The Whole Truth; So Help Me God II – The Emancipation of Free Speech

I guess at some point I’ll write the blog called “Riddle Me This!”  Until then, there are more “pressing” matters that need to be addressed.  The look you see as the thumbnail photo is usually reserved for Stephen A Smith’s cohost Skip Bayless.  The expression appears when Bayless mentions that LeBron James doesn’t possess the “clutch gene”, Tim Tebow deserves another shot in the NFL or that “Tiago Splitter” is the glue that holds the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs together.  Now the picture is the appearance of a man who is defeated.  A once mighty warrior in the realm of sports media, forced to bow before something much greater than him. The court of public opinion strikes again.  At the desk of one of ESPN’s signature shows, First Take, he’s confrontational, unapologetic, boisterous and forthcoming.  Before lambasting a guest on the set, ridiculing a player for their performance or speaking as an analyst at the location of a big event, his words are often times measured and calculated.  But then the Ray Rice domestic violence incident transpired; and subsequently a suspension was administered.  And being paid to opine on such issues, he was asked to discuss his thoughts concerning this topic.  And though he had expressed similar feelings in the past, this time the backlash was too severe to avoid the blisters associated with the inferno his statements caused. Smith committed the ultimate of sins; the statement trifecta: domestic violence; gender; race.  Why race?  That’ll be explained throughout the proceedings.  If you’re unfamiliar with the Ray Rice story click this link:

Exhibit A:

Now this post isn’t to play the role of role Stephen A’s public defender, because he isn’t entirely on trial. His statements and the rights to free speech are.  So before we get started, let’s define some of the language and evidence that will be brought to the court’s attention. 1) The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances. It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that constitute the Bill of Rights; 2) provocation – defined as the action or speech that makes someone annoyed or angry, especially deliberately; 3) we can all the agree that a large populous of society, and at times our own culture dislikes people of color, 4) “The Black woman is the most unprotected, unloved woman on earth… She is the only flower on earth that grows unattended and not watered.”  Before we begin, let’s give some background about the physical defendant. He was hired by ESPN as a NBA analyst to replace David Aldridge in 2004.  (I like David Aldridge; does a great job on TNT/NBA TV) In August 2005, he started hosting a daily hour-long show on ESPN called “Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith.” After the show was cancelled due to comments Smith made about the MVP voting that were deemed racist in January 2007, he primarily concentrated on basketball, serving again as an analyst. So it was well known that the defendant was a controversial figure, willing to provide his outlook on any discussion. With that being established and understood, let’s proceed.  Below you will find Mr. Smith’s comments in response to the NFL announcing the suspension of Rice for a period of two (2) games.

Exhibit B:

As you can see in Exhibit B, his sentiments were similar to those pertaining to the issue involving former NFL player Chad Johnson and his then wife Evelyn Lozada (Exhibit A). Throughout, the defendant voiced his disdain for men who assault women; even coming to the conclusion that if any of his family members were involved, he would have to practice restraint to avoid being disciplined by his employer.  (Ironic) However, when it came to his statements about provocation by a woman, and methods to prevent such incidents from occurring, the slope became icy and slippery.  That’s when the mob formed armed with pitch forks and torches began surrounding the headquarters’ of ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, and the cyber sphere became ablaze.

Exhibit C:

These comments essentially started the ball rolling and lead to Smith issuing an apology the following day via Twitter.  As the hours passed from the time of the incident to his next appearance on the show, people had time to settle in, let the comments linger and marinate, and what was once an afterthought; perhaps a perceived slip of the tongue, a misunderstood series of statements, had now grown legs and overshadowed the Rice story.  His proclamation drew the ire of women all over including this Facebook poster that stated the following, “To All of these people (primarily men) who are coming to the defense of Stephen A, ask yourself this question: ‘if it were your daughter being dragged out of an elevator by a man (a football player, no less), would you still be so inclined to play Captain Save an Idiot???’” It also led to an outcry of pro-Black advocates and radical empowerment groups coming out in support of Black women.  “Stephen A. Smith when being told that he offended Black people (examples – appearance; character; involvement in offenses that result in jail time): ‘I don’t give a damn what anybody thinks!’  Stephen, when being told that he offended White people: ‘I am truly, truly sorry.’  That’s the difference between being your own boss and being a corporate puppet.  Others are always telling you what you can and cannot say.” – Dr. Boyce Watkins

Exhibit D:


As you can see, Smith was getting it on all fronts.  Thus, far the only people “I’ve” seen come to his defense are Whoopi Goldberg, with her statements as a host on the daily talk show, The View, and the average Black male. All of which have drawn the same conclusion; the violence isn’t being condoned, however please acknowledge that the female plays a role in determining if the situation escalates further.

Exhibit E:

Exhibit F:

As you can see by the example in Exhibit E, as defined, provocation was illustrated by the character Juanita in the movie Dead Presidents.  This led to a reaction from Anthony which “may” have been prevented if she had told him the truth upon his return from Vietnam.  This is but an example; an isolated incident.  No two (2) situations are the same.  Without wasting the court’s time, can it be agreed upon that violence is an unnecessary chain of events that occur as a result of one or both individuals being unable to control their emotions. No one is deserving of abuse; especially a women, who society places on a pedestal as fragile as the most elegant china.  These are the questions being asked by men since this “news” of Smith’s one week suspension from the network began garnering attention: Are there no situations that can be considered inappropriate provocation (that is more than just words) in which a man would be justified in hitting a woman (without being excessive)?  Does size, strength or aggressiveness matter? How many blows should he take before resulting to a physical defense?  Because even under all those circumstances, a man is not justified in retaliating for his own safety. Other comments include (paraphrasing): “Now I know just like each of you know, whether through an experience of your own or someone you know, that sometimes in the heat of the moment and during heated exchanges, there are women who continue to exasperate the situation by getting in his face, pushing him, slapping him, spitting in his face, blocking and preventing him from walking away, and even punching him sometimes; whether it’s in the face, chest, arm, back, etc. Sometimes even charging extreme rants like insinuating that that man’s kid is not his. That’s provoking.” The poster continued, “TV lets y’all think it’s ok to slap him if he hurts you (emotionally and mentally). And for those that don’t agree with that I implore you to explain how you expect someone to maintain their cool in those situations….when you didn’t? I think it’s ridiculous that he had to apologize AND was suspended, because he simply utilized his so called ‘1st Amendment right’, and stated something that’s factual and can actually be taken as advice to possibly prevent any heated disagreement or verbal argument, from turning into that physical and harsh reaction known as domestic violence.” And still one more male poster states, “C’mon we all know that woman who does this. That woman who jumps in her man’s face, cusses him, taps him on the chin, calls him a ‘fuck nigga’ and when he tries to leave the situation actually blocks the door to prevent him from leaving the volatile situation possibly slapping him or checking that chin while advising that “he ain’t gone do shit”. Now dare I ask is he too being provoked? Does that brother have grounds to restrain her? Does he have the right to defend himself? I have always been taught to keep your hands to yourself. It’s ok to have a heated discussion but you take it to a different level when step in a person’s personal space and when you do that you have to take responsibility for the part you play in whatever happens next. Earlier I stated that it is two sides to every story but honestly is actually three… y’all know the rest.”  We live in a different time.  This isn’t the 1800s when chivalry was appreciated by women and men “supposedly” restrained themselves from striking them.  I guess that’s why there are movies like “Think Like A Man” where one can escape from the real world, and fantasies can be played out over the course of 120 minutes.

The issue to me concerning this case has always been the ability for Smith to voice his opinion.  He’s paid a high salary to not only provide analysis, but to be controversial as well.  Former ESPN First Take contributor Rob Parker was fired by his then employer for making contentious comments about Washington Redskins’ quarterback Robert Griffin III.  Parker’s comments were no different than those being held in barbershops, at barbeques, on porches and at water coolers everywhere amongst people of color upon finding out about RG3’s lifestyle.  For that, Parker was dismissed.  See Exhibit G.

