thumbnail of At Howard; 123; Dr. Russell Adams Interview for "The Souls of Black Folk"
Transcript
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
The best. To come. Out. In the country at 19 0 3 was from a black man writing about folks 50 years out of. Slavery. In the south. The real question how does it feel to be a problem. I answer seldom a word. One of our fields is to an American Negro to tune dogs to unreconciled strivings toward boring ideals in one dog body. Hello I'm Patrick Swygert and you are at Howard to say the boys was an uncommon man and is to acknowledge both his greatness and the problems he faced all his life. He was not just a black man in a segregated society. He was not just an American intellectual nor just an African-American scholar at a time when there were far fewer than there are today. He was not just the founder of the NAACP and a towering figure in the pantheon of civil rights leaders. WB The boys was much more
he was a man whose knowledge his uniqueness drove him to envision things that society has only now come to appreciate. One hundred years after he wrote the Souls of Black Folk that was his greatness and that was also his pain. The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the co-aligned Dubois wrote a problem that persists even today. And his words remain a part of our American heritage. But three words occurred to me when I think of Dubois. Unbelievable dazzling and astounding. He's literally a giant in American intellectual tradition but he's the Jain and African-American intellectual tradition. I'd love to say the whole of the William ed book Boogaard Dubois here is a man who lived a long long time. From 1868 to 1963 he did 12 major books had literally hundreds of articles I
and who with this pen was moved around the world. He covered just about every aspect of black life wrote numerous books articles. Was the editor of the crisis so he had a good feel for the life history and culture of African-American people. I also think of him as first the nation's first truly public intellectual a person whose thoughts and ideas become a part of the public discourse. And Dubois was such a person that for most of his life really from the time he published the souls of black folks in 93 till the day he left this earth he was a person that nation could not ignore. As a matter of fact when he traveled abroad to China and to Africa he was treated as though he was a head of state. He wrote the souls of black folks in 19 03 and he was looking specifically at the life history and culture of
African-American people different aspects of it for example he looked at the issue of class and the community the issue of spirituality in culture the issue of economics and the politics the question of leadership. So he looked at all these aspects of black life because when you look at the souls of black folks it's pretty much a collection of about a dozen essays dealing with various things of African-American life culture and history one. Major editor said it is astounding that the best book to come out in the country at 19 0 3 was from a black man writing about folks 50 years out of slavery in the south and in the book itself. Dubois did something nobody else had done. Also he opens each chapter with a fragment of the spirituals. And. He says I wanted to. Share
the. Words. That these folks had generated. With the court cases. You decide that spiritually these individuals was speaking as eloquently about the human condition and their sufferings and aspirations as any European ever did whether in prose poetry. And so the book resonates like a melody of expression. And folks picked up that melody folks who could not read but by this book and would put it on their living room tables next to the Bible. I considered David Levering as the premier W.B. Dubois scholar. There are many historians and writers who wrote about Dubois going back to the 60s.
I remember reading essays about Dubois from that era Levering MUAs has devoted his life to the study of W.B. Dubois some twenty twenty something years and it was a gargantuan task because Dubois was such an international figure corresponding with people from around the world and all the black leaders community people in the United States. Today on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the publication of that signal a document I'd like to share some thoughts with you about the significance of the Souls of Black Folk.
