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Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Let’s Major in the Major

In Uncategorized on November 21, 2010 at 9:18 pm

I heard a Pastor challenging his congregation to think and act beyond mediocrity. Of his 8 years in the pulpit at this church, the Pastor said he observed the congregants and came to this conclusion: “we major in the minor and minor in the major.” Essentially, the congregation had become bogged down by the small things and allowed the significant aspects of living escape them. I would like to borrow this line from the Pastor; I believe we all are guilty of doing this from time to time, if not a little too often. While we sometimes get bogged down with the minor stuff, sometimes all a person needs is a hero.

A hero, well my definition of it at least, does what’s right even when no one’s looking or thinking about looking at them. A hero faces adversity gracefully, and sees the end goal rather than the obstacle; a hero sees the world differently than anyone else and continually marches to his or her own drum. Sometimes, the opportunities to be a hero escape us, yet they are there. Perhaps it’s best summarized with this quote: “Man, we living in a time where a hero ain’t nothing but a sandwich.” A line from one of my favorite films. Benjie Johnson, the lead character, is a teenager living in an inner city during the 1960s struggling with a heroin addiction. Young Benjie, who shows academic promise, has problems at home–he struggles to understand why his father is not present. Young Benjie has esteem issues, but he hid them all too well with his “tough man” act. And Benjie went looking for the acceptance and love that he felt was not present in the home through drugs.

Benjie felt rejected by his biological father, and wondered aloud to his friend how could his stepfather, Butler, do for him what his biological one couldn’t. At one point in time, I was Benjie–though I didn’t struggle with a drug addiction, I had an addiction of another kind–it was called self hate. I could not accept myself because my biological father didn’t accept me; and as a child, all I could see was that my hero wasn’t present. Benjie found out by the end of the movie, he had a hero, a hero he rejected and never gave a chance–his stepfather. Well, it took me longer than 2 hours to figure out that I was fortunate to have a hero every step of the way. To all of us who think we don’t have the time to serve as a mentor or that we are not hero material, think again. Sometimes, all a child needs is to know that someone cares and loves him or her. So, let’s major in the major things; hug a child, love a child, share with a child, and you may save a child.

As for me, well, my list of heroes is too long for this entry, but I’d like to thank you Steve for being my Butler!

A Growing Legacy

In Uncategorized on November 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm

In 2005 the New York Times conducted a series “Class Matters” examining class and poverty, to which they found it was disproportionately African American. Poverty and race seem to be inextricably linked, and this spills over into all facets of life. African Americans are less likely to marry; 70 percent of African American children are born to single mothers; African American men are more likely to be incarcerated than on a college campus; and on and on.

There seems to be little to no hope in sight…Right? The statistics are staggering, yet hope exists. From the First Family to the family around the corner, we see working middle class African American families coming together, staying together. These families remain under the radar. As a child I was in the minority, unlike what the statistics reflect then and even today, I was one of few children in my area who was born into a single parent household. Success is there, rather than looking at the staggering statistics, we need to see those who are making family work. I am a proponent of the two-parent family; however, I also am a strong proponent of a strong family unit, a unit that is not traditionally a husband or a wife, but of aunts, uncles, grandmothers, essentially the extended family. I am a product of such. Families come in all shapes and sizes, when the child has love, care, and a stable unit, success is much more likely to follow him or her.

So, last week, as Veteran’s Day approached us, one Mr. John E. Terry, Sr., a WWII Vet, died peacefully in his sleep. When I returned home for his funeral, I noticed several things: he was loved by many and he loved and promoted the concept of family. He left a legacy like no other, and when I look to those rather depressing statistics, I see hope, for he defied them and so did his children and their children. My heart goes out to his family, yet this one leader left a legacy for young African Americans to pursue. He was strong, determined, but above all, he was a teacher. His methods may not have been conventional; when you were in his presence, you couldn’t help but to share and dwell in love. He will surely be missed, but Pop’s legacy only grows and continues…

To the Benton County Vets: At the time they served, our Armed Forces were not yet integrated. They served under much different conditions than vets today. Looking back, I wish I could speak to them, to inquire about life in the military, serving abroad, and what the return to Mississippi was like. But now I will celebrate their lives and tell their stories…one vet at a time. Note: This is only a partial list of African American service members from Benton County, Mississippi.

Name and Date of Enlistment

Robert L. Bean April 23, 1941
Eddie Adair April 25, 1941.
Jim Avant August 4, 1942
Tom W. Batts October 2, 1942
James Beard October 2, 1942
Rice T. Allen, November 17, 1942
William Avant November 17, 1942
John H. Bean February 2, 1943
Henry C. Cathey December 3, 1942
Henry Clardy February 2, 1943
Clinton Boga September 2, 1942
Joe W. Morgan August 30, 1944
James T. Jimmerson February 2, 1943
George L. Mason December 3, 1942
Andy L. Mason June 19, 1942
Willie B. Mason April 3, 1943
Ulyess Roytson, Jr. November 17, 1942
Enlo P. Terry January 19, 1944
Willie B. Terry April 12, 1941
John E. Terry, Sr. February 2, 1943

The New Face of Black Leadership

In Uncategorized on November 9, 2010 at 8:00 am

South Carolina’s Tim Scott. Florida’s Allen West. Could it be that these newly elected Congressmen are the new face of Black Leadership. Often Black Leadership is considered monolithic, that African Americans have one charismatic leader to frame the dominating concerns of the community. Not only are they challenging the ideological traditions of African American leadership, they too were and are active in the Tea Party. Both Scott and West are the first African American Republicans to Congressmen since J.C. Watts.

In a recent interview on Fox’s Hannity addressing the Tea Party and racism, West remarked that “So I think that the — the liberal progressives saw the strength of the grassroots movement that we call the Tea Party, which stands for ‘taxed enough already’ and they tried to turn against it…And the No.1 thing that you always try to do to silence an opponent in the United States of America is to call someone a racist.”

Scott is leading up the Republican transition team, and West sees this as just a sign of change in African American leadership, where he sees a growing conservatism within the Black community. The national landscape has changed and this was determined by the results of the mid-term elections. Yet, time will tell whether this growing conservatism that West speaks of will catch on and lead a Republican revolution in 2012.