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*

Kasim Reed ready to lead the city of Atlanta forward

Charles Micheaux

“The future of our city will be decided this Tuesday, November 2nd, and there is only one candidate in this race that has successfully tackled the issues facing Atlanta right now. Other candidates talk about what they will do, but I’ve actually done it.” –Kasim Reed

Election day is Tuesday and this election for mayor will make all the difference in the world for our children and our elders. There are many candidates who wish to be the next mayor of Atlanta, but many of them just don’t have the vast experience that Kasim Reed has to move the city forward. I’m reminded of the recent debacle with Felicia Moore and one of her supporters–Lee Clevenger. Many of you have seen that ugly video where Felicia Moore is standing shoulder-to- shoulder with Lee Clevenger while he denigrates every black mayor in Atlanta’s history. During the whole time of that awful video Felicia Moore never stopped smiling and giggling. I wonder…was she even listening to the ugly lies that spewed from Lee Clevenger’s mouth? Felicia Moore displayed very poor judgement when she allowed bigot Lee Clevenger to besmirch the legacy of the noble Ambassador Andrew Young and other great black mayors. Ms. Moore never protested this unwarranted attack, yet she tells us she wants to be the next mayor of the great city of Atlanta. I’m going to be frank, Ms. Moore lost all credibility when she absolutely refused to take issue with the outrageous statements made by the Lee Clevenger.

Now, the good news is help is on the way! Kasim Reed would have never allowed anyone to denigrate, mock, or dish absurd claims, about the black mayors of Atlanta. Everybody in the city of Atlanta knows Kasim Reed is not a joker to be mocked or and made a fool of. No friends, Kasim Reed, is bright, strong, noble, dependable and we know he knows how to fight and win. I keep hearing this nonsense about a runoff between Kasim Reed and Felicia Moore are you kidding me? Did you see that blasphemous video I just mentioned with Felicia Moore? If you have not, you need to see it before you cast your vote. That video, will tell you everything you need to know about the Felicia Moore and sound judgement, or lack of. I really take no pleasure in speaking this truth about Ms. Moore. The video is more disturbing each time I see it.

I was going to say so much more about this race and the fine qualities of Kasim Reed, but I don’t think I really have to. I went to Kasim Reed’s Twitter page and I found two quotes that really cannot be weighed. The first quote is by the noble Ambassador Andrew Young speaking about Kasim Reed.

“Kasim Reed is the only one I trust with Atlanta!”

The second quote :

“If you’re a parent like me with a child attending Atlanta Public School please hear me when I say: VOTE!” –Tricia Harris

We all love Atlanta, and we all love our children and our children’s futures so come Tuesday, November 2nd we need to get out and vote and tell our family and friends to vote as well.

This race is in our hands and when we turn it over to someone to lead us, we need a proven winner and Kasim Reed is all that and more, but you already know that.

Charles Micheaux

Atlanta*

Why our children need Heroes

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

The Greatest Muhammad Ali *

It is so important that our children have heroes to look up to, to be inspired by, it is vital to the well being of our children’s self image. When I was a boy, Muhammad Ali was my hero. I remember so clearly that after every fight there was a man who would hand Muhammad Ali a mirror and Afro comb. Muhammad Ali would comb his hair and wipe his face with a towel and only after he did these things would he speak with a reporter. He never wanted to look disheveled before little black boys like me. One day while in school my white teacher was going over a math problem on the blackboard and she noticed that I kept combing my hair with my Afro comb. She was puzzled. She did ask me why I kept combing my hair and she assured me my hair was fine. I never told her why I did it. I did it because Muhammad Ali did it!

WOW! The power of the Black Hero-Muhammad Ali!

God has been so good to me, because in 1980 I met Muhammad Ali in Beverly Hills, California and he took my breath away! He was remarkably handsome and kind. Yes my friends our children need heroes and those heroes need not just be men.

Martin Luther King Jr. had great heroes too! As a boy he had four heroes, and they are, Paul Robeson, George Washington Carver, Jesse Owens, and Booker T. Washington.

MLK’S boyhood heroes

I make my home in the wonderful city of College Park and our kids have a many great heroes who are always giving the best of themselves to make a difference in the lives of our youth. The great superstar NFL quarterback Cam Newton is from College Park, Georgia and he has invested heavily in the youth here in College Park. One of my dearest friends, most cherished friend and frankly no one in the city of College Park does more for the children of College Park and the entire Fulton County area than the noble Grandmaster Shelton Moreland. Grandmaster Moreland runs a life changing martial arts school called Master Moreland Tae Kwondo.

