“Negroes believe that they purchased their inheritance upon the battlefields of this country. They watered the tree of liberty with the precious blood that flowed from their loyal veins. They ask no favors, they desire and must have an equal chance in the race of life.”
I started out with this quote (slightly paraphrased) because I want my readers to understand the meaning behind these words. So I will give you a minute—read it again, but this time, read it nice and slow.
I will come back to this quote and the man who spoke these great words, but before I do I would like to tell you a little about myself (I will try my very hardest not to bore you). I am not rich, nor do I aspire to be rich. However, I do aspire to be successful. I know what it is like to grow up with very little. I grew up in one of the most dangerous cities in America: Camden, New Jersey. I did not just hear about someone getting shot, I witnessed someone get
shot. I did not just hear about someone getting the snot beat of them, I was the one getting the snot beat out of me. I could go into detail about how I had a shotgun pointed in my face, or how I was spit on, but I think you get the idea: poor, black, and living in a very dangerous city. Eventually we moved out of Camden; actually, we moved out of New Jersey altogether—yada, yada, yada.
No matter how poor you are, there is a way out; there is a way to break the cycle. Poverty can be passed on from generation to generation, but that does not mean you play the same cards your great grandparents were dealt. I am going to use both my negative and positive life experiences as motivation. I am going to improve my way of life so that my children do not have to grow up the way I did.
Now, let me take a moment to clarify a few things: I did not have a horrible childhood, but it could have been better. I have the world’s greatest parents; they are and always have been wonderful to me. I did not have much, but they taught me to be grateful for what I did have. When I say “. . . I’m going to improve my way of life so that my children do not have to grow up the way I did,” I mean I do not want my future children to struggle. I want better for them than what I had—isn’t, or shouldn’t that be everyone’s dream? Regardless of your socioeconomic status, you should always want your children to be better off than you.
Envying what others have will not buy success. Nowadays, that seems to be what a lot of people think, namely the Occupy Wall Street crowd. People have this “you owe me” attitude. I am constantly hearing, “the rich have too much money” or “they do not deserve all of their money”-things of that nature. It really saddens me when I hear these things. I mean, what gives anyone the right to try and limit someone’s success simply because they are limiting their own abilities? Nothing in life is just handed to you; you have to earn it! Why have we become so covetous, especially the younger generation-MY generation? What is wrong with being successful? Someone else’s success is not the reason you are not successful; at least it shouldn’t be the reason. We are in the 21st century, and our great nation has come such a long way; we all have a chance to succeed, even if you’re dirt poor.
Remember the quote I began with? Don’t bother scrolling to the top of the page, here it is again: “Negroes believe that they purchased their inheritance upon the battlefields of this country. They watered the tree of liberty with the precious blood that flowed from their loyal veins. They ask no favors, they desire and must have an equal chance in the race of life.” The man who made this bold statement was a man by the name of John Roy Lynch. John Lynch was a former slave. He knew what it was like to feel inferior to another human being. He knew what it was like to be worked like a dog, only to get nothing in return. He knew what it was like to pick cotton until his fingers bled, and I’m sure he knew what it was like to be beaten. I do not want to get into every detail about his life, but I would also like to add that he was a war veteran; actually he fought in two wars, the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. Later on in life, he served in the Mississippi House of Representatives and also became the first black Speaker of the House (of Mississippi). He was a Republican, by the way, as at that time almost all blacks were. If you would like to read more about this great man, you can click the link here:
Lynch was not seeking reparations for slavery, and he was not bitter. He wanted what all blacks wanted at the time: “. . . an equal chance in the race of life.” Lynch made this bold statement at a time when blacks were still severely mistreated, despite slavery’s abolishment. With Lynch being from the South, extreme racism was always at an all time high: blacks were still dealing with hate-filled KKK, Jim Crow laws, etc. Things did not begin to dramatically improve for blacks until the 1960’s, and this was long after John Roy Lynch passed.
Unfortunately, Mr. Lynch did not get to experience what he requested. But I am ever so grateful that I am not a slave to anyone. I do not have to worry about racism holding me back, nor do I have to live life feeling inferior to anyone! And thank GOD I have the 13th and 15th Amendments to back me up! I am provided the opportunity to become successful, and that is all I need. We are ALL provided the opportunity to become successful, so what more could you possibly want? If you want Communism, move to Communist China! No one owes you anything.
Capitalist America was designed this way for a reason. Yes, some have it easier than others (and that is OK); some are born into wealth (just as some are born into poverty) because their parents and grandparents have handed down their wealth to them. But so what! When I die, I hope to leave something for my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren; and I dare ANYONE to give me grief about it. Why should anyone have to explain to anyone what they are doing with their money? If people would stop focusing so much on what others are making and doing with their money, maybe they would be busy OCCUPYING (pun intended) and securing their own future!
It is time to take advantage of the opportunities provided to each and every American. There needn’t be any more time wasted coveting what others have, because you are responsible for your own future. Starting out with very little, and then working your way up the success ladder makes us more appreciative of what we have earned. Let us take a look at a few success stories; stories of individuals who came from nothing.
Tyler Perry went from being homeless to being the highest paid man in entertainment. Ben Carson grew up poor and was raised by a single mother; he is now a very successful neurosurgeon. Herman Cain, a GOP candidate, is another success story: he grew up poor and is now a very successful businessman. Did I mention he has a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics? There are many other success stories of people who came from absolutely nothing, but I just wanted to list a few. These people worked hard to get where they are now, and I plan to do the same. Now, what are you going to do?