Ditty About Claflin: They Built the Railroad Tracks Before the Train Could Come

Quote, February 2018 edition of the Ledger-Enquirer online: "This year marks [sic] 105 years since the historic Claflin School opened..." and it ends with 'the school was built in 1868'.

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Ode to Claflin: “They said they built the train tracks over the Swiss alps between Venice and Vienna before there was a train that could make the trip. They built it anyway. They knew one day the train would come.”

Those of you who recognize that small bit of dialogue will note that it came from the movie UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN, starring Diane Lane as “Frances Mayes.” It was a true to life story about a woman who, in the midst of a harrowing divorce, moved to Tuscany and rebuilt her life, literally one brick at a time. It was, and is, a story of hope.

Maybe social media is not a great place to monitor the pulse of what is happening in Black America, but the biggest sentiment heard on social media is the same one heard in private and public circles in ‘hoods and “villages” across the nation – the education of Black children in America is in severe jeopardy and the Village that built it is dead.

In a small-ish town down south called Columbus, Georgia, one building stood as the stanchion in order to serve an uneducated and severely underprivileged population of Africans forced to become Americans through no choice of their own. The children of those who were once lynched for daring to read and write (in ‘English’) were in a position where the founding fathers of that sector of the American landscape knew they wouldn’t last long nor survive without the learning that they were once denied.

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THE CLAFLIN SCHOOL

That stanchion was called Claflin school.

Schools that came along later, as soon as there were children old enough to attend them, were Spencer and then later, Marshal and Talbotton Road Junior High, but Claflin was the first of its kind – founded in 1868. I found my own mother’s photo in one of the yearbooks. She was in 9th grade at time, after which she attended Spencer High, Class of ’56 — if she had managed to graduate.

This September is the 150th anniversary of the dedication of the ORIGINAL Claflin building.

Read Edward Howard’s “Muscogiana” articles to get the full skinny on the origins and history of Claflin through the years. I am a fully-vetted alumnus of Claflin, having attended the school from 1966 through 1971, kindergarten to sixth grade – end of the line. A year later, due to forced busing, the school closed its doors to the education process once and for all, becoming a broom closet depository, of sorts, for books, materials, and a hand full of school board meetings here and there, or so I later heard.

I left Columbus in 1990 and was gone for 25 years.

My Personal Civil Rights History at Claflin

Back in the day, I was angered because I felt that I shouldn’t have been forced to go to the white school up the street, East Highland Elementary. East Highland should have been bussed to come to us, especially since I had only six months to go before heading to junior high (now known as ‘middle’ school). I was angry because I had received all of my Perfect Attendance and Honor Roll certificates from Claflin and I would not be allowed to receive the ones I wanted from my last year at Claflin.

Getting them from East Highland six months later meant nothing and I began to fail under the systemic racism that encumbered East Highland. It sent me spiraling into a repetition of 7th grade and ultimately into becoming a high school dropout at the age of 16. And the ONLY teacher who cared enough to chase me down the hall, grab me by the collar, spin me around and tell me I was going to “die out there” without a diploma? My only Black teacher, of course. My English teacher, Creola Howard. Nearly 30 years later, Mrs. Howard heard from me again, accompanied by a LARGE vase of yellow Dutch Hyacinth. A dozen, just to say “Thanks” for saving my life. It was her voice, my BLACK teacher’s, who made me drop back IN school when the others waved me off as a Negro statistic.

Having been a rare bird involved in a true case of ‘reverse racism’, not the alternative fact version of reverse racism, I suppose I was a good choice to ‘lead the way’ for race relations between children in Columbus. Let me explain.

I was born in Denver at General Rose Memorial Hospital, and grew a bit in Detroit before my mother and grandmother relocated us down south.

Up north, I sat where I wanted to on the bus, I used any bathroom I pleased, drank from any water fountain I pleased, was hospitalized with a white boy when I had chickenpox (they put you in the hospital for that back in the day), and I had gone to school with white students since I was two. I didn’t know they were white, I just thought they were people-like me.

