Archive for Black Men In America


Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Men, Book Reviews and More, Women's Interests with tags , , , , on April 22, 2014 by Gary Johnson

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Martinsville, Virginia—Hey Luv Project announces the release of Young, Black Males: America’s Most Wanted (April 1, 2014, ISBN: 978-0-578-13580-9, Hey Luv Project) by Wendy Kellam.  

Every Black teenager should read Young, Black Males: America’s Most Wanted, so they can feel Kellam’s passion, her true love—not just for her sons and her immediate family—for her entire community and the entire Black race. Most importantly, she wants all young, Black males to recognize and understand their worth!

“Pull your pants up!” is one of many solutions Kellam offers in her powerful, thought-provoking book that comes straight from the heart and written with so much passion and sincerity. Kellam emphasizes the importance of good parenting, the foundation and stepping stone to raising good, productive children. As a single mom, raising three, Black males, she knows the importance of being a good parent, putting your children first, and providing good homes and good morals.

“The stats speak loud and clear,” Kellam states in her book, when she points out that 60% of Black males either drop out of school or go to jail. She also stated that 1 and 3 Black men will have a record in his lifetime. Black males are six times more likely to go to jail than white males. Black male achievement begins to decline as early as the fourth grade, and by the fourth grade, only 12% of Black male students read at or above grade level. By eighth grade, the numbers fall to 9% for Black males. An epidemic that needs to cease, Young, Black Males: America’s Most Wanted should be the handbook for parents, teachers, and mentors and for those who have an immediate impact on the lives of our young, Black males.

Author Wendy Kellam is a native of Martinsville, Virginia. She is employed with Technique Solutions, an IT company. She is the Director of Trudie Reads, a reading program designed to help kids learn to read, as well as instill a love for reading. She is a mentor of the Pretty Girls Rock’s Martinsville Chapter. She is the founder of Hey Luv Project, a group of community partners telling stories to inform, empower and educate. She is a community advocate for her race, an advocate for women, a huge advocate for the youth and an advocate for human rights. She is a daughter, sister and cousin. She is a mother, a grandmother and Messiah has made being a grandmother, oh so grand. She is a friend to few, but cool with many. She rocks to her own beat. I am she and she is me.
Wendy Kellam is available for book signings and speaking engagements. To schedule Wendy for your next event, please email

Young, Black Males: America’s Most Wanted by Wendy Kellam will be available in Trade paperback on April 1, 2014 everywhere. Currently available for download on Amazon Kindle. For more information contact Sadie-Katie at 276-224-4696.

They Peeked Out From Behind Dirt Floored…

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Men, Black Men In America with tags , , on December 31, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Purnell Headshot

… But When I Became A Man,

            I Put Away Childish Things

By Purnell

Peeking out from behind rough-hewn slave cabin windows and gazing through the elegantly curtained windows of plantation mansions black slaves gasped at the sight they beheld…a sight they did not quite understand, but intuitively sensed constituted a power far greater than that of their masters. It was a martial tableau in motion that set the minds of anxious slaves racing in a search for its exact meaning. Unbeknownst to these confused blacks, their deliverance was at hand. Conversely, the entire unfolding circumstance was an apocalyptic nightmare for their panic-stricken masters. With regimental colors waving above them, a phalanx of soldiers in blue was entering Savannah; white men and black men, all wearing the blue uniform of the Grand Army of the Republic had arrived in coastal Georgia. A sound made by thousands of clomping horses hooves filled the countryside and mixed with the muffled footsteps of 70,000 infantrymen. The noise of teamsters whistling and shouting at their mules to keep up the pace filled the air and combined with the creaking and grinding of supply wagon wheels and the rattling of light artillery caissons.  Metallic clattering made by the sabers of hundreds of mounted Union officers heightened the ominous sense of foreboding that rode into Savannah that day. A massive Union military land force had overrun the coastal Georgia area signaling to friend and foe its willingness to engage any confederate unit that summoned the courage to challenge the presence of its seasoned Yankee war machine.

For the slaves of Georgia it was their first time seeing the fearsome display of the concentrated might of a Union army on the move in the heartland of the Confederate south.Entering the city of Savannah was the formidable, battle-tested Union Army of the Tennessee, 3rd Division of the 14th Corps, led by Major-General William T. Sherman. The march through Georgia to the sea had been brilliant. The approach to Savannah had been uneventful though token resistance from small confederate units had to occasionally be suppressed. The ferocious reputation of Sherman’s well supplied army had preceded its impressive arrival. Columns of U.S. infantrymen from the northern states with regimental colors waving above their heads, stretched for miles. Most of them were in the Deep South for the first time in their lives. Plantation owners who had previously proclaimed sworn oaths to die fighting the “damned Yankees”…, who spoke in disparaging terms of Union fighting prowess, took one look at the stunning display of Union military strength and promptly abandoned their plantation estates. Everywhere in the coastal area of Georgia, confederate military presence yielded to the imposition of Union military might upon the state.

