Thursday, September 25, 2008

David Walker - The First Black Nationalist - Appeal: To the Coloured Citizens of the World


By FrKurt Messick

David Walker was born in the late 1700s, in the newly-formed nation of the United States, shortly after ratification of the Constitution, into a society which on the one hand was celebrating a victory for freedom from oppression, but which also was still oppressive of a significant number of its own people.

Walker grew impatient with the pace and tone of the Abolitionist movement, of which he was a part, beginning in New England. Slave rebellions such as that of Denmark Vesey seemed to be an answer to the slowness. Injustice was being committed at this very moment -- action was therefore required immediately. This was the tone with which Walker's 'Appeal' was infused. His message was rather shocking to white Americans, and Walker found ways to reach his own people in the South with this message. Vesey and others had used religious meetings as a means of gathering and organising; likewise, they found the Bible rich in material to support their cause. Walker did likewise, seizing upon biblical ideas of deliverance and justice.

Walker found himself becoming unpopular for his outspoken views. Many in the Abolitionist movement purposefully discouraged talk of rebellion, lawbreaking and violence. However, Walker was not convinced that this kind of change was the best in the situation -- he felt strongly that the Black people had to unite and fight, with the full support of God.

Walker further was mistrustful of white people's effort on the behalf of blacks, and doubtful that Southern white men would ever be willing to give up their position of power. Walker noted that even men like Jefferson believed in the racial idea of white superiority. Even in those placed where African-Americans would live as 'free' persons, they seemed forever destined to be in the eyes of the white majority second-class citizens. This to Walker clearly was not right. 'Are we men!! - I ask you, O my brethren! are we men? Did our Creator make us to be slaves to dust and ashes like ourselves?'

Walker began to view whites as the only Americans. He felt the sins of racism and slavery were so intrinsically American that it would be a contradiction for any black person to be an American. This racist sin permeated even through to the churches, which Walker held in contempt for their seeming complacency in the face of on-going injustice.

And yet, one of the key elements throughout Walker's 'Appeal', for all its radical viewpoints, which no other Abolitionists seemed to have picked up after Walker's death in 1830, is hope. 'I verily believe that God has something in reserve for us, which, when he shall have poured it out upon us, will repay us for all our suffering and miseries.' Walker had no qualms about allowing that he wanted to destroy the status quo in society; however, he was not an advocate of wanton violence and bloodshed. He said that is was incorrect to assume that he was asking for civil war of any kind, but that he was simply asking for basic human rights to be enforced for all people.

This calls for rights and justice, the very basic call to recognise the humanity in all people, is a primary element of Walker's 'Appeal'. The time to rise up and take back humanity which had been stripped away by the white slave traders was, to Walker, clearly at hand.

Like the biblical prophets, Walker understood that what he was doing was dangerous. However, Walker saw his writing as a call from God, a call that could not be put away. The call to justice, the call to right the wrongs in society, the call to action against an evil oppressor, are reminiscent of the Hebrew prophets.

Although Walker's call and prophecy never took the shape he himself might have imagined it, his words inspired many and discomfited more. Some forms of injustice take many voices, many martyrs, before they are addressed. Walker was one of these.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Presidential Election Prediction - Follow On Results For Black Folks



Baring any major unforeseen incident that changes the tide dramatically - I predict that Barack Obama will be elected the next president of the United States and thus the first Black president in this nation's history.

For me as a Black man this otherwise joyous occasion that represents a picture of how much this nation has already "changed" is counterbalanced with my conflict with the main people who bother me the most as I consider the problems that our community faces and what needs to really "change" before improvement is had.

I am going to be painfully honest in this post. I am not a liberal Black man. It burns me up to no end to see the people who already have control of our community also serve as the self-police and thus look past all of that which they have allowed to fester within as they are bound with their economic, ideological, social and moral proclivities that give them their guidance. It takes no rocket scientist to see that despite their gains on the ground regarding political control - they have not been able to translate this into organic economic development, more uniform academic attainment for the children within the community, public safety nor a higher quality of health. Where as no doubt all of these elements were suppressed during the "Jim Crow" period and before their primary claim is that its residual effects are the biggest factor in today's results.

