“Segregation today, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever”. It has been more than four decades since Alabama Governor George Wallace shouted out the above infamous words in 1963 as he stood behind the backdrop of Alabama University, denying access for two black student to the segregated university. Some eight months later, also in 1963,  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., using the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. as a backdrop gave his I Have A Dream Speech. Governor Wallace, fanning the fire of racism, wanted America to stay the course and resist effort to usher in a new day of racial equality, fighting the Brown vs. Board of Education decision and the federal government.. King wanted to drown out racism and demanded that” judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” Amos 5:24. As America and the world commemorated the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s death, one can’t help but wonder has King’s dream become America’s nightmare?

A little more than four weeks before King’s death, The Kerner Report, also known as the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorder, issued it report. which highlighted without corrective measures, the nation would continue on its path toward becoming “two societies–one black, one white–separate and unequal.” The report, commission by President Lyndon Johnson in 1967 after four consecutive years of “long hot summers” stated that white American institutions basically “created” and “maintained” the ghetto. King dedicated his life in challenging three evils, the evil of racism, militarism and poverty. President Johnson, also knew something about poverty, hence his “Great Society” and his war on poverty. But it was the Vietnam War which changed his focus from bread and butter issues to the prevailing issues of bombs and bullets. Regarding racism, then Senator Lyndon Johnson once said during his 1960 campaign in Tennessee,” If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.” A Time for Choosing , February 29, 2016 Post). Our current president is well aware of the politics of division.

The last decade, from 2008 to 2018 has been and continues to been exciting ,exemplary, and an enlighten experience. You might be black or white, Democrat or Republican, rich or poor, it has been and continues to be one roller coaster ride of highs and lows, mountain top experiences followed by valley views. From #Black Lives Matter,  #MeToo, and #Never Again, America appears to be at a fork in the road, one directions marked, Martin Luther King’s Dream and the other road marked An American Nightmare. In the words of Dr. King, “we have some difficult days up ahead,”but an ever loud chorus has begun to sing… black, brown, red, yellow and white , all who are precious in God’s sight. May the voices of Emma Gonzales, Jaclyn Corin, Yolanda Renee, the granddaughter of Martin Luther King, Jr and countless others continue to warn America that #Enough is Enough.”  

The Heart of The Problem

Murder and mayhem. Death and destruction. The twin evils of our day that robs hope from the heart and continue to blind our eyes to what we see and deafen our ears to what we hear. The twin evils that tear away the very fabric of our lives regardless of race, religion or region. The stories are the same. The pain and horror is real. The results are predictable, unending suffering in the cities, hillsides or urban and rural communities. The heart of the problem, indeed is the problem of the heart. The sound of gun shots have become unwelcome music to our ears. If you hear the “pop, pop, pop” that means you have survived another day and you pick up your pace and keep it moving. If the sounds are in the night or before the crack of dawn and awaken you from your sleep, you are thankful that the bullets did not come through the walls and strike you or your love ones while asleep. The yellow crime tape, the numerous evidence markers placed where bullet shells are left scattered about. Another life. erased from the anal of time as the newscasters report, “no suspects, no witness.” Be it one, five or ten years later, too many times the homicide goes unsolved and it becomes just “another” statistic. The quite reframe keeps playing in our mind, “no peace, no justice.” Black Lies Matter tends to “Trump” (pun is intended) the truth, as No lives matter, be it in Monsul, Iraq, Chi-Raq, East. St. Louis, Flint, Los Angels, and on.

The eye sores are everywhere. No block is spared as whole houses, half-a -house, houses with no windows or doors and trash scattered all about gives testimony where hope unborn has died.. The news report a body of a child has just been found in an abandon garage. We are later informed that the body is of a young 8-year girl as the body, wrap in blankets had been there for more than two years. Bodies are found in weeded fields, in abandon building, unboarded-up houses, trunks of cars or in the many safe secured homes in gated communities. Make shift memorials are seen throughout the communities, as teddy bears, balloons and ribbons wrap around utility poles inform you of the most recent homicide. Crosses with the victim’s picture have become the instant cemeteries where speeding vehicle driven not by suicide bombers, but someone who don’t give a damn about their own life let alone their innocent victim’s life. Your learn quickly, when darkness set in, you better be in the confines of your home.

The cloud of impeachment hovers over our new president. The U. S. Senate is secretly considering legislation to drive the final nail in the coffin of Obamacare. Russia’s Putin is celebrating his victory as the drum beat of discord, mistrust and cynicism grows louder and louder. Meanwhile the 99 percent continue to have too many problems with little to no solutions. One thing is for certain. The solutions offered in the past are not working. The water is still unfit to drink in Flint, Michigan. Veterans continue to be homeless and without medical care. Unemployment and underemployment have become the new normal. The domestic terrorism (Black on black crime) continues to be a national crisis with no  solutions in sight. There is the Band on Mexican, the Band on Muslims, and there has always been the Band on Black and Poor Americans.