When we came to Columbus, I wasn’t old enough to put my hands on the pulse of the problem, the racism, but I knew something was wrong. Something had gone wrong, and it wasn’t a good thing at all to be in Columbus, Georgia. I had hope in Denver, I had hope in Detroit, but I sensed that all of my hopes and dreams were flushed down the toilet and that my future was in jeopardy because I was simply cast someplace that I did not belong.

I blamed my mother for it, of course; but all of the ‘stuff’ that came out later helped me to realize that my mother didn’t have much of a choice, all things considered, than to take us backward in the continuum of time rather than forward.

Yet, I gave Claflin no less effort than I gave Rose Elementary in Detroit when it came to studying and making the highest grades.

North -v- South

Down south it was easier. Up north, we started school at age two; but down south, they didn’t let their children start until five or six years old, no pre-K at the time.

I was already a thousand miles ahead of the learning curve in arithmetic (they call it MATH now), reading and writing by the time I started school in Columbus. The racism, however overt and covert, became a detriment to my soul.

My mother drilled me in reading, spelling, cursive writing, and my multiplication tables, especially since adding and subtracting was too easy. By the time they let me start kindergarten in Columbus, I already had all that stuff down and was ready to move on. I’d read through all of the grade school readers, all of the junior high and high school books, so they resorted to bringing in the two newspapers, the morning Ledger and afternoon Enquirer, for me to read while they taught the other children what I’d already learned.

It was suggested that I should be moved up at least a grade or two, but my mother transferred her beliefs to me and held me back for reasons that I question to this day. Of course, I got bored too easily and too soon.

My mother’s daughters, though, were our family’s first-generation college graduates, and we were all initially educated at Claflin. By the time I graduated from Columbus High in 1978, I was a teenage mother of one, my best friend in the world was over 30 years of age, and I was three years behind where I should have been. I should have finished high school by the age of 14 or 15.

Later, I told my grandchildren of the dreams I had about Claflin before I knew it existed, when I could only have been three or four years of age and had never been here. I told them about the train, the tracks, the school, the cemetery across from it, and how I grew to understand that the childhood dream foretold that my education was going to be a key element that would literally save my life.

It was the crossroads between life and living in hell on Earth, and that cemetery (Linwood) on the other side meant just that.

Racism Without. Self-Loathing Within.

I went from accolades for making good grades and excelling in school to being ridiculed for it. This was new to me down south.

I went from applause for speaking proper American English to being laughed at (by Black children) for pronouncing my words properly, and no English is not pronounced “An-jlish”.

I went from sharing schoolkid responsibilities with others who learned as quickly as I did, to being called a “Teacher’s Pet” by the same Black children who spent more time in Dunce caps and sat in more corners for bad behavior than I could dream of.

It was not long after that that education became a “side game” – only required up to a certain age.

And it wasn’t long after that before the game that was central to grade school existence for Black girls was essentially prettied-up “good” (pressed, curled, chemically-castrated) hair, “baaaaaad ” clothes, and how fast a girl could lose her virginity and brag about being all worldly-wise by the time she was 12 to 14 years old. I even remember being laughed at when I was 14 because I was still very innocent and still playing with dolls while the other girls were crawling under houses held up by stones, pulling their panties off and forgetting that an aspirin between the knees should have applied to the boys, too.

I’m well within my rights to say that the internalized racism became a sort of self-loathing among and between Black folks in Columbus.

The nation’s, the south’s, racist history had let them know that nothing they did was ever going to be good enough for white folks, who were in charge of their futures; but I was a light-skinned (red-boned) girl with good hair, so I usually got a pass on all of that, with a few exceptions for the die-hard outright outspoken racists along the way.

Besides, the things that they said Black people “couldn’t” do, I did with finesse.

I had to remember that not one single white person made those fast little girls crawl under houses and dickle around with something that had no future to promise them.

RE: Deed Restrictions And All That Jazz

When speaking of the train tracks that were built before the train could come up that hill, I am reminded that a certain Deed Restriction put on the Claflin School was meant to preserve learning and education for a lifetime.

