FATHER’S DAY: 761 This year’s Father’s Day column is early, and has been building up steam for quite a while. Long before many of the ‘slams’ against Black men, from the Hollywood dream machine, the mainstream press, and various and sundry individuals who wouldn’t know a righteous Black man if he showed up at their house with balloons and a brass band. No, brothers, we are going back in time. Past the whining and complaining of some of our people today. Past the Civil Rights movement. Past those who think that they ‘got’ to where they were (and are) without the help, sacrifice, and abilities of Black men in general, and Black fathers in particular. Past those who have turned their backs on the Bible, the church, and the pulpit. Any time a national publication, slick movie, or well-packaged Rap video wants to pound on the brotherhood, I’d like us to remember three numbers: 761. And, the motto behind the numbers: “Come out fighting!” I’ll explain further in a few lines. I hate sounding commercial, but we’ve got to go back in time. Back to a bit of Black History that has been under appreciated, under taught, and under represented. We are going back to those brothers who were on the job with rifle, pick and shovel long before the American military structure decided that it was OK for a Black man to fight for his country. BUT FIRST--THIS SOBERING NOTE: To be honest, I think a lot of Black folk of today; especially some of our Black women and Black youth have become ‘spoiled’. Too many have had it easy, and have been living tight with all kinds of toys and creature comforts. Many, many, many of them have been pointing the finger at Black men…often aided by what they have ‘seen’ in some movie, or ‘heard’ on some Rap soundtrack, or have been ‘told’ by some angry Black women who have failed in a relationship, for one reason or another. Let’s check the record. The TRUE record of Black History: *During the time of slavery, MORE Black men took the whip, the punishment, and the noose to protect their families. We don’t hear about this historical ‘fact’ often enough. When it was time for someone to take the ‘heat’ on the plantation, more brothers stepped forward--and many of them did NOT live to tell the tale--to sacrifice for their families. Single-parent households in THOSE days was the result of a brother either hung, murdered, beaten to death--or SOLD! Think about THEM this Father’s Day! *During segregation and Jim Crow, it was the Black MAN who was often lynched JUST for daring to stand for his manhood, and protect his wife, family and race. At ONE point in U. S. history, a lynching a WEEK took place, and it wasn’t ‘high tech’. It was done with a rope, and--more times than not--a brother was AT the end of the rope. Ever here of Black Wall Street? Think about THEM this Father’s Day! *During the Civil Rights movement, it was Dr. King who took a bullet. Brothers AND sisters had dogs, fire hoses, and police nightsticks upside the head. But, the abusers targeted THE BLACK MAN! Sure, it was Rosa Parks who refused to give up a seat. However--tell me, oh wise historians--that ALL THIS has LESS impact than a case of tired feet! If you believe some of the mumbo-jumbo that white and black ‘educators’ put forth as ‘Black’ History, I’d have to ask you to take a drug test, because you are TRIPPING! The historical ‘shape shifters’ have surfaced with a vengeance. Not only has our history been ‘white washed’, we’ve got a whole new crew of Black folk who are helping them hold the paint can! Some of them have PhDs and African-sounding names. They couldn’t spot Black History if it came down the street with a warrant for their arrest! But, let’s move forward into the meat of my column--the Black fighting man in American military history. The reason why boils down to paying tribute to some REAL Black heroes, who are lying in graves in foreign countries around the world. Some of these brothers DIED on the battlefield, some of them DIED of natural causes, to give some folk the ‘freedom’ to complain that Black men haven’t done a thing in America. We now have a new generation of young brothers and sisters who are leaning on the sacrifices made by the military Black soldier on many a battlefield, as the USA ramps up for war. Protest all you want, but it takes ‘guts’ to put on a uniform and defend your homeland--oftentimes when your homeland, and some of your own people think less of you. For THIS Father’s Day, I want to roll some of the historical record about the Black soldier; men who have passed on speak to our current, spoiled, and complaining African-American culture. The culture THEY sacrificed, fought, and DIED to preserve. These brothers ‘bit the lip’, endured hardship, hatred, and harassment in order to clear the way for future generations of African-Americans to get the chances and opportunities that they could only dream about. There would be NO breaking down of the ‘Jim Crow’ wall in the military; no ‘Brown vs. Board of Education’, and no Civil Rights movement, until America was reminded of how her Black soldiers answered the call of duty, and put up--against dictators and the power hungry--who would not shut up. ATTUCKS AND POWELL: Take away a man’s history, and