But there are some solutions that have not been tried. As our military advisors and our allies help take back Mosul, Iraq one house at a time, maybe we should employ the same tactic to our devastated communities. After all, that’s how we lost them, one house, one block and one community at a time. As our homicide victims become younger and younger, sooner or later, we must conclude that the solutions to our many problems will not come from outside sources, but from within our weary souls. We indeed have a communication problem. We have yet to communicate that we are tired of being the victims of broken lives, wounded hearts and no peace, no justice. We are “tired” but we are not “sick and tired.” Like Fannie Lou Hammer, until we  “get sick and tired of being sick and tired”, the pop, pop, pop, the devastation and despair  will continue.

We Will Not Forget

The memorial was captivating to the eyes and the soul as I gazed at the thousands of shoe strings, the pictures of the many children killed during the Holocaust, the child’s coat hanging and the one pair of high top shoes on display at this unnamed consecration camp. The memorial read, “In Memory Of The 1.5 Million Children Who Perished During The Holocaust. We Will Not Forget.” I immediately concluded that this well kept middle school that appeared to be 99 percent black “now” was at one time a middle to upper class school populated by a Jewish Community.

Memorial to the 1.5 Million children killed during the Holocost

I am here with my granddaughter as she practice at this middle school several times a week. I watch as the black kids run back and forth to the restrooms and this nice size memorial, glassed incased, appears totally invisible to them. I wonder how many of the children know what the “Holocaust” was? How many Jews were killed during this dark and evil period of man’s history on earth? Two scriptures came to my mind. “My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge”: Hosea 4:6 and …”these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shall teach them diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Deuteronomy 6:6-7

After a few minutes I return to my senses and remember that many Black Children know very little about their past. Not knowing your past can have a devastating effect on your present as well as your future. Have they (blacks children) every heard of Nat. Turner, Sojourner Truth or Harriet Tubman? Did they know that their fore parents didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, but Plymouth Rock landed on them? Have they been told how the sharks followed the slaves ships from Africa to the Americas as many slaves jump to their death to avoid slavery, reportedly the number in the million?. Do they not know that America is a land of immigrants who came to America for a change, while “we” came in chains. Have they ever heard of Emit Till or the thousands of Black American who died of their illness because they could not make it to a “black hospital, like the one that was at Mound Bayou, MS.? Many have read and heard of Martin Luther King and his “I Have A Dream” speech, but have they every read his Letter from Birmingham Jail?  Many young blacks may know Martin, but have they heard of Marcus Garvey, Megar Evers or Malcom X ? How about Fredrick Douglas, who he was and what he accomplish after someone broke the law and taught him how to read? I am almost certain that they have never read his “What the Fourth of July Means To Me” speech.

In today’s world of the IPhone, the Smart Phone, the I Pad and the other high tech gadgets that our black children can not survive one day without, there appears to be a problem with information over load with very little knowledge or “real” learning going on either at the home or the schools.. The right to an education, the right to vote and to right to pursue life, liberty and happiness are ideals that our children take for granted as if those rights always existed. We have created a narcisstic society that is Facebook oriented and the only viable family is their Facebook family. The middle class has basically vanished, good jobs with benefits and pension have disappeared. Struggling parents pay more for childcare today than many parents paid for a college education for their child years ago. A car note is equivalent to a house note in the past and our youth learn too soon about working the many hours at a fast food place and earning very little money.  And the beat goes on.

The salesman gave us our receipt after purchasing two new tires. He has taken noticed of our East St. Louis address and responds,” I remember meeting President Johnson (Actually Vice-President) in 1960 when he came to visit in East St. Louis.” He went on to explain how he could not have been more than 5 or 6 years of age and how this event had stayed with him over the years. “That was before all the factories and jobs left East St. Louis.” he said. Back in 1960 and before, the now financially strapped city of East St. Louis was then known as an All-American City and at one time boast of a population of more than 80,000 citizens until the white flight occurred and the political system built upon cronyism and corruption was passed on to the blacks. I explained that most of the factories were located “outside” of the city’s limit by design so the factories could avoid paying taxes to the city. Knowing one’s past, their present and their future are inter twined, especially when history is being recorded and revealed. If Blacks Lives Matter, then somehow, someway, there must be a memorial to “us” in the midst of a national election where others want to turn back the hands of time to the 1950’s or before. It is truly a different story when the rabbit got the gun.