With every new generation of children born into this world, into this nation, into this state, into this county, and into this city … education is supposed to be permanent and cyclical, not temporary and salable.

That Deed Restriction meant that the forefathers who built that school for the children of newly-freed slaves had a vision that committed the land and the property to a vision of equitable education. It was the fight against racism that built it and the fight to support racism that tore it down.

You’ll get that later, because during and after integration/assimilation, education for Black children never became TRULY equitable. Dispute it all you like, the bottom line is that the educational processes for Black children in Muscogee County, Georgia has never been dimmer or weaker.

Of course, the biggest problem of them all is lack of proper parental ‘call and response’, but when I hear a retired teacher say that “some of these children are better off in juvenile detention than they are at home,” I can say without hesitation that the FAIL-SAFE of a proper education has deteriorated over time.

The Deed Restriction was recently removed from Claflin, and then touted about the Mayor’s State of the City Address as an “accomplishment” when it was nothing for the city to be proud of.

It represented the demolition of former attitudes about the future and recommended and allowed that the net long-term gain lose out to the short-term monetary gain. To the credit of a white male forward-thinker by the name of Ed Howard, the top-notch writer of all that is Claflin’s proud history, he did reach out to what he believed was the upper echelon of ‘negritude’ in Columbus. At least, that’s what someone TOLD him it was.

His aim was to keep the ‘powers-that-be’ from tearing the school down and diminishing yet another PROUD STALWART OF BLACK HISTORY in Columbus. It took one concerned white man to build it up, yet and still, all it took was one lone Black man, appearing to seek a personal “finder’s fee” payout for the sale of the school and land to a for-profit company (one that prefers lofts over Black History) to tear it down.

The Deed Restriction needs to go back on the building, but I get that some of us helped sell our ancestors to Europeans in exchange for beads, sugar cane, and cocoa, too. And we are still selling each other out for a “bill of goods” for our own personal coffers, to this very day. ‘Rap’ music of today is only ONE piece of the truth about that. To be sure, there are quite a few others.

To Form a Less Perfect Union

I know, folks will start making up shit just to prove me wrong. But … I doubt we are as forward-thinking as our, and their, ancestors once were.

They were hard-hitters, but over time, we have come forth as pure putty in the hands of money-changers who don’t seem to understand the Word of Wisdom about the getting of knowledge and understanding — for she shall be more valuable to you than rubies and silver and gold.

It’s all about the here and now, getting whatever we can get for the moment and to hell with the future. We won’t be here to see it, so who cares? As far as the educational process goes, it’s up for sale to the highest bidder.

They used to say getting an education was tantamount to getting stuff.

“How good you dress, what kind of car you drive, what kind of house you live in, and how much money you have in the bank” was the reason for having a good education. Now it is tantamount whether you have an education or not, which also explains why the New Millennia generation will have to explain down the road their complete unquestioning acceptance of the first ‘crackhead’ president of the nation that the world has never known – in the president’s office, on their own watch, even as we speak, and nary a word is said except by a few keyboard vigilantes on social media. They’d have drawn and quartered President Obama for doing what Trump is doing right now, and we’d have helped them – just for the drama of it all. We didn’t mind disparaging and speaking evil of THAT dignitary, even when he did nothing wrong; but not THIS ONE. #PosttraumaticSlaveDisorder.

But then again, we now take the smoking of weed and the whore-izing of young Black girls more seriously as a thing TO do. It is more serious now than wildfire gunshots and the lives of older Black people. Weed is serious, gunshots are not so serious. Whoremongering is expected rather than shunned, but it’s not hard to see why raping a Black girl comes with a slap on the wrist and raping a white girl nearly comes with a death sentence — same thing, just 150 years later. We ache for THEIR PAST, but not for our own.

But ‘BLACK LIVES MATTER’. When? And to whom?

True, the Bible says we are not to speak evil of dignitaries, but it says nothing about speaking out against evil dignitaries, especially since that “dignitary” is not a legitimately-elected President and is the EPITOME of evil itself.

