Tag Archives: @theblackmancan

#PromotePositivity

untitled 3
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Juan Goodwin of #PromotePositivity (www.werbcg.com). I heard a lot about what he was doing in the community of Cleveland Ohio, so I want to put his information out to the world. I am always happy when I see other young men my age that are doing very positive things.

Me: Juan, can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Juan: I am from Cleveland Ohio. I am 28 years old. I went to Walsh University, I majored in Special Education. I graduated from Walsh University in 2007. Now I am the Youth Coordinator at the Salvation Army here in Cleveland on Hough Ave. I am also a managing partner at Bruce Clinkscale Goodwin Inc. We are a consulting firm that specializes in Professional Development, Youth Development, Public Speaking, Community Relations etc…… I also got a book coming out in the spring called “Crack Baby”.

Me: That is great! What is your book about?

Juan: It is a book about my life. Everything that I have gone through in my time on earth, some people see the glory but don’t know the story.

Me: You are so right about that. Tell me did you start #PromotePositivity?

Juan: Yes I started it about two years ago. I was tired of all the negative images that were portrayed in the media. So what we do is if a kid gets straight A’s, Perfect Attendance, Good Behavior, playing sports, it really does not matter as long as it is something positive where are here to promote that positivity. Anytime kids are not robbing or killing each other, we really want to put that energy out there because everyone is not carrying themselves like thugs.

Me: Is your program gender specific?

Juan: No, it does not matter your gender or color we want you to be a part of our program. I really would not call it a program. We go throughout the entire school district having functions for the children. We go to community centers, homeless shelters, so we are trying to help all people not just youth but we do have a special emphasis on youth.

Me: What is youth specific?

Juan: For Salvation Army we have “Teen Group” we probably should change the name (Laughing) it is for ages 12-20. We talk about everything from Politics to Sex. There are no parents allowed and we just take the gloves off and let them talk. A lot of times we tell youth what they need to do but we do not listen to what they want or their complaints. We do these talks from Cleveland to Columbus.

Me: It seems like you guys stay busy. How could someone like me volunteer my services?

Juan: We are always looking for volunteers. We have a 5K coming up this summer for #PromotePositivity. We never have a 5K in the heart of the city. It is always in the Suburbs. So if you want to be apart of this event or anything else you can contact my assistant Laura Bartlett. Her email address is Laura@werbcg.com

Me: Good stuff! Is there anything else you want to let the people know?

Juan: Yes we have a HBCU Prep School here in Cleveland and we are always looking for people that went to a HBCU, on their way, or have some type of affiliation whether it was with the band, sports, or any type of organization. We have the only HBCU Prep School in the country, Kindergarten-5th grade.

Me: Man I love what you guys are doing in the Cleveland area. Keep up the great work! We need more young people like ourselves to give back to our communities.

Juan: That the right thing to do. We have to give back. My people we are trying to make giving back sexy. It is a movement! I appreciate you doing this interview.

Me: Thank you for your time and everything that you are doing! Stay blessed! Remember to Keep It GC!

untitled 2
untitled 4

Blessed

AD
It is one year to the day since I started Gentleman’s Counsel. It has been a great year. I do not know if I was afraid, insecure or discouraged. I was not ready to let the world know my name. So instead, I decided to hide behind an alias. People never know what you are going through. People see me and think I have it all together. That is funny to me! I am learning and growing with everyone else. I am just like you. People have lied on me, talked about me; I’ve been played the fool by women and friends. I have been to the lowest of the low. I have struggling relationships with my family. I have been discriminated against; spirit broken all the way down until it was on life support. I have lost family and friends. I have eaten food out of a dumpster. I have tried to commit suicide. I have lost all love and respect for my life. I have gone through periods of anxiety and depression. I have made some of the worst business decisions in my life. I have disappointed my family and friends. I have lacked self confidence. At one point, I even lost all faith in God; I used to cry every night asking the Lord why me and what I did to deserve this.

