Category Archives: Blog Posts

Can’t Hate The Roots of A Tree

You Can’t Hate The Roots Of A Tree, Without Hating The Tree

 

Now and then the editors of The Black Star News retrieve a classic from the archives to nourish contemporary minds; here is one of Malcolm X’s brief and brilliant pieces.
Why should the Black man in America concern himself since he’s been away from the African continent for three or four hundred years? Why should we concern ourselves?

What impact does what happens to them have upon us? Number one, you have to realize that up until 1959 Africa was dominated by the colonial powers. Having complete control over Africa, the colonial powers of Europe projected the image of Africa negatively.

They always project Africa in a negative light: jungle savages, cannibals, nothing civilized. Why then, naturally it was so negative that it was negative to you and me, and you and I began to hate it. We didn’t want anybody telling us anything about Africa, much less calling us Africans.

In hating Africa and in hating the Africans, we ended up hating ourselves, without even realizing it. Because you can’t hate the roots of a tree, and not hate the tree. You can’t hate your origin and not end up hating yourself. You can’t hate Africa and not hate yourself.

You show me one of these people over here who has been thoroughly brainwashed and has a negative attitude toward Africa, and I’ll show you one who has a negative attitude toward himself. You can’t have a positive attitude toward yourself and a negative attitude toward Africa at the same time. To the same degree that your understanding of and attitude toward Africa become positive, you’ll find that your understanding of and your attitude toward yourself will also become positive.

And this is what the white man knows. So they very skillfully make you and me hate our African identity, our African characteristics. You know yourself; that we have been a people who hated our African characteristics. We hated our hair, we hated the shape of our nose, we wanted one of those long doglike noses, you know; we hated the color of our skin, hated the blood of Africa that was in our veins. And in hating our features and our skin and our blood, why, we had to end up hating ourselves.
And we hated ourselves.

Our color became to us a chain–we felt that it was holding us back; our color became to us like a prison which we felt was keeping us confined, not letting us go this way or that way. We felt all of these restrictions were based solely upon our color, and the psychological reaction to that would have to be that as long as we felt imprisoned or chained or trapped by Black skin, Black features, and Black blood, that skin and those features and that blood that was holding us back automatically had to become hateful to us. And it became hateful to us.

It made us feel inferior; it made us feel inadequate; it made us feel helpless. And when we fell victims to this feeling of inadequacy or inferiority or helplessness, we turned to somebody else to show us the way. We didn’t have confidence in another Black man to show us the way, or Black people to show us the way. In those days we didn’t. We didn’t think a man could do anything except play some horns–you know, make sound and make you happy with some songs and in that way.

But in serious things, where our food, clothing, and shelter, and education were concerned, we turned to the man. We never thought in terms of bringing these things into existence for ourselves, we never thought in terms of doing things for ourselves. Because we felt helpless.

What made us feel helpless was our hatred for ourselves.

One of the things that made the Black Muslim movement grow was its emphasis upon things African. This was the secret to the growth of the Black Muslim movement. African blood, African origin, African culture, African ties.

And you’d be surprised–we discovered that deep within the subconscious of the Black man in this country, he is still more African than he is American. He thinks that he’s more American than African, because the man is jiving him, the man is brainwashing him every day.

He’s telling him, “You’re an American, you’re an American.” Man, how could you think you’re and American when you haven’t ever had any kind of an American tree over here? You have never, never. Ten men can be at a table eating, you know, dining, and I can come and sit down where they’re dining. They’re dining; I’ve got a plate in front of me, but nothing is on it.

Because all of us are sitting at the same table, are all us are diners? I’m not a diner until you let me dine. Then I become a diner. Just being at the table with others who are dining doesn’t make me a diner, and this is what you’ve got to get in your head here in this country. Just because you’re in this country doesn’t make you an American.

No, you’ve got to go farther than that before you can become an American. You’ve got to enjoy the fruits of Americanism. You haven’t enjoyed those fruits. You’ve enjoyed the thorns. You’ve enjoyed the thistles. But you have not enjoyed the fruits; no sir.

So I point these things out brothers and sister so that you and I will know the importance of in 1965 being in complete unity with one each other, harmony with each another, and not letting the man maneuver us into fighting one another.

