Black August

One of my good friends and author of the book #YBA  always sends me great informative reads in the form of articles, blogs, videos, etc. This morning she sent me a piece from BOSSIP. The editorial was about a movement stemming from the efforts of several members of the Black Panther Party and Black Guerrilla Family that took place in the 70s called Black August. The read stirred up some of my emotions about Black History on a larger scale.

Black History Month was my favorite time of year in elementary school. It meant that we would deviate from the staple subjects for a few weeks while learning more about people that looked like us and where we came from. My most coveted subtopic of the BHM was the Ancient Egyptians. I was fascinated by the pyramids, how they were built, the kings, queens, pharos, dynasties, languages, clothing, etc. It was all astonishing to me. My 5th and 6th grade teachers were my Black History Heroes because they made sure they gave us the sage of our history. They played Motown Classics for us, they wrote plays for us to act out some of the notable events of the Civil Rights Movement and allowed us to explore on our own. I love them for that! I didn’t know how rich I was as a 11/12-year-old.

But as I got older, I began to miss Black History and that’s because my exposure was becoming less frequent.

In Jr High there were a few posters strewn about the school and the occasional viewing of Eyes On the Prize during BHM but nothing of quality consumption. I never felt like I learned anything new during BHM in Jr. High.

By the time I got to high school, my exposure was almost non-existent. So much so, that I can only recall a single memory—the time my English Teacher Ms. Allen allowed me to choose my own Research Paper topic. I chose the Pyramids of Giza. This is the only memory I have of Black History in high school—literally! And although I had more things distracting me in high school than I did in Jr High and Elementary, I was attentive to things that were interesting to me…like Black History. Since I was more likely to study Black History at school than other places and the amount of teaching was very limited if any at all, I stopped noticing the month was recurring—outside of the McDonalds murals on the sides of buses and the radio sound bites on KKDA.

College wasn’t much different. As a college student, you have the freedom of choosing what you will study. This was a freedom that I didn’t take full advantage of. I was more concerned about survival and income. I could have chosen to major in African American Studies or World History, or any other topic that would give me the chance to expand my minimal knowledge of Black History. Buuuuuut, I didn’t. I chose Journalism and Mass Communications—which was subsequently changed after I realized the lack of income without a creative niche. Still, I didn’t choose anything remotely close to Black History.

Circa age 35, I find myself filled with thousands of random facts and topics from the Harlem Renaissance, the Moors, the different variations and origins of the slang term “Nigga”, albinism, Eve Gene, mutating genes, melanin, etc. You name it, if it has or had some derivative of Africa, chances are I know something about it and if I don’t, I will go research it. This is why my friend sends me such reads as Black August for Black Survival.

After reading Black August for Black Survival, I learned something new. Just that quick. I had never heard of Black August, its relation to the Soledad Brothers, nor any of its attributes. Needless to say, this is exactly why Black History is vital to our community. We will never know every detail about our past but there’s definitely room to gain more. These are the very gems that must be converted into normalcies of knowledge.

I have an immeasurable appreciation for learning about events such as Black August because they present a chronological progression to the plight of Black People. They connect the dots to some of the oppressive systems that exist today which contributes to our efforts of dismantling them. Without knowing how things started, it’s difficult to fashion an end.

Not only should we continue acknowledging and sharing events such as Black August, I believe that the Black History should be a standard in all United States public school systems that administer US History as a core subject. If the public school system can accept the taxpayer dollars of blacks, why can’t it educate their children about their cultural histories?

The absence of Black History in public schools has led to a misconception of who African Americans are as a people and their contributions to the United States as a whole. As well, the minimal amount of Black History that is available in public schools is often inaccurate and misleading and has subsequently altered the perceptions that most non-blacks have of African-American people. Unsurprisingly this—among other things has resulted in a level of distrust in the quality of education that is provided in Black Communities. How can we be confident in the content of what our children are learning when its being incorrectly presented if at all? US Textbooks Provide Incorrect Data to Students

Given the fact that Africa is the birthplace of human civilization, it stands to reason why Black History is factually more history of the United States than what is currently being dispensed in public school textbooks and promulgated by teachers and administrators.

Black History deserves standardization and recognition of its commonplace in the US. The independence of Black History and US History only fuels racism and division in American Society and gives legs to the stereotypes that have developed among US Citizens.

Until the time comes that we can identify and educate without opposition the true chronological foundation between Africa and its neighboring countries, events such as Black August and many more integral facts will continue to be under-acknowledged by the whole and marginalized by short stents of celebratory memorializing throughout the year.



Bank Black…Plan Green

Preface: This blog went from a notion, to a thought, to a passion, to a mental nagging. It was just going to be a bullet point format to put on flyers at the next event in my city. But as usual it morphed in and out of what it was originally intended to be.

I decided to just get to the point and if my readers, have questions, they can ask me.

The Black Community is undergoing what I like to call Self-Reconciliation. We are taking some steps in directions that haven’t been charted before. More recently there’s been a shift in banking by the BC. Many of us are moving our money from larger commercial banks to Black Owned and Operated Banks.

