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Bass Reeves US Marshal

BassReeves

Being the sort of history buff that I am, I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce you to the first black Deputy U.S. Marshal west of the Mississippi River. Bass Reeves.  Mr. Reeves’ story is absolutely astounding. During his long career, he was credited with arresting more than 3,000 felons and bringing them to justice. He is also credited with killing 14 outlaws in self-defense.

Born into slavery in July of 1838, Bass Reeves is better known as the original “Lone Ranger.” There were no sidekicks named, Tonto, and his stellar career must be kept in the annals of time and history. Freed by the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865, Reeves settled in Arkansas, had 11 children, and farmed near Van Buren.

But law enforcement was his real passion. There are a plethora of things that can be said about the life of Bass Reeves. I’d like to add my voice to the legacy of a man that many have never read about or considered in the Real West.

Marshal Bass Reeves lives in the hearts of every rugged man that will “boldly go where no man has gone before”, and sometimes, alone. The characteristics of courage, grit, honor, fearlessness, and a bold appreciation for what’s right, helped to define this modern day Apostle of Justice.

And if we must have hero’s, why not consider a freedom fighter and lawman who carried a six shooter and towered over his enemies with a profound intelligence and keen marksmanship. Leadership has been defined as: “The ability to influence others to follow through inspiration.” Marshal Reeves encouraged people to follow through the confidence of his good shooting finger.

The real steering wheel inside of Bass Reeves, was his gargantuan heart that beat inside his chest when at rest, 144 times a minute. The human average is 72. Myth.

When Jim Crow laws prohibited Bass Reeves from continuing as a US Marshal, he joined the Muskogee, Oklahoma Police Department and served faithfully there until his passing.

In 2011, the US 62 bridge, which spans the Arkansas River between Muskogee and Fort Gibson, Oklahoma, was named as the Bass Reeves Memorial Bridge. How fitting for a man who’s life bridged the gap between notorious outlaws and the calm backdrop of the wild, wild west.  “Bad News for Outlaws,” that Bass Reeves was born. The good news for the pop culture generation, is that he will never be forgotten.

Keep standing on the Rock!

For more information, visit the Bass Reeves Western History Conference July 21st and 22nd, 2017 – The Three Rivers Museum 220 Elgin Avenue, Muskogee, Oklahoma

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Posted by on July 7, 2017 in Black Economics, History

 

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The Black Wall Street Part 2

In American History there has always been the paradigm of cultural shifts.  In the late 1800’s, our country watched a group of Africans continue to rise from the cataclysmic sting of slavery into the main stream of financial wealth and economic freedom.

The Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, before it was burned to the ground by an angry mob, was the source of inspiration for many blacks around the country.  A passion to spread the “American Dream” into the hearts of a group of dreamers, helped each philanthropic endeavor to spread across the city.  The modern day mantra “Spread out in your influence until everything feels your impact,” was indeed the battle cry of those seeking to break the oppression of the mental, spiritual, and economic tyranny that existed.

The self contained Black Wall Street, defined wealth as: “knowledge, wisdom, understanding, and experience, all working together to produce trans-generational economic, security, solvency, and stability.”  This attitude was the bench-mark in the opulence and comfort, found in their daily routine.

There were twenty-one churches that decorated the Tulsa sky-line during this prosperous period.  The citizens of this rich city, were richer still in personal integrity and moral consciousness.  And yet, there were men like Jeremiah G. Hamilton – the richest black man in New York- before the Civil War -who made $2 million dollars, the equivalent of $250 million dollars by today’s standards.  Ruthless and cunning, he was called “The Black Wolf” of Wall Street.  Perhaps he was forced to push the envelope in his favor, back toward the “negro” side of the economic table.  As one businessman put it, “We must have integrity in business if our contemporaries will take us seriously.  Others may lack a good conscious in business, but we will always side in with our best friend at night.”

During this tumultuous time, there were questions raised about Dick Rowland and Sarah Page, the two main characters of this mixed Shakespearean drama; Was Dick Rowland and Sarah Page in love? Maybe. Were they secretly engaged and planning a concupiscent elopement to California? Maybe. Did he in fact, step her foot in an elevator and cause the searing pain of her crumped toes, to cry out in agonizing and yet wanton desire for her lover? Maybe. Or, was the race riot the result of the disparaging gap between the Have’s and the use to “Have?” Maybe.

Richard Robert Wright, Sr., the American military officer, educator, college president, politician, civil rights advocate and banking entrepreneur, when asked by retired Union General Oliver Otis Howard, what message he should take to the North.  The young Wright reportedly told him, “Sir, tell them we are rising.”

From the 35 square blocks of the Black Wall Street devastation, WE ARE RISING!  To the White House, we are rising! From major telecommunication networks around the world, we are rising! From Fortune 500 companies, we are rising! From major positions in American culture, we are rising! From $1.5 million dollars in property damages in 1921, to $1.1 trillion dollars in buying power, the African American can still rise!

So, while your rising, remember to Keep standing on the Rock!

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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The Black wall Street (Part 1)

IMG_0978In the early 1900’s there was a phenomenon happening in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the sons and daughters of former slaves were paving the way for what would become known as, The Black Wall Street. Tulsa would become the epicenter for our country’s premiere socio-economic boom in the Midwest.

With over 600 businesses owned and operated by black citizens, Tulsa, Oklahoma, would become the breeding ground for entrepreneurial excellence and accelerated extravagance, that would place the black businessman head and shoulders above his contemporaries.  The list included: 21 churches; 21 restaurants; 30 grocery stores; 2 movies theaters; 6 privately owned airplanes; boutiques; a hospital, a bank, a post office, schools, libraries, Hotels. law offices, Doctors, and even a bus system!

The fifteen million acres of land, we once owned in America, have been replaced by less than 3 million acres held by 18,000 farmers who still hold the deeds to land once promised.  The Tulsa promise land, like Boley Oklahoma, helped to house some of the world’s richest African Americans and helped to sustain the cultural trend for black wealth in America. The Greenwood District meant the black dollar would exchange hands one-thousand times before leaving the community.  In today’s financial boom, the black dollar leaves the black community in six-hours.

I am proposing instead of “Black on Black Crime,” how about, “Black on Black Entrepreneurialism.” How about holding each other responsible for building the future through shared partnerships, where a man’s word is still his bond.  Where a baby’s momma doesn’t have to come looking for the baby’s daddy because he’s there, teaching the principles of wealth building and financial literacy; while reading and writing bedtime stories that provoke his children toward educational excellence and celebration dances that cover the fifteen million acres we used to own.

If Gordon Gekko or Jacob Moore could see us now, standing in the reverberations of the 1921 fires that burned in Tulsa, that seared our thinking and melted our greatest passions and focus for generational emancipation, they too would cringe.  Our greatest opportunities are still ahead, waiting to be revealed, waiting to be discovered, waiting to be unleashed by the proclivity of our genius.

Thank God from A to Jay Z, we are thinking again and casting off the mental chains of complacency and reaching for the star that represents our true identity.  Madam C.J. Walker would stand up and shout for joy at the mention of our expose’s on Financial Empowerment, Generational wealth Building, Lunch N Learns, and Master Mind Groups.

We must always remember, what we bequeath to the future is ourselves, our best self, and the fires that once burned through the Black Wall Street must be kept burning, if we are to see the resurrection of our dreams.

Keep Standing on the Rock!

 

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