Major-General William Tecumseh Sherman was under the direct command of President Abraham Lincoln with orders to break the will of the south to continue the war…and he was doing so with harsh efficiency. Curious slaves had no insight into the strategy and tactics of the opposing armies; but they could clearly see which side seemed most likely to win the conflict. They enthusiastically aligned themselves with Major-General Sherman and fell in behind the Union Army rear guard, willing to follow them no matter the costs or the perils. Any destination was better than their assured slave status if they remained on the plantations. When the Union army moved, they moved…when the Army rested, they rested…when the army was in battle; they helped, watched and waited. Their continued security was contingent upon their remaining within the U.S. Army’s protective perimeter, even if their swelling number sometimes interfered with military maneuvers. Improvements to the situation of these blacks, labeled as contraband by the U.S. government, would get better… better beyond their imagination. And then it would all crumble under the weight of political betrayal and the misfortune caused by the tragic assassination of Republican President Abraham Lincoln.

Fires in Atlanta, Georgia were probably still smoldering when the massive Union Army of General Sherman reached the outskirts of Savannah. The date was December 21, 1864. The next day, December 22, 1864, after offering only skirmish type token resistance to Union forces, the Confederate military completely abandoned the city. In the wake of General Sherman’s successful military “March to the Sea” campaign, were huge numbers of black former slaves and vast swaths of abandoned lands. Southern aristocrats, managers of the American “slavocracy” had hurriedly surrendered their privilege and power rather than stay and face the wrath of Union military might. The social/political vacuum created by the southern plantation class’s displacement was the source of these enormous numbers of emancipated slaves who immediately attached themselves to Sherman’s forces. These ragged black hordes were desperate to keep up with the pace of the advancing Union forces. Afraid and exhausted, they nonetheless had the good sense to refused to remain on the subjugated remnants of former plantations; the scenes of their human degradation.Anxious, happy and at the same time actively suppressing fear, these “contraband” blacks most certainly witnessed their sudden change of fortune in exuberant disbelief. They were probably wondering what could possibly be the eventual outcome of the horrific destruction that led to their sudden and almost providential gift of personal freedom from their previous condition of chattel servitude. This uncertainty lasted exactly 21 days for these former slaves of the coastal Savannah region. Within three weeks of the Union’s occupation of Savannah, a plan for the relief of the freedmen of Georgia and probably for the other nearly four million blacks in America, had been formulated. The blacks of Savannah had successfully organized for survival, economic security and political permanence.

So, why the excursion into Civil War history…? The answer, plain and simple, is to examine African American leadership; black leadership then and black leadership now. Since the political domain of America in 1865 was the exclusive territory of men, black men are naturally the central figures in the emerging political drama surrounding ex-slaves’ desire for independence through the acquisition of land by legal means. To fully explain the point to all of this, it’s necessary and proper to name the unheralded black men involved and to describe what these courageous, newly emancipated men succeeded in accomplishing… On the evening of Thursday January 12, 1865 at 8 p.m. in the city of Savannah, Georgia, a delegation of 20 men of African descent met Major-General William T. Sherman and the Secretary of War, Edwin M. Stanton, to confer on matters relating to the freedmen in the State of Georgia. All of the 20 were ministers. The two oldest men in the group were both 72 years of age and the youngest was 26 years old. Fifteen of the men were born in Georgia, 3 in South Carolina, 1 in North Carolina and one in Baltimore, Maryland. Their average age was 50.

Citing the names of these men is the only tribute that can be posthumously paid to them for their heroic efforts to establish a permanent place on the embattled American landscape for their people. The following black men confidently, diplomatically and wisely spoke for the entire population of freedmen in Savannah and by inference, the other nearly 4 million newly freed and socioeconomically disoriented slaves. Their names are in the order that they appeared in the official United States military record.

The men were: 1) William J. Campbell, 51, former slave 2) John Cox, 58, former slave 3) Ulysses L. Houston, 41, former slave 4) William Bentley, 72, former slave 5) Charles Bradwell, 40, former slave 6) William Gaines, 40, former slave 7) James Hill, 52, former slave 8) Glasgon Taylor, 72, former slave 9) Garrison Frazier, 67, former slave 10) James Mills, 56, free born 11) Abraham Burke, 48, former slave 12) Arthur Wardell, 44, former slave 13) Alexander Harris, 47, free born 14) Andrew Neal, 61, former slave 15) James Porter, 39, former slave 16) Adolphus Delmotte, 28, free born 17) Jacob Godfrey, 57, former slave 18) John Johnson, 51, former slave 19) Robert N. Taylor, 51, former slave 20) James Lynch, 26, free born. Garrison Frazier, being chosen by the persons present to express the group’s common sentiments upon the matters under consideration, responded to questions for the entire group.

