My best friend stole a car…

“It is better to build strong boys than repair broken men.”–Frederick Douglass

Bio: Charles Micheaux

Ford Mustang

Too many of my boyhood friends went to jail for stealing cars, car parts and or smoking or selling weed. In 1997 I worked at the Maryland State Prison as a volunteer as a part of my ministry apprenticeship. I volunteered from 1997 to 2002. I met so many young men who had no idea how difficult they had made their life by one simple crime. Often I discovered their parent never took the time to educate their sons on the pitfall of incarceration, crime holds enormous consequences that are almost always insurmountable. In my own life I was truly blessed because my father’s worst nightmare was that I might do something criminal and get myself thrown in jail or prison.

One day when I was sixteen-years old my father invited me out to lunch, just he and I. Once we got in the car my father told me he had to stop at the Essex County Jail to meet with the sheriff for a brief meeting. My dad explained I could not go to the meeting, and I would have to stay in a jail cell while he was in the meeting. It was an empty jail cell. My father assured me the meeting would not be long. The sheriff smiled and shut the heavy steel jail cell door and turned the key and locked the door. I found myself behind bars like a criminal; it was surreal! I swore I was captured in a very bad dream. Soon five or six inmates surrounded my cell and they began cursing at me and threatening me. They swore they would beat the crap out of me when I was released into the general population. I tried in vain to explain to them I was simply waiting for my father they laughed and called me a liar. I was perplexed and not too pleased that my father would put me in such an unpleasant situation. After the twenty minutes of curses and threats against me my tormentors soon disbursed and I was alone again trying to understand what just happened. My dad and the sheriff arrived both men wore this big smile on their face. My dad joked, “Charlie, you alright son? You look like you saw a ghost.” I did not appreciate his attempt at levity.

We left the jail and my father drove to the popular Howard Johnson’s restaurant where we were seated and made our order of hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes. The big smile left my father’s face and he looked sad as he searched my face looking for something. He rubbed the palm of his hands together, he exhaled. I waited for him to speak.

“Charlie, that place we just left, it’s a shit-hole, it’s a got damn shit-hole! And you never want to wind up there, they treat you like a dog. You have no rights. And your life is over! You won’t go to college, you won’t be able to buy a house, you won’t be able to get a job or buy a car! Charlie, you can never go to jail son. If you go to jail, your life will be over and I and your mother will disown you. I will take all of your stuff and put it on the front lawn. I don’t want you to come into my house, I’ll be done with you.

Charlie, if you need something, you come to me, and I will get it. You don’t have to steal, you shouldn’t steal, it’s wrong and there’s no excuse for you to do it. I love Charlie. Don’t ever let me down son. That jail back there is a pure shit-hole.”

Two weeks later my very best friend rolled up on me in a beautiful blue Buick and he offered me a ride. I knew this was not his car so fear came upon me. My friend called out to me to get in the car. I refused his offer remembering my father’s warning. My friend tried to mock me by telling me I was chicken and scared. I told him I was fearful, because my father had already warned me. My friend would not let up, he kept on badgering me until I became very angry and finally I clenched my fist and I shouted at him and told him to fuck off!

He laughed and drove away.

Later that day my friend James was arrested for stealing that car. He was no longer my best friend even though I still loved him. He would go on to steal many more cars and jail became his second home. I realized the genius of my father and the enormous investment he made in me on that day he had me put into a jail cell.

Today, I am convinced if my father had not come up with the plot to have me locked up, I surely would have gotten in the car with my friend James and I too would have gone to jail and my life would have been ruined like his.

Charles Micheaux

Atlanta*

Geronimo the great Apache Warrior

“I was born on the praries where the wind blew free and there was nothing to break the Sun.” –Go-yah-kla

( AKA Geronimo)

Go-yah-kla (aka- Geronimo)

November is Native American Heritage Month and this is the time to celebrate and educate the general public about Native American people. The blood that runs through my veins is that of a proud Native American woman I simply knew as grandmother.

Geronimo is the greatest of all the Apache warriors, he was a Gemni, born June 16th 1829. The legend goes, as a boy he swallowed the heart of his first kill in order to ensure a life of success on the hunt. To the Apache tribe Geronimo was the essence of the best and most skilled Indian warrior, he was fearless, clever, ruthless, and honorable as a man of his word. At the tender age of seventeen Geronimo fell in love with a very beautiful Apache girl named Alope. The two teenagers were married and had three children together; one day while Geronimo was out on a trading mission, Mexican soldiers raided the camp where Geronimo’s family were set up. Geronimo’s mother, wife, and three children were all killed in the attack. Geronimo cried for three days alone and when there were no more tears he became enraged and then he rounded up two hundred Apache warriors and for the next ten years he hunted down every single Mexican soldier who had a hand in the slaughter of his family. One by one Geronimo killed each soldier.

The name Geronimo was given to him by the Mexican army; during a fierce battle on the Mexican holiday–St. Geronimo Day, Go-yah-kla crushed the Mexican army and from that day forward they called him Geronimo.

U.S. Paratroopers of World War II saw the 1940 movie ‘GERONIMO’ the night before mass training jumps and as each man fell from the sky they all shouted proudly G-E-R-O-N-I-M-O !

The U.S. Navy SEALs used the code name Geronimo in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. It took the SEALs ten years to hunt down and kill OBL.

The Special Forces community hold Go-yah-kla in the highest regard as they should for he is the father of guerrilla warfare in America.

Charles Micheaux

Atlanta*

Bessie Coleman 1st. Black Female Aviator in America

“I decided blacks should not have the difficulties I had faced, so I opened a flying school to teach other black women how to fly.” –Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman believed she could fly way before there ever was a song that ever played over the radio airwaves. Bessie Coleman was born on January 26th 1893, her mother a black woman and her father Native American. The petite and pretty Bessie Coleman dreamed big dreams especially when she saw a plane flying overhead. One day while with a friend she looked up and saw a plane; she whispered to her friend, “I can do that!”From that moment on Bessie Coleman had an insatiable desire to become an aviator; no matter the cost in sweat and toil. The challenges she faced appeared insurmountable; with her black skin, being female she had every right to feel discouraged as all of her applications for aviation school were rejected. In 1919 Bessie Colemen boarded a ship from New York City bound for Europe where she would continue her quest for application to aviation school. Bessie Coleman was warmly greeted when she arrived in Paris, France, her application was accepted and Bessie Coleman took flying lessons from German and French instructors. After receiving her pilot’s license she was hired as a pilot by F0kker’s Aircraft Corporation. Bessie Coleman returned to the United States in 1922 with her international pilot’s license. Bessie Coleman opened up her own aviation school where she taught other black women how to fly. On April 30th 1926, 33-year old Bessie Coleman died during an air show for the Memorial Day celebration. The controls of her airplane jammed and Bessie Coleman was violently catapulted out of the plane and fell to her death. In all the the many essays I have written over the years no one has displayed the determination and persistence as this remarkable woman aviator-Bessie Coleman.

Charles Micheaux

Atlanta*

November is Native American Heritage Month*

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