This move was largely prompted and endorsed by celebrities, rappers, and well-known community activists across the nation who have a vested interest in seeing the African-American’s exercise their economic muscle. Blacks have more equity in the us economy than we have to show for it. We spend more money on disposable and retail goods than we do on saving, investing, and education. Dont Take My Word For It

Thousands of black people have opened accounts at black owned banks and deposited money into these accounts. This has gained so much attention and action that its coined several hashtags around social media #moveyourmoney #bankblack #blackdollarsmatter I Dont Make This Stuff Up

Not only do I support this trend, I hope that it becomes less of a trend and more of a way of life. Dont get me wrong and please dont misunderstand this.

People tend to call the BC racists for supporting its own but this is never called into question by non blacks when they show a lack of support for blacks. Hispanics are notorious for joining forces to strengthen their communities and extend their financial means. They open stores and do business with one another on a regular basis. They sell products that cater to their ethnic needs and wants. I’ve always admired this orientation of Hispanics and Latinos. So to see my own community take up the same flag and do the same is a proud moment.

Sometimes its easy to get caught up in the festiveness of the moment. Its easy to lose sight of the end goal of your effort when you’re busy celebrating the catalyst. No doubt, the BC is proud of itself. However, lets be proud with a plan.

I want my community cohorts to know that supporting Black Banks is just the beginning. There’s so much more to be done to keep the ball rolling and see this through. It doesn’t stop at funding black banks. It also involves those banks’ ability to lend to its surrounding communities in healthy financial way.

As these banks acquire more money to lend, it allows for more borrowing to take place. That borrowing SHOULD be done to facilitate business growth and development in the Black Community. This is the start of a positive domino effect. With more businesses in the community comes more jobs in the community. More job means more income, home ownership, and a host of other benefits to strengthen the whole BC. The financial stability of this movement will be felt 10 fold…if its properly executed.

The Federal Reserve (Learn how banks work)

We must keep in mind that, the Federal Reserve who itself has no governing authority, has oversight of all banks. Black, Green, White, Yellow, etc. So if and when it feels that these transactions are becoming a threat to the banking system as a whole…i.e. if the larger corporate banks begin to feel the impact of the millions of dollars leaving its branches, the Federal Reserve will respond accordingly to right the ship of its largest constituents. And this response may be to the detriment of BlackBanks. I wish I could pinpoint exactly what the Federal Reserve could do but I cant. And thats because they are virtually untouchable. Although its Board of Governors are nominated by the President. The FR doesnt take orders from either branch of government. It isnt swayed by voting trends and political press. This type of freedom is very powerful.

Black Bank Survival (Understand what it takes to keep Black Banks Profitable)

And by “keep in mind”, I mean, don’t let this be the only tool of choice in this mission. Among the support of black banks, we have to maintain that sentiment by operating healthy businesses that are funded by the loans extended by these banks. If the businesses funded by these loans fail, the loans will likely default, and the banks will be overextended. Thus putting them in a position to be bought out by larger corporate non-black banks. When larger banks buy out smaller banks who have extended more money than they are receiving in return in loan payments, they have the right to restructure the loans. Sometimes the restructuring is expensive and predatory. If a business cannot pay its debit, its likely bought and sold. If the aforementioned occurs in the Black Community, it will have a much more violent effect than it ever has before. We dont want these banks to fail. We want to keep them thriving. Keep Black Banks Alive

Black Businesses (Patronize the businesses that are funded by Black Banks)

The Black Businesses also have to be patronized on a consistent basis. Again, let me reiterate for those who like to pull the race card against Blacks–this is not a directive to discontinue spending at other businesses. This is a request to spread the love. Spread your dollar around the market that supports you. How many times have you been in Target looking for ethnic hair care products? How many times were your successful at locating what you needed? Black businesses offer the goods and services that are sought by black consumers. (This topic is another blog itself)

Local Voting (Learn how local voting affects local commerce and livelihood)

Local voting is also important in this equation. The Presidential elections always garner more attention because the media covers these elections more heavily. But, the elections that are happening right in your zip code, city limits, state boundaries, etc are the ones that count the most. The repercussions of city councilmen, senators, mayors, and governors are felt by local citizens more immediately than those of the federal level. These individuals are also the voice of the people when in the front of congress. Vote for the local leaders that are going to speak your language. This is important when the schools in your neighborhood are inadequate for providing a safe and productive environment for your child. This is important when liquor stores pop up on every corner of your city. This is important when property taxes take a hike but the city services are mediocre. This is important when laws are passed concerning your city’s business laws, consumer protection, financial obligations, etc. Local Elections are SO IMPORTANT

Ball Soft (Reduce Retail and Disposable Good Spending)

We all like to live nice and look good but too much of anything can be a bad thing. Its no secret that the BC spends gross amounts on shoes, clothes, and designer brands. We spend ridiculous amounts of money on vehicles, recreational activities, etc. We also have to spend smarter. In Comparison…Black Spend Differently and Not Always In A Good Way We have to spend less on things that are disposable and depreciate quickly. Its okay to live comfortably but if you arent investing in yourself, your family, and your future, the present luxuries wont mean much tomorrow.

The BlackDollarsMatters Movement is gaining nationwide attention and is growing in active masses. Let us learn how to extend the trend and paint the outcome with longevity.