Exhibit G:

I ask that my client (the First Amendment) be released on the grounds that world has been turned upside down by political correctness.  Tony Dungy, (former Super Bowl winning head coach) who is well-known for being a highly religious man and is against gay marriage based on those beliefs, was forced to issue an apology for speaking candidly about being unwilling to draft Michael Sam (the first openly gay player in the NFL – drafted by the St. Louis Rams) due to the attention and possible disturbance it would bring to the ball club.  What did they expect him to say? If you were familiar with his stance on issues such as those, then his response shouldn’t have been surprising.  Listen to Kanye West’s statement (Exhibit H). Many people would be offended by his words and feel he doesn’t have the right to make that declaration; “I’m a GOD.”  And as he eloquently articulated, would you rather that he calls himself a “Nigga or Gangsta, as a opposed to a God?” As in some instances, even amongst ourselves, we don’t view ourselves any higher than those negative connotations.  What about my photo depicting Jesus Christ being drunk and placed on the cross (Exhibit I). To me it’s humorous/I’m talking laugh out loud funny; reflecting a lighter side of life and taking a poke at religion as a whole.  However, practicing Christians may find the photo offensive and ask that it be removed.  But under the First Amendment I have a right to freedom of expression. And because you find something distasteful doesn’t mean I have to placate to your wishes.  I have a right to my opinion; as do you.  And in the end, we can agree to disagree.  But I have a voice.  I’m disappointed in Stephen A. for one reason.  He champions himself as a man of principle.  Willing to press the issue when necessary and challenge the establishment when need be.  I’m unaware of his financial situation, and of course it’s easy for me to say sitting on the comforts of my couch (see free speech again) but if I were him, I would quit.  He’s talented enough to find another job as he has worked for Fox Sports in the past.  But if you’re gonna pay me to provide an honest assessment of any situation and would like me cater to specific demographic (let’s be real here), then you can’t cut my legs from up under me for voicing what’s “real” to me.  That humble pie is difficult to swallow, especially when you’re forced to do so and go against everything you stand for.  So as the crowd gathers in the arena against both free speech and Stephen A, the prosecution is like a wrestler bouncing from ring rope to ring rope, cupping their ear trying to get the crowd hyped before a startling comeback from defeat, You Honor, I present to you Exhibit J, Charles Barkley; who refused to apologize to the fans of the San Antonio Spurs, specifically the women, for calling them fat.

Exhibit H:

Exhibit I:


Exhibit J:

If you strip a person of their ability to express their feelings, then why are we having this or any other conversation? What’s the purpose of social media? We can agree to disagree on the violence aspects or any other problems up for debate, but when you can no longer have dialogue about an issue without someone being offended, that’s crazy!!! The day you can’t arm yourself with what you believe is the truth and you’re condemned to purgatory for voicing your opinion is the day you’ll understand where people like me and others are coming from.  Free the First Amendment!!!!! Stephen A. Smith, he’s alright!  BOL! “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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Ah… Let’s Save The World Tomorrow

Tomorrow – a mystical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored.  As many of you may know, or for those that listen to the show on a regular basis, my primary job is that of a law enforcement official.  And for those that are employed in any type of public service position that requires interaction with the citizens at large (police officer, fire fighter, etc.), though you may have a set hourly schedule, you’re on the clock twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days a week.  So our deeds off the clock are equally as important as our performance on it.  So public intoxication, disorderly conduct, being arrested no matter the offense or anything done at a magnitude to blacken the eye of the agency of our employ is strictly prohibited.  Therefore, in trying to lead normal lives that include all of these pitfalls and possibilities, we must remain responsible to the companies we serve.  We often times forget the minor details as we go about our daily routine, and when duty calls during our personal time, we disregard it, laying the task at the feet of someone else saying, “I’m off! Somebody else will take care of it.”  Police officers don’t have that luxury; a law enforcement officer, including a police officer, has a legal duty to provide aid to ill, injured, and distressed persons who are not in police custody during an emergency whether the law enforcement officer is on-duty or acting in a law enforcement capacity off-duty.  (FYI – A correctional officer is not a peace officer and, therefore, does not have a legal duty to provide aid to ill, injured, and distressed persons. As a volunteer, a correctional officer would be covered under the Good Samaritan Act to the extent provided therein from liability for civil damages as a result of such care or treatment.)   I give you all that to say this, when one is attempting to change the world and start a crusade to enlighten people with information, there are no days off.

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See yesterday on my personal Facebook page I posted, “…. So… I’m gonna turn in my timesheet, punch out and get back to saving the world tomorrow.”  Though the comment was meant in jest, I regret it in a sense that when you’re trying to make difference or attempting to achieve a goal, you can’t take any days off.  Perhaps no one cares, but it bothered me.  The entrepreneur doesn’t take a day off to stop from getting their business up, running and being successful; the promoter doesn’t stop advertising until the venue is filled to capacity; the student doesn’t stop attempting to attain academic achievement and earn their diploma to rest on their laurels; the athlete doesn’t take a day off from training when attempting to make the roster of a team; the dedicated pastor doesn’t take time away from being proficient in scripture and leading his flock to take a vacation.  You understand where I coming from.  Though we’re currently on a smaller scale, the mission of becoming recognized and establishing a brand shouldn’t be allowed to take a day off either. When the abolitionists were petitioning the government to stop slavery, there were no sabbaticals; there were no stoppages during the Women’s Rights Movement; or when mass amounts of people turned out to march during the Civil Rights Movement.  So far be it for me to be any different than any of my predecessors.

Let’s be honest, most people don’t care about world events, saving the planet or pertinent issues that have a far reaching effect on our lives on a broader scale.  If it doesn’t affect the bottom line, decrease our paychecks or hurt our families, then our involvement is minimum at best.  What does recycling really do?  Global warming isn’t real; the polar ice caps aren’t melting. Police brutality and harassment… It isn’t a problem in my community. Really… having knowledge of self?  Everything I need to know about me was taught in school or I can watch it on the History Channel.  (Sigh) The site (Fan & blog pages) is run by a person or individuals who don’t “know it all”; just those that wish to “know it all” and share that information with the masses to increase their knowledge.  Knowledge and information are free, and should be shared with those that aspire to do more.  Any delay in disseminating that information is called procrastination.  Tomorrow isn’t promised; so during every waking moment, your actions should be impactful and far reaching.  Does the congregation question the minister’s ability when he/she is speaking before them from the pulpit?  No! He’s deemed a leader and his teachings are perceived to be the gospel.  People watch and listen to Suze Orman to attain information to achieve financial freedom.  They in turn use that knowledge and implement those principles in their lives to amass wealth.  The same holds true for any leader who is attempting to start a movement and create change; Marcus Garvey, Noble Drew Ali, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Stanley “Tookie” Williams (Crips) or Larry Hoover (Gangster Disciples).  Whether for good or evil; righteousness or injustice, these individuals worked tirelessly to press their agenda. And so too will I.  There can’t be any days off when you want something so badly and you’re attempting to make a difference.  So with that, I’ve done a disservice to you all.  There will be no more days off.  Because as badly as I want to succeed, I equally want to show how dedicated I am to what we’re trying to accomplish.  It may not always be information; there may be passages to uplift the spirit; or captions that express a lighter side of life.  Regardless, we’re obligated to you and need to stamp our imprint as a serious contender for your intellectual pleasure.  That’s all social media, television, radio and other means of communication are; an attempt to gain your attention, solicit their product and capture your imagination.  Our job is to perform that task better than anyone else by remaining diligent and believing in our product.  How bad do we want it; enough to sacrifice it all!  #Nodaysoff “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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Live, Love, Laugh

So originally slated for today, I had planned on posting a blog called “Riddle Me This!”  I’m talking about that sh*t was gonna be deep discussing conspiracy theories and propaganda.  I had done my research; notes were spread out across my desk; and water was on deck to ensure I was properly hydrated and my brain was functioning at maximum capacity.  But as I began formulating the blog, I became engaged in a conversation with a friend concerning their goals and aspirations.  Now because I’m passionate about such things, the words began flowing; my fingers began hitting the keyboard of my iPhone at break neck speed.  By the time I finished, I had sent out about six (6) paragraphs; all lengthy in content and detailed with the precision of a craftsman.  I’ll keep this one short (I’ll try), but it’s gonna be an honest assessment of what “I” perceive life to be.


From time to time, be on social media, etched in ink on someone’s skin or an individual wearing the moniker on a t-shirt, you will see the axiom, “Live, Love Laugh.”  The phrase is powerful in its content because if you simply live by those three (3) words, you should have no worries in the world.  Unfortunately, life isn’t always as simple as following a slogan.  As human beings we’re often times overcome with emotion; we experience elation, happiness, grief and disappointment.  With each life changing event our emotions ebb and flow like the rising and falling tide on the banks of the coastline.  It appears that most of us only experience the later of the three (3) words in that statement; not enjoying the pleasures of the first two (2).  The question must be asked, are you truly living or merely surviving.  The caged hamster is aware of its existence when it’s a captive as a pet.  There are only a few options: sleep, eat/drink and run on the wheel.  It’s as simple as that; nothing more.  Many of us are merely existing; unhappy with our current situations but too defeated to offer to make a change.  All the childhood dreams appear shattered like glass because of a wrong decision or life choice.  So to that end we settle; become content and complaisant; unwilling to pursue our life’s passions for fear of what people may think or the association of being deemed a failure.  So worried about being judged in the court of public opinion; so enamored with our “haters” that we spend beyond our means to satisfy those that can careless; lying awake well into the early morning hours contemplating our current situations and looking for a means of escape. So on bended knee we pray for salvation with the hopes of being granted favor.  And once given a sliver of hope, we broadcast for the entire world to see and hear how we’re so blessed; like a gambler; always highlighting the wins but never elaborating about the losses.  That’s not living, that existing.  In the phantom Bible verse, Hezekiah 6:1, “God helps those who help themselves!”  You can’t expect others to help you or relieve your burden without first trying to do so yourself.  So live!!!!! Drop that baggage and go…

They say time heals all wounds, broken hearts mend.  For many of us, the pain and anguish of love loss never subsides.  So we become scared to love again for fear of repeating the cycle.  Missing out on opportunities, because dipping a toe into the shallow end of the pool equates in the heart to being fed to a pool of sharks.  We want love to be unconditional only when it pertains to us receiving it.  Yet we remain reluctant to share those feelings on a consistent basis.  Here’s an example of what love is, and it’s not like Romeo and Juliet, as the lyrics of the old song will belt when heard.  Imagine giving someone money; any denomination.  If you’re looking to be repaid, it causes you some type of hardship by not having it or you’re constantly hounding someone to have it back, then you shouldn’t have given it.  Anything you give, whether money, love or time, you should do so freely and willingly without any strings attached.  Don’t get me wrong, everyone wants their feelings reciprocated, however there’s never a guarantee that the feelings will mutual; reaching the same level.  Love is never the same; it’s either ascending or descending.  But you can’t be afraid to give of yourself.  Essentially, that’s what every religion teaches in a roundabout fashion.  Love is the key.

