Topics: African Americans, Civil Rights, Education, Human Rights, Women's Rights
"Love, truth and justice must fight again." Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
Note: For this month as last year, I started the posting with the title February One... depicting the significance of the day in Greensboro, NC A&T and this nation's history. The urgency of the crisis with Bennett defined every day as its own encapsulation of history, so it led to spelling out the dates for each post this year. Every day beyond February is a day in the nation's history.
I will also be taking a break after today until 4 April. I have to get ready for a conference in Florida, my Master's thesis defense and application to the doctoral program in Nanoengineering. It will be a minute...
This is an audio file of Dr. Barber's remarks at the 59th annual observance of the sit-in movement, February 1, 1960. The entire event was live-streamed on Facebook, which encompassed excellent choir performances, comments and civic awards. Dr. Barber made these remarks without notes, or as millennials say, "straight off the dome." He was impressive, humorous, passionate, cogent and powerful. I used his portrait from NC A&T's website as an intro to this month and this audio reproduction. This admittedly imperfect audio provides what I hope is an appropriate outtro.
This month started at a stated crisis of funding for Bennett College. They exceeded their stated public goal of 5 million dollars, raising 8.2 million dollars. Despite that, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools headquartered in Georgia, where Stacey Abrams lost her bid for governor by theft, decided to revoke their accreditation prompting an appropriate lawsuit by Bennett. I hope for their continued success and accreditation with either SACS or from another agency.
This crisis then became a curiosity: how many HBCUs are there? Having attended one doesn't mean I have this info "at the ready." I found a website that listed the total at 107, some of them sadly for previous funding crises like Bennett just recently encountered, now closed. Rather than just give a single link and call it a day, I decided to give whatever history the schools made public. I published the history of the ones closed as well, as precious jewels lost. A classmate in California coordinates as part of an HBCU college fair and displays A&T to a lot of African American youth that for the fair probably would not have heard of Aggie Land or any others. Once upon a time due to De Jure segregation, these were our only options. Now with the Internet literally in our hip pockets, we're more focused on other things and being a part of other cliques versus connection with legacies. Anonymity and apathy can lead to future funding crises and closures. We cannot allow ignorance and neglect to self-foreclose our own legacies.
The list of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) had striking similarities:
1. Many were started or headed by African American women - many during a time when American women as a whole didn't have the right to vote.
2. The institutions started somewhere around the Civil War, soon after or inspired by other examples before them.
3. Many were associated or affiliated with either a church or ministries, not interested in expanding "prosperity gospel," but emancipation and opportunity.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. U.S. Constitution - Preamble
The very things a freed and exploited people would demand of the nation they had served ceaselessly without compensation or reparations, long overdue. That freedom - imperfect as it is - appears to be under assault by foreign actors and their installed puppet.
And mere years after the savagery of penal slavery, my ancestors wanted themselves and their posterity educated, something during slavery they were systematically denied. Full emancipation is the self-actualization of determining one's own future through one's own efforts, unimpeded by faux social barriers and bigotry.
The other commonality I've personally experienced is the comity of being an alumni. We wear the paraphernalia of our respective universities and identify each other as Aggies, Bison; Eagles, Rams (NC A&T, Howard, NC Central and Winston-Salem State University, respectively). We have greetings like "Aggie Pride" shared with each other publicly and openly. We feel the weight and pride of our ancestors and the history that came before us. We express our joy at homecoming games and tailgates. We are uncles and aunties to the children of close college friends: we are family.
The ONE true thing:
Humanity is one species descended originally from the African continent. Each of us has a measure of Carotene and Melanin, determined by where on the globe our ancestors encountered ultraviolet light and the chemical interactions it encouraged. "Race" is a political construct created by a kleptomaniacal few to manipulate the masses they openly disdain and steal from. It's being used here and overseas as the rise of right wing extremism is being exploited towards a dark end of expanding the old Russian empire. Here, they've done this since the Bacon's rebellion when so-called "white people" were created by the then 1%, as well as during and after the Civil War. I use the term in quotes because Titanium Dioxide is the die that is used in paint and dental fillings that upon absorption of all the colors of the spectrum reflect the color our eyes interpret as white. It's worked like a charm, so far.
A kleptomaniac has a mental disorder that compels the person to steal. Unlike a shoplifter, who will steal an item he or she wants or needs, a kleptomaniac steals for the thrill of stealing, often taking items that have little or no value. Vocabulary.com
I supplement this definition with one caveat: they are stealing something of significant value. They are stealing our wealth, our health and healthcare; the air we breath, the water we drink; the environment we'll leave our grandchildren. Wilber Ross during the contrived 35-day shutdown is a textbook case of how isolated and clueless he, and they are from the rest of humanity. His greenhouse footprint like most American oligarchs is probably more than anyone in his entire state combined. The sad part is, they feel entitled to "burn down the forest" while living in the bright sun and plentiful rain in the canopy of its trees. Eventually, karma has its say and the entire ecosystem fails, them included. Their very avarice is a slow motion, extinction-level event. T.S. Elliot's famous poem, "The Hollow Men" last lines - this is the way the world ends, not with a bang...but a whimper - become apropos, though there are many interpretations.
They did this during the 2016 elections that now see the "chickens coming home to roost" in taxes some of the MAGA enthusiasts are having to pay in. Tax cuts for kleptomaniacs work like that: when corporations are given 10-year tax breaks, it's the middle class property owners that pay for what would have been their fair share of taxes. If those same corporations and 1% receive a tax cut, it is all of us that pays that bill, meaning you may not get a refund this year as you are accustomed to, and many rudely found out. The kleptomaniacs are robbing us in plain sight, and using racial animus, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia to keep us divided because they KNOW if we grouped together, they would no longer have power over any of us. It's worked like a charm since the Bacon's rebellion, a history not taught and you ought to revisit. It's been passed down several generations now from one kleptomaniac sociopath to another, swallowed "hook, line and sinker" by one duped generation after another. Since no one seems to have caught on, why change a proven formula? It's probably through all his seemingly irrational word salad, what the Propecia Ferret wearing orange pumpkin head meant about "winning"... he wasn't talking about us: only his kind, which he's only marginally a part of in name only, as a peruse of his tax returns will likely reveal, along with huge loans from money-laundering Russia. That would compromise anyone, and we typically don't give a foreign asset the nuclear codes. I pray this madness ends soon, or the stress on our republic; body politics and ecosystems globally will result in catastrophic, unrecoverable failure, as predictable as the fall of Rome.
We have sojourned in this land 400 years since the first slaves arrived (not "indentured servants," Governor "Black Face" Northam), in 1619. The nation of Ghana has graciously extended the offer of the "Year of Return" to the African diaspora. Some of us may take them up on it. I hope we don't have to. Though this union is imperfect, we helped build it and have stake in its success. That means fighting: at the ballet box and as citizens.
The kleptos in our current swamp - R or D variety - will keep running this game for 400 more years...if we have the luxury of that much time, and if we let them.
All together tirelessly, for the country, the planet and way of life we love.