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The Young And The Restless
Published:
12/10/2014 3:07:26 PM

By Barney Blakeney


I was encouraged after reading an article in the Dec. 3 edition of The Chronicle which reported the response to a speech by Min. Louis Farrakhan to students at Morgan State University. I was in my freshman year of college when I first heard of Min. Farrakhan. My roommate had recordings of Farrakhan’s and Dick Gregory’s speeches. I learned as much from them as I did in any of my classes.

I had the invaluable experience of hearing both men in person when I returned to Charleston after college. Both men, I believe, are blessed with understanding and comprehension of our society and the ability to articulate it. They helped change my world view.

The report on Farrakhan’s speech sent to the National Newspaper Publishers Association from The Final Call newspaper I found uplifting because he encouraged the young people in the audience to step up to the plate and fulfill the destiny of their generation. As the country reels from atrocities across the nation that perpetuate brutality and sanctioned mistreatment of Black people, Farrakhan charged his audience and other young people to confront that tyranny.

Min. Farrakhan warned that Historically Black Colleges and Universities such as South Carolina State University are being attacked. They are where our greatest leaders have come from, he said.

I was at Cyrus Stroman’s 65th birthday party the other night hosted by Bernie and Betty Broughton. The room was filled with HCBU grads - Barbara and Deborah Stroman, Donna Singleton from Clark College, Evelyn Rose, Joyce Grant, Raymond Mazyck, George Powell, one of the Whaley boys and his wife, Mrs. Nevada Heyward and Rev. Tolbert. I was amazed at so much success in one place in such a small crowd. There were folks there whose names I don’t know, but the place just exuded with regality.

They all are among the leaders Min. Farrakhan spoke about and they inspired me to write this piece. You see, I’m convinced that young people are the key to leading Black people out of the bondage that oppresses us. You’ll see some old poverty pimps posturing for publicity, but it will be the young soldiers who march and lay down before the oppressors who will make things happen.

Seeing guys like Cyrus whose naval career and Mazyck whose 34-year career in education demonstrate what young people who are dedicated and committed can accomplish, then reading about Farrakhan’s speech reminded me of what was accomplished by the Student Non-violent Co-ordinating Committee (SNCC or Snick).

I read a book a few years back in which some guy traced the struggle for civil rights geographically beginning in Washington, D.C. and moving through to Alabama telling stories of activities and events that took place in the different locales. I can’t remember the book’s name and its buried somewhere in the boxes I call my library, but I remember some of the stories. One was the story of Ella Baker of North Carolina.

Ella Baker was a great Black woman who should have led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) back in the 1950s, but some hankerchief-head preachers wouldn’t hear of a woman leading the organization. Never mind she and others in effect already were leading it. But like publicity pimps today, some cats took the credit while others did the work.

Anywho, Ella Baker brought together students at Shaw University in 1960 resulting in the creation of SNCC, and which led to later sit-ins and Freedom Rides that took the Civil Rights Movement to another level. It was those young people who took to the streets and forced America to deal with the savagery of its racism.

Unlike the publicity pimps of today the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement of yesteryear didn’t seek photo opportunities for financial gain. If Martin L. King Jr. operated the way today’s so-called civil rights leaders do, he would have been a millionaire. Those old guys gave guidance not lip service. They moved out of camera shot and let the lenses focus on youthful unrest.

Remember Parliament Funkadelics’ ‘America Eats Its Young’ album? Well, some of those young people paid dearly - Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, Samuel Hammond, Henry Smith and Delano Middleton are among those who paid the ultimate price.

I’m encouraged that so many young people are standing against the injustice that surfaced with the failure to indict police officers Darren Wilson in Missouri and Daniel Pantaleo in New York despite so much obvious evidence that more scrutiny is necessary in the controversial deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner respectively. And I’m impressed that young people here in the Charleston area also are staging protests.

Now if only the publicity pimps would take a clue from Ella Baker.
 

Visitor Comments

Submitted By: Montana5 Submitted: 12/10/2014
'exuded with regality'? Go back to school, sir. And in the meantime, please try to articulate what injustice was done when the Grand Jury declined to indict Darren Wilson. All of the evidence, sworn testimony, ballistics and forensic evidence dispute your belief that the Grand Jury was wrong. Education requires an open mind, sir. Yours is clearly clouded by racial bias.


Submitted By: Hilario Submitted: 12/11/2014
Excellent article! I am similarly inspired by Minister Farrakhan. It's obvious that the commentor "Montana5" demonstrates a lack of perspective realism when dealing with how legal/justice system applies to particular groups. Truly sad. Continue writing and sharing what inspired you to this elevated thinking sir.


 
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