One of the main reasons for knowing Black history is so important and why white supremacists try so fiercely to keep control of U.S. history is its value as something to study carefully, learn from and build upon. That’s why serious Black adults have the responsibility to be aware of important individuals and events and pass that information on to young Black folks.
During the month of October, there are two such historical dates I believe should passed on. This is no claim that they are the only ones, just the two I choose. The first is Oct. 4, birthdate of Dr. C. Delores Tucker, founder of the National Political Congress of Black Women and the Bethune-DuBois Institute. Dr. T, as we called her, led a serious vigorous campaign against the psychological damage done to young Black folks, especially young males, by the creators and distributors of gangster rap. She called them “gangstas in the suites and gangstas in the streets.”
She bought 10 shares of Time Warner stock so she could attend a stockholder’s meeting, during which she said the following: “I come before you to address one of the most serious issues of our time — the issue of corporate responsibility in regards to violent, sexually explicit, and misogynistic lyrics in recordings financed by this and other corporations … due to inaction towards its destructiveness and a silent conspiracy between profiteers and producers, violent, sexually explicit and misogynistic music has seeped into the souls of our youth, conditioning them to violent behavior, disrespect for women and utter disregard for human life.”
For her campaign, Dr. T was viciously attacked by the gangstas in the suites and gangstas in the streets. The latter profanely attached her in song lyrics.
The second date is Oct. 31, the day in 1919 when the legendary Pan Africanist leader Marcus Garvey launched a ship from the 125th Street Pier in Harlem. According to Brother Marcus, as quoted in the book “Marcus Garvey and the Vision of Africa,” compiled by John Henrik Clarke and his assistant, Amy Jacques Garvey, “In the space of two or three months the corporation of the Black Star Line was able to purchase its first ship, the SS Yarmouth, which was rechristened the SS Fredrick Douglass. … I thought if we could launch our ships and have our own Black captains and officers, our race too would be respected in the mercantile and commercial world, thereby adding appreciative dignity to our downtrodden people…”
The book notes that “thousands upon thousands” of Black folks cheered on the 125th Pier and along Riverside Drive as the ship set sail. It also states — and this is very important — that the launching was completely financed by Black stockholders in the Universal Negro Improvement Association.
Every Black student in the country should be made aware of warriors such as Dr. T, Brother Marcus, and others who have promoted and protected us throughout our history. They must be taught to carefully study history, learn from it and build upon it.