Overcoming Obstacles

PRAIRIE VIEW – Recently, Prairie View A&M University held a Black History Month celebration. The university has designated the theme for the month as “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture.” Students, Pastor Lloyd Gilesof the House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church, Michael Skelton owner of MeekoTV, Lieutenant Kevin Malonson, professors and a gallery of other inquisitive guests all gathered to listen to Publisher Roy Douglas Malonson deliver his address entitled “Overcoming Obstacles.” The event was held in the John B. Coleman Library located on the campus. Mr. Sammie Johnson, a graduate student, presided over the program of the day, while Dr. Rosie L. Albritton, Director of Library Services gave a welcome to everyone in attendance. Afterwards, Brittany Tarver, a senior majoring in Accounting, delivered a rendition of the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Kariss Gordon, another senior of the university who is studying Business Marketing, gave an informative introduction as she announced the speaker for the afternoon.

Mr. Roy Douglas Malonson immediately captivated the attention of the audience with his witty personality and galvanizing sense of humor. He started his message off by stating, “I am who I am, and that’s where I’m coming from today.” He challenged the audience to understand that he was there to encourage and motivate by means of sharing Black history facts in addition to his own life experiences over time.

Publisher Malonson explained that “During 1823, Mexico passed a general colonization law and Anglo Americans began to flood into Texas.” He tied this fact into the elements that established Prairie View as a historically Black university into American history. He went on to inform that due to the Anglos flooding Texas, they outnumbered the residents that were already living there. In 1836, another law was passed to ban more Anglos from coming into Texas. This caused a rebellion, because the Mexicans also declared that there were to be no more slaves brought in either. “They were totally against slavery, so be careful how you treat your Brown brothers, because you got to know your history and get a quick understanding of what’s going on today,” he revealed. Malonson also connected the “Yellow Rose of Texas,” which was a “Black sister who was a mulatto that helped to win the battle,” he said.

The purpose of him giving this history was to inform the audience of the Civil War that these actions led to in the South which included states such as Texas, Louisiana, Alabama etc. Accordingly, a lot of slaves fought in this war to help win it and still were never accepted as equals. Malonson swiftly moved on to the year 1863 when Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, however, this proclamation did not make it to Southern states until two years later. After yielding that fact, Malonson comically interrogated the audience by saying, “Now ain’t that a real mother for ya?” causing the gathering to burst out into laughter.

He also expounded on the implementations of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments that were passed simply to give the Negroes common rights like other races. Even after that Malonson explained that between 1890’s to the early 1900’s, there were still laws put in place to undermine the laws that were instituted to give Negroes some form of equality. Those laws became known as “Jim Crow” laws. “Even though we were free, we had to stay in our place,” he stated.

As he summed up the history that preceded him, he proceeded to go into his own family history.

As he continued to tie his life story into history he demonstrated a clipping that really troubled him so much that he cut out and saved from years ago. The article produced by The Informer exhibited the fact that, “Congress was still debating whether Negroes were human or property.” He engaged the audience by passing the framed the article around, so that everyone could see it for themselves.

Continuing, in 1965, he opened his first hard work shop and eventually bought a house at the age of 16-years-old. At the age of 18, he received a full academic scholarship to the University of St. Thomas and to New York Culinary Arts Institute. After six months at the University of St. Thomas, he said that he just could not take it because he felt he was only accepted because he blended in, but he was never truly accepted. So from there in 1969, he started a remodeling business, of which he recalls the very people that made fun of him, ended up working for him. Two years later he met a woman who later became his wife and much to his chagrin, things did not work out the way that he intended.

Despite the turbulence that he experience in his marriage, he expressed that he was blessed to have a daughter from that union. Melanie Malonson was his first and only child, who happened to be amongst those in attendance. Apparently, she inherited his spirit of business ethics and experience and has become the business owner of Natural Kreations.

When Life Knocks You Down, Get Back Up

Moving forward, in 1974, his father committed suicide which caused Roy to be knocked down, but as he repetitiously uttered throughout the afternoon, “he still got up and got back in the game.” The next phase was in 1979, which rested in the form of him going through a divorce, whereas he pretty much lost everything that he had built up to that point, “house, car, truck, apartments – I lost it all.” But, Malonson made a conscientious decision to walk away and keep his sanity.

In 1980, he started back over. His plan was to buy an acre of land every two years, a plan he was able to bring into fruition. A couple years, later he sincerely meet another woman by the name of Shirley Ann Johnson and the rest became history. Now, 33 years later collectively they own several business ventures including: Malonson Construction, African-American News&Issues, Shirley Ann’s Black Kollectibles & Flowers and the RS Deer Ranch; amidst other business establishments that they have had their hands in pioneering down through the years.

Before he concluded his message he said that in 1987, his oldest brother that quit school to go to work to help support the family, also committed suicided. Resulting in what Malonson described as another real, “Mother for ya!” Ultimately, he summed up his address by saying, “Now I have named about eight things, that at any time could have knocked me out for good; but each one of those things made me strong, not made me weak.”

Finally he explained that his Polio resurfaced with a vengeance and caused him to get out of the construction business, but even then he did not get out of the game. As he hurried to a close he performed a demonstration showing students and those in attendance the long-lasting effects that Polio left upon his body. It was evident that his message and presentation went over effectively with the gathering, as many sentiments were expressed through the countenances of everyone in the room. Undoubtably, his message was a well-received inspiration and if no other message was given out of his address of, “Overcoming Obstacles” attendees walked away with the thought of, “whenever life knocks you down, you get back up!”