The Essence of Politics

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Talented Tenth and What It Means Today?

I received an email a couple of weeks ago regarding the Detroit elections but within the email, it spoke about the Talented Tenth and Black Greek Life. Just read the email below:

Dear Greekdom in Detroit,

These are members of Black Greek-Lettered Organizations seeking the offices of the Detroit City Council and the Detroit Charter Commission. Please render your support to encourage the Talented 10th and their representation into Detroit politics.
1. Alberta Tinsley-Talabi (Detroit City Council) Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
2. Andre Spivey – (Detroit City Council) Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
3. David Cross – (Detroit City Council) Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
4. Elliott Hall – (Detroit City Council) Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
5. Freeman Hendrix – (Detroit Charter Commission) Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
6. Janice Mitchell Ford (Detroit Charter Commission) Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
7. John Johnson – (Detroit Charter Commission) Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
8. Ken Harris – (Detroit Charter Commission) Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
9. Sara Lile (Detroit Charter Commission) Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
10.Teola Hunter (Detroit Charter Commission) Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Please support the following men and woman of Historically Black-Greek Lettered Organizations by voting on Tuesday, November 3, 2009 at the polls and/or through absentee ballots.

Now this isn’t the first time, I have heard someone refer to the Talented 10th and Black Greek Lettered Organizations as one or at least imply it to a certain degree. Therefore it made me wonderful what the talented tenth really is. So here is what I found out about the talented tenth because originally it was an argument between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois over what would be the best way for blacks to lead themselves into the future.

Booker T. Washington, educator, reformer and the most influential black leader of his time (1856-1915) preached a philosophy of self-help, racial solidarity and accommodation. He urged blacks to accept discrimination for the time being and concentrate on elevating themselves through hard work and material prosperity. He believed in education in the crafts, industrial and farming skills and the cultivation of the virtues of patience, enterprise and thrift. This, he said, would win the respect of whites and lead to African Americans being fully accepted as citizens and integrated into all strata of society.

W.E.B. Du Bois, a towering black intellectual, scholar and political thinker (1868-1963) said no--Washington's strategy would serve only to perpetuate white oppression. Du Bois advocated political action and a civil rights agenda (he helped found the NAACP). In addition, he argued that social change could be accomplished by developing the small group of college-educated blacks he called "the Talented Tenth:"

At the time, the Washington/Du Bois dispute polarized African American leaders into two wings--the 'conservative' supporters of Washington and his 'radical' critics. The Du Bois philosophy of agitation and protest for civil rights flowed directly into the Civil Rights movement which began to develop in the 1950's and exploded in the 1960's. Booker T. today is associated, perhaps unfairly, with the self-help/colorblind/Republican/Clarence Thomas/Thomas Sowell wing of the black community and its leaders. The Nation of Islam and Maulana Karenga's Afrocentrism derive too from this strand out of Booker T.'s philosophy. However, the latter advocated withdrawal from the mainstream in the name of economic advancement.

So if we look any further the real question is has the talented tenth already arrived with Obama or is it still a dream deferred? Michele Battle Fisher said, “I, along with many citizens, listened with great anticipation to hear President Obama’s speech to the combined Congressional assembly on February 24, 2009. His eloquence was apparent, but I had another issue in mind. How can others in the black community find venues to voice concerns to such a captive audience as he? Perhaps if WEB Dubois were still with us today, he would shout to the rafters “the talented tenth has arisen!” The idea of the “Talented Tenth” espouses that there will be a select number of leaders of color who will serve as the rhetors of the black nation.”

They will be articulate.
They will have the best education offered and the capacity to think and express.
They will be given the credibility by others to assume such a position.
Historic election- check.

Still today’s discussion of the Talented 10th and DuBois’ writing, “Conservation of Races” was a very interesting one. Dubois offered a response to the previous philosophers’ belief’s that blacks had not made a significant contribution to society, as well as the history of humankind. DuBois’ response to this belief was that the future would be based on the forth coming contribution of blacks. DuBois’ arguments were based on the idea that in order for blacks to make this contribution, it is important that African Americans not assimilate but rather develop black owned, operated, and separate institutions. This idea supports his stance that it is on the shoulders of blacks alone to advance the race and make a contribution. This I feel has been a common stance for African American leaders throughout history and today, an idea that I fully support.

I don’t think that it is necessary to be completely separate as a race, but I do think that in order to make any real changes, that race must be at the forefront of the movement. This is true for all other movements whether based on race, class, gender, or sexual orientation; that group has to lead the movement. Unlike DuBois, I think that all members of the group should have a voice and can actively participate in the movement. DuBois deemed the blacks in America as the ‘Talented Tenth’ that would be responsible for the advancement and contribution of the Black Diaspora. While the times and nature of society has changed since DuBois published this article, I feel that some still share his belief. I have been commonly taught that DuBois meant the Talented Tenth to be the upper echelon, elite Blacks. This interpretation is what I continue to see today. The most educated, the wealthiest, and the most “advanced” of any group are looked up to and deemed responsible for the entire group. Some would see this as meaning members of Black Letter Greek Organizations.