But one thing as a society we do very well is laugh.  We laugh at the plight of others; we laugh when people are exploited and used.  But boyee…..  let that pistol get put on us, exposing our faults and weaknesses and we’re ready to fight something.  Laughter is good for the soul and a smile radiates a room when it’s genuine.  It’s ok to laugh at ourselves; it places life in perspective and means we don’t take everything so seriously.  So there it is! “Live, Love, Laugh.”  When properly understood, they’re the gateway to a happier existence.  Believe me, I’m not sitting here ideally giving advice; I too have experienced those same pitfalls, so it’s spoken from experience.  And when your Saturday approaches, and you’re lying on your death bed as the Grim Reaper begins to rap on your door, you don’t want to look back on your life saying, “What if” or “I wish I would’ve said or done…”  “Live, Love, Laugh.”  “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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Bonus Blog: Overlooked

When a debate arises about the prominent leaders of color from past and present, the names you will frequently hear discussed are Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Dubois, George Washington Carver, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X and current President Barack Obama.  Seldom, if ever, is the name of Prophet Noble Drew Ali mentioned.  This is perhaps because so little is known or documented about him.  In trying to research his biography or attain any information about him, the seeker is limited to brief excerpts or commentary provided by one of his thousands of followers.  Noble Drew Ali plays as integral a role with the progression and enlightenment of Black people as a culture as any of the previously mentioned individuals.  It’s important to recognize the accomplishments of lesser known ground breakers and innovators, inasmuch as it is to celebrate the achievements of those thought to be world renowned.  So who was Noble Drew Ali, who were the Moors and why are they important?




“During the European Dark Ages, between the 7th and 14th century AD, the Moorish Empire in Spain became one of the world’s finest civilizations.  General Tarik and his Black Moorish army from Morocco, conquered Spain after a week long battle with King Roderick in 711 AD.  (The word tariff and the Rock of Gibraltar were named after him).  They found that Europe, with the assistance of the Catholic Church, had returned almost to complete barbarism.  The population was 90% illiterate and had lost all of the civilizing principles that were passed on by the ancient Greeks and Romans.

The Moors reintroduced mathematics, medicine, agriculture, and the physical sciences.  The clumsy Roman numerals were replaced by Arabic figures including the zero and the decimal point.  As Dr. Van Sertima says, “You can’t do higher mathematics with Roman numerals.”  The Moors introduced agriculture to Europe including cotton, rice, sugar cane, dates, ginger, lemons, and strawberries.  They also taught them how to store grain for up to 100 years and built underground grain silos.  They established a world famous silk industry in Spain.  The Moorish achievement in hydraulic engineering was outstanding.  They constructed an aqueduct, that conveyed water from the mountains to the city through lead pipes from the mountains to the city.  They taught them how to mine for minerals on a large scale, including copper, gold, silver, tin, lead, and aluminum.  Spain soon became the world center for high quality sword blades and shields.  Spain was eventually manufacturing up to 12,000 blades and shields per year.  Spanish craft and woolen became world famous.  The Moorish craftsman also produced world class glass, pottery, vases, mosaics, and jewelry.

The Moors introduced to Europe paved, lighted streets with raised sidewalks for pedestrians, flanked by uninterrupted rows of buildings.  Paved and lighted streets did not appear in London or Paris for hundreds of years.  They constructed thousands of public markets and mills in each city.  Cordova alone had 5,000 of each.  They also introduced to Spain underwear and bathing with soap.  Their public baths numbered in the thousands when bathing in the rest of Europe was frowned upon as a diabolical custom to be avoided by all good Christians.  Poor hygiene contributed to the plagues in the rest of Europe.  Moorish monarchs dwelled in sumptuous palaces while the crowned heads of England, France, and Germany lived in barns, lacking windows, toilets, and chimneys, with only a hole in the roof as the exit for smoke.  Human waste material was thrown in the streets since no bathrooms were present.

Education was made mandatory by the Moors, while 90% of Europe was illiterate, including the kings and queens.  The Moors introduced public libraries to Europe with 600,000 books housed in Cordova alone.  They established 17 outstanding universities in Spain.  Since Africa is a matriarchal society, women were also encouraged to devote themselves to serious study, and it was only in Spain that one could find female doctors, lawyers, and scientists.

Moorish schoolteachers knew that the world was round and taught geography from a globe.  They produced expert maps with all sea and land routes accurately located with respect to latitude and longitude; while also introducing compasses to Europe.  They were such expert shipbuilders that they were able to use their geography expertise to import and export as far away as India and China.  It was not by accident that a Moor named Pietro Olonzo Nino was the chief navigator for Christopher Columbus on the flagship Santa Maria.  He is said to have argued with Columbus as to who really discovered America.  One of the worst mistakes the Moors made was to introduce gunpowder technology from China into Europe, because their enemies adopted this weapon and used it to drive them out of Spain.  Europe then took the 700 years of civilization and education re-taught to them by the Moors and used this knowledge to attack Africa.

While the Moors were re-civilizing Europe, great empires were thriving in Western Africa and frequently traded with the Moors.  These included the empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhay, which prospered between 700 AD and 1600 AD.  Africa was not a dark continent awaiting European civilization.  In fact, Black African Egyptians and Black African Moors are credited with civilizing Europe.”  (Source – Black People & Their Place In the World, written by Dr. Leroy Vaughn)

Fast forward to the New World and the establishment of the United States, and it’s debated and chronicled that the first Black President isn’t Barack Obama, but John Hanson, who was voted to that prestigious position in 1781 under the adoption of the Articles of Confederation which were established on March 1, 1781, headed by the Confederation Congress .  According to research, Mr. Hanson, was a Moor.  Furthermore, for history’s sake, George Washington is actually the eighth (8th) President of the United States; elected in 1788.  Morocco is one of the first countries to recognize the independence of the United States as the Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah issued a declaration in 1777 allowing American ships access to Moroccan ports. One of the longest standing agreements still enforced is the Treaty of Peace & Friendship brokered between Morocco and the United States signed in Marrakech in 1787 (ratified in 1836); representatives for the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The U.S had its first consulate in Tangier in 1797 in a building given by the sultan Moulay Sliman. It is the oldest U.S diplomatic property in the world.  (Think of the movie Casino – the Tangiers)




Prophet Noble Drew Ali was born Timothy Drew on January 8, 1886 in the State of North Carolina.  Ali founded the Moorish Science Temple of America in 1913 in Newark, New Jersey. He would later move the headquarters to Chicago, Illinois, where he would establish his roots and the movement would flourish.  According to his biography, the high priest trained Drew in mysticism and gave him a “lost section” of the Quran.  This text came to be known as the Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America which is also known as the “Circle Seven Koran” because of its cover, which features a red “7” surrounded by either a red or blue circle. Drew crafted Moorish Science from a variety of sources, a “network of alternative spiritualities that focused on the power of the individual to bring about personal transformation through mystical knowledge of the divine within”.  In researching this topic, in my opinion one of Ali’s biggest achievements may have been what he was able to accomplish at the Pan-American Conference held in Havana, Cuba in 1928.  It is said at that meeting, the land mass of North, Central and South “America” was returned to the Moors as a result of his ability to disprove the fact that “Blacks” weren’t brought to the “Americas” as slaves, but were the possessors of the oldest artifacts and burial sites in those areas; in other words indigenous to the continent(s).  Aware of the consequences, and afraid of a potential “awaken”, the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal met in Geneva, Switzerland for consecutive years from 1928 to 1932, to set up what would be policy of all the participating countries (Geneva Convention).  In 1930, the aforementioned countries declared for bankruptcy; the minutes of the 1930 Convention are unavailable for view by the public because it contains evidence of bankruptcy.  In 1932, the countries stopped meeting in Geneva, FDR (Franklin Delano Roosevelt) became President, and under the premise of the “New Deal”, the reorganization plan confronting the bankruptcy the U.S. had declared two (2) years earlier, the United States of America, as well as the Constitution became defunct turning into a for profit corporation: (ALL CAPITAL LETTERS).  All the other states followed suit revamping their local constitutions by 1938 and began doing business under the corporation the United States, making way for the Buck Act of 1940.  Noble Drew Ali died at the age of forty-three (43) at his home in Chicago on July 20, 1929.  The circumstances surrounding his death, his legacy and the Moors as a whole largely remains a mystery.  And like most things, art, literature, science, language and culture, when they aren’t discussed, the history is lost and the public is oblivious to the events that have taken place in the past and how it can be beneficial to their growth and understanding.  My co-worker has a quote in which he states, “Be phenomenal or be forgotten!”  The Moors have etched out just as much history as anything else we’ve been taught to study.  It is our obligation to remember their accomplishments just as much as we immortalize the deeds of other historical figures.  “The time has come when every nation must worship under its own vine and fig tree, and every tongue must confess his own. Through sin and disobedience every nation has suffered slavery, due to the fact that they honored not the creed and principles of their forefathers. That is why the nationality of the Moors was taken away from them in 1774 and the word negro, black and colored, was given to the Asiatics of America who were of Moorish descent, because they honored not the principles of their mother and father, and strayed after the gods of Europe of whom they knew nothing.” – Moorish Holy Koran chapter 47:15-17  “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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Thought and Frequency

