On several occasions, I have been asked for my position regarding actions of the NFL relative to football players kneeling during the singing of the national anthem. I told them that I would stand, not because I disagree with the NFL players but because I am bigger than Americans who enslaved, raped, and sought to turn African-Americans into breeding animals for economic gain.
Let me clearly state that I admire the NFL players because for so long, many have been silent, at least in public on such subjects. The players have taken a position that could be costly to each of them. However, it does show that the fear of suffering did not cause the players to remain silent. Because of failed parenting, schools and churches, many Americans are ignorant of what slavery was all about and that the national anthem and confederate monuments salutes slavery.
When I was a young man, growing up in Georgetown, Illinois, a small town just southwest of Danville, Illinois, I and other African-Americans, confronted racism on a daily basis in “the Land of Lincoln.” As a black American and because of the color of my skin, when I attended the local movie theater, I had to sit in the balcony of the theater and could not eat in restaurants. Each day, black students had to walk from the high school to a bakery shop to eat during the lunch hour. We had to do so because of our skin color.
However, throughout elementary and high school, each morning I stood, as required, placed my hand over my heart, saluted the flag and sung the national anthem. African Americans could only use the roller rink on Wednesdays, a day set aside only for African
Americans. Nevertheless, each day, I stood, placed my hand over my heart and recited the allegiance to the flag. As slavery was forced upon Blacks, so was the pledge of allegiance, saluting the flag and singing the national anthem.
In retrospect, I now understand that those of us who rose to the occasion and absorbed the pain are true patriots. I can remember being called the “N" word by groups of white students and when it was reported, teachers simply smiled. There were no teachers of color. During my entire educational journey, I have never had a teacher of color.
When I entered college at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Illinois, the head of racism continued. Nevertheless, whenever required to stand and recite the allegiance to the flag, I did so. I can remember a very cold day, when I was pulled out of the library by a psychology professor who also happened to be a deputy sheriff and placed in the back of a squad car. I had no coat and was freezing. This happened to each of the other six black male students. The deputy sheriff, a frail and rather arrogant man, explained