Has his few intimates claim WDBJ Boyce had a robust sense of humor. Then he must surely be laughing laughing his refined laughter lest he give way to tears that he was. He can be neither surprised nor on a news that his countrymen women and men have once again validated his axiom that race would be with them until the end of day. That as with their loss of innocence at least once every decade as Americans are programmed for everlasting collision with the one permanent feature of their national life that some won't see and others claim has been either resolved or transcended racism. It must surely not seem bizarre therefore that the author of the Souls of Black Folk in the hundred years since the publication
of his great book about the permanence of race and the absence of true democracy in America countless millions of whites have professed utter shock to learn of the last racial bigot left in public life. Was the GOP majority leader of United States Senate. If history thrice repeated as far as one may reliably guess that the founding editor of the crisis must view as the apex of fraud the spectacle of a George W. Bush in the role of Abraham Lincoln solemnly invoking the liberal race relations ideals of the early GOP in the name of the party the presidency and all the aspirations for a colorblind 21st century America. The White House serves up the maladroit Senator Lott as the GOP St. Sebastian in one week
only to deplore race as an element in access to higher education as Davis and un-American. But a few weeks later there's also a black hole contains such an abundance of political and economic relevancy to our contemporary dystopia that William Edward Burkhardt Dubois dead seems a more discerning observer than several panels of live television talking heads combined. One hundred years after its publication his canonical volume of 14 essays remains indispensable not only to an understanding of the history of race and democracy in America but the Souls of Black Folk is also a worthy companion to meditations on the global prospects of racial religious and cultural commentary in this new century. In the main Dubois's
predictions about the centennial Paramount's see if race was to be sadly fulfilled in the fastening on of white supremacy in Asia Africa and the United States by the first decade of the nineteen hundreds. Consequently during the last third of the twentieth century one of the great social and political challenges was the repair of racial injustices and the satisfaction of color coded aspirations in the aftermath of overthrown European empires and dismantled apartheid regime. Within weeks of its publication by the Chicago firm of Acey McClurg and company in April 1993 William James sent a copy of the book to his brother Henry in England along with the ironic and oft cited observation that the only Southern book of any distinction published in many years was written by a.
FLATOW ex-student of mine from Heidelberg Mock's favor another famous professor whose influence the young author cited as having been significant road plans for a German translation and of his willingness to do the introduction to this splendid James Weldon Johnson as we have just heard gloriously and multifaceted as poet lyricist novelist diplomat and civil rights Paladin authoritatively opined that the impact of the Souls of Black Folk was greater upon within the Negro race than any other single book published in this country since Uncle Tom's Cabin. Johnson's opinion was sound as far as it went although it could explain all that and more for the book's greater significance 100 years after publication. There is the entire body of social criticism still no more than a
handful of meditations on the promise and failings of democracy in America to Wyvil Burkhardt's extraordinary collection of 14 essays among the discerning commentaries on the American social contract of which those of Alexis de Tocqueville Henry Adams and Lord Bryce Sikri Richard Hofstadter and Michael Harrington are staples Dubois's souls has pride of place for moral rigor and intellectual precedence. It transform the history of a thrice hundred years of black and white interaction on the North American continent with a sudden this so unprecedented as to divide the understanding of a race into the time before and the time after the book's appearance. Adopting a mythic throw not a prose often steeped in Old Testament
gravitas and sometimes in what one Dubois scholar has exquisitely described as Ciceronian confabulation. You Boyce Rhodes of the genius humanity and destiny of people of African descent with a passion eloquence and lucidity intended to deliver a really good blow to the prevailing claims of the day of black inferiority until the publication of souls. The souls of black folk had relied mostly upon the spirituals to find expression throughout the volume therefore as you know your boys employed the device of pairing Negro spirituals with European verse at the start of each of his chapters. These double eppi gripes were meant to be profoundly subversive of the cultural hierarchy of his time. Three years into yet another century of seemingly unassailable
European supremacy by countering the poetry of Browning and Byron Swinburn and Tennyson with the sorrows songs of the submerged and unheard Dubois's implication was unmistakable until the message of the song sung in bondage by black people was appreciated. The words written in freedom by white people would remain hollow. And counterfeit settling his readers into a tale of the strange meaning of being black. Here at the dawn of the dawning of the twentieth century Dubois Dubois's open. Dubois opens souls with all of our spiritual strivings. One of the collections nine previously published essays this one having appeared in Atlantic Monthly under a slightly different title suffused with greater long and more pathos here and kept with