An Old School Answer For A New Year

IMG_5323The young man sat in the barber chair and reflected on his life and the life of his brother.  I sat intensively in my seat taking in the conversation as I was up next for the chair. I always arrive early at the barber shop.  I feel I should not have to wait hours to cut the little hair I have and my beard. I remember the barber when he was a toddler and I am proud of him and his dedication to his craft. The young man tells how he was at a gambling establishment with “$15,000” cash on him. He explained as he left the gambling site, he started up his vehicle with the automatic starter device and somehow this act startled his assailant. He told how he ran as his would-be robber shot at him with the bullets striking him “five times.” He stated he landed on his back, bleeding profusely as he plead for his life and told the would-be robber to take the money looking skyward from his back. “He didn’t take the money” the young man said. He explained how he was shot in his arms and legs and his torso but “no major organs” were hit or injured.

He went on to explain how his brother was shot “one time” and died of his wound. He asked WHY he lived and his younger brother died. He talk about the hospital staff coming to him to asked if he wanted to give consent for his brother’s organs to be donated to others on a waiting list. His response was “no.” He went on to explain how the hospital staff came back asking him if his brother was in need of a kidney transplant or a heart transplant, would he being willing to accept such a donated transplant so that his brother might live? He responded emphatically with a “yes.” He changed his mind and consented to donate the requested organs. “At least five persons benefited from my brother’s donations,” he said. He then went on to tell how at his brother’s funeral four persons responded to the preachers’ call to salvation and how his brother’s death had made an impact on theirs lives. But the question of “Why” he lived and his brother died was still eating at him as he survived being shot five times and his brother died after being shot once. The barber finished up the young man’s haircut and I took my seat in the chair. I saw an opening and I suggested to the young man to read Psalm 139 and explained that the answer to his question could be found there. He said he would read it as he left. Seconds later he returned to confirmed the Psalm. He had previously said he was 39 and I told him to add a “1” in front of his age as he smiled and left.

About three weeks later as I was leaving a local diner the young man was coming in. He smiled and extended his hand and told me he read the Psalm. I would have never recognized him without this acknowledgement. Several weeks after this encounter he came up to me “again” at Walgreens as I was editing and selecting photographs and like at the diner’s, he greeted me with a smile and a hand shake. There was a “joy” emanating from his face as he explained he was there with his mother. I asked where his mother was and he pointed her out to me. I greeted her and gave accolades regarding her son. I instructed him to continue reading other scriptures as well. The Bible– Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, is the only Book that “reads You” instead of you reading it.

As we face the upcoming election for president in 2016, it appears that the United States may well be on the way to “anointing” Donald J. Trump as “King” or as he would put it, the next President of the United States. Trump has pledged to “Make America Great Again” and has tapped into the fears and prejudices of the many who yearn for the good old days. Martin Niemoller : “First they came for the Socialist…” appears appropriate for this time of our nation as a new majority (Blacks, Mexicans, Latinos, Asian.) stands at the threshold of America. The billionaire candidate who is speaking for the approximately 30 percent of conservative white America ” first came for Mexicans, and I did not speak out–Because I was not Mexican, then women …, then Jews…, then Muslims…. Then “he” came for me– and there was no one left to speak for me”. But the old school answer to the questions of yesterday, today and tomorrow can be found in the Word of God. The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,…Prov.21:1… We may not be able to answer the question, WHY, but we can answer WHO?…Humm.

Giving Thanks and Thanksgiving




“US 56 602 XXX.” The numbers I had forgotten, forever lost in the resevoirs of my mind until I ran across my DD214 form, my discharge papers from the United States Army. Seven months shorts of turning 21, I found myself at Sand Hill, a remote part of the world found at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia. About two years later, my first cousin, “Ricky” found himself in San Diego, California. Ricky  had joined the Navy to get away from a life of crime and drugs, knowing that he was on a fast track to an early grave and the Navy appeared a “safe” way out of going to Vietnam. Ricky was three years younger than I was and he had already been identified as public enemy number one in his hometown in Arkansas. He felt that wearing the white Navy uniform beat the hell out of wearing a county jail uniform .