In my view this is to be rejected. It is clear to me that it is the absence of a system to produce results that are any different than we are seeing that is the problem. "Massa's whip" is simply not that powerful as they claim it to be.

As I look at the Republican party - they have stepped in too much "do do" for them to recover from this untimely financial meltdown that we are experiencing. With Wall Street on the fritz and with an amount equal to the entire Iraq War having to be spent in one weeks time to stabilize the nation - this is the same type of torpedo in the presidential campaign of candidate Barack Obama that the news of his sentatorial campaign opponent's escapades into sex clubs were a few years ago.

I have no particular loyalties to the Republican party. I simply can't stand the antics of leftists in this nation and I seek accountability from them more than I have an ounce of "racial hatred" within me. I don't believe that John McCain is going to provide any more of a fix to this nation than I believe that Barack Obama can as well.

All I can do is lament and accept the fact that Black Americans will have moved into a new interval in time via our American experience. This otherwise positive view is counterbalanced again by my knowledge of the antics of the Negro operative. In listening to my recordings of a local Black talk radio station - their conversation is almost wholly about the negation of John McCain, Sarah Palin and the Republicans with gross absence of details about what the Democrats having power is going to mean for them and their community.

When they do talk about the "benefit" it is nearly 100% couched on resource reallocation via taxation. I have heard that cities, schools and domestic infrastructure are going to get far more money under the Democrats than what we have seen during this "past 8 years". What frustrates me the most is that when the BUDGET PROPOSALS and the ECONOMIC REALITIES of this nation are considered IT JUST DOES NOT ADD UP!!!

The campaign platform for education by either candidate, for example proposes a continuation of the existing policies and an increase in funding at most of $18 billion. We just saw a $6 billion reading program crash and burn with no measurable success. What makes the operatives believe that $18 billion spread across 50 states will lead to the revolution that they are promising?

Worse yet - it appears that the serious financial challenges that I have been reporting upon via my attendance in the "Fiscal Wakeup Call" conference last spring are coming to fruition just not YET in the form that was mentioned. They talked about Social Security and entitlement spending being the great drain on the federal treasury. Today we have the mortgage loan collapse drawing at least $700 billion out. If people believe we have just seen "1929" over these past few weeks - I am afraid that they don't know what is coming behind that first destructive wave.

Thus it seems counter intuitive to seek more federal entitlements to add to the drain rate upon the budget. The next president of the United State is going to have to make some gut wrenching decisions. Indeed if the opposition party to the current one gets into power he will be able to live at least 2 years passing off the current mess upon "the last guy". It is my opinion, however, that America is in the midst of a major global correction in which the very people who always pointed to economic prosperity being a function of the PARTY that is in office are going to have their eyes opened.

In my research I have brought forth compelling details regarding how the same investment banks which are now being destroyed by the mortgage crisis also had a primary hand in the Internet bubble and associated financing that drove the market up 12 years ago and counting. The similarity of the lists are stunning. After having $7 trillion of equity lost to all sorts of investors in the market these investment banks switched over to real estate as a means of making their fortunes. In addition, not to let the consumers of - we attempted to maintain our lifestyles through the acquisition of home equity mortgages and refinancing as a means of liquidating our equity found via increased housing values. All of this was funny money.

The next 10 years will be a period in which the two key vehicles for wealth creation in the past have been exploded - the technology driving stock market/ venture capital funding and the real estate market. There will be no spiraling growth during this next interval as structural reform will be mandated. The next 100 years of our nation will be defined by the actions in the next 16 years.

The US debt ceiling will be raised to $11 trillion soon. Where as it was $6 trillion when Bush first got into office - I predict that it will be $15 trillion after this next president does his thing. Add to it that other nations around the world have massive labor forces seeking to come on line and participate in the global economy. America's competitive advantage that was crafted while these other nations were stuck in the mud.


