Who is Julius Rosenwald?

I had never heard of Julius Rosenwald until my supervisor was talking about hosting and bringing a documentary about his work with schools to the Chattanooga community. After watching it I'm frustrated that I had never heard of him or his work before.

The 1908 Riots in Springfield brought the awakening/beginning of Rosenwald being a strong advocate for Black lives. It was also the beginning of NAACP.

Rosenwald used his fortune, philanthropy skills to build 5,000 schoolhouses across America for Black students before segregation. He helped build them by pledging funds to Black communities and making them raise the remaining balance.

He worked with Booker T. Washington to form Tuskegee University. The Rosenwald Fund led to fellowships for W.E.B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Gordon Parks, Dr. Maya Angelou, Augusta Savage and countless other Black artists and activists receiving fellowships to make the historically beautiful art they're known for today.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt left the Daughters of the American Revolution organization after they denied legendary singer Marian Anderson (a recipient of a Rosenwald Fund scholarship) from performing at Constitution Hall and became a board member for the Rosenwald Fund. Her position on the board not only led to Marian Anderson performing at the Lincoln Memorial, but it led to her going to Tuskegee, Alabama and the foundation of the legendary group of Black pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.

I'm not going to glorify this man into making him seem like an idol that needs to be worshiped. But I will use him as an example of what can happen when one person sees something wrong and uses their privilege. Everyone has a privilege over someone else. It's about acknowledging your privilege and using it to help others. He used his wealth and his privilege to make a difference when others refused to do so. His work led to other people making differences and impacting countless others.

I was able to meet a teacher from the Rosenwald Schools. Evelyn Hardin taught at several Rosenwald Schools in Chattanooga. She's alive today at 101 years old and she is still advocating everything she taught students years ago. 

"We've got to work together."

Julius Rosenwald had a quote that describes everything that I feel in my day to day life.

"Give while you live."

I make it my mission to give what I can when I can. Donating clothes, food, or time can change a person's life. Listening to people when they reach out for help or assistance is something we can all do. Taking that further step and helping them is something we can all do.

That's what I took away from this.

Using my privilege to change a life. Because when I do there's no end to the amount of change i can create.


#WhyDoBlackPeople ..... I'm asking myself the same question.

Twitter is always the place where anything can smack you in the face. Fake celebrity deaths. Political news. Racism.

You get used to it after awhile.

Interacting with friends, strangers, and strangers who become friends is a great thing.

Sometimes I learn and sometimes I educate. I primarily use my Twitter to do just that.

So for  a few times this week #WhyDoBlackPeople was a trending topic.

#WhyDoBlackPeople get their nails done instead of feeding their kids?

#WhyDoBlackPeople get angry when I say nigger when they say it in their songs?

#WhyDoBlackPeople want stuff for free instead of getting a damn job? #Obamacare

Blatant racist and discriminatory tweets were filling the feed.

After reading the feed for five minutes I started creating my own tweets.

Instantly someone in my feed had a response back. They began to reply back.

Told me I didn't know what oppression was.

Told me my people "weren't oppressed" anymore.

Told me that I needed to get over racism and stop talking about it.

Told me that my history of dealing with racism and discrimination wasn't as bad as their Irish first generation immigrant grandfather's.

Oppression and racism go beyond shackles as I said in my tweet above.

Mississippi just ratified the 13 amendment in 2013.

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Writing about something as painful and life altering as racism is hard. I've actually had to step back and think about and recall all of the moments where I've been discriminated against.

I've dealt with racism. From a peer and an authoritative figure. Both impacted me deeply. I've also seen racism and mental oppression affect those around me.

 I think there's a problem when people are afraid to talk about race.

But there's an even bigger problem when people don't listen about race.

Everyone in life has struggles. Every single day there are people going through something that you don't know about. When I talk about racism and oppression, I'm not just talking about Black America.

I'm talking about the injustice that any minority racial or otherwise have faced culturally and systematically throughout history.

When you take someone's history and alter or erase it, you oppress them.

Native Americans. Asian Pacific Americans. African Americans. Latin Americans.

A majority of our history has been left out of the history books.

Mass killings of buffalo to decimate the Native American culture. Genocide in Africa. Medical testing on women in South America. Dropping atomic bombs on Japan.

