But That Was In 1989

By

Don Thomas

     In just eleven years most of us will be alive to see a century rollover. The kind of celebration such an occurrence could inspire is beyond imagination. The time is now and the place is here, however, for Black Americans to start accumulating things about which to celebrate on December 31, 1999. Here is my list: Total racial equality, black on black crime substantially reduced, illegal drugs becoming a non-issue, black unity, ghetto environment enhancement, increased black matrimony, reduced black teen-pregnancy, improved black male image, increased black entrepreneurs, more realization by black youth that education is the only real vehicle to success, more realization by black youth that honesty and integrity is greater than life, that individual are important, that the family is more important, that the race is still more important, that it takes every black to help give truth to the slogan “BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL,” that Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Martin Luther King, Jackie Robinson, Sojourner Truth, Bill Cosby, Mary McCleod Bethune, Joe Clark, Wyvetter Younge, Jesse Jackson, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Thurgood Marshall, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Leonine Price, Andy Young, Lena Horne, George Washington Carver, Katherine Dunham, Magic Johnson, Scotia Calhaun, Bob Gibson and countless thousands of Black Americans personify excellence and glorify our people, that racial pride is appropriate, that being born black is a gift and not the shaft, that in a very short time in terms of history, the black race has arrived.

In this country today, anything is possible. Alex Haley, author of “Roots,” is featured in December’s People Magazine. He is currently a very rich man, but in the featured article, Alex refers to two sardine cans and eighteen cents which he had framed to remind him of how close he came to being hungry. Alex Haley was over fifty when “Roots” became a hit, so it’s never too late for life’s fortune to smile on you. The key is to be persistent in pursuit of your goals. The magic could happen for you at any moment of any day. For every Black American who achieves an honorable goal, the race is uplifted, therefore, it is your duty, for your sake and that of the race to pursue honorable goals. For the sake of our slave predecessors who endured three hundred years of total degradation, every Black American should become self-obligated to advance the cause. By doing so, one can only advance himself. Eighty percent of all crooks end up in jail. The remaining twenty percent seldom reach age fifty. Ninety-nine percent of all who pursue excellence and honorable goals realize long term success. Why then is it so difficult to choose the right directions? Low self-esteem plays a major role. The Thinking that “I can’t,” and that “I’ll never be able to,” is defeating too many young blacks. In a lifetime, the only success many have seen up close is drug peddling. For these youth, a look at our positive role models could provide a better answer. These people are real. Most came from humble beginnings; all enjoy the good life this country offers.

DIALOGUE, TWO BLACK MEN DECEMBER 31, 1999: “Charles, do you realize how far we have come in the past ten years? That in just twenty-one days the first Black President will be inaugurated”? “Hell, Herman, I knew that would happen. I’ve known it for a long time now. Even Don Thomas said it in the METRO STAR. But that was years ago, as I recall, that was in 1989.”

*Footnote: Don Thomas, born Donald Ray Thomas 1936-1989 published a weekly commentary for the Metro Star, a weekly black newspaper published in East St. Louis from 1988 to 1992 by this blogger. He attained an Associate Degree in Business Administration from State Community College in East St. Louis and furthered his education at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville with the completion of a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. Because of his sharp mind, devotion to scholastic achievement and uncommonly high grade point average, Donald was also listed in Who’s Who Among College Students

Mr. Don Thomas retired as a Technical Sergeant after twenty years of service from the United States Air Force. He was also employed by the McDonnell Douglas Corporation as a Purchasing Procurement Officer. A proud husband, father and friend, the above article was one of the last commentaries Don submitted prior to his death in March 1989. He missed President Barack Obama’s inauguration by ten years but we, as Americans, shall not miss his genius and his work. May his words live on into eternity …and their works follow them. Rev.14:13

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