Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"No matter how hard you try, you can't stop us now" (updated)

Years ago I attended a 3-day training. On the second day, one of the African American men who was also a participant came dressed in a suit and tie. I'd known this young man for a long time and was aware that it was not how he usually dressed. So while getting some coffee during a break I asked him why. He said that the movie Malcolm X was premiering that day and it was his way of showing respect.

I thought of that conversation when I saw this picture of a young boy attending President Obama's speech in Boston yesterday.
I imagine that this young man had been "schooled" on the importance of this event...not just of going to hear the President of the United States speak, but the first African American President of the United States. His clothes as well as his expression show that he knows the solemnity of occasion.

I also think of the thousands of little black boys and girls all over the country that have been "schooled" about this. Their perceptions of their country and themselves are forever altered by that awareness.

And so the opening line to this song comes to mind..."No matter how hard you try, you can't stop us now."

UPDATE: In the comments, Blackman reminds me that the line in my title actually goes back to the Temptations in 1969.


  1. Morning, SP. I like your story and your take, but it seems unfinished/lop-sided somehow. I wish you had added a paragraph or a couple of sentences about the pretty little lady at his side. She too is dressed up, attentive and tuned in to her president, and she too may have been schooled about the importance of the event. I absolutely LOVE this picture because BOTH OF THEM, natural, relaxed, SIDE BY SIDE and listening with focus to THEIR president SHOW ME THE FACE OF AMERICA, reflecting PBO's TOGETHER message.

    1. I wondered too about the little girl's story. It just wasn't as obvious to me as the one the little boy was telling with his clothes and expression.

  2. Mo'nin', Ms. Pants

    I certainly see VC's point. And, alla that is true. But, I, too zeroed in on the young man. And, he is WEARin' that orange shirt with coordinated vest and bow tie. And...

    I 'bout fell over with the title of this piece. Unless somebody can show me otherwise, this goes back a goodly bit further than the Renegades of Funk who probably weren't even born when the Temptations first sang it as a refrain. So...

    You Tube "Message From A Black Man". It's from the Tempts 1969 album "Puzzle People" (this was the second part of my Freshman year in college. Isaac Hayes got the 9 minute single on radio. Sly's "Stand" broke. just an aMAzing time).

    Listen to this and hear Melvin Franklin ask the questions still pertinent today.

    And, let us ALL keep movin' FORWARD.