I remember Drill Sergeant Dozier. A tall giant of a man that could really sing out cadence, the songs we had to sing during our indoctrination period of 8 weeks of basic training. I remember him wearing his “Smoky the Bear” drill sergeant hat (Campaign Hat) and how he would “hit” us in our face with the brim of his hat as he scared the living hell out of us. The military, it doesn’t matter what branch, takes way your name and give you a number as the many become one. “You like me trainee?” Dozier would yell out to a trainee, as the trainee trembled in his boots. Drill Sergeant Dozier continued the psychological attack to the mind. Being scared and stupid, the trainee would respond “yes.”  thinking you had given him the correct answer and the nightmarish encounter would be over with. “I don’t want you to like me,”  he would respond. “Liking leads to loving and loving leads to F******* and I do not want to get f*****.” (This is a family channel.) After surviving basic training you went next to “AIT” or advance infantry training. Ricky later would informed me that he never had AIT training and found himself in Vietnam with a “colt 45” at age twenty after completing his basic training in California. I found myself outside of Kaiserslaughter, Germany two years before Ricky’s tour of duty in Vietnam began.

It would be some fifteen years later during a walk together at a family celebration that Ricky gave me a brief look into his life’s journey. He explained he was “high” during his entire tour of duty in Vietnam. How he had a two thousand dollar a day drug habit and the only job that could meet his financial need was that of “pimping” and he had a stable of women working for him. Not one who believed in shacking too long, he was married more than times than he could remember and would often tell my mom that he “did not remember” marrying one older white woman who was apparently well off money wise. After his tour of duty he went from one state to another state always on the move and his mother ( my dear aunt) would count it a blessing just to “hear” from him on Mother’s Day or Christmas. Ricky would later informed me how he had “died” several times and once found himself in a” tub of ice”, after over dosing on drugs.” I know there’s a God up above,” he would testify as the God of heaven and earth had protected him from himself over the years. After being delivered from a life of drugs and pimping, the second most important thing for Ricky after his Lord and his God was his attendance at Narcotics Anonymous as he faithfully attended NA meeting regardless of what city he found himself in. Like many veteran of war, he only gave me a “little” information, knowing that I could not handle too much information at one time. As a Journeyman Iron Worker he would tell me how much “peace” he had being 30-50 stories up in the air, working his craft.

The upshot after 678 words. I have often found myself “thinking” about my life’s journey just like my cousin Ricky did. Ricky is now absent from the body, but present with the his Lord. And when you start “thinking” you start “thanking.” The song writer says,” through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come” and you apply those words to your life. We were all “blind and could not see” at one time or another (some still are) until we were saved from ourselves by what the song writer and the Word of God calls “Amazing Grace.” Every day truly is a day of Thanksgiving. But do not take my word for it. “Search the scriptures;” John 5:39a. Remember, Every day is Thanksgiving.


Black Lies Matter

The famous lines from the movie, A Few Good Men, as uttered by Jack Nicolaus, “You Can’t Handle the Truth” frequently conjures up in my mind the skizo-paranoia state of our American society. It’s a culture where two worlds intersect involving the sons of the former slave owners and the sons of the former slaves. It represent a culture where centuries old lies continue to be crushed to the earth only to rise again, day after day and generation after generation.
I recently read a story coming out of Corinth, Texas involving a well education black woman named Dorothy Bland. Ms. Bland alleged she was stopped by two white police officers for “walking while being black.” The sister was “quite bold” as she took pictures of the two officers with her cell phone and a picture of their license plate. She was obviously upset when one of the officers asked for her ID which she did not have on her because she was busy exercising in her upscale white community wearing her “Boston” grey sweat shirt with a hoodie and her leggings on. She gave the officers her name and date of birth and the officer called in to the dispatcher to run a check on Ms. Bland. She later pinned an editorial (Dallas Morning News) on her encounter citing racial profiling as members of the community voiced different opinions on whether she was right and or the two “white”officers were wrong. Be it known there were no consensus as both blacks and whites  took up the pro’s and con’s on the matter coming to different opinions just like me and my wife shared different opinions on the matter after viewing the video and reading the story. Blacks folks like white folks are not monolithic on a variety of topics. (I always felt that O.J. Simpson was guilty as hell for murder). I sided with the police officers as Ms. Bland was walking down the street on the wrong side of the street with her back to on coming traffic. The officers who were polite cited the “safety” issues and stated a truck had to make a special effort to avoid striking Ms. Bland from behind.

Dorothy Bland, like Sandra Bland, also an educated black woman both experienced being stopped by the Texas police, as Sandra Bland was stopped for “driving while being black.” Unlike Dorothy Bland (no relations) Sandra Bland was later found “hung” in her jail cell with the incidence still being investigated. Sandra Bland although she was “right” in her responses to the officer ended up being “dead right.” Dorothy Bland although she was bold in her response to the officers (taking their pictures) could have been “dead right” as she exercised her rights as a citizen that paid extremely high taxes in her white affluent golf-course community in Corinth, Texas.

