Monthly Archives: July 2010

Black Doves In Love

By Walter L. Hilliard III

A vision of love, Black Doves in flight at night,

Moving in synchronicity with the ocean current of love

Flowing through our spirits – you and me – Black Doves

Flying and trying to stay afloat with the winds of change

Blowing through our lives, allowing us to grow through

Fright, plight, and our desire to stay alive, strive and do

Love right.  Let’s be together, stay together and love forever.

 

Our hearts, minds and souls oft do stumble, and our words

Are bumbled when we grumble and unleash our fury from the

Cage within.  And I wish I knew why the Caged Bird sings? I want

To know how it is that the Caged Bird sings?  I just

Wish the Caged Bird would stop singing, free himself of fear and

Commence to telling  me the secret of secrets that resides,

So alive, within his heart.  I wish the Caged Bird would

Teach us, two Black Doves in love, so that we could always

Be free to love one another.

 

Black doves in love; some Black couples fighting a sea

Of socio-economic misery; others simple fighting the urge to

Fight, or fighting just to be fighting because that’s all

They know.  Black berries in the Land of Milk and Honey

Immersed and consumed by the “milky ways,” rightly or wrongly,

And lured by the honey of more and more money, a big house, a

Big car – and so even dark minds appear to be sunny.

 

Black Doves trying to maintain their love, raise their

Children and raise themselves above the ruckus, the fracas,

And the fray among those who don’t want to see Black Doves

In love, flying and trying to reach the Promised Land.

Yes, there are those among us, all around us, lying,

Vilifying and trying to clip our wings of love and send us

Down, down, down, crashing into the ground.  It may be

SHE-RA – Black Goddess of the Universe – smiling,

Switching, shaking and breaking her “thang,” luring in Mr.

Family Man; or it’s Mr. Wallet, in his Dreamer Beamer, cash

In hand, out and about looking for a “good time

Girly.”  Whatever the case or the width of the space between

Their ears, Black Doves in love gotta watch their backs,

Their fronts and their wings.

 

 

Black Doves in love oftentimes have it rough, and

Sometimes they gotta be tough if they’re going to fly high,

Long, safe and free.  Black Doves in love should cherish

One another, pray hard, and strive to not only love, but to

Like and befriend their lovers.

 

Black Doves, Black Doves, Black Doves in love should keep

The romance tight — plant it, nurture it, whisper sweet nothing

Nothings” into Romance’s Ear.  Hold the Romance close,

Close, closer and closer at night.  Yes, I said hold

The R-O-M-A-N-C-E close . . . oh . . . so . . . very close.

For if you fail to do so, you may one day, someday,

Eventually, unintentionally – and a lonely day it will

Be – find yourself Home Alone.

 

And Black Doves full of love are not

Easy, E-Z, or E-see to come by.  Black Doves

Are a rare breed indeed: They fly high, fall far and it’s

Not easy for them to trust deeply and fall weakly for

Another.  But Black Doves look for love, need love, want

Love, and shall always find love, because they are love.

 

Walter L. Hilliard III

A SOUL BREAK

The Color of Beauty Documentary: Sometimes You Really Don’t Get What You Pay For

When you get a chance to, watch “The Colour of Beauty” video that features Renee Thompson, a stunning Black model who exemplifies a “steel like” tenacity to succeed that all people, and particularly Black people, should model.  Her resilience and desire to succeed in the face of constant rejection from the “few Blacks allowed” modeling industry is even more admirable because her profession is based on her looks, her Blackness, yet she has made a tough living as a professional model for years.

Beverly Johnson, the first Black model to grace the cover of Vogue Magazine, shared her opinion about the modeling industry’s lack of diversity during a CNN interview:   “It’s disgusting, unforgivable, and it shouldn’t be tolerated.  It’s a sad old story.”  Beverly also mentioned she was having a flashback because the industry is the same as it was in the 1970s when she was at the top of her career.  And that everyone in the modeling industry needed to be “enlisted” to make changes.

I believe the message to Black women is that they must not only be more conscious of their fashion purchases, but they have a responsibility to at least go do some level of research about the designers, magazines, and advertisers that are directly and indirectly related to their fashion purchases, be they clothing, handbags, magazines, and so on.  If you don’t see Black or minority faces in the publications you read, or you come across articles about racist company practices (for example, Google the company’s name with the word “racism”), you need to write a couple of letters or send emails — and make some phone calls and complain.  Also tell your friends to do the same.

Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Tyson Beckford and others have spoken out and even met in regards to the ongoing “Blackout” in the modeling industry.

I was once looking through old pictures with a beautiful brown-skinned ex-girlfriend, who happened to be from NY.  I asked her why she never tried to become a model?  She said she had tried, but the industry gatekeepers  told her that her hips were too big.   She had curves but not like the curves you see on a lot of sistahs.

It’s shameful but racism consumes every area of Black life, not because we want it to, but because it does.  Some Black people seem to do their best to ignore racism, and will even criticize other Blacks who complain; however, pretending racism doesn’t exist in everyday life is insane.  You can complain and still work hard to change things or succeed.  When you repeatedly ignore racism, you begin to question yourself or internalize negativity as if something’s wrong with you.  This is bad for your mental and physical health.

