Black Mecca for the Sold Brother

by Vince Vanguard Vainglorious

In recent years, people have taken to referring to Atlanta as the Black Mecca. A Mecca is a place that is regarded as the center of an activity or interest. It seems that most people have a tendency to call Atlanta by this moniker, because they believe it is a place where Black people can achieve our now most sacred aspiration - getting paid. The environment that allows Northeastern carpetbaggers and Western privateers to come participate in the city’s bounty was created through decades of sacrifice by people who saw economic benefit as a means to gaining pride and respect, not as an ends onto itself.

While many people only associate Atlanta with Martin Luther King Jr and the Civil Rights Movement, almost every significant chapter of our peoples sojourn has some connection to this city. From Dubois to Outkast and from Hank Aaron to Morehouse, politically, economically, culturally and spiritually, Atlanta has contributed more to the world’s impression of black people than any other city in this nation. When people from other regions speak about the glory of LA or New York, I am always reminded of the word s of the Last Poets when they said "…always talking about the Big Apples out of sight, when you ain’t never even had a bite." This is the only city throughout the world known foremost by the accomplishments of Black people.

A climate of activism, a sense of community and a commitment to social change continues to thrive in some quarters. However, Blacks in this city like all others across this nation have fallen prey to an attitude of apathy and find themselves in a state of impotence. As the problems that face our people become more complex and our sense of community diminishes, economic ideals have become the most convenient and easily understood issues to focus our attention. In search of the American dream, many of us have jettisoned the spiritual and social legacies of our forebears as useless cargo for this leg of the Middle Passage.

Many Blacks have recently moved to the South and to Atlanta in particular to achieve the American Dream of getting paid. Some of these people bring talents and perspectives that benefit the community on many levels. Unfortunately, most bring an arrogance and sense of entitlement that alienate and aggravate natives and in some cases further exacerbate the tensions between the city’s haves and have nots. Because they lack perspective and a sense of history they have become willing co-conspirators to the okee doke of selling the gains and struggles of black people to the highest bidder. Evidence of such backdoor deals can be seen in the legacy of the contracts that were awarded during the Olympics, which benefited few Black businesses, yet Black people were highly instrumental in creating the facade that resulted in the city being awarded the games. I am a native Atlantan. I love this city not because what this city can do for me, but because of what it has done for our race.

Hopefully, as the confluence of new residents continues, they will come to continue to give honor and praise to Black people, not to bury them.

Black Mecca for the Sold Brother by Vince Vanguard Vainglorious

© Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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