J Boney Speaks

JBSo, we just had the privilege of hosting NBA All-Star Weekend in our great city and needless to say it was full of memorable moments. The whole world was focused on Houston, Texas for the entire weekend, as the world’s greatest basketball players descended upon our city to display their talents and perform community service.

JBI don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m involved in one of the biggest boxing matches and Catch-22's in the history of the world.

JBBlack History Month is acknowledged by people all across the United States every February. At the same time, countless U.S. citizens could care less about hearing about the contributions that Black people in America have made. I can appreciate Black History Month’s foundational roots, in that one of my favorite African-American authors was responsible for its inception.

In 1926, Carter G. Woodson pioneered the celebration of “Negro History Week”, which he designated for the second week in February, to coincide with marking the birthdays of President Abraham Lincoln and African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass.   After “Negro History Week” became widely accepted, it was extended to a full month; which we now celebrate as Black History Month. Carter G. Woodson devoted the majority of his life to historical research and towards working to preserve the history of African-Americans in this country. Woodson believed that, “Race prejudice is merely the logical result of tradition, the inevitable outcome of thorough instruction to the effect that the Negro has never contributed anything to the progress of mankind.” He accumulated a collection of thousands of artifacts and publications because he felt that the contributions of African-Americans in this country were being overlooked, ignored, and even suppressed by the writers of history textbooks and the teachers who use them.

I hate the notion that I, as a Black man, should be thankful that I am “given” an entire month to celebrate my history, when in fact my history is a major part of American history.   Black history should be celebrated and acknowledged in America, 365 days a year - 7 days a week - 24 hours a day. Aren’t the founding fathers heralded and celebrated daily? Better yet, aren’t all of the standard textbooks distributed to students in schools, colleges and universities across this country full of main characters that don’t look like me? Yeah…yeah…yeah - I know we have Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman and a few other Black notables who are briefly mentioned in textbooks, but there are so many other Black Americans who have made major contributions to our society. They deserve the same top-billing that Christopher Columbus gets for somehow finding a land that was already inhabited by people.

Why isn’t Black history a complete part of the overall school curriculum from elementary to high school? Why does Black history, or the study of it, have to be an additional course that students in our American universities and colleges choose as an elective in order to learn about Black history? Why should the contributions of Benjamin Banneker who helped survey the city of Washington, D.C. or the discoveries of hundreds of new uses for fruits and vegetables (particularly peanuts) by George Washington Carver, be limited to one month? Why should Charles Drew, who pioneered the techniques for Blood Banking and Blood Transfusions, be limited to only 28 days of discussion in February and then archived until the following year? Why shouldn’t all students in the U.S. know about Edward Alexander Bouchet, the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in Physics from Yale and only the 6th American to earn a Ph.D. in Physics in the U.S., and yet with all of those credentials couldn’t even get a job because he was Black?

These are but a few of the many African-American contributors to this wonderful country that we proudly call America. These Americans.....yes, these Black Americans, should be embraced and exalted to the highest level of significance all year-round, not just in February!

On top of that, the overall experience of Black Americans in this country is a story worth being taught to every student and should be taught by every professor and by every teacher in our schools, colleges and universities all across America. Black history should be included in every curriculum and a part of countless research projects, the same way the Holocaust taught and researched. Interestingly enough, while the Holocaust didn’t even take place in America, it gets more attention in all of our American history textbooks; way more attention than the experiences of the African slaves who endured the hardships of slavery in America.

I hear many people argue that February is the shortest month of the year and that “THEY” could have given “US” a month that has more days in it, but the question I have is, who is “THEY” and how do “THEY” dictate how and when the contributions of Blacks in this country get acknowledged? I mean, if Black history isn’t being embraced by Black Americans, what difference would some extra days in the month really make?  

I believe that everyone, regardless of race, should:

Advocate for an increase in the amount of Black history information in textbooks being taught to students in every school, college and university in the U.S.

Begin teaching Black history to our children in our homes

Volunteer to work with young people at schools, churches and other outreach activities to share information and history about the wonderful Black contributors to our society; both past and present

Volunteer to participate in a Black history program during Black History Month and year-round

Join and/or financially support groups that have an emphasis on Black history education

Further your own education about Black history through reading books and through Internet research

I applaud everyone that makes it a commitment to highlight the contributions of Black people during Black History Month, and I challenge us to make Black history a year-long tribute that will make an educational impact in the lives of our youth and on every American citizen for years to come.

Jeffrey L. Boney is Associate Editor for the Houston Forward Times newspaper, a Next Generation Project Fellow and a dynamic, international speaker. Jeffrey is the Founder and CEO of the Texas Business Alliance and is an experienced entrepreneur and business development strategist. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

JBAs I look back over my life, and as I play back my nearly 39 years on this Earth, I see many defining moments that have taken place in my life.

As I look at the video of my life on the movie screen of my mind, I can see that there were many successes, failures, challenges, disappointments, joy filled moments, happy times, sad times, good times and bad times.

