How many of us were not afforded the opportunities to read or have someone read about accomplishments, or positive stories about Black persons? We were exposed to Black face productions, Sambo, Tar Baby, shuffling, Amos & Andy, etc. Books were written that portrayed slaves as loving old Massa, who raped our women, sold our family members to other slave masters, worked us from sun up to sun down, and then would describe the slaves as lazy darkies.
They have written books about how good they were to slaves by bringing them to this country, thereby saving us from being eaten by other Africans. Almost every year a study is released about the number of Black men incarcerated for drugs, shootings, unemployment, and the unbelievable percentage of high school dropouts. It is apparent that the effects of physical and mental slavery have had an almost unbelievable effect on some Black persons across the decades.
My first recollection of the power of the media was brought to my attention while I was serving in the U.S. Army. In 1953, I became friends with a young White soldier, who was born and raised in Brooklyn. His name was Joe Deluca. One day Joe said to me, “Hop, you are the first colored person that I’ve ever known.” My response was, “You have lost your mind, there are more colored people in New York than Africa.”
Joe said instantly, “If that is true, I never met them, I was born and raised in an all-White neighborhood, went to an all-White school and church, the only colored person I saw were those in the media, print and TV, and it generally was negative portrayals.”
When do these organizations that do these studies of negative actions by some Blacks highlight a study about positive contributions by Blacks, particularly Black men? For example, they can begin by highlighting the unbelievable number of Blacks who served in the military and have honorable discharges, fighting in foreign countries for liberties they were denied at home in the USA. The studies would prove that the overwhelming majority of Black men have no criminal records and have been able to say “NO” to drug use. I personally, along with untold numbers of Blacks, said no to marijuana, cocaine, heroin, but no one ever did a study about the overwhelming majority of us. There is not enough room to list those Black men and women whom I have the utmost respect and admiration for, and whom I truly believe deserve a study highlighting them and the positive achievements which helped so many others.
I will highlight those Blacks by reminding the public that such a person is Herman Reid, PhD, former principal in the Pittsburgh Public Schools, and former CEO of NEED. Reid and his wife have been married for more than 60 years and have raised seven children, and all have degrees.
That definitely deserves a study.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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