Why we celebrate By, Dr. Millicent Thomas January 20, 2013 will be a tremendous day for all Americans as we welcome the second term of President Barack Obama. As we approach this historical day, I cannot help but to reflect on our past, present and future. On a hot August afternoon, my family and I sat in our public housing unit and watched from what would be considered an antique thirteen inch television screen enclosed in an over sized wood carved box as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “…And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” The annals of his speech challenged centuries of a miss-education of African Americans. Kitchen table discussions, bus stop antics and board room policies, all agreed that the African-American, was an emotional race of people who could not critically think, problem solve, or multi-task. Willie Lynch (1712) promoted a psychological mandate that caused members from this target group to distrust each another while promoting the superiority of members of the white race for centuries. Yet, the war for American Independence (1770-1776) found many African-American soldiers fighting for a freedom not to be found before, during or after the war. One hundred years later, the war of 1812 found many African-Americans, like Charles Ball, a self-appointed freed man fighting against the British. Throughout American history African Americans have held strong a belief in the American dream. Yet, inherent laws forbade any inkling of obtaining the rights of freedom and all its benefits. What the fugitive slave laws of 1820, 1850 and other crippling laws coupled with the mandate of Willie Lynch did not do, members of the 20th century desperately tried to accomplish; enter Margaret Sanger. While the Americanization movement sought to establish a homogenized country, during the early years of the 20th century, Margaret Sanger, creator of (today’s) Planned Parenthood thought and sought differently. Her purpose was to eliminate undesirables through the use of sterilization; undesirables like African Americans and poor immigrants. It is interesting to note that 200 years past the physical and mental genocide, the attempt to wipe out a race of people could not be done. It is also interesting to note that while Sanger was promoting her agenda, the US Department of Health and Welfare showed an interest in ‘the black problem’. The Civil war had ended. African-Americans who were illiterate and having no social skills flooded northern states. Many were loiters, homeless, and they painted the picture that Margaret Sanger used in her presentations-‘a drudgery on society’. The US Department of Health and Welfare contacted members of the United Way, formerly known as the Community Chest to research America’s ‘black problem’. Sociologist, Dr. Gunnar Myrdal was summoned from Sweden to research this problem. With the assistance from Arnold Rose and Ralph Bunch, a nation-wide research project was undertaken. The study resulted in a two volume document; The American Dilemma, 1944 to the Present. After thousands of pages of interviews, statistics and other qualitative methods, the essence of this research stated very clearly that if you give an African-American a chance, success will be gained in any area! You may ask, “What happened to Dr. Myrdal?” His passport was revoked. He was sent back to Sweden. My research has not uncovered if he was welcomed back. A decade or so later, Dr. Ralph Bunch, who was the active with the National Urban League, Inc. and NAACP and negotiator for an armistice between Palestinians and Jews, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize was said to have drowned while swimming in South Africa; although the place of his death is listed in New York City. The kitchen table and barber shop discussion debate the place of death. Arnold Rose was able to develop a condensed copy of The American Dilemma, 1944 to the Present entitled, The Negro in America, last printed in 1948. Like so many, I remember the days of hearing conversations of what a child of color could not do; could not accomplish. Mainstream society used great energy to ensure African-Americans would live a sub-standard life. The infamous IQ test was the platform used to propagate this myth. For many years, this biased test was the educational barometer to track and channel students away from a college preparatory curriculum. Interestingly, as education progressed, there were African American teachers who also victimized the victims- African-Americans. Ray Rist (1971) Teacher Expectation and Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is a stark example of black-on-black crime without a pistol or knife. African-American teachers separated African-American children by tables: Champions (extremely bright future), Cardinal (potential for a very bright future) and Clowns (no hope for a bright future). These are my assessment and italics. Jeannie Oaks (1987) in Keeping Track, depicted the inequality of elementary and secondary education. Interestingly, African-American students, in spite for the barriers and challenges began to excel on standardized test. And, surprisingly, the rules of education changed. All teachers had to be tested and certified; not because African American students were not failing but they were excelling at a higher rate than majority students. We fast forward to the 21st century. A great deal has occurred. A new day has dawned! We celebrate these years as we reflect upon the dark days and always maintaining the sight of that bright light at the end of the road. We celebrate our president Barak Obama and the first lady, Michelle. Kitchen table and barber-shop discussions paint a picture of how president Obama is called (from his first four years in office) every derogatory name known to man starting before he was elected. John McCain held such low regard that he would not extend his hand during the first presidential debates. Mrs. Obama adorned the cover of the July, 2008 New Yorker Magazine as a gun toting, 1960’s very large natural bush hair style while, the then Mr. Obama was adorned as a Kaddafi look-a-like. Shortly after the election, I watched CNN news as a load of white male politicians descended from a bus on their way to the White House to tell the president of the United States how the political game would be played. I could not believe what I saw or heard. I could not help but to ask, ‘Where is David Dukes? The white sheet and hood must have an invisible cloak. J.K. Rowling must have shared Harry Potter’s Christmas present. The invisible cloak could not hide the true feelings of the bus riders. One prominent politician publicly stated that the goal is to make sure the president is not re-elected. (Well, surprise…surprise) The more the bus riders challenged, criticized, sabotaged and the like, the greater the focus of President Obama and the sophistication of our First Lady was personified. Thank God, the images have changed. The magazine cover photos reflect a respect for the office and the first family of America. We celebrate another four years as a result of we the people, loudly stating we want and need President Obama! He personifies leadership with high ethical standards, style and grace. Remember the light at the end of road? Well, we have it now! If we stay focused on our goals and live a life where we are helping more than ourselves, we can all celebrate continuously!. Now, we pray for president Obama and his family, for there is nothing that the nay-sayers-bus rider will not do to attack our president’s agenda. The 27st Psalm states, The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp around me; in this will I be confident. One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in his pavilion; in the secret of His tabernacle, He shall hide me. He shall set me upon a rock and now shall mine head be lifted up upon mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer sacrifices of joy. I will sing praises unto the Lord. … It is very interesting that as the thirteen colonies were in the process of becoming, these United States of America, history reflect similar passages were read during their held meetings. We need to keep the light. Let it shine ever brighter. I call everyone to celebrate, celebrate, and celebrate some more!