Wednesday, August 28, 2013

50,Years after Martin Luther King’s Dream, We are still Marching !!!

   How many more years before we stop marching? 
  Last night I caught my self playing that wonderful inspirational speech over and over and over again… something caught my attention… Martin Luther King Jr (MLK) was  about the future, and I asked my self ‘When is that future’ is it NOW , was it yesterday or the day before or is it tomorrow?
       Martin  and his posse marched and tried to merged the race, economic and social divide, they sacrificed a lot for that, unfortunately  the divide is widened and  many more divides have emerge and the fight for justice have many fronts locally and globally.
    Here in the United State of America, we tend to believe the march may have yield  a little progress, we ‘elected’ Barack Hussein Obama as President. His identity is a representation of what our nation is, a nation with many identities. The reality is , in some cases the situation is worse than it was 50 years ago. The economic disparity between the upper crust of our society and the ordinary people have widened so many folds.
    Access to health care , education and  opportunities is not same for everyone in America. The freedom to marry  may have changed for some, but for others it is  still Jim Crow days .  
  I wonder  what Dr king’s speech will have been if he  was at the rally to commemorate the ‘50th anniversary of the ‘March on Washington’  or if we can reach out to him and ask for his comments on how far we have come ?
King and his Posse (c) CNN
As we  commemorate the march, we should also remember that king didn't organize the March alone he did worked  with other civil rights activist with different agendas  to pull it off.  And we need to work with each other to continue the fight for equality .     , listed Dr King’s  collaborators as follows;  James Farmer, of the Congress of Racial Equality(CORE); Martin Luther King, Jr., of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC); John Lewis, of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); A. Philip Randolph, of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters; Roy Wilkins, of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); and Whitney Young, Jr., of the National Urban League.

Friday, February 8, 2013

UNsung heroes: Facts You May NEVER hear during Black History Month

   In 1926 an African American historian Carter G woodson, toyed with the idea of having  a black history week in order to celebrate the history of African Americans amongst themselves and other Americans. It was an idea he thought will help save the  African American history from  being push out of the history books. That week was chosed because it is the birth day week of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, Mr carter was hoping that his idea will be the curator of the African American history until schools and mainstream education institutions start teaching the African American history as part of the American History not just an African American  history.. Unfortunately his Idea was defeated because  a lot of cities across the Nation started celebrating the week , and eventually it was turn into a month long celebration and so every year we learn about African American or Black History only in February, which is exactly what he was trying to avoid, how can you only celebrate a history that is as old as our Nation in 28 or 29 days, What can we  possibly teach our kids about black people  in a month.
      We have segmented our nation’s history into months , we  have the Irish-American,Women’s,LGBT, Filipino -American,Puerto Rican,Jewish and so on and so forth Months, I am wondering why we celebrate  history months since  all we teach students about  is same  freedom fighting  historical figures every year, then press the re-set buttons the following year to start all over again, don't get me wrong I BELIEVE that is very important too, because we are still fighting  some of the rights they were fighting , so their stories will inspire many  but we need to expand the content of our teachings to beyond February and Freedom Fighting.
   In my quest to find more facts and   answers around black history in America I came across a lot of notable and amazing  Black Americans who excelled in their chosen carriers and think its worth sharing,
     If you or any one you know did benefitted a laser surgery to restore their vision thanks to  Patricia Era Bath , African American ophthalmologist and inventor of the ‘Laserphaco Probe’ a tool use in removing cataract from the eye. 
    Another person I though I need to share is  Kentucky Native , Fred  Mckinley Jones, a man who had no formal education what so ever  but went on to not only invent the ‘Thermo King ‘ a cooling device which transport fresh food from one point to another so that you and I can enjoy fresh  Califiornian oranges in winter, he  also patented another device which was used in transporting blood and plasma to our troops abroad . Have you heard of Andrew  Jackson Beard  from  Eastlake  Alabama who after working as a railman went on to invent the ‘Jenny Coupler’ a device which automatically joins train cars by simply allowing them to bump into each other. He received the patent on November 27th ,1897.
    Those of us who have the privilege of calling the attention of air hostesses when we need them during our flights should be  be grateful to Ms Miriam A Benjamin,a Washington D.C teacher who in 1888 received the patent for an invention she called ‘Gong chair for hotels’ The system worked by pressing a small button on the back of a chair which would relay a signal to a waiting attendant. At the same time a light would illuminate on the chair allowing the attendant to see which guest was in need of assistance. The system was adopted and installed within the United States House of Representatives and was the predecessor of the methods used today on airplanes to signal stewardesses.
   We all enjoy the conveniency of storing our money and valuable items in safe boxes away from  being stolen. People used to keeping their money and important documents in wooden boxes, banks used to provide safety against theft, but did not prevent bank employees from reading through customers’ personal papers that were supposed to be kept at the bank, until Henry Browne, saw the need to change that, he create a safer container and developed a forged-metal container which could be sealed with a lock and key. He patented his receptacle for storing and preserving papers  and money on November 2, 1886 and it developed into what is now known as a strongbox. 
   The last but not the least  on my roll- call is the man who  The documentary film maker Ken Burns, referred to as the ‘most famous and notorious African American on earth during hid days’ . I am talking about  ‘Jack’ John Arthur  Johnson, the exuberant Boxer who rose to fame during the height of the Jim Crowe era. Many of you may have known him as the first African American heavyweight champion, who was charged with the Mann Act  for dating and marrying white women. While in  Leavenworth Federal Prison in Kansas, Johnson found  the need for a tool which would help tighten of loosening fastening devices. He therefore crafted a tool and eventually patented it on April 18, 1922, calling it a wrench.
   Have a wonderful Black History Month…..

