My father was not a book educated man, but he taught me by words and example how to survive and thrive. He learned by watching and observing other people. One of the things he taught me and my siblings was to show up and pay attention.
When you see a person who obviously doesn’t belong in your neighborhood, watch out for what he is doing there. Daddy taught us that there are people who don’t sleep at night trying to ﬁgure out ways to keep us down. He was a little more graphic then the people who didn’t sleep at night and who were driving through the neighborhood were white people.
In actuality, the people working hard to do us in were people of all races. The black ones just lived closer and, when they drove through the neighborhood, they were near home and unnoticeable. They were possibly selling substances that you didn’t need to take or trying to get something from the females in your family. Watch out and teach your children to watch out.
Remember the Bible says something like Satan is traveling throughout the earth trying to see who he can destroy. He is rarely traveling throughout the earth trying to give anyone a good opportunity. I watched Iyanla Vanzant’s show and saw a young lady at the age of 32 with six children. She told of her introduction to sex being when a male acquaintance told her that she would not be a woman until she had sex. He brought together ﬁve of his friends and they took turns having sexual intercourse with her. She was 11 years old at the time. His friends were between the ages of teenagers and twenty years old. I watched speechless and observed as even Iyanla was left speechless. No one ever taught that child what the world and its dangers were about. Ms. Vanzant asked the young lady’s mother how old she was when her daughter was born. Answer, 14.
Black America and Black Americans have learned their lessons well. We watched a recent national history report and we see a Black man who is a two time former elected President of the United States. We see Stacey Abrams as the top contender for governor of Georgia, Andrew Gillums the top democratic contender in the Florida governor’s race, and Ben Jealous top contender for the Maryland governor’s race. We also see New Jersey Senator Corey Booker and former California Attorney General Kamala Harris being talked about as potential Presidential candidates.
Then there are footballer and Nike promoter, Colin Kaepernick and organizations like Black Lives Matter being criticized as un-American. But in fact they are major contributing factors in the movement for our continuing progress forward.
There was major criticism of the NAACP when they started and the Urban League and Black Sororities and Fraternities when they were formed, but they all took their place in the parade of organizations moving to advance the cause of justice and equality for African Americans. Maxine Waters, Stolkey Carmichael, Martin Luther King, Reverend Al Sharpton, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Barack Obama, Emmit Till, H. Rap Brown, Jesse Jackson, Angela Davis, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Richard Allen and others, all took their places in the continuing parade toward progress. My father, Albert Hopkins, who raised me and my siblings, brought us west to California during the great migration. My grandfather, William Shaw, in the early history of Oklahoma founded a magazine called, “U Nam It”, where he wrote prose and poetry with questions like, “Why do black folks have to wait till all the white folks are dead before they see their progress?” Note to Grandpa: We didn’t wait.
These are the fathers who taught me!