It’s Black America’s Own fault.

My ancestors were slaves. Your ancestors enslaved them, and I will not allow you to forget it. You have gained significant advance from my enslavement, but I will not allow your advantage to define my aspirations. The labor and output of my ancestors have continued to accrue to you and yours, but I will not let that limit my reach.

There is a lack of acknowledgment of the harm that has accrued to the children of the Africans enslaved in the Americas. Among the children of the slave, there is an embarrassment to acknowledge our injury publicly. We seem to have a Stockholm syndrome, like illness. We see the harm but are too cowed to call it out and own it. Instead, we speak quietly so as not to embarrass the children of the enslavers. In so doing we are harming ourselves. We need to own the pain and lay it bare for all to see.

In our private space, we lay the blame and see the continuing injustice of slavery and the results of the accrued resources. We are disadvantaged, and those who deny such are free to do so. What is not acceptable is that we the children of Africa don’t speak more forcibly to the dilemma.
Maybe we don’t speak because we also see that we have caused ourselves almost as much damage.

The damage, as I see it, stems from our cultural denial of the trauma we continue to experience. We have learned from the plantation that we should speak quietly in the presence of the masters but loudly to our co-oppressed. In hiding the truth of our oppression from the children of the enslavers, we have harmed our own.

What is the harm? The harm I am referencing is that insidious self-hatred and disrespect we have for ourselves, and worse the hatred we have developed for all things we consider too much like our oppressors. In doing so, we have lost sight of the skills we need to succeed in a world created by the resources of our labor. We are our worse enemy.

The enemy, as I see it is a culture of self-hate. We treat our sisters in the same manner that the oppressors do and suspect our brothers in the same ways the oppressors did and do. We discourage our children from academic achievement because it looks too much like our oppressors, and in so doing we are allowing them to fulfill the predicted behavior that the oppressor have of them. A vicious cycle is in motion, and like our brothers who flogged us on the plantations, we have become the keepers of order.

This order means to keep us, children of Africa, subservient to the children of our enslavers. We continue to be the enforcers of the order imposed by our enslavers. It is time for us to wake up. We need to turn a new leaf, examine the world we are leaving for our children and determine to affect it positively. No one but ourselves can save us.

Reading the Man.

I have a fascination with knowledge. Knowledge, for its ability to inform, captivate and clarify. Reading this collection of the Lee letters gave a new look into an old hero. In the South, many have caricatured his memory to that of a hero of State’s rights. However, his life and legacy was and is much more complicated. He was distant to many but incredibly intimate with family. He was a man of his upbringing.

Like the engineer General Lee was, this book is structured from a strong base and expands to give a fuller view of the man. It does not over sentimentalize but humanizes by exposing both his incredible strength and destructive failings. He was an advocate for self-discipline and quality education, but only for white Americans. He was a racist; he was paternalistic with a wicked temper.

In contrast to the fairy tale that the post-war South cultivated and many white supremacists advocated, he was not a state’s rights advocate. The book, Reading the Man by Elizabeth Brown Pryor, eloquently demonstrates how the post-war Lee and others tried belatedly to portray a State’s right agenda outside of their advocacy of the continuation of slavery but his writings have betrayed him.

This is a story in his own words of a man that was ambivalent and racist, who preferred to maintain slavery or dispose of the slaves because like his Virginia peers he thought blacks to be inferior. He was not a righteous warrior. His cause, the cause of the Confederacy was not just.

In the end, he was like many today, indifferent to the suffering of non-white Americans because fundamentally they think us inferior. They believe that keeping us subservient is in our own best interest. The paternalism is clear and is killing us.

Go ahead, read this book and examine our current state of affairs, and you too will realize that our country has not come far enough. Later in his life, General Lee suggests that the struggle was more important than the possibility of victory. Too many of us have not come to that realization.
The struggle is real, and those who choose not to join have chosen the side of indifference and death.


The room was still dark, but the gentle climb of my alarm could be heard. It heralded the last job of my trip. The near return to reality was welcomed and abhorred in equal measure. I rolled over to find an empty bed, just the way it was when I got in. The thought of coffee was driving me to get out of bed. Unfortunately my nostrils were not tickled by the usual morning scent of my strong coffee brew. It was a reminder that I was in a lonely hotel room. I missed my own bed, but more so I was missing my automated coffee maker. My alarm had stopped and restarted before I could get the energy to pluck myself out of bed. Suddenly the room and bed were not as warm. The combination of cold room and comfortable bedding was keep me static. I finally convinced myself and reach to get my phone. It was just out of reach forcing me to face the cold and get out from under the warm canopy. The warmth of the plush cushioned carpeting was reassuring and the cool feel of the phone was comforting. I really missed waking up in my own bed, but this was not as bad as I had imagined. Waking in a strange bed had become a familiar process but I still had not gotten the ‘hang’ of it. Bills had to be paid and this was how I got it done. As I opened the heavy drapes the brightness of the morning sun was comforting and exhilarating. I was expecting to see snow, but the joy of seeing the desert and mountain was a real treat. I could feel the heat of the rising sun on the large window panes. I could feel the darkness falling away from my cloudy head and the joy of the new day rising. This was going to be a wonderful few days.

This was the first morning of the new contract and it was important that I started on the correct footing. I had gotten the timing correct, it was 0630 local time. I had gotten in late and went straight from the check-in counter into bed. As I looked around for my bags I noticed that someone had made a every costly error. They should have booked a one bedroom. This looked like the largest one bedroom  or I was in the wrong suite. It turned out to be a three bedroom three bath suite. I finally found my bags in the living room, but could not remember placing them there. Everything looked intact and that is all I could ask for. The suite was more than enough for me and family, but I was alone. I was missing my princesses, but I had to get the this last contract done before I could get home. It was day thirty-one and hotel number seven.

I had the same routine every morning. I unlocked my phone and confirmed my location and started my morning play list. It was my routine. I had learned from my mentor that starting the day with your favorite music was essential to the trajectory of the day. “Great music makes the day”, he use to say. Unlike the other many things he had tried to teach, this was the only one I really took wholeheartedly. I was religious about it. I had a 15-minute play list that was my morning companion. Only thing missing was my cup of coffee. I turned the music up to maximum and jumped into the shower. The water was just above room temp and was invigorating. It was a glass enclose stand-up shower with only one facet. There was no hot or cold. There was just a single tap and shower head. It was adequate.

I heard a loud bang and felt heat moving down my back. I had never been shot, but this must be what it felt like. I was usually the shooter. There was shattered glass on the floor and I fell into it with cool water pouring over my legs. This was a kill shot. I closed my eyes and wished I could have given my girls a hug.