The Black Column: An Introduction

February 11, 2017
The Black Column

Hey y’all. It’s me. Your favorite unapologetic, black, advocate for feminism coming at you with something new for this semester. A column. The Black Column, to be exact. 

“Oh no!” One might be thinking. “They gave her another opportunity to shove her agenda down our throats?!”

Yes. Yes, they did. 

So, here’s the rundown: This semester I am taking “African & African American Studies II,” taught by Professor Harold. Is this my first “black” class? Hardly. I always try to integrate my blackness into my studies in any way I can, despite not being an AAS major. But I’ve never had a platform like this. So while I get educated, I’m gonna educate y’all a little bit too. 

What exactly does that mean? Well, I’m gonna give you a little taste of my interpretation of what I learn in class. Not a substitution for the class by any means at all, I hope this encourages you to not only take the class, but also to do your own research, and engage with the material. I am nothing more than a third-year student, not even majoring in this department, commenting on how this makes me feel. I’ll say what sticks out to me, what makes me uncomfortable, what inspires me, etc. And you can agree or disagree, but more than anything, I want you to begin your own education in Black Studies. Because that is important and necessary work. To paraphrase something Professor Harold said in our first day of class, I don’t care what major you are. I don’t care how many degrees you have. If you know nothing of black studies, you are uneducated. 

And now maybe you’re wondering “Okay, cool, she’s got a little black platform now. That’s great and important! Does this mean all her other articles can be a little less black?”

Long Answer: My blackness is an inherent part of my identity that is unable to be separated from anything else. It affects how I see the world and how the world sees me. Even if I write an article about what I ate for breakfast for a week, it’s still a black article. 

Short Answer: Come on, you know better than that. 

To be serious for a moment, one of the topics of our first lecture: how black people had to fight for the right to be literate. They had to fight for the right to be educated. So often we think of fighting to integrate schools, but we forget my people had to fight to get their own school in the first place. Literacy was a weapon they could use against their oppressors, and therefore, something they had no right to. People died for the pursuit of knowledge. They died for the right to read the words on a page. 

I’m not trying to gas myself up. I’m not even talking about myself, really. But I’m just saying, considering how hard white supremacy tried to keep us from reading anything, much less produce anything of our own… black people writing? That’s a little revolutionary. 

So stay tuned for this column. It should be fun. Like the announcement of Beyoncé’s pregnancy (WITH TWINS!!!), it is no coincidence that this is launching during Black History Month. 

W.E.B. Du Bois said “that Negro blood has yet a message for the world.”

Here’s mine. 

Until next time. 

“Speak the Truth to the People,” Mari Evans

Speak the truth to the people

Talk sense to the people

Free them with honesty

Free the people with Love and Courage for their Being

Spare them the fantasy

Fantasy enslaves

A slave is enslaved

Can be enslaved by unwisdom

Can be re-enslaved while in flight from the enemy

Can be enslaved by his brother whom he loves

His brother whom he trusts whom he loves

His brother whom he trusts

His brother with the loud voice

And the unwisdom

Speak the truth to the people

It is not necessary to green the heart

Only to identify the enemy

It is not necessary to blow the mind

Only to free the mind

To identify the enemy is to free the mind

A free mind has no need to scream

A free mind is ready for other things

To BUILD black schools

To BUILD black children

To BUILD black minds

To BUILD black love

To BUILD black impregnability

To BUILD a strong black nation


Speak the truth to the people

Spare them the opium of devil-hate

They need no trips on honky-chants.

Move them instead to a BLACK ONENESS.

A black strength which will defend its own

Needing no cacophony of screams for activation

A black strength which will attack the laws

exposes the lies, disassembles the structure

and ravages the very foundation of evil.

Speak the truth to the people

To identify the enemy is to free the mind

Free the mind of the people

Speak to the mind of the people

Speak Truth

Recommended Readings for further exploration:

  1. “The Vocation of the Black Scholar,” Vincent Harding
  2. The Education of Blacks in the South: 1860-1935, James Anderson

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