he is ignorant of his worth. Cover up a man’s history--to his people--and they quickly forget where they came from, and where they are capable of going. Brothers, there has been a whole LOT of ‘covering up’ going on in the USA lately of the worth, sacrifice, and contribution of Black men. The brothers who didn’t return. The brothers who were maimed and crippled on the REAL battlefield…where REAL bullets were flying, and REAL Black men were dying. Think about THEM this Father’s Day! Let’s start with Crispus Attucks. This FREE Black brother, backed up by a few white patriots, told the British, during the Revolutionary War, where to get off concerning their attempts to take over the colonies. Attucks, and four other men got bullets for a reply--and the fight was ON! Attucks got the first piece of British lead. What about Colin Powell, our current Secretary of State? Well, Powell had his metal tested in Vietnam! Then, rose through the ranks to become the first BLACK Chairman of the JCS--Joint Chiefs of Staff. And unless you were sleeping during Desert Storm, there were FEW battlefield casualties because Powell KNEW how to command in the field. Powell is alive, and so are a lot of other Black soldiers, because of his leadership. Any brother who could duck bullets has little problem in ‘facing off’ against soft-headed diplomats. So WHAT if Powell is a Republican? A bullet could care less about ‘party affiliation’. But many Black folk have gotten so ‘smug’ with their Afrocentric and Marxist-inspired books and toys that they have FORGOTTEN that brothers have always been about sacrifice. ENGINEERS, RED BALL EXPRESS, AND 761: But let’s look JUST at World War II. We KNOW about the Tuskegee Airmen, and we KNOW about the ‘Golden Thirteen’, but we DON’T know about other brothers who were in the thick of it: *The Black Men who built the roads in hostile territory, both foreign and domestic. They were the combat engineers. How about the Black Seabees, the brothers who repaired and rebuilt airstrips so planes could land and fly on to take care of business. It took 50 years for the USA to recognize their contribution to the war effort. *The Red Ball Express. Manned MAINLY by more than 8,000 Black men who could transport ammunition, gas, and food to the troops. These brothers could drive a truck with one hand--in the worst of conditions, stop on a dime, and jump out with weapons in hand to help other troops who were pinned down by enemy fire. Both before and after they delivered their cargo. *But the centerpieces of this column are the brothers of the 761st Tank Battalion. The ORIGINAL Black Panthers, as proven by the crest of their unit insignia. At a time when the U. S. Army thought that ‘Black Men couldn’t handle the complexities of a tank’, THESE brothers were so TIGHT that General George Patton HIMSELF sent for them. He SPECIFICALLY TOLD the War Department to send him the BEST tankers that were available. He had watched them train while he was stateside, and knew that HIS Third Army needed the BEST to get the job done. The War Department sent over 761. THESE brothers were on the firing line LONGER, in the Battle of the Bulge, and liberated THREE of the WORST German concentration camps. Keep in mind that the German High Command did not think that Black brothers could fight! Many of them found out the hard way--at the end of a gun--that a brother could ‘get down’, take prisoners, and look out for the underdog. These Black Men--that the Army did NOT want--broke through and whipped butt, AND met up with the Russians for the final liberation of Germany. 761--The Original Black Panthers. They fought dictators overseas, and racism in the Army and in the states. Again, their motto of yesteryear should be OUR motto today: ‘Come Out Fighting’! Many of them DESERVE to be remembered this Father’s Day. And, baby, this column should serve notice that Black Men are STILL coming out fighting. This is a new millennium, and a NEW Black Man. Whether you like it or not, or want to agree with it or not. Have a Happy Father’s Day. And a tip of the hat, and a hearty thank you to the brothers who did NOT return from the battlefield--some of the men of 761. We will keep the fight going ON! We WILL: “Come Out Fighting!” No matter how many folk--Black or white--try to ‘marginalize’ the Black man in America today. Oh, and should you want to know where this information came from, do a web search under ‘Black soldiers’. The information, books and videos will set your mind right as to whom a debt is owed. Each and every Father’s Day. Argue all you want, and believe what you want; but there are some brothers who have earned the right to be respected, and treated right. Think about them, the next time you want to ‘lay your lip’ on the current status of the Black man; especially our brothers who were--and are--in uniform. Some of whom are also--in graves--just so some may have the right to complain. MIKE RAMEY is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE. A monthly, syndicated column written for men from a biblical, business, and common sense perspective. Emails welcome to [email protected]. ©2003 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International (15).