According to scripture, John 1:1 of the King James edition of the Bible, it reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Scholars and researchers have argued that the “word” was not something verbalized, but a sound; a frequency that set life as we know it into motion.  It seems a bit farfetched until you delve into the subject further. Its common knowledge that the human body uses carbohydrates, fats and proteins to supply itself with the energy needed to stay alive and perform tasks. Without boring you, in the human body, ATP, adenosine triphosphate, is broken down to create energy for muscle contraction. The human body creates ATP aerobically and anaerobically. There is one aerobic energy system and two anaerobic energy systems. Most activities of the body use a compilation of all three energy systems to generate the energy needed. In The Matrix, human bodies are plugged into an elaborate grid where their energy is harvested to power “the system”. The human body produces a resonant frequency that is displaced between the organs and the skeletal structure, and its overall range was found to be from nine (9) to sixteen (16) Hz and independent of mass, height and mass to height ratio.  Your aura and the frequency you emit appear one in the same; both of which are seemingly controlled by your thoughts.  To get in tune with your frequency, I challenge you to do this: Sit in a room in silence; empty your mind as if you were mediating, disregarding all the noise around you, controlling your breathing.  After a short period of time, you will begin to hear a buzzing in your head. Don’t bother looking around, because remember the room is silent.  The buzz you’re hearing is in fact you; you’re a power plant emitting a frequency that resonates with the earth at 428 hz.  In the past the examples would be easy to explain, but with the advances in technology it proves to be a bit more difficult.  During the days of transistor radios, when the connection would become bad and static would settle in as you listened to your favorite tune, placing your hand on the antenna would clear the signal; the same would apply with the television in your home.  All of that seems mute as society has advanced; but the premise is still applicable.


So you ask, how is frequency and thought related?  I will use sci-fi cinema to explain this one.  Think about the methods of communication used when there’s extra-terrestrial contact between aliens and humans.  Words aren’t exchanged, communication is had with the use of frequencies.  Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind; Independence Day; Battleship; War of the Worlds; Signs.  The ability of the humans to decipher the frequencies leads to their ability to discover the next sequences of events which ultimately saves the planet from total annihilation.  But that’s fiction; how is that applicable in real life?  Your thoughts control every manner of your life around you.  The same principle used In the movie The Secret; it’s the Power of Attraction.  Future overcomes, your ability to attain wealth and abundance, relationships, life’s depths and despairs, all controlled by the range of your emotions.

Dr. Masaru Emoto wrote a book titled “The Hidden Messages in Water” which described how frequency (words) can change water’s composition. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors. So think about “Holy Water” and what that means.  “Holy Water” is that which is blessed by a priest and used in religious ceremonies. So in stories, television programming and movies, when the vampires, Dracula, evil spirits and demons or the Devil himself needs to be fended off and defeated, it is the use of “Holy Water” which assists in leading to their demise.  To further my point, one of the only activities that activates, stimulates and uses the entire brain is music.  So with that being said, think about the type of music we as a society are exposed to on a daily basis; repeated constantly over the airwaves as programmers and executives inundate us with the latest in the pop culture, microwave, instant now market.  Think about the lyrics that we repeat as we bounce in unison to the pulsating drum, driving guitar strings and the sound of the high hat.  Think about the mood that each genre places us in when exposed to the listener.  Conscious lyrics lead to critical thinking; gangsta rap leads to violence and corruption; a love song produces empathy; rock and roll – rebellion and defiance; the blues are just that; country leaves you grounded.  But overall, dependent upon the listener’s preference, it reveals a lot about their mood and thought process.

Lastly, think of about the phenomenon of crop circles.  Look at their intricate design; the precision and detail.  The Tree and Flower of Life, other sequences of patterns not only found in the fields in the country of England or other remote locations; but inscribed in cave walls and pictured in Egyptian hieroglyphics as maps to civilizations long since passed and evidence to the untapped potential of the future.  The blueprints are there, it’s our job to unlock and decode what’s been left to us to further our growth.  There’s a movie scheduled to appear in theaters in the upcoming weeks titled Lucy, where similar to the Matrix, the protagonist accesses the ability to unlock the entirety of the brain’s ability.  It is said that humans only access ten percent (10%) of their brain’s potential; and with the calcification of the pineal gland, we have lost our ability to use telepathy, telekinesis, access the fourth (4th) dimension and ascend to our higher spiritual selves amongst other things.  Just imagine if we had better control of our thoughts and frequencies, we could unlock those doors closed to our access.  We’d revert back to a time where we were more in touch with nature, the cosmos and ourselves.  I began the practice of mediation and listening to frequencies during my sleep a little more than a year ago.  When practiced regularly you’ll feel a great burst of energy, explore all avenues of your imagination, become more creative and intuitive, and enhance your spirituality.  Three (3) hours of sleep feels like eight (8) because your body is now in tune with the universe. I’ll admit to not being consistent due to my hectic schedule, but when I’ve utilized one or both, it’s been very beneficial. Here are some frequencies for suggested download and listening to while you’re attempting to fall asleep or mediating: MI – 528 Hz – Transformation and Miracles (DNA Repair); FA – 639 Hz – Connecting/Relationships; SOL – 741 Hz – Awakening Intuition; LA – 852 Hz – Returning to Spiritual Order. Since the human body is composed of between 50% and 80% water, just think about this, “If thought affects the molecular structure of water, then what effect might thought have on the human body?” “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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Kill’em With Kindness After The Anger Consumes You

Disclaimer: Typically this isn’t the direction I’d like to go with the blog or how I would like the site, the show and the Fan Page to be portrayed.  I sat on this one for a long, thinking long and hard before I considered posting it. This post came from a somewhat dark and frustrating place.  It’s irreprehensible for me to allow this sort of thing to happen, but I have to express that these writings come from a “real” place and aren’t merely for entertainment or to seek attention. This is uncharacteristic of what we represent, however the thoughts are real; no different than what you may feel in the darkest corners of your mind.

 Metaphysics is defined as the branch of philosophy that deals with the first principles of things, including abstract concepts such as being, knowing, substance, cause, identity, time, and space. When practiced, the participant learns that emotions are a response to reactions that are felt inside of them. Whereas, if someone is angry with you or combative in nature, that’s their reality and beyond your control. Your reaction in turn will lead to sequences that will alter your future. An example would be if you stubbed your toe while getting out of bed. If you allow that one event to affect your mood, and don’t view it as a singular moment in time, the remainder of your day may proceed as follows: you spill coffee on your clothes; you step in dog feces while walking across the grass; you’re involved in an automobile accident or receive a speeding ticket on the way to work; so on and so forth. The same is true in the inverse. If you start your morning with a pleasant attitude, the outcome will follow suit. Finding $50 in a pair of jeans; receiving the promotion at work you applied for; winning a prize in a contest. It’s the yin and the yang; the ebb and flow of the universe; karma if you will. It’s something that I practice and try to work on daily. However, on this occasion there’s a tremor of discomfort in my soul. The heartbeat is irregular; palms sweaty as the words spoken are rewound in my mind as a reminder of public perception. What began as a whisper continues to echo in the chasm of my mind.  See one of the leading principles is to not worry about what people say or think of you.  Whether you’re being praised or ridiculed, the objective is to stay above the fray; not allowing your ego to drive your emotions.  LeBron James is a better man than me to endure all the criticism he’s received for decisions he’s made during the past four (4) years. One of the reason I started this blog was to provide an honest display of life in the written word. Not only to provide information, but to always being true to who I am as an individual. It was purposely intended for me to receive the information that sparked this inferno, so it’s only appropriate that I fan the flames.  So for this blog “Parental Discretion Is Advised!” only because it’s personal and addressing “hate”.  Let the subliminal pistol play begin.  (Rules: “On my count, take ten {10} paces, turn, then fire!) 


