(Rev. C.L. Bryant’s new film, Runaway Slave, is available now via DVD and Digital Download. The documentary finds Bryant, a former NAACP local chapter president, traveling across the country to explore how the progressive mindset has allowed blacks to trade “one form of tyranny for another”).
Bryant shares his story exclusively with Big Hollywood.
Black History Month, though honorable in its concept, has become a tool to patronize a people who seem to be falling further into the abyss of non-participation in the engine that drives American achievement.
While there are many black people whose accomplishments are absolutely incredible in this country, I notice unfortunately, even in the year 2013, anger among black people; anger that I witnessed firsthand in the early ’60s, ’70s and ’80s.
The question I have is, if black folks were angry in the ’40s and ’50s with little opportunity, no vote, no equal access, why are we still angry today? Why is it on the lips of so many so-called black leaders the idea that we have not overcome?
I am a black southerner born and bred, and I remember Negro Day at the Louisiana State Fair. It was the only day out of a two-week run that Negroes (as we were called then in polite circles) could go to the State Fair. I remember black and white water fountains and public facilities. There is no question that the civil rights movement began at a time in America when people who were true victims of their present circumstances found the courage to escape a system of perpetual bondage.
In retrospect, without the brave men and women of the civil rights struggle of the late ’50s and early ’60s, it is horrific to think how backward black folks would be at this point in American history.
In my own hometown of Shreveport, LA, Rev. Harry Blake was nearly beaten to death by police. We must ask what was that unseen quality that caused these oppressed people to remain on course even in the face of injustices like police violence. I believe it is called character, and I am convinced as a pastor who has led three churches in 34 years of ministry, when courage is failing, character will not yield. I have found that it takes little courage to complain about what you don’t have. It also takes small determination to be a victim but it takes character to turn a complaint into an effective action and to turn a victim into a victor.
Black folks in America today don’t often see it this way. As a black fiscal conservative and dare I say Republican, I can’t help but make this point: I believe that America is the greatest success story the world has ever known, and the survival of black people in a country that had the harshest form of slavery should naturally be for those grandsons and daughters of former slaves a call to embrace a quality that was in the DNA of a generation gone by but now has been bred out of the mentality of present day blacks by the overreach of what was once legitimately called social justice now called equal outcome.
To desire equal outcome for any length of time is to rob oneself of the character it takes to achieve individually. Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. in his 1963 speech uttered the words of his dream “that one day my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” How backwards have the mindset of far too many black folks gone from this magnificent dream.
To secure the course plotted for the intended destination of a people we must understand fruit produced by the content of character. The content of character will cause the individual to contribute to his society only expecting to be able compete equally as Dr. King did even in the midst of minimal opportunity. The content of character will open doors that otherwise would remain closed to those trapped in the mindset of being owed a position in modern America because of skin color.
A person’s character says to big government,”Get out of my way so I may achieve my individual dream.” The content of character still causes all Runaway Slaves to say in the words of that old Negro spiritual … free at last.
My grandfather once said to me,”I didn’t go through all that I went through so you could be black. I went through all I went through so you could be free.” These words grow more precious as the years go by.