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.


#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.

Kendrick Lamar Call Out vs. #MockObamaDay

So guess who got into a Twitter Troll battle over racism? It all started with one tweet and before you know it. Things got beyond a little ridiculous.

That Escalated Quickly
That Escalated Quickly

Wow.

That escalated quickly.

I've always had the knowledge  that in social media you're always going to come across...individuals who don't agree with you. Which isn't that big of a deal because you're always going to find people in the world who don't agree with you; such is life. But then you have people who are saying things because they're being ignorant, stubborn, and given blinders by the environment around them.

I like to call them trolls.

They'll usually enter a conversation (almost always uninvited) and decide to spew out whatever ignorant tirade they feel like for the day. It's often never ending and you often find yourself continuing to have the conversation/argument with them because you sure as hell aren't going to let a troll get the better of you.

So let's get into the nitty gritty of my troll conversation.

Basically I was frustrated over the trending topics on Twitter. I have my location set for a mixture of the Southeast. That way I'm not getting some tweets about something I don't really care about in another place of America. The higher, more popular, trending tags on Twitter earlier today were #MockObamaDay and something witty about Kendrick Lamar and the rappers he called out.

I think we can all accurately assume which group of people on Twitter were primarily talking about which trending topic.

I let it known that I was not too happy about it.

Kendric Lamar vs. #MockObamaDay
Kendric Lamar vs. #MockObamaDay

I found it interesting that the people that did have a problem with it....were three white people who just didn't approve of my talking about racism. They just didn't want to hear it. And apparently the above statement was screaming racism.

All I simply wanted was for people to get their priorities in check and start focusing on more important things. Was that too much to ask for? Black people, including myself, were just screaming, "Justice for Trayvon" and "We are Trayvon", less than a month ago. Quick to anger and slow to actual resolutions. We have quickly jumped onto the next topic, as though  Trayvon is a thing of the past. All I was trying to do with my tweet was say we as a people need to get our priorities in order.

Especially when you have people blaming victims and giving asinine and insulting reasons as to why minorities or black people in particular are constantly being victims.

So what do you do when the people around you aren't taking the initiative? What do you do when it seems like no one around is remembering the steps and paths those before you have made?

You get up and keep the movement going.

Just because those around you are doing nothing, doesn't mean you have to follow their lack of footsteps.

It means you have to make your own.

You educate those who are ignorant to the truth.

You speak for those without voices.

In America it's really not that hard to find someone who falls under that demographic.

There's a lot of us here in this country who need justice; even more of us on this planet that need justice as well. So why shouldn't I stand up and fight ignorance and racism when I see it? Just because someone is tired of hearing me yell? Well quite frankly I'm tired of yelling. But it's the only way to properly combat the silence the assimilation and racism that has blanketed us since the birth of this country.

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Get out of your comfort zone and stand in the challenge.

Become that controversy.

Be that change.

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