verse from an English poem and bars from the spiritual. Nobody knows the trouble I've seen. This opening essay poses a question at the heart of the troubles of African peoples the heart of the troubles that African peoples had seen almost from the day they were first brought ashore in Jamestown harbor in 1960 60 90 between me and the other world. There is ever an honest question. Dubois writes in a variety of ways that question was finally how does it feel to be a problem. They approached me at a half hesitant sort of way. I mean curiously or compassionately and then instead of saying directly how does it feel to be a problem. They say I know an excellent colored man in my town or I fought it Mechanicsville or do not these Southern outrages make your blood boil
at these eyes smile or am interested or reduce the boiling to a simmer as the occasion may require to the real question. How does it feel to be a problem. I answer seldom a word above all it was its depiction and diagnoses of the condition of blackness in a democracy distorted by white skin privilege that inscribes Dubois's text with an incomparable analytical pleasaunce the once tragic tension of the African-American's sense of Tuna's of the reconcilable strivings of being an American Negro. Two Souls two thoughts two warring ideals in one dark body is captured in souls with such a giant very similitude that it has served as catechism for generations of color Americans. But we would disturb
the message. Were we to overlook its meaning for good. He Gallion Dubois also adumbration to a higher synthesis in which the divide itself merges with other racial selves. It is a peculiar sensation this double consciousness the sense of always looking at oneself in the eyes of others of measuring one soul by the tape of a world that looks on an amused contempt and pity. Fills his tulis and American Negro. Two Souls two thoughts to unreconciled strivings to warring ideals in one dark body whose dawning strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. The history of the American Negro is the history of this strife this longing to attain self-conscious manhood to merge his double self into a better truer self and is emerging. He wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He would not Africanized America. For America has much to teach the world and Africa.
He would not bleat his negro soul in a flood of white American is free no was that negro blood has a message for the world. His simply wishes to make it possible for man to be consider both an American and a negro without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows without having the doors of opportunity closed roughly in his face. Here was the concept of multiculturalism in embryo one hundred years ago. Dubois's earliest pronouncements foretold operationalizing of poverty in America and a putting of an indelible black face to failure that would preclude not only broad based commitment to economic or mediation for people of color but would vastly complicate the possibility of any national politics that seriously addresses the now distribution of wealth as the everlasting bane of a truly democratic social order and yet it was
not at all apparent in the beginning how far Dubois would travel down a road of dissent and admonition leading ultimately to an economic and political apostasy that ultimately caused him to be purged for a time from the memory of most of his country women and men. He had after all made his debut as an academic social reformer as Dubois confidently explained in 1897 to the American Academy of Political and social science. The world was thinking about race because it did not know the ultimate evil was stupidity. The cure for it was knowledge based on scientific investigation. It was as simple as that to be sure. Dubois was never so naive as to suppose that racial discrimination could be abolished solely through cutting edge scholarship.
But he remained convinced for a considerable time that profound and profound social changes could be accomplished by appealing presumptively unique American values of inherent decency equality of opportunity the permanent possibility of renewal and progress and to the explicit or implicit protections under the federal constitution for him civil rights and race relations continued to be largely questions of education individual and group character intellectual remonstrance and a resilient optimism that local and politics would eventually shift in favor of his cause. Although it could never be said that your boys discounted race as one of the building blocks of the social you need is over time. He did come to emphasize the now distribution of wealth in
his own country as well as beyond as the fundamental impediment to the expansion of human rights in his magisterial 1935 book Black reconstruction hit America you boys would call the widespread conviction that the unregulated market economy determined best. The social application of the nation's fabulous material wealth of resources he would call that the great American assumption better known to historians later as the creed of American exceptionalism. This doctrine is one of the oldest pseudo verities animating our republic. It holds that history weighs lightly upon the land and its people that progress in all its dimensions is linear and infinite. In the United States and that the power of individuals to shape their destinies has been and remains unparalleled in human experience. But what was true for some Americans was much less true
for many others and for some it was not true at all. If they felt critics such as DuBois to speak for the marginalised and the excluded by bringing to the core of American concerns and messages of distress of increasing alarm and ultimately of condign reproach a searing passage in the souls of black folk exclaims therefore to be a poor man in a land of dollars is hard to be a poor race is the very bottom of hardship. It is in the eloquent eloquent tenacious resistance to the regnant premise of the market is social panacea that Dubois is evolving critique of race and democracy achieves its lasting significance by the time Dubois made his well-timed exit on the eve of the historic 1963 March on Washington. He had repeatedly proclaimed
