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Question of Black Salvation/
The Black History and African Soul Story
Kicking the Game around with my Grandsons
About Questions of Black Salvation
DionDi: “Grandpa, didn’t you say that puberty is the time that a boy learns the things he needs to be a man. And when he reaches manhood, he will create himself into what he wants to be and do in life?
Marcus: “But wait a minute Grandpa, doesn’t a man have to first pull his mind together, and then when he reaches manhood he can create himself into what ever he wants to be and do in life?”
Michael: “Does that mean that, before any of that can happen, doesn’t he have to choose what he wants to be and do in life?”
Tyree: “Then that leaves the question, how does a child know how to choose what he wants when he becomes a man if he doesn’t already have his mind together?”
Orchester Benjamin III: “That's right, when a child reaches five or six years old, people begin to ask him what he wants to be when he grows up. Grandpa, can you tell us a story about thinking for ourselves?”
Grandpa: “The mind is a survival answering machine, and if you ask the right question at the right time, your mind will automatically either think of the answer, or, be able to recognize the answer when looking for it in the world. For example when you say, “You know, there is some truth to what that person said.”
The two, and most important right questions, a young man must ask himself is, what do I want, and how much am I going to pay for it? For example, each one of you ask the right questions for the problems you see facing you as a young man; is my mind together enough to survive and do what I want to do in life? "I want" are the key words.
The right questions leads to the right answers. The problems arise in finding the right questions to ask yourself; the right questions are always related to what you want. If you don’t know what you want, you will not find the right questions. You have to keep in mind that what you want becomes your mission (chosen destiny) in life. So the answer to your questions is to know what you want, and your mind will lead you to it. The question becomes, how to pay for it? Bottom line; successful thinking depends on how serious you are about what you want.
For example, I wanted to teach my family Black history because it was not being taught in schools. At that moment my mission in life was revealed to me, and I made a vow then and there (how I am going to pay for it) to become an arm-chair Grass Root Historian to teach my family the history of the Game, and an autobiographer to teach them the lessons I learned about living Life. With that vow, I had chosen what I wanted and knew how to (pay for it) achieve it.
From that point of view I am going to tell you a little story about a speech I made to the Black Community, seeking the right questions about the Salvation of Black people in the twenty-first century. And the problems, in the Black community caused by asking the wrong questions about Black life and history. And you will see how those questions became the point of departure of me becoming a Historian writing books; paying the cost, there is no free ride.
And when I finish, I want all of you to tell me if you see that asking the right question, is the pathway for your mind to follow in leading you to what you want. And, if it gave you any confidence that your mind will lead you to what you want. Then check out what I have to say about the Bibliography on page 60.
“QUESTIONS OF BLACK SALVATION/
THE BLACK HISTORY AND AFRICAN SOUL STORY”
Introduction and libation
Honored Brother and Sister Elders of the Black Community, my purpose for coming before you is two-fold. I want to present to you some of the major questions I found facing the Black community in the twenty first century.
In addition, at the end of my presentation, if you agree with me about the importance of the kind of questions mentioned, I am going to present the research method I used to seek answers to the Questions of Black salvation, as well as a bibliography of my research sources. Including a list of all of the books I have written, or are in the pipe line, or are works in progress. All of which are focused on answers to the Questions of Black Salvation; because, Sisters and Brothers, I am also a book/idea seller related to Black history.
Now, with that said, in African Traditions, Women give birth and nurture us as a people, and therefore, through childbirth, the Owners of Black Society. As a salute to Black motherhood, I ask permission of our Sister Elders to pour libation for the Ancestors of their Society.
I pour this libation as a request for the presence of the Spirits of all of our Ancestors who were put on a slave ship in West and Western Central Africa, and ended up in what is called the United States of America; including all of their Descendants up to the present time.
The ones whose blood, guts, bones, and strong desires for freedom are buried in American soil, and whose religious beliefs, hopes, dreams, joys, and sorrows are buried in our Souls as part of our History. Especially the spirits of the Tom Talton and Ben Benjamin families, with a focus on Ben and Bertha Benjamin, my mother and father.
I seek permission to speak about you (our Ancestors) to your children, (Black Society), because our Elder Generation doesn’t know, or have forgotten our inherited African Fortitude, Drive, and Determination way of thinking. The way of thinking that you used to move mountains, crossed rivers, and plant the Tree of life by the poolside of Holy Water. This attitude is not being consciously taught to our younger generation for some reason or another. You, our beloved Ancestors are being ignored at best, and hated at worst in their education, especially our most ancient Ancestors.
