So many years ago Jackie Robinson told the world he never had it made
The Barbershop was crowded, everybody was talking or texting…
The Genius walked in with his briefcase, rested it on a chair and signaled the Professor to tell everybody to be quiet.
Professor raised his hand, got everyone’s attention and said, “Stop texting.”
He continued, “Everybody should be proud of our new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who is a very close friend of Marc Miller, M.P. for South-West Montreal, and Lisa Montgomery, political attaché for Marc Miller.”
Professor paused, then started again.
“Did you know that Florida is 90 miles from Cuba? It’s better to have Cuba as a friend than as an enemy. A lot of people didn’t like what U.S. President Barack Obama did when he went to Cuba.”
Money put up his hand and said, “Wait a minute, let’s talk about making some money.”
Just Chilin’ interrupted, “It’s about time. Remember that guy, actor Billy Dee Williams? He’s coming to Montreal, along with Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) from the show Fresh Prince. They’re coming… You don’t have to pay their transportation, hotel or the fee to bring them to Montreal. All you have to do is get in touch with their agents and tell them you want to have a dinner for them for their contribution to the arts. Offer them $2,500 each and sell about 200 tickets at $50 or $100. The rest is profit.”
Money interrupted, “That’s what Black Theater Workshop, the Black Film Festival, and so on should do. It’s what the defunct NCC should’ve done to make some money.”
Dropout said, “If we had a place like the now defunct Black Studies Center or NCC; the Union United or any church where we could meet and talk about stuff like this, doing serious fundraising the right way, to make money that would be great. But we’re not organized, we’re not structured, so that will never happen.”
Uncle Fred, Uncle Harry and Uncle Clarence almost in unison, shouted, “What do you mean we’re not organized or structured?”
Money said, “I’ll give you a perfect example. There was article in the Gazette about Father Emmett ‘Pops’ Johns, President of an organization called Dans La Rue. He just retired and lives in a senior citizens’ residence. His organization owns about 25 low income apartments.”
There was an article in the Gazette about a gentleman who is the head of the Jamaica Association, who is 83-years-old, and was proud to tell the Gazette that he couldn’t retire. After all these years they still don’t own anything. Was he bragging or complaining. That’s an insult to all the members of the Association. Translated, he’s saying nobody can take over his Association. Not a nice thing to say. If he believes it he shouldn’t have gone public with it. That’s an embarrassment to everyone associated with the organization.”
Professor put up his hand again and said, “Amen!”
And he continued, “There was an article in the CommunityCONTACT, (March 17, 2016), Former City Councillor, Sonya Biddle Screams Racism At IGA Supermarket.
Now the problem with Sonya is that she isn’t reading the CommunityCONTACT. For all the supermarkets that advertise in that newspaper, if she had gone to anyone of them with her husband, she wouldn’t have had that ‘problem.’
But she didn’t have the problem baseball Hall 0f Famer Andre Dawson had: He was shopping in a downtown department store, security thought he was shoplifting, approached him and put a pistol to his head. The police never apologized and the Expos never apologized. The department store said, “our security do not carry guns.”
Just Chilin’ put up his hand, “Listen, I got something important to say. It’s approaching baseball season, and every spring the hypocrites and latent racists come out of the woodwork and talk about 1946. What about 1946 you ask? That’s the year the late, great Jackie Robinson came to Montreal to play baseball. He “broke the colour barrier,” the saying goes. He also said: “A life is not important unless it has an impact on other peoples’ lives.”
As you wait for the baseball season to get started read his autobiography, I Never Had It Made, as told to Alfred Duckett.
On the back cover he states: “I guess if I could choose one of the most important moments in my life, I would go back to 1947 in Yankee Stadium in New York City. It was the opening day of the World Series, and I was for the first time playing in the series as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers team. It was a history-making day. It would be the first time that Black man would be allowed to participate in a world series. I had become the first Black payer in the major leagues.
“I was proud of that, and yet I was uneasy. I was proud to be in the hurricane eye of a significant breakthrough and to be used to prove that a sport can’t be called national if Blacks are barred from it. Branch Rickey, the president of the Brooklyn Dodgers, had rudely awakened America. He had chosen me as the person to lead the way.
“It hadn’t been easy to fight the resentment expressed by player on the other teams and by their owners and the bigoted fans screaming ‘nigger.’ The hate mail piled up. There were threats against me and my family and even out-and-out attempts at physical harm to me. In one game a Black cat was thrown at me from the stands.
“But on that historic day in 1947 the air was sparkling and the sunlight was warm. The band struck up the national anthem. It should’ve been a glorious moment for me as the stirring words poured from the stands. However, as I write these words twenty years later, I cannot stand and sing the national anthem. I have learned that I remain a Black man in white world. I never had it made.”
“Schoolboy said, “Amen!”
He continued, “My parents told me at the time when Jackie Robinson was here if you wanted to go the movie theater on St. Catherine St. (Uptown) you had to sit upstairs in the balcony, you could not sit downstairs where the white people did. And you were not welcomed in the Laurentians. One sign/billboard sated: No niggers, Jews and dogs.
The Genius said, “In the Contact, there was another Letter to the Editor by Marvin ‘Visible Minority’ Rotrand, Invitation To Discuss Minority Under-representation. Now here’s a guy who is a legend in his own mind, a city councillor, who never stands up for all the abuses Backs have endured over the last twenty years. Yet he wants to believe that Blacks like him. But the Ways and Means Committee does not like him. He’s very naïve, or ‘non-committal’ when it comes to Black issues. All he has to do is go public with the mayor and ask him why he has no city councilors who are Black. I know the answer: they’re practicing institutionalized racism at City Hall.”
Professor said, “That city councillor guy, talking about ‘Visible Minorities, should know that white people are less than 10 percent of the world’s population and shrinking…
Everybody on the Ways and Means Committee said “Amen.”
How can they name a metro station after Lionel Groulx. Don’t they know who he was and what he stood for?
Dropout said, “Did you listen closely to what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said to President Barack Obama? Instead of you all texting your baby mothers or watching Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil… you would know that Trudeau told Obama: “You should know more about other countries… Translated by the Ways and Means Committee, it means that only 14% of Americans have passports. So what does that tell you about Americans; they know nothing about Canada.”
It’s spring… “Sunny ways” and days ahead.
Show some love to Dinah Ross, Billie Dee Williams and Carlton when they come to town.