One reason The Gantt Report is different from most columns is that I don’t parrot other editorial writers. I don’t read columns by other writers, then comment about them and then pretend to you that I was influenced by some other writers. I mostly read history or facts. I like non-fiction.
In that regard, I also like watching documentaries and historical programs on television.
Recently, I watching a show about civil rights struggles in America and I had a tremendous revelation: Forty or 50 years ago, black people were feeling the same way then about heroes as they feel about black heroes today.
And what feeling was that? Black folk feel as long as you were “there,” you are a hero.
Let me explain. When students were getting beaten at lunch counters or on public transportation for protesting unjust laws and unfair policies and you were outside, 50 yards away, and just “there,” later you woiuld be called a “hero.”
Today, it is not unusual to hear brothers talking about how they took part in the Million Man March. Now, some of the guys never saw Minister Louis Farrakhan in person in their lives but, if they were in the city of Washington, D.C., at the time, they would claim to have been a Million Man Marcher and later they would be called a hero.
People who are just “there” at a Trayvon Martin rally or people who were just “there” at a state Capitol sit in or people who were just “there” at a black community political forum with Bishop Victory Curry of Miami and did little or nothing to help him or to get results at other events and activities will lead you to believe that they are heroes.
But the people who stand up and speak out for you day after day, year in and year out, morning, noon and late at night are pretty much hated.
When modern-day freedom fighters speak truth to power, it scares fake heroes to death. When it’s time to stand up, a fake hero will lie down. When it’s time to swing, a fake hero will urge you to sing.
The real heroes risk their lives, they risk their businesses, they risk their careers, they risk their relationships just to fight for equal rights and justice, for equal opportunities, for better jobs, for better contracts, for more loans and equal access to capital, for higher living standards, for affordable housing and health care. And they speak, write, pray and fight to protect black women, men and children, along with the entire black community.
Don’t get me wrong. All of us are needed and have roles to play in making black progress. Everybody that is just “there” may or may not be a real hero. History has taught us that some people "there" are undercover agents or police informants.
But nobody who stands up and tells the truth should be shunned or shamed.
Lucius Gantt, a political consultant based in Tallahassee, is author of the book Beast Too: Dead Man Writing which is available at Amazon.com . You can like The Gantt Report page on Facebook and contact Gantt at allworldconsultants.net