One of the segments I’m most proud of in this manhood development program are our book studies. We’ve wrapped up the 2nd year of our literacy and historical study initiative, and I believe our young bros were enlightened and inspired by the texts we read. The first year we started this, we read The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, and during this most recent school year, 2012-13, we finished Narratives in the Life of Fredrick Douglass. And throughout the year, we read texts about Fred Hampton, a little of the Willie Lynch letter, and “What to the Slave is the 4th of July” by Fredrick Douglass.
Because I want to make this a yearly initiative, I’m always on the hunt for new material for the next book study. I look for books that are empowering, but I also look for titles that they can relate to on a historical and cultural level. What I really want them to get from the titles I choose is a deep understanding of history and social nuances, the perspective of the author or main protagonist the book is written about (maybe even the antagonists, too), and hopefully something they can take from it for personal growth.
So here are some titles I’m considering for the fall semester of the next school year: (I plan on finishing the book by December and starting another by January.)
I’m at a lost as to what other books I should consider. That’s where you come in at…comment with your suggestions.
I do not go back to America to sit still, remain quiet, and enjoy ease and comfort. . . . I glory in the conflict, that I may hereafter exult in the victory. I know that victory is certain. I go, turning my back upon the ease, comfort, and respectability which I might maintain even here. . . Still, I will go back, for the sake of my brethren. I go to suffer with them; to toil with them; to endure insult with them; to undergo outrage with them; to lift up my voice in their behalf; to speak and write in their vindication; and struggle in their ranks for the emancipation which shall yet be achieved.
—-FAREWELL TO THE BRITISH PEOPLE, March 30, 1847
My young bros and I recently finished up reading Douglass’ first autobiography, “Narratives in the Life of Fredrick Douglass” and I was doing some extra research on him, particulary his old speeches, to bring into the study group discussion in the study group for the following week [Again, we meet twice a week. Tuesdays are book study meetings or biographical leader study, and Wednesdays are our normal body meetings]. I think the above quote is one of the most powerful messages I’ve ever read and is giving me goosebumps as I type this. In this quote I can hear Fred Hampton, Huey Newton and the Black Panther Party; I hear Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Medgar Evers; hell, I even hear Public Enemy, Tupac and Common, especially what I consider my personal theme song, “The People.
For Common’s, “The People” official video, click here —->>>http://youtu.be/S7B2VgRShew
I guess what I’m saying is Douglass is a father to us all–all that are committed to empowering others in our schools, churches, community and grassroots organizations, and any other facet of society that works tirelessly for the upliftment of a people.
Lessons from Douglass/Principles of Success
* Understanding that the proper use of power is to help others.
* Giving up something you want in order to help someone else.
* Learning how to challenge and overcome doubt.
* Understanding why and how to control the human ego.
* Doing what is right and proper without delay, even if no one is looking.
* Learning how to use knowledge and understanding wisely.
* Overcoming indecisiveness by developing proper organizational skills.
* Making gratitude a part of every thought and action.
* Practicing the skill of listening before making judgments.
* Remaining true to your word.
* Practicing the art of giving without expecting something in return.
* Recognizing that success is as much a motivation to others as to you.
The above bullets are By Author Fred Morsell
Fremarjo Enterprises, Inc.
The Great Liberator, The Little Giant