Ancestors, come, eat, drink, and bear witness that the questions I bring forth to your people are the right questions to turn the Black world right side up in our minds, because slavery has turned it upside down; which is Black people’s Salvation; correct me if I half step.
Intellectual leadership aspects
However, the most important reasons White people’s questions about History are a false issue is because they divert Black historians minds away from the most important questions facing Blacks in America, slavery. How are we going to deal with that experience in our history?
On the other side, every Black I know fears dealing with the subject of slavery, in fact, feels pain when the subject comes up; and refuses to give it much thought; this to, has a major negative affect on our thinking about our history.
Shouldn’t we ask ourselves the question, how could we have any pain related to slavery if we don’t know what slavery is about? How can we know what slavery is about, if we can’t face the issue head on? Are we living in denial?
Is it a matter of having the courage to over come the fear of pain? Was Slavery really the only major thing going on in our lives at that time? Or, is it just something that is blocking our view of something more important?
Therefore, the question becomes, can we approach truth while living in denial of our slavery experience? For example, what is the source of the fortitude and knowledge that allows a people to survive living in hell on earth for 246 years, 1619-1865?
Could it be that there was a thing developing in our world that had nothing what so ever to do with slavery, or White people’s questions at all, and this thing is our Cultural Spirit. Isn’t this Spirit the most important thing about us as a people, and our survival?
We only see the negative side of it, however in a careful research of slavery, once you get around the rush of angry pain, I believe you will be pleasantly surprised at the large number of positive things you will find in slavery in a re-definition totally unrelated to White people’s questions and way of thinking.
You will, from the evidence, come to the conclusion that not only that Black History has an intelligence and purpose, but also that we are a great people in our own right, and have one of the greatest story on earth to tell. Like I mentioned, are we asking ourselves all of the right questions?
This means that since we are the Africans that had the experience, an African Bush way of thinking and doing things must define Africa as well as the meaning of the experience of slavery; aren’t we the only ones that can do that? Isn’t this reflected in our desire to return to our roots?
But before we can return to our roots, don’t we first have to pass through Slavery in America? On the other hand, to travel the time-line from our roots to ourselves, we also must pass through slavery. Can we afford to just skip over that part? Can we think of history without first understanding slavery? Can we understand slavery without first thinking about it?
Shouldn’t an African bush way of thinking demonstrate continuity between us and our Ancient bush Ancestors who are Africans south of the Sierra Desert? Don’t we need a logical way of thinking of Africa as our Roots? Isn’t this the major test to make our history useful, make it real? From this point of view, isn’t slavery an important short time period in a history that is thousands of years old?
However, the biggest disagreement I have with some of our Black historians and intellectuals, is that they follow White’s thinking that history should be founded on a scientific approach. While my conclusions is that, for Blacks, for history to be useful, it must be approached from a point of view of Black spirituality. Science and spirituality don’t mix very well; I don’t care what they are trying to prove in Quantum Physics.
Wouldn’t the study of an African way of thinking and doing things, as bush intelligence, lead to an African Centered world view politically, socially, spiritually, and economically? Wouldn’t a useful conception of Black history, as a thing to be used, serve a positive purpose in one’s life today? And doesn’t this lead us into the spiritual world of our Ancestors, our roots?
Are our Ancestors the source of our inspiration, determination, fortitude and creativity, which are the foundation of a constantly growing Black culture in motion toward our destiny as a people? Doesn’t the dynamic energy of our soul come from our Ancestors? And isn’t our Ancestors the subject and key players in our history? From this point of view, aren’t the Ancestors of Black people live spiritual beings; a dynamic forces that transcends time from the far distant past to the far reaches of our destiny in the future?
In this sense, doesn’t African Bush Thinking (Afro-centralism), Black Soul (Black spirituality), Black Ancestors (Black history), symbolize by our Black Culture, show us to be a powerful and beautiful work of art, with a beautiful independent Black mind? Doesn’t that mean that we should find and deal with our own questions, including the slavery aspect of our history?
We will call these, questions about Black intellectual leadership.
Bibliography page 60
OK Grandsons, the answer to your questions is to know what you want, and your mind will lead you to it. The question becomes, how to pay for it? Bottom line; successful thinking depends on how serious you are about what you want.