I say again that I’m not a racist. I don’t believe in any form of segregation or anything like that. I’m for the brotherhood for everybody, but I don’t believe in forcing brotherhood upon people who don’t want it. So long as we practice brotherhood among ourselves, and then others who want to practice brotherhood with us, we practice it with them also; we’ll work for that.

But I don’t think that we should run around trying to love somebody who doesn’t love us.

 

Some of Malcolm X’s classics:

You Can’t Hate the Roots of a Tree

The Oxford Debate
Ossie Davis’s Eulogy

 

This Article was reposted from Black Star News.

Please post your comments online or submit them to Milton@blackstarnews.com

“Speaking Truth To Power.”

 

Time To Get Dirty

Just a reminder that Saturday, May 2nd, is our first official community garden work day. Please plan to meet at the corner of Bedford and 34th (Malcolm X Blvd.) at 10:00 a.m.

We will spend the day clearing the property of debris and trash in preparation for the garden. If you can join us please be sure to wear grubby clothes.  Please also bring work gloves and any tools you may have.

We will continue to work on the property on Saturday, May 9th.  Should you have any questions please call 404.242.4315.

Hope to see you all there!

Tulani

God’s Blessings

by Amir Sulaiman

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Whosoever would like to make a living by being grateful to Allah has a long labour ahead of him. It is enough for us to use all of our living days thanking Allah for Islam and it would be insufficient.

Rather we could spend all of our living days thanking Allah only for salat and on our deathbeds we would find ourselves coming up short. Even for the knowledge and ability to make one prostration we could spend our every waking hour thanking Allah for that prostration and we would still die in debt.

Do not allow yourself to forget that there are some from the Children of Adam (as) who have never made one prostration to their Lord. Neither they nor their parents or their parent’s parents as far as they can trace their lineage, have ever prostrated even once before their Creator. What is worse is that, for some of them, their children and their children’s children until the Day of Judgment will never make one prostration to Allah, Most High. They will never taste the sweetness of this perfected mode of worship. How blessed are the prostrators?! So whosoever among us prostrators who would like to make a living being grateful to Allah has a long labour ahead of him.

Do not allow yourself to forget that while we are sending up the foul smoke of our sins , in turn, Allah sends down the sweet mist of his blessings to cover the believer and disbeliever, the righteous and the wicked, the grateful and the ingrates alike. Have you not seen the life-giving rain falling upon the oppressed and the oppressor, the holy and the foul, the guided and the astray alike?

Have you not seen the fruit growing amidst the sincere and the hypocrites, the patient and the impatient, the just and the tyrants alike? One group exceeds the other group only by way of their degree of gratitude. However are there any amongst us who are truly grateful? And We have distributed the (water) amongst them, in order that they may celebrate (our) praises, but most men are averse (to aught) but (rank) ingratitude (25:50)

So, whosoever would like to make a living by being grateful to Allah has a long labour ahead of him. How much gratitude do we owe even for one verse of Qur’an, In the Name of Allah Most Gracious Most Merciful(1:1)? How many days of thanks should we spend for this verse let alone the six other verses that follow it or the other 113 surahs that follow them? What a mercy it is that Allah even turned His face and spoke to us. The Lord of all the worlds, the Master of the Day of Judgment, glorified is He, has revealed something of Himself to us when we are but mud turned to blood, bones, and bowels. And what has He revealed about Himself except that He is Most Gracious and Most Merciful. Glory be to Allah and mercy be on those who glorify Him. And We have explained to man, in this Qur’an, every kind of similitude: yet the greater part of men refuse (to receive it) except with ingratitude (17:89)

Oh you grateful ones, do not allow yourself to forget that even the knowledge and ability to be grateful is but a gift from Allah. Know that there are some from the Children of Adam (as) that do not have the knowledge or desire to thank Allah. What is worse is that neither their parents nor their children as far as the eye can see have been grateful to their Creator and Sustainer. So not only are we to thank Allah for His blessings but also thank Him for teaching us to thank Him for there are some who do not know or do not care. So we must thank Him for showing us how to thank Him. Then we must thank Him for giving us the insight to thank Him for instilling in us the desire to thank Him. Then we are indebted to Him for allowing us the thanks of that thanks which is thanks for the orginal thanks and so on and on until the day when the mountains will pass like clouds and the sky will be like molten brass and the Angels of the Garden and the Angels of the Fire will stand ready awaiting the command of their Lord.