The funny thing about being human is, no matter how perfect we try to appear on the surface, we all have our visible flaws; internal demons that we try to keep caged before its savagery is mistakenly or purposely released on an unsuspecting individual.  I try to never personalize the blogs because I want to provide an objective perspective on the topics I discuss; providing the reader with a different point of view by allow them to think critically of themselves and the world around them.  The prism from which we view life is sometimes distorted by the emotions we harbor.  What may prove to be a major issue for one person may have no consequence to the other individual(s) involved.  What’s all the more befuddling is the fact that we never truly know the people we have angst with because without self-reflection and control of the ego, we never truly know ourselves to pass judgment. 


For several days, my spirit had been troubling me about events that had taken place; and premonitions about future trials.  My inner voice had been warning me to stay away from different venues or verbalizing my thoughts on different topics because I knew there would be resistance.  Now that I’ve veered off the road of conventional thinking, I’ve created more enemies and most of those who I thought were friends, supporters and “family” has been exposed as frauds.  I have no brothers, sisters or a true best friend to confide in, so I release my passion with key strokes, the sound of the saxophone, snares and horns, and the consumption of libations; it’s therapeutic.  The later has proven to be a determent and it’s a vice I must break as it enhances what some may think is an already contentious attitude.  Drinking the 80 proof is similar to the injection of truth serum coursing through one’s veins releasing a euphoric sensation that engages the brain to transmit thoughts to the vocal cords having a residual effect on the listener.  The words may ring true, but the context and arena in which spoken can have damaging results. So before the onset of events leading up to my 25th high school class reunion, I wrote a blog this past Thursday titled, “Caps, Gowns and Tassels.”  It was a brief summation of my thoughts pertaining to the forthcoming festivities and how I was battling myself attend.  I’ll be the first to say growing up I wasn’t a guerilla (thug/hustler/bad boy), the most popular or a three time letterman of the All-Whatever Team. I was fine being myself.  During my developmental years I had the pleasure of hanging with a diverse crowd, which made me a well rounded person.  I wanted to be cool, so I completed my homework in school so I could walk home with no books and blend in.  But by no means, and I have this conviction to this day, was I trying to be more than what I was.  I was smart, and sometimes embarrassed to be so.  Most, if not all of the so-called “popular” people weren’t in my classes.  I didn’t skip school, smoke “weed” or have a car to take girls off campus for lunch so I guess that made me “green” (a square; nerd; regular).  So in “my” mind’s eye, I didn’t feel welcome amongst my peers so I didn’t attend as a result. 

A day after writing the aforementioned blog, I began feeling more hate enveloping me.  By happenstance, while working and listening to my iTouch, an interlude titled “Hater” by an artist out of Oakland, California named Yukmouth played.  As the two (2) voices on the track exchanged dialogue, I couldn’t help but relate to how the animosity of one of the characters verbalized what I had been feeling.  Inserting my name and show (The Porch Reloaded) in place of the featured protagonist spoke volumes; it captured everything I “knew” was discreetly taken place without my knowledge.  With all that being said, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never been ashamed to face myself in the mirror and admit to erroneous behavior.  If I’m wrong, I’m raising my hand in the classroom yelling to the teacher, “Pick me! Pick me!” because I’m willing to take responsibility.  That was no more evident than in a blog I wrote titled, “I Hate Myself!  The Struggle Between Being Honest and Being Real.”  Resembling everything I write, I try to provide an honest representation of my feelings regarding the human experience; providing comfort with the hopes that the font jumping off the page allows the reader to become engaged with the struggles we all endure.  As if I’m telling them, “I know you feel my multitude of emotions.  The highs of the elations; the lows of the disappointments; there’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable.  It makes you authentic, real; it makes you human. Like a songstress singing a love ballad, I’m expressing your feelings for you.  I’m your voice.”  That blog was meant as an apology for someone who felt I had hurt and betrayed their trust; and it was an assessment of me and what I needed to do to be better as a person.  Despite that, the “hate” didn’t stop.  And I was informed that an unhappy individual voiced their displeasure regarding a past incident that I thought had long been resolved.  I guess some feelings die hard, and unbeknownst to me, this person was “extremely” hurt by my actions.  So now, like Paul Revere atop his mighty steed galloping from town to town, this person can’t help but bellow their disdain for me.  I can’t lie, initially I was bothered; for all my flaws, I always try to have a good heart and show love when warranted.  Unlike most people, I never intend to maliciously hurt anyone; whether it be physically or wounding their pride.  I wanted to retaliate, strike back, and blow the spot up!!!  But what would that accomplish!  It would make me hypocritical.  All the encouraging posts and blogs, my attempts to spread love and enlightenment would all spiral down the toilet with the press of the “post” caption.  Is it worth it?  To satisfy my ego and fight for my honor is it worth resorting to any measure other than apologizing?  I’m twenty-one (21) about mine and will stand in the paint right, wrong or indifferent.  With what I’m trying to accomplish, I haven’t even made it to a level where the real “hate” will start.  This is but a small sample size of what’s to come if I’m to reach the heights that I know I’m capable of.  I won’t apologize for not being suspended from school, spending a stint in jail or being forced to attend CSI classes my behavior warranted such discipline.  If having those characteristics or swimming in the same school, in the same direction, traveling down the same stream was necessary for me to be accepted, then I glad I grew up and chose another route.  There are things in my past that I’m unhappy of and I could easily be in a different position than I am now.  So apply metaphysics to this situation, “what you eat doesn’t make me defecate!” Therefore I dismiss the urges to battle in the court of public opinion; it’s a no win proposition.  But just know this, there isn’t a need for direct eye, a subtle gaze, fake handshakes/hugs/kisses or idol conversation.  You don’t f*ck with me, and I don’t f*ck with you!  I’ll help those who’re willing to accept it, show love to those that appreciate it and continue pushing forward with my endeavors to become a better individual.  Now I’mma peel off like a band-aid.  LOL!  “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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Caps, Gowns and Tassels

Each month we tear off the pages of the calendar, and as the years pass we look back and ask ourselves where has the time gone?  The gray hairs in my beard, wrinkles in my face, loss of hair and the fact that my metabolism has slowed won’t allow me to say that it seems like yesterday I was wandering the halls of my high school; but much hasn’t changed since that time.  With age comes maturity, wisdom.  And with those lessons comes the ability to reflect on a time of few responsibilities and innocence lost.  What seemed like a lifetime of traveling from classroom to classroom acquiring knowledge, developing reputations and forging bonds were all captured in one singular moment; the receipt of a diploma.  And on that June afternoon in 1989, the first ninth (9th) grade class of Miami Norland Senior High School graced the stage of Florida International University. Proud parents, relatives and friends scanned programs identifying their loved one(s) who were preparing to set sail on the voyage to adulthood.  Some had already begun their journey by being the caregivers to family members or holding down jobs to contribute to household expenses. For others, the lambskin meant that the sun was only breaking the surface of the horizon and new chapters were preparing to be written.  As each of us walked across that stage, shaking the hand of our principal as flashbulbs burst like 4th of July fireworks, the event seemed all too surreal.  During that time, receiving a high school diploma was one of many crowning achievements.  Some were the first to graduate in their family in a generation; for others it was a mandatory expectation.  Regardless, the accomplishment appeared all the more gratifying.


Reunions aren’t intended to celebrate the cap, gown and tassel. It’s a culmination of a lifetime of events until that very juncture.  Friends won and loss by arguments and fights; cheating off each other’s paper on tests/essays and walking home from school; discussing trends and collecting enough monies amongst a group to bus to the mall and catch a movie; the reunion rekindles those moments.  Stories when spoken amid your peers are astonishing and embarrassing.  A look in a Memory Book and/or the high school yearbook reveals messages and photographs of a time long ago and resonates in the heart as if the events were taking place in real time.  Pointing out who were popular, who you didn’t quite know; asking what are they doing now, and identifying the people who were “crazy”, jocks and who you wouldn’t have minded “hooking up” with.  Laughter ensues and one is left pondering the “what ifs”.

But with technology today, those memories and questions can be relived and answered every day, right?  With the advent of social media, those relationships can begin anew with the click of a button.  So the K.I.T. (Keep in touch) written by that someone you were secretly fond of or shared a close relationship with is only an email or inbox away.  But after twenty-five (25) years, things have changed.  Many of us have been hurt, had families, dealt with life’s trials and tribulations and have no time for empty promises.  Although avenues like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have the ability to bring us closer, the warmth of actual human interaction is never more distant.  Many of us have been able to maintain their friendships; those bonds forged and maintained with constant communication and family gatherings.  While others distance themselves from the hysteria; perhaps loners or maybe ashamed of the lives they’ve lead to this point.

