Do For Self
By Todd A. Smith
Since the first African slaves arrived on the shores of America, Black empowerment has always depended on the strength of Black Americans to succeed despite the obstacles they were forced to overcome.
When many Black politicians gained political power during Reconstruction, organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan emerged to thwart any dreams of Black empowerment that the recently freed slaves envisioned. And when towns such as a Tulsa, Oklahoma developed a strong Black economy through their own entrepreneurial spirit, efforts of Black empowerment were again killed and dreams destroyed.
However, as the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakahn recently stated in a speech, in the 21st century Black empowerment is totally in the hands of the Black community and no other group or individual holds power over our dreams, besides us.
“Today you can’t blame the White man for where you are, you are where you are because that’s where you want to be,” stated the Nation of Islam leader. “But if you got your own foot out of your own way, no White man in the heavens above or the earth beneath could stop you from achieving what God wants for you.”
In a year where America saw its first Black president inaugurated, the source of pride in that historical moment should be the inspiration that this generation needs to take Black America to levels our ancestors could only dream of.
However, as H. Lewis Smith, founder and president of the United Voices for a Common Cause, Inc. once stated, Black Americans do not have to just look at our history in this country for inspiration and proof that we come from greatness, we also can trace our greatness back to ancient times when people with brown faces made significant contributions to early civilizations.
As scholar Carter G. Woodson wrote in The Mis-Education of the Negro, “We say hold on to the real facts of history as they are, but complete knowledge by studying also the history of races and nations which have been [purposely ignored]. We should not underrate the achievements of Mesopotamia, Greece and Rome; but we should give [equally] as much attention to the internal African kingdoms, the Songhay Empire and Ethiopia, which through Egypt decidedly influenced the civilization of the Mediterranean world.”
From the earliest civilizations Blacks were innovators who assisted other ethnic groups by helping advance society, such as the Black Moor’s civilization, who with the Arabs, aided the Europeans in their freedom from the Dark Ages.
If young Black Americans knew all of their history, it would create a pride and passion for greatness that we have unfortunately not seen, even after the historic election of President Barack Obama. The love we would have for the Black community would eradicate the use of the N-word amongst our people; it would lower the number of Black-on-Black crimes and it would inspire greatness in the classroom and beyond.
Therefore, true Black empowerment will come when the Black community realizes that the real power is within them and no one can hold any power over them unless they relinquish that God-given power.
Smith is publisher of Regal Black Men’s Magazine.