Dr Martin Luther King, Jr
Rev Dr Martin Luther King, Jr
January 15, 1929 - April 4, 1968
Photograph copyright © 1965 - 2007 by Stan Daniels, Editor,
www.eightcitiesmap.com - all rights reserved.
From the Publisher
A Publication of the Network Cafe
The question in 2003
Are we making progress
are we losing the ground
so many of us paid for
in blood, sweat and tears?
would he think about the present state of this country?
Sadly, the list of things that have not changed could go on.
Much more disturbing are that the good things about our community (the
things that helped us survive) have changed for the worse. Before and
during the so-called Civil Rights Movement (which was really an attempt to
claim our rights as human beings and not be treated as second class citizens
or three fifths of a person), there were certain things that you just did
not do. Anti-social behavior was frowned upon because you were raised by
someone who taught you the difference between right and wrong; and the
larger community helped to reinforce those values. Today, people that break
the rules of society are made into heroes by popular culture and too many
young people are left to raise themselves.
The acceptable drug of choice during Reverend King's day was alcohol and
many families were affected by alcoholic behavior among parents, mainly.
After the Civil Rights movement the introduction of heroine, crack cocaine
and marijuana into our neighborhoods attacked our solid family and extended
family foundations and sent parents and children into the new plantation -
the jail system. Job growth through prison building largely benefits poor
white communities and drug laws largely impact the street level dealers.
Celebrities have displaced community leaders as role models; and our youth
imitate their values (or lack of them). I am horrified whenever I hear
Black people use the "n" word as though it were a term of affection equal to
"friend". While Reverend King was alive, this was not the case; because it
was mainly racists who used that word. Profanity is used, especially among
young people, as an acceptable means to express your thoughts; which is
reinforced by the music, movies and celebrities that they value.
Education use to be prized as the sure way to a better life. However, after
35 years of the "professionals" designing our failed urban educational
systems, it's no longer the sure road to a successful life. Too many of our
young people are still graduating without the level of skills necessary to
compete with their counterparts around the world, not just around the
Poor quality housing was an issue in Reverend King's time; and, despite new
lower density housing that has replaced the higher density "projects", it is
still a problem. Home ownership among people of color is still low; most
rent. Businesses that thrive in our communities are still owned by persons
from outside of the community.
So where are we today? Even though there are more Black corporate officers,
financial officers, millionaire celebrities and such, there are still not
enough Black owned businesses and Black investment in our communities.
Sports star Magic Johnson has made an effort to open movie theaters in the
"hood", but more need to make similar efforts to "give back" to the
This brochure and the meetings for small business owners that I have held
over the past two years were created to address this lack of progress among
the business community. If there is to be a positive change in the state
"Black America", it must come by reclaiming those values that made us strong
enough to survive our history in this country:
when the first institutions of learning were run by Africans and on African
the agreement to build a better society)
Each of us must do our part. There really is nothing more important. We
should know by now that we sink or swim together.
-- 30 --
Lori Smith, Publisher,