My particular interests are about human energies and matters in generation of goodness by, for and of men and women in the common cause of procreation and functional integration. My contributions, I hope, are to help tell what we both have seen and heard in the course of our lives of observation, study, and travel, ... as believers acknowledging that we cannot document what has not been observed and are thus led by faith to try and understand those generations that marched before we lived.
My father was a hard-working coal miner in the town wherein I was born at home via care of a midwife, ... as were my siblings. The same held true for all, not simply most, of my friends in town. Their coal miner fathers also worked every day but remained too poor for child births in one of only two hospitals that would admit their wives.
I would later learn the problem was the Coal Company physician in town was an associate in only two hospitals for which he could order Black admissions. The time and place was the generation of energy used to fuel America's millions of buildings, mills, factories, homes and over 100,000 ships needed to win World War II. Coal miners like my father were exempt from military conscription. He was 35 years of age with a wife and five children at the time of Japan's sneak attack on Pearl Harbor and other Anglo American interests in the Pacific theater.
Pittsburgh Coal Company was one of largest coal mining towns in the world and thrived until mid 1950s after I had graduated from high school.
I would later learn the town was part of a integrated banking, finance and energy empire that stretched across America. It always fascinated me that so many men of mostly Scotch heritage were able to conceptualize, cooperate, plan, program, finance, and manage such vast holdings, ... often times with little more than a hand-shake and common vision.
The "Great Scots" were Presbyterians, and oriented in building enterprises that made matters useful such as schools. Their faith was just as strong, if not more so, than the Black and White poor employed by them; but, differences were in definitions defined by enlightenment and education. Same words but differing interpretations.
By the time of my sophomore year in a high school that had total enrollment of less than 400 students, ... I was able to comprehend the functional churches of change were reflected in clubs, factories, farms, homes, mills, mines, schools, stores and other buildings of community including but not limited to places of worship and pretentious preachers. I could read well and see very vast differences in definitions of community among ignorant versus leaned folks, both Black and White. Uneducated Blacks used the term "community" to mean their church rituals, nothing more or desired in the context of enlightened meanings. Their African heritage relished rituals.
For uneducated poor Black folks (especially older women) observed by me, their bible was a "magic book" not far removed from attitudes of 1st century Copts with their famed prayer rituals in matters of health, housing, money, food, etc.
By time of my sophomore year at Virginia State College in 1958, ... I was inclined to appreciate all bibles as more or less representing the world's great literature, even surpassing the amazing works of Chaucer, Shakespeare and the other great scholars and writers including Jefferson, Lincoln, Douglass and King. I believed then and now that all of them read and understood their bible readings and teachings at least as well or better than men and women with little or no knowledge of the geography, times, history or writers.
So far as I was able to learn, they all were believers in a divine providence but little or nothing like the many men who professed to have intimate knowledge of creation and the creator, in their image, a man of course and always a unsolvable equation for me. How could all the elements of time, space and matter in creation itself be compressed into size and shape of a man? Did Jesus say so?
I could read and understand well enough to learn that many great Hebrew, Greek, Latin and English scholars that researched and published what some much later generation folks like to cite and quote as "the word of God." My three year sojourn from college into the realities of differences in geography and people living west of the Allegheny Mountains motivated me to conclude that African-Americans were in no way, no how, no where monolithic in attitudes and behaviors about anything, any place or any how.
Writers like "Jimmy Baldwin," a self ordained child preacher of imitated pretentions, ... had little or no knowledge of men that mattered to my sense of self. Baldwin's world of people with deviant attitudes and behaviors living in places like Greenwich Village and the Bowery were places of wonder but not a Black norm in my view.
For me, Marcus Garvey's initiatives in Harlem beginning with his first public gathering at St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church was not about Harlem renaissance but resolution that generated men of means like Kwame N'Krumah and Martin Luther King.
Indeed, if such people as Baldwin described were normal New Yorkers, how did they come to survive and thrive in a history predating the revolutionary war and participating in the Civil War and all the following wars including World War I, II, Korea and Vietnam? For me, New York was about giants like Sugar Ray Robinson and Reverend Adam Clayton Powell and other men of my color and kind who lived on the famed Sugar Hill section of Harlem. It was a place where all aspiring folks could congregate to not only pretend and imitate life but live better lives learning and doing something useful for self and families.
It was not until years later as a student in graduate statistics course that I comprehended standard deviate thinking such as Baldwin did not make for understanding aspirations of normal young Black men. Rather, their aspirations were mainly to make money like other folks around them, not looking for acceptance and love portrayed by Baldwin as some sort of holy quest.
His book "The Fire Next Time" was not about potential behavior by normal youth in New York City or anyplace else though it certainly helped fuel ghetto minds that accepted it as gospel. And it helped rationalize reactions by Whites following the 1960s riots and burnings by several thousands of ignorant young Black arsonists and looters in several major cities led by self-styled revolutionaries citing Baldwin's little "paperback book."
Messianic believers like Shirley Chisholm were far more in tune with the attitudes and behaviors of normal men and women in New York, ... having babies and raising up a new generation of believers. In the first instance, after living in Harlem for several months, ... it was clear to me that a lot of gifted and talented folks lived there but quite unlike the construction, factory, mill and mine workers around Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Wheeling.
By far, the great difference was that Harlem folks seemed to read the daily newspapers and Sunday papers like lesser minds pretend to read their bibles. Men without jobs or money in their pockets could nevertheless cite statistics and performances by White only hockey teams and recount attributes of musicians and athletes they had never seen perform. Such immigrants to Harlem viewed outsiders in New York City as people someplace else referring to them as Irish, Italians, Jews, and West Indians like those living in Long Island and the Bronx?
I learned New York City was not monolithic during great tribulations that began before colonial rebellion, and at least until era of adversaries like New York's Moses: determined to keep Harlem isolated-separated from Whites. But, it was the great and courageous Adam Clayton Powell who championed legitimate causes of Harlemites.
Harlem, to me was a place where everyone I met was from someplace else including Africa, Cuba and even mystical places like South Carolina and Florida and claims of Geechi and Seminole heritage spiced with African. By the time I moved to Brooklyn for life with other cousins, it was clear that New York City was a world for some very tough minded folks, both Black, White, Mulatto, and combination numbers boxed and squared to be sure.
I learned the illegal policy number rackets in the big apple consumed well over 50 millions dollars per year long before drugs like heroin turned thousands into near helpless hulks, ... such as a Lenox Avenue prostitute that my cousin was advised me was college graduate with a degree in accounting but required an enormous amount of money to sustain her drug habit. But, yet it was her who had so little to offer that advised me to return to college and continuation of my education. (Years later, my cousin advised me that she had been able to overcome her drug habit, taken a government job and advanced to a very high level position)
By year 1968, I had experienced meeting President Kennedy on the White House lawn as a summer intern and a few months later watched his horse-drawn funeral carriage enter Arlington National Cemetery. My five year odyssey in the American culture between year 1963 and 1968 opened my eyes to conditions of uncertainty in not only the United States but the entire world that included people of African heritage along with those of Asian, Arab and European heritage.
My subsequent experiences as a military officer in the United States, Vietnam, France, the Netherlands and Germany afforded me an opportunity to observe and integrate among people and places far removed from simple explanations and generalities commonly espoused among "the least of us." Amazingly, walking down the great boulevard in Paris, before Napoleon's Ark of Triumph, ... who did I see but James Baldwin who gave a great smile and greeting when I pronounced his name "Mr. Baldwin" and said hello.
By year 1978 I had experienced civil government and life of exploration in both West Africa and United States including observation of deviate and destructive behavioral norms and tendencies that hamper and prevent formation and sustainment of stabilized multi-generation families and communities. And by year 1988, I had good cause to reevaluate common assumptions about Black priests, preachers and professors in context of their organized outputs of family and neighborhood behaviors during short-term, mid-term and long-term years.
By year 1998 with establishment of Brady Enterprise Association, I had more or less completed my five year series of newspaper and internet commentary written under the pen name of "Kwame Ansah" and decided a better course of action would be development of a research and publishing capability using the new technologies. My "Kwame Ansah" commentary served the desired purpose of using an African Centric approach to help enlighten Black youth about their heritage of challenges faced by many men and women before them in Africa, the Americas, Caribbean and Europe.
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