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Reflections: Messages from the last 24 years with the Black press

JAMES CLINGMAN | 3/16/2017, 12:49 p.m.
March 2017 marks the 24th year this column has appeared in Black newspapers and periodicals across the nation and in ...

Martin Luther King Jr. demonstrated his willingness to stay on course despite knowing the risks. He exposed himself to the haranguing voices of fellow ministers who told him to take it slow, to which he responded with Why We Can’t Wait and The Urgency of Now. He defied hate-filled crowds of angry Whites and law enforcement officers who wanted nothing more than to see him hanging from a tree. (No way could I have taken what he went through; I was a very angry Black man during that time.) Unlike many “leaders” today, King coupled his actions to his words. He wrote a lot and spoke a lot, but he gave so much more.

Looking back at my four decades or so of activism and advocacy for Black people, I realize that no one has a proprietary claim on the economic empowerment message. No one has all of the answers and solutions to our problems. My words and my actions also tell me that a relatively small group can do big things, provided we stick together.

So while I do not have Marcus’ charisma, Malcolm’s presence, Martin’s eloquence, I am content to have followed their lead by using my particular gift of words and the proof, thereof, by my requisite actions to help our people.

Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the author of Black Dollar$ Matter: Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense.