What’s up family?
I have no long drawn out excuses, reasons, apologies, etc., etc., etc., for my absence… It’s been a roller coaster ride. But I started this site three years ago today and it does mean a lot to me. More importantly, I see the potential of what it can be so…I’m back at it. I hope to get a post up at least once a week. I hope somebody out there can hold me accountable to that. I tell you what, I will post about what’s been going on these past few months to catch you up on me. I hope all is well with you! Now for today’s thought…NEGROES IN GOVERNANCE…can’t find them with a flashlight.
When one considers the history of Negroes, dating back to 1619, when the first 20 arrived at Jamestown Colony on the banks of the James River, through slavery, and Jim Crow, the second inauguration of President Obama gives said pondering mind great pause. This event is quintessentially “E pluribus unum,” Latin for “Out of many, one.” While a person of color has ascended to the highest office of the land, we can’t be led to think that this is a panacea, or cure-all, for the Negro Community. Consider the following:
Out of 50 States, we have…
1 Black Governor (Only 4 in US History: 2 Elected, 2 Promoted from Lt. Gov.)
Courtesy of Once Upon a Negro: (L to R) PBS Pinchback, Douglas Wilder, Deval Patrick, David Paterson
You know I can’t just give a photo caption without dropping some history on you… Pickney Brenton Stewart Pinchback (R), served as Louisiana’s Lt. Governor. (I’d like to think having a cool name like his probably helped in the polls!) However, while serving as Lt. Governor, the seated governor, Henry Clay Warmoth, was impeached. And unlike Mr. Clinton, the law in Louisiana stated if the governor was impeached, he had to step to the side and the Lt. Governor would fill his spot. So on December 9, 1872, Pinchback was sworn in… problem was, Warmoth was a super-duper lame duck at the time…on his way out of office anyway. So His Excellency, Mr. Pinchback severed for a whopping 35 days; January 13, 1873, Warmoth’s term ended…thus resulting the end of Pinchback’s term. As for Warmoth…the charges were dropped. Historical? Yes…but don’t tell anybody, I think it was little bit of a fluke…
Fast forward…117 years…and 1 day…after Pinchback left office, Douglas Lawrence Wilder (D) became the FIRST NEGRO governor to be ELECTED. Now this is a really big deal. 1. He’s from my home state of Virginia. 2. He’s from my home state of Virginia… 3. I bet you can guess that one. And in all seriousness, why is the fact that he’s from Virginia a big deal? Well, for starters, he governed in the city that served as the capital for the Confederacy…and eventually became mayor of that same city. But more importantly, he was 66th in succession…but he held the office some great Virginians, and Americans held. Our first post-colonial governor was PATRICK HENRY! Remember that guy that mall on the Peninsula is named after? “GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR GIVE ME DEATH!” Our second governor was THOMAS JEFFERSON, the 3RD PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES! PRESIDENT MONROE, 12th and 16th Governor. PRESIDENT TYLER was Governor #23… And to look at all of the portraits and to be the FIRST Negro? That’s an awesome and humbling achievement. I think I might want to run for governor someday… I had a friend to accuse me of not wanting to get out and see other places because I love Virginia so much…she’s right. I ain’t going nowhere…lol. But 4. This is the first time a Negro person organized a campaign and galvanized enough support from the electorate to believe in their capabilities to lead the state. Never had been successfully done before Governor Wilder. That is an awesome feat.
Next we have Deval Laurdine Patrick (D) of Massachusetts. He, like Wilder, was ELECTED to his office. Now, please don’t think this to be an ignorant statement… But working to the advantage of Governor Wilder was the fact that it was Virginia. Old slave country…a whole lot of Negro votes. Massachusetts, if you haven’t noticed, Massachusetts has Blacks, but it sure does have a lot of white folks. But he was able to have a majority of the people stand with him and his term began January 4, 2007 and he’s still in office. So not only is he the second ELECTED Negro governor, he is currently the longest serving as well…beating Brother Pinchback out by a few days…weeks…years…….
And lastly on our list of Negro governor’s is David Alexander Paterson, New York’s 55th. He was the fourth and last Black to assume the office of governor (and the second legally blind governor… the first one only served for 11 Days!). He was elevated from the office of Lt. Governor when Eliot Spitzer got the boot…or resigned. Click link for details…that goes way beyond the scope of my blog. So he served from St. Patty’s Day 2008 to December 31, 2010. He actually tried to run…but there is a whole lot of drama behind that as well…Click link for details because that is a very sketchy situation in an of itself. The “Official Story.” And the “Unofficial Story.” What can I say about his term…not much because I’m from Virginia and he didn’t have much to do with me…BUT…We have Michelle Obama now, but we had Michelle P. Paterson first…… ………………………………………………………. To be legally blind, Mr. Paterson had some AWESOME taste. But Obama, Paterson… both are A+ in my book… Maybe Michelle’s are just names for pretty people. I went to school with a Michelle…well that was her middle name I think. Back in 7th grade, she set the bar really high for what I…what am I talking about? Rambling, ain’t I? Back to the blog.
And the band plays on…
No Negro Senators
1 Negro Supreme Court Justice
43 Negro Congress Members (But only 137 in US History)
– AND –
1,000,000 Black Males in Jail (Pew Center on the States, 2008)
52% Black Males graduating from High School in 4 Years (NPR, 2012)
While having a Negro President is an awesome achievement, there is a trying question to be asked: who’s next? The lack of presence in American Governance is directly related to the dwindling pool of qualified individuals. Lack of education and high incarceration rates in the Black community create stereotypical barriers of entry by many, to many. We have to motivate our youth to excel academically and being examples of the best God has to offer.
In the spirit of “E pluribus unum,” out of all the youth you many know, target at least one and encourage them to succeed. The wellbeing of their community rides on the shoulders of their life’s efforts. When the question arises, they must be ready to be the answer; they must be ready to be next by preparing themselves now.
TWJ the HNIC,