Bringing Us All Together

frederickHappy Friday, All!

If I might just say T.G.I.F., I hope you all share it with me. Yes, of course, it is “Black History Month”, now becoming more correctly called African American History Month, and, being one myself (African American), among other things … I take responsibility to elevate those who paved the way for me … and us, if you will. In reality, the acknowledgement that we are not really in a post racial USA … so to speak, indicates that we’ve got more work to do … together.

So, I want to start with the theme of this year’s African American History Month, though I never really knew there was a different theme every year – “At The Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and The March on Washington”. This year’s theme is a “double” theme, though I perceive three different events that fall on “important” time intervals, and combines our present situation in regards to the journey of the African American in this country with two important historical events that led to our present situation “At The Crossroads”.

This month marks the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation (for what its worth … I mean, it got the ball rolling) as well as the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream” speech which was at the core of the March on Washington in 1963. Where might we say we have arrived? “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality”! Much of the energy of the Civil Rights Movement spread to other groups whose rights were being infringed upon. In many ways, I suggest, it has awakened something in those of us who see the difference between “right” and “wrong” and promise not to pretend certain things are just not right, when indeed someone’s rights are being violated …. their civil right, that is. Agreed, the definition of that, a civil right, has expanded over the past few years but a catalyst to that “expansion and spread” was the Civil Rights Movement of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. This is not to take anything away from anyone, but it is proof that more of us have decided to work together.

Considering the results of that speech and the energy it spread ” … from sea to shining sea …” and beyond, credit must be given where it is due. A man put his life on the line for much of “humankind” here in the USA … and in some instances … abroad. Whether or not we all agree with everything that anyone thinks or says, which is impossible anyway, we learn to develop values like respect and tolerance that help to make our journey here a bit more “comfortable” together, if you will, and allow us to embrace acceptance, as long as it is for the betterment of all and unifying us on common themes. Granted all that may be difficult, but not only will it give us something to do, it is far better than destroying each other because of our differences.

Back in the day, there was a former “slave”, who, upon setting himself free, running away via the Underground Railroad and ending up in New York, took the name of Frederick Douglass. His story is one that if you don’t know it, you should learn about him. He had so much to do with continuing the progressive movement of the journey of African Americans in this country that it is worth studying what and how he did it. That could be your homework, if you decided that you can use it!

“I would unite with anybody to do right but with nobody to do wrong.”

– Frederick Douglas


John I. Cook, Director

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