You think I wasn’t built for this? Do not believe the hype! Sometimes we see the product but never witnessed the developmental stages. God had to break me all the way down to build me up. The more you go through in your developmental stages, the more work God has for you to do. God has a calling on my life and it took me a long time to listen but He finally got my attention. I have been hiding behind “Counselor Dave” because I was afraid of how people would receive my story or my writings. I have been struggling with revealing my true identity but I finally got confirmation from God and He said “Son it is time to move.” So with that being said, for those do not know, Adrian Taylor is Counselor Dave. I will now go forward with Gentleman’s Counsel and promote as myself. You can friend me on Facebook and Twitter to get to know me. If you need someone to speak at engagements or functions; inbox me, I am always ready and willing to motivate.

I want to thank people for all the compliments, emails, and love that you have given the site. If I can help one person in this process I have done my job. I love writing and sharing my thought process with people. God said, “Ye not be afraid.” I am no longer afraid for people to know who is behind these words. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!
So just to be clear, I, Adrian Taylor (Counselor Dave), am the main contributor to Gentleman’s Counsel. It has been through the motivation of God, my family and closest friends that have challenged me to live out my dreams and that is what I am going to do. God’s work is never done. Also my first book will be coming soon titled “It’s Already Written”. 2013 is a Big Year!

Remember to Keep it GC,
Adrian Taylor

Togetherness


The hurt. The search. Understanding my worth.
Love never seems to work. A forbidden curse, now wearing my heart on my shirt.
He loves me. He loves me not. Honesty vs. the lies. Inevitably.
Seeking. Wanting. Yearning. Wondering.
When? Where? How? When? and WHO?
Craving to say the words: I LOVE YOU
BUT more importantly, those words reciprocated with a face value equal to the truth.
Truth, a nonexistent clause in the amendment of what I seek.
Honesty, nonexistent but lies are all we speak.
The masks of reality, these lies shall hide.
Insecurity. Discouragement. Failure. Closed eyes.
Its not about understanding why it continues to hurt.
But the important factor is knowing your worth.
Worth, what exactly does it mean in one’s life?
Who you are. Better than any storm, struggle or strife.
It will get hard. You are not perfect nor untouchable.
But seeing knowing who you are, mind, body and soul.
The mind controls what the heart ultimately feels
and despite popular belief, understand that truth does not kill.

Monisa Mason

Interesting……. Were There Black Slave Masters?

Considered the very first Slave owner Anthony Johnson.

Considered the very first Slave owner in the 1650’s Anthony Johnson.


One of the most vexing questions in African-American history is whether free African Americans themselves owned slaves. The short answer to this question, as you might suspect, is yes, of course; some free black people in this country bought and sold other black people, and did so at least since 1654, continuing to do so right through the Civil War. For me, the really fascinating questions about black slave-owning are how many black “masters” were involved, how many slaves did they own and why did they own slaves?

The answers to these questions are complex, and historians have been arguing for some time over whether free blacks purchased family members as slaves in order to protect them — motivated, on the one hand, by benevolence and philanthropy, as historian Carter G. Woodson put it, or whether, on the other hand, they purchased other black people “as an act of exploitation,” primarily to exploit their free labor for profit, just as white slave owners did. The evidence shows that, unfortunately, both things are true. The great African-American historian, John Hope Franklin, states this clearly: “The majority of Negro owners of slaves had some personal interest in their property.” But, he admits, “There were instances, however, in which free Negroes had a real economic interest in the institution of slavery and held slaves in order to improve their economic status.”

In a fascinating essay reviewing this controversy, R. Halliburton shows that free black people have owned slaves “in each of the thirteen original states and later in every state that countenanced slavery,” at least since Anthony Johnson and his wife Mary went to court in Virginia in 1654 to obtain the services of their indentured servant, a black man, John Castor, for life.

And for a time, free black people could even “own” the services of white indentured servants in Virginia as well. Free blacks owned slaves in Boston by 1724 and in Connecticut by 1783; by 1790, 48 black people in Maryland owned 143 slaves. One particularly notorious black Maryland farmer named Nat Butler “regularly purchased and sold Negroes for the Southern trade,” Halliburton wrote.