Grandmaster Shelton Moreland with student.

Grandmaster Shelton Moreland was voted man of the year two years straight and since the school’s opening he has helped over 8,000 boys and girls from College Park.

To learn more about the school you can call (404) 768-0507.

Master Moreland Tae Kwondo

4826 Old National Highway

College Park, Georgia 30337

Grandmaster Moreland inspired me to to start a summer program for youth in 2014 called, ‘Give a kid a bike’ and with the help of Walmart on Old National Highway and Staples Store in East Point, and together we have been able to give away over 100 bikes to children for the summer.

One of the best experiences for me is when my friend Ken Lyons-Store Manager at STAPLES in East Point, bought this beautiful bike for a dear girl who never owned a bike. When she received the bike she began to cry she was so happy. When I see Shanika she tells me to thank Mr. Lyons for her.


Give a child a bike for the summer; it’s fun!

“Service is the rent you pay for living on earth.” –Muhammad Ali

Charles Micheaux

Atlanta *

Kasim Reed Champion for the youth of Atlanta*

James Baldwin’s Eulogy

“This man traveled the earth like its history and its biographer. He reported, criticized, made beautiful, analyzed, cajoled, lyricized, attacked, sang made us think, made us better.” –Amiri Baraka

The last time I saw Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Amiri Baraka was at the funeral of James Baldwin. The greatest black writers in New York City were in attendance. Artist of every ilk had come out to pay their respect to James Arthur Baldwin. It was a cold, misty day December morning and we all stood aside allowing Jimmy Baldwin’s family to enter the magnificent cathedral first. Slowly we walked into the great hall and at the stroke of noon, organ music swelled through the great space. The whole experience put me in the mind of a great movie set; so many lights, and the highest ceiling I have ever been under. So many stars of Hollywood, Broadway and the Literary world were crammed together. Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Stokely Carmichael, Sonia Sanchez and the famed photographer and dear friend Gordon Parks. No one was dressed in an ostentatious manner; there was not one person being dramatic or over the top in that space and time. The great poet and activist -writer, Amiri Baraka spoke first. I knew him casually and I never saw him so delicate and warm; he displayed the kindness of a child, he spoke beautifully about Jimmy Baldwin.

“Jimmy, this glorious, elegant griot, not only a writer, an international literary figure, he was man, spirit, voice-old black and terrible as the first ancestor.” -Amiri Barka

Next the great novelist Toni Morrison spoke eloquently about her dear friend Jimmy.

“Jimmy guided us through treacherous paths and gave blacks the courage to face an all-white geography…this world could never be all white again.” -Toni Morrison

I knew Maya Angelou was going to put it on us like we never had it put on us before, and she did! I hung on her every word, she was really the master orator. I knew it was James Baldwin who was responsible for her career as a writer. It was James Baldwin who helped her get her first book published. I would love to recite her full eulogy but I do not remember word for word all of her text. I do remember the key theme in her talk, she talked about the need for a brother.

“Brothers Are Hard to Come By.

He knew brothers are hard to come by. He knew that black women need brothers. And don’t keep that good news to yourself, “Go tell it on the mountain!” –Maya Angelou

Charles Micheaux

NOVEMBER IS NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

To my Native American Sisters and Brothers…

Wanna Tokata Iyaya…Oahe!

Fannie Lou Hamer Trailblazer…

“There is one thing you have got to learn about the movement. Three people are better than no people.”–Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer Voting Rights Champion

Every Black American artist stands on the shoulders of the great Fannie Lou Hamer. All of us, actors, writers, singers, filmmakers, poets, rappers, painters, and musicians. Even now, in 2021 we stand on the very shoulders of this courageous and noble woman. The mode of travel we enjoy today, the luxury lodging we so love, the fancy restaurants we love to eat our meals, the very top schools we so love enrolling our children in. All of these new privileges were paid for by Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Viola Liuzzo, Andrew Young, Ralph Abernathy, Coretta Scott King and Fannie Lou Hamer.

Who is Fannie Lou Hamer you ask?

