for the hugely successful boycott that paralyzed the city and forced changes to long held separate but equal policies. It was during this period that his home was bombed with his lovely wife and babies inside. He was arrested many – many times for peacefully asking for the most basic of human dignities. He was assaulted, stabbed, trampled by horses, and made out to be a communist. He was called a villain and names like “Martin Luther Coon”, and worst. In fact, he was viewed as a terrorist in his day.
During the time in which he lived it was well known in our community that Dr. King had a mutually antagonistic relationship with the government’s top police agency; particularly its director, who ordered surveillance of him and his organization for years. Wiretaps were placed in his home, office phones and they bugged his hotel rooms as he traveled around the country. The agency tried to discredit him through revelations regarding his private life. Reports regarding his supposed extramarital and sexual affairs were distributed to the executive branch, friendly reporters, funding sources, and potential coalition partners, as well as to his lovely wife.
They had followed his every step, yet claimed not to know who fired the shot. So in light of all this surveillance and counterintelligence activity it was not too difficult to conclude that they knew exactly who murdered him and all involved. When the culprit was arrested it was revealed that he was merely a petty thief who was not capable of robbing the Girl Scouts. Let me put this in context, this guy had a few hundred dollars in twenty dollar bills yet managed to escape traveling halfway around the world before being caught.
I can vividly recall that dreadful day, April 4th, 1968, asking the question most of us asked; how could the Prince of Peace be murdered? WHY? My knowledge of history tells me that anytime someone appears who has the power to change the system, eliminating the change agent is the system’s way of preservation. In other words the system is designed to protect the system. Aside from winning the Nobel Peace Prize, leaving us with brilliant written words, the enormous sacrifices risking his life, and losing it for peace – I honor this great man on this day and always. It is because of that wretched part of society that demonized him while he lived that we should appreciate his life and take into consideration as we celebrate his legacy.
My deepest heartfelt memory of Dr. King was the night before his death when he gave a speech that appeared as if he knew he was going to die. It was the most passionate speech I had ever heard. In that speech, he proclaimed that he’d been to the mountaintop and had seen the other side. Further, he proclaimed he did not fear any man for his eyes had seen the coming of the Lord.
HIS-story calls him a dreamer as they say he had a dream. I say, he was a brave visionary or maybe by exercising the wisdom of God’s gift that he could see the future. Dr. King’s left us with a very powerful message delivered August 28, 1963 on the Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC via the famous “I have a Dream Speech” - (Excerpts):
• "In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men - yes, black men as well as white men - would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note, insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked 'insufficient funds."
• "It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual."
• "The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people. For many of our white brothers as evidenced by their presence here today have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone."
• "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
• "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."
• "I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood."
• "This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day."
• "Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children."
• "Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow 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!"
Never forget that injustice to anyone is an injustice to everyone. We can change the world but first we must change ourselves. The "Kings" message was simple like Moses he was saying “Let my people go". And that's my thought provoking perspective...