Last Update: Thursday, April 24, 2014
|African American History From Judge Joe Brown — And A Whole Lot More|
|Written by Diana Martinez and Mike Terry|
|Thursday, 27 February 2014 04:47|
The Greater Community Mission Baptist Church on Norris Avenue in Pacoima still stands like a monument to the past. It is now the oldest African American Church in the San Fernando Valley, opening its doors in the 1940s, and served decades as the center for the valley's Black community.
The community has changed, however. Today, the church is surrounded by a predominately Latino community, where roosters crow from the backyards of houses behind the church and Spanish language music is heard from passing cars. Rev. Dr. Dudley Chatman, who is the pastor of the church, said he pictured children from every background when constructing the church’s community room and one important program offered by the church helps young people up to the age of 24 to receive a high school diploma.
"Can I get an Amen?" Chatman asked his congregation when learning that their program so far, has graduated more than 40 students with their high school diploma. On Sunday, Feb. 23, many of the valley's senior black community, including pastors from other area churches and the President of the local chapter of the NAACP, gathered for Black History Month and to hear celebrity speaker Judge Joe Brown speak.
Pacing the stage decorated with African folk art, Judge Brown provided a stream of consciousness, quickly moving from one topic to the other. He began with his own historical note, mentioning that the syndicated television show bearing his name — now cancelled — was “the longest continuing running TV show by an African American man in TV history. However, I did not like what the industry was doing, so I dropped out of it for a bit and there are some other projects I’ll be in charge of you’ll be seeing shortly.”
He also told audience of plans to run for district attorney general of Shelby County in Memphis,TN. Brown, who grew up in Los Angeles, moved to Memphis in 1974, and worked as a defense attorney and Criminal Court judge in Shelby County before leaving the bench to do his televised court room show.
“I have great confidence I’m gonna be the next DA down there,” Brown said. When he spoke of African American history, it was not to dust off or revise the accomplishments of others.
“We don’t study history for those reasons,” he said.
“We study it to learn from the history, and absorb it’s lessons so that we can guide our conduct and make tomorrow what we want it to be. And also discover along the way what we should want it to be.
“African American history is American history because we are like a barometer…one thing I have noticed in my years of studying the phenomenon is if you have somebody at the bottom that you are stepping on for any reasons other than miscreant behavior, you’re spending too much time with your foot on the neck of somebody and you can’t move either.”
He also pointed out that African American and Latino youth should not be attacking and harming each other, but finding a common ground to grow in and develop. “We have young Latino and African American youth in this area who are fighting each other, trying to kill each other for gang initiations. Why in the devil, when we all should be working together, are doing such trifling nonsense? And nobody’s doing anything about it,” Brown said.
“People say they’re out of control. Well they have parents living somewhere; what happened when the parents are no longer in control? Right now a big problem in a lot of states is kids are threatening their parents with ‘he hit me, he spanked me, he threatened me.’ So we brought it on ourselves…nobody wants to ask about causeand- effect, because it deals with something too comfortable to their particular circumstance to understand that you sometimes have to sacrifice; you sometimes have to get smart.”
But Brown repeatedly shifted gears, lashing out at a variety of targets ranging from how the Hollywood and entertainment industry have warped the public moral compass, to the diminishing number of males finishing high schools and college compared to females, to how American society as a whole has regressed due to excessive permissiveness and lack of fortitude.
“I’m so tired of of this country getting off into what somebody wants to rather than what they ought to do. Whether you’re talking about the Latino community, the African American community, the Native American community,we should look back in history and find that we got nowhere if we didn’t have the heart to put in what we needed to put in to get somewhere.
The white component of this country got nowhere if they didn’t have the heart to put it in,” Brown said. “Now [America is] on top because of technology and our military, both of which depend on education. Nowadays instead of trying to recruit people to go to college, you’re trying to make it harder. … who can afford it these days? And when you cut off access to your main resource, which is the ingenuity/ intelligence/innovation/education of those who can afford it, then you’re going down.
” Brown also offered an interesting take on the death of Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers in New York, and nearly successful attack on the U.S. Pentagon.
bin Laden was shot and killed by a Navy Seal team during a night raid in Pakistan. “I suspect they didn’t go over there to kill him,” Brown said. “That was a cover because somebody shot him by accident.
Because I hope they’re smart enough to remember Rule No.1 when you’re dealing with military matters. You’re either doing a patrol or a raid to get reconnaissance or get prisoners.
So you’ve got the top man, you don’t interrogate him? “They could have put him in Guantanamo Bay until after the last election, and nobody would have known. He could have ‘died’ of a heart attack. So I know they didn’t kill him on purpose.
If you see reconstruction on the Military Channel, what it looks like is he’s somebody they shot at that came out on the balcony to see what’s going on. They’ve got an ‘oh-oh, wrong dude’ look. But that’s part of the politics, that’s diplomacy, that’s the reality of the way business is done. But that’s not how it’s put to you.”
|Last Updated on Thursday, 27 February 2014 04:55|