Letters to the Editor: Black businesses and peace

Letters to the Editor: Black businesses and peace
January 29
00:00 2015

When Black businesses ruled

To the Editor:

I grew up in Winston-Salem and attended an Afro American School. In this day and time, we call the gathering the Big 4, which get together annually. This correspondence is not to rattle anyone’s cage or make anyone angry; it’s just getting to reality.

The only businesses we have, what I see, are only funeral homes and barber and hair beauty shops. Where are the food industry or legal fields or strong vocational schools that are owned by the Black population?

Where are the entertainment [venues] such as movies or bowling alleys owned by Black people? Where is the drive that was once a way of living just 50 or 70 years ago in Winston-Salem? During the times when we were called colored people, we did have our own doctors and what I mention above because we had to.

Remember we had the bus company as well as our own cab company. What a lot of people don’t know is that several of our schools here in Winston-Salem are named after African-Americans. Diggs, Paisley, Anderson, Atkins, Cook and Lilly Mebane, which long been torn down along with 14th street.

There is lot of money in the churches in East Winston, but I am sure if all the Blacks would work as one, money-wise, then I imagine that impact would be considered the movement as being out of step of what we as Afro Americans should not be doing. I have a bachelor’s degree in American History from a Black university, Johnson C. Smith University, with an associate degree in Business Management and Secretarial Science as well as being a veteran of the U.S. Navy. That means I served for America as a whole, but tonight I decided to share my two cents about how we as a people need to reflect on what we have lost in our community.

Marshall T. Boulware Jr.

Put down the gun

To The Editor:

Dec. 7, 1964 in London, England, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered a speech and stated, “If a man has not discovered something he’s willing to die for, he’s not fit to live.”

During this time in history, many African-Americans were willing to die for the right to vote, willing to die to be treated equal, and willing to die for justice, so that future generations such as ourselves would be able to vote, be able to go into (any) establishment and receive service, along with receiving equal educational opportunities. These men and women stood for something.

The recent events of injustice against African-American males has led me to come to the conclusion that there are still many things to fight for, many positive things that African-American men can do to channel their time and energy, other than violence toward one another and committing crimes.

I’m not speaking about all African-American men because there are many well-rounded brothers who are positive, productive members of society. But to those living in darkness, I challenge you to “put down the gun and pick up the torch.” I challenge you to put down the gun and pick up a book, put down the drugs and pick up an application.

Dr. King was not saying that drugs were something to die for, a gold chain was something to die for, or even wearing a certain color was something to die for.

Right now is the time that we all should pick up where Dr. King left off, pick up where Rosa Parks and many others left off, and begin to pick up the pieces of the dreams of these torch bearers that we have shattered.

I know from experience that in the minds of many African-American men, that you may think that your life is over before it even begins. You probably see only the bad things that can happen in your life that your dreams can’t come true or your plans will fail, so you attempt very little. You have convinced yourself that anything positive you may try will never work, so you refuse to get out of your comfort zone of negative activity, therefore you never become who you truly are, or better yet, who you were meant to be.

We must lose what some call “stinkin thinking” and begin to think positive because you are what you “think.” One must not forget that the sin lies in the thought and if we control our thoughts, we can control our actions.

“Put down the gun and pick up the torch,” for the gun leads to death and destruction, while the torch lights the path and makes life’s journey a little more clear.

We have allowed the torch that was passed to us to go out, and it is vital that we re-light it and carry it high above our heads. “Put down the gun and pick up the torch,” for the sake of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Troy Davis and many, many others who have suffered at the hands of injustice.

George Jackson once stated, “The majority of black men born in the U.S. and fortunate enough to live past the age of 18 are mentally conditioned through their environment to accept the inevitability of prison. For many it simply looms as the next phase in a sequence of humiliations.”

Let’s begin to change this, and the first place to start is by asking yourself, “What will you stand for?”
“Put down the gun and pick up the torch.”

Kalvin Michael Smith Sr.
Caswell Correctional

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