Perhaps the most insidious or desperate attempt to defend the right of black people to own slaves was the statement made on the eve of the Civil War by a group of free people of color in New Orleans, offering their services to the Confederacy, in part because they were fearful for their own enslavement: “The free colored population [native] of Louisiana … own slaves, and they are dearly attached to their native land … and they are ready to shed their blood for her defense. They have no sympathy for abolitionism; no love for the North, but they have plenty for Louisiana … They will fight for her in 1861 as they fought [to defend New Orleans from the British] in 1814-1815.”

These guys were, to put it bluntly, opportunists par excellence: As Noah Andre Trudeau and James G. Hollandsworth Jr. explain, once the war broke out, some of these same black men formed 14 companies of a militia composed of 440 men and were organized by the governor in May 1861 into “the Native Guards, Louisiana,” swearing to fight to defend the Confederacy. Although given no combat role, the Guards — reaching a peak of 1,000 volunteers — became the first Civil War unit to appoint black officers.
When New Orleans fell in late April 1862 to the Union, about 10 percent of these men, not missing a beat, now formed the Native Guard/Corps d’Afrique to defend the Union. Joel A. Rogers noted this phenomenon in his 100 Amazing Facts: “The Negro slave-holders, like the white ones, fought to keep their chattels in the Civil War.” Rogers also notes that some black men, including those in New Orleans at the outbreak of the War, “fought to perpetuate slavery.”

How Many Slaves Did Blacks Own?

So what do the actual numbers of black slave owners and their slaves tell us? In 1830, the year most carefully studied by Carter G. Woodson, about 13.7 percent (319,599) of the black population was free. Of these, 3,776 free Negroes owned 12,907 slaves, out of a total of 2,009,043 slaves owned in the entire United States, so the numbers of slaves owned by black people over all was quite small by comparison with the number owned by white people. In his essay, ” ‘The Known World’ of Free Black Slaveholders,” Thomas J. Pressly, using Woodson’s statistics, calculated that 54 (or about 1 percent) of these black slave owners in 1830 owned between 20 and 84 slaves; 172 (about 4 percent) owned between 10 to 19 slaves; and 3,550 (about 94 percent) each owned between 1 and 9 slaves. Crucially, 42 percent owned just one slave.

Pressly also shows that the percentage of free black slave owners as the total number of free black heads of families was quite high in several states, namely 43 percent in South Carolina, 40 percent in Louisiana, 26 percent in Mississippi, 25 percent in Alabama and 20 percent in Georgia. So why did these free black people own these slaves?

It is reasonable to assume that the 42 percent of the free black slave owners who owned just one slave probably owned a family member to protect that person, as did many of the other black slave owners who owned only slightly larger numbers of slaves. As Woodson put it in 1924’s Free Negro Owners of Slaves in the United States in 1830, “The census records show that the majority of the Negro owners of slaves were such from the point of view of philanthropy. In many instances the husband purchased the wife or vice versa … Slaves of Negroes were in some cases the children of a free father who had purchased his wife. If he did not thereafter emancipate the mother, as so many such husbands failed to do, his own children were born his slaves and were thus reported to the numerators.”

Moreover, Woodson explains, “Benevolent Negroes often purchased slaves to make their lot easier by granting them their freedom for a nominal sum, or by permitting them to work it out on liberal terms.” In other words, these black slave-owners, the clear majority, cleverly used the system of slavery to protect their loved ones. That’s the good news.

When New Orleans fell in late April 1862 to the Union, about 10 percent of these men, not missing a beat, now formed the Native Guard/Corps d’Afrique to defend the Union. Joel A. Rogers noted this phenomenon in his 100 Amazing Facts: “The Negro slave-holders, like the white ones, fought to keep their chattels in the Civil War.” Rogers also notes that some black men, including those in New Orleans at the outbreak of the War, “fought to perpetuate slavery.”

How Many Slaves Did Blacks Own?

