My Understanding what Young Gifted and Black Really meant, began at age 11, when I transferred from Segregated James Weldon Johnson Junior High School, in the Negro Division of the Duval County School System, to Segregated Isaiah Blocker Junior High School, in the Negro Division of the Duval County School System, where Mr. Rutledge Pearson was an American History teacher.
I posted earlier this week, “If you are an educator in a oppressive system, you are either a Revolutionary or an Oppressor.” Mr. Pearson was a Revolutionary, who refused to teach a Racist American History, and would not use the Racist American History book, written by Racist White Historians, and approved for "Negro" schools. Books which only mentioned the names of George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington, as if they were the ONLY Blacks to make salient contributions to this country.
In addition to telling us to "leave your American History textbook home', Mr. Pearson’s said this during my first day of his class, “Freedom is not Free. If you are not a part of the Solution You are a part of the Problem” ...and thus, my Civil Rights Journey and my Black History journey began. Mr Pearson was also the adviser to the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP which I joined after an invitation to join came from him in his classroom.
After joining the NAACP Youth Council, I would later attend my first Jacksonville Branch NAACP Mass Meeting. The speaker was Jackie Robinson. NAACP Mass meetings were held in churches and they served a number of functions: they informed, since we did not have social media during these days; they provided news on the Civil Rights front, since we did not have Black news network reporters to inform; Mass meetings were always held in Black churches, which were the bedrock of the Civil Rights Movement.
Mass meetings and Mass meeting speakers, motivated and inspired and invigorated those of US in the Struggle. Understand, the Black community, even during these days of Abject Segregation and Racism, was not Monolithic. You had to deal with those House Negroes who were always “lurking” about to tell the “man” what was going on “among the Coloreds.” Dr. Freddie Haynes III during his Outstanding address at the Dr. Martin Luther King Breakfast sponsored the Jacksonville Branch NAACP...the Jacksonville Urban League...the Southern Christian Leadership Conference...and the African American Ministers Leadership Council...called them “BENT BACK NEGROES.”
I must admit I had a number of flashbacks as I listened to Dr. Haynes on Friday morning. It was as if I was transported back in time listening to some of the great Black preachers who used their pulpit, not to Pimp Black People...but to motivate, inspire, and invigorate, while helping Blacks People to understand they are Black, and You can get tired fighting Racism, But you cannot get Weary. That is, IF you ARE fighting Racism.
White America HATED Dr. King and eventually Assassinated Dr. King because White America considered Dr. King a Pariah, they harassed him through J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, yet was intimidated by, who Dr. Haynes called, THIS Black Inconvenient Hero and Black Revolutionary. Dr. King was assassinated for who he was and what he stood for...and HE WAS BLACK. White America LIES as they disingenuously try to portray Dr. King as a Convenient Hero, Comfortable -for them- Sanitized version of “only a dreamer” preacher.
Rev. Haynes’ words and his honesty and his integrity and his principles are Sorely missing in the pulpit today. But suffice it to say, the Struggle will go on without the Black Pulpit Pimps who say nothing every Sunday... without the White Pulpit Pimps who preach Hatred and show their support of Racism every Sunday...and the Bent Back Negroes who Go Along to Get Along, and who benefit from others fighting Racism.
The Struggle Continues!
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.