However the contributions of African Americans are range widely; traffic lights, automatic gear shift, the electric trolley, and air conditioner! But other contributions have shaped the arts, music, and culture of not only black America but America as a whole. The sources of these contributions are not limited to what we consider the “Talented Tenth” of African Americans; they include uneducated and poor African Americans. What we consider to be important in our society has determined what we consider to be valuable contributions, and who we consider to be productive members of our society. The talented tenth idea perpetuates the idea that those uneducated and poor members of our society are not making valuable contributions to society but history in itself proves otherwise.

There is even a bigger problem that makes this talented tenth discussion even more interesting and relevant today considering the conditions of the black community. Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cornel West wrote an article for the Black Collegian entitled “Racism, poverty and the ‘talented tenth.’” In the article, they write that …the size of the Black middle class. . . has quadrupled… Simultaneously--and paradoxically--the size of the Black underclass has grown disproportionately as well… 45 percent of all Black children [were] born at, or beneath, the poverty line. Economists have shown that fully one-third of the members of the African-American community are worse off economically today than they were the day that King was killed in 1968. If it is the best of times for the Black middle class--the heirs of Du Bois's "Talented Tenth" it is the worst of times for an equally large segment of our community.... Now if you read this than you would probably think it was written just this year but the reality is that it was written in 1996, however it still implies today.

Even with the election of President Obama, that alone will not solve the many issues plaguing Black America and as shown by President Obama’s ascension to the top, the talented tenth is not just those who are apart of Black Lettered Greek Organizations but as previously mentioned it is those who are college educated who are the best of the best of the black community. Some may call the talented tenth the black middle class and above but as we can see from data that if the talented tenth is suppose to lead us as a people than it is huge gap between the talented tenth and the rest of the black community much like the same way it is a huge gap between the rich and poor in America as well as the rich and middle class.

Gates and West say, “Race differences and class differentials have been ground together in this country in a crucible of misery and squalor, in such a way that few of us know where one stops and the other begins. But we do know that the causes of poverty within the Black community are both structural and behavioral, as the sociological studies of William J. Wilson have amply demonstrated, and we would be foolish to deny this. A household in which its occupants cannot sustain themselves economically cannot possibly harbor hope or optimism, or stimulate eager participation in the full prerogatives of citizenship. One of our tasks, it seems to us, is to lobby for those social programs that have made a demonstrable difference in the lives of those sufficiently motivated to seize these expanded opportunities and to reinforce those programs that reignite motivation in the face of despair.”

More important, however, we have to demand a structural change in this country, the equivalent of a Marshall Plan for our cities, as the National Urban League has called for repeatedly. We have to take people off welfare, train them for occupations relevant to the highly technological economy of the twenty-first century, and put them to work. Joblessness, as Wilson has shown, is the central cause of our country's so-called racial crisis. The figure in the carpet of America's racial crisis, we are arguing, is economic scarcity and unequal opportunity.... To think this was written a decade ago but this is what the stimulus package and Obama’s urban plan wants to do.

Gates and West go on to say, “It is only by confronting the twin realities of White racism, on the one hand, and our own failures to seize initiative and break the cycle of poverty, on the other, that we, the remnants of the Talented Tenth, will be able to assume a renewed leadership role for, and with, the Black community. We must stand boldly against any manifestation of anti-Black racism, whatever form it might take. On this matter, there can be no compromise. But to continue to repeat the same old stale formulas, to blame "the man" for oppressing us all, in exactly the same ways; to scapegoat Koreans, Jews, women, or even Black immigrants for the failure of African Americans to seize local entrepreneurial opportunities, is to neglect our duty as leaders of our own community.”

Clearly Gates and West lay out marching order for the quote unquote talented 10th of the black community and as I look at it today, it seems as if those marching orders still apply but so few of the quote unquote talented tenth have taken these orders and implied to moving the black community forward. We can just look at how this is playing out in cities like Detroit where candidates running for public office have this I versus them mentality and the, I are blacks and them are whites and others. This is the 21st century and this is not the mentality that is going to make the black community any better or further long in society than it is right now. As President Obama has shown, it takes everyone blacks, whites, Hispanics and other ethnic groups to rebuild America and that is the same mentality that it will take to rebuild or build up black communities.