in so many words that the cash line was the cardinal problem of the age. So those would have been recognized as a work of unique significance even if some uncharacteristic caution at the last minute had kept the third essay in the collection locked away in Dubois's desk drawer out of the drawer of Mr. Booker T Washington and others made the Souls of Black Folk a contemporary bombshell is indicted the most powerful black man in the nation and introduced the mainstream public to the unsuspected existence of a small band of highly accomplished mostly Northern men and women of color a talented tenor. And Chapter Three of Booker T Washington and others. He took on the greatness of the most publicized
African-American of the era which was Booker T. Booker T was anti-national. They represented two different sides of the same coin and they struggled for the leadership of the block. You lead the black middle class the black educated the Black Business Class. Washington was pretty much an economic nationalists but he was a conservative when it came to race and politics. But behind the scenes he was doing a lot of fighting segregation cases and this has been shown through the works of Lewis Hall and in the papers of Booker T Washington. Dubois felt that his leadership style really suppress the activism of black political leadership because he could easily snuff out an aggressive progressive
kind of black leadership and he felt this was harmful to the black masses. And usually when we look at black leadership and black intellectual tradition Washington and Boyce are sort of the two polarized that people sort of look at. And many scholars have said that's a very simplistic view because there were other leaders of this time with different ideas and in both camps pretty much. But for the traditional way of looking at this period most people tended to look at the Washington way or the DuBois way in terms of leadership. The politics as well as economics it seems to me said Booker T that it shows a mighty lot of cheek to study temas dream Greek. When Mr. tritely needs a hand to hold the cotton on his lane and when Miss and looks for Cook will stick our nose inside a book.
I don't agree said WPB. If I should have the drive to seek the knowledge of chemistry or Greek I'll do it. Charles and miss can move to another place for hand or cook. Some men rejoice in skill of hand and some in cultivating land but there are others who maintain the right to cultivate the brain. It seems to me said Booker T that all you folks have just missed the boat. Shouting over the right to vote and spending veyne days and sleepless nights and uproar over civil rights and just keep your mouth shut. Do not grouse but work in save and buy a house. I don't agree said WPB for what can property avail if dignity and justice fail. Unless you help make the laws. They'll steal your house with trumped up claws. Ropes as tight fires as hot no matter how much cash you've got. Speak softly and try a little plan. But as for me I'll be a man. It seems to me said Booker T. I don't agree said WBB.
Washington was the celebrity born of a single event. The instantaneous wonder of an afternoon's deid in Atlanta in 1895 a leader more acclaimed by the other race than by his own. Washington was the leader not of one race but of two boys Charles and his creed was a modern one of an almost religious materialism combined with an old one of collusion with oppressors. Indeed Dubois leaves no doubt that he abhors the exuberance of Washington's business ethic as much as his adversaries Faustian bargain with the Jim Crow South. Washington's gospel of works and money to such an extent as apparently almost completely to overshadow the higher aims of life. Here are Booker T Washington and others start defining notes that would reverberate
across six future decades of Dubois's often seemingly contradictory human rights crusade beginning in Edwardian progressivism and ending in totalitarian communism. A visceral repugnance at seeing values reduced to money so it has transformed race relations in the United States with what now seems instantaneous speed and by redefining the terms of a 300 year old interaction between blacks and whites reshaped the cultural and political psychology of peoples of African descent not only through the western hemisphere but also on the African continent as well. Aftershocks from two centuries three human earthquakes the first world war and the Russian October Revolution did as much to shake Dubois's social science self-confidence by the mid-twenties as
did the rigidity firing of relations between the races. A quarter century after uttering his famous 1899 tagline a fifty seven year old Dubois reflected upon the staying power of his pronouncement in the magazine Foreign Affairs. Once upon a time in my younger years and in the dawn of this century I wrote the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line. He stated it was a purge phrase which I then liked and which I have since often rehearsed to myself asking how far it was prophecy and how far speculation your boys decided that the color line or race was still the central challenge of the century. But now in 1925 it also parenting class with race stipulating that our present problem of problems is what we call labor work
the natural distribution of wealth and the oppressive conditions in which the minority the majority of workers toil have long been an integral themes and Dubois's writing of course as noted above the temptation to divine the Seems I have skipped a line here. Bear with me and I'm going to just carry on. But a precious thought got lost in my computer. As noted above the temptation to divine the what if judgments you boys would deliver upon the contemporary political scene is so often irresistible for the very good reason that he spoke rather precisely to these times in an essay composed a mere three years before dying that tremendously pertinent essay a program of reason right and justice or today could be reprinted in the nation the progressive and the contemporary crisis without changing a word.
