Tag Archive: Black History Month


mlk-nonviolence

As we again commemorate the only true Black American (descendants of slaves) Holiday in America, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Day here on January 18, 2016, I think it timely to resurrect the late musical genius of Curtis Mayfield, who would want to point-out his words to this latest generation of look-a-like black immigrants who did not get the message that we already fought and WON this battle. “Black Lives Matter” is taking the USA back in time to where we were. DO you homework, stay in school till you get a University degree and behave yourselves, you new, Caribbean and African can brown-skinned peoples! Dr. King’s real birthday was January 15, 1929, by the way. Another famous Capricorn leader like Muhammad Ali and even Confederate General Robert E. Lee!

We people who are darker than blue
Are we gonna stand around this town
And let what others say come true?
We’re just good for nothing they all figure

A boyish, grown up, shiftless jigger
Now we can’t hardly stand for that
Or is that really where it’s at?
We people who are darker than blue

This ain’t no time for segregatin’
I’m talking ’bout brown and yellow two
High yellow girl, can’t you tell
You’re just the surface of our dark deep well

If your mind could really see
You’d know your color the same as me
Pardon me, brother, as you stand in your glory
I know you won’t mind if I tell the whole story

Get yourself together, learn to know your side
Shall we commit our own genocide
Before you check out your mind?

I know we’ve all got problems
That’s why I’m here to say
Keep peace with me and I with you
Let me love in my own way

Now I know we have great respect
For the sister, and mother it’s even better yet
But there’s the joker in the street

Loving one brother and killing the other
When the time comes and we are really free
There’ll be no brothers left you see

We people who are darker than blue
Don’t let us hang around this town
And let what others say come true

We’re just good for nothing they all figure
A boyish, grown up, shiftless jigger
Now we can’t hardly stand for that
Or is that really where it’s at?

Pardon me, brother, while you stand in your glory
I know you won’t mind if I tell the whole story
Pardon me, brother, I know we’ve come a long, long way
But let us not be so satisfied for tomorrow can be an
An even brighter day

Songwriter:
Curtis Mayfield

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

All HUMAN lives DO matter in the physical world; we must embrace the heavy lifting – without violence, as the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King did – in order to live together. Are you up to being smart instead of ignorant due lack of extensive historical education? The lives who are traditionally celebrated the most are the ones who uphold the standards of manners, respect for authority, etiquette, follow the simplest of rules in society and embrace peace. Maybe choose a different slogan? I liked “Power To The People” from the 1060s and 1970s…

Finally, I’ve noticed that too many people I talk to business-to-business do not know Monday is a Federal Holiday! This is troubling on many levels as too many businesses choose to ignore it and conduct business as-usual – some spitefully (see “Red” states). Doing this undermines the fact that President Reagan signed it into law in 1983 after it ran the gauntlet of the U.S. Congress. If you have a sales business, why aren’t there “King Birthday” sales, for example? Jus’ sayin’…

…And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God almighty, we’re free at last!”

       

One of the great things about music is that it keeps coming at you through time, if you keep on living.  Have you ever had the experience of hearing a song of your youth again for the first time, and finally understanding that lyric you never really could figure out, but you would somehow gloss-over it as you sang-along with it a thousand times?  Have you ever known a song was a classic and not known why, except that the title and original singer commanded so  much respect, that you followed the herd of homage until you just accepted it as a fact – again, not completely comprehending?   

Poplar Tree on the left in this picture:

Such is the case with me (again, thankfully as I love to learn new stuff ), a tree that stands guard at my driveway and a Billy Holiday classic, “Strange Fruit”. 

I learned that this is a (flowering) Poplar tree through the years I have lived here, and basically thought nothing of it except for the fact that it is obviously ancient, and frequently tosses its heavy branches down upon and close to my car and house with the stormy winds that usher-in storms from the northwest.  I always heard the words “strange fruit” in combination, more like and idiom or phrase that had a hidden connotation – until this past Sunday when, while listening to NPR’s  “Jazz Profiles” hosted by Ms. Nancy Wilson (who I love like an Aunt – a whole other post), I heard Billie Holiday sing it, and learned that she sang it first – and the historical significance that song has relative to the history of racial relations in America.  My little known fact moment came when Ms. Wilson narrated that the “strange fruit” in the song so aptly interpreted by Ms. Holiday were actually lynched Black Americans of the slavery days, “swingin” under the branches of the that tree. 

The idea of being dragged-off to be lynched by an angry mob of southern white men just because of the color of your skin is abhorrent to me and many, many people.  It is one of those things that was swept under the historical rug in America and is “not spoken of” anymore – until some silly magazine editor does something like put a hangman’s noose on the cover of a magazine article about Tiger Woods, as happened a few years ago.

So now when I spy by eye this big lumber watching over me, I can almost see the ugliness and dry “blood” etched within those deep old vertical crevices.  It is another of my life’s ironies, as from time-to-time I have the opportunity to drop the science that as recently as thirty or forty years ago, I could have been one of Poplar’s ornaments instead sharing this land with it – and praying that the next branch to fall finds only the ground.  I remember once one of them decending like a spear, sticking deeply into the ground only feet from where I was tyring to upright my wind-scattered recycle bin as I returned home from work during a thunder storm.

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