THE BLACK COMMUNITY

Where as I am an ideological adversary to the average Black Quasi-Socialist Progressive-Fundamentalist Racism Chaser I love the Black community more than I dislike them. At the end of the day I want a system of ACCOUNTABILITY established within our community. Today absent the system of such you have something out of the bazaro world - as this faction gains more power over more Black communities - their ability to blame outside forces for the problems WITHIN grows. Thus in their "Unification Strategy" they ask that Black folks not blame them for the shortfalls that take place within their domain but instead to stay UNIFIED as they pursue the next plateau on the mountain. Then and only then will that which was promised when the current plateau was taken over be provided.

Friends - by all logical and reasonable measure the presidency of a Black man. A House and a Senate controlled by Democrats is a sign that ANY RATIONAL ATTEMPTS at the creation of this Utopia is right before our eyes. Since this is about as deep as the average Black Democratic operative goes we should see a dramatic recovery within the Black community in the next 4 years. I have reported on the long list of Black communities where there is nearly a 100% path of Democratic representation from city council all the way up through to the Federal legislature. Now this will be topped off with a favorable president as well.

You would think that we now have grounds for the Black Quasi-Socialist Progressive Fundamentalist Racism chaser to open himself up for SCRUTINY on the results that his favored machine can deliver for the benefit of our community.

I used to think this as well.

The fact of the matter is that when there is a monopoly alignment of those who would ordinarily be charged with providing such scrutiny FOR THE BEST INTERESTS OF OUR COMMUNITY I 100% assure you that their angst will turn to any political force that stands in the way of their machine........not the failure of the machine to deliver.

I have written in the past why I now fully understand certain people's hatred and concern over media consolidation and Rupert Murdoch in particular. When a monopolist has his hands on the entire vertical for information dissemination - sizable portions of the truth will be left on the floor. The only thing that I can't understand is why they believe that this is only the case with the White corporatist that has a formal company that is traded in the stock market but the same is not the case among the Black media that is not as formally coupled but which is as coordinated as the school small fish that swim aside the large fish at the bottom of the sea. Independence is not had by structure but is expressed by action. There is no independent Black media. Instead they serve to amplify that which is already in power over the Black community - results be damned.

Again and in closing - the only thing that I can hope for out of this election season and these uncertain economic times is that the Black community, now having been to the mountain top and, as I predict, have come up short because the logistical plan to actually receive some tangible benefit was not requested - will one day begin to demand real change from the people who are actually in power over them rather than hopping on the conveyor belt which seeks to advocate change by packing us in and hoping that mass numbers in support will lead to change by happenstance.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Since When Did "Education" Need To Be "Authorized"

AJC: New Birth student aid to cost N.C. university system

DURHAM, N.C. - The state auditor’s office is investigating an unauthorized campus that North Carolina Central University operated in an Atlanta suburb before it was closed this summer.

State Auditor Les Merritt told The News & Observer of Raleigh his office was asked by the University of North Carolina system to investigate.

The University of North Carolina system and North Carolina Central University has been working to resolve problems created by the unauthorized campus.

The campus was at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Lithonia, Ga., whose pastor is Eddie Long, an NCCU trustee.

UNC system President Erskine Bowles said last week he thinks the university will have to repay federal financial aid money that NCCU received from the Education Department and gave students in the New Birth program.


This is a very interesting situation. The New Birth Missionary Baptist Church decided to open up a college campus upon its own church campus in Georgia. From my understanding they drew upon the resources of the North Carolina Central University in Raleigh. At the end of the day the goal was to provide more students with access to college level courses.

The complex interdependence between Academics, Accreditation/Authorization and Money. I for one am a stickler for accreditation as a means of insuring the integrity of the educational product. Without academic standards we have little assurance that an "A" from one schools is equal to that of the same grade in another.

In a bigger picture scope, however, I am a big advocate for distance learning and for the need to retire the current post-secondary educational system as we have it today. The use of technology and communications to expand the access to instructional material is needed now more than ever. I have no idea about the resource exchange between NCCU and New Birth. If they primarily made use of instructional resources and experts from NCCU and simply used the church facilities as the gathering place for students - then I believe that there is a need to redefine the evaluation criteria for such facilities.

This current situation is an example of where government regulation has a suppressive and a monopolistic effects upon the market.

