Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Recognizing Heroes on Black History Month

Defender of black human life, lover of truth, and constant social activist are accurate phrases which define the courageous life of the civil rights leader Ida B. Wells. Ida B. Wells was born in 1862 during the Civil War in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Her parents were active in the fight for freedom during Reconstruction. Her mother was religious and her father fought for the liberation of black people constantly. She faced a lot from threats and racism, but those evils never stopped her from establishing profound excellence. Fisk University and Shaw University were locations where she was educated at. Subsequently, Ida B. Wells became a great newspaper editor and an expert sociologist. She worked in the South at Memphis, Tennessee as a means for her to be an activist, a journalist, and a scholar. She overtly fought lynchings. Additionally, Ida B. Wells allied with W.E.B. Du Bois and Frederick Douglass on many endeavors. Ida B. Wells was one of the numerous founders of the NAACP (or the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) during the early 20th century. Ida B. Wells wanted to give the world the formidable voice of Black America. As a traveler internationally, she formed women organizations and believed in the Dream of human justice. She greatly defended the lives of black men who were falsely accused of raping white women. Subsequently, she defended the humanity, the autonomy, and the dignity of black women. She was a beautiful black woman who demanded real change. Ida B. Wells had four children and cared deeply for her family. Speaking up for the human rights of black people was definitely part of her life's work. Ida B. Wells came into Chicago as a way for her to continue in the progressive cause of social liberation for black people. She lived in the era of Jim Crow and during the epidemic of the lynching of black men, black women, and black children. Ida B. Wells was involved in politics too and she wholeheartedly believed in women's suffrage. An inspiration to black women and black people in general, Ida B. Wells always was committed to the premise of human justice for all. Ida B. Wells gave us the gift of activism in comprehensive ways.

She was a heroine, who fought for our ancestors' rightful freedom. Throughout her life, she brought down tremendous barriers and possessed courage plus strength. Always an advocate for justice, Harriet Tubman gravitated her actions in the cause of social justice in order for real social change to transpire. She was born in the Eastern Shore region of Maryland. Not only did she escaped slavery into freedom audaciously. She freed many of her own family members plus hundreds of other black human beings from bondage. Harriet Tubman was a leader of the Underground Railroad, which was a network of pathways, varied routes, and safe houses that helped thousands of black human beings to escape the tyranny of slavery. People of diverse colors and creeds were active participants in the Underground Railroad too. As a humanitarian and an abolitionist, Harriet Tubman display an excellent amount of human compassion and personal conviction. Threats against her life and posters of rewards (from racist southern slave owners) for her capture didn't deter her at all. She persisted onward as a heroine of the ages. Tubman fought for the Union during the U.S. Civil War by spying and leading a raid (called the Combachee Raid on July 2, 1863. Colonel James Montgomery was part of it as well. Afterwards, more than 750 black people were freed. Many of them joined the Union Army) to defeat the Confederate, traitorous enemy. After the American Civil War, she continued to advocate for equality and suffrage (or giving women the right to vote). Harriet Tubman lived a long life into the early 20th century. Constantly fighting for freedom, Harriet Tubman exemplified greatness and forthright, glorious consciousness. She risked her life for us. We owe a lot to her activism, her tenacity, and her indispensable sacrifice. Therefore, it is time for everyone to give Harriet Tubman even a greater amount of credit including gratitude for her actions of valor and her unconditional love for black people.

A lot of people don't know how the NRA became so extreme. Back in the day, the NRA was created by Union soldiers to advance sportsmanship during the 19th century. They weren't extremists like today. They also promoted ironically enough gun control during the 19th and early to mid 20th centuries. One example is how the NRA promoted bans on machine guns owned by private citizens and it endorsed the 1968 Gun Control Act. Things changed by 1977. That was when far right people infiltrated the NRA to transform the NRA from just promoting gun safety and sportsmanship into a lobbying group advancing irrationality and an absolutist, false interpretation of the Second Amendment. The majority of Americans support stricter gun restrictions. Most Americans endorse a ban on assault weapons. Most Americans believe in universal background checks. So, we have the majority of Americans on our side here. Even the Heller Supreme Court decision said that you can regulate gun rights in some circumstances. There is no need for an 18 year old to own AR-15s period. There is no need for teachers to own guns in school locations. That is why many companies have withdrawn funding to the NRA. Today, the NRA is in league with the GOP including Donald Trump (who is a sexist, a racist, and a xenophobe). The NRA relies on fear, money, and propaganda to propagate their falsehoods. They are totally political and the NRA's extremist agenda will be defeated in the end.

W.E.B. Du Bois has his 150th year Birthday recently. He was a legend and a pioneer of black intellectual development. He was born in Massachusetts and his community funded his education. He went into Fisk University (which was an HBCU as HBCUs have great value in the cultural growth of the black community). Also, he studied in other universities and received his PhD. from Harvard. Dr. DuBois traveled the country as an expert journalist and a magnificent sociologist. He studied the lives of African Americans in Philadelphia and wrote about it. He defined the double consciousness aspect of African Americans in his groundbreaking book entitled, "The Souls of Black Folk." Double consciousness means that we, who are black Americans, have a paradox of being of African and American heritages at the same time. In other words, we hate the oppression & the injustices in America, but we love the good people in America at the same time. We have to reconcile our double consciousness so to speak in existing with happiness while at the same time America must respect our humanity and our Blackness too. We will fight for our freedom. DuBois was a political activist who worked with Ida B. Wells, Paul Robeson, Lorraine Hansberry, and so many other black heroes in combating lynching, racism, discrimination, etc. For a time, he was part of the NAACP and was editor of its Crisis Magazine. He sympathized with socialism since capitalism especially back then (& even today) was so oligarchical and so monopolistic that he wanted a fair distribution of the economic wealth.

The U.S. government oppressed him by stripping him of his passport for a time, monitoring him, and slandering him with McCarthyite like tactics. W.E.B. Du Bois never gave in. He persisted to promote Pan-Africanism, which involved the political, economic, and social unity of all people of black African descent worldwide. He was involved in many Pan-African Conferences. He advocated justice and he spoke out on many issues. I heard of him speak before on YouTube and he had a great voice that articulated the premise that social activism was key in developing an egalitarian world. He wanted black people to be involved in economics, politics, and social activism in gaining equality and justice. He disagreed with Booker T. Washington on some issues, but both men were right that education is extremely important in advancing true freedom. Later, he became more independent and condemned imperialism, and colonialism explicitly. He opposed the droppings of the bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as he rightfully deduced that these horrendous acts constitute horrendous crimes against humanity. He moved into Ghana by the 1960's and he became a Communist before he died. W.E.B. DuBois loved his family and he was working on an African encyclopedia just before his passing. He loved truth and wisdom. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was inspired by him as he gave a speech praising his contributions to the human freedom movement (on February 1968 when Dr. King was speaking passionately against the Vietnam War). DuBois lived to almost 100 years (he passed away in 1963 and he was born in 1868) and we are inspired by his wisdom, his eloquence, and his profound dignity as a black man who desired liberation.

Rest in Power Brother Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois.

By Timothy

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