The twenty-fifth (25th) year is considered the silver anniversary of any event.  And as the years pass, attendance to celebrate such events appears to wane. Of course, life happens.  As the Miami Norland High School Class of 1989 prepares to commemorate our reunion this forthcoming weekend, I’m unsure I’ll be in attendance.  Not because I don’t want to attend; I’m unsure I need to attend.  I know there’s no excuse for my failure to be a participant in the activities if I have the capacity to do so.  But as an individual, I’ve changed like I’m sure many others have, and in my heart I don’t know if that’ll be acceptable.  I’ve never been tolerant of the emotionless hugs, kisses on the cheek, and fake “dap”.  People recognizing each other at different venues but refusing to speak; and if you do so, it’s as if you’re wasting their time like they were some sort of celebrity.  Sh*t!  I’m genuine with my interactions and I expect that in return.  Upon exiting the graduation ceremonies that fine summer day, I would’ve thought those unspoken pledges of friendship and camaraderie would last a lifetime.  Sentiments written in the pages of a text would hold true to this day.  During our youth, we hastened time to get to an age where we can be accountable for our deeds; without the watchful eye of parents and other authority figures overseeing our every move. But with each rotation of the earth around the sun, we distance ourselves further away from those ages of virtuousness.  On that day, the cap was tossed in the air the tassel shimmered in the wind and as it plunged to the earth, the gravity of both the moment and the lid came to a crashing halt.  Twenty-five (25) years later, I hope that same sense of elation can be reawakened and not regulated to “One Moment in Time”.  When I say “We Are The Change”, that ALWAYS includes me, as I strive to be a better person. I’m gone! (b)

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The Whole Truth; So Help Me God

The remarkable thing about living in the “Information Age” is that the truth is supposedly a mouse click away. When it comes to matters of the heart or the determination of faith, the acceptance of that certainty is sometimes too much to bear. We desire honesty but will shun that reality when the answers doesn’t satisfy our yearnings. “Keeping it real” rings hollow when on its surface neither party wants the responsibility of what comes with that action. It is said that three (3) types of people tell the truth: a child, a person who’s intoxicated and an individual whose anger has enveloped them. In all three (3) instances, it isn’t the message being spurned; it’s the deliverer of said message that is often times overlooked.

IMG_45681  IMG_30371

Where is the line drawn between truth & fallacy? Is truth based on a position of authority? Does the deliverer of the information have to stand behind a podium or pulpit, wearing a Brooks Brother suit or gorgeous designer dress addressing the audience before television cameras or wear a uniform to appear believable? Who wants to hear from their significant other that they’ve been cheated on, the love isn’t there anymore, the sex isn’t good and the food they prepare on a nightly basis is horrible? No one wants to have their faith questioned or a story that they’ve heard countless times contradicted because until that moment of levity, all their lives those tales and beliefs have rang true. People would rather walk in a shroud of darkness before being told that the things they hold dear are no more real than the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. That’s why your friend continues to date the person that has been proven countless times to have cheated on them; the belief that the government has our best interests at heart although corruption has been demonstrated in those ranks time and time again; we say a “person of the cloth” is only human when being found to succumb to the strain of their office by sleeping with a member of their folk or engaging in ephebophilia. We say we want honesty but in actuality we don’t want to hear the truth. We unknowingly enjoy being deceived because the ramifications of knowing the facts are intimidating. The truth is painful; it makes us vulnerable; it hurts us to our core; it forces us to rebuild our morals and values. To avoid that, many of us would like things to remain status quo; it’s easier that way and absolves us of responsibility. And even in our denial of the truth, the words and evidence ring so true, it can’t help but resonate in the heart and provide a sense of enlightenment. And though that’s the feeling we all seek, undying freedom from the constraints of this reality, we run a never ending marathon from it.  It isn’t that the truth will set you free; it’s the willingness to question everything that will accomplish that. The truth is merely an unpleasant side effect.   “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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A Reason For Celebration

Starships and Rockets in a world that don’t give a damn

Bullets fly past me, who can I trust

A player doing the best I can

If you set yo’ mind free baby

Maybe you’ll understand

Starships and Rockets, in a world that don’t give a damn – Eightball from the song Starships and Rockets

Change those lyrics to fireworks and explosives, and for one day those lyrics have a more profound meaning. Shortly after Thanksgiving and just prior to Christmas, most companies & government agencies release their schedules for holiday days off for the upcoming year. We scan the dates, flip our calendars to determine when events will be scheduled. We gaze toward the future to determine how we can manipulate the dates to our benefit. If a holiday falls on a Tuesday, the thought is party hard Monday evening at an event we’d normally miss because we don’t have to report to our employers the following day; #Turnup! “Four (4) day weekend!” The concept is repeated during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. “You mean to tell me I have Thursday, Friday and the weekend off?” #Turnup! LOL! So now we arrive at the day to celebrate our nation’s independence. The 4th of July has arrived, and low and behold it’s on a Friday. The attendance in any local club or venue will reach optimum capacity as people plan to enjoy the lengthy weekend. The one thing as Americans we learn to do is “live for the weekend.” (OJay’s reference)  The men will prep their meats and other commodities for the forthcoming day of festivities. Preparations are made to find a location to watch the fireworks extravaganza held at a local park or other location. On this date, the nation is filled with pride as we celebrate our supposed independence from the British Empire; the Crown if you will. Hell… Nathan’s will have their famous Hot Dog Eating Contest to determine if Joey Chestnut can repeat as champion. Ah… You can hear the music from one of the Rocky movies or Hulk Hogan’s wrestling ring introduction blaring in the background, “I am a real American/fight for the rights of every man/I am a real American/fight for the rights, fight for the rights…” Flags will waive from houses and cars and the aroma of barbecue will fill the atmosphere. But as a person of color, should I too celebrate this joyous occasion? What significance does this holiday mean to me? Hop into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine to a time of segregation, mass discrimination and slavery and you’ll find that my relatives and the ancestors of the indigenous people of this land found no reason to celebrate this occasion. They were either working, entertaining or fighting for their survival. So I ask, what does the 4th of July mean to me; to you?




On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass addressed an audience in Rochester, New York with his speech, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” during the peak of North American slavery. During this era, people of color weren’t allowed at 4th of July celebrations in the slaveholding South because many slaveholders feared that they may conceive an idea of freedom from such events; Blacks were also discouraged from attending similar events in the Northern states. Frederick Douglass is an individual I aspire to emulate. He was a magnificent writer and outstanding orator. If I can be a quarter of the individual he was and touch the number of people he did, I would be making great progress in my goal to enlighten the masses. Below is the speech Mr. Douglass delivered regarding the celebration of the United States. From that era until today, we remain divided as a country and amongst Blacks, we remain divided as a people. It is my hope that this speech will enlighten people to the plight of that time and how it continues to resonate at this very moment.

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens:

He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country school houses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.

The papers and placards say that I am to deliver a Fourth of July Oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for me. It is true that I have often had the privilege to speak in this beautiful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence. But neither their familiar faces, nor the perfect gage I think I have of Corinthian Hall seems to free me from embarrassment.

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable-and the difficulties to he overcome in getting from the latter to the former are by no means slight. That I am here to-day is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence I will proceed to lay them before you.

This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the Fourth of July. It is the birth day of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, as what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. l am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young. Seventy-six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a nation. Three score years and ten is the allotted time for individual men; but nations number their years by thousands. According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your national career, still lingering in the period of childhood. I repeat, I am glad this is so. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. There is consolation in the thought that America is young.-Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages. They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the earth with their mysterious properties. They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship. They, however, gradually flow back to the same old channel, and flow on as serenely as ever. But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss-sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory. As with rivers so with nations.

Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster about this day. The simple story of it is, that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were British subjects. The style and title of your “sovereign people” (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under the British Crown. Your fathers esteemed the English Government as the home government; and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.

But your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints. They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to. I scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers. Such a declaration of agreement on my part would not be worth much to anybody. It would certainly prove nothing as to what part I might have taken had I lived during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable to do so; but there was a time when, to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed.

Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated, by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back.

As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure. The greatest and best of British statesmen admitted its justice, and the loftiest eloquence of the British Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.

The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now, even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our present rulers.

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.

Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change (no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor.

These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.

Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on, and the country with it.

On the 2nd of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day, whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it.

“Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved.”

Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, there fore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history-the very ringbolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ringbolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.

From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day-cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight.

The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event. But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness. The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple, dignified and sublime. The population of the country, at the time, stood at the insignificant number of three millions. The country was poor in the munitions of war. The population was weak and scattered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. There were then no means of concert and combination, such as exist now. Neither steam nor lightning had then been reduced to order and discipline. From the Potomac to the Delaware was a journey of many days. Under these, and innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and triumphed.

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too-great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.

They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests.

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settIed” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final”; not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the politicians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defence. Mark them! Fully appreciating the hardships to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to attest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep, the corner-stone of the national super-structure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you.

Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our eyes are met with demonstrations of joyous enthusiasm. Banners and pennants wave exultingly on the breeze. The din of business, too, is hushed. Even mammon seems to have quitted his grasp on this day. The ear-piercing fife and the stirring drum unite their accents with the ascending peal of a thousand church bells. Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interest-nation’s jubilee.

Friends and citizens, I need not enter further into the causes which led to this anniversary. Many of you understand them better than I do. You could instruct me in regard to them. That is a branch of knowledge in which you feel, perhaps, a much deeper interest than your speaker. The causes which led to the separation of the colonies from the British crown have never lacked for a tongue. They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at your firesides, un folded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislative halls, and are as familiar to you as household words. They form the staple of your national po etry and eloquence.

