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Food For Freedom's Thought
Published:
5/27/2015 1:15:40 PM

By Hakim Abdul-Ali


Sometimes, whenever I'm trying to gather my thoughts to bring another column into being, I think about the ancestors of the African-American people and what they had to endure to make it easy for me, you and the rest of present day "colored" folk everywhere to be who we are and to do what we do today. Now, that's "Food for Freedom's Thought."

That reality, I dear say, is missing from a few folks of color's mind-sets and thought waves of thinking as they become preoccupied in many instances with the illusions of this techno-hyped universe. Such is the world of rampant ethnic self-denial and gross "our-storical" forgetfulness gone mad, and it is tragically personified within some neglectful Afro-American communities when ignorance meets denials big time.

If you've read my columns over the years you know that I reference my late mother, a former lifelong schoolteacher, many times. She was the one who taught me at home about things that dealt with Black consciousness, the value of an education and having self-pride in being of the African Diaspora.

She would always tell me that the only way to be free is to posses an entire educational panorama, including spirituality, about everyone and everything, including your allies and adversaries.

All of this was taught and understood at home by me even after I went to the traditional educational systems that most people of color and others were indoctrinated in and exposed to for the twelve standard years.

My mother said that you have to study and learn about both sides of being educated in America, including "freedom's schooling" if you're of color and expect to be able to survive in this country, because that's just the way that is. I must admit that I'm a product of this "additional" schooling awareness and, as a result, I had an early start in the worthiness of knowing what "Say It Loud. I'm Black and I'm Proud" is all about.

They often say that knowledge is powerful for a hungry soul and my mother must have been a well-fed soul, because she kept cramming knowledge and wisdom into my brain and soul. She educated me from early childhood to be knowledgeable about the cultures of Africa and her African descendant folk and to seriously investigate all other cultural groups worldwide without discrimination.

All this was augmented by our home family library which contained books from every available and authentic sources of "our-stories" that you could image. It never seemed unnatural for me not to be surrounded by books, books, books and some more books in my then developing world's of existences. I love to learn.

I feel the same way today. Maybe, that's why I'm a self-professed collector and a maintainer of the legacy of preserving "our-story" the way my mother instilled in me to do so. In many puzzling instances, I don't think the majority of Black folk here in America today get that message that was instilled in me and others of my era that the preservation of knowledge is "food for thought."

You see, to love being who you are, requires that you have to come of age and recognize that attaining "additional" self-education and knowledge is a required must for people of color in order to survive in an environmental system that, in many unsolicited areas, has just about written you off if you are of color.

That's a stark fidelity for many African-Americans and some other people of color who are systematically neglected and forgotten in this potentially great nation of ours. Think about that scenario for a stone, cold moment in your "his-storical" imagination and tell me what institutional education (?) has really done for the masses of ebony folk and others of disenfranchised "colored" Americana to this day.

I'm being upfront because Baltimore and North Charleston and Ferguson are not isolated places on the map where you can only say timidly that they are located in the states of Maryland, South Carolina and Missouri. I ask that question because you know, as I do, that to some so-called minority folk and a few others these locations are only concerns of the moment, and they will soon pass away like the next meaningless "hollow-daze" observance(s) on the calendar.

I recognize that is a reality that is all too familiar in the hearts, minds and souls of some of America's "colored" folk today who forget, if they ever knew, that "Black Lives Still Matter." As I profoundly state that to you, I'm reminded, and here I go again, of something my mother used to quote for me from one of her Negro History books that she'd pull out from time-to-time to illustrate something of value that would, hopefully, stick to my intellectual understanding.

She said, quoting the awesome African-American writer William Wells Brown,"When I thought of slavery, with its democratic whips, its republican chains, its evangelical bloodhounds, and its religious slaveholders--when I thought of all this paraphernalia of American democracy and religion behind me, I was encouraged to press forward, my heart was strengthened and I forgot that I was tired and hungry." Hmm!

It's important to keep in mind that my mother was telling me about a quote that came from Mr. Brown, a thinking brother of color who was born in 1815 and died in 1884. If you're really hungry for "Food for Freedom's Thought," then go figure out how deep Brother William Wells Brown's vision was "back" then and see if it reasonably applies today if you want freedom, justice and equality. Do you understand that?

My mother died in late 1985, and I still miss the genius of her soft spoken wisdom, especially, when she used to say, "My son, so as a person thinketh, so is he or she. Know that everybody else enjoys the fruits of God's gifts of life and intelligence. So, why don't we get up off our posteriors and claim 'our' share?" Now that's some legitimate "Food for Freedom's Thought" if you ask me.

While I'm writing, another one of my mother's "our-storical" references comes to my mind. She told once told me that the Father of Black History Week (now Black History Month, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who was born in 1875 and died in 1950, said "Black people have been mis-educated into confusing their interests with those of the dominant society." Now that requires some "food for thought."

I hope you understand what Dr. Woodson was saying, or at least what he was (trying) to intimate to the rationally thinking among African descendant folk everywhere. "As I See It," he was indicating that we, as a struggling people, should equally "know what time it is" as we progress in this country we call the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sounds like some nutritious "food for thought" if you ask me.

What's your take on this? Am I way off course or somewhere in the middle? Remember, if you don't feed the mind the body will crumble, or is it the other way around?

Think about it before you answer because it's all possible "Food for Freedom's Thought," and for today's daily mental menu, that's, "As I See It."
 

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