When the great Civil War began in America, April 12, 1961, there were about nine-million people in the South. Four -million of the people were Black-people of African descendant. Fully half of these were Black men.
Prior to the Civil War, the United States Supreme Court had ruled in the Dred Scott Decision that no Black man, slave or freed could be a United States citizen…no Black man had any rights that a White man was bound to respect… furthermore, that Congress could not abolish slavery.
Almost every Black man could be expected to be sold as property at least once, often multiple times. Families were separated and the slave father could not protect himself, nor his family. Slaves could not legally marry as full human beings.
Black men could not adequately protect and secure their children and families. Nevertheless, tens of thousands of Black men struggled to secure their bodies and protect their families. Black men and women were abolitionists before there was an abolitionist movement. Frederick Douglass was an abolitionist when he fought his master and escaped to the North.
Over 150-years later, Ta Nahesi Coates revisits the issue of the difficulty for Black men to secure their bodies and the bodies of their Black sons. 150-years later, in this great nation 1 out of every 4 Black men are ensnared by the criminal justice system – jails, penitentiaries and probation.
Hundreds of movements such as, My Brothers Keepers and Ultimate Enrichment, are challenging the institutionalized racism and the self-destructive behaviors that are re-enslaving millions of Black men.
In this hour of trial, millions of Black people are trying to secure their families, holding on and pressing forward toward the mark.
Thus, we secure our families, never abandon our children and create a meaningful future that draws on the inspiration of the ex-slaves that had an emancipation vision.
On January 1, 1863 slaves in the rebel states, were declared free. This declaration included Texas but did not become reality until June 1865. The burning question to ask is, “Have the ex-slaves mentally declared themselves free?”
The MBK six milestones www.mbkhouston.org, are a roadmap to renewal, securing of bodies, families and children.
Milestones 1 – 6
Getting a Healthy Start and Entering School Ready to Learn
• All children should have a healthy start and enter school ready – cognitively, physically, socially and emotionally.
Reading at Grade Level by Third Grade
• All children should be reading at grade level by age 8 – the age at which reading to learn becomes essential.
Graduating from High School Ready for College and Career
• All youth should receive a quality high school education and graduate with the skills and tools needed to advance to postsecondary education or training.
Completing Post-secondary Education or Training
• Every American should have the option to attend post-secondary education and receive the education and training needed for the quality jobs of today and tomorrow.
Successfully Entering the Workforce
• Anyone who wants a job should be able to get a job that allows them to support themselves and their families.
Keeping Kids on Track and Giving Them Second Chances
• All youth and young adults should be safe from violent crime; and individuals who are confined should receive the education, training, and treatment they need for a second chance.