Archive for Dr. Martin Luther King

5 Entrepreneurship Lessons from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Guest Columnists with tags , , , , on January 20, 2014 by Gary Johnson


By Black Men In Staff

On this day where the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a national holiday, we ran across an article in magazine written by Joseph SteinbergSteinberg is noted for writing about entrepreneurship and cybersecurity.  He’s done a great job of connecting Dr. King’s message to what is relevant to us 45 years after his death.  In his article, Steinberg writes that entrepreneurs should take note of five important business lessons that can be learned from Dr. King, and his role in the Civil Rights movement.  The 5 lessons are:

1. Make Your Dream A Reality

The phrase people most often associate with Dr. King – excerpted from his landmark 1963 speech — is “I have a dream.” Of course, many people have dreams. Some even have great dreams. But most people don’t work to make their dreams a reality as did Dr. King. Great ideas for new products, businesses, and works of science and art die every day with their inventors. To be an entrepreneur is to dream – but is even more to do.

2. The Way It Was Is Not The Way It Has To Be

At the time that Dr. King gave his famous speech at the Mall in Washington, racism had been entrenched in American culture for centuries. Dr. King challenged the status quo, and raised awareness of a different and better future that could be built from positive change. Likewise, businesses often are averse to changing long-held positions, or denying that major changes for the better can take place, with or without them. Only a few years ago, “experts” were saying that people would reject keyboard-less smartphones like the iPhone, and Blackberry would continue to dominate the smartphone market for many years to come. We know how that turned out.

3. Change Can Happen Fast

The vast majority of the members of my generation – born not that many years after it took a struggle to get the Civil Rights Act passed – consider the notion that people should be segregated based on the color of their skin to be both morally repugnant and downright ridiculous. Attitudes change quickly – especially after positive developments occur and everyone sees the correctness of the change. This is true vis-à-vis business as well. Consider how quickly Blackberry went from market leader to having less than 4% of market share, or how fast Kodak was transformed from having its film products bought by nearly every family in America to filing for bankruptcy as a firm many teenagers “had never heard of.”

4. Build A Large Following

Dr. King was an amazing speaker who inspired millions of people with his words. But, ultimately, it was those large numbers of people who organized, marched, or otherwise influenced legislators and the public. There is little doubt that the grassroots nature of the civil rights movement – and the resulting far reach of its leaders – was a key ingredient in its success. In the Internet era it is much easier than the 1960s to reach large numbers of people; if you have a great message – spread it widely.

 5. Success Takes A Lot Of Work

The civil rights struggle did not achieve its aims overnight, and its success was built upon the hard work and sacrifice of many; Dr. King and various others even lost their lives. Thankfully, entrepreneurs do not need to make such giant sacrifices, but, effectuating change and achieving success does not usually happen without hard work. Yes, there are some businesses that skyrocket to the top, and there are some people who get rich quickly. But, the vast majority of businesses are built with a lot of time and effort. Don’t expect to succeed without working hard.

Joseph Steinberg Joseph Steinberg is the C.E.O. of Green Armor Solutions, a vendor of cybersecurity technologies which he co-invented, and which specializes in applying knowledge of human dynamics so as to ensure that maximum security can be delivered with maximum convenience.  You can follow Joseph and learn more about him on Twitter at @JosephSteinbergClick here to visit

Cornel West: MLK 50 Was ‘Coronation of Bonafide House Negro of Obama Plantation

Posted in African Americans, Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men In America with tags , , , on September 1, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Cornel West 2

On the “Smiley and West” radio show on August 30, 2013, Dr. Cornel West issued a blistering commentary about the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington along with harsh criticism for Rev. Al Sharpton and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.   Dr. West said:

“Brother Martin himself, I think, would’ve been turning over in his grave,” West said of the event. “[King would have wanted] people to talk about Wall Street criminality, he wants people to talk about war crimes, or drones dropping bombs on innocent people,” he asserted.

“Instead,” he lamented, “we saw the coronation of the bonafide house negro of the Barack Obama plantation, our dear brother Al Sharpton.” West then declared that Sharpton’s decline was “supported by [MSNBC analyst] Michael Dyson and others who’ve prostituted themselves in a very ugly and vicious way.”

Further, West said, the event was unremarkable because black leaders are too fearful to speak out against the nation’s first black president. “Our leadership now is so sold out,” he said. “It’s so bought out. It’s so deferential. It is so subservient that I think Martin Luther King Jr. would just shed tears and turn over in his grave.”


