Friday, April 5, 2013

If We [African Americans] Knew Our History......

I often share with friends, family members and connections through the various social media sites, that I am always simultaneously reading anywhere between fifteen to twenty books at a time. I never share this information to brag, but to let others know that it can be done if being a life long learner is a priority. Many often ask, don't you get the books confused or how can you do that, and my response is always, the same way people watch hour upon hour of television,  I use my time to read multiple books. For example, let's say you watch twelve half hour sitcoms or six one hour reality shows; that's six hours of television. I do the same thing with books. I may read one book for half an hour and then change or read a chapter in one book and then switch to another. The point is, people do what they want to do and what they place as a priority.

I am sharing this post because included in my current readings are three books that have once again inspired me to be nothing but the best. The books are historical providing me with another glimpse of the plight of my ancestors. It is this history that drives me to always reach for the top in whatever endeavor I undertake. By now I am sure I have piqued your curiosity as to what books I am referring to. They are as follows: (1) LEADERSHIP LOVE & AGGRESSION: As The Twig Is Bent: The Psychological Factors In The Making of Four Black Leaders - Frederick Douglass - W.E.B. Dubois - Richard Wright - Martin Luther King, Jr. by Allison Davis  (2) DADDY KING An Autobiography by The Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr. and (3) THE WEALTH CHOICE: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires by Dr. Dennis Kimbro.

Each time I learn more of the African American experience from an historical perspective, I can't help but want to be better and move higher. Our ancestors paid a heavy price for the sole reason of the color of their skin. The thought occurred to me while reading the accounts of Frederick Douglass and Daddy King that there is no way in the world that one could know his/her history and do the things that we see or say the things that we hear being said. If we truly knew our history, the term "nigger" would be abolished from our vocabulary. It would not be seen as something that is cute or cool.

If we knew our history, there is no way in the world we could not want to get as much education as we possibly could get all the way up to the doctorate degree. If we knew our history, there is no way we would be calling women "bitches" and "whores."  If we knew our history, our pants and caps and every other item of clothing would be worn properly. If we knew our history, we would not even be so eager to be tattooed or "tatted up." If we knew our history...............

Or is it that we know and we just don't care?  If it is the latter, than it is worse than I could ever imagine. If it is the former, than we must learn from our history and take on the same mantra as our Jewish brothers and sisters and teach the philosophy of "Never Again."

I became disturbed enough to write this post as I read Frederick Douglass' account of the whippings taken by his Aunt Hester.This is taken from the  book by Allison Davis, LEADERSHIP, LOVE & AGGRESSION. 
 The heart-stopping agony of her screams terrified him. He watched as the young woman was dragged into the kitchen and stripped....leaving her neck, shoulders, and back entirely naked. [Her master] then told her to cross her hands, calling her at the same time a black bitch. [After she had crossed her hands] he tied them with a strong rope, and led her to a stool under a large hook in the joist, put in for that purpose. He made her get upon the stool, and tied her hands to the hook. Her arms were stretched up at their full length, so that she stood upon the ends of her toes. He then said to her, "Now you damned bitch I'll learn you not to disobey my orders!"....and soon the warm, red blood (amid heart-rending shrieks from her, and more horrid oaths from him) came dripping to the floor. I was so terrified....I dared not venture out till long after the blood transaction was over. I expected it would be my turn next. 
Martin Luther King, Sr. gives a very similar story of watching as a child a man beaten and hung by a belt right in front of him while he was out playing in the woods on his way home for supper in his autobiography DADDY KING. The stories are chilling and ought to prompt anyone who knows what we have endured as a people to strive for nothing but excellence.

I close this post with the words, WE HAVE GOT TO DO BETTER. We have got to want more than the latest pair of sneakers or shoes, the latest fashion trend, the latest booty shake video, the latest hot TV show (i.e.Scandal), or the latest anything that really does not matter to advancing ourselves and the world. Sometimes it seems as if we are moving backward instead of forward.

Reading an account like the one above only propels me to make a positive difference in the world and I hope it will inspire and motivate you to do the same.  I invite you to follow The Critical Thinker on Twitter @thinkcritical01.  I welcome your commentary in the comment section of the blog.

1 comment:

Nigel said...

When you have made the case, the only thing to say is: Amen!