The modeling industry uses “quotas of exclusion,” and they all participate in  finger-pointing in regards to who’s at fault for the lack of diversity, whether it’s the modeling agencies, casting agents, the designers, the advertisers, or whomever.  They’re all lame, and things will not change until you call it what it is — Racism — and do something about it.  The world’s population is over 80 percent people of color, and in the United States, minorities will be the majority by 2042.  Minority children are already two-fifths of all our country’s children under 18, but by 2023, minority children will be the majority of all children under 18.  So the modeling industry, like all American institutions that don’t welcome minorities, needs to understand that supporting diversity is good business.

Black women spend over $30billion a year on apparel, but when considering New York’s huge Fashion Week, Blacks were only 8 percent of the models in 2010 (an additional 8 percent were Hispanic and Asian); in 2008, women of color were only 13 percent of the models (6 percent Black; 6 percent Asian; 1 percent Hispanic); and in 2007, Fashion Week was virtually 100 percent White.  This is appalling.  It’s as if the modeling industry is stuck in the 1800s.

I would just say to Black women, it’s just like selecting the men you allow into your lives:  you make the choices so you have to accept the responsibility regarding how the relationship goes.  And if you “lay down,” the fashion industry will continue to walk all over you.

Mothers and Grandmothers and Aunts and Sisters

Mothers and grandmothers and aunts and sisters  smile at you like sunshine that binds your bones with your soul.  You feel their love and you know you can do no wrong; you can own the world with the power of love from these great women.  They may leave you, but their spirits, the core of your being, is forever woven into your DNA.

I can see my grandmother and great grandmother’s smiles in my mother’s smile.  My mother can look at me and my tired soul becomes peaceful and renewed.  Black mothers, grandmothers, and aunts – matriarchs, “holdin’ it down,” in our community, breathe courage, morals and values into our spirits so our brothers, sisters, our children live another 100 years.

The yellow cakes my paternal grandmother made still hold a sweetness I can taste to this day.  And the special pickled eggs my maternal grandmother made still swim through my blood and nourish my spirit.   Yet all of their love is reflected in every tender morsel my mother has ever fried, baked, or boiled.  Her food, everything she makes, is the best tasting thing she has ever made to me.

Then there are the aunts who hold a sparkle in their eyes that reflects the amazement we all have that love, the love of family, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers  – is eternal, and sustains you with a new burst of soulfulness with every cookout, phone call, or family reunion.

Sisters are the teammates you can trust to have your back, the ones you want to be in the foxhole with when the enemy is closing in and you know you have a chance to win the fight.  Sisters are an extension of you, they have been where you’ve been, their pain is your pain because you’re both woven from the same steel fabric that will hold the family together on into the future.

The love of family is what fertilizes our emotional and spiritual growth.

But even those that may not have been as fortunate to have been surrounded with family love should be able to feel it through whomever was there for them.  Whoever propped you up and helped you from a toddler to a child to a teenager to a young adult is your family.

And although none of our families have always said or done all the right thing, all the time, what we do receive from them, their love, played a role in our journey.  And oftentimes we simply don’t realize how blessed we all have been.

Ten Things Every Black Woman Should Know (Excerpt From My Book: “The Black Wake-Up Call”)

By Walter L. Hilliard III. 1. YOU’RE A ROLE MODEL. Know that you are truly Queens and the backbone of all civilization, not just Black Civilization.  Modern human beings evolve from an African Eve.  Look it up.  If it weren’t for the strength of Black women, Black people would not have survived slavery and be here today.  Just look around and see how you, Black women, still hold the Black family and the Black community together.  When our young brothas are getting locked up and our older brothas are still acting like boys, there’s always a Black woman “holdin’ it down” – and the “it” is anything and everything you can think of.  So remember, the kids are watching, especially your daughters; teach them well.

–  Is being a role model important to you?  Why or why not?  Do you have the courage to give up what’s not good for you to become the Queen you are?

Remember that it’s sometimes easier for us to remain insignificant, voiceless, and immersed in our own bad habits because there is a payoff – we’re comfortable.  Being a role model is not about being perfect, it’s about working hard and demanding excellence.  Besides, what’s the alternative?

2. STOP BABYING YOUR MEN AND YOUR SONS. All you’re doing when you hide your inadequacies behind being a grown man’s caretaker is creating a relationship immersed in insanity.  This insanity is often hardly noticeable, but powerful, and will not allow you to seriously pursue your full potential, nor will your mate and son be the best they can be.  Grown men who act like big babies and young men who act like babies are not cool or cute.  Make your man help around the house and teach your son to cook and take care of himself.  Demand that your man treats you well and your sons treat women well.

–  Who is the last man you babied?  How did you baby him?  Why did you baby him?

