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The High Cost of Segregation
Long since the days of slavery when it was against the law for Blacks to learn to read and write; and long since the 1954 case of Brown v. Board of Education when the US Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, the high cost of unequal education between Blacks and Whites have involved assassinations domestically and abroad. No, I’m not talking about Malcolm, Martin, Medgar, or the Kennedys this time; but, rather, Huey P. Long, Hendrick Verwoerd, and Olof Palme. Briefly throwing a little ink in their direction will show how education, assassination, and segregation have intertwined to make history.
Let me start off by saying that the word “assassination” is used hesitantly here because it is biased in favor of White European “Christians.” Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary gives this etymology for “assassin”: “One of a secret order of Muslims that at the time of the Crusades terrorized Christians and other enemies by secret murder committed under the influence of hashish.” So, when you say someone was “assassinated,” you’re saying he was killed by someone acting like a dark Muslim in killing a White “Christian.”
Huey P. Long (Louisiana Governor): Born 1893 into a poor White family in Louisiana Huey P. Long ended up studying law at Tulane University, and, as an exceptional student, graduated in record time, and practiced law by age twenty-one. Having been poor while growing up, he readily related to other poor Whites, as well as to Blacks to a certain extent. In 1928, he ran for governor and won “on a manifesto that emphasized the importance of education for all.” He had a valid concern since Louisiana had the highest rate of illiteracy in America at the time.
As a controversial figure, he made a number of enemies as he pushed for ‘long overdue reforms, particularly in the area of education where more money needed to be spent on the state university, school books, night school courses to combat adult illiteracy, and new schools.’ Ironically, he’s on record as being “assassinated” because, for political reasons, he threatened to expose the Black blood (“coffee blood”) in a prominent White judge’s family. The husband of one of the judge’s daughters, a popular Jewish doctor, became furious when he heard that his wife was biracial and shot Long, killing him on September 10, 1935. The All the King’s Men remake (2006, original 1949) starring Sean Penn, Anthony Hopkins, and James Gandolfino is the partially fictionalized account of Long’s political career. Segregation plus education equaled “assassination.”
Hendrick Verwoerd (South African Prime Minister): Born 1901 in Amsterdam, Verwoerd was infamously known as the Architect of Apartheid. Though an apt pupil, he was a pawky (“artfully shrewd”) person. According to one work, “Verwoerd set up a separate education system for Blacks, limiting the curriculum to basic skills in reading, writing and arithmetic. According to him, Black people would not need more than this, since their destiny was to be ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’ [a Biblical reference found at Joshua 9:16-27 often misapplied to Blacks to justify oppression, repression, suppression, and slavery by Whites]. In this way, by segregating Blacks from the white population in townships, and denying them the same educational and economic opportunities as whites, Verwoerd sought to ensure—and succeeded in ensuring—that the Afrikaners [or, whites] would always have the upper hand in South Africa.” He was killed on September 6, 1966. Even though many may feel it was justified, once again, segregation plus education equaled “assassination.”
Olof Palme (Prime Minister of Sweden): Born 1927 in Stockholm, Palme “traveled around the third world, witnessing extreme poverty at first hand. He also studied in the United States, and was taken aback by the racism he saw there. Both these experiences were to mould his future politics, and he became committed to a radical programme of equality, democracy and a fairer economic system for all, not only in Sweden, but throughout the world.” White extremists were suspected of having “assassinated” him. One of them was described as “a right-wing agitator who was later convicted of a racist murder; and a series of attempted racist murders.” In a twist of irony, Palme was murdered on February 28, 1986, the last day of “Black History Month.” Segregation plus education equaled “assassination.”
Actually, when it comes to education, the Bible says parents are primarily responsible for teaching their children! Not only does it say that parents educate themselves, it also says that they should educate their children at every appropriate opportunity. Deuteronomy 6:5-7 says: “And you must love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your vital force. And these words that I am commanding you today must prove to be on your heart; and you must inculcate them in your son [or daughter] and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up.”
Out of all the many degrees that a large corporation like IBM recognizes, the highest one is Doctor of Divinity. Do you need one of these to teach your children? Absolutely not. The point I’m making is that the best education, as is even recognized by corporate America, is a godly one. (Whether corporations live by these values or not is another whole discussion!) Teach your children moral values first! But so as not to be hypocritical, you have to be practicing morality yourself. Don’t be like the person of which it was said: “What you’re doing is speaking so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying.”
But, what if outside of brutal life lessons that the school of hard knocks taught you there isn’t much left in your repertoire to teach? Well, do what Malcolm X did. Teach yourself. Become an “autodidact” (or, “a self-taught person”). Incidentally, Malcolm said “separation” is voluntary and empowers whereas “segregation” is involuntary and disenfranchises. It’s not necessary to graduate to being a “polymath” (or, “a person with encyclopedic knowledge of many subjects.”) But, if that’s what you want to do, more power to you! The point is: You can’t teach something you don’t know. If you don’t know, find out. It’s never too late to learn. And you’re never too old to learn. Once you find out, show stick-to-itiveness and an indefatigable spirit in training your child! (You can start by looking up the word “indefatigable.” I gave you several freebies already. Don’t get greedy.)
With this in mind, starting this issue I’m instituting a new feature called “The Word for the Week (or is it ‘Weak’?).” This week’s word is “academy.” It was a “gymnasium where Plato taught.” Webster’s Ninth also says that it is “the school for advanced education founded by Plato.” Of course, the Greeks hijacked their knowledge from Africans in Egypt. Exercise your mind, and let no one “assassinate” your desire to learn. Amen.
Dr. Firpo Carr n can be reached at 800.501.2713 or