All-in-all, out of everything that I can vividly recall, I can honestly say that I don’t have any regrets whatsoever. Now granted, there are many things that I can look back and say to myself, “Jeff, you know that if you had the opportunity to do things over again, you could have made a better decision or a different response concerning that.”

But see that’s the thing. You can’t turn back the hands of time. You can’t have a do-over.   The only thing you can do is learn from your past and apply it to the life you are living at this very moment.

Speaking of things that I remember vividly, I can’t help but remember my dad and many of the things he would say that I haven’t forgotten to this day. He was truly a funny guy.

Whenever someone would use the word “IF” around my dad, he would say, “If ‘IF’ was a fifth, we’d all be drunk.”

The point that my dad would make to anyone who would listen was simply that a person couldn’t do anything about the things they had already done in the past.   In his mind, the only thing a person could do in their life was deal with the consequences of their actions and be prepared to accept the results of their decisions; nothing more and nothing less.

How often do you find yourself wallowing in the past, seeking to blame that past on your present situation? I know that I’ve been guilty of it in my life.

I quickly realized that if I wanted to progress in life, I had to change my way of thinking. I had to come to the realization that if I chose to keep that same paradigm my growth and my future would be stifled, and I would forever be a voluntary victim of my past.

Anybody remember that guy named Michael Jordan? It was in 1978, that the 15-year old Jordan was not selected to make the Laney High School varsity basketball team in Wilmington, N.C. Jordan ended up being placed on the junior-varsity basketball team, allegedly because he was an underclassman. The coach did, however, make an exception to select Jordan’s 6’7” friend and fellow sophomore Leroy Smith, to make the varsity squad.

Jordan was hurt, but he played that entire year on the junior varsity basketball team with the goal of showing the coach, the following year, that he made the wrong decision. He never allowed that temporary setback to deter him from greatness. Jordan made the varsity basketball team the following year and went on to become, arguably the greatest basketball player to play the game of basketball. Could he have given up? Yes!

The difference between him and many people is, he didn’t give up on his goals and kept going in spite of the setback. He didn’t whine and complain about what he could have done better or possibly what he had done wrong. He had to stay focused on the prize. He sucked it up and went after what he wanted.

He didn’t allow the setbacks to keep him from his future greatness.   He allowed his actions on the court and his passion for what he loved to do, to drive him towards that greatness. Now Michael Jordan is forever celebrated for what he accomplished after moving forward.

Sometimes I talk with people who are always looking to provide an excuse for why they are in the situation they are in. They keep experiencing the same recurring setbacks over and over again and keep making excuses. I don’t like listening to it honestly.  

Well, I take that back. I don’t like listening to it, if the people who are expressing themselves want to remain a victim and don’t want to be an overcomer or a winner. Losers are common and typical.

Winners are rare. I choose to be a winner and hang around winners. I love reading about winners. I love talking to winners. I love hearing from winners. I love watching winners. There is something about people who have a winning mentality that motivate me.

Losers bring you down. Losers are always whining and complaining. Losers blame everyone and everything else for their failures and shortcomings. Losers suck! Yeah they do. They will suck the life out of you if you allow it.

I refuse to and I strongly encourage you not to let them do it to you either. If you have made mistakes in your life or gotten off to a rocky start, you can overcome. You can straighten up and fly right, if you choose to. Once you make that decision, you need to begin making the right decisions without excuse. Stop making excuses and live life to the max today.

The things you do at this moment in your life will make a difference in your life. Your commitment to your growth and future will also benefit those closest to you and those who don’t even know you.

Jeffrey L. Boney is Associate Editor for the Houston Forward Times newspaper, a Next Generation Project Fellow and a dynamic, international speaker. Jeffrey is the Founder and CEO of the Texas Business Alliance and is an experienced entrepreneur and business development strategist. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

MLKMartin Luther King, Jr. Day is a United States federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King’s birthday, January 15.

JBStarting a business is a major commitment and requires time and resources.

LazyThere is such a difference between the Black folks who grew up during segregation and those who were born after integration.

KwanzaaYou know it truly saddens me how many Black people shun and seek to marginalize something as empowering to any community as the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

GodPeople from all parts of the country are still mourning the loss of life, due to the horrific tragedy that took place last Friday, December 14, in Connecticut.

If you haven’t heard, let me give you a quick recap.

On the morning of the tragedy, a 20-year old man armed with two semiautomatic weapons made his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School and unmercifully opened fire on as many people as he could find, including innocent elementary school students.

This sick and twisted individual (I refuse to mention his name to give him any undeserved attention) managed to kill 27 people; 20 of those 27 were elementary school children between the ages of 5 to 10.

 

BlackPeopleReadingI am sure you heard the old saying, “If you throw a rock in a pack of dogs, the one that hollers is the one you hit.”

I have the privilege, yet great responsibility for which I don’t take lightly, of reporting the news and telling stories that are important to the Black community in Houston.   Sometimes, those stories are tough and aren’t always light-hearted. The truth can be a hard pill to swallow sometimes, but it is the truth.

FALLBROOK CHURCH - CHRISTMAS IN JULY

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