United Nations Wants More Aid To Africa - Calls Poverty A "Human Rights Violation"




AJC: U.N. chief urges boost in Africa aid; Rich nations falling behind on promises

United Nations —- Under the cloud of a global financial crisis, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday called on the world’s rich nations to spend $72 billion a year to help Africa fight poverty, improve health and ensure universal primary education.

He told the opening of a high-level meeting on Africa’s development needs that the price tag may be daunting but “it is affordable,” pointing to the estimated $267 billion that the world’s richest nations spent last year just on agricultural subsidies.

“In this context, the cost of solving the food crisis, addressing global warming and pulling millions out of extreme poverty in Africa looks like good value,” he said.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Letter To A Brother

Brother xxxxx:

I am engaged in multiple dialogues with various Black folks on the general subject of "Where do we go from here?". The perceived 'talking down" style comes from the experience that certain Black folks don't like being challenged. They will start calling names as a defense mechanism and thus will never have to submit their line of thinking to any particular introspection and thus our strategy continues on - unchallenged. I will work to have a constructive conversation with you.

I assure you that my only goal is for the best interests of my own people. At times, however, the people themselves become beholden to certain principalities that despite their popular support, do not in fact represent their own best interests. I perceive my purpose as being to challenge the "Black establishment" for the very same reasons that the "White Establishment" needs to be challenged. Power does not always work in the best interests of the stated constituency. In doing so the attacks upon my person are incumbent with the exercise.

You reported your life's tale about being convicted of a crime that you did not commit as a youth. I have little doubt that this experience has motivated you to reach out to the Black men who are in jail as they too have not lost their individual stories or their humanity while being locked behind bars. Regarding my own "street contact" - I choose to work in a reading program for young Black male residents of a housing project. I have come to realize that they are like my own young son but don't have some of the structure that my wife and I afford to our children. I choose to focus my efforts on prevention. I also have plans to develop a technology training class for this same group of kids. I am in a far better position to translate my computing skills to them than to be any type of direct social services advocate for them. Their possession of hard skills will greatly increase their utility and employability.

All of this, however, brings me to another dimension of my own advocacy. I am a "victims rights" advocate in the same way that others are a "victim of the system" rights advocate. I would be in denial if I ignored so many of the "Black people crying" as a result of having lost a loved one to a senseless act of violence. In my research there are certain communities within cities where Black people are concentrated in which the 'homicide closure rates' are abysmal. These assailants walk free, never having to account for their deeds in the same functional way that White racists in the past were able to kill us and not have to stand accountable because the system was skewed in their favor. Currently the "system" in question extends beyond the granite halls of justice and the iron bars of the jail into the systematic actions of the Black community itself. This system is stacked in a away where justice is fleeting for Black people today with the finger prints of Black people being all over the crime scene.

I am sure that you will hear more of my views - both in our personal correspondence and as I reply to the various brothers on the e-mail thread. Behind all of my thoughts are the clear vision that change within the Black community will only come from the wholesale change within the Black community with the community itself initiating the bulk of it because continuing on this same course has proven too painful for us.

Please understand - my response to the message by the sister from Ebony is because it followed the common pattern that is rampant within Black political discourse - savage one's political adversaries (conservative Republicans) but speak little about the local incumbents (Progressive Democrats). The murders that she spoke of, the HIV infections and of course - the state of our schools and our young people in general needs to be front and center in our racial consciousness domain which then flows over to our political domain. Let all who are at fault be held responsible not just those who's sight can draw a crowd of protest from Black folks.

Reread the construct of her argument. She in effect dismisses the candidate that "can't relate" to her struggles that the Black community faces (in some cases "struggles" = failures) while effectively fails to talk about the machine of politicians that are actually and directly presiding over these issues which cause so much consternation among Black people. There is no ideological and partisan diversity within the Black community to speak of.

All of this is a basic argument regarding which entity should bear the burden for solving the most pressing problems within the Black community. Some argue that this is the national government who bears the burden - where the unfair distribution of resources and services (as well as latent racism) that has created that which we see today. The other side - which I admittedly favor - says that social order and wealth are assembled by the people themselves, not rained down upon them. There is need for them to have skin in the game of their own destiny. The community that seeks these things will work to first communicate to their people of interest the vision of their glorious future then these same people will be asked to express this common goal by primarily ordering themselves behind this comprehensive goal.

