My Quest To Teach

February 18, 2015

Fathers: Are You Teaching The Lessons of Selma

Fathers: Are You Teaching The Lessons
of Selma

Chinua Achebe (Nigerian Author),
“We cannot trample upon the
humanity of others without
devaluing our own.”

This is one of the wise sayings of The Igbo culture of Nigeria
the homeland of Chinua Achebe. Many of his books dissect
the practice of colonization that denied human rights of
Africans in their native lands on the continent of Africa.
Blacks in America can relate on multiple levels because
of the situations and circumstances of slavery, segregation,
and laws designed to deny
human and constitutional rights.

“He who will hold another down in the mud must stay in
the mud to keep him down.” The Education of a
British-Protected Child:
Essays. Blacks have been held down in the red clay of
Georgia to the sandy dirt of Florida and the other soils
of this nation.

Over the centuries Blacks have fought and died for rights
that whites have had. Rights that should have automatically
been given to Blacks because they were earned from decades
of slavery, denied because whites control and continue to
control the very fabric of the American society.

The movie Selma
has highlighted
the power and
effectiveness of
unification by
Blacks in gaining
their rights. Center
piece is the urgency,

responsibility and accountability of men to step forward to
sacrifice and fight through legal means and in peaceful
marches to make life better for their children and their

The foci were diverse, the genesis on voting rights, the
encompassing power of being able to vote and influence
the electoral process. Education continues to be a central
focus because an uneducated Black community is left
deprived of jobs that help to provide for the families
of Black men and women. When a group is denied
education and voting rights their communities will
decline into chaos, poverty, crime, homelessness,
hopelessness and lack of investment to build or
maintain that community.

The Black father / men is key to keeping Black communities
stable, alive, safe and vibrant. When Black men are
working they reinvest their dollars into their families
and they (the families) reinvest into their communities.
Black men that work are more prone to value their homes,
automobiles, neighborhoods and even are more active in
their places of worship because hope is seen outside of
the church not just from preaching from the pulpit and
singing which brings a temporary solace. The reality is
that Black men are attacked on multiple fronts
that seem to drain him of his will and desire to keep
pushing forward.

“Fathers, it is time to lift our children, our families,
our culture, our communities from the mud of poverty,
ignorance, death and destruction.”
William Jackson – My Quest To Teach

The lessons of Selma
are a transformative
nature where at
one time many Black
men sacrificed for
their families, worked
two or three jobs to
pay rent, pay utilities

and keep food in the
home for their families, in today’s society there are the
challenges of finding a job or starting a career. Educational
opportunities are challenging where the color of your skin may
mean testing for ESE or directed to a School to Prison Pipeline
to keep dropout rates high and prison cells full. The opportunities
to graduate from high school with a diploma that will open doors
to higher educational opportunities or military service are still a
challenge for too many Black children.

In Selma we saw that men are the foundation of the family, the
corner stone of the community and the workers in the church.
Fathers are supposed to be the rock that their children rely on,
their families can stand on during the storms of life and the
challenges that they will face. There are many lessons and
examples exposed in the movie Selma the most enduring is
the active participation by men to rally in a movement that
means to change injustices.
Men unify and expand their influence through planned
strategy that encourages collaboration and cooperation
for the betterment of Black people not for self promotion
or monetary personal gain.

Young and old
participated in the
marches and protests
of the sometimes
violent states, but
men were active
and involved.

They worked to change laws, they sacrificed to
change policies and to stop discrimination for their
children’s and grandchildren’s
future. This blog addresses the responsibilities of
“men in the villages” of the many Selma’s in this
nation. Men must re-evaluate the importance of their
children; their children/families should
come first, the value of the lives they helped to create
are invaluable. A father’s legacy is not in how many
children they created, but how they take care of
them and educate them. Did the father inspire the
value for education in the home or did they
allow the streets to raise their children? Did the
father go to school and talk to teachers and
administrators or did the father
ignore misbehavior’s and disrespectful attitudes
allowing another Black child entrance to a
School to Prison Pipeline?

Men have a right that
extends to the
accountability and responsibility
to be involved in their
children’s educational
growth and development.
To develop positive societal
morals and ethics, fathers
need to be involved in a
dialogue that is a growth from
watching Selma.

An appropriate quote from Nigeria that the late
Achebe shares, “People who do not seek their fellow
human beings’ help when in danger or difficulty are
therefore animalistic.” Black men that ignore, reject
or deny their children and families are worse than
animals. Today Black fathers are needed to teach
their children how to survive.
“People say that if you find water rising up to your
ankle, that’s the time to do something about it,
not when it’s around your neck.” Chinua Achebe
The blood of youth killed by Black on Black crime
is around the knees of us all that stand by
and do nothing.

The movie Selma
and the current
events of police
brutality and
increased civic
unrest are
screaming for

actions from men/fathers/grandfathers.
How much more will be done in violence just as in
Selma as seen on the streets of the nation before
men will band together in unity to stop
the violence done to Blacks in this nation and by
Blacks to each other?

As a man, father, and educator, I must learn from
events like Selma so I teach my children and
others to be cautious, to be intelligent, to be
positive in their actions and love who they are
and their culture. Their hopes and dreams are based
on their abilities through education,
prayer and the knowledge that their village cares
about them.

Selma has many lessons, the key elements are
education, voting rights and the rights of human
beings. Fathers affect the whole environment;
“…children who identified a father or father
figure scored higher on basic learning skill tests
and had a stronger sense of competence and
social acceptance compared to children without fathers”
(University of Maryland Medical News, 2000).

Fathers have you had
a Selma discussion with
your children and are you
leading your children and
families or running away from them?

William Jackson, M.Ed.
Parent, Educator, Speaker
Blogger: My Quest To Teach
My Quest To Teach
Twitter: @WmJackson


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