Remember the world “takes no prisoners” when it comes to Black people who can’t do what they need to do to be who they need to be.  Your Black skin is an issue for some people as soon as you walk through the door.  But if “you” let your race be an issue for you, allowing it to be an excuse for you not demanding that your boys be men and your men be Real Men – then you are part of the problem, not the solution when it comes to the Black community’s striving to overcome our obstacles.

3. ADJUST YOUR “ATTITUDE.” We all know that the American Black woman’s head-bobbing, finger-snapping, and tell-it-like-it is persona is known throughout the world, but Life is not a “Waiting to Exhale Movie” and being more concerned with being right instead of being fair, bearable, and approachable – no matter what the circumstances – does not lead to a life of true happiness.  Too many Black women believe they are professional critics, able to cut someone down in the blink of an eye.  And being one who speaks your mind is fine . . . if your mind is sane.  You have to constantly examine your “mistaken certainties” – the things you’re certain about but are mistaken – to be of clear mind.

–  What are you usually negative about?  Why?  How can you improve your attitude?

Remember negativity is a self-fulfilling prophecy; if you expect the worst, you will experience the worst.

4. Take Off Your Helmet, Shoulder Pads, And Cleats And Leave The “There Are No Good Black Men (Or They’re All Married)” Game For Good. This includes “All the Good Black men are dogs, not working, etc.” versions as well.  When you indulge in “Black man bashing” you are bashing yourself because you are bashing your father, your sons, your brothers, your uncles, and your grandfathers.  You are Black – and you’re connected to your Blackness through your people, through all Black people.

–  Do you like Black men, in general?  Why or why not (be honest; think about your views on Black men, particularly relationships you’ve had with Black men)?  How do you treat Black men, especially those you don’t know well, when they approach you?

Remember that there are many people in society that want you to give up on

Black men because others are threatened by their strength and intelligence.

“They” want you, Black woman, to put him down so they can stand on both of

you and feel better about themselves.  Besides, who better to hear you out after

that long, hard day at work at a job that wants you to remember that you are

Black, and therefore less than?  You are not a statistic; it only takes one Black

man to make a difference in your love life.  The only shortage is in your mind.

5. Never, Ever Step Back Or Step Off When Someone Is Attacking You Or The Black Community Or Our Image, Beauty, Intelligence, Or Work Ethic. Whether you’re the only Black person in a meeting at work and someone put’s “us” down or someone Black you know is being discriminated against – step up, step out and “speak on it.”  One thing you’ll learn about life, if you don’t already know, is “kissing up” to people, especially the Mainstream, never works eventually.  People know when you’re “kissing up” and when you’re Black, it’s even more despicable.  No one respects those who don’t respect themselves, so fight when you must, but be professional.  Those that will do you harm are less inclined to mess with you if they fear you more so than if the like you so don’t worry about being liked.

–  What would you do if you’re around someone who says something you suspect is racist or derogatory towards Black people?

Remember you are the embodiment of Blackness, like it or not, no matter where you are.  You cannot ignore your responsibility to the Black community.  What if Martin or Malcolm or Rosa Parks had worried only about themselves and said to hell with Black people?  Where would the rest of us be?

6. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.  If you buy bad shoes, don’t be surprised if they don’t last (and the sistahs talk about you).  If you lay down like a doormat, some men will walk all over you.  Take responsibility for your choices.  If a brotha’s not working, seems to not mind going in and out of jail, or if he’s a womanizer – your choice to welcome him into your life says as much about you as it does about him.  Whenever you meet any man, the question is not so much where he’s been, or necessarily where he’s at, it’s where he’s going that’s most important.  He must have goals and he must be working on achieving them (and the brotha betta have a car; you cannot be with a brotha that has a bus pass).

–  Have you ever let a Black man walk all over you or misuse and abuse you?  Why or why not?  Have you put into practice what you’ve learned, or do you keep making the same mistakes?

Remember a relationship is about teamwork.  Instead of you and your man looking at one another and complaining about what you don’t like – come together, bond, and look outward at the world, and go conquer it as a team.

7. UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF CHARACTER VERSUS REPUTATION. Worry about what you think of you – character – not what others think of you – your reputation.  Black people feel so insignificant so much of the time that we over compensate and get caught up in an adult version of peer pressure, going along with the crowd, trying to be popular or “fit in to get in”, and so on.  Although not all bad, our fraternities and sororities are often breeding grounds for elitist behavior.  Spike Lee’s “School Daze” is probably much truer than we care to admit.

–  What do you love most about you, the person?

Remember that there has never been, nor will there ever be, anyone like you.  You are an artist and you have an opportunity to paint the most powerful, beautiful life ever.  Do not disappoint yourself or the world.

8. KNOW THAT THINGS WILL NOT GET BETTER IN YOUR LIFE UNTIL YOU “DO” BETTER. Most Black women, as well as Black men, are struggling on some emotional level and/or in some area of their lives.  When the larger society is facing hard times, our hard times are two and three times worse. But you cannot feel sorry for yourself and pray that GOD will save you.  HE will provide you with the means to save yourself.  You have to practice the habit of picking yourself up and doing what needs to be done to take care of you and yours, or to be successful, period.  Life demands that you literally reach into your experiences and make something out of yourself.  No one’s going to give you anything.  And if you let others do it for you, they’ll do it to you.