Don’t get me wrong blacks have to accept responsibility for taking care of their own communities and that is no different than what other leaders have said when it comes to responsibility that everyone has to accept. West and Gates say, “Not to demand that each member of the Black community accept individual responsibility for her or his behavior --whether that behavior assumes the form of Black-on-Black homicide, violations by gang members against the sanctity of the church, unprotected sexual activity, gangster rap lyrics, misogyny and homophobia -- is to function merely as ethnic cheerleaders selling wolf tickets from the campus or the suburbs, rather than saying the difficult things that may be unpopular with our fellows. Being a leader does not necessarily mean being loved; loving one's community means daring to risk estrangement and alienation from that very community, in the short run, in order to break the cycle of poverty, despair, and hopelessness that we are in, over the long run. For what is at stake is nothing less than the survival of our country, and the African-American people. “

Now this to some degree is the problem that many black communities face and why the quote unquote Talented 10th message sometimes go on death ears because so few of the Talented 10th stay in black communities that are suffering from the poverty, despair and hopeless that plague blacks like never before. Still Gates and West are not the only ones who make pleas to the Talented Tenth to do more for the overall state of Black America and black communities. Langston X. Thomas (Baba Adubiifa) wrote, “Harvard University recently concluded a five-year study that found that race is deeply embedded in our cultural landscape and most Americans are in a state of denial. The 50 researchers concluded, "Race continues to play a powerful role in the chances for success in America and black Americans continue to lose jobs to recent immigrants." Andrew Hacker, a white college professor says, "The fact that slavery existed for so long and was so taken for granted cannot be erased from American minds." And says Hacker, "that is why white people, although they won’t openly admit it, find it not improper that blacks still serve as maids and janitors, occupations seen as involving physical skills rather than mental aptitudes."”

Thomas went on to write, “Psychologist Na’im Akbar says black Americans are also in a state of denial about the lingering effects of slavery on our thinking. Akbar and Hacker agree that the American psyche remains traumatized by slavery and is in need of mental healing (psychotherapy). And Dr. Akbar says in psychotherapy, "a confrontation of the original trauma and a restructuring of the mind’s faulty adaptations to the assault can serve to correct these disturbed patterns of responding." Under this view, if we are to eliminate the "ghost of the plantation" from our cultural landscape, there must be honest and continuous dialogue within as well as between the races.”

So Thomas asked, “What about the "Talented Tenth"? W.E.B. Dubois envisioned that the 10% of Black Americans who acquired the skills and/or education that enabled us to succeed in the larger society would eventually "come home" and use our tools and talents to build a bridge between the Black "haves" and the Black "have-nots."” Thomas goes on to write, “Unfortunately many of the "talented tenth" (and I speak from personal experience) used our tools and talents to build personal bridges between the so-called races and then used these bridges as private access roads from the ghetto to the suburbs. In the process, of course, we left our less fortunate sisters and brothers behind.”

Hebrew scholar Ben Ammi, wrote in his book, God the Black Man and Truth, "Education today is based upon class, aimed at attaining power and fulfilling materialistic desires rather than providing a service to our fellow man." Thus Thomas goes on to say, “I remember how my college classmates and I laughed at the African brothers who said they were going to get an education and then go back home to help their people. In retrospect I now know, an immigrant wants to help his people while a slave wants to help himself. Many of us are now confessing we made a bad deal. We voluntarily sacrificed our spiritual health for the pursuit of material wealth. We now remember that when we had less, we shared more. And we also remember when a "good home" meant something more than a "well-built house" in the suburbs.”

Thomas wrote his opinions before the 21st century and in concluding, Thomas writes, “As we enter the 21st century, we must accept the responsibility for our own destiny as a people. Perhaps racial profiling and the attacks on affirmative action are blessings in disguise. As Professor Hacker so diplomatically reminds us, "America is inherently a ‘white‘ country: in character, in structure, in culture." And in America’s version of apartheid writes Hacker, "White Americans show little inclination toward giving full nationality to the descendants of African slaves." We must therefore struggle to understand the words of the late scholar/researcher Chancellor Williams when he said, "Now it is just here within the race where integration is not only needed but it is mandatory." And most of all, we must rededicate ourselves to God. In her appropriately named book, Volunteer Slavery, Sister Jill Nelson uses the term "spiritual materialism" to describe our misguided, dollar driven approach to God. "Spiritual materialism" has infiltrated all religions, however, since we are predominantly a Christian people, I’ll define it as talking about Jesus when we really want to live like Caesar. Can the true spirit of Christ dwell in such an atmosphere? We’re sending mixed messages to our children and then wondering why they are in such a state of confusion. One sure way of praising and honoring our Creator is by using our unique qualities and abilities to better the human condition. GOD IS, LET’S GET BUSY!!”

Thus Thomas views are views that many Blacks and others have shared about the conditions of the black community and the reality is that some today feel that perhaps the black community is better off without waiting on the quote unquote talented tenth to lead them but instead lead themselves out of the communities of despair and hopeless that exists. Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D. wrote an article entitled “Moving Past Black America's "Talented Tenth": Can The Black "Bourgeoisie" Do More?.” In it, Dr. Samad said, “This is the season for cotillions and now botillions, scholarships, luncheons and banquets, opportunities for those who have, and for those who work for companies who have, to send as many students to college as they can -- or so they say. Or do they send as many students to college as they can?”

