Friday, September 5, 2008

Your Black College: The Importance of August 28th

I heard Barack Obama give his speech at the Democratic National Convention on August 28th of this year, and towards the end I heard him allude to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the famous speech given in Washington, D.C 45 years ago.

I heard him say that the young preacher brought people from all over this country together, to listen to his words of hope, faith, and a wish for a better tomorrow.

What I didn’t hear him say was the name of the young preacher, nor that the 45th anniversary of the “I Have A Dream” speech is also the 53rd anniversary of the death of Emmett Till.

Isn’t that just as important?

Then I heard Dr. Cornel West speak to a less than impressive crowd at my prestigious university last night.

The school knew he was coming...this world-renowned professor from Princeton University, yet only a third of the room was filled… even though hearing him speak was a free event.

When one of our esteemed white alums comes to speak, seats are filled and tickets are pricey.

Isn’t he just as important?

It is with these issues that I urge black students to really take notice of the things that aren’t being said. I do not devalue the importance of Dr. King’s speech. Nor do I devalue the historic event that was the speech given by Barack Obama. I only suggest young people to not take lightly the history that is often times ignored, and the names that are too often not mentioned in regards to history’s popular stories.

Dr. West made a tremendous point in his address to the crowd last night, which was to take notice of the fact that Barack Obama has no lineage (before his two lovely daughters and wife Michelle) of Blacks in America. He is of native African and White lineage. This means it is not his obligation to be fully aware of everything that happened in Black history. That does not make him any less qualified to lead this country, but it does demand for young black students every where to take value in Black history. Learn the facts, so that we will be able to educate our children about just how both August 28th, 1955 and August 28th, 1963 have an enormous effect on August 28th, 2008 and Obama’s ability to run for president today.

Bill Cosby once said, “The past is a ghost, the future a dream. All we ever have is now.”

But in the nature of ghosts, the past will forever haunt. In the same way we think of dreams, the future is within reach. If all we ever have is now, then our now should be a manifestation of both the past and the future, in a way that says the best of our Black history is yet to come.

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