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ayoo, Dr King What will You Have Done?

  ‘                                                   Ayoo, Dr King What will you have done?

        Ayoo Dr  king,  recently I   have been brainstorming on a lot of issues and many questions have been running in my small brain on What will you do if you were alive, or to be straight forward how will you react if you were alive today? Before I go any further let me introduce my self to you , I am from Ghana in West Africa,  I first heard of your name when I was in the 7th grade and studying the history of the Black People, my then teacher  may God Bless her soul called you the Black Moses.. She referred to you as the moses of the African Americans who gave his last sermon at the mall of congress, yes she said you were there in  flesh, but couldn't make it in spirit.  How ironic..
   Dr King, as a child I had always been  how eloquent  and patient you were, how smart and  well spoken, I actually tried unsuccessfully to  memorized the ‘I have a dream speech’ without luck. I posted your  picture next to that of Dr Kwame Nkrumah the founder of my country (Ghana), on the walls of my room, Nkrumah  was an eloquent speaker too.  Dr king this weekend we are celebrating yet another holiday in honoring the day you were born, what a great day it always have been.  I wonder if you were contacted before this holiday was instituted, what will you have agree for the whole world to celebrate your day ?
  Not long ago I learnt that you gave a speech which many thought sounded like your own eulogy,  you said when you died, all you want  to be said was how you served others, you didn't want people to mentioned your degrees or your Nobel prize,  You wanted your life to be celebrated as a servant of Humanity, how honorable of you. Guess what Dr King, the whole world  goes into  service hysteria on your birth day, we kept the promise Doctor King!!! we kept the promise!!!!
    Oh did any one bothered to tell you that an African American was elected the president in 2008 and was re-elected again last year his name is Barack Hussein Obama,this year, your birthday was even greater, the president was inaugurated  for his second term and I heard that he used your bible for the swearing ceremony, how Sweet, ‘I know, right’,? 
   Your work and vision just started to manifest. We are still  not there yet though.
   Dr king, we are facing  some of  same issues you fought and died for,   so many years ago after your famous poor people campaign,there is still inequality in health care, education and many more. As a nation we are still divided on many issues from race  to sexual orientation.Women are being paid less than men for same job. You we tragically taken from us 40 years ago, we are still fighting over who can own a gun and how can we  make sure people will not use it for to  violently harm  others. I don't know the statistics of gun and human ration when you were around, but now I think averagely there is one gun per one person, I am sure you will be turning in your peaceful sleep after you read this part. But that is the reality we live in.
   There are also ,many good things that have change.. Do you remember  remember the March you led, that was awesome I wish there is a way  for me to travel back into time.. I will have joined the March just to experience being in the same sphere as you, marching takes different forms now , we have something call face book and twitter where you invite people to March with you , to join hands with you and fight for a common  good of all,  except that it is all virtual, you don't have to be with them in person. I bet you will have loved it. It will have triple the number of your followers.
   Dear King,   all this  while, I haven't ask you my question yet:  I am working with a lot of young people some of whom may walk the path you have paved, and continue to fight against the same forces you fought , the same issues you died for, my question is, if you were  alive today , will you have continue fighting or because there is an African American President , even though many things have not change , you will have retired and say .. Yes we are at the mountain top… Please feel free to email or text me what you may have done if you were alive. I have to meet with the  group of young people I work with so I can tell them what your thought would have been… 
  Your Ardent Admirer
         Pious Ali