And again. Dubois voice my friend is no. An election is coming up. So what. He asks whether a Democrat or a Republican wins. It will be the same old gang. You will have no chance to vote a meaningful third party. You will have no chance to vote for peace or war for social medicine housing or decent education. We know the reason it is because the United States is no longer a democracy. Most citizens know this well. I do not waste time going to the polls. We are ruled by a minority armed with wealth and power. Now this usurpation we must fight here is a program for those who have not lost hope and who yet believe in America youth. The sick as a privilege but charity make private ownership of
natural resources a crime. Stop interference with private and personal beliefs by religious hypocrites. Preserve the utmost freedom for dream of beauty creative art and joy of living. Call this socialism communism Reforma capitalism or holy rolling. Call it anything but. Get it done. Perhaps this is saying but to me it is reason right and justice is Bert Williams once said. I may be crazy but I ain't no fool. I am convinced that it is by far the significance of Dubois's protest and his gradual alienation rather than the solutions he proposed that are instructive for he was an intellectual in the purest sense of the word thinker whose obligation
was to be dissatisfied continually with his own thoughts and those of others. An extraordinary mind of color in a racialize century Dubois's principled imperf. impatience with what he saw as the egregious failings of American democracy drove him decade by decade. The paradox of defending totalitarianism in the service of a global ideal of economic and social justice. The enduring Calvinist temper of mine was never so well disclosed as in Dubois's first published work written as a 27 year old Harvard graduate student. The suppression of the African slave trade a certain heart common sense in facing the complicated phenomena of political life must be expected of every progressive people in some respects. We are a nation. We as a nation seem to lack
this we have the somewhat in covert idea that we are not destined to be harassed with great social questions and that even if we are failed to answer them the fault is with the question and off with us. Consequently we congratulate ourselves often more on getting rid of a problem than on solving it. Such an attitude is dangerous. We have and shall have this. Other peoples have had critical romances and pressing questions to answer the riddle of the Sphinx may be postponed. It may be evasively answered now some time it must be fully answered. We still await those answers. The socio economic truth as you boys so it was just as Africans in the United States under the corporate rule of monopolized wealth will be confined to the lowest
wage group so the peoples of the developing world faced subordination in the global scheme of things capitalist by the end of the Second World War. You boys began to underscore what he saw as an especially cruel paradox. He presaged the rise of what he might have called the talented third that one third of black America that has benefited from federal and state laws and policies as well as affirmative action policies in the private sector are this talented third may well be on its way to full colourblind membership in mainstream America. People whose class status will increasingly mitigate and trump their racial origins. But Dubois was certain that such a colorblind America would also be poverty line. In this hypothetical scenario of class race identities with
high wage earning blacks insulating themselves in the protected city enclaves and distant suburbs and the rise of black Republicans the prospect of the poor and the dark skinned the industrialising America are likely to become ever more Malthusians as there are potential leadership is creamed off and alienated from them. To Dubois the real problem of the century therefore was the manipulation of race in the service of wealth and a clairvoyant Dubois who greatly feared that the odds increasingly favor the manipulations by the rich must look upon the success of the illegitimate regime in Washington as the dismal triumph of kleptocracy. No doubt he was precipitous and totally writing off the market economy but he insists that leaving the market exclusively to solve systemic social problems is an agenda of guaranteeing obscene
economic inequality in the short run and social warfare in the long run. That belief system in which government is the root of all evil and the rich are excused from taxes and the liberals are agents of decadence. Must surely lead to a social contract best described by Thomas Hobbes Indee and Dubois's preface to the 50th anniversary edition of the souls of lapful. He leaves his final words on the subject. I think I still think today as yesterday that the color line is a great problem of this century but today I see more clearly than yesterday. The back that the problem of race and color lies a greater problem which both obscures and implicates it and that is the fact that so many civilised persons are willing to live in comfort even if the price
of this is poverty ignorance and disease. For the majority of their color and fellow men to maintain this privilege men have waged war until today war tends to become universal and continuous and the excuse for this war continues largely to be color. And race. A very good thing it is would you boys that. As I said at the beginning he was never given to tears. Thank you. Debbie B. The boys wrote it somewhere in this world and chaos of things there dwells eternal good. Pitiful yet masterful. That anon and his good time America so run the veil and the prison shall go free and the traveler girs himself and sets his face towards the morning and goes his way. Join us next time at Howard.