Lone Alumni Speaking

There is a ditty out now that goes a little something like this – “They used to kill us for reading and now we won’t read even if it kills us.” Here’s another one: “You want to know how to hide a million dollars from a Black man? Put it all in a book.”

Extreme, but not too far from the truth.

Black Education
What they all think of Black History and education now …
True enough, if anyone (Black folks, that is) in Columbus had cared about Claflin, they’d have never let it fall to pieces like that in the first place, leaving it in the hands of a profiteering ‘economic hit man’.

***

As an alumnus of the school and its former PR Committee Chair, as one of its hardest workers for the year I was there, and as one of its biggest financial contributors during that period in time, I can vouch for the fact that the main reason nearly five years has gone by and the $8Million cum $12Million cum $15Million soon to be a Trump-esque $30Million has not been raised yet is due to a general lack of interest from Claflin’s former students/alumni, teachers, principals, administrators, and staff – those of us who are still living, that is.

It stands to reason, because Columbus is one of the most “clique”-driven towns I’ve seen in a long time (ever really). It wasn’t like that when I left.

People were competitive, but all in good honor. Now there is duplicitous and tripartite effort all over the place for a town with limited pools of resources and too many people pulling at the same money from 100 different directions rather than the four maybe five that are needed. Columbus isn’t big enough to have a need for three to five churches on nearly every street and corner, but, whoomp there it is. Each one gets 50-cents, nobody gets $50.

There’s not much of a point in speculating why that is, but there is a point in mentioning that thinned out resources and lack of focus on what is most important is the reason why things aren’t getting done the way they need to get done.

It’s not impossible, but it’s at the tipping point now where some one or two bigwig million-billionaires will need to take the funds out of pocket and write if off. Yet, Claflin’s motley leadership is too interested in hanging around flagpoles every fourth of July and complaining about who isn’t getting involved to realize that the opportunity to get people involved and keep them involved was missed within the first three years after this project started.

The ‘Big-I Little-U’ Theory

If you’re building a train track based on future hopes and aspirations, the best idea is to strike while the iron is still hot. That never happened with Claflin’s front face, mainly because the smelting pot got tossed with boiling hot water before one piece of forged steel could be dedicated in its honor. It was more like ‘snap’, ‘crackle,’ ‘pop’ and ‘fizzle.’

I came in in the middle of a heated battle battle between Claflin’s self-imposed ‘all-things-to-all-people-don’t-need-to-delegate’ Trump-type leader and a young lady, also a former PR Committee Chair of the school’s refurbishing plot. She was trying to keep the project standing by recommending the removal of the wrong element before the whole thing went south, and it appears that yet another outside “believer” has been swept up in the same hype and the same alternative facts that I received. The insider news that I keep getting is saying that I am needed and I need to come back, and “ain’t nothing” happening over there. Of course, ‘fake it ’til you make it’ would say it isn’t so.

I can’t say what’s happening for sure, I left it alone over a year ago, but the network isn’t putting out good vibes except for those who keep trying to make the local media think that what is isn’t and what isn’t is.

I think that there’s what they call “the power of positive thinking,” which we should all know by now doesn’t work either. It’s more about the power of positive doing, even when you think it can’t be done.

Negative thinking is never a problem, it can be erased because we’ve all seen the appearing-to-be impossible become manifest.

But ego … as they say, ‘pride goeth before a [BIG HUGE] fall’.

In Requiem: Six of One, Half a Dozen of the Other

It turned out that the former PR Chair before me was quite right about removing that element, but we all know how Trump supporters back him even when he is cold flat-out lying to their faces when they should know better? Well, some folks removed the ‘Deed Restriction from their brains’ a long time ago. Same thing.

Now it’s still standing in requiem, transfused with more buckets of ego than it is money, and by what appears to be some prideful people who have no real plans for Claflin’s future even if someone does give it turnip blood millions in cold hard cash.

The sustainability plan I saw, when I last saw it, was not long-term sustainable. It was meant to prove a point, not to sustain the future.