The primary point over which I disagree with the prevailing voices in Black America is about the domain over which this movement should be expressed. I believe that the expectation that your "Friends and Family Plan" which defines the people to whom you wish to share your resources with because you fully support their growth being expanded to include your vowed adversaries because they live in the same nation as you do is a flawed strategy. You will always find yourself chasing after them. You will also see them seeking to escape from your circle. Yes - let us ask for justice and a framework for construction. It is we, however, that must do the heavy lifting.

Instead the Black community needs to develop as a whole as it developed the individuals who will play a part in this higher order of things. Last night I attended a banquet held by local Jamaicans. It was a fund raiser to collect money for health care services for their own people in the western portion of the island. In Jamaica a vote on "universal health care" would be irrelevant. Upon its passage all would not be treated to first rate medical services. They don't have the resources present so their only choice is to DO FOR SELF. This connection between the the expats who have departed the island and now have access to both greater monetary resources and medical skills and those who are in need of all of these resources completes the loop and it also gives these ex-pats a purpose for their time spent outside of their homeland.

Within the Black community here in America there is the need for the very same set of services and connectivity. The thought, however, of asking Black people ourselves to form an organic system by which we set up an overlay system of health care and quite possibly dole out scholarships to our own people who might otherwise be hanging out on the corners of Philadelphia, turning them into medical professionals who are helping their own community will likely be seen as something of an insult because we are asking the "victim" to play the primary part in his own recovery.

I reject this thinking. The Black community will create more jobs of its own when we begin to express our needs for goods and services UPON OUR OWN BACKS. This is not an insult - this is critically necessary for any people to do so if they have any hope of being the primary provisions of their own well being. These actions occur at the "human instinctive" level. Employment will come to our people once there are TASKS that are asked of them and the necessary education in place to insure that they operate with disciplined knowledge about their craft.

In response to your "house slave / field slave/ massa" metaphor - I have the audacity to believe that Black folks were required to do all of the above prior to our self determination being hijacked into America. What better way to reconnect with our true orientation than to direct ourselves toward producing more organic expression of our own needs?

The Stono Rebellion - The Important Of Literacy And Guns



American Slavery: Stono Rebellion

Stono Rebellion - Another View

The Stono Rebellion (sometimes called Cato's Conspiracy or Cato's Rebellion) is one of the earliest known organized acts of rebellion against slavery within the boundaries of the present United States. On September 9, 1739, South Carolina slaves gathered at the Stono River (for which the rebellion is named) to plan an armed march for freedom.

Several factors may have convinced the slaves that a rebellion might successfully lead to freedom. A yellow fever epidemic had weakened the power of slaveholders, there was talk of a war between Britain and Spain, and accounts of slaves who had obtained their freedom by escaping to Spanish-controlled Florida gave the Carolinian slaves hope. Lastly, it has been suggested that the slaves organized their revolt to take place before September 29, when the Security Act of 1739 (which required all white males to carry arms on Sundays) would take effect. Jemmy, the leader of the revolt, was a literate slave described as Angolan, which likely meant he was from the Kongo Empire in Central Africa. He and the other slaves who led the rebellion may have realized that if they did not act to seek their freedom before September 29, they might not get another chance.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Collier Heights Section Of Atlanta - When We Financed Our Own Construction

I am not one who says that "the good ole days" was found during the time of Jim Crow and segregation. There were some practices that Black folks were forced to do on their own because all other options were taken away.

Collier Heights: Civil rights suburb
Ga. nominates black neighborhood for historic designation

By JIM AUCHMUTEY

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Collier Heights doesn’t look particularly historic.

The steep, wooded hills of the west Atlanta neighborhood are sprinkled with ranch houses and split-levels built during the heyday of hula hoops and tail-finned El Dorados. Instead of Victorian carriage houses, there are carports and garages. Few craftsmen ever bungalowed on these curving lanes.

“I never thought this area was historic until I started hearing some of my neighbors talk about it,” says Gilbert Evans, a retired postal supervisor who moved in 51 years ago.

