With Age Comes Knowledge – Sometimes

Recently someone placed a post on Facebook that read, “I don’t want anyone over 65 years of age making decisions for me.” Usually, I will ignore posts such as this one, but this time I found it rather disconcerting. I believe this is one of the only countries in the world where the elderly is disrespected in the manner of the person who posted that ridiculous statement. There is a saying that “with age comes knowledge.” But we must add “sometimes” because we have experienced a man who is over seventy and seems to have the mentality of a teenager, and that is the Impeached President Trump. There are exceptions to the rule. But for the most part, as you grow older and experience life your knowledge increases. Not necessarily through educational achievement, but just having lived through some good and bad times.

Most elderly Americans have experienced all of the up’s and down’s over the last sixty years. We lived through the very few Camelot years of President John F. Kennedy with his classic wife, Jacqueline. During his very short time as President the country felt a new renaissance, a feeling that we could all prosper as a nation. But that light began to wane in June 1962 with the assassination of Medgar Evers in Jackson, Mississippi, followed the next year with the assassination of President Kennedy. From then on, the clouds became darker and more ominous. In 1965 we had the escalation of the Vietnam War and the assassination of Malcolm X. Finally, in 1968 we had the assassination of the prince of peace, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., followed two months later with the killing of Bobby Kennedy.

Not only did we experience a series of assassinations in the 1960’s, but we also witnessed on television, or for many people in person, the brutal attacks on Black Americans throughout the South. In 1963, Birmingham, Alabama became the center of that brutality with the sadistic Police Commissioner Eugene Bull Connors, ordering his police force to use attack dogs and powerful fire hoses to dispel men, women, and children attempting peaceful protests. That same year in September, bombs exploded in the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in that city killing four little girls, and later that day two young black boys were also assaulted and murdered. But interspersed with all this negative was the famous March on Washington for Peace at which Dr. King made his incredibly famous speech, articulated in a dream of solidarity someday in this country.

All these occurrences happened in the sixties when those of us who are now considered over 65 were young and impressionable. They did affect our thinking, and for the most part, I believe in a positive way. We were familiar with the ugliness that hate can cause, and so when we watched that hatred at the Capitol over the past week, we knew just how devastating it could be to the psychic of our country. But we also know that our country has the ability to overcome this negativity and move toward a more positive outlook on our future because we have experienced both the good and the bad. Does that mean we are more qualified to make decisions that affect the lives of those under 65? Not particularly, but it does mean that we have experienced many of the good and bad of our country, and for most of us, we can place what is happening today in a better perspective than those who have not shared the same historically common experiences as the elderly.

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Through Love, We Endure

In the exceptionally long artistic tradition of writers of short stories, I am proud to announce that JAED Publications has released a new anthology, titled, Black is the Color of Love: Eight Outstanding Short Stories of Generational Love. This anthology is a continuation of the history of Black writers creating stories reflecting on the culture and heritage of the Black race in this country. From Charles Chestnutt at the turn of the Twentieth Century through the Renaissance writers—Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Dorothy West, and Claude McKay—Blacks have specialized in the art of writing short stories.

The theme for these stories is the generational love that has kept the race strong and enduring over the centuries. The seven writers, Caleb Alexander, Lenton Collins, D. L. Grant, Leslie Perry (now deceased and the anthology is dedicated to his memory as a great storyteller), Margaret Richardson, Michael Smith, and Antoinette Winstead shared my vision that we must begin to define BLACK from our perspective which is love.

The late great writer Manning Marable created the construct by which we wrote these short stories. Marable wrote: “Throughout the entire history as a people, African Americans have created themselves. They did so in the context of the transatlantic slave trade and two and a half centuries of chattel slavery—a structure of overwhelming inequality and brutality…They constructed their cultural identity and notions of humanity in a country that denied them citizenship and basic human dignity for hundreds of years…However, within several generations, they found their voice of meaning and consciousness as a special people.” The strength of that consciousness is love. Through love, We endure.

In her Foreword to this anthology, the distinguished and accomplished scholar Dr. Camille Cosby wrote, “I love the thread of commonalities within the anthology; that is, the sociological, historical truths about African Americans…and the importance to know those truths. Moreover, to have unity with loved ones, that is essential to healthily navigate America’s relentless institutional and personal actions of vicious hatefulness against African American. Quoting from the eminent historian John Henrick Clarke, Dr. Cosby continued, ‘The cruelest thing slavery and colonialism did to the Africans was to destroy the memory of what they were before foreign contact.’  “Each author of the short stories,” Dr. Cosby concludes, “has countered that ancient and ongoing abuse so astutely in this anthology.”

These eight short stories should be a part of every Black family’s library of cultural books who believe in that generational love as written by the writers of this anthology. If you believe that “through love, we endure,” then I encourage you to purchase Black is the Color of Love, by going to JAED Publications and purchasing it directly from the publisher, or on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.