We face a little over one month before the end of the year 2015 where a noticeable increase in Black homicides have occurred in basically every black metropolitan city in America. This fact plus the alarming increase where  blacks have been killed by the police who are sworn to serve and protect us, causes one to wonder do “Black Lives (Really) Matter”? No one believes the lies more than black America that “we shall over come.” Over come what? When you “hate” your skin color, your hair, your lips, your nose and even your name, are all issues where we must over come. Yes these are relics from the slave past, where if you are white, stick around, if you are yellow, you are mellow but if you are black, get back. “White privilege” still foster a false sense of superiority and Blackness in white America continue to foster a false sense of inferiority. Neither white nor black America wants to talk about race or America’s original sin of slavery as the country continue to be a “House Divided” one red (states), one blue (states) while the one percent that owns the country knows that the only color that matters is “green.”

Ms. Dorothy Bland and others must not believe the lies that were launched during the Cosby Show. Stevie Wonders long ago said you can not “cash in your face.” Even today as we have lost no less than two generations of black and white Americans who struggle with the race problems we must confront the truth. Otherwise we will find ourselfs like Pontius Pilate  who asked Jesus, “what is truth?

Black Lies Matter. We have not over come. Just look at the recent events at the  University of Missouri and the racial climate that forced President Timothy Wolfe out of office due to his refusal to addressed the racial problems there. The struggle continues. Black Lives have “never mattered.”  America have  more black people laid out, locked up, left out and in chains (prisons) “TODAY” than at any time at the height of slavery back in 1850 when the Missouri Comprise came into existence. Even black folks do not want to talk about the relics of slavery as we have become de-sensitized to the murders we see every night at the 5 and 10 pm news cast. The only things blacks folks are making continue to be  the evening news. The Black Lies of “religion” versus “relationship” moves full speed ahead as we hate ourselves and our brothers. I read somewhere where it was pinned, know the truth and the truth shall set you free. I hear the chains falling….Humm



The Flowers of Life

The flower fadeth but the Word of God...

The flower fadeth but the Word of God…

They were pretty yellow roses that would bloom late in July. The yellow roses only lasted one day then another yellow rose more beautiful that day than the day before. But after the season of pretty yellow roses the cactus resorted back to their original state with the penetrating and painful needles. It only took one touch and the needle caused excruciating pain and suffering. So is life as we go through the gardens of our soul and our experiences under the sun.

It,s two o’clock in the morning and the dreams want come. I remember the late nights and the early mornings when I found myself out in the night, looking for a listening ear, a shared moment or maybe a tender and understanding heart. The song writer said “you made me leave my happy home”, but if it was happy why in the name of Aunt Minnie are you at the Fox Hole or the Living Room, drowning out your yester years with a little JB on the rocks kick back with water? The Word of God said I was to leave and cleave (Genesis 2:24) and the two would become one. But an intruder somehow and someway gain entry into your garden and entices you with the pretty yellow roses and the next thing you know the forever green cactus are without flowers until next year. After many years and many tears, you find out that so goes the cycle of life. The struggles, the trials and tribulations and yes the challenges of life will and can make you better or bitter. What’s so strange and difficult to understand is about the time you finally learn the rules of the game of life, the game is nearly over and there is no reset button, no do over and not enough time left to correct yesterday’s wrongs, today.

My spiritual mentor would always refer me to the Word of God which says that Love has waxed cold (Matthew 24:12) . He would explain how you had to build your life “line upon line (Isaiah 28:10) and precepts upon precept.” But the way to peace, joy and yes even grace can be found on the narrow road as broad is the way to destruction and despair. Its seems so unfair that it takes you nearly fifty years to digest the lines, the precepts and the WORD and then you learn you are only promised three score years and ten and check mate. “You will be fifty years old before what I am telling you sinks in,” my grandfather would tell my mother when she was a child. Mom would later tell me that her father was “right.” The life lessons he tried to instill and deposit to her account would prove true and come back to her remembrance, but only after the flowers of life had bloom and failed to the ground, to be forever crushed to the mother earth.

The Emmanuel Nine, (Emmanuel (Matthew 1:23) means, God With Us) the Confederate Flag; the Civil War or the War Between The States; the increase in the homicide rates in our cities from sea to shining sea and a people that have seem to lost their way takes me back to there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Stevie Wonder’s lyrics in one of his heart felt songs says “I got to find me a place in the Sun (Son)” appears to be most appropriate for a world that has been turned upside down, where wrong is right and day is night and the blood flows in the street. And it “grieved God that he ever made man because his thoughts were evil continuously”. Surely that’s why God gave us a “place in the sun (Son).