It was dependent on business rent monies with long-term leases in a neighborhood that already has scant few resources as it is and probably needs to be seriously gentrified, for real. In Harlem, Manhattan, New York, it was said about gentrification by my former sister-in-law from the Bronx: “I don’t blame them. Black folks could have bought those houses from HUD for one dollar and fixed them up and flipped them, but they waited too late and the inner-city has become almost totally white once again.”

That’s likely the real revitalization plan, because even the nearby historic Black churches, including my own beloved St. James AME -now nearly 160 years of age- are struggling hard in that mirage of human understanding. “Whitenizing” what was once a burgeoning upper class of educated and proud Black people is probably the only thing that will save it now.

The sustainability plan was dependent on building out a pre-school on the back 40 of a school that would front a habitat for reforming career criminals by giving them access way too close in proximity to school children. “Returning citizens” can’t be peers to children, they often struggle with being peers to their own children, let alone someone else’s.

Claflin’s committee “fundraisers” were not in position to raise funds except by selling gospel extravanganza’s (break-even) and hosting barbecue (barely made a profit) to a people already too sick and overweight to be eating more of the stuff that more than half a dozen local restaurants already serve, and that they cook too much of at home, truth told. Feeding unhealthy food to sick people in the midst of a place that was once a sanctuary for health and HEALING, as well as a permanent space for education, just didn’t seem to send a good message.

But the converse of that is that Columbus didn’t seem much interested in learning about their own Civil Rights History either.

A Juneteenth fundraiser was held for the school two years ago in 2016, and it was intended to educate and nourish minds and souls and hearts in keeping with the school’s natural history, and not many turned up for that either.

Big-them, Little-us. Sustainability now depends on selling out to a higher power – a white multi-millionaire with lofty plans who understands that our Black History will never get him PAID. Hell, apparently won’t get us paid, either.

The Clock is Ticking…Not on Claflin So Much, but On the Days of Our Lives

Either way this goes, we can say that if the $20+ million and counting-up-costs daily, ever does show up, people will come.

They will come to gawk and marvel at how it was done without their help, how it was done without their input, how it was done without their money. They will come give it a “look-see”, but that’s about it.

They have a multitude of other projects to give to, so the donation bucket dollar they dropped in at the opening was all they had for that and enough, it will never be. The people who discover it’s all about getting “free stuff” at someone else’s expense will be there forever, though, hat-in-hand, always taking but never giving in return.

They will all be in awe at first, but then they will leave. Sound “negative”? Give it a rest. There is no alleged ‘negativity’ in stating facts.

You can tell the future by the other now-defunct projects that were taken on with far more zeal appeal than the ones that utterly failed.

The Hope That Is Built

The balconies of historic St. James AME were also built with the future in mind.

The African-American AME ancestors of olden times saw and anticipated the crowds that would overflow the church’s sanctuary seating, and people would then be ushered up to the balconies to secure a spot. It was a dream. And it was all a good dream, but Black folks sold their souls and ran to the other side/s of town, leaving 5th Avenue over to Hamilton Road and Second Avenue and then back up to the Medical Center that once divided Black from white, to whatever happens next.

We had businesses, we owned homes DOWNTOWN, we had money, churches, our own private ‘special forces’ to help tow the line and not destroy our spirits at the same time; yet, the hope of the seed of education for our children was all but lost in its entirety. It seems there was targeted INTENT to drive away Columbus’ Black history and reinstate the state’s confederacy at the same time. The memorial signs along the Walk of Freedom to Phenix City, Alabama don’t recognize all that much that is Columbus’ native Black history.

Columbus, like the rest of the nation, doesn’t see a lot of Black businesses any more. No one thinks it’s a big deal, but it is.copy-ediring that

It bridged a gap to home ownership, and we are seeing more and more Black people become transient than ever, except in pockets in certain parts of town. Scattered here and there, pretty congested in some areas, and mostly transient on the uptake, the children who came along later made the grave mistake of letting their parents’ businesses and houses go down the tubes and The Village thrives no more.

