Not Just a Business, But a Movement

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Three successful Black men and one successful Black woman have come together to launch a publishing company that is not just a business but part of a movement. The primary goal of Prosperity Publications is to publish books, in all genres, that carry a positive message about the strength, beauty and wisdom that we, who are a part of the Black culture, inherited from our wonderful ancestors. Our message to the rest of the world is a very simple one, and that is we refuse to stand by any longer and allow others to demean our culture based on a distorted definition of black. There has never been a greater insult in the history of all civilization, than what has been hurled at us for centuries. Black is ugly, black is the devil, black is evil; black is wicked, dismal and represents failure. We at Prosperity Publications say, “No More and Enough is Enough.” It is time for us to define ourselves and if others don’t approve we feel no obligation to them.

As primary keeper of the vision for this company, I arrived at my determination to no longer accept these insults through the wise words of three cultural icons. The first comes from the writings of Langston Hughes, in a book review of Native Son that appeared in the Crisis Magazine in 1941. Writing about the tragic character Bigger Thomas, Langston asked the question, “Where are the Black heroes in our literature?” The greatest of all our cultural icons was alluding to the failure of Black writers to create heroes in their works. Hughes went on to elaborate, “Where, in all our books is that compelling flame of spirit and passion that makes a man say, ‘I too am a hero because my race has produced heroes.” The great poet was expressing his disappointment with the manner that Blacks were depicted in novels at that time. He believed there should be a better balance in character portrayals. Not all Black men and women were troubled souls like Bigger, and not all Black men and women found it impossible to deal with both poverty and being black. He suggested it was time to break the cycle of negative characterization of the race.

The second significant influence came from another literary giant, Ralph Ellison, author of the great American classic, Invisible Man. He made the following observation as early as 1944, “The solution to the problem confronting the Negro will be achieved when he is able to define himself for what he is and what he desires to be.” Ellison obviously is referring to the fact that Black Americans have always allowed others to define them. And the definition has been based on the perverted concept of the color black as projected onto a race of people and their culture. Over seventy years later, Prosperity Publications is determined to do exactly what the great essayist and novelist suggested. We will define who we are through our publications.

And finally I was moved by the poetry of Dr. Maya Angelou:

“You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt,

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.”

 The sheer genius of Dr. Angelou is that she captures the essence of our struggle for a positive identification in this country, in four simple lines. She ends, however, with a message of hope, and despite the insults we have endured over the centuries we still have the capacity to rise.

The four managing partners and our investors are committed to participating in the larger movement to change the negative direction of our culture. We strongly believe, however, it begins with a new definition for the word black, and that also means alternatives to a lot of the music, the television programs, and the literature that dominates and inundates our communities. We choose to take on this battle in the literary world. Our company has a history of involvement in projects such as creative writing courses, lectures on our culture, and of course the publication of works that we feel meet our criteria of uplifting the culture and the race.

We invite all writers who share our vision to submit their works for review. We invite all readers also to peruse our works and strongly encourage you to read our publications. They are and will continue to be entertaining, enlightening and empowering. Join us in the movement to make a difference in the lives of our youth and adults as we work to make all our people repeat James Brown’s famous verse, “Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud.”

Visit Us Soon www.prosperitypublications.com

A Diaspora Connection

On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, San Antonio, Texas scored another first in its history when the city entered into a Friendship City Agreement with Windhoek, the capital of the Republic of Namibia. I not only felt honored but thrilled to be invited to witness this event in the plush Plaza Club on the top floor of the Frost Bank Building here in San Antonio.

San Antonio Mayor and Namibia Mayor Muesee Kazapua toasting

I looked on in admiration as Ambassador Martin Andjaba strolled into the room fresh off a plane from the embassy in Washington, D.C. A wide smile crossed my face when Windhoek Mayor Muesee Kazapua reached out and shook my hand. And I couldn’t have felt more proud as I watched my Mayor, Ivy Taylor, sit at a table and sign the friendship agreement. Watching this historic event triggered thoughts of the great Pan African advocate, Dr. W. E. B. Du Bois, when he wrote about the Diaspora. He described it as the movement of African people over the centuries by force to all parts of the world. He made it quite clear that our homeland would always be Africa even though we have adjusted to a second homeland out of necessity.

Namibia achieved independence from a South African administration in 1990 and has done quite well in building a strong and vibrant Republic. It borders Angola in the north, South Africa in the south, Botswana in the east and the South Atlantic Ocean in the west. It is obviously in this vicinity that many of our ancestors were forced to leave their homeland. My creative mind then took liberties to imagine that, centuries past, the two mayors’ families may have known each other, and just possibly my ancestors and those of the ambassador crossed paths. For that matter, all the African Americans at the event could feel some connection with the many Africans in the room also experiencing this momentous occasion.

Fred Williams and Ambassador Martin Andjaba of the Republic of NamibiaDr. Du Bois would have been pleased if he could have witnessed the dynamics; it was the Diaspora at work, just like the great thinker would have imagined it. There, at the table was an African mayor from the major city in the Republic of Namibia, sitting next to an African American mayor of the seventh largest city in the United States and the second largest in the State of Texas; both signing an agreement that their respective cities will promote trade and economic cooperation in areas that include renewable energy, health services, biotech, culture and tourism.

I was able to grab the two city leaders’ attention long enough to take a picture with them. I was also able to corral the Ambassador and get one with him. I have to admit I am not a big fan of taking pictures with cell phones, but at that particular time, I sure was glad to know that my wife was an expert at using the cell phone to record history.

Fred Williams with San Antonio Mayor Taylor andNamibia Mayor  Muesee Kazapua

I am immensely grateful to my Mayor for inviting me to this event and to the African delegation for coming all the way from Namibia. I am also grateful to the Ambassador for flying from Washington, D.C., to help make this happen and to my wife for providing me with proof whenever I look at the pictures that this indeed really did happen, and I was not just dreaming of a better world.

Why I Wrote the Novel, “Fires of Greenwood”

firesbookDid you know that on the morning of June 1, 1921, over 7500 White Tulsans crossed over the Frisco railroad tracks into the African American section of the city and slaughtered over 300 men, women, and children?

Did you know that kerosene soaked explosives were dropped from low flying airplanes onto the African American community that same morning? It was the very first time that planes had been used to destroy people and property within the continental United States.

Did you know that every business building and all homes were fire bombed and burned to the ground in a 34 block radius of Black Wall Street?

Did you know that after the attack, approximately 7,000 African American citizens were locked up in a concentration camp environment in their own country?

Did you know that the Black Veterans of World War I put up such a valiant fight that the racists in Tulsa never attempted to lynch another Black man in that city?

Did you know that out of the carnage and destruction rose a number of courageous Black men and women who we all should, today, consider our heroes?

If you had no knowledge of the Tulsa Riot of 1921, then you should make it a priority to purchase, Fires of Greenwood, an outstanding fictionalized version of that triumph and tragedy that happened on June 1, 1921, in the community known as Black Wall Street, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

 

The novel is available on Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com or if you would like an autographed copy, please contact the author, Frederick Williams at fredwilliams@satx.rr.com.