Profound and Thought-Provoking Sayings by Great African-Americans

I am going to present and briefly expound on a few very profound, prudent, and timeless sayings by some very prominent African Americans in my column today. Though each of the people that I will celebrate and commend today (by presenting and commenting on their words) are deceased their words are immortal and just as thought provoking today as they were when they initially spoke or penned them.
“A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good, just because it’s accepted by a majority.” (Booker T. Washington)
I have always regarded Booker T. Washington as one of my favorite characters of history. The previous statement by him is a powerful and profound saying that we would do well to consider and treasure. This is especially the case in the age that we are living in when folk are calling darkness light, wrong right, and doing what is right in their own opinion and sight. There are only a few who still embrace absolute truths that are contained in the Bible as the standard for what is right or wrong in this post-Christian age and culture. I wholeheartedly agree with Booker T. Washington and the Bible that declares,” thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2).
Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow. (Langston Hughes)
This poem, by who many consider the poet laureate of Black literature and history, is one of my favorite poems. The allegorical and comparative style that the poem was written in has been a source to literally millions ever since it was written by Hughes. I have been motivated and reminded to hang in there about quite a few things that I was praying and waiting to come to fruition by reciting and thinking on Langston Hughes’s poem.
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.) These words spoken by America’s greatest civil rights leader, who was assassinated because of his social activism, have reverberated down through the decades since they were spoken back on August 28, 1963. Almost sixty years later, Dr. King’s dream to see America free of racial biases and discrimination has not been fully realized. Though we have come a long way in dealing with the race problem in our nation, there is still much territory to be conquered to eradicating systemic racism from various aspects of our culture when it comes to black and brown people. Prayerfully, the day will come when every American will be judged and valued, not by the color of their skin, the texture of their hair, or any external physical feature, but by the content of their character.
“There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” (Eldridge Cleaver)
Those words penned by Black Panther leader, Eldridge Cleaver, in his book on essays entitled, Soul on Ice, captures and expresses a cardinal truth that involves each of us. In every struggle for equality, freedom, and the sanity and survival of the human race, you either fit into one or two categories. You are either a part of the solution or a part of the problem. You do not have to be the one who lit the fire or threw the Molotov cocktail that started the insurrection against authorities. When you are silent, complacent, and look in the other direction at any atrocious and evil act against our fellow man, we are guilty of complicity. There can be no neutrality when people are being victimized by injustice, racism, violence, crime, and other social evils. You are either a part of the solution or you are a part of the problem.
“When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” (Maya Angelou)
Out of all the great poems and sayings of Maya Angelou that have made a profound impact on our culture, the previous is one of my favorites. Like me, there are perhaps millions who have been victimized and taken advantage of by people who showed us their true colors and we trusted them in spite of what we saw. There was a weakness in us that caused us to look at them through a false sense of hope that what we really saw about them (that was dark, deceptive, and untrustworthy) was not really true.
Time would fail me to tell of the times I have been burnt, betrayed, and bamboozled by people who showed me their true colors and I trusted them anyway. I have had to learn the hard way that when people show you who they are, believe them.
“When purpose is not known, abuse is inevitable.” (Myles Munroe)
This final saying by the late, great Myles Munroe has been a popular saying to many Christians and non-Christians alike, ever since he spoke it and popularized it. There are multiple millions of people who are living a life of mediocrity, failure, and abuse due to the fact that they do not know their purpose. A person’s purpose is, in essence, what they were created and designed by their Creator to do – to His glory. There is a general purpose that we all were created to do, like worshiping our Creator. Then there is individual purpose that is distinct and unique to every individual. Individual purpose is determined by divine given abilities, talents, and opportunities. I lived a wasted and abusive life until I discovered my purpose. Admittedly and without exception, where purpose is unknown, abuse is inevitable.

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