I didn't know what I was going to do when I finished medical. When I finished college I didn't know what I was going to do. I knew I was graduating out of flat Mhairi and Howard. And I wanted to go to my Harry. Why. The one black physician in my town had gone through my hair. My grandmother's sister's daughter was an 1899 graduate of my Harris. I often heard of a man or your favorite cousin and a cousin and she went to meet her. That's all I knew about the two doctors that I knew. One in Thailand and one in bamboozles had all gone to my house. I want to go to Mass. I was not accepted at my hair. What do you do. And I often think today if I had not been accepted at how would I have done at age 18. I have no way of knowing. I was thinking about going to graduate school. Florida A&M didn't have a graduate school then. So what I have done I don't know this is what happened. George Rawls and I had excellent grade Rawls had all of these
I had one B. And the president of the college Dr. William H. Gray Jr. whose son is now the president of the United Negro College Fund came just picked it out Mordecai Johnson. He said How is it that two of the best students we have in Florida and him cannot get your medical school. And so Dr. Johnson sent him down to see Dean Johnson D-NJ Roosevelt Johnson within 10 days Rawls in our head. That is from Howard University saying we admitted it to the Howard University College of Medicine. It's hard to describe that good feeling. Ladies and gentlemen if you can just amend some of you really wanted all your life up until then I'm 18 years old and I'm being accepted to the Howard University College of Medicine and I have that letter. My mother kept that letter for me I was hoping she could find. And she did not have that letter. And we hope and yes I'm hoping that it is going to see fit to put that in the book because that means a lot to me. In July 1948 I've been accepted to medical school after I got here on the
faculty. Years later I went to Dean Johnson. I said why is it that you were willing to take that chance with George Rawls and me. We've been turned down at. He said we looked at your grades and we'll look at your scores on this M.K. exam was called a professional aptitude test. And we said if you give them the material they can get it. We can't expect you to know something to which you've never been exposed. And so he was willing to give us a chance and that's why today whenever I'm in any kind of meeting they talk about giving someone a chance giving it I say please give them a chance. But once you give them a chance those persons must meet the criteria that you have established. You can't lower your standards than to try to make somebody feel good. I don't know if these are your standards these are your standards but that's what Dr. Johnson said. No forget that because we had not done well with John well in the science part but not on the humanises. I remember one question often mentioned people ask why do you remember this question. What kind of
architecture is filed with the Parthenon in Greece now and the best students on the campus and I was one of the few that knew what the Parthenon was in Greece and he said they have exhausted my knowledge in what I call the declarative part of the question and the head Durrett on it. Corrent. I don't know. I later found out it was dark but I didn't know they talked about demasiado knees you rip bodies tissue and tend to retrofit all these. I didn't know Q matches was not required. Now I was up for it and then insist that time I always try to do what I could to learn everything I could about the humanit just knowing my stuff in that area. Some wonderful teachers in Florida. My best teacher was my professor of English. Mr. Crawford Verne lenses. And he would have us listen very carefully to people in chapel. We had to go to chapel five days a week. Think about that Nestors would throw it five days a week for chapel five days a week. We had to go to chapel. We had you critique to speakers. And then he would tell us what about that word he used in this situation yes there's
