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“Wisdom from Hollywood”
By Billy “Hollywood” Groves
When I look at what’s happening in America today, I can’t help but to reflect back to a conversation I had with a wise lady about race relations in America, a few years ago.
We were discussing the progress of Black people in America since the “Jim Crow Days” and what white folks really thought about Black folks.
The “wise lady” who happened to be a White lady who had lived through the “Jim Crow” era gave me a serious look and said, “most Whites don’t respect the average Black person but the do respect the “Quality Blacks”!
She went on to tell me that she had seen Black people abused badly by White people on numerous occasions when she was growing up.
She recounted the time in Crockett, Texas when a prominent White man and other “racists” dragged a Black man down a street in Crockett behind an automobile for walking in a White neighborhood after dark!
I researched that story for myself and talked to several of the “elders” who were around then and they said it happened! As we continued to talk, I asked her what Black people around East Texas would Whites consider “Quality Blacks”?
She named some educators, ministers and a few prominent Black business owners and professionals. After thanking the “wise lady” for her frankness and honesty in revealing that information in our conversation, I remember thinking at that time that I being a “Quality Black person” required being a so called “prominent person”, most African Americans would not be getting any respect.
Since that conversation I personally have made a concerted effort to respect my people more regardless of stature or status.
I will suggest that we start showing more love to each other if we truly want to honor all Black people.
When the rest of America and the World know that Black people respect each other, the World will respect us. God Bless America, Africa, and the rest of the world!
- There will be a memorial service for the late Vera Allen of Crockett and Houston on February 24th at United Singers Hall in Houston. Vera’s daughter, Faye Allen of Crockett and Vera’s best friend Lillian Grace of Houston organized the memorial. Lillian described Vera Allen as a lady with a kind heart who helped so many people during her lifetime. She went on to say that Vera was like a sister to her and the best friend a person could have.
- Achandrious Lamb of Houston is a former Kennard graduate who attends Prairie View A & M University. “Stay in school, make sure you get your education, because you are going to need it if you want to get far in today’s society”, was her advice for young people. She is the daughter of the late Glenn Dale Lamb Sr. Of Kennard and Amanda Jones. She attends the Church Without Walls, Brookhollow, where Dr. Ralph Douglass West is the pastor.
A Smile on Camelot
God Bless America
By Eddie Griffin, BASG
Barack Obama put a smile on the faces of many Americans, and even a smile on the face of an old sourpuss like me.
As I sat with my old schoolmate Bob Ray Sanders, assistant editor of the Star-Telegram, we reflected on the times, from our coming up together in the old segregated school system to the historic moment of Barack Obama’s victory speech. We were like two old black men from another time and another era. As we sat stoic and proud, the emotional atmosphere was only a distant echo. We just talked, one black man to another, about what this 2008 Election meant to us, our children, and the nation.
Red haired and freckled, always Bob Ray, he confessed what we both felt. “I can’t afford to let my emotions get too high or too low over occasions like this,” he said, as we waited and watched the television for Barack Obama to appear.
I was reminded of what so many people have asked me lately: “Did you ever believe that you would see the day?” It makes me always think, “What’s the big deal? It’s just another epic historic occasion.” Both Bob Ray and I had seen our share over time. And, after all, Obama’s win was not totally unexpected.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had foretold of a day he saw in a dream, when the nation would judge a man by the content of his character, instead of the color of his skin. We had always looked forward to that day and believed, in our hearts, that we would live to see it. So, what’s the big deal?
We were at the victory celebration in downtown Fort Worth at the Hilton Hotel, which was formerly known at the Texas Hotel, the place where President John F. Kennedy spent his last night, November 21, 1963. I remembered, as teenagers, we were there that night when Kennedy came to town. We saw his caravan. We saw our little city decorated in yellow lights. We saw him get out of his limousine. We saw him wave to the crowd and disappear into the hotel. We heard rumors that he slept on the top floor, the 15th floor, where all the local candidates waited to make their victory or concession speech.
On this historic night, state senate candidate Wendy Davis would occupy the coveted presidential suite, with its replica presidential gold seal hanging on the wall with pictures of that day in November when Kennedy came to town.
Who didn’t know that there would be cheers and tears of joy by the time this night was over? But the greater jubilation was the realization we, as a people, had overcome. Even an old sourpuss had reason to smile. It is the smile of a black man that says, “At last, I am somebody. I can now exhale. I can breathe. I have a presence. I have a voice. The days of Richard Wright’s “Invisible Man” are over.
Out of the blue, a phone caller reminded me to write about this night and this magnanimous occasion. The caller called it “a miracle”. In so many words, she said, “The shackles are off the black man. There are no more excuses. There are no limits to stop black men from achieving their dreams and goals.”
It was a miracle, indeed, in the mind’s eye of the beholder. For a battle-worn and weary soldier, November 4th signified relief. Like my schoolmate, my giddy days we over. I cannot afford to let my emotions rise too high nor sink too low, except to recognize that it is time to turn the page on race relationships, get on to the business of healing the wounds of a divided nation, fixing the national economy, and solving our social problems.
Indeed, there is much work to be done. But my work will be a labor of love, because now I have a voice. I have a presence. I am somebody, too.