Dr. Samad goes on to say, “College has become more competitive as higher education has become a more prized commodity in the global workforce. Even the once "self-made" man and woman, whose entrepreneurial spirit once shunned education, had better have an MBA from some top tier "B-school" (business school), or have someone working for them who has one, in order to compete. And it is in this season that Black professionals and socialites call their scholarship rolls of “their children,” who are often second and third generation college attendees (with a few first generation college attendees mixed in), and who replicate the legacy tradition of America’s elite democracy practices.”

Still Dr. Samad writes, “This, from a people who were 99% illiterate at the point of slavery’s abolition in 1865 and yet 30 years later, in 1895, were arguing the best way to achieve social acceptance, labor proficiency (Booker T. Washington) or intellectual proficiency (W.E.B. DuBois). Forty years after slavery, after the turn of the 20 Century, Black folk had stratified into "social classes" and the appearance of “Black elites” emerged with DuBois’ new “talented tenth” ideology that the top ten percent would lead the other 90% of the race into social acceptance. Well, 100 years later we’re still waiting for that ideology to take hold, and what we’ve witnessed, instead, is the perpetuation of Black elitism and the formation of a Black "bourgeoisie," who would just as soon save themselves and leave the masses behind.”

Dr. Samad warns that, “This is a dangerous mindset, as our children need more help now than at any time in our history since the turn of the 20th Century. The talented ten percent have shrunken to a more exclusive "five-percent," as college bound Black students in the "A" or "B+" range (3.5 grade point average and above) represent just five percent of all Black students. Today, a 4.0 (what used to be an A average) will not get a student into some of the top tier universities and colleges in America. Yet, many of our best and brightest go to college, many with multiple scholarships offers, while the rest end up in community colleges or out of college, just because their grades aren’t good enough. Moreover, college is not an affordable endeavor for students not part of the elite tier of scholars.”

Does that mean those who can, should not try to help the rest get into college, or live the "bourgeoisie" experience? Have the Black elites lost sight of what they could do, and should do, to change the plight of Black America? Some think so. Some think the Black bourgeoisie can do more. Dr. Samad wrote, “This is a controversial topic for Black America, as the race grapples with economic classism within. The wealth gap is greater than ever within the race, and we see a bifurcation like never before, within the Black community. We live in a "chic society," where exclusivity separates the best from the rest, as VIP rooms, velvet ropes, private clubs and personal bankers insure clique-ish exclusive access to "the good life." There are benefits to accomplishment and success. However, exclusivity doesn’t have to translate to elitism. Elite opinion directs how his country rolls, while mass opinion keeps it from rolling out of control.”

“It is the same in the Black community. Success is defined by where you live, what you drive, what you wear, and the groups to which you belong. Being considered part of the "Black elite" is centered on whether you are on enough "A list" invitations to be considered "in" or whether you can hang in the most exotic (and decadent) of social affairs. When it comes to community service, charity in some of these groups (I’m not talking about all of them), borders on tokenism. The awarding of scholarships is just one of these areas,” said Dr. Samad.

Dr. Samad went on to write, “In the 20th Century, it was the Black fraternities and sororities, along with prominent social groups, that put up the money for the Brown cases, cases that endowed Black colleges, that opened private schools for Black children, that built Black hospitals. Much of this is, today, only fractionally done by Blacks. The talented tenth, 100 years ago, did more with less money and fewer numbers than the so-called Black elite today. There’s something to be said for that. Today, we give less even though college costs more, and fewer give at all beyond their own children’s need. We need to do better.”

“Many professional Black men’s monthly "green fees" or "pu**y bills" (lavish expenditures entertaining women who entertain them) are greater than what they give in annual scholarships. Professional Black woman’s monthly "pamper" bill (hair, nails, and massage upkeeps) are more than what they give in annual scholarships. I haven’t even factored in "bling" (jewelry) and clothing expenses, or semi-annual trips. Many Black folks are doing well, but could learn to do good at the same time,” said Dr. Samad.

Clearly, the Black bourgeoisie could do more. And just to clarify, all Black professionals aren’t bourgeoisie, but many do engage in elitist behaviors that could be considered "bourgsie" acts. Dr. Samad goes on to write, “One well-known socialite group held a cotillion for foster girls. It received rave reviews in the community, even though the members were deeply divided on it. Their fear was that it would make them appear "common" by dealing with "common girls." The Black elite’s biggest fear is that of being perceived as common — not doing something good for the community. Another group bought prom dresses for foster girls and girls from poor families. Another gave $100,000 in scholarships. The 100 Black Men of Los Angeles and its affiliated supporters, through its Young Black Scholars Program, gave over $200,000 in scholarships for this coming academic year. These are significant commitments, but dare I say it — more can be done. For to whom much is given, much is expected.”

