May 16, 2013
By Edward Chisolm
In his book “Why We Can’t Wait,” the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. discussed the “Negro Revolution” of 1963. Some 100 years after the emancipation proclamation, the Negro in America was still not free; not to mention devoid of racial and social equality. In the book, King talked about the social climate that bred such a revolt. The slow pace of school desegregation, the wanton violence aimed and perpetrated against Black Americans, and the political promises of civil rights that was not forthcoming all pointed to Negroes growing restless. As well, Dr. King mentioned the irony of African American men serving (and dying) in the armed forces in America’s plight to preserve freedom in other lands, but could not and did not enjoy the sweet fruits of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness right here in America.
The Clergyman in Action just celebrated its 16th 12 Night Sacrificial Revival. This year’s theme was “Saving the Black Family.” Naturally, the theme begs the question saving the Black family from what? In a word, annihilation! In two words, self-annihilation. To be sure, there are “other forces” from outside of the Black family that still undermine its existence and progress. One of the most sobering statistics was shared by our county DFCS Director, Maureen McFadden; there are about 300 children in foster care in Chatham County. Of that number, about 80% are African American. Of the 60 foster homes in Chatham County, about 35 are Black. The sad reality is that many of these children are transferred outside of the county because there is no foster home to place them in.Once upon time in Black America, this was unheard of. We took care of our own. And I underscore “our own” because it seems we practice infanticide at times.
Currently, there are few ordinances or laws against parents abandoning their children. Or at least they are not enforced. Some “parents” have literally “dropped their children off” to social service providers and said, in effect, “I am through.” In this materialistic, self-absorbed, “me first” or “me only” dispensation of the Black family, this is the sad reality. Times have indeed changed. All of these children are wards of the state. Children, Black children, that Black parents who no longer want or can deal with, are given as property to the State of Georgia. Maybe one day the state of Georgia will declare “Georgia Jubilee Day” and return all the children to its owner. But until then, we can’t wait any longer to save the Black family. Children are being abandoned because of homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness, domestic violence, and emotional/physical/sexual abuse.
There are 36,420 Black households in Chatham County and 26,518 within the city limits of Savannah. Likewise, there are 24, 701 “families” in Chatham County and 17,415 in Savannah. The state of Georgia spends millions of dollars on foster care services. Of the 471 children served in foster care, the majority of them are Black. With this many households in our community, it would seem like we could do better than have so many Black children assigned to the state. Granted, not all of these households are “viable” options, but the point is still clear. We need to do a better job at taking care of our own.
Ms. McFadden made the plea because of the rich and warm heritage of the Black family. We need to save that rich heritage. We need to save the family because that’s where the fruits of tomorrow are located, where the progenitors of our legacy are located, and where the relevancy of our very existence is located. The families are where the children are located. We can’t wait because the social and spiritual climate demands we shouldn’t wait. The Black family may be struggling, but it’s alive. Struggle is what we know. Struggle is what we do. And struggle is what we know to overcome. The text for the revival was Genesis 7:6-7; the story of Noah saving his family from the impending flood that destroyed the earth. We must save the family from the impending flood of self-destruction. We must have a spiritual revolution in 2013. The revolution will not be televised because the revolution, as is with the revival, starts within each one of us. The only thing that can be revived is something that still has life inside of it.
The Black family has life in it. In fact, it still has the moral attributes to produce doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers, astronauts, and yes, presidents! It still has the intestinal fortitude to fight back. And most assuredly, it still has God. God that instituted the family and it will be that same God that will see us through this revolution. But to be successful we must revolt against sin. We must revolt against self-doubt. We must revolt against the self-inflicted wounds of substance abuse, and domestic and sexual violence. We must revolt against apathy. We must revolt against the dark forces that stall freedom, justice and equality. The Black family is fearfully and wonderfully made. It’s made many contributions in the past and I am divinely convinced that it will do so in the future. Still, we can’t wait. The revolution starts today. The revolution starts with you and me!
Black Love, Black Peace & Black Power!!!