Tom Joyner: Tavis Is Fascinated with His Own Legacy

Posted in Barack Obama, Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America, Gary A. Johnson, President Barack Obama with tags , , , , , on January 27, 2013 by Gary Johnson

Tom and Tavis

By Gary A. Johnson, Black Men In 27, 2013

Here we go again.  Can’t we all just get along?  I don’t know who’s in the news more these days.  Tavis or Rhianna?

PBS host Tavis Smiley and his colleague and partner  former Princeton professor Cornel West, criticized President Obama last week for using a bible belonging to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for the President’s inaugural swearing in ceremony.  I’m not sure about the criticism.  It’s not like the President stole the bible.  The King family gave the bible to the President.

Well, Tavis’ former employer, syndicated radio host Tom Joyner apparently heard enough.  Last week Joyner wrote a commentary called “Tavis vs. MLK,” published on Black America  Here are two prominent highlights in Joyner’s commentary:

  • Tavis is fascinated with his own legacy, and that’s not good. He wants more than anything to be remembered the way Dr. King was, and to some how make that kind of mark on the world.
  • Tavis is afraid of what will be said about him and it’s driving him crazy.

Tavis has consistently claimed that he holds no ill will towards the President and that he is simply attempting to hold the President accountable.

Most people who follow Tavis are not neutral in their view. For another perspective read Harold Bell’s recent commentary “There’s A New Sheriff In Town.”

What do you think?

(Photos from Getty Images/AP)

Why Martin Luther King’s Support for Occupy Wall Street is Beside the Point

Posted in Black America, Black Interests, Black Men, Black Men In America with tags , , , on November 1, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Ange-Marie Hancock

Last week President Obama and the children of Martin Luther King contended that if he were alive today, Dr. King would have supported the Occupy Wall Street movement. His purported support is actually beside the point. I offer three key differences between Occupy Wall Street and the 20th century Civil Rights Movement as an open letter to the OWS leadership. In doing so I intend to build their movement up rather than to tear it down, presenting critical challenges as they move this country forward.

  1. OWS isn’t the 21st Century Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement had a specific legislative agenda tied to their activism and change rhetoric. Rather than simply stage sit-ins or marches, the Civil Rights Movement was deeply invested in crafting key pieces of legislation to end racial discrimination, broadly defined. The Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act were produced by an inside-outside CRM strategy that is often overlooked in popular histories. To what specific legislative agenda is Occupy Wall Street tied? Jobs — yes. But is it the American Jobs Act? Student Loan Reform. Yes. But which piece of legislation? Specifying a legislative agenda that can tangibly change the outcomes for the 99% is something that OWS must do for themselves in order to transform the United States. With the best of intentions labor unions and other groups will provide a legislative agenda for OWS unless they do it for themselves.
  1. This is the United States, not the Arab world. While young people in the Civil Rights Movement had a particularly strong affinity with movements occurring around the world, they also focused on changing the United States using the founding documents and political practices of the United States itself. Connections to the democratic spirit of the peaceful movements in Tunisia and Egypt are incredibly inspiring, bringing increasing numbers of people to what is becoming a global form of activism. The challenge facing both the leaders of the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement now is how to engage in meaningful political change for the 99% they purport to represent. How do we connect jobs to health care reform to student loan reform to environmental justice policies?

The Civil Rights Movement was able to politically isolate recalcitrant Dixiecrats by crafting a campaign that made their legislative agenda look like the sensible solution. Malcolm X and others to their left also contributed to its success. Beyond leading the occupation, hopefully the people’s leadership will not eschew electoral politics but develop a 50-state strategy to affect 2012 and 2016 that would outflank Dennis Kucinich on the left. In doing so they provide themselves with an effective opportunity to get meaningfully progressive change at the structural level.

  1. President Obama is only part of the solution. I am not the first to make this argument; others have made this argument regarding the now successful effort to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Ultimately executive orders and cabinet-level administrative policies work in conjunction with the laws of the land. Those laws are made by a Congress dominated by two parties that often leave the 99% on their own, losing the infrastructure and safety net they bought with their tax dollars. Such laws are interpreted by a judiciary that is made of up lifetime federally appointed jurists whose confirmations, while politically charged, have been far less contested by the left.

When was the last time the left was able to derail a nomination to the Supreme Court? Twenty-four years ago. In exchange for our relative lack of attention to judicial nominations, progressives have gotten a court that contends:

  • Walmart is too big to answer for discrimination against women,
  • The 1% deserve to freely determine elections through financial free speech, and
  • Recounts in contested elections needn’t proceed to their conclusion.

The Civil Rights Movement used a sequential test case strategy in the courts; threatened political protests to influence presidential policies; and emphasized voting rights protections and the exercise of those rights to transform Congress. We focus our energy solely on the presidency at our peril.

In responding to these challenges I hope that the Occupy Wall Street movement, will not simply fire up the 99% but also serve as conduits of a more inclusive, progressive legislative agenda to be implemented by a more diverse and progressive elected leadership that is committed to working among all generations to bring the United States into its full 21st century glory.

© 2011 Ange-Marie Hancock, author of Solidarity Politics for Millenials: A Guide to Ending the Oppression Olympics

Ange-Marie Hancock, author of Solidarity Politics for Millennials: A Guide to Ending the Oppression Olympics, joined the Department of Political Science at USC Dana and David Dornsife College in 2008 after five years as Assistant Professor of Political Science and African American Studies at Yale University. Prior to graduate school at the University of North Carolina, Hancock worked for the National Basketball Association, where she conducted the preliminary research and wrote the original business plan for the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). She has served as an international expert in American Politics for the U.S. Department of State and during the 2008 presidential election. She has been quoted in the New York Times, Forbes, on National Public Radio, KNBC, and she regularly supports USC’s Annenberg TV News by serving as an expert. She currently serves as the associate director of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) in the Dornsife College and as one of the inaugural Dornsife College Faculty Fellows.

Over the past eight years Professor Hancock has authored two books and 11 articles. She is a globally recognized scholar of the study of intersectionality — the study of the intersections of race, gender, class and sexuality politics and their impact on public policy. Her first book, The Politics of Disgust and the Public Identity of the “Welfare Queen,”(2004, New York University Press) won two national awards.

For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

The State of the Dream

Posted in African Americans, Black America, Black Interests, Black Links, Black Men with tags , , on August 29, 2011 by Gary Johnson

By Raynard Jackson

With all the attention being focused on the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this week, I have been pondering what he would have to say about the state of his legacy.  In the immortal words of Lionel Richie (former lead singer of the Commodores):

“I may be just a foolish dreamer but I don’t care

Cause I know my happiness is waiting out there somewhere

I’m searching for that silver lining

Horizons that I’ve never seen

Oh I’d like to take just a moment and dream my dream

Oooh, dream my dream” (from the song Zoom1977).

I can imagine King looking down from on high and observing the state of his dream:

What the hell has become of my dream?

Nothing is what it really seems.

My people have been emancipated, but yet are not free,

Just look at the high rate of poverty.


My people have better education,

But they also exhibit less dedication.

Their thirst for material possessions,

Seems to be their only obsession.


The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project,

Let the record show I totally object.

To spend $ 120 million and to what end?

That’s not what the dream was about my friend.


Lei Yixin, the sculptor that was chosen,

When I found out, my mouth was frozen.

A man from China where there are no human rights,

You can believe I would have put up a big fight!


$ 800,000 to my family for the use of my name,

Yolanda, Marty, Dexter, and Bernice what a shame.

Yeah, I know there is money in intellectual property,

But, my dream was always more towards the heavenly.


A German to build a memorial to the Holocaust?

The Jewish community would have been at a loss.

But my people gave the work to a non American,

This oddity I really can’t understand.


You couldn’t have chosen someone like the sculptor Ed Dwight?

Afterall, the U.S. Air Force trusted him to take planes into flight.

A Black man trained as a sculptor, aviator and an aeronautical engineer,

His choice should have been crystal clear.


Getting the raw materials from a foreign land,

To build the platform on which I stand.

From China of all places, a repressive regime,

This choice makes me want to scream!


Temporary workers from China you brought to this land,

What, there were no American workers skilled with their hands?

No doubt this was all about cheap wages,

This has been man’s downfall throughout the ages.


Oh, and what’s this I hear about the granite brought in from China?

You couldn’t find any in North Carolina?

Has my dream really come down to this?

I thought by now there would be a new twist.


When I left earth to take my rest,

I thought my people could pass the test.

Now, as I look down on this situation,

I wish I could have one more incarnation.


But, who am I to question what God has started?

Maybe that’s why I am a member of the dearly departed.

I now wish I could have one more run,

But my fate was tied to the barrel of a gun.


So, as I leave you with these final words,

I hope the true meaning of my vision is what you heard.

I am not allowed to come back and continue the fight,

So, please try to get my dream right.


I will pray that God will open your eyes,

Because what I see is a stunning surprise.

The dream was not about the money spent,

But helping those who could barely pay their rent.


Yes, it’s true that the dream was for all of mankind,

But, what I see you doing is not what I had in mind.

My dream was not about the color of the skin,

But, tell me where does the Black man fit in?


But, giving contracts to those from a foreign nation,

Was not part of my dream of emancipation?

Everything for this project could have come from within

Please understand what I am saying to you my friend.

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine ( & USAfrica Magazine ( 

Annual Letter To Dr. King

Posted in Black America, Black Men with tags , on January 17, 2011 by Gary Johnson

Raynard Jackson
You didn’t know me when you were here,
But through your words I feel you are near.

I was too young for the demonstration,
But I learned about you in my education.

You said we all were created equal,
But maybe now we need a new sequel.

Because I don’t know what happened to the dream,
Nor the members of your team.

Yeah, Andy’s made a name,

Jesse got some fame.

But what happened to the vision?
Seems it’s been lost to indecision.

Do we continue to blame whites for our plight,
‘Cause it’s easier than to stand and fight?

Do we need integration to survive?
We did pretty good without it, to my surprise.

Should we attend college at an HBCU,
Or go to Harvard, Princeton or even Purdue?

You said we should not be judged by the color of our skin,
Does that apply to the political party I’m in?

Some ask me, “How can you be Black and Republican?”
Because, like you Dr. King, I believe in the “I CAN”

You were invited to the White House for conversation,
Because everyone saw your dedication.

Now we call the president bad for blacks,
But look at how these leaders act.
They call him evil and a racist man,
Though his cabinet shows he understands.

Did you ever dream of a Black secretary of state?
We’ve come a long way from that era of hate.

Did you dream of a Black national security advisor?
Maybe white folks have gotten a little wiser.

To put Blacks in a position where a lot fail,
Because most of the time we excel.

Lenny Wilkens in the NBA,
DeWayne Wickam at USA Today.

Barack Obama in the Senate;
Ran because he thought he could win it.

Dr. Ben Carson with the knife,
Saves life after life.

But how did we come to this place,
Where we now curse our own race?

Rappers call our women bitches and ho’s,
Where it will stop, God only knows.

Our teenagers are committing crimes,
And getting locked up for a helluva long time.

Who is there to show them the light,
‘Cause their fathers are nowhere in sight

So our women accept living with anger,

Which is only one letter short of danger.

I have kept my nose clean and finished school,
But, I am becoming the exception to the rule.

Marriage before kids is how I was raised;
Why are women so amazed?

Having a family is a serious thing,
No kids without a wedding ring.
We have allowed drugs to devastate our lives,
Preachers, where are your righteous cries?

We have cursed Bill Cosby’s name,
When he should be in our hall of fame.

Dr. King, please explain your dream,
I am not sure if it’s what it seems.

Everyone is now invoking your name,
Just to get political gain.

Some say you would be for gay rights,
Was that really part of the fight?

Some say you would be Republican or Democrat,
But neither is born out by the facts.

You just wanted the powers that be to be accountable,
Because back then, the mountain seemed so insurmountable.

We have more education in our head,
But more of our people are ending up dead.

We have more freedom to move around,
But our quality of life seems to be going down.

Among our people are so many divisions;
Whatever happened to your heavenly vision?

Dr. King, if you were here today,
I would be ashamed of what you would say.

We have strayed so far from the path.
How much longer can this stuff last?

We must get back to the dream,
But, please tell us what does it mean?

Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-public relations/government affairs firm.  He is also a contributing editor for ExcellStyle Magazine ( & U.S. Africa Magazine (

Book release date:  Spring 2011

Raynard Jackson has been named to Talkers Magazine’s “Frontier Fifty.” The “Frontier Fifty” is a selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters.

We Remember Dr. King

Posted in Black America, Black Interests with tags , , on January 18, 2010 by Gary Johnson

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated.  Given where we (America) were then, and where we are as a nation today, one has to wonder if we have reached the “Promised Land” that Dr. King referenced in his last public speech in Memphis on the night of April 3rd.  Are you using your personal sphere of influence and power to help make Dr. King’s dream a reality?

Learn more about Dr. King and view rare photographs and videos on our Martin Luther King, Jr. page on our main site at

We Remember Dr. King

Posted in Black America, Black Interests with tags , , on April 3, 2009 by Gary Johnson


On April 4, 1968, LIFE photographer Henry Groskinsky and writer Mike Silva, on assignment in Alabama, learned that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. They raced to the scene and there, incredibly, had unfettered access to the hotel grounds, Dr. King’s room, and the surrounding area. For reasons that have been lost in the intervening years, the photographs taken that night and the next day were never published.  Until now.

Click here to see rare photos of Dr. King and his family on our MLK, Jr. Page.

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