I remember, also, that, as a people, Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which make in their own favor. This is esteemed by some as a national trait-perhaps a national weakness. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputation of Americans and can be had cheap! will be found by Americans. I shall not be charged with slandering Americans if I say I think the American side of any question may be safely left in American hands.

I leave, therefore, the great deeds of your fathers to other gentlemen whose claim to have been regularly descended will be less likely to be disputed than mine!

My business, if I have any here to-day, is with the present. The accepted time with God and His cause is the ever-living now.

Trust no future, however pleasant,

Let the dead past bury its dead;

Act, act in the living present,

Heart within, and God overhead.

We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future. To all inspiring motives, to noble deeds which can be gained from the past, we are welcome. But now is the time, the important time. Your fathers have lived, died, and have done their work, and have done much of it well. You live and must die, and you must do your work. You have no right to enjoy a child’s share in the labor of your fathers, unless your children are to be blest by your labors. You have no right to wear out and waste the hard-earned fame of your fathers to cover your indolence. Sydney Smith tells us that men seldom eulogize the wisdom and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own. This truth is not a doubtful one. There are illustrations of it near and remote, ancient and modern. It was fashionable, hundreds of years ago, for the children of Jacob to boast, we have “Abraham to our father,” when they had long lost Abraham’s faith and spirit. That people contented themselves under the shadow of Abraham’s great name, while they repudiated the deeds which made his name great. Need I remind you that a similar thing is being done all over this country to-day? Need I tell you that the Jews are not the only people who built the tombs of the prophets, and garnished the sepulchers of the righteous? Washington could not die till he had broken the chains of his slaves. Yet his monument is built up by the price of human blood, and the traders in the bodies and souls of men shout-“We have Washington to our father.”-Alas! that it should be so; yet it is.

The evil, that men do, lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones.

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common.-The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fa thers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse”; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, “It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, and denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed.” But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They ac knowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may con sent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding.-There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

Take the American slave-trade, which we are told by the papers, is especially prosperous just now. Ex-Senator Benton tells us that the price of men was never higher than now. He mentions the fact to show that slavery is in no danger. This trade is one of the peculiarities of American institutions. It is carried on in all the large towns and cities in one-half of this confederacy; and millions are pocketed every year by dealers in this horrid traffic. In several states this trade is a chief source of wealth. It is called (in contradistinction to the foreign slave-trade) “the internal slave-trade.” It is, probably, called so, too, in order to divert from it the horror with which the foreign slave-trade is contemplated. That trade has long since been denounced by this government as piracy. It has been denounced with burning words from the high places of the nation as an execrable traffic. To arrest it, to put an end to it, this nation keeps a squadron, at immense cost, on the coast of Africa. Everywhere, in this country, it is safe to speak of this foreign slave-trade as a most inhuman traffic, opposed alike to the Jaws of God and of man. The duty to extirpate and destroy it, is admitted even by our doctors of divinity. In order to put an end to it, some of these last have consented that their colored brethren (nominally free) should leave this country, and establish them selves on the western coast of Africa! It is, however, a notable fact that, while so much execration is poured out by Americans upon all those engaged in the foreign slave-trade, the men engaged in the slave-trade between the states pass with out condemnation, and their business is deemed honorable.

Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade, the American slave-trade, sustained by American politics and American religion. Here you will see men and women reared like swine for the market. You know what is a swine-drover? I will show you a man-drover. They inhabit all our Southern States. They perambulate the country, and crowd the highways of the nation, with droves of human stock. You will see one of these human flesh jobbers, armed with pistol, whip, and bowie-knife, driving a company of a hundred men, women, and children, from the Potomac to the slave market at New Orleans. These wretched people are to be sold singly, or in lots, to suit purchasers. They are food for the cotton-field and the deadly sugar-mill. Mark the sad procession, as it moves wearily along, and the inhuman wretch who drives them. Hear his savage yells and his blood-curdling oaths, as he hurries on his affrighted captives! There, see the old man with locks thinned and gray. Cast one glance, if you please, upon that young mother, whose shoulders are bare to the scorching sun, her briny tears falling on the brow of the babe in her arms. See, too, that girl of thirteen, weeping, yes! weeping, as she thinks of the mother from whom she has been torn! The drove moves tardily. Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like the discharge of a rifle; the fetters clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the centre of your soul The crack you heard was the sound of the slave-whip; the scream you heard was from the woman you saw with the babe. Her speed had faltered under the weight of her child and her chains! that gash on her shoulder tells her to move on. Follow this drove to New Orleans. Attend the auction; see men examined like horses; see the forms of women rudely and brutally exposed to the shock ing gaze of American slave-buyers. See this drove sold and separated forever; and never forget the deep, sad sobs that arose from that scattered multitude. Tell me, citizens, where, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle more fiendish and shocking. Yet this is but a glance at the American slave-trade, as it exists, at this moment, in the ruling part of the United States.

I was born amid such sights and scenes. To me the American slave-trade is a terrible reality. When a child, my soul was often pierced with a sense of its horrors. I lived on Philpot Street, Fell’s Point, Baltimore, and have watched from the wharves the slave ships in the Basin, anchored from the shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiting for favorable winds to waft them down the Chesapeake. There was, at that time, a grand slave mart kept at the head of Pratt Street, by Austin Woldfolk. His agents were sent into every town and county in Maryland, announcing their arrival, through the papers, and on flaming “hand-bills,” headed cash for Negroes. These men were generally well dressed men, and very captivating in their manners; ever ready to drink, to treat, and to gamble. The fate of many a slave has depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms of its mother by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness.

The flesh-mongers gather up their victims by dozens, and drive them, chained, to the general depot at Baltimore. When a sufficient number has been collected here, a ship is chartered for the purpose of conveying the forlorn crew to Mobile, or to New Orleans. From the slave prison to the ship, they are usually driven in the darkness of night; for since the antislavery agitation, a certain caution is observed.

In the deep, still darkness of midnight, I have been often aroused by the dead, heavy footsteps, and the piteous cries of the chained gangs that passed our door. The anguish of my boyish heart was intense; and I was often consoled, when speaking to my mistress in the morning, to hear her say that the custom was very wicked; that she hated to hear the rattle of the chains and the heart-rending cries. I was glad to find one who sympathized with me in my horror.

Fellow-citizens, this murderous traffic is, to-day, in active operation in this boasted republic. In the solitude of my spirit I see clouds of dust raised on the highways of the South; I see the bleeding footsteps; I hear the doleful wail of fettered humanity on the way to the slave-markets, where the victims are to be sold like horses, sheep, and swine, knocked off to the highest bidder. There I see the tenderest ties ruthlessly broken, to gratify the lust, caprice and rapacity of the buyers and sellers of men. My soul sickens at the sight.

Is this the land your Fathers loved,

The freedom which they toiled to win?

Is this the earth whereon they moved?

Are these the graves they slumber in?

But a still more inhuman, disgraceful, and scandalous state of things remains to be presented. By an act of the American Congress, not yet two years old, slavery has been nationalized in its most horrible and revolting form. By that act, Mason and Dixon’s line has been obliterated; New York has become as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt, and sell men, women and children, as slaves, remains no longer a mere state institution, but is now an institution of the whole United States. The power is co-extensive with the star-spangled banner, and American Christianity. Where these go, may also go the merciless slave-hunter. Where these are, man is not sacred. He is a bird for the sportsman’s gun. By that most foul and fiendish of all human decrees, the liberty and person of every man are put in peril. Your broad republican domain is hunting ground for men. Not for thieves and robbers, enemies of society, merely, but for men guilty of no crime. Your law-makers have commanded all good citizens to engage in this hellish sport. Your President, your Secretary of State, your lords, nobles, and ecclesiastics enforce, as a duty you owe to your free and glorious country, and to your God, that you do this accursed thing. Not fewer than forty Americans have, within the past two years, been hunted down and, without a moment’s warning, hurried away in chains, and consigned to slavery and excruciating torture. Some of these have had wives and children, dependent on them for bread; but of this, no account was made. The right of the hunter to his prey stands superior to the right of marriage, and to all rights in this republic, the rights of God included! For black men there is neither law nor justice, humanity nor religion. The Fugitive Slave Law makes mercy to them a crime; and bribes the judge who tries them. An American judge gets ten dollars for every victim he consigns to slavery, and five, when he fails to do so. The oath of any two villains is sufficient, under this hell-black enactment, to send the most pious and exemplary black man into the remorseless jaws of slavery! His own testimony is nothing. He can bring no witnesses for himself. The minister of American justice is bound by the law to hear but one side; and that side is the side of the oppressor. Let this damning fact be perpetually told. Let it be thundered around the world that in tyrant-killing, king-hating, people-loving, democratic, Christian America the seats of justice are filled with judges who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribe, and are bound, in deciding the case of a man’s liberty, to hear only his accusers!

In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenceless, and in diabolical intent this Fugitive Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation. I doubt if there be another nation on the globe having the brass and the baseness to put such a law on the statute-book. If any man in this assembly thinks differently from me in this matter, and feels able to disprove my statements, I will gladly confront him at any suitable time and place he may select.