–  What could you be doing a better job of in your life?  When are you going to start?

Remember to have faith that things will get better, but remember  “trying is and excuse for not doing.” Can you please repeat that?  Again?  Now, one more time?  And make sure you teach this to your children and the men in your life.

9. FIND A WAY TO MAKE PEACE WITH THE SISTAHS. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard Black women, young and old, say that they don’t like other Black women or they don’t have any or many women friends.  Not including a close friend or a couple of close friends, a lot of Black women hate Black women.  They think other Black women are bitchy or catty, sneaky, or just plain crazy.  White women have many of these issues, too, but their angst is nothing like that of Black women’s.

–  Do Black women, in general, get on your nerves?  Why or why not?  What is it about you that you suspect may bother other Black women or cause them to dislike you?

Remember the sistah you’re hating on may have been traumatized or experienced as much negativity as you have in her life.  But you need her as much as she needs you.  If you can’t help a sistah out then what is your life really about?

10. BE AMBITIOUS. If you’re a Black woman, especially when considering how hard life is for Black people, in general, and you’re not working hard towards “being somebody,” mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually, etc. – then you’re not really living.  You’re not helping your family or the Black community be the best it can be.

–  What do you want others to say about you when you’re gone or have entered the spiritual world?  Are you currently living the type of life that reflects what you want others to say about you?  Why or why not?

Remember you will not get out of this life alive.  Take a look in the mirror and ask yourself if you’ve come to accept a live of mediocrity.  You should control Life; Life should not control you.

Soul Muzak Video: Toni Braxton

How To Change Your Life

Most of us live our lives being externally-directed instead of internally-connected; in other words, too many of us are watching and chasing the “Joneses,” when we really should be pulling down our “mental shades” and minding our own business.  If we are going to experience happier, more productive lives, it would be to our advantage to work on removing the “emotional cobwebs” of our past by confronting our insecurities, thus, building and polishing our self-esteem – the floor and foundation of our very own mental dwellings.  Besides, a little bit of housekeeping never hurt anyone.

So the important question to ask is:  “How Can I Change – or Improve – My Life?”

Well, let’s first consider a few things  . . .

Understand that your conscious mind, able to operate with the exactness of a computer keyboard, can be used to reprogram your unconscious mind (CPU: Central Processing Unit), which will automatically reproduce (print, in terms of your behavior, exactly what went in).  Unfortunately, for most of us, this happens to be very negative; thus, Garbage In, Garbage out (GIGO).

What exactly would you like to dispose of at this time???

Always question your beliefs; be open to change; listen without defending, speak without offending – and improve the quality of your life, as well as the content of your character.

When it comes to how you live your life, ask yourself what type of person you are – one of those people who does nothing (the lazy); the type of person who does a little (maintains a job, is a decent parent); or are you one of the few people who dares to do great things?

Philosophy:  All life is in the head.  In English: But if your “head” is a mess, then your life is probably a mess, too.

We’ll prepare for weeks for a big night out or sit and watch TV all night, but so few of us will bother to spend, say, $7 on a self-help book and schedule 20 minutes to read it each day.  It seems like the Pleasure Principle is working overtime in far too many lives.

There’s something wrong with this picture . . . ?

Change is gradual in its process, but instant in its results!

So, how can you change your life?  The following pointers will give you a foundation on which to build your continuing Life Change Program:

Write down what your purpose in life is and review it periodically. Your purpose should ask the following questions:  Who Am I (and not just your name, or just the fact that you like long walks in the park)?  Why Am I Here, on Earth?   I believe that our Higher Power put everyone here for a reason, and this reason always includes our using our talents to help others.

Develop a “Goal Plan” with deadlines/dates. Doing this will help you decide what it is that you want from life and provide you with ongoing direction.

Write a description of the type of person your want to be. And what your mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, family, career, financial, and recreational goals are.  Also, write down why you want what you want?  What your biggest obstacles are?  And how you can overcome them?

Change the picture you have of yourself (your identity) by using creative visualization to help you reprogram your mind. Willpower is only temporary, so let your subconscious mind (dictates your behavior) help you change naturally by closing your eyes and visualizing the new Super You, starring in your own soon-to-be-released true story blockbuster.

Talk positively to yourself (positive affirmations) everyday. Counteract every negative thought or word with a positive response or affirmation, in the present tense, said with Emotion.  For example:  “I am happily improving my relationships with others by listening more and speaking less.”

Read, read, read positive material everyday . . . and when you’re done, read some more (books, magazines, etc.). If your day is full, then read in the morning or at bedtime or on the subway or bus. You eat everyday to stay alive, so read positive stuff to nourish your brain and keep it alive, sharp and growing.

Evaluate and Make the Necessary Changes In Your Environment. This is all about filling your environment with positive people, places, and things.