I rode by Edward Sherald’s old mortuary and by where Primus King’s barbershop once stood, and past the place where Miss Bea’s (Beatrice Hill) grocery store was only a half-block from Metropolitan Baptist Church. I walked downtown and recognized some of the old places we once shopped with plenty of Black business owners – the Record Shop, Mr. Sherald’s barber shop, The Movin’ Man, etc.

Some of Columbus’ most prominent Black citizens who helped Black folk become stronger and better and forged a path for us, and no one knows that the building the homeless now sleep in on 17th Avenue was once a well-appointed Black funeral home. Black people in Columbus don’t know Primus King was a Civil Rights leader as well as a barber, even the ones who see his HUGE photo hanging up at the Voter Registration office at Citizens Way. No one knows we had our own “Miss Bea”, or that she was one of only two Black store owners at one time. Don’t even get started talking about Miss Flossie, the only Black florist in town at one time.

Reminiscing is good, but they were building something that we let go of in exchange for ‘The Party’, and we got what we asked for, too. The motto now is “Up With Dope! Down with Hope!”

We shout it out the other way around, but that’s not the way it’s working out in the long run, especially with dopeheads now running the city and drying up the last of what was once a truly good neighborhood.

The Linchpin and Lifeline Called Education

Watching Claflin’s future hope disintegrate into a singular need for money is one thing, but watching Columbus’ educational processes disintegrate with it is another.

Some will say Columbus is no better or worse than any other city in the nation when it comes to education, and others will say it’s horrible and getting worse. Depends on who you are talking to and what time of day it is, but they showed up and showed out to stomp a hole in the idea of a Betsy DeVos-like voucher’d school called “Camelot” here.

DeVos, Trump’s other failure of an appointment, is known nationwide for not having very good ideas when it come to the future of education, especially for Black children in precarious circumstances. The national statisticians are saying, true enough, that we are no more ‘dumbed down’ than everyone else in the country. Too bad that’s a fact-become-virtue, something I’m totally incapable of comprehending at my age.

When I was growing up, excellence was tantamount, not hoping that one could at least compete with the top echelon of the slovenly.

For those so inclined, the Bible speaks of wisdom, the value of soundness of knowledge and understanding in the Book of Proverbs. It states that the getting of knowledge and understanding will keep you and is more valuable than rubies and silver and gold. Certainly, we don’t believe that any more wholesale, but we like saying it. Truly “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” could be paraphrased “My people are destroyed for lack of desire for knowledge.”

They can pass a test under duress, but can’t figure out how to make life better for themselves in their own communities by using the educational process that has all but disappeared over the horizon. Personally, I am just as glad about “old time education” as I am about “old time religion.” I was privileged to benefit from it.

Claflin’s teachers, who thought me extremely bright as a child, would not be surprised at what I managed to accomplish in life over the transom, including a stint at the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. In 1984, I was hired by then-Managing Editor Baxter Omohundro because of a one-page handwritten letter that I sent to him asking to be let in the doors. I have to say, these many years later, that it was a quite eloquent letter. I told him that it was my heart’s desire to report the news and that I was putting my future in his hands.

Thank you, Baxter … and Jeff, Priscilla, Sandra, Claire, Jack, Mary Margaret, Pat, Sam, Louise, Mack, Becky, Kaffie, Josiah, the little young dude who was so good at copy-editing that the Detroit papers offered him a mint to move up north before I got to know him well, and most of all, thanks to Tom Kunkel and Liz Benham, who at least made an attempt to tackle the inherent racism at the small rag.

Without you, all of you, I’d never have gotten around to believing that the education I received at Claflin would end up giving me a lifetime of hope and pleasure, even when the money wasn’t there to support it. If I could do nothing else, this thing called “writing” was easy for me. It was my passion.

Not Black Enough

I passed the tests they said ‘Black folks’ couldn’t pass. Guess I wasn’t Black enough to fail.

For those who ridiculed me in school, I suppose I was educated to pass the tests, not to be Black enough to complain about how the game is rigged to make me fail due to my race. Fifteen hundred score on the SAT, highest score at Columbus College on the Regents in my sophomore year of college.