Therefore Dr. Samad concluded by writing, “I am appealing to other exclusive organizations to expand their reach beyond the A and B student, a position I’ve held for 20 years, to help others students see their future by helping them to fulfill their academic potential. If we can’t see it, they’ll never be able to see it. We can all do that. We can encourage others to give more and reach out to more than just their own children. All our children deserve the same opportunities as the "well to do." It is time those who have, make an effort far beyond what they have already done to make a difference. Otherwise, the grassroots community and the generation we, by and large, perceive as disconnected from the struggle and from us, will see us as just a bunch of bourgsie ni**as who made no sacrifices for them. They’re all talented. We just have to move past the ten (or five) percent, and reach the masses.

I agree with what Dr. Anthony Asadullah Samad, Ph.D. wrote and his conclusion that we all can do more and it would be wise for us as a people to move past the ten or five percent. In fact even DuBois changed his mind regarding the talented tenth and felt the best way to achieve social acceptance was to have labor proficiency (Booker T. Washington) and intellectual proficiency (W.E.B. DuBois). Thus DuBois the creators of the Talented Tenth rejected his own notion that the Talented Tenth alone is the way for Blacks to gain acceptance in society. DuBois is largely misunderstood in the present day because people choose to forget that he abandoned his original idea of the “talented tenth.” He ultimately believed that the working classes would be the agents of social change for blacks in America. Many assume that the “talented tenth” are still the key to social change, and they rely on DuBois’s seminal essay to bolster this point of view. However, they refuse to see how undemocratic and elitist this view of social change is.

DuBois’s gradual change in thought occurred because of the events in DuBois life that led to the reshaping of his philosophy. The context for misunderstanding DuBois now may be this idea of “selective memory”—people interpret DuBois in a way that best supports their own social position now rather than realizing that DuBois shortly before leaving the NAACP adopted a view that both the elites and labor are needed for blacks to gain acceptance. Many people don’t want to accept the fact that DuBois changed his reality because the consequence may be that people will rethink the way they view the idea of the black elite as leaders of social change, or at the very least that this group of elite reviews the desire to serve.

It is clear that W.E.B. DuBois gradually changed his perspective on “The Talented Tenth” because he first believed that an elite class of blacks would lead the race out of oppression, that it would be a cure for both white racism and black poverty. However as time grew DuBois later admitted that he assumed that this group of elites would have the sense of responsibility required of such agents of social change, and that this could no longer be assumed. DuBois grew more and more critical of the idea of an elite group of agents of change, and ultimately came to believe that the working classes would be the real agents of change in the black race, because they are the ones who suffer most and have the more real and unselfish desire to change things.

Although DuBois himself ultimately rejected the idea of the talented tenth’s elitism, many people still hold on to the idea of the “black vanguard,” e.g. The Black Panthers. Some black scholars like Henry Louis Gates and Cornel West believe themselves to be the remnants of the talented tenth: they advocate that blacks must both confront white racism and their own failures to seize initiative and break the cycle of poverty in order to become leaders for the race. They say that blacks must not continue to make the same complaints about “the man” or other races taking away all the opportunities.

However, does this mean that black intellectuals must never criticize any of the systems of power that have historically disenfranchised them? Some people argue that blacks must look critically at the middle-class ideology that has slowed progress for them in order to rework a new concept of social progress for the entire race. While others who are inspired by Karl Marx ideology, see racial conflict as a conflict of class oppression. In this conflict, they have dissented against middle-class blacks, but realized that they are dependent on them for the education and freedom of the unemployed poor.

Ultimately, the notion that the Talented Tenth of the Black Community will be the creators of social change or will improve the black community is just not true. In fact DuBois while abandoning his own idea in favor of Washington’s still missed the fact that social change occurs when all blacks no matter if they are the educated or the work class work together to create it. In fact the fact that DuBois himself abandoned the idea of black elites leading change in favor of the more democraticized idea that the working class would be the true agents of change shows just how DuBois saw that the black elites cared more so for themselves than actually implementing change that would raise all Blacks to that elitist status. Thus if it is to be real change in Black America than it will have to occur with working and educating blacks working together to create the type of social change necessary to improve the conditions of black communities. Poverty and despair will not go away with simply teaching new skills and having blacks use their hands to create new things but it will go away with that as well as with blacks pursuing high educational avenues.

The Talented Tenth notion still exists today but the reality is that the Talented Tenth are not the leaders of social change and will not be the leaders. No social movement or social change that has occurred in America was led by one social class of people, not the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement, abolitionist movement, etc. It was a combination of the educated and the working class who led all these movements of social change it will take that same combination o rebuild and create black communities that are filled with poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment. This is the only way that we can create better communities that blacks can achieve success because it is clear that if we are waiting on the Talented 10th to do it than far too many blacks will be left behind waiting for such a select group to save the other 90% of African Americans. This is simply way DuBois abandoned his own idea because the Talented Tenth had forgotten about the rest of the race to some degree or another and even today, it seems as if that is the case to a degree.

