Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Door Must Be Opened And We Must Be Prepared To Walk Through It

"I don't want nobody
To give me nothing
Open up the door
I'll get it myself"
James Brown - I Don't Want Nobody To Give Me Nothing (Open Up The Door I'll Get It Myself) Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

I awoke this morning to the news that long-time civil rights activist, Julian Bond, died Saturday night at the age of 75. According to CNN, Bond passed away after a brief illness in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. As I learned of this news, I thought to myself that we are losing our civil rights leaders and activists one by one and rightfully so as many of them were in their teens and early twenties, sixty years ago, placing most, if not all of them in their seventies, eighties, and nineties years of age.

It occurred to me that the torch never really was passed. In fact, not only was the torch never passed, our message or methodology was never updated to meet the challenges faced in the 21st century. Reverends Jessie Jackson who is 73 and Al Sharpton who is 60, both have contributed in their own ways at least in their minds to fight the many "isms" using and in some cases abusing the models and tactics set forth in the fifties and sixties; yet, there really has not been as a collective body anything close to the efforts made by the men and women of the civil rights movement who are now moving or have moved from labor to reward through death.

The question is always asked and has been asked since the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968, who will step up and lead us now that Dr. King is gone? In some respects it is forty seven years later and we are still asking that question. In the meantime, many of our foot soldiers from that day are passing away just as Mr. Bond did Saturday night.

In my mind and at this point, I believe the more important question than who will step up and lead us? is, are we preparing ourselves to get for ourselves when the door is opened? James Brown, The Godfather of Soul aptly wrote it when he said "Open up the door, I'll get it myself."  But are we preparing ourselves to get it for ourselves?

Some may ask, well, what do you mean by preparing ourselves? and that's a great question. I mean, taking our education seriously; putting forth a spirit and desire for excellence in everything that we do; acquiring the required skills to be employable and/or entrepreneurial in the 21st century and how about just reading, researching and thinking to make informed decisions. When do we realize that our leaders who did that mighty work are now aged and passing away? When do we individually step up to make not only our own lives better, but the lives of others better as well? When do we move the ball further as our civil rights leaders set us up to do?

The list of our civil rights leaders and activists who are dying is growing longer each year and their methods and tactics were for such a time as that. Our methods today must include our looking to ourselves to do for ourselves and that only happens when we prepare ourselves. If you want to honor the lives of, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Julian Bond, Edward Brooke, Thurgood Marshall, Shirley Chisolm, Dorothy Height, Marian Wright Edelman, Coretta Scott King, Marva Collins, and so many others........ take education seriously. Acquire skills that are needed in 2015 and beyond and then learn some more. Work hard and smart. Make excellence your standard and do not lower it for anyone. Stop being content with not knowing how to read or ever breaking the assistance cycle. Start voting, even if it is for dogcatcher, make your vote/voice count. Fathers support YOUR children whether you are with their mother or not as no judge ought to have to force you to support your children financially or emotionally. Young ladies, stop classifying yourself as a "Bad Bitch," and stop dealing with men who refer to you as a bitch, thot (that hoe over there) or hoe (whore).  Boys and men, pull those pants up! As we ought not to have to know that you have on blue and white striped boxers. Stop killing each other. Enough is enough.

We all must become our own abolitionists and activists. I close as I opened with the words of The Godfather of Soul, none other than James Brown when he penned and sang, "I don't want nobody to give me nothing. Open up the door, I'll get it myself." The only thing I will add to that is, once you get it, be willing to help someone else get it for themselves too. Something to critically think about.

Listen to me live each Saturday around the world on and in northern NJ on FM radio WP88.7 FM as the host of The Reading Circle with Marc Medley. You are also invited to follow me on Twitter @thinkcritical01 and @readingcircle01 and on Instagram @readingcircle01. Visit my website at and subscribe to my YouTube Channel Marc Medley.

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