Fannie Lou Hamer is a very important black woman whose grandparents were slaves who picked cotton. Her parents were sharecroppers on the same cotton plantation her grandparents were slaves. Fannie Lou Hamer was introduced to the cotton plantation when she was just six-years old and for the next eighteen-years of her life she worked like a slave on that same plantation.

One day when the white plantation owner found out Fannie Lou Hamer tried to register and vote he fired her from her job after eighteen-years of service. Years later one of Fannie Lou Hamer’s daughter’s died as a result of being denied hospital care because of her mother’s civil rights activism. In the early 1960’s Fannie Lou Hamer became a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) she was also an active member of the Student Nonviolent Committee (SNCC); two of the most progressive organizations fighting for civil rights.

Fannie Lou Hamer worked day after day, year after year, raising public awareness about the unfair policies that kept Black Americans away from the ballot box. The great efforts by Dr. King, Viola Liuzzo, Andrew Young, Ralph Abernathy, Coretta Scott King and Fannie Lou Hamer helped in the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Fannie Lou Hamer is one of the most important people in the civil rights movement. Our children should be taught about her, for she is an American Hero.

Charles Micheaux

NOVEMBER IS NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH

To my Native American Brothers and Sisters…

Wanna Tokata Iyaya…Oahe!

Forgive me, but I hate that damn tree!

  • Nonfiction
  • I saw the young man standing under this small tree*

My wife and I had given up the city life of New York to move to a gentle quiet college town in Maryland, it’s a small town outside the city of Baltimore, the town is called Towson. Towson, Maryland is really a neat little town with great Coffee shops and a host of hip restaurants where college kids love to hang out. Almost everyone has a book under their arm and Barnes & Noble Book store sits right in the middle of downtown. This was the life I always dreamed of living, in a small town where the pace is slow and polite. On Saturdays my wife and I would go to our favorite Coffee shop do breakfast , from there we’d go to Barnes & Noble and from Barnes & Noble we would go to Nordstrom to purchase new shoes for my wife. Sundays were lazy days for us, we would just stay home watch movies, make popcorn and if there was a football game or basketball game we would watch it. One Sunday morning in early fall I got up early to do my three mile walk to the grocery store just to buy the Sunday paper. It was a beautiful brisk morning and the sun was just about to break yet there was a feeling of foreboding in the air. Before I left my wife was still in the bed asleep, safe and sound. Yet there was this feeling something I would see something very tragic. Yet I pressed on.

I finally arrived at the grocery store and I bought the Sunday paper folded it under my arms and headed back home; I looked at my watch and thought about my wife again. I wondered if she had gotten up and started breakfast or was she still asleep under the sheet. A police car, and then an ambulance raced past me with lights flashing and siren blaring. The thing I feared was waiting for me, as I got closer to my home I saw a police officer standing next to the body of the young white man I spoke to earlier before I left the house to go to the grocery store. I saw the young man standing under this small tree*.

I never saw the young man before that morning and he seemed to have alot on his mind. I spoke to him and he smiled back at me. Now lay his motionless body on the ground, this young man was well dressed and well groomed and he wore a watch.

I was stunned.

He’s gone!

But, why? Why?

Another police car pulled up and one of the officer’s placed a white sheet over the dead body. I was transfixed. I felt as if it was all just a bad dream. My mouth was dry and my hands did tremble slightly as I stuck my key in the door to my home. My wife was still asleep. I dare not wake her.

I removed my clothes and climbed into the bed next to her. Her body was warm and as she breathed in her chest slightly raised. I put my arms around her and she smiled never opening her eyes.

Why? Why? Why?

Why did I leave this morning to buy the paper when I knew something bad was lurking. I never again went out on a Sunday morning to buy the paper.

Forgive me, but I hate that damn tree!

Charles Micheaux

Atlanta*

*****************

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE

1-800-273-8255

Someone is always there to talk, somebody cares.

Prodigal Son ( A Son Come Home)

“There was a man who had two sons. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had and set off for a distant country…” –Luke 15:11

My brothers and sisters in Christ, peace and blessings to each and everyone. Today I want to share two true stories that capture the importance of this wonderful parable told to us by Jesus. The first story is that of a young boy who was lost, this boy was sitting on a doorstep sobbing with tears running down his cheeks. A policeman near by heard the boy crying and went over to the boy and asked him why he was crying. The boy said, “I’m lost, please take me home?” The policeman began naming street after street trying to help the boy remember where he lived. The policeman also named shops and hotels in the area with no success. Then the policeman remembered there was a church in the center of town with a large white cross towering over the small town. The policeman pointed to the cross and asked the boy, “Do you live anywhere near that?”