This is why a combination of DuBois and Washington’s ideology is the only way for real social change to occur not only in Black America but throughout America. The election of President Obama was an example of how both ideologies came together to elect someone who the elite and the working class could agree on and do it in such a peaceful way. This is why now more than ever such a combination must be adopted immediately in the likes of cities like Detroit, Memphis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Birmingham, Atlanta and others if our urban communities are to grow and prosper where blacks can achieve success by working and by getting educated. This is what the talented tenth means today and the direction we need to as a society.

The Talented Tenth

Frontline: The Two Nations of Black America—Booker T. & W.E.B.

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Jay-Z - History

(Jay-Z - History)Jay-Z - History with Lyrics

LYRICS : [Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
(Gimme a lighter)
Victory (Lighters up) is finally ours
(Lighters up)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
In search of victory, she keeps eluding me
If only we could be together momentarily
We can make love and make history
Why won't you visit me? until she visit me
I'll be stuck with her sister, her name is defeat
She gives me agony, so much agony
She brings me so much pain, so much misery
Like missing your last shot and falling to your knees
As the crowd screams for the other team
I practice so hard for this moment, victory don't leave
I know what this means, I'm stuck in this routine
Whole new different day, same old thing
All I got is dreams, nobody else can see
Nobody else believes, nobody else but me
Where are you victory? I need you desperately
Not just for the moment, to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History (yeah), so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 2: Jay-Z]
So now I'm flirting with death, hustling like a G
While victory wasn't watching took chances repeatedly
As a teenage boy before acne, before I got proactiv I couldn't face she
I just threw on my hoodie and headed to the street
That's where I met success, we'd live together shortly
Now success is like lust, she's good to the touch
She's good for the moment but she's never enough
Everybody's had her, she's nothing like V
But success is all I got unfortunately
But I'm burning down the block hoppin' in and out of V
But something tells me that there's much more to see
Before I get killed because I can't get robbed
So before me success and death ménage
I gotta get lost, I gotta find V
We gotta be together to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighters. Up.)
And the battle's finally won
(Lighter. Up.)
Victory is finally ours
(Lighters. Up.)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
Now victory is mine, it tastes so sweet
She's my trophy wife, you're coming with me
We'll have a baby who stutters repeatedly
We'll name him history, he'll repeat after me
He's my legacy, son of my hard work
Future of my past, he'll explain who I be
Rank me amongst the greats, either 1, 2, or 3
If I ain't number one then I failed you victory
Ain't in it for the fame that dies within weeks
Ain't in it for the money, can't take it when you leave
I wanna be remembered long after you grieve
Long after I'm gone, long after I breathe
I leave all I am in the hands of history
That's my last will and testimony
This is much more than a song, it's a baby shower
I've been waiting for this hour, history you ours

[Chorus: Cee-lo (2x)]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

Man in the Mirror--By Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

I'm gonna make a change,
for once im my life
It's gonna feel real good,
gonna make a diference
Gonna make it right...

As I, turn up the collar on
my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
with not enought to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It's time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways - ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that..
(Take a look at yourself and then make that..)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror - Oh yeah!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cook

It's been a long time coming but a change is surely going to come in America and the World! I am the Future of America and the World and that is the message that each of us must carry with us each and every day that we wake up on Earth! I am the Future! You are the Future! We are the Future of America and the World! That is way every election is important--primaries, special elections and general! So vote every year and hold our politicians accountable. Hold our political officials accountable by writing them, calling them and making sure they attend meetings that we the people have. "The Time for Change is not Now but Right Now!"

"EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary" should be our anthem and should be our creed as we make the positive differences in America and the world that so many people beg for and hungry for year after year! A Change is Gonna Come, A Change is Gonna Come, that's what we must say as we say "God grants us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, Courge to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference" each morning before we go about the task of making a positive change in America and the world a reality.

Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen

“When will people realize that we are Americans first and foremost, not Democrats or Liberals, not Republicans or Conservatives, not Independents or moderates. We are Americans. Stop putting a political party above America and stop putting any politican above America. America succeeds because of us the people holding our government responsible no matter the political party because the main two political parties are to blame for the condition America is in."—Hodari P.T. Brown

America with its flaws and all is a country I am proud to have been born in. America is not perfect but my love for it is perfect. That’s why all Americans must realize that we are all Americans. In fact we are Americans first and foremost. We are not Democrats or Republicans. We are Americans.

We are not Muslims, Christians or Jews. We are Americans. Too many times we recognize our differences with others rather than appreciating our similarities which are, we are Americans. We are Americans first and foremost, no matter if we were born here or moved here legally. We are all Americans, here in this country to make not only our lives better but the lives of other Americans better so future Americans can enjoy the rights and freedoms that make us all Americans.

We are all Americans. We are one party united under God. We are Americans and this is the only political party that matters. We are Americans and this is our country so let’s make sure that we make America better than how we found it so future Americans can live prosperous and joyous lives. We are Americans and must not ever forget that.