Go to for a reading of the official U.S. military record transcript of the proceedings of the meeting. It’s an astonishing account of a little known epic in American history and even more so, an unusual glimpse into the leadership style of serious, capable, devoted 19th century American black men determined to advance the interests of their people. Secretary Seward, Major-General Sherman and the 20 black ministers chosen to honorably and faithfully represent the concerns of blacks throughout the South, deliberated on the circumstances of freedmen and came away from the table with an agreement that would literally assure an opportunity for the economic, social and political integration of freed blacks into the fabric of post-civil war life in the America south. This astonishing agreement granted 400,000 acres of land, with titles backed by the U.S. government, to black families of the region. The land itself was, “a strip of coastline stretching from Charleston, South Carolina to the Saint John’s River in Florida, including Georgia’s Sea Islands and the mainland thirty miles in from the coast.” These 20 ministers had succeeded in acquiring for ex-slaves some of the best farming land in the American south with access to the Gulf of Mexico for eventual commercial fishing!Negotiations between General Sherman and Secretary Stanton on the one side and the 20 ministers of the other side, took place on the second floor of the Charles Green’s mansion on Savannah’s Macon Street on January 12, 1865 at 8:00 in the evening.

None of these ministers actively sought to be a member of the negotiating team. Not a single one of them was seeking notoriety, nor were they positioning to be a power-broker between the black masses and elite whites. All were nominated and then selected at-large by the colored people of Savannah. The entire organizing effort was formulated at the 1st African Baptist Church of Savannah on January 2, 1865. An overflow crowd of several hundred pressed near the entrance to the church hoping to hear what was going on in the meeting. A transcript of the proceedings is available from the Savannah Education Association. Amazingly, one day after that meeting the people of the city had secured a building to be used as a school from the U.S. Army and had arranged for the black children of Savannah to march through the middle of town their new school. Never had a prouder moment been beheld by the freed black people of that city. Adult black citizens of Savannah were making a profound civic statement and taking a firm political stance. The public parading of the children to their new school established that it as a “new day” for the blacks of Georgia and one of the critical objectives of the newly liberated slave parents was the education of their sons and daughters.

Obviously, it is implausible and unfair to attempt to make comparisons between black men born nearly two centuries apart. It is however, fair to examine and compare apparent quality of character over that same expanse of time. This website, is for and about black men and can therefore legitimately explore black men past and present within the context of the United States. So, though the separation of black men then and now roughly consists of 3-4 generations, the ideological, behavioral, cultural divide is much wider. Imagine a situation analogous to the gravity of the situation of Dec-Jan 1864-65 in Savannah occurring in the present; could 20 honorable black men be found to represent the collective interest of black America? …What about just 10 prominent, trustworthy, wise, respected black men who could shoulder the burden of deciding the fate of the entirety of their brethren??Could we/you/I be called upon to reliably, confidently name 10-20 American black men upon which such an immense responsibility could be imposed?? If the request were to generate the slightest hesitation…the answer would have to be a categorical NO. There is justifiable reason to cautiously approach an analogous selection process in 21st century America; duplicity, arrogance, buffoonery, charlatanism, hubris, opportunism and obfuscation tend to characterize the black leadership foisted upon the black community of today by the power elite of the American Left. As a result, in many cases, the motives, intentions and strategies of black America’s appointed/anointed leaders… are suspect.

In an informal survey of several longtime professional black men, the question was asked, “Can you name 20 living black men to whom the fate of black America could be summarily entrusted?” After considerable angst, friendly disagreement and the winnowing down of the list of candidates, only two men firmly emerged as indispensable to such a task. Before the two “must haves” are named, it is only fair to provide the full slate of original candidates. The black men included on the list and in no particular order are, Claude Anderson, Carl Nelson, Louis Farrakhan, Dick Gregory, C.T. Vivian, Wyatt Tee Walker, Andrew Young, Robert (Bob) Woodson, Colin Powell, Joe Madison and Neely Fuller…a powerful lineup of black men reflecting courage, intellect, accomplishment and respect across the board. While any of these men could be confidently selected for something comparable to a “Special Field Order #15” type committee, the two that had to be included were Minister Louis Farrakhan and former ambassador Andrew Young. It is an interesting feature of the informal survey that these two dissimilar, but prominent, black men seemed to hold the unreserved trust of the black men used in the inquiry. Certainly, there are other black men in America who could measure up to the standard of performance of the “Savannah 20” in January 1865. The problem here is that mature, middle class, college educated black men had to really soul-search to name 20 good brothers who they confidently felt could be relied upon to honorably represent black America’s total interests if called upon to do so. The hesitation and uncertainty was not reassuring.