Always written off as a regret or an incident that should have been done in a different manor.

It wasn't our problem. We didn't need to get involved. There was nothing we could do. We didn't know.

Who's at fault for people being tortured, gassed, killed, and erased from history?

I blame the people who ignore the people who are oppressed. I blame the people who refuse to listen to people when they say they're in pain. I blame the people who don't take a second to look at and acknowledge that they have a privilege of having their entire history in the textbook.

But I can't just blame the oppressors. But then I also can't blame the oppressed.

All I can do is point out that there's a problem when people don't believe that others are being oppressed because "we're in the land of the free".

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Racism and oppression impact almost every part of life.

From voting to food to clothes to music. They touch everything.

Oppression is when you try to deter someone from voting by creating legislation that makes voting harder.

Oppression is when you use race tactics to sell or go against a medical product.

Oppression is when you shame someone on their culture.

Oppression is when you  don't talk about the differences people have faced.

Oppression is when you build a system that will allow people to legally discriminate against someone based on their skin.

Oppression is when you stifle the voices of millions by saying that they don't deserve anything back for the problems they've faced all their lives.

Oppression is anything that attacks the lives of a group of people and makes it harder for them to live.

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No one wants to be called a racist. It's getting to the point where if you talk about racism or accuse someone of racism, they think you're a nonsensical jealous person that just wants attention.

What people need to focus on isn't just racism, but race ignorant.

Racism is from hatred. Race ignorant is from lack of proper education. The key part of this is to realize that you can be race ignorant and not be racist.

However you don't want to be either one of these.

Racism can be easy to battle....just don't hate people because of their race.

Race ignorant can be hard. First thing first, check your privilege. Acknowledge that you're going to have the upperhand in a lot of situations in this country because you're privileged enough to be born on the other side of the racism/oppressed people. Kudos.

Secondly and most important of all educate yourself about other cultures. Take the time to acknowledge that you probably don't know why some things are considered racist. Ask someone to explain it to you.

Most importantly...Trust someone when they tell you that what you've done is offensive and hurtful to them and their history.

I think that's the biggest problem when people talk about race. There's no trust. There's no trust in the person's story or in their emotional attachment to another's actions.

Trust that you can be wrong. Trust that we all make mistakes. Trust that you can learn something.

Trust in change.

This is all I'm going to say about this topic for now. I honestly think that it's important to talk about this.

I would encourage everyone to take a minute or two and just think about the people who have no history due to war, genocide, and enslavement.  Think about the family trees that have been cut off. Think about the violent and legal ways that people lost their identity over time. Think about how slurs have been used throughout history and if you really want to push people back to that time period just because you heard the word in a song.

Just think.

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#BlackPowerIsForBlackMen: Letters from Brothers Writing to Live

#BlackPowerIsForBlackMen: Letters from Brothers Writing to Live

We are a collective of black men dedicated to challenging the ideas of black masculinity and manhood through the written word. Through our work we explore the ugliest parts of ourselves and our community, in the hope that we can illuminate the beauty that we know exists as well. We challenge each other daily to create and be more than what this racist, patriarchal society has raised us to be. But simply wanting it will not do. It requires tons of hard work, and much of that work includes listening to our sisters, black women, who tend to bear the brunt of our messiness. Unfortunately, in this regard, we have been woefully absent.

 

When the hashtag #Blackpowerisforblackmen, created by Ebony.com editor Jamilah Lemeiux, took over Twitter, it was a clear sign that we haven’t been doing enough. Thousands of our sisters (and brothers) tweeted for hours about the imbalance in our community. We, black men, tend to pride ourselves on our anti-white racial supremacy activism but often fail to reach out and consider the pain and trauma faced by the women in our lives. Our culture actively denigrates the very existence of black women. We take their love, support, nourishment, and spiritual presence for granted. As a whole, black men have not reciprocated our love and support in a way that affirms the humanity and dignity of black womanhood in the face of white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, sexual violence, physical and verbal abuse.

#Blackpowerisforblackmen became the call, and as black men dedicated to fighting alongside our sisters, we have taken up the responsibility of answering. As individuals, we recognize where we have fallen short, and as a community we make a promise to participate in deep self-reflection and correction. 

This ain’t just an apology; it’s a commitment.