As a brother committed to uplifting the beauty, greatness and intellect of people of African descent, I can identify with others who share the same mission. Therefore, I find it only fitting to acknowledge the work of one whom many consider a national warrior, unapologetically setting the tone to educate and empower people who look like us. Brothers and sisters who are aware of those who are working diligently to save our Black young men know about the latest efforts of one activist and orator, Dr. Umar Johnson.
Brother Umar Johnson is a nationally certified Black psychologist in the school system in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with degrees in education and counseling. He currently spends most of his time as an activist and speaker on the college circuit. Johnson is viewed as controversial by many who see him as bucking the system. But regardless of how you may feel about him, you must applaud him for his activism in promoting Black consciousness through historic awareness. Dr. Omar Johnson with the likes of other luminaries such as Tariq Nasheed, Dr. Booker T. Coleman, Dr. Phil Valentine and Dr. Frances Cress Welsing have been instrumental in educating the world on the true history of Africans and their contributions to mankind.
This is a much-needed endeavor for awakening the world to the truth covered up by those seeking to oppress us and keep us in the dark. The truth of our real history is necessary to combat the negative stereotypes and to build the self-esteem of young African American youth to realize their rich heritage and to know who they really are—so they will not let others with ill will define them.
Unfortunately, when Blacks advocate improving the plight of other Blacks, they are often vilified, demonized and made to look as radicals and troublemakers. But when other groups embrace their heritage and culture, they are lauded as rightfully proud people. There seems to be an uncomfortable factor involved for some (both Whites and Blacks) in seeing the truth come to light. The status quo is comfortable for some who are apathetic about seeking equality and ascribing to elevating their status. The truth of the matter is that understanding your true history can explain the current predicament or situation of a people.
Dr. Johnson has taken on a monumental endeavor. He is attempting to buy St Paul’s College, a defunct HBCU in rural Lawrenceville, Va. and convert it into a residential boarding school for approximately 1000 African American boys from all across the country. He hopes to name the school the Frederick Douglass and Marcus Garvey Academy. St Paul College founded in 1888, lost its SACS accreditation in 2012 and was never able to recover. It is now up for sale. Dr. Johnson by has been given the unprecedented option to buy the 35 buildings on the campus for $5 million. The caveat is that he has a limited time factor (Aug. 21) to make this happen. If this feat is not accomplished, the dormant college has been targeted as a possible temporary shelter for hundreds of Central American children and teenagers fleeing their homelands by the thousands to escape violence and poverty—or be sold and become a private gated community.
For once, can we put our children’s interest as a priority? For all those people advocating to help save our young black men, this is the optimal time to put your talk into action by giving what you can financially, to help make this dream realized. Time is running out, but if we all unite, we can make it happen. Let’s do this for our children and stop waiting on others to come to our children rescue, a wish that is not likely to happen.
Dr. Johnson will be in Nashville, speaking at Fisk University on Aug. 26. Tickets are $15. All socially conscious, hungering for knowledge and enlightened brothers and sisters should be there. Please bring your children if possible. Hopefully, by the time Johnson visits Nashville, his dream will have materialized. Let’s help make it happen.
For more information on Johnson’s efforts visit <www.Drumarjohnsonschool.com>.