For example, I wanted to teach my family Black history because it was not being taught in schools. At that moment my mission in life was revealed to me, and I made a vow then and there (how I am going to pay for it) to become an arm-chair Grass Roots Historian to teach my family the history of the Game, and an autobiographer to teach them the lessons I learned about living Life. With that vow, I had chosen what I wanted and my seriousness led me to pay for it by doing the necessary research.
The following bibliography reflects not only the research done for this book, Questions of Black Salvation/Black History and African Soul, but also was the research source when writing the complete Grandpa! Tell us a Story/Drinking from Ancient Wells: Ancient West African Spirituality series, and can be used two ways.
It can be used to research the legitimacy of the questions mentioned and, or, if some of you who agree that Questions of Black Salvation is Black family and community questions, who are, or want to become, arm-chair Grass Roots Historians. And who are interested in one man’s approach, attitude, and research method in researching the slavery aspects of Black history, I say welcome; I believe that a new Black history is going to come from Ghetto arm-chair Historians, and it is going to take a lot of us to find it. When I decided I wanted to become a arm-chair Grass Roots Historian, I began looking around for an approach to a way to begin to think about it, So I began researching history itself? What does it mean? Where does it come from? Who writes it, and how? What is its value to me? And how do I know what is good research material?
I ran into a book written by, Edward Hallett Carr, asking the very thing I was looking for; the title of his book is “What is history? (Vintage Books, New York, 1961). He made the statement “The belief in a hard core of historical facts existing objectively and independently of the interpretation of the historian is a preposterous fallacy, but one which is hard to eradicate.” (I strongly recommend that every want-to-be-arm chair Grass Roots Historian buy and keep a copy of this book near your writing table, as I do twenty years later).
Then it dawned on me that, since I lived in the Ghetto and had been a street Hustler all of my life, playing the game for fun and profit, I could successfully interpret Black history by the Games Black people were playing throughout the time we have been in America. Because one thing I learned from my experience on the streets, is to recognize and interpret game when I see it. And that became my approach to researching Black History, and I ended up writing Grandpa! Tell us a Story/Drinking from Ancient Wells; Ancient West African Spirituality series.
On the other hand, my attitude is that we have been in America for twenty generations, using twenty years from the birth of one generation to the birth of the next. My grandpa Ben’s generation was born in 1880, that means my great grandpa George’s Generation was born in 1860; great, great ,grandpa in 1840; great, great, great, grandpa in 1820: great, great, great, great, great, grandpa in 1800,
Then, for example, if I wanted to know what my great grandpa, born in 1800, was doing and thinking about when he was twenty years old in the 1820s, I can research that time period, where I would find that he was deeply thinking and involved, on one level or another, with the Abolition Movement that was taking place at that time. He and his generation would have been involved in the same Game me and my generation was playing in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s.
And I can carry it still further, all the way back to Africa, when I wrote my fourth book AfroSacredStar/The story of a family reunion with Ancient African Ancestors; (however, that bibliography is in the text of that book). In this way, I keep my research personal. It is much easier to become involved when the research becomes a family affair. Thus is my approach and attitude as an arm chair Grass Roots Historian.
Furthermore, Brothers and Sisters, I found that each one of the books in my research bibliography is one “factual dot” in Black history, and my research method is to connect those dots. In order to bring out the full picture of what our Ancestors (our historical extended family) were thinking and doing throughout the time-line of the slavery part of our history, in detail. I found it to be spiritually fulfilling to become acquainted with my Ancestral family.
In this attitude to research, I was not looking for the Author’s conclusions, only his researched evidence (facts), and I reached my own conclusions (truths) by checking my logic (connecting the dots) to my experiences of playing the Game on the streets.
And a picture emerged of what we were doing in our history and my interpretation of Black history of slavery from our point of view. My point is that, this approach leads to answers to Questions of Black Salvation, found in Black History and African Soul.
On the other hand, I call this method researching other people's research, they find the facts, and I found the truths of those facts. For instance, this can be seen in books about “run-a-way slave advertisements;” and this is one of the many ways I found facts to interpret my conclusions about the slavery aspects of our history. The major point I want to make is, to do research from any point of view, do your research and interpreting from the area that you have the most experience in life, and you will be richly rewarded with a clearer understanding.
With that said, if you want to go further into the domain of an arm chair Grass Roots Historian, and you decide to use my approach, I will guide you through my bibliography and show you what to watch out for when doing research.
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