The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

February 22, 2013

Black history reflections

John Anderson

Friday, February 22, 2013 — When I think of black history, I think of American history. For every aspect of that history, the descendants of slaves from Africa have played an integral part in the growth an development of the greatest country on the fact of God’s green earth, the United States of America.

We are the embodiment of the American dream, even though at one point we were not by law considered a whole human being. That did not break the spirit of the men and women who worked long hours in extreme heat and cold without earning a wage of being compensated for their labor. Blood and sweat built railroads and highways, picked cotton on vast acres allowing agriculture to become modernized and industrial companies to acquire wealth. And still I am proud to be an American when the Emancipation Proclamation set free by law a people oppressed.

The Bible says to forgive so I will but I won’t forget; yet I won’t hold a grudge but I will work harder because that’s what it takes to rise to the ranks of my forefathers’ owners, my great-uncles who served in WWII as soldiers, my father who in the civil rights movement was beaten into a coma.

I remember but my heart burns with passion like timber to produce fruit from seeds planted spring, summer, fall and winter. I don’t seek reparations, 40 acres and a mule. I will receive my master’s degree in school and prove wrong the myth of the dancing, singing, nail and hammer swinging fool. My greatest tool is my mind where chains cannot bind. I will find that needle in a haystack with eyes that are not blind.

In a generation from the time before I was alive to today I have seen our people on a steady decline. The democracy that is our nation has become on the brink of inflation, jobs lost and fewer minds eager to create them. The state of welfare as a way of life is not the dream of Dr. King or the vision Harriet Tubman had when she helped slaves receive their independence.

Overcoming insurmountable obstacles is at the core of the American spirit so I celebrate more than 28 days in recognition of the brave, the free and the fearless. That my son can achieve his aspirations and dreams because of what his father, grandfather and great-grandfather achieved. Business to politics, walking in the grace of God and being the fulfillment of His promises to Abraham, when the phrase Made in America is said, hold your head high because our people helped make this land.

Take a stand for what is right and just, the same God that freed the Israelites, is the same God that died for us. In God I Trust is not a cliché but are the words that I live by every day. Let our character reflect excellence by what we do, not what we say. Hard work and perseverance produce changes.

A diamond is formed through great pressure and intense flame, so understand that there will be bad weather and heavy rain, not always sunny days. If you don’t know your history you don’t know what your future can be. I won’t complain or place blame, the responsibility lies with me.

We must not take for granted those who fought, bled and died so we could be free. The limit is past the sky and opportunities are as vast as the sea and as far as the eye can see. From Heaven comes our help; we must embrace the mentality of “do for self.” The mind is a diamond mine as wide as Orion’s belt, united we stand and rise, divided we fall into the depths of Hell; let us excel.

Stanly County resident John Anderson wrote this piece to coincide with Black History Month.