James E. Cone’s questioning of whether to embrace the Black Power movement mirrors my personal questioning of Black Lives Matters. The Black Power Movement was a rejection of the integration that was the foundation of the Civil Rights Movement. It was a rejection of Martin Luther King Jr.’s strategy of non-violence and the belief and imagery of Jesus being white. Primarily, it rejected the term “negro.” This controversy of not wanting to lose the support of MLK Jr. is how I felt and still feel about Black Lives Matters. The underlying and empirical movement is justified, but in my opinion, you cannot fight fire with fire. Standing firm and remaining peaceful has better outcomes overall. I find it interesting that even then at the heart of true oppression in the United States people thought the same way I do. When I tell people now that I don’t support some of the motives of Black Lives Matters, I get filthy responses. I could only imagine the struggle.
The idea that Black Muslims are normal because it can be inferred that Africans were Asians that dissipated in the sun for generations makes me wonder. If we are going that far back, then we can hold up the idea that everyone is technically African because that is where the first human emerged from. I think the idea of Africans historically being Islamic is accurate. The problem I have is the idea that it seems as if “Black Muslims” are only accounted for because of that reason. People should be allowed to practice whatever religion they want regardless of skin color, and I feel like the idea as a whole is just a justification of why it’s “okay” for Blacks to be Muslims. That’s just my discrepancy with Drew Ali’s majority idea that Eli Muhammad believed in. Maybe I’ve been reading too much into it and that is why I feel so strongly. On another note, prior to Curtis’ essay, I thought that Black Islam started with W.D. Fard. I thought that he created the entire movement. I thought he was the conductor of Islam within the Black community in the US. I wish Curtis went into more detail about Fard. His role was a lot more vital in this topic than the three lines he was allotted.
While reading Chappell’s works, Johnnie Carr reminds me of what my mother’s idea of a “model Christian” would be. Carr’s constant faith and thankfulness for the Lord is what I feel should be emphasized in every Christian church, no matter the detonation. The entire idea of Christianity roots back to the grade of God more than anything else. Carr wanted her actions to be portrayed as God’s doing not her. Meaning that her faithfulness is what better her situations. As I was reading, my brain was playing various songs by the Gospel artist Donnie McClurkin. When I was younger, my mother only played gospel music. It’s the underlying factor my religious foundation, and I did not realize that until this reading. My only connections to Christianity are through music. Inspired by Chappell, I have one of my favorite gospel songs on repeat.
The underlying factor in all of history refers to both race and religion. Rabbi Matthew’s reading expands that idea even further. Until the 30s, Jews were considered their own race, but just like everything else here in the US, it split into White Jews and Black Jews. This split was caused by White Jews claiming that being a Jew was hard enough and they didn’t need the social and economic challenges that came along with being associated with Black people. I find that utterly disgusting. Matthew’s words on how the Bible indicates no race was phenomenal. At the time, people claimed to be so holy but still continued to discriminate towards any type of demographic that was a minority. It’s disgusting. Matthew just made me remember how disgraceful American history is to me. Like, don’t claim to be so for God and then hate on God’s people.
From this week’s reading, I was personally inspired by Marcus Garvey. His question, “Where’s a black man’s government,” made me think about society today. It’s a question that is still relevant. His response was iconic being, “I will help to make them.” He manifested and proclaimed more proper representation for black people, as I aspire to do. He battled with politicians shooting his ideas down, and then he turned that into a reason to establish his own organization. I was so inspired that I headed to youtube for more information on Garvey. I found a fairly recent and informative video on Garvey and his organization.
Also, the AME church’s talk on the world war was identical to the prophecies my mother always told me. “Instead of questioning the truth of Christianity, we should seek out the cause of our defeat and humiliation.” (360) It attacks the common statement that if the Lord loved us, He would not let us experience as many adversities as we have. It intensified the idea that the Lord lets you go through trials to prove your faith. This is a key ideal that my mom, as a minister, has always instilled in the fellowship and me.
A Litany of Atlanta by DuBois is a bit conflicting in my opinion. He begins by asking the Lord for forgiveness on behalf of the black race, and then, he disrespects all sinners. It’s like he’s crying for help while throwing them under the bus. After belittling black people on their actions, he flips the script and talks about white people in the same deregulatory manner. The one quote I do like is, “Cease from Crime! The word was a mockery, for thus they train a hundred crimes while we do cure one.” It makes DuBois seem a little less shallow in my eyes. Dissimilarly, in the Atlanta Compromise Speech by Washington, it’s clear that he is just saying things that are appealing to white people. He encourages black people to better themselves through trade work. Oh yes, work is the main point he focused on. WORK, WORK, WORK. The one thing they both have in common is they put all the blame on black people. DuBois indicates that if you prayed harder, you’d be farther. Washington exclaimed that if you were more crafted or educated, then you would be farther. Neither of them considered or referenced the living hell that black people were experiencing, at the time. It infuriates me.