Take Good Care of Yourself. Exercise and eat healthy foods.  Maintain a low-fat, low-salt and low-sugar diet.  Moderation is the key, so if salt or sugar is listed in the first three ingredients of the food you buy, then there’s probably too much of it.

Write Down Your Thoughts In A Journal As Often As Possible. This will provide you with the ongoing insight into who/where you were, who/where you are, and who/where you will be, helping you to organize your thoughts which will automatically help you deal with your problems more effectively.

REMEMBERISMS

  • HAPPINESS is a byproduct of good living, not something you go out and get.  After all, happiness is what life is all about, ultimately.
  • SUCCESS is relative.  When things don’t go your way, regroup, count your blessings and loosen up your criteria for success.  Also, remember to rejoice in the success of others.
  • PERFECTION: We are all perfect; it is our behavior that usually falls short.
  • GROWTH/CHANGE: Life is all about living, loving and learning, and so growing.  This mean s that mistake are necessary.  Also, don’t worry about changing others.  They’ll change as you change your thoughts about them.

Never let the memories of yesterday rule today’s thinking or you will kill tomorrow’s dreams.  Walter L. Hilliard III

Soul Muzak Video: Dru Hill

A SOUL BREAK

Lillie Belle Allen (Excerpt From My Book: “The Black Wake Up Call”)

THINKING THOUGHTS

WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD PEOPLE, DO BAD PEOPLE CARE – DO THEY SLEEP GOOD AT NIGHT?

CAN PEOPLE WHO DO BAD THINGS TO OTHERS TRULY BE      GOOD PARENTS, GOOD FRIENDS, GOOD HUMAN BEINGS?

AND WHAT DO BAD PEOPLE SAY TO GOD WHEN THEIR DAY OF RECKONING COMES AND THEY HAVE TO EXPLAIN WHY THEY DID WHAT THEY DID?

I remember going to my grandmother’s funeral.  I suppose I wanted to be strong because my son was sitting beside me, but I could barely stop crying.  And even though she had lived her life well into her eighties, she was now gone.  I knew I was her favorite (well, aren’t we all in our own minds?) every time I saw the sun in her eyes shine and warm my soul.  Grandmothers have that way of looking at you and making you feel special.  But why do they have to go?  Yet love is a two way street and she used to tell me, “You’re the only that comes and helps me with your grandpop (he was wheel-chair bound).

Life is strange.  Death is even stranger.  You live treading through an endless ocean of life experiences, maybe even becoming an adept or talented “swimmer,” hopefully living life to the fullest, keeping your head above troubled water and avoiding the sharks, the people who try to drag you down into an abyss of negativity and feed off of your reactions.

And throughout this life, if you’re lucky, you may even manage to have many more happy days than bad days.  But deep down inside you know you won’t get out of this life alive, just like you know you won’t be able to swim in any ocean forever.  Eventually, your body and soul wears down and you succumb to something, even if it’s just the water of Life itself.  Nonetheless, you’d like to spend as much time here on earth as you can.   Because, really, no one knows what death holds.

Life giveth and life taketh away.

So let’s take a walk in another Soul’s shoes:

Imagine it’s one of those happy days because you’re on vacation visiting relatives, but you are in a small city that is experiencing major racial problems.   You and your family – a sister, brother-in-law, and your parents – head out to the store.  All of you end up lost on the wrong side of the railroad tracks, having been let through a barricade by a policemen, and you run into over 60 angry White folks, many with guns a-blazin’.   You, in the backseat, get out of the car intending to take the wheel because your sister, the driver, has frozen with fear – but before you can get into the driver’s seat, you’re life comes to an end in a hail of gunfire so powerful it knocks you out of your sneakers.  There are over 100 rounds of bullets fired in the direction of your car.  In fact, the shooters were even reloading and you, or your body and your family, are there for what seems like hours.

You’ve become the victim of a hateful crowd of racist looking for someone to kill.  And in your last terrifying moments, a shotgun slug having torn through your torso as you tried to crawl back under the car, you hope, maybe, someone will come to your rescue, possibly a policeman?  But reality has it that the police are even in on the murder.  They’re out to see to it that you die, too.  In fact, the police encouraged those who murdered you, and even handed out bullets.

And so you die, and everyone involved in your murder gets away with it.

And let’s say you’re among the family members of this innocent victim.  Say you’ve been, emotionally, drifting through life in what seems like an on-going nightmare from that day on, a nightmare that you can’t seem to wake up from, almost smothered by thoughts of what happened to your loved one every night you lay down and every morning you wake up.  A nightmare where your loved one is murdered in cold blood – gone, right before your very eyes and no one has paid for the crime. And if you’re the 11-year-old daughter of the victim, you saw the car that carried your mother to her murder roll home full of bullet holes, being driven on the rims.

Can you imagine the pain?  The anger?  The hate?  GOD is the only way you make it through the day.  And even he has trouble explaining this one to you.

Imagine if you, a family member, decades later, find out that the investigation has been reopened and some people are going to be arrested.  And then you find out that a current mayor, Charles Robertson, a leader, was involved in your deceased family member’s death.