no other word in the English language that can do what that word did in the context of what he was speaking about. Then he reminds us of what Mark Twain said. He said the difference in the correct word and the almost correct word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. If you see a lightning bolt of lightning bug the new light uses lightning. So when you use correct word that's the lightning when used when you came puls would you get that's the lightning bug. That's right. Sometimes you hear someone speak and they pause for a moment. They use a word you see that's not the word you want. Maybe you don't know all the words he wants but you know that is not the ultimate Except that's not the word. And sometimes you're rude and you smile just as if there's no other word in English language can do what that word did in the context whether he was speaking about my second best professor was my professor. Mr. Earle where you talked about the value of memory and organization very important. And then my professor of psychology who said this is something I always remember she said talking about
truth. Very often the first time you look at truth she looks awfully ugly. But the longer you look at it the more beautiful she becomes. I never got the. I started my life out in a fascinating way. My mother dies right after we're born and then we drive a step mother and say What a way to start a life. There's been many events in my life that have made me think that tragedy was my middle name. And I guess things began for me really at the very beginning or maybe even before the beginning because I think my sister tells me that I had a brother named Orville and when he was two years of age he died in my sister's arm and he was the second of two boys that my mother had
and she had two girls my two sisters Gloria and Pola. And she she cried and she followed to the hospital and he was in the hospital for months before he died. And after he died she prayed to God that she could have two sons that she had two girls and she wanted to have two sons and this was her prayer and often life when we pray for things like that. We get them. And lo and behold my twin brother and I were born to my mother some 66 years ago and several hours after Carl and I were born my mother died. And because my father was a chef on the railroad and he traveled all the time we were orphaned and raised in a foster home.
And after the first year I almost died of pneumonia I was the sickly one. My brother was the healthy one. I was the sickly one. And after the second year I developed pneumonia again and almost died from pneumonia. Then after that my father decided because we were in a foster home that he would marry again and bring us to live with him. And so he did. And so Marianne Nogueira became my stepmother and we went to live with my father within a year of living with my stepmother. She went insane. Now you may say look at these calendar brothers. They come into the world and they kill their mother and then they drive their stepmother insane. What a way to begin life. Well often I think there is a master plan. And even though tragedy is their triumph is soon to
follow if you only believe and you keep on walking. And so after that second tragedy with my stepmother being institutionalized in a mental hospital I went to live with my aunt aunt who actually raised me and gave me the foundation that set me in good stead for the rest of my life because she gave me my religious foundation. I learned how to read. Reading the Bible. I accepted the Lord is my savior at the age of seven and decided at that age I wanted to be a medical missionary. And so I had a fascinating child in which I spent six out of seven days in church on Sunday all day and church. Monday was a praying band. Tuesday was testimony Thursday Bible study Friday. The choir. And then suddenly we started all over again. So I was so busy I didn't have time for nonsense and foolishness. And so I spent I grew
up singing in the church learning poetry public speaking all the time and all of that was preparing me for the rest of my life. I wasn't aware of it. It was there that the rest of my life really unfolded and the foundation of my life really began because it was there that I was taken to a Gospel Tabernacle and it was there that I found Christ as my Savior. It was there that I've learned how to read and to do just about everything I learned how to read the Bible I learned how to sing to to do recite arms and to do all those things that sometimes we take for granted that take place in the church.
