Black Leaders

I think it’s past time for there to be a changing of the guard in black leadership in America. People like Farrakhan, Sharpton and Jackson are no better than hustlers, bigots, and crooks. There are hundreds of black leaders who believe in improving the lives of black Americans, and America in general, but the media keeps giving time to the Axis of Irrelevancy.It’s time that stopped….Oliver Willis

Oliver’s post made me queasy.Every time someone decides to ride Jesse Jackson for one thing or another, I recall that image of him on the balcony with Dr. King. He was there; the man took a stance when it matters. He was there advocating for the right to vote for black people. He was there advocating for poor people before many black folks could even think of making a decent living. It’s an American foible to dismiss history as if it were so much rubbish. It’s been said that while other cultures sense their heritage as if it’s alive, Americans dismiss theirs; “that’s history” is our pejorative. We just can’t seem to figure out what is worth valuing, and we wipe the slate clean. Black America is no exception to this rule. Oliver and the folks at project 21 are a perfect examples of the “that’s history” crowd.

So where are they? The thousands of black leaders Oliver is talking about. Why don’t they step up? Are they waiting to be handed power? There is a simple reason people still respect these folks (Jesse, Al and Louis) and I’m surprised it eludes Oliver…They actually speak out.

Jackson, sharp ton and Farrakhan have not just put in their voice, but their time. They’ve been at this, for what, four decades apiece? While I’m skeptical about some of the things Farrakhan, Jesse and sharpton do or say, their discipline is laudable. Leadership is earned by doing the hard, dirty and unpopular work. Despite their faults, Sharpton, Jackson and Farrakhan earned their stripes by doing just that. Until the people who carp about their leadership show up, stand up, and put up, these folks will always command respect from a sizable number of African Americans.


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