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Is America Ready for a Black President?

By Woody Henderson

Earlier this year during the Memorial Day week and weekend of celebration there was much to see and much to consider. One of the things that should have been seen took place on May 19th. It was the 35th annual memorial parade of the 369th Veterans Association - a.k.a. the world-famous "Harlem Hell Fighters." Their theme was "Honoring America's forgotten western heroes and its pioneer Black Generals."

The 369th has the distinction of fighting and staying on the front line longer then any other fighting force during World War I, 191 consecutive days, without losing a single foot of ground or having a single one of its men taken prisoner. The 369th can trace their roots back to the old west's historical Buffalo Soldiers.

To see so many Black generals marching up Fifth Avenue on what would have been Malcolm X's 77th birthday was inspiring. Especially when you consider that many of these generals had to not only endure but also overcome insurmountable odds to become what is called, "flag rank officers."

Many of them had enlisted during World War II into a segregated army. They not only had to fight an enemy abroad to help liberate Jews from Nazi Germany and other parts of Europe but, they also had to fight racism and racist policies in the very army they had joined to help save democracy around the world.

Even today there are right-wingers running around this country and on talk shows telling America that Black Americans are unpatriotic. We are, however, as Rev. Al Sharpton has often said, " in many ways more patriotic than they because we fought for this country even when this country would not fight for us."

When I saw these great Black generals, who have served this country proud and true over so many years, march up Fifth Avenue on Malcolm's birthday, with Rev. Sharpton as one of the grand marshals, I felt proud. I remembered that we Black Americans too often forget we've contributed too much to America to expect anything less than equal justice, equal respect and equal access to opportunity.

Then, I remember what "they" say. They say that America is not ready for a Black President. Then, I remember what Sargeant Henry Johnson of the 369th sacrificed in World War I. Yet, they say America is not ready for a Black President. Then, I remember what the Buffalo Soldiers sacrificed. Yet, they say America is not ready for a Black President. Then, I remember what Crispus Attucks sacrificed. Yet, they say America is not ready for a Black President. Then, I remember what the Tuskegee Airmen sacrificed. Yet, they say America is not ready for a Black President. Then, I remember what my own father and so many others sacrificed in World War II and all the other wars this country has been involved in, including this so-called war on terrorism. Yet, they say American is not ready for a Black President. Then, I remember that I am an American, so to hell with what they say, "I'm ready." "Now run and tell that."

 

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