Now he knows differently. The state of Georgia has just nominated Collier Heights for the National Register of Historic Places. If the National Park Service approves, it would become the first post-World War II suburb in metro Atlanta and among the first modern African-American neighborhoods anywhere to make the register.

In a city where ranch houses and split-levels are as common as crabgrass, why would a neighborhood full of them rate national recognition?

The passing of time, for one thing. Even the modern eventually becomes historic. The older parts of Collier Heights were developed in the mid-’50s, making the neighborhood just old enough to qualify under the register’s 50-year rule.

Erica Danylchak helped research the nomination as a preservation graduate student at Georgia State University. “When I told my friends what I was working on, they said, ‘Ranch houses are historic now?’” she says. “One of my neighbors said that made her feel really old.”

The other part of the answer is more specific to Atlanta. Like so many things around here, it has to do with race.

Collier Heights is an expression of the city’s vaunted black middle class every bit as much as Auburn Avenue or the Atlanta University Center colleges.

“Collier Heights was built by blacks for blacks and financed by blacks,” says Juanita Abernathy, who moved into a ranch house there with her late husband, civil rights leader Ralph David Abernathy. “We wanted to live in a place like that. It was something you could take pride in.”

How the neighborhood came about is a typically Atlanta story of conflict and compromise.

‘Striving for a better life’

In a sense, Collier Heights is a civil rights suburb. It was built during a time when Atlanta’s black population was pushing out of the inner city, where it had been confined for decades, in search of the same split-level dreams pursued by other Americans: better houses, bigger yards, nicer surroundings.

“That neighborhood represents African-Americans striving for a better life,” says Andrew Wiese of San Diego State University, who wrote a history of black suburbanization, “Places of Their Own.”

The migration started in earnest after World War II in white neighborhoods like Mozley Park. As blacks moved closer, there were clashes, bombings, panic selling.

Wanting a more orderly transition, Atlanta Mayor William B. Hartsfield appointed a biracial group called the Westside Mutual Development Committee. “They reached a sort of gentleman’s agreement to open up the west side,” says Richard Cloues, who oversaw the Collier Heights nomination for the state Historic Preservation Division.

Much of the area was still undeveloped, with a few hundred white residents living in small houses built after the war. In early 1954, the West Side committee sent surveys to more than 100 of them, asking how they felt about the possibility of selling out to blacks. The forms, which the GSU students found at the Atlanta History Center, show the passions of the era in angry scrawls.

“Why don’t they build in their own sections?” asked a man on Collier Drive.

“I won’t stay here and be surrounded by negroes,” wrote another on Baker Ridge Drive.

Within a few years, most of the white homeowners did sell. This time, there was no violence.

Evans, the retired postal supervisor, was one of the first newcomers, moving into a new ranch house on Collier Drive in 1957.

“This was way out in the country then,” he says. “Collier was a little dirt road, and there were only three houses on my stretch. If you saw five cars in a day, that was something.”

Soon the Atlanta Daily World, the city’s black newspaper, carried ads for new developments with names like King’s Grant and Crescendo Valley. More than 50 subdivisions were built as Collier Heights became home to some 7,000 people, including prominent figures like attorney Donald Hollowell and the Rev. Martin Luther King Sr.

When national reporters came to town, Hartsfield sometimes took them to Collier Heights to prove that Atlanta really did stand apart among its Southern brethren.

Round, pink and pagoda

Harold and Juanita Morton, Collier Heights residents since the 1980s, have worked for several years to landmark the neighborhood. On a warm September afternoon, they hop into their SUV to show off what they love about the area.

“There are some very interesting homes around here,” Harold says, turning out of his driveway.

He passes a circular house. A ranch with a Japanese pagoda roof. A hilltop mansion with a dual front staircase guarded by white lion statues and trimmed in bright pink.

“We’re still trying to figure out what to call some of these buildings,” says Richard Laub, who worked on the nomination as head of GSU’s preservation program.

Many of the vintage houses in Collier Heights were designed by one of Atlanta’s first black architects, Joseph W. Robinson. His splashiest work may be the 10,000-square-foot ranch he did in 1963 for Herman Russell, the construction mogul.