So what do the actual numbers of black slave owners and their slaves tell us? In 1830, the year most carefully studied by Carter G. Woodson, about 13.7 percent (319,599) of the black population was free. Of these, 3,776 free Negroes owned 12,907 slaves, out of a total of 2,009,043 slaves owned in the entire United States, so the numbers of slaves owned by black people over all was quite small by comparison with the number owned by white people. In his essay, ” ‘The Known World’ of Free Black Slaveholders,” Thomas J. Pressly, using Woodson’s statistics, calculated that 54 (or about 1 percent) of these black slave owners in 1830 owned between 20 and 84 slaves; 172 (about 4 percent) owned between 10 to 19 slaves; and 3,550 (about 94 percent) each owned between 1 and 9 slaves. Crucially, 42 percent owned just one slave.

Pressly also shows that the percentage of free black slave owners as the total number of free black heads of families was quite high in several states, namely 43 percent in South Carolina, 40 percent in Louisiana, 26 percent in Mississippi, 25 percent in Alabama and 20 percent in Georgia. So why did these free black people own these slaves?

It is reasonable to assume that the 42 percent of the free black slave owners who owned just one slave probably owned a family member to protect that person, as did many of the other black slave owners who owned only slightly larger numbers of slaves. As Woodson put it in 1924’s Free Negro Owners of Slaves in the United States in 1830, “The census records show that the majority of the Negro owners of slaves were such from the point of view of philanthropy. In many instances the husband purchased the wife or vice versa … Slaves of Negroes were in some cases the children of a free father who had purchased his wife. If he did not thereafter emancipate the mother, as so many such husbands failed to do, his own children were born his slaves and were thus reported to the numerators.”

Moreover, Woodson explains, “Benevolent Negroes often purchased slaves to make their lot easier by granting them their freedom for a nominal sum, or by permitting them to work it out on liberal terms.” In other words, these black slave-owners, the clear majority, cleverly used the system of slavery to protect their loved ones. That’s the good news.

But not all did, and that is the bad news. Halliburton concludes, after examining the evidence, that “it would be a serious mistake to automatically assume that free blacks owned their spouse or children only for benevolent purposes.” Woodson himself notes that a “small number of slaves, however, does not always signify benevolence on the part of the owner.” And John Hope Franklin notes that in North Carolina, “Without doubt, there were those who possessed slaves for the purpose of advancing their [own] well-being … these Negro slaveholders were more interested in making their farms or carpenter-shops ‘pay’ than they were in treating their slaves humanely.” For these black slaveholders, he concludes, “there was some effort to conform to the pattern established by the dominant slaveholding group within the State in the effort to elevate themselves to a position of respect and privilege.” In other words, most black slave owners probably owned family members to protect them, but far too many turned to slavery to exploit the labor of other black people for profit.

Who Were These Black Slave Owners?

If we were compiling a “Rogues Gallery of Black History,” the following free black slaveholders would be in it:

John Carruthers Stanly — born a slave in Craven County, N.C., the son of an Igbo mother and her master, John Wright Stanly — became an extraordinarily successful barber and speculator in real estate in New Bern. As Loren Schweninger points out in Black Property Owners in the South, 1790-1915, by the early 1820s, Stanly owned three plantations and 163 slaves, and even hired three white overseers to manage his property! He fathered six children with a slave woman named Kitty, and he eventually freed them. Stanly lost his estate when a loan for $14,962 he had co-signed with his white half brother, John, came due. After his brother’s stroke, the loan was Stanly’s sole responsibility, and he was unable to pay it.

William Ellison’s fascinating story is told by Michael Johnson and James L. Roark in their book, Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old South. At his death on the eve of the Civil War, Ellison was wealthier than nine out of 10 white people in South Carolina. He was born in 1790 as a slave on a plantation in the Fairfield District of the state, far up country from Charleston. In 1816, at the age of 26, he bought his own freedom, and soon bought his wife and their child. In 1822, he opened his own cotton gin, and soon became quite wealthy. By his death in 1860, he owned 900 acres of land and 63 slaves. Not one of his slaves was allowed to purchase his or her own freedom.