And for whom does this BELLE of Freedom ring?  Not for thee.  No, I am not really free because my justice, my people’s justice, comes late – if at all.

 

Well, the aforementioned story is what happened in the Lillie Belle Allen Case – a case where Ms. Lillie Belle Allen, an African American from Aiken, South Carolina, was in York, Pa, visiting her family during civil unrest in 1969.  Yes, York, Pa, one of four cities claiming to be – along with Philadelphia, Baltimore, Lancaster, PA – the land of the free and home of the brave’s first capital. Over 400 State Policemen and National Guardsmen, tanks and all, had to roll into York to restore order because of rioting that went on for nearly two weeks.

I was six years old when this happened to Lillie Belle Allen. Six years old.  One of my only memories of my grandfather walking, before diabetes ravaged his legs, was when I was about this age.  I remember walking with him and reaching way up to hold his hand as we walked to his mother’s house, my great grandmother, Nana.  I remember my grandfather picking me up and putting me in a chair and my great grandmother giving me that nasty carnation powdered milk.

Wow!  So about a half-hour down the road in York (40 minutes from Baltimore, MD) . . . about this time . . . people were murdering Lillie Belle Allen, a fellow human being, in cold blood because of the color of her skin.  It sounds like something during the days of slavery, involuntary servitude . . . a long, long time ago.

Lillie Belle was murdered by a group of nine White street gangsters looking for a victim, and Charlie Robertson, a cop at the time of the shooting and mayor of York, Pa, up until recent times, was yelling “White Power” and feeding the wolves ammunition to carry out their dastardly deed, telling the gangsters to “kill as many niggers as possible.”  Charlie Robertson, eventually charged with racial violence and inciting and handing out ammunition to gang members, even admits to leading a “White Power” chant at a park the day before Lillie was murdered.  It was also revealed that during his police career he had been suspended for slapping a Black woman, as well as for a situation involving a minor.

Charlie Robertson was quoted as saying:  “Everyone thought it was even.  One Black had been killed and one White.”  And he’s probably right, at least in his eyes, because Officer Henry C. Schaad, a rookie, was shot (actually died 14 days later) on July 19th, 1969, and Lillie Belle Allen was shot two days later on July 21st, the fifth night of rioting in York, started by White and Black gangs fighting with one another, causing the injuries of over 60 people, fires, and dozens of injuries.

And when one thinks about Charlie Robertson’s behavior, you wonder what other leaders around the country have something to hide when it comes to America’s history of crimes against Black folks?  Jews still hunt down Nazis.  Why is so little done to bring American racist to justice?

Henry Schaad’s murderers have since been found.  Two Black men, Stephen Freeland and Leon “Smickle” Wright, were charged and convicted in 2004 of second-degree murder for killing Henry Schaad.

After being pressured over a long period of time, Michael Wright, brother of Leon Wright, finally admitted what happened leading up to Officer Schaad’s murder: he, Leon and Stephen Freeland conspired to attack the armored vehicle that happened to contain Henry Schaad and left him dead.  Michael said they were tired of police shooting into houses and allowing White gangs to do drive-by shootings in black neighborhoods.

It seems like Michael, Leon, and Stephen thought the action they took was the thing to do, striking back at a racist society, I suppose?  Maybe they didn’t believe their bullet could pierce an armored vehicle, but they shouldn’t have pulled the trigger.  But what do I know?  Did they feel they were at war, under attack?  Was Henry Schaad one of those cops that had been shooting into Black homes?  What would you have done under these circumstances?

After a wave of national attention about Lillie Belle Allen’s case, 94 of York county’s business and community leaders sent a letter to two York newspapers telling them to “take the high road” in dealing with the issue.  The newspaper’s editors viewed the letter as a threat.  The papers had called for Robertson to resign from his position as mayor.  The letter was also sent to former Governor Tom Ridge, who went on to head up our nation’s Office of Homeland Security.  Apparently the “good,” powerful folks didn’t like the negative national publicity raining down on their town.  Time, Newsweek, “The Today Show,” CNN, and others covered the story.

Sounds like most towns or cities in America:  “Now, now, all of youzzz, jus’ git a long.  Don’t beezzz stirring up trouble and makin’ a fuss ’bout things.  Don’t be gittin’ folks all stirred up, now.”

And for whom does this BELLE of Freedom Ring?  Not for thee.  No, I am not really free because my justice, my people’s justice, comes late – if at all.

Brothers, Arthur N. Messersmith and Robert N. Messersmith, both members of the Newberry Street Boys gang, had a plan to shoot Blacks and had shot two black teenagers days before Lillie Belle Allen was murdered.

Under tremendous pressure from the local community, Robert Messersmith and Greg Neff were arrested in 2001 and convicted of killing Lillie Belle Allen in 2002.  Several months from the first charges being made in 2001, nine individuals ended up being charged with first-degree murder and six reached worked out deals, pleading guilty to lesser charges in exchange for their testimony.

