It’s that time again, y’all. Black History Month! The time of year when we celebrate our history.
History has shown us what our ancestors have done, but we must take their victories to a higher level by building upon what they have done – not just talking about it.
This month willing, I will write four articles on making Black history, and offer ways to improve on what has already been done by following the paths left by our people and building something. Then, next year this time, we will have more to celebrate – something our children can see in their present rather than in their past.
This first feature of “Making Black History” is centered on a call being put forth by THE One Million Conscious and Conscientious Black Contributors and Voters (OMCCBCV). It’s the impact of millions of Black voters going to their respective boards of elections and changing their registration designation to “No Party Affiliation” (NPA). Now that is a great way to make Black History, rather than sit back and reflect on the Black history made by our progenitors.
The original NPA idea came from co-convener of THE One Million, Amefika Geuka, who recently discussed with me a mass movement by Black voters to declare our independence of dominant political parties. We decided to launch the effort this Black History Month.
We want at least One Million Black voters, in the next 90 days, to register “NPA,” thereby serving notice on all politicians that Black folks will no longer be their puppets and will no longer be ignored.
Changing our designation to NPA will strengthen us collectively and give us the power to leverage our votes for our own best interests – our “permanent interests” – as a viable and independent voting bloc. It will let politicians know that we are serious about “quid pro quo” (something for something), which they understand all too well.
Now, I understand that many Black people who are died-in-the-wool Dems or Repubs will never register as NPA, but this is not about waiting for or even trying to coax all Black voters to comply with this very sensible and simple strategy.
A critical mass of Black voters, willing to close ranks around Congressman Bill Clay’s famous assertion: “We have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies, just permanent interests,” will give us the leverage we must have, nationally and locally, to determine the outcomes of various elections and gain reciprocity from those whom we support.
So, this is my first recommendation on how we MAKE Black history this month instead of just celebrating it and being told what our history is via commercials, sales, and folks with very little or no Black history.
What about imprisonment?
A case in point is the recent tweet by Vice President Mike Pence, who wrote, “As Black History Month begins we remember when President Lincoln submitted the 13th Amendment, ending slavery, to the states.” Say what!?
He suggests we celebrate Black History by acknowledging a White man – someone who did not end slavery by “submitting the 13th Amendment.” I wrote to Pence and suggested that in keeping with his “Lincoln freed the slaves” theme, that he should make history by calling for the Exceptions Clause to be removed from the 13th Amendment. Then slavery in all forms and under all circumstances –especially for those “duly convicted of crimes” – would be eliminated. Don’t you just hate condescension?
The call for us to register NPA is also in line with the advice business mogul Bob Johnson gave in his interview with me. I will be reaching out to him to be the national honorary chairman of this effort.
Meanwhile, just go do it. We don’t need fanfare or hoopla. Get to your respective registration board and change your party affiliation to “NPA.” Let’s stop accepting someone else’s interpretation of Black History. Let’s make our own.
James E. Clingman is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people.
His latest book, “Black Dollars Matter! Teach Your Dollars How to Make More Sense,” is available on his website, Blackonomics.com, and Amazon Kindle eBooks.