“I had one of the first indoor pools in Atlanta,” says Russell, who grew up in a shotgun house near Turner Field. “This home was built to entertain. Segregation was still the order of the day, and we couldn’t go to many hotels and restaurants.”

Basement rec rooms were prized in Collier Heights for that very reason.

Russell’s is a rec room deluxe, with a dance floor, a bar, a wine cellar that doubled as a fallout shelter, the pool and a terrace that opens onto tennis courts and a basketball court.

One of Russell’s cherished mementoes hangs on the wall: a picture of him lounging in the family room with Abernathy, Andrew Young and Martin Luther King Jr.

“Dr. King liked to come by and relax,” he says. “He’d take a dip in my pool. He was a good swimmer.”

Russell left the house a decade ago and moved into a Midtown condo. His son Michael, who succeeded him as head of H.J. Russell & Co., moved in and updated the place, getting rid of his dad’s shag carpeting.

The younger Russell has attended several of the neighborhood meetings about landmark designation, but he didn’t really need to be persuaded that Collier Heights is more than the sum of its ranches and split-levels. He remembers the tour buses.

When he was a boy, buses used to cruise by the house regularly, people crowding the windows to snap pictures like they were on an excursion through Beverly Hills.

“Collier Heights might not have the greatest architectural splendor,” Michael Russell says, “but I think we have a pretty good story.”

You might say it’s historic.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

W Deen Mohammed Dies - A Great Leader Of His Community



AJC: Former Nation of Islam leader W.D. Mohammed dies


I have a lot of respect for W Deen Mohammed.

Approximately 3 years ago when he came to town I took my children along with me to hear his community forum at a local convention center.

I have to say that the views that he expressed on stage came closer to the expressing that which I often talk about on this blog more than anyone else who I can think of at this time. While he is a leader in the Muslim faith his basic concepts were universal for any community seeking to perpetuate itself with a high set of standards in place.

The frustration that I have with secular Black leaders is that their primary modality for Black progress centrally lies with political reforms that are aimed at sculpting the economy. In short having money that was not generated by the productivity of Black people flow into our communities because of our "membership in America". W. Deen Mohammed had a strategy in which the community itself, after being properly ordered - would be the primary vehicle for its own progression.

It is my belief that people are often confused regarding the time line that we are walking upon. At a time "a Black man had no rights that a White man need respect" I fully understand the need for an external advocacy effort. Whatever we built up could be burned down with impunity. I get it folks. When we have our rights codified and we have those who are charged with upholding these laws doing so or facing a check on their abuse - an environment is thus created where our community can indeed turn within. The message of W Deen Mohammed was a "Black community" strategy rather than a Black political strategy that is the case for the majority of his contemporaries. In this regard Mohammed gained my respect because his message is more in line with what is clear to be the case of what is needed to secure our advancement as a people.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

My Wife and I and Our Children

I have to give my wife credit. Where as when we first moved into our house after getting married and I saw fit to take the initiative in customizing the house as we needed - spending every weekend at Home Depot or Wal-Mart buying something, insuring that the law became the lawn that I could be proud of. Despite the fact that it took about 3 years and 3 summer seasons to get the landscaping as I wanted it without any external influence from my wife - I customized it as such.

Despite the normal ups and downs as experienced between any person - I must say that she has taken the very same instinctive initiative with my children.

It is my general rule that any woman who has shown that she has my children's best interests clearly in mind gets a big time pass on any other perceived "deficiencies" that she has in my own person (aka selfish) needs that might not be met when I need them.

My wife and I have a generally understood "understanding". I take care of the house and the bills. She takes are of the kids. There are so many things that I don't concern her with regarding the house in turn she fills in the details that I would likely pass over regarding the details of the kid's schooling, scouting or athletic participation.

As much as I hate to admit it - the female is on top of more things "human related" than I am inclined to tune into.

I am bound to that which I learned from my father. He took care of the macro-infrastructure of the house. My mother handled the day to day issues with the kids. When dad beat us - we knew we were in trouble. Those 2 inch thick belts were no joke. That authoritative voice and the threats they communicated where no joke.