So the prosecution made deals with gangsters.  Everyone was shooting at the car.  One liar even said that he thought Lillie Belle Allen had a gun when she got out of the car, and that’s why they opened fire on her.  How can so many people shoot her and only one shooter fire the “fatal” wound.  It sounds to me like Old Southern White Justice is being dealt here.  In other words, we’ll let as many off as we can because she’s “just some Black women.”  One witness said he was one of over 60 people at the shooting and he couldn’t figure out why police wouldn’t talk to him about the murder.

This is the kind of cut-rate, for sale, second-hand justice that Black people usually get, and at the same time we’re always being told by “officials” to keep quiet, let justice take its course.  Hah!  Now you have to be blind, death and dumb to think that had eight or nine brothas been shooting at a car and a White girl was killed the prosecution would be offering deals to anybody.  In fact, any Black person that would have been within a 50-mile radius had better catch the next space shuttle leaving earth.  And ya know it!

But if ya don’t know . . . I said – if ya don’t know . . . if ya really don’t know, ya BETTA ASK SOMEBODY.

And ya heard!!!

And for whom does this BELLE of freedom ring? Not for thee.  No, I am not really free because my justice, my people’s justice, comes late – if at all.

In 2005, $2 million was the result of a settlement reached by the children and sisters of Lillie Belle Allen against the city of York and five police officers.

Justice?

Not when you lose a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a fellow human being.

Shirley Sherrod, You’re Fired, You’re Lynched

“Power Concedes nothing without a demand.  It never did and it never will.”  Frederick Douglass

Hello.  You probably don’t know me, but I’m one of those everyday Black Joes who thinks like Shirley Sherrod, but I’m probably known as a troublemaker, like a lot of Black Americans, to those that believe racial discrimination is fine.  You see, most racism is not as overt as what occurred in the case of Sherrod; most racism is initiated by everyday White folks who somehow allowed their conscious or unconscious stereotypes to rear their ugly heads in the workplace and other institutions.  My Cookout Census with relatives from all over the country tells me as much.

What you may not know is that when most Black people have it out with discriminating employers, the police, and other institutions who have committed wrong-dong, there usually is no rallying cry or support from Whites or Blacks like Sherrod experienced.

Most Black people are not as cowardly as White Americans when it comes to discussing race, but they are just as cowardly when it comes to confronting discrimination or doing something about it – choosing to whine and complain to other Black people behind closed doors.  They are afraid of the consequences of complaining to Whites who rarely believe them.

But finally, a new national Black Super Hero, Shirley Sherrod, we can all believe in – White, Black, Brown and Yellow people!  The other super heroes, who have always had their necks on the Racism Frontlines, the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons, the mainstream media has successfully created caricatures out of them.

Mamma Ain’t Scared of No Damn Politician

It has occurred to me that President Obama is the “sheltered” Black kid, dragged back to the “ghetto of racism” by his adopted mamma, Sherrod, to spend time in the summer with his streetwise, tough Black inner-city “cousins,” the Black masses who have it tougher than anyone and will stay on President Obama’s back about taking on Race/Racism.

President Obama has spent too much time out in the suburbs of life in places like Harvard, congress, and now the White House, hob-knobbing and sipping cappuccinos with his mostly White buddies, including his White House staff.  And where has this lifestyle gotten him?  Well, to the presidency, I suppose, but he’s getting beat up even more so now by the conservative bullies.  But this time Shirley Sherrod, the nation’s new prospective leader on discussing race, was also hit by one of those conservative bully’s rocks, really meant for President Obama, while she was just walking down America’s streets, minding her own business.

And why’d they go and do that?  They done pissed off the wrong one now.  Despite the fact that Sherrod was sacrificed by Obama’s USDA buddies and thrown under the bus to get pounded by the conservatives, she adopted President Obama and his responsibility to take on Racism and like any good mother who loves her son, she’s trying to help him toughen up to fight the good fight.

Sherrod is ready and firing back every time the O’Reilly’s, Hannity’s, Beck’s, and Breitbart’s try to criticize her or downplay racism.  She’s even thinking of going out and looking for some “legal get back,” so she says, on Andrew Breitbart by filing a defamation lawsuit.

Up Close

Examining the case closer, Sherrod, a Black US Department of Agriculture Rural Development Director for Georgia, was called on her cell phone three times and asked to pull over to text in her resignation by the USDA undersecretary Cheryl Cook, who told her the White House wanted her to resign.  This overreaction was based on a short edited video clip posted on the website of conservative, race hustler Andrew Breitbart on July 19th, 2010.   The video clip was titled “The NAACP Awards Racism,” showing comments from Sherrod, taken out of context, portraying her as having not done as much as she could have to help a White couple, Roger and Eloise Spooner (they have nothing but praise for Sherrod), because of their race.  This was Breitbart’s third edited video misrepresenting minorities, particularly Blacks.   Yet he cannot legitimately “put Whites on the cross” because they believe their White privilege doesn’t win 110 percent of the time.  And “winning,” he told a conservative audience, is what it’s all about, referring to why he does what he does.  Yup, Conservative White folks10, Black folks 0.