If the average life-span of American black men can be conservatively estimated to be 50-60 years, and further, that the meeting with Sherman and Seward was approximately 150 years ago, then the human factor involved here is a little more than 3 generations. What has happened to black men in a century and a half to erode racial unity, diminish political maturity and enfeeble the designated black leadership in most black communities? What might account for the fundamental difference between the strength of character of the black men in the “Savannah 20” and the black men of today?

In 1865, the vision of a robust black community emerged from religious faith, family cohesion and nationalistic pride. Today, such is not the case. In fact, today a cottage industry has sprung up around the production of pathology-based theories that attempt to explain the lack of collective political sophistication in the black community. Despite attempts at convoluted, scholarly explanations for the lack of evidence of elective judgment and maturity, the answer being sought might be much simpler. It is commonly known that the black community, generally speaking, gets its political “marching orders” from celebrities, media types and an assortment of carefully selected “Hollywood” A-level performers; past and present, black and white. Though actors are paid to act; to publically make believe that they are someone other than their real selves, once on the silver screen their personal values/opinions acquire extraordinary legitimacy and are subsequently presupposed to be those values are the most suitable for the general public. Usually their devoted fans don’t even know the real identity of these actors because commercial success usually requires that they discard their real names early in their careers and invent alluring stage names to enhance their personal mystique. Nonetheless, the strange, but fixed, grip of Hollywood on the psyche of the American public continues.

The better these performers are at making audiences believe that they have channeled a fictional, cinematic character, the more they are paid and the closer to a movie industry award they get. Once a year they all meet in Hollywood to admire each other and to determine who was best at making the public believe that they are the believable at not beingthemselves; the Oscars. The black community is especially vulnerable to this schizoid, nonsensical, though extremely useful, approach to elective politics while American black leaders are effectively mute on the implications of this imbedded weakness. While all Americans are manipulated by the band wagon effect of celebrity on American elective politics, it appears that black Americans may be particularly susceptible to this phenomenon.

In the 150 years since the epic meeting of the “Savannah 20” with Major-General Sherman and Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, an all-out assault upon the black intelligentsia has been waged. Education in black enclaves has alarmingly deteriorated while “experts” debate resource allocation and “best practices.” Black boys have been ruthlessly demoralized by a feminist campaign aimed at the elimination of masculine tendencies from their developing personalities. Social discourse is now dictated by a lower-class ethos generated out of a profane entertainment genre which values vulgarity above showmanship and true talent. Social graces are now considered passé, opening the door for crude behavior and the debasing of black women. Brothers and sisters can now be a child TWICE…once as an adolescent and then again as an adult while black sociological/psychological practitioners fail to acknowledge or attempt to address this peculiar developmental deficiency.

Herein lies the crucial difference between the “Savannah 20” and today’s crop ofblack leaders; those black men of 1865 were grounded in reality, mature in thought and behavior, courageous by virtue of the honor of service to their people and possessed of an ideal vision of the future of the black community. There was not a childish, self-serving, duplicitous slacker among them. Regrettably, the same cannot be said of the vast majority of the black men recognized today as leaders of African American communities. Black America may never witness the assemblage of such a noble, earnest group of men again. But… on the evening of January 12, 1865 twenty of our best and finest examples of black manhood stood tall and when called upon by their brethren, requited themselves admirably in the negotiating of an agreement that they thought would be binding for all time. Regrettably, in a little less than 6 months after the assassination of Republican President Abraham Lincoln and approximately 9 months after the 16th President of the United States had signed it into law, Special Field Order No. 15 was merely a contentious Civil War memory for those living in the region. Andrew Johnson, a nearly impeached democratic President and Lincoln’s successor, aligned himself with the South’s secessionist Democratic plantation class and felt obligated to rescind Special Field Order No. 15 in the fall of 1865. The reversal of that Republican initiated order by President Andrew Johnson returned 400,000 acres of prime farmland to the rebel plantation owners…the very people who had declared war on the United States of America.

We Failed Us First

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, The Bridge - Darryl James with tags , , , on July 18, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Darryl James

By Darryl James

Not only am I not surprised at the Zimmerman verdict, but I’m kinda numb instead of being angry at the racists in the system for doing what racists do. This nation is full of seething, ignorant, hateful racist people who openly hate Black people.

But I can’t be surprised, because I never stopped realizing it.

And I can’t be all that angry at racist dogs for acting like racist dogs.

I am, however angry at all the stupid Black people for acting like they have some righteous indignation, when really, the chickens are coming home to roost.

Yes, the chickens are coming home to roost for Black people in America, because being crapped on openly is the wages of failing to protect ourselves.

Particularly when we fight so hard for others.

While we dedicated our energy to the cause of gay marriage, we failed to protect ourselves.

While we cried tears of angst and fought for illegal immigrants (many of whom hate our damned guts), we failed to protect ourselves.

While we lied about there being more Black men in prison than in college, we failed to protect ourselves in prison or in college.

While self-hating Black men pretended  that all Black women are the same as the ones who hurt them and so advocate for dating women other than Black women, we failed to protect ourselves.

While Black men refused to hunt down and beat the crap out of Black men who abandon children, harm women or children, or walk around with their filthy drawers showing, we failed to protect ourselves.

While Black women pretended that Black people have the luxury of solely blaming Black men for abandoning children that Black women knowingly made with poor excuses for men who fail to protect anyone, we failed to protect ourselves.

And, while many of those same Black women go on television and in any given magazine to tell the world that Black men don’t love them anymore and that dating white men is their only solution, while they, in doing so, no longer love Black men, we failed to protect ourselves.

While dead-brained knee-grows found some detached justice in watching Michael Vick get sent to prison for dog fighting or cheered ignorantly watching Wesley Snipes get sent to prison for tax evasion, we failed to protect ourselves.

While we allowed stupid, selfish, frightened little men and women to “lead” us into nowhere and nothing good, we failed to protect ourselves.

While we failed to build a powerful, financially viable coalition to force our first Black president to attend to our needs the way powerful, financially viable coalitions forced him to attend to their needs, thinking that he would do something for us simply because he has Black skin, we failed to protect ourselves.

While we lied about the reasons young Black men are shooting each other in the streets of Chicago because we are afraid to get in those same streets and understand, we failed to protect ourselves.

While we proclaimed some kind of sick glory in Tyler Perry wearing a dress, or twisted beauty in films that show us as beasts (even when they are made by us), or films that show us as “The Help,” or in clown ass knee-grows dancing, because “at least they are making money,” we failed to protect ourselves.

While the dumbest of us argue over the word Nigger and how some fake ass “revolution” was witnessed in “changing the meaning of the word,” we failed to protect ourselves.

While we lovingly supported dumb ass comedians and ignorant ass rappers who make a living downgrading us for jokes and rhymes, we failed to protect ourselves.

While we get no justice because America and the world over knows, WE FAIL TO PROTECT OURSELVES.

I grew up in the hood, where, like any other predatory grounds of violence and mayhem, the prey are those who have no protection.

And everyone knows that we protect anyone BUT ourselves.

So, why would a racist system protect us?

And, why would we be surprised?

As the father of a young Black boy who has to grow up in a nation where stupid ass knee-grows failed to protect themselves, the question is: “What will I do?”

My answer remains the same: “I will protect my own.”

Stop Running and Get Back To Leading!

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America with tags , , on April 3, 2012 by Gary Johnson

By  Mike Ramey

In the past two months, I have heard from two dear brothers–friends of mine–who have finally stopped running away from what God has called them to do, and have started doing it!

The fact that more and more Black men are getting the training, lacing up the gloves, and stepping into the ring of leadership is not regarded as one of the ‘big’ social issues of our day. You will not find this matter being reported in our newspapers, nor by the mainstream press (MSM). However, you CAN find it being discussed in cyberspace.

Bottom line? In spite of the bad economic times, flaky people and social pressures, it may be time for you to change your direction and get back into the ring.

Do what you KNOW you’ve been called to do and get back to leading!


Speaking of social media; on many of the smart phones that I’ve come across, I’ve never discovered an ‘app’ for failure. Seems that button has been wiped away. Of course, I’ve yet to find apps marked ‘common sense’, ‘class’, and/or ‘courage’–which makes me a bit of a ‘negative Neal’.

Nevertheless, many who are successes now, WERE failures way back when! Sure, they may have ‘retreated’ for a season, licked their wounds and patched up their cuts and bruises. Eventually, a real man has to take a real look at himself in the mirror and take a stand to better himself–regardless of the ‘way’ that society may seem to be marching (or, protesting) at the moment.

