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  • Writer's pictureWarren Publishing

Let Me Inherit a Double Portion...


The untutored minds of our Black ancestors used words that educated people find funny. How backward they were to say such ignorant things. Their beliefs were built on fiction, fantasy, myth and ignorance. They could not read or write. They could not count. Since they lived under crushing pressures that treated them as things to be used for the interests and profits of others, how could they live, love, and hope, when they had no evident reason to do so. My teacher, Howard Thurman expands on my thought by asking, How does the human spirit accommodate itself to desolation? What tools of the spirit were in their hands to cut a path through the wilderness of despair? Are there blessings in Black? Did Grandma Martha mislead me? Was Mama Amy wrong?

If our unlearned, unschooled ancestors had failed to accommodate themselves to despair and if they never found the tools of the spirit to cut a path through the wilderness of despair, suicide would have been their only choice. Had they made suicide their choice, our parents, their parents and us would not have been left to tell their story and our story. I ask our very learned teachers , writers, and celebrity preachers why do we read text books by, German, French, English, and Russian scholars of history and religion while failing to include in our search the wisdom and mysteries of our own flesh and blood who survived the trans-Atlantic middle passage? Their testimonies are dusty slave narratives on the unused shelves of our libraries. Their theologies are pregnant in the Negro Spirituals that have been replaced by Praise music as if it is sinful in covid-19 times to sing Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen. Or I’ve Got to Walk My Lonesome Valley. I’ve Got to Walk it for My Self!

I say to generations coming be prepared to survive and thrive in and thru covid-19 and a post coronavirus era and eras of coming viruses where you must master the urban-suburban economic disparity challenges with just public policies of sustainability than will enable you to live life with black dignity in a world made for white privilege . When politicians of evangelical Christian nationalism continue attempts to destroy our communities by allowing disproportionate, environmental pollution, When corporate greed disallows affordable housing ,When health care costs are beyond the reach , When justice in the courts sleeps, When transportation is inaccessible in our communities , we must in the tradition of our ancestors turn the tide of the times for ourselves and for coming generations.

‘’Done made my vow to the Lord, I never will turn back, I will go. I shall go, to see what the end will be.’’

J Alfred Smith Sr.

Pastor Emeritus

Allen Temple Baptist Church

Oakland, California

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