Guess I “ain’t” Black…Enough – [That’s okay, Mrs. Howard, ‘ain’t’s’ a em>real word we can get away with using nowadays.]

Notably, Baxter and Mrs. Howard would have both kicked my ass smack to smithereens if this article had been published ‘as is’ on my watch … Math, children.

But now that mediocrity is the accepted norm, the National Statistics do say that the State of Georgia is on the lower portion of math and reading skills in ALL grades, and that is definitely right competitive.

Quote this from the February 2018 edition of the Ledger-Enquirer online: “This year marks [sic] 105 years since the historic Claflin School opened…” and it ends with ‘the school was built in 1868’. If you see nothing wrong with this, pull out your calculators and I will get my sheet of paper and a pencil and tell you what’s wrong. I’d have been shot, killed, then fired. Reprieve granted once, but the second time – ‘out out damned spot’.

I guess this would also be one of the things Trump talked about when his crackhead rep, Kellyanne Conway, spoke of it being okay to report things like “alternative facts.”

Vetting Takes Education

Citizen Journalists, arm up. The game of Aspiring to Excellence in the Future is now solely in your hands.

Nowadays news is a fast ‘head drug fix’ rather than a real journey to be fastidious and report the FACTUAL news that keeps a democracy afloat. It’s all about who can report the bullshit the fastest, not the best.

Nowadays, a phone call and one interview will do it when “fair and balanced” used to mean something else, so maybe it’s like New Math. Two plus two equals 18, especially if you’re tying to buy toilet paper and paper towels at the grocery store.It’s called New Reading and New Comprehension – not to comprehend anything at all, that is.

Baxter had a banner hanging over his office at the L-E thresh that was unmistakable. It read: “IF YOUR MOTHER SAYS SHE LOVES YOU, CHECK IT OUT.”

Hell, I concur.

Of Trains and Dreams and Linwood Cemetery

It is one thing that the train tracks now hold electric trains, with some updates. It is another that the LAST thing people think about riding on these days is a train and even then, only if they have no other options. Me? I LOVE TRAINS, and I still dream of building that shed out with some old campy version of a vintage LIONEL set from back in the day.

May not happen, but I can dream.

I was granted that right a very long time ago and I can spell it out verbatim beginning with Amendment One to the United States Constitution. It states, and I quote, “Eff Trump.”

Yeah, this is VERY long for a blog article — but at least I’m not Ta’Nehesi Coates. That fella has me beat on ‘long-winded run-on’ sentences all day long, but he’s too good at his craft to pass up.

To my elders and ancestors, thanks for the dreams. Money or no money, I will always have a properly-executed proud BLACK education to the day I die, and that’s a fact.

-30-

<---'gotta be old school to know what this means'

PUBLIC NOTE: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of the Urban Intellectuals, affiliates or partners.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Great Article. One that needed to be written and read! Old tme education and old time religion never failed us. As a allumni of Claflin We were taught to think, seek answers and ask questions. Now people fail to think for themselves and think going with the flow is the thing to do.

    As a Executive Board Member, I want to Claflin to be restored, not necessarily at any cost, I will not sell my soul, nor lease it out I understand the historical value for future generations. We were a family consisting of everyone in our diverse community. Doctors, Lawyer, Teachers, Boot Leggers, Business Owners, Mill Workers, Soliders, House wives, Single Parents (not many) and the list goes on. We were United!

    We were held accountable for our actions and never told we were not good enough. We were taught to never settle for less than being the best. The teachers Built us up and never put us down. Say it Loud, I am Black & I’m Proud. We knew our history. Today, to most it is a mystery!

    The story of Claflin needs to be told and having the building restored is a see it still standing and entering the doors can bring memories of grandeur. If you are not involved then it’s hard to ralley for change. I believe in me!

    “Change Starts on the Inside”

    Again, Great Article

    Thank you with Peace, Successes, & Blessings Piled High

    AlphaKfend

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