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Nuggets For The Hungry
6/17/2015 3:52:03 PM

By Hakim Abdul-Ali

"No one makes it in life being stupid" is what a dear old buddy from my old stomping grounds of Newark, New Jersey, used to say to me too many years ago for me to recount. I still think of him and I wonder how he's doing, or even if he's still alive.

We would see each other occasionally in the neighborhood park where I lived and used to play pickup basketball games in the summers. He wasn't a player but he knew a little about the game of b-ball, but he knew more about the game of life.

His name was "Mr. C," as we hoopsters referred to him as. He was from the rugged streets of old slick Newark, and he had done some serious time in the prisons of New Jersey.

He and I became close "rapping" buddies due to the fact I did religious prison ministerial work in New York state, and, from time-to-time we would talk about life in all of its sorted formats. I always enjoyed our raps because, being that "Mr. C" was respectfully older than I was, I felt that I was always learning some more truths and realities about life that I hadn't known before.

It was refreshing to my mind and spirits to be in his midst. Talk about someone being old school street savvy and "Mr. C" definitely was your man.

"Mr. C" was a special "hue-man,"'always sharing with me the facts of life, especially those tidbits he learned from the errors of his trials. I always felt, even though he didn't have an institutional academic degree of any kind, he was one of the wisest teachers I had ever met in my life because learned, firsthand, from "The University of Hard Knocks."

His wisdom was boundless and his yearning for learning was unmatched during the time I knew him. He was a forward thinker, always about moving on and not living the past. He was about learning.

Returning to the aforementioned phrase of "Mr. C" that I started the this article with, I'm now thinking of how much he referenced why having an eduction was so important in life, and how vital he thought that it was in being able to advance properly in life. He used to say that you have "Nuggets for the Hungry" in order to survive in life.

"Mr. C" often referred to acquiring knowledge as a "nugget" and each new day yielded an opportunity to acquire more of the same. "You have to be hungry, my Brother Hakim. You have to be hungry me and seek more 'nuggets.' "

He would extoll this to me because, upon reflection, everyday that he woke in the joint (prison), it was another opportunity to seek another "nugget," so he was always attempting me trying to learn something new. It was about acquiring "Nuggets for the Hungry" that kept him sane in the madness of incarceration and despair.

If you knew anything about any street corner in Newark's hoods or any big city environs for that matter, you knew that those "teachers," like "Mr. C," were real qualified professors of life's experiences and they did not play--short and sweet. "Mr. C" has probably passed on by now, but his concentrated approach to me after my b-ball games have lasted a lifetime in my mind and soul. I owe him much.

Yes, I believe in what "Mr. C" said and taught me because life to the aware thinker is a prison of sort, even if you're not locked down behind walls of concrete and steel. I firmly believe that if you don't have the knowledge of God Alone and why you were created, aren't we all living in a jail house of spiritual ignorance?

Oftentimes, I brought that scenario and question to the attention of "Mr. C," and he would say that he learned so much from me about the concept of worshipping God Alone. In reality, I learned more from him. I thank the Most High Alone for having met and come in contact with "Mr. C" and all the other ones like him who have come into my paths of growth and maturation.

In absentia, thank you "Mr. C" for your wisdom shared during those unforgettable and wonderful Newark summers. You were an great inspiration for me then just as you certainly are now.

In closing, and in honor of "Mr. C's" favorite phrase, "Nuggets for the Hungry," I'm going to leave you with some educational golden "nuggets" from some great thinkers and achievers from the Afro-American experience. They are:

"Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom."
Dr. George Washington Carver

"I know most of you can't spell your name. You don't know the alphabet, you don't know how to read....I promise you will. None of you has ever failed. School may have failed you."
Marva Collins

"Educate your sons and daughters, send them to school, and show them that beside the cartridge box, the ballot box, and the jury box, you have also the knowledge box."
Frederick Douglass

"It is hard to apply oneself to study when there's no money to pay for food and lodging."
Zara Neale Hurston

"To see your enemy and know him is part of the complete education of the man."
Marcus Garvey

With fond remembrances of "Mr. C," I ask you, are you "hungry" for some "nuggets" today? Remember also what he said when he uttered that "No one makes it in life being stupid."

Again, are you "hungry" for some "nuggets" today? If you are, then please don't forget to pass those "nuggets" on because "each one should teach one." BLACK LIVES MATTER! For today and always, that's, "As I See It."


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