Louisiana, as we have seen, was its own bizarre world of color, class, caste and slavery. By 1830, in Louisiana, several black people there owned a large number of slaves, including the following: In Pointe Coupee Parish alone, Sophie Delhonde owned 38 slaves; Lefroix Decuire owned 59 slaves; Antoine Decuire owned 70 slaves; Leandre Severin owned 60 slaves; and Victor Duperon owned 10. In St. John the Baptist Parish, Victoire Deslondes owned 52 slaves; in Plaquemine Brule, Martin Donatto owned 75 slaves; in Bayou Teche, Jean B. Muillion owned 52 slaves; Martin Lenormand in St. Martin Parish owned 44 slaves; Verret Polen in West Baton Rouge Parish owned 69 slaves; Francis Jerod in Washita Parish owned 33 slaves; and Cecee McCarty in the Upper Suburbs of New Orleans owned 32 slaves. Incredibly, the 13 members of the Metoyer family in Natchitoches Parish — including Nicolas Augustin Metoyer, pictured — collectively owned 215 slaves.

Antoine Dubuclet and his wife Claire Pollard owned more than 70 slaves in Iberville Parish when they married. According to Thomas Clarkin, by 1864, in the midst of the Civil War, they owned 100 slaves, worth $94,700. During Reconstruction, he became the state’s first black treasurer, serving between 1868 and 1878.

Andrew Durnford was a sugar planter and a physician who owned the St. Rosalie plantation, 33 miles south of New Orleans. In the late 1820s, David O. Whitten tells us, he paid $7,000 for seven male slaves, five females and two children. He traveled all the way to Virginia in the 1830s and purchased 24 more. Eventually, he would own 77 slaves. When a fellow Creole slave owner liberated 85 of his slaves and shipped them off to Liberia, Durnford commented that he couldn’t do that, because “self interest is too strongly rooted in the bosom of all that breathes the American atmosphere.”

It would be a mistake to think that large black slaveholders were only men. In 1830, in Louisiana, the aforementioned Madame Antoine Dublucet owned 44 slaves, and Madame Ciprien Ricard owned 35 slaves, Louise Divivier owned 17 slaves, Genevieve Rigobert owned 16 slaves and Rose Lanoix and Caroline Miller both owned 13 slaves, while over in Georgia, Betsey Perry owned 25 slaves. According to Johnson and Roark, the wealthiest black person in Charleston, S.C., in 1860 was Maria Weston, who owned 14 slaves and property valued at more than $40,000, at a time when the average white man earned about $100 a year. (The city’s largest black slaveholders, though, were Justus Angel and Mistress L. Horry, both of whom owned 84 slaves.)

In Savannah, Ga., between 1823 and 1828, according to Betty Wood’s Gender, Race, and Rank in a Revolutionary Age, Hannah Leion owned nine slaves, while the largest slaveholder in 1860 was Ciprien Ricard, who had a sugarcane plantation in Louisiana and owned 152 slaves with her son, Pierre — many more that the 35 she owned in 1830. According to economic historian Stanley Engerman, “In Charleston, South Carolina about 42 percent of free blacks owned slaves in 1850, and about 64 percent of these slaveholders were women.” Greed, in other words, was gender-blind.

Why They Owned Slaves

These men and women, from William Stanly to Madame Ciprien Ricard, were among the largest free Negro slaveholders, and their motivations were neither benevolent nor philanthropic. One would be hard-pressed to account for their ownership of such large numbers of slaves except as avaricious, rapacious, acquisitive and predatory.

But lest we romanticize all of those small black slave owners who ostensibly purchased family members only for humanitarian reasons, even in these cases the evidence can be problematic. Halliburton, citing examples from an essay in the North American Review by Calvin Wilson in 1905, presents some hair-raising challenges to the idea that black people who owned their own family members always treated them well:

A free black in Trimble County, Kentucky, ” … sold his own son and daughter South, one for $1,000, the other for $1,200.” … A Maryland father sold his slave children in order to purchase his wife. A Columbus, Georgia, black woman — Dilsey Pope — owned her husband. “He offended her in some way and she sold him … ” Fanny Canady of Louisville, Kentucky, owned her husband Jim — a drunken cobbler — whom she threatened to “sell down the river.” At New Bern, North Carolina, a free black wife and son purchased their slave husband-father. When the newly bought father criticized his son, the son sold him to a slave trader. The son boasted afterward that “the old man had gone to the corn fields about New Orleans where they might learn him some manners.”