Thoughts during DuBois’ work:
Thoughts during Washington’s work:
The story of Jarena Lee seems so familiar to me. I feel that every preacher or minister has a story that is very similar. Her journey sounds a bit psychotic, but I do not think it is. As a firm believer, I think that it was the Lord’s way of guiding her where she needed to be. One must go through trials to see the wonders of God. Also, those trials were in place to test her faith. She had to be knocked down to be picked back up as a strong believer. Her experiences are what crafted her into a better preacher. She’s literally been through hell, therefore, making herself a living testimony. This can help her creditability within the ministry. Members like to relate to leaders’ struggles. It makes her words more powerful because she’s been through so much but still rejoicing in the name of Jesus because she knows His power.
From Davis’s work, the beginning paragraphs about King Solomon and his queen were very empowering to read. As a young, black woman in this generation, embracing my culture and roots is what drives me to succeed. It’s like we live in a caste system according to race, in my opinion, and breaking the barriers is what I aspire to do more than anything. Accordingly, reading a work that begins with emphasizing the glory and beauty of a black queen was reassuring. We, black people, are not exposed to the historical Black queens. We don’t see the excellence we derived from on a normal basis.
The quote, “a beautiful woman with black skin,” speaks to my soul. Literally, it will probably be my next Instagram caption. From my experience throughout life, when it comes to beauty, black women are overshadowed. We are lesser just because of our skin and other dominant physical features, such as wider noses, coiled hair, fuller lips, curvier figures, etc. To know that throughout history, black beauty has been expressed makes me overjoyed. Additionally, the quote, “I am black and beautiful,” made me think of a speech by Martin Luther King Jr, that was about black people signing their own Emancipation Proclamation. (attached video) In the speech, he speaks about how black is synonymous with being ugly or lesser while white is associated with more positive, attractive thoughts. He states, with strong passion, “Yes! I’m black, and I’m proud of it; I’m black, and I’m beautiful.” I wonder if he was exposed to the story of the queen of Sheba. Lastly, the quote, “since the queen of Sheba is black, so must the church be black and beautiful,” is my favorite of all. It’s my favorite because it encourages and reinforces black beauty. I think of it in a role model context and how it positively affected the youth. I feel that youth, especially now, need to be reminded that they are beautiful.
The following quotes are from MLK’s speech:
“I come here tonight to plead with you: Believe in yourself, and believe that you’re somebody!
“I said to a group last night, nobody else can do this for us. No document can do this for us. Not even an Emancipation Proclamation can do this for us. Nor can a Johnsonian Civil Rights Bill do this for us.
“If the negro is to be free, he must move down into the inner resources of his own soul and sign with a pen and ink of self-assertive manhood his own Emancipation Proclamation.
“Don’t let anybody take your manhood. Be proud of our heritage. As somebody said earlier tonight, we don’t have anything to be ashamed of.
“Somebody told a lie one day. They couched it in language. They made everything black ugly and evil. Look in your dictionary and see the synonyms of the word ‘black.’ It’s always something degrading and low and sinister. Look at the word ‘white,’ it’s always something pure and high and clean. But I want to get the language right tonight. I want to get the language so right that everybody here will cry out, ‘Yes, I’m black, I’m proud of it! I’m black and beautiful!’”
Khaila Alexandria Nelson is the best of all time. She’s always poise and beautiful, jk she has RBF. (depicted in image one and two) Her theme song is Feeling Myself by the love of her life, Nicki! (Video One)
Image One. Photo credits: Dom.
Image Two. Photo Credit: Dom.
Video One. Credits to YouTube.
What I found interesting this week is Richard Allen’s writing. When I think of slavery, I think of gruesomely horrifying conditions and treatments. Allen shined a light that I never knew was present. I understand that each slave experienced a different level of severity, but for Allen to refer to his slave master as a father figure is very intriguing to me. This reading makes we rethink all of the harsh comments I made about Jupiter Hammon. Hammon and Allen were from the same general area; their experiences as slaves were probably similar. Allen’s master proved Hammon’s theory of masters becoming self-aware that they are wrong to be true. I think this is because of geographical location. In the south, this was probably unheard of because the north was so polarized than the south, in terms of slavery. I think that Allen’s master being a Quaker was why he came to his senses. I also feel that this is why most Quakers began to get rid of their slaves. Allen was eye-opening if only we could hear more similar stories.