New Faces in the Pantheon of Black Martyrs

With the recent shooting of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, another face added to the pantheon of black martyrs. At one time this pantheon included icons such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Emmit Till, Medgar Evers, and even John and Robert Kennedy. The aforementioned individuals were assassinated for the cause racial inequality and injustice that was prevalent during the superficial age of American exceptionalism of the 20th century. While America was showing strength on the world stage, it was allowing its own citizens to be egregiously desecrated, beaten, and even lynch under the guise of national and ethnic pride.

For generations, the pantheon of black martyrs was on display in frames on the walls of many homes in the black community. Black civic and religious leaders would routinely speak the praises of those men and women we held in high esteem. We would see their likeness portrayed in dramatic expression throughout the year as we yearned for more like them to rise from the churches, ghettos, and streets and speak words of empowerment and liberation to us once more.
As the 21st century has entered its second decade, the faces of the pantheon of black martyrs have changed. We now see the faces of Tupac Shakur, Christopher “Notorious BIG” Simmons, Adamou Diallo, James “Jam Master Jay”Mizell, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant III, Trayvon Martin¸ Eric Garner, and now Michael Brown. These individuals were not on the front lines of civil rights protests or movements. They were not aligned with forces of evil intent on destroying white American privilege or power. These individuals were simple human beings who happen to have darker hued skin. Some of their deaths were the results of lifestyles that although on the edge, brought them notoriety and celebrity. Others were simply ordinary men, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Nonetheless, their faces have been added to the pantheon of black martyrs.

What makes the latter’s addition so significant? Perhaps it is the fact that those men were all martyred for a cause other than equality, justice, and peace. Perhaps it is because their faces reflect the myriad of justice disparities faced by people of color in these great United States. It is more likely that these men represent a hope for change that has not come. They represent the continual saga for freedom that has yet to be fully ascertained. These new faces bring to light the darkness of the past when some felt justified in taking the life of black men and women. Their deaths though deemed justifiable by some in law enforcement, are not justifiable for the cause of advancing humanity.

Their violent deaths reflect a deeper oppression beyond that of a supposed post-racial America. It reflects a generation of identity and leadership voids begging to be acknowledged and attended. It reflects a generational gap that has been largely ignored by our elders who have found success after their marches and protests of the 50’s and 60’s. It is the fury of a generation feeling slighted civically, socially, economically, and educationally. It is the pantheon that reflects the withdrawal of courageous men and women standing against oppression of disenfranchised blacks in urban areas once populated by soul businesses happily catering to their patrons with the knowledge that they were not only in business for themselves, but also for their people. It is the pantheon reflecting the age of the “race hustlers” gains fame and fortune at the expense of another black person’s violent demise at the hands of white and black people, with little to no regard for the value of human life.

So what then should be done in lieu of this knowledge? How do we honor the new faces in the pantheon without discrediting the sacrificial foundation of the founding ones? My suggestion is to empower our people to see beyond the temporary bliss of media hype on the plight of Blacks in America. We must rise as a phoenix from the ashes of self-contempt and victimization and become the sacred masters of our present and future. We must empower this new generation to see this pantheon of black martyrs as icons of a royal priesthood, a chosen race, children, and heirs of the Most Benevolent and Merciful Creator. We must present to them the pantheon as faces of humanity blessed of God. It is only when they see the faces in this pantheon of martyrs from that perspective that they will be emboldened to change the cycle of death into one of life, liberation, and love.

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22 Powerful Images From the Ferguson Protests

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Originally posted on The Urban Daily:

As more details unfold about the Mike Brown killing in Ferguson, it’s still hard to believe the turmoil that happened in Missouri. Here are 22 images of what’s been going on in the Midwestern town.

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Michael Brown: Is Due Process Too Much To Ask?

