Welcome to my Blog for Fade to Black –the novel. Well first let me say THANK GOD!! After 20 plus years, Fade to Black is finally here. I am really excited about the message that Fade to Black brings to all of America. At a very young age I learned a valuable lesson from Dad, he would always ask, “Son you are standing on the shoulders of GIANTS?” Honestly I had no idea what he was talking about, but when he began to educate me on the good, bad, and ugly of our rich African American History, I understood what he was saying. That was a lot to take in for a young kid growing up in the inner city of Trenton NJ but my dad made sure I got it. I knew as much about Marcus Garvey, Matthew Henson, Dr. Charles Drew, Huey Newton, and Paul Roberson as I did about Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
What he also made sure of was that I learned about the freedom that I have today. Freedom’s like going to any store I want, eating at any restaurant, using any bathroom, and voting, which came at a huge cost to brave people who bled, were beaten and lynched, and shot for the freedom’s I enjoy today. So the statement FREEDOM isn’t FREE is so true!
The book Fade to Black is in memoriam to the lives lost in the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921. To most Americans the story of the Tulsa race riots is foreign to them and you would have a better chance finding where Jimmy Hoffa is buried (for all you young folks who don’t know who Jimmy Hoffa is Google his name…LOL) than finding ten people outside of Oklahoma who could tell you anything about the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921. I was totally ignorant to this atrocity despite being well educated by Dad about African-American History
What I found out about Black Wall Street, as it was affectionately named, blew me away. The financial infrastructure that Black Wall Street had was 2nd to none. It is utterly amazing how an African American city was financially self-sufficient. They had their own doctors, lawyers, banks, stores etc. It’s very important that younger generations in America and not just Oklahoma become aware of this story. (Oprah is doing a miniseries on Black Wall Street.)
I will close with this quote from Ray Jasper, a young black man on death row in
Texas, “People point their fingers at young blacks, call them thugs and say they need to pull up their pants. That’s fine, but you’re not feeding them any knowledge. You’re not giving them a vision. All you’re saying is be a square like me. They’re not going to listen to you because you have guys like Jay-Z and Rick Ross who are millionaires and sag their pants. Changing the way they dress isn’t changing the way they think. As the Bible says, ‘Where there’s no vision the people perish’. Young blacks need to learn their identity so they can have more respect for the blacks that suffered for their liberties than they have for someone talking about selling drugs over a rap beat who really isn’t selling drugs.
They have to be exposed to something new. Their minds have to be challenged, not dulled. They know the history of the Crips & Bloods, but they can’t tell you who Garvey or Robeson is. They can quote Drake & Lil Wayne but they can’t tell you what Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton has done. Across the nation, they gravitate to Crips & Bloods. I tell those I know the same thing, not to put blue & red before black. They were black first. It’s senseless, but they are trying to find a purpose to live for and if a gang gives them a sense of purpose that’s what they will gravitate to. They aren’t being taught to live and die for something greater. They’re not being challenged to do better.
Black history shouldn’t be a month, it should be a course, an elective taught year around. I guarantee black kids would take that course if it was available to them. How many black kids would change their outlook if they knew that they were only considered 3/5′s of a human being according to the U.S Constitution? That black people were considered part animal in this country. They don’t know that. When you learn that, you carry yourself with a different level of dignity for all we’ve overcome.
Before Martin Luther King was killed he drafted a bill called ‘The Bill for the Disadvantaged’. It was for blacks and poor whites. King understood that in order to have a successful life, you have to decrease the odds of failure. You have to change the playing field. I’m not saying there’s no personal responsibility for success, that goes without saying, but there’s also a corporate responsibility. As the saying goes, when you see someone who has failed, you see someone who was failed.
Neither am I saying that advantages are always circumstantial. Sometimes its knowledge or opportunity that gives an advantage. A lot of times it is the circumstances. Flowers grow in gardens, not in hard places. Using myself as an example, I was 15 when my first love got shot 9 times in Oakland. Do you think I m going to care about book reports when my girlfriend was shot in the face? I understand Barack Obama saying there is no excuse for blacks or anyone else because generations past had it harder than us. That’s true. However, success is based on probabilities and the odds. Everyone is not on a level playing field. For some, the odds are really stacked against them. I’m not saying they can’t be overcome, but it’s not likely.
I’m not trying to play the race card, I’m looking at the roots of why so many young blacks are locked up. The odds are stacked against us, we suffer from an identity crisis, and we’re being targeted more, instead of taught better.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Khalil Hakim is the author of new novel, “Fade to Black.” He is the founder and Pastor of Shekinah Glory Praise and Worship Tabernacle and the founder of the Shekinah Glory School of Ministry in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before being called into ministry, he served honorably in the United States Air Force for 11 years. Khalil has been married to Karen Hakim for 15 years. They have two daughters Khalia and Kyndall. They currently reside in Tulsa, Oklahoma.