So, whosoever would like to make a living by being grateful to Allah has a long labour ahead of him. Do not be neglectful of this labour for it is a good labour the fruits of which multiply exponentially. And remember! your Lord caused to be declared (publicly): “If ye are grateful, I will add more (favours) unto you (14:7). Out of Allah’s Grace and Mercy, He has decreed that our gratitude will increase His favours upon us , which in turn, will make us more grateful, which will increase His favours, making us more grateful, which will increase His favours and this pattern goes on and on until the Horn is sounded and the dead are raised to settle all accounts. So this long labour is a sweet and blessed labour and no labour has a greater profit margin than the labour of gratitude.

Is it enough to make your heart swell in your chest and tears to swell in your eyes to know that after all of this Allah calls Himself Al Shakur, The Grateful? How is Allah grateful to this newly created race of ingrates called humankind? How kind is He; how Merciful is He to show gratitude to a creation sprung from dirt, reproduced via a despised fluid and returns to the dirt as food for maggots. How forbearing is He to show gratitude while most of mankind is wandering the Earth neglectful of his duty to their Lord. We are not justly grateful yet our service to Him is always justly rewarded . No, rather the reward for our service is generously multiplied many times over while our wrong actions are counted only once if they are not wiped away as if they never happened. Who amongst us is truly grateful to The Grateful? May Allah have mercy upon us all.

What is certain is that there is nothing worthy of worship besides Allah, Most High. What is certain is that Muhammad is his servant and messenger, may peace and blessings be upon him, his family, and all those who follow them. What is certain is that all praise is for Allah, Lord of all the worlds.

We bestowed (in the past) Wisdom on Luqman: “Show (thy) gratitude to Allah.” Any who is (so) grateful does so to the profit of his own soul: but if any is ungrateful, verily Allah is free of all wants, Worthy of all praise. (31:12)

The Messiah once prayed, “O my Lord, how can I be thankful for the many blessings you have bestowed upon me, when the ability to thank You is, in itself, a blessing- for which I must render thanks?” God answered saying, “That you know this is thanks enough.”

Harambee Umoja Youth Event

Harambee Umoja Youth Event (Come together for Unity):

The purpose of this event is to facilitate a means for the HACO members to give back to the community and help illuminate positive life-choice alternatives for the youth, to introduce and help the youth utilize positive African principles and to provide something fun for the youth to be a part of.  The 2008 activity is a premier to the 5 day African American leadership camp which will be facilitated in 2009.

NHC Speakers Bureau

Sharif Liwaru has joined the Nebraska Humanities Council as a speaker on Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X) .This presentation can be made possible by the Nebraska Humanities Council as part of the NHC Speakers Bureau.

What did Malcolm X stand for and what significance does he have to the radical politics and movements of his time? Liwaru will share his life as he describes it, as a “chronology of changes”, presenting a view of Malcolm’s life and the changes he underwent, as well as the relevance of his social, political, and even spiritual thought.  The challenge is to take Malcolm X, all of him, and present this information in an accessible manner.

Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X)  is one of approximately 300 programs offered through the Nebraska Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. The more than 165 available speakers include acclaimed scholars, writers, musicians, storytellers and folklorists on topics ranging from pioneer heritage to ethics and law to international and multicultural issues, making it the largest humanities speakers bureau in the nation!

Most speakers are available to any non-profit organization in Nebraska at the cost of just $50 for each. Each program lasts 30 minutes to an hour, plus a question-and-answer period.  The most frequent users of the NHC Speakers Bureau are primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, libraries, museums and historical societies, agencies for the elderly, rural organizations, churches, arts organizations and ethnic organizations. The Nebraska Humanities Council sponsors the largest Speakers Bureau program in the U.S. according to the

National Endowment for the Humanities.

For a information detailing the available speakers and guidelines for booking them, please access our website at www.nebraskahumanities.org (Speakers and Resources page) or contact the Nebraska Humanities Council at 215 Centennial Mall South, Suite 330, Lincoln, NE 68508, phone (402) 474-2131, fax (402) 474-4852 or e-mail nhc@nebraskahumanities.org.

