Oct 12, 1932 – August 19, 2017
My First Hero
In my youth, I was consciously aware of the Black and white divide by living in a predominately white middle to low-income neighborhood. Have I been called a “nigger” in this environment? Yes. I have two distinct memories as a child under the age of 8 years old being called “nigger” by little chubby white girl with red hair, Susie. And by the way, she was the same age as me. Just saying!
Moving forward to the civil rights movement, I was a young teenager who didn’t really believe in turning the other cheek but I wasn’t for violence meeting with more violence. My eyes were opened to the country I lived in by Dick Gregory. His cowboy analogy, I cleaned house by. “When mother America forgets ….”, “ … the cowboy always needs an Indian” and “… history repeats itself and 4 lay dead…” Awesome man, comedian, and activist.
1932 – Richard Claxton Gregory is born in St. Louis, Missouri.
He will be better known as “Dick” Gregory and in the
1960’s will become a comedic pioneer, bringing a new
perspective to comedy and opening many doors for Black
entertainers. Once he achieves success in the
entertainment world, he will shift gears and use his
talents to help causes in which he believes. He will
serve the community for over forty years as a comedian,
civil and human rights activist and health/nutrition
advocate. On October 9, 2000, his friends and
supporters will honor him at a Kennedy Center gala,
showing him their “appreciation for his uncommon
character, unconditional love, and generous service.
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October 4, 1943 – Hubert Gerold Brown is born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
He will be better known as H. Rap Brown, become a Black nationalist and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the 1960s, and later the Justice Minister of the Black Panther Party. He will be most famous for his proclamation during that period that
“violence is as American as cherry pie”, as well as once
stating that “If America don’t come around, we’re gonna
burn it down”. He is also known for his autobiography “Die
Nigger Die!”. He will spend five years (1971-1976) in
New York’s Attica Prison after a robbery conviction. While
in prison, he will convert to Islam and change his name to
Jamil Abdullah al-Amin. After his release, he will open a
grocery store in Atlanta, Georgia and become a Muslim
spiritual leader and community activist, preaching against
drugs and gambling in Atlanta’s West End neighborhood. He
will be sentenced to life in prison, without the possibility of
parole, for the 2000 shooting of two Fulton County Sheriff’s
deputies, one of whom dies. Both deputies were Black.
I’m an old head watching a reality show that the oldest member is decades younger than me. Yes, that’s Love and Hip Hop Atlanta (L&HH Atlanta) Mona introduced Scrapp DeLeon, 28-year-old rapper, this season as someone we would be interested in with a little music and lots of lady drama. Unfortunately, we viewers had to watch Scrapp DeLeon receive a mandatory sentence for trafficking marijuana. As a Black mother, its devastating to see how mandatory sentencing works.
I started liking Scrapp especially his interaction with his son. I can even forgive is womanizing ways because really everyone has to be in agreement for that shit to go on and on. I mean I have seen blood sister share the same man in the same house, one being the wife and one just there. So Tommie, Karlie and Tiarra drama is minor. The national stage shows focus on a piece of the pipeline to prison. Mandatory sentencing.
So the judge says he wants to be lenient and gives him a 20 year sentence with the possibility for parole in 5 years and 15 years on parole. Damn!! I couldn’t believe it. The sad fact that some states have legalized marijuana makes Scrapp’s case so crazy. And here, this guy has 5 years taken from his life plus pay $100,000 and the judge states he will be lenient by giving him 20 years and not 30 years. That’s white man justice.
A suspected rioter in Baltimore got the smackdown of his life Monday by his mom on television. (WMAR)
What a head lines! Baltimore is burning with a race riot, the National Baseball League will have a game in Baltimore but no fans in the stadium,and this mom makes the news! Now, for years we have seen parents/adults punished for the display of beating your child in public but her she is applauded for it. White people, make up your mind. If you are Black, you can beat your kids in public but if you are white, you will go to jail for beating your kid in public. Well, maybe it’s alright this time because of the current racial charged injustice of police killing another young Black man, this time in Baltimore.
A young Black man, Freddie Gray died in Baltimore police custody from of a severe spinal cord injury. How did that happen? It’s yet to be determined. As always, the protest marches demanding justice for the death of Freddie Gray started peacefully. But, the protest event turned ugly with burning, looting and throwing rocks at police officers. Now, the National Guard is helping to keep the peace.
Now back to mom. Well, they have her labeled “angry mom” – I guess it goes with “angry Black woman” that’s one of our labels too.
Why is mom angry could be the reason this mother gets a “no charges will be filed” ticket! It is “Willie Lynch” time yall. Yes, it’s been said that Black folks discipline their children authoritatively. As Black folks in America we were trained by the society we live in to put fear in our children. There was a time, not long ago, they we went to bed in fear. Yes fear. Fear that we would be accused of a minor infraction and lose our lives. Our own beds were not a safe haven because you could be pulled out of bed and lynched. Emmett Till. Today that fear is in a traffic stop.
As a grandmother, fear fills my heart when I hear of a traffic stop where a Black male loses his life. I look at the car and pray that it’s not my grandson. Or, suffer another dagger to the heart when a young Black man that I know as a wonderful kid loses his life senselessly. I cry too easy these days!
I understand the fear of this mother that her son is in danger in this country and she got to do what she got to do to keep him out of harm’s way. Like she said, “don’t want him to end up like Freddie Gray.”