Carter Woodson, too, tells us that some of the husbands who purchased their spouses “were not anxious to liberate their wives immediately. They considered it advisable to put them on probation for a few years, and if they did not find them satisfactory they would sell their wives as other slave holders disposed of Negroes.” He then relates the example of a black man, a shoemaker in Charleston, S.C., who purchased his wife for $700. But “on finding her hard to please, he sold her a few months thereafter for $750, gaining $50 by the transaction.”

Most of us will find the news that some black people bought and sold other black people for profit quite distressing, as well we should. But given the long history of class divisions in the black community, which Martin R. Delany as early as the 1850s described as “a nation within a nation,” and given the role of African elites in the long history of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade, perhaps we should not be surprised that we can find examples throughout black history of just about every sort of human behavior, from the most noble to the most heinous, that we find in any other people’s history.

The good news, scholars agree, is that by 1860 the number of free blacks owning slaves had markedly decreased from 1830. In fact, Loren Schweninger concludes that by the eve of the Civil War, “the phenomenon of free blacks owning slaves had nearly disappeared” in the Upper South, even if it had not in places such as Louisiana in the Lower South. Nevertheless, it is a very sad aspect of African-American history that slavery sometimes could be a colorblind affair, and that the evil business of owning another human being could manifest itself in both males and females, and in black as well as white.
By: Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Positivity Inspite of Everything

ManThinking
Jerry was the kind of guy you love to hate. He was always in a good mood and always had something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, “If I were any better, I would be twins!”

He was a unique manager because he had several waiters who had followed him around from restaurant to restaurant. The reason the waiters followed Jerry was because of his attitude. He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Jerry was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Jerry and asked him, “I don’t get it! You can’t be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?” Jerry replied, “Each morning I wake up and say to myself, Jerry, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.’ I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.”

“Yeah, right, it’s not that easy,” I protested.

“Yes it is,” Jerry said. “Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It’s your choice how you live life.”

I reflected on what Jerry said. Soon thereafter, I left the restaurant industry to start my own business. We lost touch, but often thought about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard that Jerry did something you are never supposed to do in a restaurant business: he left the back door open one morning and was held up at gunpoint by three armed robbers. While trying to open the safe, his hand, shaking from nervousness, slipped off the combination. The robbers panicked and shot him. Luckily, Jerry was found relatively quickly and rushed to the local trauma center. After 18 hours of surgery and weeks of intensive care, Jerry was released from the hospital with fragments of the bullets still in his body. I saw Jerry about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, “If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?”

I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the robbery took place. “The first thing that went through my mind was that I should have locked the back door,” Jerry replied. “Then, as I lay on the floor, I remembered that I had two choices: I could choose to live, or I could choose to die. I chose to live.”

“Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?” I asked. Jerry continued, “The paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the emergency room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, I read, ‘He’s a dead man.’ I knew I needed to take action.”

“What did you do?” I asked.

“Well, there was a big, burly nurse shouting questions at me,” said Jerry. “She asked if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I replied. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply… I took a deep breath and yelled, ‘Bullets!’ Over their laughter, I told them, ‘I am choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead.”

Jerry lived thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I learned from him that every day we have the choice to live fully. Attitude, after all, is everything.

By Francie Baltazar-Schwartz

Makes you think!!!!!!

Mentoring 2 Manhood M2M

M2M_ANNIV-28
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Rob Malone founder of Mentoring 2 Manhood. M2M has been doing great things for teens in the community of the greater D.C. area. Since I have been able to see the magic of this program firsthand I wanted others to know straight from the source the great things this program is doing to help groom boys into young men.

Me: When and why did you start Mentoring 2 Manhood?