12 Things a Negro Must Do For Himself

by Nannie Helen Burroughs

1. The Negro Must Learn To Put First Things First. The First Things Are: Education; Development of Character Traits; A Trade and Home Ownership.

• The Negro puts too much of his earning in clothes, in food, in show and in having what he calls “a good time.” The Dr. Kelly Miller said, “The Negro buys what he WANTS and begs for what he Needs.” Too true!

2. The Negro Must Stop Expecting God and White Folk To Do For Him What He Can Do For Himself.

• It is the “Divine Plan” that the strong shall help the weak, but even God does not do for man what man can do for himself. The Negro will have to do exactly what Jesus told the man (in John 5:8) to do–Carry his own load–“Take up your bed and walk.”

3. The Negro Must Keep Himself, His Children And His Home Clean And Make The Surroundings In Which He Lives Comfortable and Attractive.

• He must learn to “run his community up”–not down. We can segregate by law, we integrate only by living. Civilization is not a matter of race; it is a matter of standards.

4. The Negro Must Learn To Dress More Appropriately For Work And For Leisure.

• Knowing what to wear–how to wear it–when to wear it and where to wear it, are earmarks of common sense, culture and also an index to character.

5. The Negro Must Make His Religion An Everyday Practice And Not Just A Sunday-Go-To-Meeting Emotional Affair.

6. The Negro Must Highly Resolve To Wipe Out Mass Ignorance.

• The leaders of the race must teach and inspire the masses to become eager and determined to improve mentally, morally and spiritually, and to meet the basic requirements of good citizenship. We should initiate an intensive literacy campaign in America, as well as in Africa. Ignorance– satisfied ignorance –is a millstone about the neck of the race. It is democracy’s greatest burden.

7. The Negro Must Stop Charging His Failures Up To His “Color” And To White People’s Attitude.

• God never intended that a man’s color shall be anything other than a badge of distinction. It is high time that all races were learning that fact. The Negro must first QUALIFY for whatever position he wants. Purpose, initiative, ingenuity and industry are the keys that all men use to get what they want. The Negro will have to do the same. He must make himself a workman who is too skilled not to be wanted, and too DEPENDABLE not to be on the job, according to promise or plan.

8. The Negro Must Overcome His Bad Job Habits.

• He must make a brand new reputation for himself in the world of labor. His bad job habits are absenteeism, funerals to attend, or a little business to look after. The Negro runs an off and on business. He also has a bad reputation for conduct on the job–such as petty quarrelling with other help, incessant loud talking about nothing; loafing, carelessness, due to lack of job pride; insolence, gum chewing and–too often–liquor drinking. Just plain bad job habits!

9. He Must Improve His Conduct In Public Places.

10. The Negro must learn how to operate business for people–not for Negro people, only.

• To do business, he will have to remove all typical “earmarks,” business principles; measure up to accepted standards and meet stimulating competition, graciously–in fact, he must learn to welcome competition.

11. The Average So-Called Educated Negro Will Have To Come Down Out Of The Air.

• Otherwise, through indifference, as to the plight of the masses, the Negro, who thinks that he has escaped, will lose his own soul.

• A race transformation itself through its own leaders and its sensible “common people.” A race rises on its own wings, or is held down by its own weight. True leaders are never “things apart from the people.” They are the masses. They simply got to the front ahead of them. Their only business at the front is to inspire to masses by hard work and noble example and challenge them to “Come on!”

• There must arise within the Negro race a leadership that is not out hunting bargains for itself. A noble example is found in the men and women of the Negro race, who, in the early days, laid down their lives for the people. Their invaluable contributions have not been appraised by the “latter-day leaders.” In many cases, their names would never be recorded, among the unsung heroes of the world if not for their White friends.

12. The Negro Must Stop Forgetting His Friends. “Remember.”

The Negro must make his heart warm with gratitude, his lips sweet with thanks and his heart and mind resolute with purpose to justify the sacrifices and stand on his feet and go forward– “God is no respecter of persons. In every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is” sure to win out. Get to work! That’s the answer to everything that hurts us. We talk too much about nothing!