Father’s Day may be the least recognized holiday celebrated by Black America.
With Black women and children feeling and often abandoned by men who walked away, were driven away or are locked away, Father’s Day often brings feelings of resentment, anger and perhaps loss. But not every Black father has abandoned his family and many continue to take on those young men and women who are abandoned. Many Black fathers continue to work for their children and connect with their children despite barriers imposed by courts, finances, and even angry mothers of their children. These men deserve credit, a sincere embrace and a word of encouragement in a world that doesn’t want to see strong Black men–truly strong Black men in any way, shape or form.
The desire to destroy the Black man is shown in incarceration rates, school suspensions and push-outs, denial of jobs and opportunity and the feeling of always being outnumbered and always outgunned as one author put it.
Between conflict with the systems of White Supremacy and facing their brothers who are blind to the true enemy and his plans, these men face harrowing circumstances and real challenges. But the measure of man and the measure of manhood is not where you stand in times of ease. The measure of a man is where he stands in times of challenge–and these are the most challenging of times today.
It is time for Black men to face the difficulty of the hour, to face the wars on so many fronts, and to work through the pain that is often a part of daily existence of Black men.
“As a Black man in White America, we are in pain, brothers! We live with constant pain. Nobody knows our pain but God, and us. Brothers, as long as you, as a man, lay down at night and “dream about” your greatness–but you are never able to manifest how great you are–then the pain of being ‘non-productive’ makes you seek ‘pleasure’ that keeps you non-productive. Study our condition: Each one of you is in pain. When you wake up in the morning, and you look in the mirror, and you know deep down inside you are as great as any man of greatness that you’ve heard about, read about, or seen in real life: You know you are as great as any one of them. Possibly greater! But there’s no avenue of opportunity to allow you to demonstrate your individual greatness; then this breeds frustration, it breeds bitterness, it breeds envy and jealousy,” explained the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in a message originally delivered April 11, 1994 in Houston, Texas, as part of a nationwide tour of “Men-Only meetings” leading up to the Historic Million Man March in 1995. A portion of that address aired as Part 46 of his 58-week Lecture Series on “The Time and What Must Be Done,” which was shown last November.
“Brothers, before I share with you what we have to do, I want to say to you who feel that you are despised and rejected; you that are the ‘bottom rail;’ that you are ‘the last,’ that you and I are a ‘foolish people,’ God said: 1.) ‘I will choose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.’ 2.) ‘I will choose the things that are not, to bring to naught the things which are.’ 3.) ‘I will choose the despised and the rejected; and the bottom rail will go to the top, and the last shall be the first.’ This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our sight,” said the Minister. “Whether you know it or not, Black Man, God has chosen you! Not because of your Blackness,’ but He’s chosen you because you have suffered in the furnace of affliction. …You are pure gold, Black man, chosen by God now to do a mighty work!”
It’s time brothers for us to rise and do a mighty work that will make every day of the year a Happy Father’s Day.