Rob: 8 years ago around this time I was sitting in my house with three friends of mine watching the news. Seeing all of the young males killing each other, going to jail, and dropping out of school, I had so many emotions going through my head at the time. I was just tearing up watching this on T.V. I felt that I needed to do something to help out my community. I knew I had to get involved somehow. I was always a mentor in the communities that I lived in, but it was time to do more. I wanted a program that was suited for me and people like me based on my Christian beliefs that tailored to the boys without the distraction of money, titles, or positions. When it comes down to it I wanted the focus to be 100% on the boys.

Me: What is the age range for to register young men in Mentoring 2 Manhood?

Rob: Boys in school from the age of 12 and up, it does not matter your race, color, or creed.

Me: About how many children have you pushed through the program?

Rob: We are roughly around 250 strong. We were only pushing about 15-20 boys a year. Now we are pushing 60 a year and hopefully it will be around 100 next year. I have to credit that to the demand of the program. I have not advertised, pushed or promoted M2M, only through back to school night. It has all been word of mouth through the parents. The demand has been very high for men role models.

Me: I guess that’s where I come in. What days does the program meet?

Rob: We have a lot for people to get involved in. On Thursdays we are at Walker Mill Middle School (800 Karen Blvd Capitol Heights, MD 20743) we offer tutoring in there enrichment period from 11AM-1PM. We are also there from 5:15-6:15 for after school tutoring. On Saturday we are at Kettering Middle School (65 Herrington Dr, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772) where we have middle school and high school students throughout Prince Georges County and the D.C. area. We have mentoring from 11AM- 1PM. If all goes well next week we will start a third site at Kenmoor Middle School (2500 Kenmoor Drive Landover, MD 20785) it will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays during their enrichment period.

Me: Are you a Non-Profit Organization?

Rob: Yes we are 501.c3 we have the charitable organization tax exempt status.

Me: How would people donate money to your organization?

Rob: Most people do it through the internet. You can go to www.M2Minc.org or they can mail contributions to 3262 Superior Lane P.O. Box 225 Bowie, MD 20715

Me: Who is the contact person for people who want to get involved or that have young men they want to register into the program?

Rob: Mr. Rob Howze email: rhowze@m2minc.org phone: 240-461-8474

Me: Is there anything else that your organization is involved in, or you just want to add?

Rob: Something that we have that is hot right now is parent engagement. It takes a village to raise a child. We do something after every progress report and report card called an academic conference where we invite the parents and students to meet with a tutor and a mentor. We set guidelines and expectations on how we can improve the child’s academic standing and behavior. We make sure they are structured and supported. We had a retreat this past weekend and it was powerful. We had 41 boys there. But the biggest thing was the mentors that came out. People do not understand but mentoring can be easy. It only takes a couple hours of week. You do not have to be a millionaire to make a difference in a child’s life. All you have to do is be a productive member in society wanting to better the lives of our youth.

Me: I want to thank you for your time in doing the interview. I love to see people giving back to the community. That is something that is very near and dear to my heart.

Rob: I want to thank you for doing this. I hope that this bring awareness to your readers of what we are doing. I just hope that people give back whether it be with my organization or another please take the time to give back you will find there is a lot of gratification in doing it.

Me: Always Remember to Keep it GC!

IMG_1074IMG_0224Edwards

First Black Medal of Honor Recipient

carney
William Carney was the first black U.S. soldier to earn the Presidential Medal of Honor. In 1863, Carney joined the Morgan Guards, which later became the 54th Massachusetts Infantry.

A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Carney was born a slave in 1840. After moving to New Bedford, MA, Carney’s father escaped slavery and later bought his family’s freedom. Carney had hoped to pursue ministry work but found a calling to join the Army.

During the Battle of Fort Wagner in 1863, Carney earned the title of sergeant for his amazing efforts despite the flying bullets and over 200 bodies that surrounded him. Carney threw down his weapon and grabbed the Infantry’s U.S. flag. After being shot twice, he made his way through the neighboring ditch through the water and carried it behind Union lines. Another Union soldier from a different Infantry offered to take the flag from Carney but he refused. By this time, he had been shot four times, including a graze to the head. Carney wholeheartedly believed that the flag had to be delivered by someone from the 54th Infantry, Company C.

