Who can uplift black America? What about us?

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“If the Negro in the ghetto must eternally be fed by the hand that pushes him into the ghetto, he will never become strong enough to get out of the ghetto.”  — Dr. Carter G. Woodson, 1875-1950

What about us?

I know about slavery. But what about us?

OPINION

I am well versed in America’s dark history of institutionalized racial hate. Fully aware of the impact of Jim Crow and also crack cocaine. I know about “the Man.” About our countless tragedies suffered.

And yet, amid any grand scheme or conspiracy and the cruel realities of racism and hate — even in a so-called post-racial America — the question remains: What about us?

As African Americans, what about us?

Do we have no power? No say in the choices we make in our everyday lives? No ability to right this ship? Are we aimlessly set adrift, helpless, and at the mercy of others, our past?

Did our ancestors defer to their slave masters for their freedom from shackles and heinous servitude? Did they, without any sense of purpose, righteous indignation or moral authority, lie impotently upon a bed of woe, never to rise beyond someone else’s conception of their worth and place under heaven?

Did Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Medgar, Malcolm or Martin?

Then what about us?

I was born black. I certainly will die black. And yet, my blackness is not a consignment to poverty, death and destruction, or to do-nothingness with regard to my own life’s destiny or my community’s. My grandfather — grandson of a slave — taught me that much. Taught me that with regard to my own life, I am “the man.”

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