I take this law to be one of the grossest infringements of Christian Liberty, and, if the churches and ministers of our country were nor stupidly blind, or most wickedly indifferent, they, too, would so regard it.

At the very moment that they are thanking God for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, and for the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, they are utterly silent in respect to a law which robs religion of its chief significance and makes it utterly worthless to a world lying in wickedness. Did this law concern the “mint, anise, and cummin”-abridge the right to sing psalms, to partake of the sacrament, or to engage in any of the ceremonies of religion, it would be smitten by the thunder of a thousand pulpits. A general shout would go up from the church demanding repeal, repeal, instant repeal!-And it would go hard with that politician who presumed to so licit the votes of the people without inscribing this motto on his banner. Further, if this demand were not complied with, another Scotland would be added to the history of religious liberty, and the stern old covenanters would be thrown into the shade. A John Knox would be seen at every church door and heard from every pulpit, and Fillmore would have no more quarter than was shown by Knox to the beautiful, but treacherous, Queen Mary of Scotland. The fact that the church of our country (with fractional exceptions) does not esteem “the Fugitive Slave Law” as a declaration of war against religious liberty, im plies that that church regards religion simply as a form of worship, an empty ceremony, and not a vital principle, requiring active benevolence, justice, love, and good will towards man. It esteems sacrifice above mercy; psalm-singing above right doing; solemn meetings above practical righteousness. A worship that can be conducted by persons who refuse to give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy is a curse, not a blessing to mankind. The Bible addresses all such persons as “scribes, pharisees, hypocrites, who pay tithe ofÝ mint, anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.”

But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines, who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.

For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke put together have done! These ministers make religion a cold and flinty-hearted thing, having neither principles of right action nor bowels of compassion. They strip the love of God of its beauty and leave the throne of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion for oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. It is not that “pure and undefiled religion” which is from above, and which is “first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and with out hypocrisy.” But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. All this we affirm to be true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our land and nation-a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abomination in the sight of God. In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well addressed, “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons, and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them; and when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you. Yea’ when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge for the fatherless; plead for the widow.”

The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in its connection with its ability to abolish slavery.

The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. Albert Barnes but uttered what the common sense of every man at all observant of the actual state of the case will receive as truth, when he declared that “There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it.”

Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday School, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against slavery, and slave-holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds, and that they do not do this involves them in the most awful responsibility of which the mind can conceive.

In prosecuting the anti-slavery enterprise, we have been asked to spare the church, to spare the ministry; but how, we ask, could such a thing be done? We are met on the threshold of our efforts for the redemption of the slave, by the church and ministry of the country, in battle arrayed against us; and we are compelled to fight or flee. From what quarter, I beg to know, has proceeded a fire so deadly upon our ranks, during the last two years, as from the Northern pulpit? As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have appeared-men honored for their so-called piety, and their real learning. The Lords of Buffalo, the Springs of New York, the Lathrops of Auburn, the Coxes and Spencers of Brooklyn, the Gannets and Sharps of Boston, the Deweys of Washington, and other great religious lights of the land have, in utter denial of the authority of Him by whom they professed to be called to the ministry, deliberately taught us, against the example of the Hebrews, and against the remonstrance of the Apostles, that we ought to obey man’s law before the law of God.2

My spirit wearies of such blasphemy; and how such men can be supported, as the “standing types and representatives of Jesus Christ,” is a mystery which I leave others to penetrate. In speaking of the American church, however, let it be distinctly understood that I mean the great mass of the religious organizations of our land. There are exceptions, and I thank God that there are. Noble men may be found, scattered all over these Northern States, of whom Henry Ward Beecher, of Brooklyn; Samuel J. May, of Syracuse; and my esteemed friend (Rev. R. R. Raymond) on the platform, are shining examples; and let me say further, that, upon these men lies the duty to inspire our ranks with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the great mission of the slave’s redemption from his chains.

One is struck with the difference between the attitude of the American church towards the anti-slavery movement, and that occupied by the churches in Eng land towards a similar movement in that country. There, the church, true to its mission of ameliorating, elevating and improving the condition of mankind, came forward promptly, bound up the wounds of the West Indian slave, and re stored him to his liberty. There, the question of emancipation was a high religious question. It was demanded in the name of humanity, and according to the law of the living God. The Sharps, the Clarksons, the Wilberforces, the Buxtons, the Burchells, and the Knibbs were alike famous for their piety and for their philanthropy. The anti-slavery movement there was not an anti-church movement, for the reason that the church took its full share in prosecuting that movement: and the anti-slavery movement in this country will cease to be an anti-church movement, when the church of this country shall assume a favorable instead of a hostile position towards that movement.

Americans! your republican politics, not less than your republican religion, are flagrantly inconsistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization, and your pure Christianity, while the whole political power of the nation (as embodied in the two great political parties) is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three millions of your countrymen. You hurl your anathemas at the crowned headed tyrants of Russia and Austria and pride yourselves on your Democratic institutions, while you yourselves consent to be the mere tools and body-guards of the tyrants of Virginia and Carolina. You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives from oppression in your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot, and kill. You glory in your refinement and your universal education; yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation-a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty. You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen, and orators, till your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against the oppressor; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse! You are all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or for Ireland; but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America. You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very essence, casts a stigma upon labor. You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a three-penny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country. You profess to believe “that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth,” and hath commanded all men, everywhere, to love one another; yet you notoriously hate (and glory in your hatred) all men whose skins are not colored like your own. You declare before the world, and are understood by the world to declare that you “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain in alienable rights; and that among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, “is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose,” a seventh part of the inhabitants of your country.

Fellow-citizens, I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretense, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad: it corrupts your politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing and a bye-word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. it fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement; the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet you cling to it as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever!

But it is answered in reply to all this, that precisely what I have now denounced is, in fact, guaranteed and sanctioned by the Constitution of the United States; that, the right to hold, and to hunt slaves is a part of that Constitution framed by the illustrious Fathers of this Republic.

Then, I dare to affirm, notwithstanding all I have said before, your fathers stooped, basely stooped

To palter with us in a double sense:

And keep the word of promise to the ear,

But break it to the heart.

And instead of being the honest men I have before declared them to be, they were the veriest impostors that ever practised on mankind. This is the inevitable conclusion, and from it there is no escape; but I differ from those who charge this baseness on the framers of the Constitution of the United States. It is a slander upon their memory, at least, so I believe. There is not time now to argue the constitutional question at length; nor have I the ability to discuss it as it ought to be discussed. The subject has been handled with masterly power by Lysander Spooner, Esq. by William Goodell, by Samuel E. Sewall, Esq., and last, though not least, by Gerrit Smith, Esq. These gentlemen have, as I think, fully and clearly vindicated the Constitution from any design to support slavery for an hour.

Fellow-citizens! there is no matter in respect to which the people of the North have allowed themselves to be so ruinously imposed upon as that of the pro-slavery character of the Constitution. In that instrument I hold there is neither warrant, license, nor sanction of the hateful thing; but interpreted, as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gate way? or is it in the temple? it is neither. While I do not intend to argue this question on the present occasion, let me ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slaveholding instrument, why neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave can any where be found in it. What would be thought of an instrument, drawn up, legally drawn up, for the purpose of entitling the city of Rochester to a tract of land, in which no mention of land was made? Now, there are certain rules of interpretation for the proper understanding of all legal instruments. These rules are well established. They are plain, commonsense rules, such as you and I, and all of us, can understand and apply, without having passed years in the study of law. I scout the idea that the question of the constitutionality, or unconstitutionality of slavery, is not a question for the people. I hold that every American citizen has a right to form an opinion of the constitution, and to propagate that opinion, and to use all honorable means to make his opinion the prevailing one. Without this right, the liberty of an American citizen would be as insecure as that of a Frenchman. Ex-Vice-President Dallas tells us that the constitution is an object to which no American mind can be too attentive, and no American heart too devoted. He further says, the Constitution, in its words, is plain and intelligible, and is meant for the home-bred, unsophisticated understandings of our fellow-citizens. Senator Berrien tells us that the Constitution is the fundamental law, that which controls all others. The charter of our liberties, which every citizen has a personal interest in understanding thoroughly. The testimony of Senator Breese, Lewis Cass, and many others that might be named, who are everywhere esteemed as sound lawyers, so regard the constitution. I take it, therefore, that it is not presumption in a private citizen to form an opinion of that instrument.

Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand, it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.

I have detained my audience entirely too long already. At some future period I will gladly avail myself of an opportunity to give this subject a full and fair discussion.

Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery.

“The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from “the Declaration of Independence,” the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated.-Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other.

The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:

God speed the year of jubilee

The wide world o’er!

When from their galling chains set free,

Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee,

And wear the yoke of tyranny

Like brutes no more.

That year will come, and freedom’s reign.

To man his plundered rights again



God speed the day when human blood

Shall cease to flow!

In every clime be understood,

The claims of human brotherhood,

And each return for evil, good,

Not blow for blow;


That day will come all feuds to end,

And change into a faithful friend

Each foe.

“We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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