Books, Career and Economics, Education, Interests and Goals, Media and News, Our Youth, Youth Development

Raising Black Boys As Superheroes

By William Jackson

Quote: “Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

Frederick Douglass

The importance of reading can never be a non-negotiable aspect
in raising Black boys. The value of education is seen every day as
people apply for jobs, starting careers, applying for entrance to
higher education and the progression of academic years that are
becoming reflections of geo-political government and of global commerce.
The world is a smaller place because of literature and reading.

Reading is fundamentally an important skill set that cannot be faked
nor ignored. The education of children cannot wait on Kindergarten
at age 5 or Pre K at age 4 especially for Black boys, it starts from birth.
The first educators are parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts because
it takes a village to raise children. The village of the family is the
foundation of educational, cultural and societal success or the
sentencing too ignorance, lacking of morals and values and the rebellion
to society that will either allow assimilation to a life based on
education or assimilated to a criminal justice system that is designed
to incarcerate not educate. It is easier to educate Black boys than to incarcerate.

“The color of a Negro’s skin makes him easily recognizable, makes
him suspect, converts him into a defenseless target” Richard Wright, Black Boy
Viewing the numbers of Black boys involved in the criminal justice
system shows that it is not society that is failing Black children it is
the lack of the foundation of education in Black families.
How can this be; the facts show the linkage to behavior and reading.
If a child cannot read they have difficulty in adapting, associating, and
integrating into a society whose foundation has been manifested by
the value of education. Reading is Fundamental, because fundamentally
our society is an integration of literacy and comprehension, not
agriculture where a knowledge of plants, weather, harvesting and animal
husbandry are the intellectual skills are based on labor built from
experience not textual knowledge. A book cannot effectively teach how
to milk cows, pick crops take care of chickens.
Even in the industrialized world it took reading to acquire skills that
once learned, manual labor required the performance of a skill after the
reading and comprehension that is required now in a dynamically
digital world. Machines were able to assist man and lighten his workload,
but reading is the foundation even in a digital world.

“We love our superheroes because they refuse to give up on us.
We can analyze them out of existence, kill them, ban them, mock them,
and still they return, patiently reminding us of who we are and what
we wish we could be.” Grant Morrison
“Raising Black Boys As Superheroes” means first and foremost creating
a sense of inner pride, self-love and self-respect. Generating love for Black
boys and in Black boys to establish a foundation that loving yourself is
important and understanding that Black boys are valuable and important.
Too many Black boys because of the images they see in the media, the
media that portrays them as insignificant and dangerous, video games
that glamorize violence, sex and drugs, even Black boys experiences in
school may crush their moral fiber and intellectual capabilities.
Malcolm X and thousands of others experienced their dreams crushed
and their futures turned upside down. Stated by Malcolm X:
““People don’t realize how a man’s whole life can be changed by one book.”

Parents themselves have to be prepared to raise Black boys because
of the unique perspectives on themselves, their peers and even family
members. The lack of cultural greatness and intellectual historical
magnificence is what is being washed away. Black boys need to be taught
that there are “Black Superheroes”, not created by a marvel of technology,
nor by the dark cultural of cultures other than their own. Black boys have
a history of intellectualism through a journey of history first started by
verbal stories then ultimately by written words. In order for Black boys
to understand, experience and discover their history they must be able to
read. They must be motivated and engaged to read, encourage them to
open books and explore a world that empowers them and inspires them.

This Saturday, April 11th at the Main Library downtown Jacksonville, Florida
#ReaderTheater presents “The Black Superheroes.”
Introducing the Black Superheroes comic book presents and commemorates
folklore pictures of 10 black superheroes as derived from the folklore of
American Ex-Slaves. This work was derived from the Library of Congress
American Ex-Slaves archives gathered by the Federal Writer’s Project
during the 1930’s, and Palmetto Country by Stetson Kennedy.

Why is this work important: Stated by Tangela Floyd of Young Minds
Building Success Charities;
“I have always viewed those Black men and women (both past and present)
deserving the title “iconic.” I saw them as individuals who made a significant
difference for the African – American population in American society and culture
as individuals who displays of strength, character, and resolve, place them at a
much higher level than “Super”, although “Super” is the natural word to use for
people who accomplished such great feats. Just in the manner by which they
disregarded their own safety and lives in a cause to better humanity everywhere,
one would have to create a new name just for them!”
Tangela Floyd –

Black Superheros Interview
Jacksonville, FL, USA


About Proud Poppas United

A former Youth Division Aide and Mental Health Therapist with the Office of Children and Family Services turned his reduction-in-force experience into a win-win situation, and many are reaping this harvest. When Tyrone “Zire” McCants, who is also a versatile services photographer and visionary in the Phoenix, AZ, lost his job; he took his youthful interest in photography and his prior knowledge from working in a family-centered position into new ventures. He even figured out a way to coincide his two passions into meaningful opportunities to advance his cause. The layoff he faced freed him up to develop his photography business (Zire Photography & Graphics) and to showcase his skills as a prolific artist. One of those ventures that McCants created was an initiative called Proud Poppas United; which is a community-based group designed to strengthen the bonds between fathers & their children. It aims to encourage a tradition of fatherhood and family, increasing the number of active fathers in our community. When McCants isn’t intellectually cultivating his repertoire of talents, he manages to merge his interest in photography with his desire and passion for fatherhood. Using the Proud Poppas Photo Project, as his flagship initiative, he displays images which celebrate and encourage the pride of being an active father. In many minority and ethnic communities, there is a progressive concern of absentee fathers and the devastating effects of this challenge on our children, our families, and community. He also believes that by displaying these images will help to shed light on and celebrate the gift of fatherhood. He hopes that this movement will also become contagious and bring other men closer to their children and families, and encourage a presence of well-being and development in our children, our families, our communities and our people as a whole. McCants quotes that “My scope is capturing the energy between a father and his children” and that’s what he is creating through his community development initiatives. Through, a first look into the reality concerning “Responsible Fathers” many disturbing statistics and contributing factors related to absent fathers. But, to the credit of McCants, he has been able to overlook the negative stereotypes and prejudices that have perpetuated his community and rise to the occasion. Although, he wears many hats that provide guidance and leadership to the infrastructure of his life’s purpose. To all of the fathers out there with the silent victories of triumph and the principle-centered leadership; who fight depression, financial woes, relationship conflicts, the penal system and the racism of our day; McCants say’s “Thank you” for all that you have been able to get accomplished behind your veil of anonymity. You have just endured the last 13 years of this millennium, and you are still here to tell about it. Although some will say that these last few years have been amazing they are still asleep to the fact that; we (The black community) must work with higher ideals versus dollars and cents. We must look within ourselves and see us as being brave, black, accountable, and reliable. The truth of the matter is that you are embracing fatherhood but at a frequency that may not be understood. I am with you as we will not look at the diluted statistics but at the “transformational leadership” that is displayed by all black fathers and role models everywhere. Don’t give up now as our families are leaning on you in these times of difficulty to represent us to the best of your ability as the “Mighty Men of Valor.” You are the man for the job, and now it’s time to come out of hiding and show the world what real black men look like; and we represent as a tribe of Intellectual builders, teachers, warriors, leaders and Kings. “Fatherhood is not a right; it’s a privilege. Your children are the best part of you. I send my love to this new generation of fathers who have learned from the sins of the past and take a very active role in the lives of our children. ~RAPPER TALIB KWELI, FATHER OF TWO


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