If you’ve been a regular reader of my columns, you know that I’ve spent time in various classrooms working with students. Any teacher or college professor–if you care to ask them–will be happy to tell you of the mountains of energy and linguistic skill some students put into making excuses for not coming to class on time, not coming to class prepared or not turning in their assignments on time. But, these SAME students manage to deceive themselves that they will get into good schools or good careers without hard w.o.r.k. and preparation. They have become expert running away from what they COULD become, and are ‘settling’ for the here and now. Some of them–sadly–have been ‘spurred on’ by their parent(s) who ‘settled’ for less, a long time ago.

Funny thing about running away from your potential. Once you ‘age’ into adulthood, you find out that society–no matter how much it try to make boys into girls–still operates much in the way the late General George S. Patton, Jr. stated: “Americans love a winner, and will NOT tolerate a loser!”


The 761st Tank Battalion should be a household name, much like the Tuskegee Airmen. Not only do they hold a score of battlefield records, but they helped to liberate more than a few concentration camps AND have photographic proof of their deeds. At a time when a U.S. military structure did not believe that a Black man was capable of little more than holding a shovel or a baker’s pan, THIS group of brothers proved to be so expert at handling tanks that Patton PERSONALLY sent for them to come to Europe and fight for the cause of freedom during W.W.II.

What was the 761st ’s secret to success? Maintaining excellence! While other tank groups were shipped overseas, the 761st was kept in training because of their race. However, they took that negative and turned it into a positive by honing their skills and become EXPERTS at tank warfare. When white American tank forces were being depleted and pummeled by the Germans, Patton himself remembered the 761st. It wasn’t all that difficult for him to issue the call-up order for these ‘Black Panthers’ (the 761st Unit ID) and move them from the training field–to the battlefield. (You can learn more about the 761st in the documentary movie “761st”, and book and movie called “Liberators”.)

Here’s the lesson. It’s easy to maintain excellence when you are riding high, everyone wants to hear what you have to say, and your skills are sharp. However, when the clouds form, the rain falls, and the phone stops ringing, are you willing to stay on the battlefield? Are you willing to train in and–if need be–expand your knowledge base with minimal support and encouragement while being forced to march in place?


One of the ‘modern tricks’ that teens like to use on the authority figures is to get the adults to talk about their pasts. Not for wisdom, but in order to ‘get’ something on them. Thus, when a teen engages in wrong behavior, they can whip out ‘the past card’ from their deck of excuses and say: “Well…you USED to act like this!” This ‘tactic’ does little for the growth of a teen because the adult they feel they have ‘played’ is not going to be forthcoming with needed future information. In short, the teen has ‘won’ the battle against authority, but ‘lost’ the war because they have lost the trust of a potential future resource.

We’ve all sinned. We’ve walked into forbidden minefields and have suffered a host of scars and wounds. Even when we have grown past our sins, and they have been LONG forgiven by Jesus Christ, there are still some Pharisees (male and female) who are quick to ‘tweet’ items from your past to a broad audience.

In the words of the late Senator Sam Irvin: “I refuse to yield to intellectual terrorism!”

We all have a past. We all have enemies. We all have people who won’t forgive nor forget our wrongs. However, they can’t stop nor hold hostage the man who is destined to LEAD, once HE runs AT them, instead of FROM them!

If you’ve been letting ‘haters’ ‘manipulators’ or out-and-out ‘intellectual terrorists’ block you from a project, a job change or getting married because of things from your past; DO NOT YIELD to them! BE the leader that you have been created to be and let the ‘haters’ stew in their own ‘hater-aide’. You’ve been stalling long enough, brother! Isn’t it time to get your train moving and get to work on that item you’ve been called to accomplish? Your efforts are needed more than ever in our crazy, modern world. All you have to do is to make the firm decision to STOP running away, develop a backbone, face life and “Come Out Fighting!”

RAMEY, a syndicated columnist and book reviewer, lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. THE RAMEY COMMENTARIES appears on fine websites and gracious blogs around the world. To correspond, email © 2012 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications.


Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , on August 12, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Viola                 Cicely              Octavia

By Harold Bell

I have often said my heroes and role models could not run the 100 yard dash in 10 seconds, throw a football 60 yards in the air, hit a jump shot beyond the free throw line or hit a baseball out of the park.  My heroes were black women with names like Grandma Bell, Mommy B, Ma Brown, Sister Grace Paige, Ms. Powell, and Harriet Tubman.

The black women that starred in the movie “The Help” brought back memories of those great women who touched my life!

This movie is based on a best-selling novel with the same name.  Emma Stone stars as Skeeter, Viola Davis as Abilene and scene stealer Octavia Spencer as Minny.

