There are many things we are willing to do, but, are we willing to die? I pose this most difficult question as we enter the month of February, the month we reflect on the contributions African-Americans made to the founding and the building of this great nation

We were brought here as slaves, with the first 20 in 1619 in Jamestown, Virginia. There were many of our ancestors who were willing to die by jumping over board, off the slave ships, and be eaten by the sharks trailing the ships. There were others who died to the pleasures and material blessings of life to make it possible for us today to have the freedoms that the preamble to the Constitution say “all men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Our ancestors showed us two important points. The group that resisted until death during the 246 years of slavery, from 1619 until 1865; and defacto slavery, which was free but yet not free, which was from 1865 until 1970, which was another 105 years; that they were willing to physically die to gain our complete freedom.

The second group lived, but materially, socially, family – wise, and legally they were dead. They endured physically humiliating death for us to have the rights and pleasures we enjoy today.

In the present age of the 21st Century, we have chosen the god of materialism and refuse to die for any noble or righteous cause.

If we are to maintain the freedoms we have, we must be willing to die to many things. We must be willing to die to our belief that “we can’t”. If we are Christians, as we proclaim to be, then we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. President Obama destroyed the “I can’t” to be President of these United States of America by being the first African-American elected in 2008, and then again in 2012. He was willing to let the ‘I can’t’ part of him die, so that the “I can” could have life.

I encourage all African Americans to be willing to die to those things that are keeping us from progressing, such as: black on black homicide, single parenthood, lack of education, criminal life style, and lack of belief in African American businesses. Let the “I cans” live, and we can move forward.

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