After Sherrod finally pulled off to the side of the road, having been harassed by the under secretary, she told her, stating it was the last thing she said, “The fight hadn’t been in me before, but it’s definitely in me now . . . you haven’t heard the last of me.”  She continued, “I knew I would not take this laying down.”  Responding to an interviewer’s question about her considering a defamation lawsuit, Shirley responded, “That’s one person (Breitbart) I’d like to get back at.  He came at me; he didn’t go after the NAACP.”  And sue she must, or Breitbart will continue with his bullying.  Breitbart never apologized and asked why should he apologize?  “I think he’d (Breitbart) like to see us stuck back in the times of slavery…that’s where I think he’d like to see all Black people end up again…that’s why he’s so vicious against a Black president,” Sherrod told Anderson Cooper during an interview.

An apology to Sherrod for her forced resignation came from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, who had been dealing with racial issues regarding Black farmers (average White farmer’s loan processed in 30 days; Black farmer’s loan was over 90 days), who eventually won a $1.25 billion settlement that the senate just voted to not pay, yet again.  In 1999 Sherrod and other activists sued the Department of Agriculture and eventually won the aforementioned lawsuit.  Unknown to most, however, is that Obama can use a political maneuver to override congress and pay the Black farmers, who have suffered discrimination for decades.  But I believe it will be a cold day in H*# before he does this because he knows that mainstream America just won’t be able to wrap their minds around Black farmers getting so much money, despite their suffering and loses being so much more.  In fact, those Black farmers have a better chance of going through the most racist congressmen who are currently denying them their money.

President Obama finally called Sherrod – at her request through the media – but he didn’t exactly apologize.  Nonetheless, the real problem is that Obama is paranoid about discussing race, and he and his administration fired Sherrod almost immediately without her receiving due process.  The White House was shaking in their boots that her story was going to hit the conservative FOX airways.  A big part of this travesty is that Obama’s decision-making is narrow; he needs more Blacks in his inner circle.   And Sherrod offered, after talking with Obama, that maybe he doesn’t really understand the issue of race/racism enough.

To better understand Sherrod, one must consider her past.  Her husband was one of the founders of SNCC, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, and her father was murdered by a Klansman, two weeks before the little boy he was praying for (he had five girls younger than Sherrod) was born.  Sherrod has recounted how in1965 she and her sisters were to the principal’s office to tell them that their father, Hosie Miller, 39 years old at the time, had been shot by a Klansman (never prosecuted) after a dispute over cows.  This led her to dedicate her life to Civil Rights, organizing Black farmers in rural Georgia. After her father’s death, the Klan went to her house and burned a cross in the yard, trying to intimidate the Sherrod family, but they called their Black friends who came to their rescue, armed, surrounding and daring the Klan to do something.  And in one interview, Sherrod’s now adult son even remembers bullet holes in the wall over his bunk bed.

But what hurt Sherrod more than anything regarding this debacle was when the NAACP hastily repudiated her because her entire life had been about fighting for Civil Rights.  The NAACP called her actions “shameless” and they threatened to identify and take appropriate action against the Black NAACP members at the event because of their seemingly supportive response to what they charged as Sherrod’s racism.  Wow!  These crazy ass bourgeoisie Negroes went after her harder than any Klan posse, hound dogs in tow, chasing Sherrod down like a runaway slave.  I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer the conservative Klan posse catch me than the Colored People NAACP posse, hell bent on showing White America that they can run down and lynch a Black person faster than anybody so they can get that White Approval pat on the head at the end of the day, and save face because of their previous denouncing of the racial elements of the conservative Tea Party.   It’s no wonder they can’t recruit more Blacks.

Sherrod also shared, responding to a reporter’s question, that she agreed with Attorney General Eric Holder, an African American, who said we are a nation of cowards when it comes to dealing with race.

Race Going Nowhere Fast?

What’s going to happen now is that more and more people are going to have to discuss race because of the controversy and Sherrod might be one of the leaders because she has been repeating the need that our nation, and hopefully with Obama’s lead, will start discussing race, at least for awhile.

But what many may have missed was that Robert Gibbs, Obama’s press secretary, dodged three separate questions about when the administration would be handling the Race Issue.  Joe Biden, the president’s right hand man previously told the New York Observer:  “I mean, you got the first mainstream African American (Obama) who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. . . I mean, that’s a storybook, man.”

Ultimately, Sherrod will become an even greater hero, and probably lead our next big discussion about race, while our supposed leader, “Johnny Obama come lately,” will only reluctantly join in, like he always does.  Even democratic and republican leaders refuse to strongly call elements of the Tea Party racist, despite being shown video footage of Tea Party members carrying around signs portraying Obama as a monkey and more.

What I love most about Sherrod is that she is not backing away from the racism issue and she’s calling it what it is – RACISM, which virtually none of the Black media professionals were doing before Sherrod incident came about.  And most still don’t want to say it.  This has driven me crazy since forever, and I have little respect for most of the Black journalist and hosts I see on TV.  Maybe Sherrod can inspire them to get some “backbone,” too?

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