America will prosper as long we make sure we are doing our part to make it prosper and that means we can’t put any political party or politician above America. Long live America forever and long live America’s service to the world. Together, America and the world will prosper for future generations to enjoy America and the world we live in.

Lift Every Voice and Sing

This video of the ' Negro National Anthem' was originally screened at the historic African-American Church Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC on January 18th, 2009. Many of the esteemed individuals featured in this video in attendance and we presented with the ' Keepers of the Flame' award for the monumental contributions to social justice.

This version of the song was performed by the Grace Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, conducted by Derrick James. The video was produced and donated by Ascender Communications, LLC ( at the request of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

If I Was President--Wyclef Jean

If I was President that is the people's anthem. We all have ideas of what we can do as President and through this website, we will fulfill our deam as a people!

Somethings Gotta Give--Big Boi ft Mary J Blige

Somethings Gotta Give people and it begins today for all us to make sure that something is us. We the people are sick and tired of suffering. Where is our piece of the Dream that so many people dead for so that we all could see today. This is our time people to change America and the world so that the Next Generation has a better future than the past we inherited.

This is our call to service. This isn't about one political candidate or one political figure. This is about us as people coming together to finally leave up to our potential and achieving the great feats that those before us have achieved. This is our moment to lead our nation and our world to greater heights.

Somethings gotta give people and it starts with us the people making it happen. We have to improve our education system in America. We have to rid the world of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We have to go to the streets and lift a hand to another in order to decrease poverty in this world. We have to take a stand today and make sure that the future of America and the world is brighter than it has ever been.

Somethings Gotta Give and that is why we must "Remember Each One, Reach One and Teach One so America's future and the World's future continues to prosper."

John Legend - "If You're Out There"

If you're out there than you need to get started in helping to change America and the world. The world and America won't change until you get involved in making the changes you want to see in this world. If you're out there, than you must know that tomorrow started now and today started yesterday so you are behind in helping to the change. If you are tired of hatred, racism, poverty, war, and violence than the time to change it is now. If you want universal health care, world peace, democracy for every nation, equal rights, and happiness for all than you must get involved now to help the save world.

You must believe in the change that you want to see and you must act on making that change a reality. If you're out there than say it aloud and show the rest of America and the world that you're out here to make a real positive change in the communities we stay in. If you're out there than get involved now. I'm calling every women and men to join me as we take back our country right here, right now. If you're out there than the future started yersterday and we are already late so we have lots of work to do but I know we can do it together as one.


Yes We Can accomplish anything that we set out to do! We don't need charismatic or inspirational leaders to believe in ourselves and to take responsiblity for our own faith, we just need each other. Yes We Can build a new America and a new world if each of us would take action now to make the changes that we want to see in the world. Yes We Can control government by holding our political officials accountable for their actions by calling them out when they don't pass legislation that supports the common good of all man and by voting in every election to ensure that we have people representing the people locally, state wide, nationally and in the world.

Yes We Can be great! Yes We Can be what we want to be! Yes We Can be glorious in not only America but the world! Yes We can put action behind our worlds and change the world starting right here, right now! Yes We Can as Republicans, Democrats and Independents become one as we freely think about our fellow men and women and make decisions that will be in the best interest of all people and not one single group.

Yes We Can be the change that we want to see in the world! Yes We Can show the world that the youth are ready to lead! Yes We Can put our egos, our social economic statuses, our religions, our educational statuses and our skin color to the side for the better good of the world! Yes We Can be Greater than we have ever been and help others be Greater than they have ever be!

YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS IN ALL THAT WE DO! YES WE CAN, no matter what others may say, we will be glorious! YES WE WILL and YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!

YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN is what will be sung from every mountaintop, every riverbank, every household, every school yard, every factory, every sporting event, every college campus and even every place you can imagine in the world is where YES WE CAN, will be said and heard!


Keep On Pushing - Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions

Wake Up People! No matter who is elected to any public office, we have to “Keep On Pushing” as a people to make sure they don’t leave us in a worst state than what they inherited. We as a people have to “Keep On Pushing” to make a difference in the lives of others. We have to have an “EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary” attitude as we continue to push our agenda that we the people deserve and want better. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change in a positive way that will benefit all Americans no matter their age, their religion or skin color. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will improve our education system, improve our military, improve our national security, improve our healthcare system and improve our economy. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will leave America’s future in a better than how we found it and that will leave the world’s future in a better state than we imagined we could live it. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to make life better for our neighborhoods, our families and even our quote on quote enemies. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to inspire, to uplift and to guide those who need help spiritually, physically and mentally. We have to “Keep On Pushing ” so that our lives, our future generation’s lives and the lives of those who came before us does not die in vein.

“Keep on Pushing”

A War For Your Soul

A War For Your Soul-regular version from Erisai Films on Vimeo.

