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Charles Butler Headshot

Dr. King was a Ph.D not a PHD

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October 18, 2009

Today is a special day in my life and always will be, so there are a few things that take precedence over everything else I had previously planned for the day.

As I got dressed for brunch, I watched a special on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., televised on ABC/New York. They captured him on several videotapes speaking to various audiences about the condition of the American Negro in America in 1967. The thing that struck me most about his speeches to the audience, was his intense usage of historical, political, and economic facts in his lectures. His word selection, was careful, and on point about the subject matter, a true orator. He spoke more like a college professor, than a minister, on the topic of the history of Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. His discourse on America's role in the support of France, and then President Diem, instead of Ho Chi Minh was accurate. These were facts I learnt in the 70's in college, where my professors drew the same parallels and conclusions about the socioeconomic, and political conditions of Vietnam and Black America. The question was, and is more poignant today, where is the Marshall Plan for Black America and now America. We can find money to fight wars for other people on any continent, but we cannot protect students going to school in Chicago in October of 2009.

I was reminded watching the TV special that Dr. King possessed a Doctorate of Philosophy, he was not a Pontificator Hypocrite or Dumbfounded. I have said numerous times that Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., is the only person to come close to delivering the blatant facts about the Black American condition in America, in terms the power elite understands and can respond to effectively. It is very simple, a person with a formal education has the foundation to build his or her arguments based on logic and facts. I my opinion, the Black American community has had too many PHD's instead of Ph.D's out front as spokespeople.

In the wild political 60's it became the norm for the "establishment" to listen to hippie-type, drug crazed, young people with different ideas and visions of the world they wanted to live in. The interesting thing is their opinions often left facts and proven methods to the wind. Well, those hippies grew up, and more entrenched in the "establishment" than their parents. Today, there is less involvement in government, civic, and social causes by that generation than previous generations. As a nation some experts think we are more racially and economically polarized than ever in the history of the country. The country's standing in the world has eroded on their watch!

I believe that Black America needs intelligent, and educated people developing strategies and tactics for economic parity. In the past, and today, uneducated community activist, who grew up in the "hood", cannot frame the issues and solutions to the problems of the Black community. The majority of community activist in the Black community have failed over the last 43 years by any standard of measurement. They have failed despite the fact our government has spent billions of dollars in programs to assist the poor, poverty-stricken, under educated, non-assimilating masses of Black enclaves.

The prototype Black community activist is Philip Jackson of Black Star Project, in Chicago, IL. His organization can be found at He was not invited to the meeting in Chicago with Attorney General Eric Holder and Sec. Education Arnie Duncan to discuss the death of Derrione Albert and solutions. Mr. Jackson, is an educated, articulate, dedicated community activist that delivers quality results and can provide solutions to the issues facing Black communities across the country. However, he is left out of the discussion about solutions because he can speak the language of the power-elite, he is not your typical uneducated community activist. His biography speaks for itself, and so does his deeds. Let me say this about most community activist they are well-meaning and heartfelt, but we have children being slaughtered daily in the streets without any hope to make it to senior prom.

A.G. Holder and Sec. Duncan came to Chicago, and both want to provide more money to focus on at-risk youth, about $30.5M. Even, IL Gov. Quinn, and Mayor Daley, asked for more money to fight youth violence. Historically, that only encourages more problematic behavior from troubled youth. The money ends up in the hands of people that live in the community, but they are not problem-solvers. Mr. Jackson, of Black Star Project, focuses on all youth and particularly upward bound youth. The only way the Black community is going to surface from the current abyss it finds itself in, is to focus on the youth with hope and aspirations to enter the American mainstream, and not the criminal element. We need to put the money in the hands of the people that can perform.

We have a crisis in the Black community that needs to be corrected immediately. That crisis is how we have approached problem(s) since the death of Dr. King, in April of 1968. A good friend of mine, Mr. Cox, made a clear analogy, he said, "Fire trucks and authorities come to the "hood" and a house is on fire, they stand around trying to figure out how the fire started, instead of putting water on the house and extinguishing the fire, then doing the analysis." Hey, put some water on the house fire, HELLO!

Dr. King, held a Ph.D, and was not a PHD, he had the facts to support his opinions and solutions. His visions were close to another great civil rights leader, Whitney Young, often forgotten because of his constant demand for jobs and economic opportunity for Black America.

When we visit the writings our truly great Black Americans they called for fairness, and to be left alone to pursue the American dream, without government interference. I will name a few Fredrick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, D.A. Nixon, Thurgood Marshall, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., A. Philip Randolph. All of these men knew that the condition of America was access to capital, education, and opportunity.

Let's get more Ph.D's involved in the solutions to the problems facing our nation, especially in the Black community and leave the community activists to sing Kumbaya of a bygone era.

We (Americans) need to tell these young people that they need to conform to our societal norms, it is not going to be the other way around. We (Americans) need to protect our young people that are trying to live their lives in a normal and civilized manner. We (Black Americans) need to demand that people in all of our communities adopt values, standards, and morals consistent with success in America. Historically, Black Americans are conservative on social, political, and fiscal issues, so why do they vote overwhelmingly with Democrats? If you listen to Dr. King lectures on civil rights and human rights, he sure sounds more like a conservative than a radical! Amazing!

Peace, C.B.