African American News and Genealogy

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Friday, February 25, 2005

CALL TO ACTION: Cosby wasn't first to urge blacks to work hard, mentor others and raise responsible children, but is the message getting through?

February 25, 2005 BY RUBY L. BAILEYFREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF A Southern preacher traveled the country in the 1950s, encouraging blacks to speak standard English, spend wisely and lower the black-on-black crime rate. Those things, said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., were the keys to integration and self-sufficiency. By the time King reached downtown Detroit in 1963 to preview his "I Have a Dream" speech, Tijuana Morris says, King had moved far from his message of hard work and self-dependence. "We need to stop asking about why other people aren't doing things for us," says Morris, 49, of Detroit. "We were never a people who had to lean so heavily on others, and we shouldn't be that now." Morris thinks the salvation for many African Americans who seem to be losing their way can be found in the history of a people who wore belts, spoke proper English, took any job and valued education above all. Her father, William Penn Morris, was a sharecropper in the South with a sixth-grade education. He moved to Detroit after serving in World War II. He supported his family on a city garbage collector's salary. In 1996, he died at age 87. Full Story:


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