Presented to the
CENTER FOR AFRICAN AND AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES
SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AT NEW ORLEANS
Thursday, February 26, 2015
Twenty-three score years ago, our ancestors were brought forcibly to this hemisphere and this continent; a strange, foreboding place, conceived in fallacy, and dedicated to the proposition that accumulation of material wealth at any and all costs would be the founders’ consuming occupation. To achieve their goals and objectives, those who founded this European empire in America saw fit to conscript our African ancestors into their service. Estimates of the number of captives ripped away from their families and villages throughout western and central Africa range from 10 million to upwards of 100 million depending on your source of information. Time constraints today will not allow me to describe in graphic detail the horrors faced by those forebears of yours and mine, not only on the forced march from their respective villages inland to the Atlantic coast, but in the stench-filled holding dungeons along Africa’s west coast, and in the holds below deck on “ships” hardly worthy of the name, specifically outfitted to carry human ‘cargo’ stacked like so many cords of wood. Suffice to say, our forebears did not arrive here on the Queen Mary!
Throughout the intervening 460 years, descendants of Africa and their progeny have been made to suffer reprehensible pain and indignities unparalleled in the annals of human existence, other people’s holocaust notwithstanding! We meet today in a location where many such abominations against our people actually took place, the most recent of which was that travesty in the aftermath of “Katrina,” Danziger Bridge in particular. We meet here today to bring to a close a near month-long commemoration of irrepressible efforts by our people to overcome effects of atrocities committed against us. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
And even though it would be impossible for us to adequately pay respect or homage to those who have gone before us, it is absolutely imperative that we try, to the best of our ability! Were it not for their sacrifices, my generation and yours would not be enjoying even the limited measure of freedom we have come to take for granted. It is for those of us who are the beneficiaries of those sacrifices, including but not limited to lynchings, tarring-and-feathering, rapes, physical and sexual abuse of our helpless children, and castration to name but a few; to be here today dedicated to the unfinished work remaining before us; that from our own honored ancestors we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave every full measure of devotion, first, last, and between; that you and I here highly resolve, that those who have transitioned on our behalf, who died so that you and I might live, will not have done so in vain, that this once-noble Race of ours — collectively — will be given a new rebirth of freedom, recover our humanity, and ascend to our rightful and intended place among the constellation of Races and nations in the inexorable march of humankind toward a better and more just world!!
The change that Black people need today is from our current state of abject dependence on the gratuity and indulgence of other races and groups, to a mindset of self-respect, self-reliance, mutual aid, responsibility, and enlightened self-esteem!
We must reverse the effects of that diabolical process used by our captors to convert us from the African human beings we were, to the “slaves” we became! We cannot expect to reverse the effects resulting from a process, with anything less than and even more effective process! The process I have in mind has been given the name “ONE MILLION CONSCIOUS BLACK VOTERS AND CONTRIBUTORS” (OMCBV&C), and I am here today “mining-for-gold,” BLACK GOLD, and YOU are the Black Gold I am looking for!!
Who among you will answer my call? We are looking for the Best and Brightest One Million Black folks our Race has produced, to step-up-to-the-plate and fulfill the promise of W.E.B. DuBois’ “Talented-Tenth!” We want the intellectual equivalent of our “blue-chip” athletes who are so aggressively sought after and recruited by white “Division I” universities for their revenue-generating sports programs!
I am recruiting our BEST, to serve and uplift the REST!
Will YOU take the baton, and run the next leg of our ‘Relay-Race of Life?’
OUR CHILDREN NEED YOU!!!