The moment has come for us as a nation of people to finally wake up and realize that our destiny and fate in society has rests on our shoulders. We cannot allow the forces of evil and darkness to drain us out. We have to continue to overcome all odds in order to make the future of our nation better and the future of future generations of Americans better. We have to continue to pray to our Lord and we have to continue to uplift each other in prayer as well as take action against those things that are trying to destroy us. We have to stand up once and for all and be the future that we want to be. Now is our time and we shall do together by any means necessary.

This video was created to inspire young African-Americans not to fall prey to some of the problems they face in society. The use of the voice "Master of Darkness" represents evil, which is where the blame of all problems should be placed, and not on any one group of people. This video should not to be used to divide people (Black & White), there are images of heroes that are white in this video, and there are images of Black & White coming together with the words of Dr. King in the background. Some of the images from the past can be unsettling, but they are used to show all Americans how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. This film is being strategically placed in school systems, churches and youth orgs around the country, in hope of helping a lost generation of kids that we as Americans have forgotten. As fellow Americans we must continue to love each other, and take that love and spread it to the rest of the world. **THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR SALE & I AM NOT ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR THE FILM, I ONLY WANT THE MESSAGE TO REACH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT ANY HIDDEN POLITICAL OR FINANCIAL AGENDA.

Sitting On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

"The time for sitting is over! The time for action is now! The time for hope without action is hopeless! The time for change without a positive attitude is a change that we can't believe in! We need change that is positive of helping all people! Our time for action is now, our time for hope is now, our time for change is now and our time to believe that we can do whatever we set our minds to is not now but right now!"


The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming;
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.
And this be our motto— "In God is our trust; "
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Black President

Our Time is not now but Right Now! Our Time has finally come to change the world not now but Right Now! If you don't believe that we can change the world than watch as we do it by changing your mind into believing in us and what we can do! This is OUR TIME RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!


We got to FIGHT THE POWER! We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch injustices take place. We can no longer sit by and allow our right to vote to become unexercised. We must FIGHT THE POWER for our past, present and future! We can no longer allow our rights to be oppressed and our voice to become drained by the powers at be. We must FIGHT THE POWER and show that we have a lot to say that needs to be heard by the mainstream media. We must FIGHT THE POWER and live up to our potential as dynamic, unbelievable and phenomenal people.

We must not believe the hype but we must become the hype. We are not Harriett Tubman, Marcus Garvey, MLK, Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington, Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois, the Black Panther Party, SNCC, or any other activists but we are the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunties, and relatives of those who came before us to pave the way for us to FIGHT THE POWER! We are not next Generation of leaders who will not be honored and praised until they die but that’s the fight we accept. We are not fighting the power for glory or fame but we are fighting the power for just causes that most men and women will not understand until years or decades later.

We are fighting for our sisters and brothers in Darfur, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, China and Mexico. We are speaking for those who are poor and have no food or water. We are fighting for those who are sick and dying. We are fighting for universal healthcare across the world and human rights for all people. We are fighting for rich and poor! We must FIGHT THE POWER no matter how hard and tough the road may be. We must FIGHT THE POWER for a better today and an even greater tomorrow!



“People Get Ready” our time is coming! We have come too far to turn back now. Our train is coming and it is coming in waves. “People Get Ready”, we don’t need a ticket but we need faith and the Lord will help guide us as we take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” our moment is now and we are ready to see the change we want in America and the world. All we got to do is have faith, hope and prosperity. “People Get Ready” to face your fears. “People Get Ready” to face your demons and the challenges of yesterday because today and tomorrow we will conquer & be victorious. “People Get Ready” a change is coming and our actions will make sure that change is a real positive change that lasts forever.

“People Get Ready” because we have had enough of just talking but now is our time to show action. “People Get Ready” to take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” to take back our communities and to make our streets safer and schools better. “People Get Ready” to make all our dreams come true. “People Get Ready” to see a better present for everyone and a better future for future generations. “People Get Ready” to live up to your potential and to help others live up to their own potential. “People Get Ready” to move past hatred, bigotry, racism and sexism. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the dreams of those who came before us and those who will come after us.

“People Get Ready” as we make our actions speak louder than our words. “People Get Ready” to make words mean something again as we put action to back up our rhetoric. “People Get Ready” as we embark on a new journey that will re-write America’s history as well as the world’s history. “People Get Ready” as we make the lives of others better and the lives of future generations better. “People Get Ready” because all we need is faith, hope and action to make this world a better place. “People Get Ready” to make a difference. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the American dream. “People Get Ready" to live out the American Dream as our founding fathers wanted us to live it. “People Get Ready” because our time is now, our moment is now and our moment in time to change America & the world is not now but right now. “People Get Ready” because a change is coming!

(Let me tell you now)
People get ready, there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord

People get ready, for a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most

There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all man kind just to save his own (believe me now)
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there's no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

[Alicia & Lyfe]
So people get ready there's a train coming
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming,
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord


God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood

Lee Greenwood-god bless the U.S.A