Three hours before dawn he was awakened by a gunshot. Immediately, he knew he only had a few seconds to rise and find his place. Suddenly, he was yanked from under his coarse slave blanket, which he used as a bed, and drug outside, stripped naked, and beaten. It was dark and therefore could not tell whom it was that had taken him away from the peaceful arms of rest, but he figured it had to be his Master and his goons. They kicked him in his side, head, and back while yelling profanities. It was once he thought the beatings would end that he felt the sharp pinch of the steel metal pin dig into his skin from the chain. Then he was flipped facing his master and forced to watch the overseer grab his wife by her hair throwing her to the ground. He then proceeded to violently tare off her clothes holding her down by the neck and ferociously thrust himself into her as she alternately screamed her husband and Jesus’s name. As the Master and his goons’ leave the man and wife hold each other crying and singing, “Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel, deliver Daniel, and deliver Daniel. Didn’t my Lord deliver Daniel, An’ why not every man.”
Yes I’s a colored woman, a wife, and a mammy. My husband walks home from the fact’ry ev’ry night. He been missin for ‘bout a week now. My brotha told me dat a mob lynched a colored man about a week ago. Said, they tar and feathered him and while he was hangin there lit him ablaze, as if the latter wasn’t enough. Personally I think it was the KKK. You know, the Ku Klux Klan, but no one knows who’s ever under dem hoods. Humph, Oh well, who cares. An angry white man is an angry white man. He doesn’t have to wear a hood. Some just wear the hood for theatrical affect. Either way, here in Tupelo, Mississippi, a woman’s gotta take care of ha’ family, so I’s works fa this wa’men taken care a ha’ babies. I don’t mind it. After all I gotta take care of my babies. It be hard tho. My babies got ta’ go to a seprate schoo that don’t have no good books. Yesta’day my five year old ask me what ‘nigger’ mean. There has to be mo’ ta life than this. God din’t ‘tend on His chil’ren bein treated as such. I herd a Negro wa’man say, “Someone will at last arise who will champion our cause and compel the world to see that we deserve justice; as other heroes compelled it to see that we deserved freedom.” I gots to say, I’s kind a agree wit ha’.
Upon graduating from Harvard Law I decided to treat myself to a new BMW 850i series, Black, sleek, and gorgeous. I was so excited because I was able to set up an installment plan for only a 24-month period. I told Christine I would drive her around in style for the rest of her life. I picked her up around 8 o’clock so that we could catch our dinner reservation for 8:30 at Chandra’s, a jazz and fish spot in the city of Atlanta. I was excited. I had my JD, my girl, and my new car. I couldn’t believe the year of my car matched the present year I was driving in. I knew that 1991 was about to be the best year of my life. I made sure to drive the speed limit because I did not want to get into an accident and mess up my new ride. I guess that was the least of my worries because less than 15 minutes on the road I noticed a police officer behind me. He had not initially turned on his lights, which led me to believe that he was running my tags, first. Honestly, I got scared. I had heard about black men getting stopped because they were driving nice cars but it had never happened to me. I guess I spoke too soon because he pulled me over and I got my first DWB, Driving While Black. This is ludicrous. I told the officer that he was violating the federal law by assuming that I was a person of suspicion because of the color of my skin, but that just made him angry and caused him to pull me out of the car and frisk me. I was so humiliated. I had done nothing wrong. This has got to change.
I’m sure you’re wondering about these what seem to be random and unrelated stories, but they are in fact very related.
This semester I studied about Black Leadership from slavery to the Presidency of Barack Obama. What I have noticed is that Black Leadership is in fact a response to the Black condition as relates to their treatment from Mainstream American society or White Supremacy. It is this response that caused me to question ‘Why Black Leadership?’ These scenarios are the ‘Why’ of Black Leadership to me, and motivates me to continue to work towards the progression of the Black condition in America.
What is Black Leadership to you? Is it necessary? Where do you think it comes from?