Roughly 272 men out of 600 soldiers died at Fort Wagner, including Colonel Robert Gould Shaw. Because of the bravery of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry, President Lincoln recognized the 54th as a crucial component to a Civil War victory.

Sgt. Carney recovered from his gunshot wounds but was unable to continue his services for the 54th. On May 23, 1900, Sgt. Carney was honored with the Medal of Honor, 40 years after his service at Fort Wagner.

Rosa Parks Statue

Rosa-Parks-9433715-1-402Today, President Obama will present the unveiling of a magnificent 9-foot statue of Rosa Parks in Statuary Hall on Capitol Hill. This year marks the 100th birthday of the civil rights icon. The statue will be the first of an African American woman in our nations’ Capitol.

On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat on a municipal bus to a white man. Her arrest sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and other boycotts around the country. Rosa Parks was called, the mother of the freedom movement by many.

Rosa Parks was not the first woman to refuse to give up her seat on the bus; there was Irene Morgan of Virginia in 1944, Sarah Louise Keys in 1953, Aurelia Browder and 15-year-old Claudette Colvin, both in 1955. However, it was decided that Rosa Parks’ arrest for civil disobedience would be the best to highlight with the Alabama courts by the NAACP and her legal counsel.

Parks was serving a dual role as a seamstress and as secretary to the NAACP during the time of the incident. Though she lost her job at a local department store, her actions led to her image as an icon for change, giving hope and pride to many who wished to change the racist conditions in America.

The change of Alabama’s bus segregation laws was decided through the Browder vs. Gayle case in 1956. With the consult of NAACP legal representatives Thurgood Marshall and Robert Carter, the bus segregation cases of Mary Louise Smith, Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, and Susie were re-opened in a civil suit against the City of Montgomery. W.A. Gayle, the mayor of Montgomery was named as the defendant in the case. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court and by November 1956, bus segregation was ruled unconstitutional. The decision was enforced in Montgomery one month later.
Rosa Parks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Springarn Medal, the Congressional Gold Medal and she is the first woman to lie in state at Capitol Hill’s rotunda.

Parks legacy is told in her autobiography, Rosa Parks: My Story. Since her passing, a host of streets, buildings, schools and events have been named in her honor. In addition, the bus that sparked the controversial event is on display at the Henry Ford Museum.

This year, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Rosa Parks stamp on the 100th birthday of the civil rights’ legend. The stamp, which was created by art director Derry Noyes and stamp artist Thomas Blackshear II, is part of the Civil Rights series, which will include the March on Washington and the Emancipation Proclamation. The value is equivalent to first-class postage.

Freedomland for Slaves

fortmoseFort Mose has been labeled as the very first black settlement in America. The area was formed in 1726 and was nestled two miles north of St. Augustine, Fla. By 1738, Fort Mose consisted of 38 freed escaped black slaves, most with their families.

The Fort was protected by armed black men, the black militia, who were led by Francisco Menendez. Menendez was a 17th century Mandinga from West Africa and an escaped slave himself. He had been captured in South Carolina until 1715.

Fort Mose was known as the first “promised land” for slaves. Since 1687, slaves who escaped to Florida simply had to profess that they believed in Roman Catholicism for freedom.

The life of a slave on Fort Mose served as a precursor to the Stone Rebellion in 1739. Twenty slaves sparked the revolt by killing two store clerks. Sixty people were killed in action, including 20 whites. The next revolt would take place at Ashley River. The bloody battle ended with the capturing and hanging of fifty slaves.

As word spread about Fort Mose and the freedom of the black militia, the English intervened and attacked the settlement in 1740. Though the Native Americans had joined forces with Mose, they overthrew the black army of men and Fort Mose was destroyed. Francisco Menendez was captured and sent back to slavery.

It was not until 1752 when the Spanish rebuilt Fort Mose that it was re-opened. A newly escaped Menendez took his position as captain, and once again, led the new settlers of Fort Mose. In 1763, Menendez loaded 48 freed slaves on the Our Lady of Sorrows ship headed to Cuba, where they settled in a town near Havana.

The settlement known as Fort Mose is now a historical landmark.