I try to project my ownself upon my son. Whenever he tears up something in the house that he has no business doing - I can't help but remember that which I had done in kid. As a parent you don't even feel like beating your kids at time. At some point if you fail to beat them you are not doing your job.

My daughter and son are two different people. The daughter doesn't need any help in school as she "gets it" automatically and is smart. My son needs someone to stay on top of him or he is most content with his video games or television. The boy will drive you to curse if you seek to focus his attention upon the task at hand.

For the little boy - there is a battle over wills. I try to be the playful dad to my son as I realize that a 100% stern dad will not be understood by his 6 year old mind. When he hits me out of anger I accept that this is his strike against authority.

At the same time I know for a fact that if I don't impose my authority upon him now that future years would be tougher for the both of us.

My biggest point of pride is the fact that today I can talk to my own father as a PEER rather than as a "superior/ subordinate". We can compare notes about "our families" and he can impart a bit of understanding about his own perspective about what was going on when I was a child - biased toward my own mother's perspective on things. I can match wits with him just as I am talking to one of my buddies. At the same time there is that unspoken respect that I have for him that I won't degrade to a certain level. The hardest part of it all is the realization that I am talking to a man with the same lusts and degraded thoughts that I might have regarding how even though I am committed to one woman there are thousands of others of alternatives that I have to deny myself to on a continuing basis.

The challenge for the little Black boy is to get him to conform enough into the system of education and discipline to the point that he might learn how to learn. As a father I seek to provide him with a set of limits that he has to operate within before there are consequences to be had for not following the rules.

No doubt my daughter is easier to raise than my son at this young age. I hear that it shifts around during the teenaged years.

The Symptoms Of A "Black In A Sold Out State"



Now that we are in the full throws of the political season after listening to the commentary streaming from certain people I am forced to communicate that level of understanding that I have arrived at regarding "beholden Blacks" and how they operate.


1) He talks more about the harm done to his community by the external "conservative adversary" than he is willing to itemize the actual BENEFIT that he has received within his community from his progressive 'permanent friend'.

2) He focuses more on the societal standards that his adversary has fallen short of and yet not received in kind attacks about from 'the other side'.....rather than defining HIS OWN STANDARDS and making sure that HIS PEOPLE live UP TO the standards that he has defined as being "acceptable" in his eyes.

3) He prefers to have an arbitrary discussion about the issues rather than a structured discussion where empirical data is used to have the people come to a conclusion - WHERE EVER the evidence leads them to. Instead he prefers to use "matter of fact" discussions where one person's perspective on events trumps any broad based, empirical evidence that might be to the contrary.

4) He calls out his same race adversaries for "sounding like massa" when they echo opinions that sound just like those of their inter-racial, ideological soulmate. Yet he proudly announces that he goes to "The Huffington Post", "Daily KOS" or "MoveOn.org" to obtain his information.

The key difference between THIS sellout and his mirror image "Black Conservative" sellout who is committed to his own party is that the "Black Progressive Sellout" is not likely to be called to the carpet as a "SELLOUT". Simply put the primary people who would MAKE THE CALL of "Sellout" are likely to look at their own concurrence with his actions rather than the DEFINITION of a sellout and then withhold their comments so as not to undercut their own ideological soulmate.

By definition a "Sellout" is one who puts the best interests of a third party interest over that of his native own interests. For the Black community - one only needs to look at the prevalence of a particular ideological and partisan ethos within our community, how despite this domination our core problems remain and then call those people who reside in the nucleus of our racial interests yet who are actively advocating for this third party - what they really are - SELLOUT OPERATIVES!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The Words Of Frederick Douglass That Must Be Repeated One More Time Because They Have Not Sunk In Yet





* In regard to the colored people, there is always more that is benevolent, I perceive, than just, manifested towards us. What I ask for the negro is not benevolence, not pity, not sympathy, but simply justice. The American people have always been anxious to know what they shall do with us... I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are worm-eaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! ... And if the negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone! ... your interference is doing him positive injury.
o "What the Black Man Wants" — speech in Boston, Massachusetts (1865-01-26)