When asked about Brother Malcolm X, I always praise him as a Master Teacher who taught me and many others the importance of reading, learning from and acting on our history. By doing so, we can more effectively promote and protect our economic, cultural and political rights in the United States and the world. One thing I did because of Brother Malcolm’s guidance has been to collect important quotes that provide sound guidance from serious Black folks including journalist/historian Lerone Bennett, Jr., academician Mary McLeod Bethune, business executive Earl B. Dickerson, psychologist Frances Cress Welsing and historian Carter G. Woodson.
Brother Bennett stated, “Given the way we were forced to live in this society, the miracle is not that so many Black families are broken, but so many are still together. That so many Black fathers are still at home. That so many Black mothers are still raising good children. It is the incredible toughness and resilience in (Black) people that give me hope.”
Sister Bethune wrote in her last will and testament that “I leave you (Black people) the challenge of developing confidence in one another. This kind of confidence will aid the economic rise of the race by bringing together the pennies and dollars of our people and ploughing them into useful channels.”
Brother Dickerson stated that “As more and more Blacks move into the middle class, they owe a responsibility to the Black community. If Blacks go into the white community to get the know-how and then stay there, they are only pushing further away from the possibilities of Blacks ever becoming economically self-sufficient.”
Sister Welsing noted that “Black children are our most valuable possession and our greatest potential resource. Any meaningful discussion of the future of Black people must be predicated upon Black people’s plans for the maximum development of all Black children….If the children of a people are not fully developed at whatever cost and sacrifice, the people will have consigned themselves to certain death.”
Brother Woodson warned us in 1926 that “In the schools of business administration negroes are trained exclusively in the psychology and economics of Wall Street, therefore made to despise the opportunities to run ice wagons, push banana carts and sell peanuts among their own people. Foreigners who have not studied economics, but have studied negroes take up this business and grow rich.”
The advice and guidance provided by these master teachers and others have just as much relevance in 2023 as it did when given. If we don’t follow their advice and guidance as a group of people we will never be in a position to effectively promote and protect the rights of people of African descent in this country and the world.