By Roy Douglas Malonson, Chairman
What would America be like without “agitators” or “outsiders”?
They have played a vital and significant role in influencing changes in public policy and shaping the political fabric and atmosphere in these United States.
Something that caught my attention recently was the statements of Jasper Police Chief Robert MacDonald attacking “Black” freedom fighters, activists and “outsiders” coming to his town.
MacDonald said he does not like the “outsiders” stirring up what he called “hatred and bigotry” in his town. He also called out one Beaumont activist and challenged him to decide whether he would be part of the Jasper team solution or remain one of the agitating “outsiders” who perpetuate the problem.
First, We MUST Understand the definition of agitator.
Agitator -An agitator is a person who stirs up others in order to upset the status quo and further a political, social, or other cause.
The attack on Ricky Jason is a clear indication that the historic vestiges of racism are still alive and well in the heart of MacDonald and many southern “sympathizers” like him living in Texas.
The history of America is rich with “agitators” and “outsiders” who stirred people and motivated them to action resulting in change.
From Samuel Adams, Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine to Frederick Douglass, Stokely Carmichael, Adam Clayton Powell Jr and Martin Luther King Jr, each played a vital role in helping to shape Democratic policy in America.
“Outsiders” Adams, Henry and Paine’s writings helped start a revolution against King George and the British government that resulted in independence and the birth of a nation.
During slavery, Frederick Douglass “agitated” slave owners and congressmen in the South with his appearances, writings and fiery speeches calling for the abolition of slavery and recognition of Blacks as humans and free citizens.
He was not even considered a “man” by southern standard, but was labeled a “meddling outsider”, but Douglass words, common sense and wisdom was acknowledged and respected by the leader of the free world – President Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln counseled with Douglas on several occasions, despite those who called Douglas a “Negro” “outsider” and “agitator”.
Stokely Carmichael rose to prominence in the civil rights and Black Power movements, first as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and later as the Honorary Prime Minister of the Black Panther Party.
He participated in the Freedom Rides of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to desegregate the restaurants along U.S. Route 40 between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. and was frequently arrested, spending time in jail. In 1961, he served 49 days with other activists at the infamous Parchman Farm in Sunflower County, Mississippi. He was arrested many times for his “agitator-outsider” activism. However, the results of his and other agitators were the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act.
Adam Clayton Powell Jr. was a clergyman and U.S. representative who was a major force in establishing civil rights for African Americans. Powell was elected to the House of Representatives in the mid-1940s and became a champion civil rights reformer, also making great strides in education and labor. He faced controversy for being an “agitator” for some of his actions and words. His role as an freedom fighting “outsider” among White Americans at a critical time in history helped bring about attention and changes needed to turn the tide on Jim Crow racism and segregation in this country.
Chief MacDonald is like so many other “old head” racist thinkers in America today who don’t want Blacks enlightened or awakened about their condition and understand those responsible for their plight and oppression. Their attitudes are simply, “stay out of my small town and quit educating and agitating my “good n*gg$!s”.”
Chief MacDonald and those like him are wrong and think like dinosaurs.
Modern Freedom Fighters like Ricky Jason, Lee Alcorn, Kofi Taharka, Krystal Muhammad, Robert Muhammad, Dr. James M. Douglas, Deric Muhammad, Pastor F.N. Williams, Bishop James Dixon, Rev. Kyev Tatum and many others not only deserve our respect, but also our support and deepest appreciation for their efforts to be the “outsiders” who stir things up, agitate and let the racists in America know that we will not bow and never will break.
We MUST Understand that “Agitation” and “Outsider” influences are good for Democracy. It keeps the status quo honest and ensures that the rights of the weak and powerless among us will not be trampled upon.