The boy smiled.

“Oh yes, Sir, take me there to the cross and I can find my way home!”

The main message of The Prodigal Son is that , it doesn’t matter how far we stray away from our Heavenly Father, He is always delighted when we turn back to Him. He is always waiting for us with open arms.

The Greek philosopher Aeschylus said, “There is advantage in the wisdom won from pain.” Some of you may ask, what am I saying and how does it relate to these two stories? Well, this second story is painful, as I am a father and I have a son. This story is a story that should be told to every young man who has walked away from his father and given up on him.

There was a man, a good father who loved his son dearly; this man was proud of his son for never getting into trouble and one day the father took his son to the car dealership to buy him his first car. This purchase was to be a high school graduation gift. They drove out to the car dealership early Saturday morning and once on the lot the boy began walking toward the used car section of the lot. The father laughed and asked his son where he was going. The son thought his father was going to buy him a used car. The father said,

“I told you I was going to buy you a car. That means a new car.”

The boy was excited and asked, “Any kind of car I want?”

The father told his son to pick out any car he wanted and the boy picked out a red Mustang convertible. The boy drove the car off the lot to do a test drive alone while his father went into the dealership to do all the paper work for the purchase. A week later, the morning of the son’s graduation the son was excited because he expected that his new car would be in the driveway, it was not. The boy’s father walked out of his bedroom with a wrapped package in his hand. He handed the package to his son and told him this was his graduation present. The son unwrapped the gift paper to find a beautifully made Bible the son was angry that he did not get his car and in disgust he threw the Bible on the floor. And walked out of his father’s house never to return. Some years passed by and the boy continued to hold a severe grudge against his father, for he never called his father, never came to see his father, even though he still had the keys to his father’s house.

I said, he still had the keys to his father’s house. One day his mother called him on the phone and informed him his father had just died from a heart attack. Out of respect for his mother the son agreed to attend his father’s funeral. He had to come back home. He used his key and unlocked the door to his father’s home and when he walked inside his father’s house the fist thing he saw sitting on the table was the Bible his father had tried to give him. Something moved him to pick up the Bible and when he opened up the Bible for the first time, he saw a check, it was a check for the entire cost for the red Mustang he wanted. His father thought enough of him to give him options, let’s say, he may have wanted to purchase another car or something else. The father had given his son the best of all gifts in giving him the Bible.

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of God will stand forever.” -Isaiah 40:8 The father never lied to his son, and the father’s love could not be weighed by the son. The love God has for each of us cannot be weighed. Have you opened up this book? The Bible? You should… for it is our Heavenly Father’s God’s gift to each and everyone of us.

Charles Micheaux

Atlanta*

Cleopatra

“I will not be triumphed over.” –Cleopatra

Cleopatra VII of Egypt

Cleopatra is the first Prima Donna the world has ever known, she was a diplomat,naval commander,linguist, and a accomplished writer in addition to being the Queen of Egypt. Her rise to power happened when she became mistress to the great Julius Caesar. It was Caesar who made her Queen of Egypt and during their deep romance the two lovers had a child together, a boy named, Ptolemy XV Caesarion. It ‘s said when Cleopatra was just twenty-one she devised an ingenious plan to meet the famous Roman Emperor-Julius Caesar. Cleopatra had a servant of hers wrap her up in a rug and carry her into Caesar’s private sleeping quarters. The 52-year old Caesar was instantly smitten by Cleopatra. Not long after the birth of their son Julius Caesar was assassinated in Rome by a number of senators. A few years later Cleopatra and Marc Anthony fell in love, they were soon married and Cleopatra gave Marc Anthony three children. In September of 31.B.C. Marc Anthony and Cleopatra chose to fight a crucial battle at sea on different ships, but their entire fleet was defeated, Marc Anthony mistakenly believed Cleopatra had been killed in battle was so distraught he stabbed himself with his own sword and bled to death, but before he actually died he was carried to Cleopatra’s hiding place and when he saw her he took one last gasp of breath and he died in her arms. Shortly after that Cleopatra took her own life by allowing a poison snake to bite her. Although Cleopatra died at age 39 she is remembered as one of the most influential women in history.

Charles Micheaux

Atlanta*

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