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Originally posted on News One:

Ferguson protests

People in a crowd hold signs and listen to speakers at a demonstration on Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014, in Decatur, Georgia, in the town square. The demonstration of more than 200 people was held in response to the shooting death of Michael Brown and following unrest in Ferguson, Missouri. (AP Photo/ Ron Harris)

Hard to know where to begin on this, but it’s also hard not to say something, either.

Perhaps I should refer to history.

Should I start with the Robert Charles Riots of 1900? Or how about Atlanta 1906Maybe Chicago 1919? How about Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1921? Do we even need to fast forward to the 1960s? Harlem 1964? Watts 1965? Newark 1967? Detroit 1967? Those days are still within living memory. Our parents and grandparents can tell us about those outrages.

There is something that links them all, though: either an injustice committed toward…

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Rick Perry Indicted in Politically-Charged Texas Battle

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Originally posted on TIME:

Gov. Rick Perry was indicted on two counts of abuse of power Friday by a Texas grand jury, in the latest chapter of a long-running politically-charged dispute between the Republican and his Democratic opponents.

The indictment revolves around Perry’s veto of $7.5 million in funding to state’s public integrity unit., based in the Travis County district attorney’s office. District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who ran the unit, was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in 2012. Perry publicly demanded that she step aside. When she didn’t, he vetoed the unit’s funding.

At the same time, the unit, long a weather vane to Texas politics, was investigating one of Perry’s signature achievements, the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, for alleged mismanagement. Texans for Public Justice, a left-leaning watchdog group, filed an ethics complaint over Perry’s public veto threat.

At the request of Special Prosecutor Michael McCrum, a Travis County…

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How Segregated Is Your City?

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Originally posted on The Urban Daily:

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What you see above is a map of Detroit. The small colorful dots represent people, plotted to show where they live and their race. Whites are represented by blue dots, Blacks with green dots, Asians with red and Latinos with orange. All others are represented using the color brown. Again, what you see is Detroit, but also how tremendously segregated the city is by race. Wired.com got their hands on 20 images from a map created at the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. They show just how racially segregated many major American cities still are. From Wired:

The map, created by Dustin Cable at University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, is stunningly comprehensive. Drawing on data from the 2010 U.S. Census, it shows one dot per person, color-coded by race. That’s 308,745,538 dots in all–around 7 GB of visual data. It isn’t the first map…

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Ga. Teacher Fired After Students Find Nude Selfies In Her Cell Phone [VIDEO]

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Originally posted on News One:

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Lekeshia Jones, 34, a former business teacher at Myers Middle School in Savannah, Georgia, was fired by the Savannah-Chatham school board after it was discovered that several of her students accessed nude selfies she saved in her cell-phone, reports SavannahNow.com.

The formal reasons for her dismissal were “being irresponsible with her phone, for not properly handling or reporting the incident and for insubordination in the weeks that followed.”

“Back home [Natchez, Miss.] my family is prominent,” she said. “I’m the Natchez Indians [Mardis Gras Ball] Queen. Nothing like this has ever happened to me.”

What exactly happened remains unclear.

Read more from SavannahNow:

 District officials testified Jones had given the students her cellphone password to call home, then left the phone unattended. They also said she did not report the incident but asked students to text the social media chatter back to her so she could…

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NAACP Teams Up with Dunkin’ Brands To Grow Black Franchises

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Originally posted on News One:

New York Considers Ban On Trans Fats In Restaurants
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced last week that the civil rights group will partner with Dunkin’ Brands Group, Inc., the parent company of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, to create an initiative to increase the number of Black-owned franchise businesses in the U.S.

The announcement was made at the NAACP’s 105th Annual Convention in Las Vegas.

“Franchising can be a powerful economic tool that further enables the African-American community and others to realize the American dream of business ownership,” said Cornell William Brooks, the newly-elected NAACP president and CEO. “We are excited to announce this unique partnership with Dunkin’ Brands and to improve opportunities for people of color in the franchising sector because of the substantial impact these agreements have on empowering and employing people of color.”

According to the NAACP, the initiative will focus on “in-depth franchising education and training” in addition to “assistance in…

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