User friendly religion. We live in a day and age where we have grown accustomed to user friendly commodities things that are designed with us in mind things that make life easier for us. Things that make us feel special things that make us feel good things that make us look good. Things where the focus is on us. This Bud's for you. We live in a day and age where we even shop around for a religion that has us in mind. A church that has us as the center of attraction. Our needs are what drive the ministry and meeting our needs is the key to drawing the crowd. Meeting our needs addressing
our concerns making us happy and hopefully making us rich. That is a user friendly religion. Most Americans are in the market for that kind of religion. Stress free religion or as Robin Williams said twice the sin with half the guilt that Christianity light religion that is hassle free. User friendly. That is what many of us are looking for and getting into. Why do you think that the book The prayer of Jabez is so popular in America because the focus is on me meeting my needs making me happy addressing my concerns and prayerfully making me rich. Lord bless me in deed increase my terror tory. That is what many of us. No no no that is what millions of us are looking for in a
religion. A user friendly religion. Why do you think the prosperity churches are so popular in America. Because the focus is on me meeting my needs addressing my concerns making me happy and hopefully making me rich. Money cometh to me. Money come and money cometh. Mac King says money cometh after you get a job and finish college and be on time. But millions of us are looking for. A religion. I am in fact from what I have read. You don't even have to look yourself any longer because we have got churches now that are designed to look for you. Two of the fastest growing churches in this country one white and one black
were not planted in the soil of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with at least the last of the lowest of the last left out and the left behind or lifted up into the arms of the Good Shepherd. The religion that Dr. King preached about the religion Dr. King died for poor people's campaign garbage strike garbage workers. These churches were not established to reach the masses those of every birth lifting up the name of Jesus lifting up the name that is above every other name lifting up the name in which there is deliverance. Lifting up the name in which this transformation is the name and which is healing the name and which is lifting up the name of Jesus who said and I if I be lifted up from the earth I'll draw all them unto me that is not how nor why either one of those two churches fastest growing churches in America were planted. They're not interested in justice justice rolling down like water. Concern for welfare families concern for universal health care concern for HIV AIDS affected infected persons concern for public
education. They're not interested in concern for addressing or eradicating racism white supremacy sexism or injustice everywhere. No no no no no that's not all. These two churches came into being. They had a marketing strategy all based on a user friendly mentality. A survey was taken by both churches the white one and the black one to find out what the people in the community looked for and liked about church and what the people in the community didn't like about church. They wanted to know in their survey why some people left the church why some people didn't go to church. What some people would like to see included in a church the Burger King theology if you could have church your way. How would it be. And based upon the results of the surveys both churches were designed to meet the needs of the respondents to the question is meeting my needs addressing my concerns and making me
Series
At Howard
Episode Number
123
Episode
Dr. Russell Adams Interview for "The Souls of Black Folk"
Producing Organization
WHUT
Contributing Organization
WHUT (Washington, District of Columbia)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/293-719kdc5j
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/293-719kdc5j).
Description
The main broadcast features speakers on the life of NAACP founder W.E.B DuBois. They discuss the development and long standing impact of his work "The Souls of Black Folk". At the end of the episode, there is a brief segment called @Howard Moments featuring three speeches. Dr. LaSalle Leffall speaks about his admission to Howard University College of Medicine. Dr. Clive O. Callender talks about the early childhood tragedies and his religious faith that prepared him for success in his future. Jeremiah Wright discusses what it means to be "user friendly" in our time and its effects on religion.
Broadcast
2003-03-23
Asset type
Episode
Topics
Literature
Race and Ethnicity
Rights
Copyright 2003 by Howard University Television
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Credits
Host: Swygert, H. Patrick
Producer: Lee, Tina
Producing Organization: WHUT
Publisher: WHUT
Speaker: Lewis, David Levering
Speaker: Adams, Russell
Speaker: Hill, Walter B., Jr.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
WHUT-TV (Howard University Television)
Identifier: (unknown)
Format: Betacam: SP
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Citations
Chicago: “At Howard; 123; Dr. Russell Adams Interview for "The Souls of Black Folk",” 2003-03-23, WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 15, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_293-719kdc5j.
MLA: “At Howard; 123; Dr. Russell Adams Interview for "The Souls of Black Folk".” 2003-03-23. WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. October 15, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_293-719kdc5j>.
APA: At Howard; 123; Dr. Russell Adams Interview for "The Souls of Black Folk". Boston, MA: WHUT, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_293-719kdc5j