These are three different but extraordinary women in Mississippi during the 60s, who build and unlikely friendship around a secret writing project that breaks societal rules and puts them all at risk.  From their improbable alliance a remarkable sisterhood emerges, instilling all of them with the courage to transcend the lines that define them, and the realization that sometimes those lines are made to crossed-even if it means bringing everyone in town face-to-face with changing times.

Washington, DC take notes, especially, Capitol Hill politicians.

Emma Stone plays the writer and white woman who was raised by one of the maids.  She returns home from college to discover her maid (Cicely Tyson) no longer works at her home and her parents are very invasive about why she is no longer there.

Ms. Tyson who plays the missing maid makes a cameo appearance.  She has long been one of my favorite actresses.  As an actress she was one of a kind she refused to play roles that that were distasteful and put black women and black people in a bad light.

Ms. Tyson is a furiously independent woman who still marches to her own drum beat.  There was little doubt in Hollywood that she was one of the best actresses black or white during her era.

I remember seeing her for the first time up close and personal at the Florida Avenue Grill.  She was having lunch with famed DC civil rights and criminal defense lawyer, the legendary Dovey Roundtree.

My friend and high school and college teammate the late Attorney Allen “Stu” Roberson worked in the firm of Attorney Roundtree.  I had met her several times when I visited the office.  I was trying not to stare when Attorney Roundtree beckoned me over to the table and introduced me to Ms. Tyson.

I was impressed she was gracious and a beautiful black woman.  She later starred in a 1994-1995 television series that depicted the life and times of Attorney Roundtree.

“The Help” was turned down by dozens of movie studios before it was given the green light!  The book has been on the bestseller list now for several years.  Now those who had an opportunity to the screen rights but said “No” are eating Ninny’s Chocolate pie!

This movie is definitely a roller coaster ride with numerous highs and lows.  You will experience anger, tears, laughter and an inspired ending.  This movie I recommend to today’s black men and women who think that they cracked the “Glass Ceiling” in Corporate America all by themselves and owe nothing to anyone.

The performances by Emma Scott and Viola Davis were great but the show stealer was “Ninny” played by Octavia Spencer (Mommy B).  I think the Chocolate Pie might have been border line too nasty and dirty for my mother but her never give up or give in attitude reminded me of Mommy B.

I can’t remember the last time I spent 2+ more rewarding hours in a movie theatre than the one I spent watching “The Help.”

The movie was based on a true story of some courageous black women in Mississippi. They worked as maids cleaning, cooking and raising some lazy ass white women’s children.  Their thanks they were treated like less than human beings.

The movie should follow the best selling book and should be a no-brainer for an Academy Award.  The best actress award nominee should be Emma Stone and the best supporting actresses should be Viola Davis and Octavia Davis.  There is no way you can nominate one and don’t nominate the other.

But knowing Hollywood and its history it will be a difficult task for Ms. Davis and Ms. Spencer to win the best supporting actress.  First, their roles are not ones where they are rolling in bed with some white actor or playing a crooked cop with a gambling habit!

This movie is a reminder for those of us who are keeping it “Real” the struggle continues full throttle.

The struggles of the black maids were during a time when racist and racism was a way of life in America.  It was in the turbulent 60s when civil rights leader and advocate Medgar Evers was gunned down in his Mississippi driveway by a coward hiding in the dark.

On June 12, 1963, at the young age of 37 he was assassinated by a White Citizen’s Council member by the name of Byron De La Beckwith.  Mr. Evers as field secretary for the NAACP was involved in efforts to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi.  He fought in World War II only to return home to die on American soil facing the real enemy of black people—racism in America.

President  John F. Kennedy followed Mr. Evers in death when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.   These two events should give you some idea how brave and courageous these black women were with murder waiting just around the corner.  The beat still goes on America!

Sometimes it takes a policeman’s billy club to land upside our heads before we get that needed wake-up call.  There was a scene in the movie where the town’s police officers pulled one of the maids off the bus and arrested her for theft.  The maid made the mistake of struggling and as the other maids looked on one of the cops took his billy club to her head!

It was this brutal scene that brought all the maids in the struggle together (sisterhood).

Hopefully, this movie will be a wake-up call and a lesson for media personalities like Tavis Smiley, Professor Cornel West, Tom Joiner, Al Sharpton, Steve Harvey, etc.  The lesson, a house divided will surely crumple and fall!

It maybe wishful thinking but it would be great gesture if President Obama would invite all of the feuding personalities to the White House for a beer and to view the movie “The Help.”

If the President could spare the time for a photo shoot with a can of beer on the White House lawn with a racist cop and a black Harvard professor—-why not?  President Obama has a stake in this because the feud centers on him!

The struggles in the black community are ongoing in 2011 for example; a white man makes 20 times more than a black man, 1% of the America population controls all the wealth.  The unemployment rate in Black America doubles that of White America, black youth unemployment is 43% and white youth unemployment is 20%!

Justice in the American Court system is still defined for the Black Community as “Justice and Just-Us.”  Have you checked out the prison population lately?

The most vulnerable are children and senior citizens.  They have no one to lobby for their rights in Washington, DC.

The AARP will make a claim they are looking out for the welfare of seniors.  If that is the case how did they just sit on their hands and let the politicians sign a bill not allowing us a cost of living increase for three years?

That decision was a death sentence for most of us.  Black male leadership is non-existent.  I will jump over ten James Clyburns and take one female similar to the black women in Mississippi.  “The Help” had the balls to stand up and say, “Enough is enough.”

The thing that really scared me was a conversation that I was having with NFL legendary running back Jim Brown.

He is one of the foremost authorities on gang violence in the country.  I was venting my frustrations about how everyone was using our kids for just a “Pay Day” for themselves.  His response almost knocked me out of my chair.  He said, “Harold you have got to get over that kids don’t vote so who cares?”  I have looked at Jim in a different light since that day.  Now I see the great NFL player only!

If you think racism is a thing of our past lets go back to presence day Mississippi and be re-introduce to “I just ran that nigger over.”  Follow this link /

It was several years ago in Texas that a like group of white men tied chains to the legs of another black man and dragged him through the streets behind their pick-up truck to his death!  Mississippi is closer than you think.

The month of August 2011 comes to a close on the mall in Washington, DC with a “Celebration” of a stature that resembles the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, instead of a celebration we should be in a state of mourning.

Dr. King has to be rolling over in his grave to know that his family and friends allowed a sculpture of his likeness to be commissioned and carved up outside of the black community!  The decision was a slap in the face to black sculptures world wide.

The sculpture was made in China.  I would guess the decision makers were thinking like, everything else in America is made in China why not a sculpture of Rev. King!

Someone in the family or in the black community (John Lewis) should have demanded that a line been drawn.  The Chinese could care less about black people!  There is no way the Chinese would commission a black sculpture to carve up a likeness of any Chinese leader.

There was a no-show by black men in the movie with the exception of a news highlight of Medgar Evers untimely death and a black brother working in the restaurant. We are still a no-show today when it comes to our community.  Black women like in “The Help” are an endangered species.  Our new theme song is “Its all about me.”

My wife Hattie use to have to make me sit through the end of the movie and see all the credits as they rolled down the screen.  Vocalist Mary J. Blige made it easy for me to sit through these credits.  She sang the musical score for the movie and it was beautifully done.

We arrived just in time for the start of the movie and the only seats available were down front where it looks like you are sitting on top of the screen.

When we got up to leave we turned around only to discover three rows of white folks sitting in the upper tier of the theater waiting for the movie to completely end.   Hattie and I were the only two blacks left.  The whites stood up in their seats but never moved toward the exit until we made our move!  I guess they were not taking any chances of us starting a riot.  Man, a guilty conscience is a bitch.

On the ride home I thought about how those white folks felt watching “The Help.”  It was great movie but it re-opened a lot of wounds.  And some of us still have not yet completely healed.  It is sad that some whites are returning to their roots (plantation mentality) and still have the balls to ask “When are you people going to get over racism?”  It looks like never as long as you keep reminding us!

In closing, I still live by the phrase that I coined to end my sports radio talk show,  “Inside Sports” in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.  “Every black face you see is not your brother and every white face you see is not your enemy.”

Harold Bell is the Godfather of Sports Talk radio and television in Washington, DC.  Throughout the mid-sixties, seventies and eighties, Harold embarked upon a relatively new medium–sports talk radio with classic interviews with athletes and sports celebrities.  The show and format became wildly popular. Harold has been an active force fighting for the rights of children for over 40 years with the help of his wife through their charity Kids In Trouble, Inc.   To learn more about Harold Bell visit his official web site H. B. Sports

Black Men Challenge CNN Data

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men with tags , , , on July 29, 2008 by Gary Johnson

Reaction to CNN Presents “Black In America” featuring Soledad O’Brien has been critical. There is a small group of mostly black male digital media owners who have come together to restore truth and balance to the image of black men and their families. This blog is a founding member. Together we can tell our own story. You want to know what black men think and how we feel about the CNN Special? Read this blog and watch the two videos which are the brainchild of filmmaker Janks Morton, Director of the film “What Black Men Think.”

To read more reaction on the CNN “documentary,” click on the links below.

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