America has lost her way, she does not trust her institutions, she does not trust her representatives, she does not trust her goverment to do the right thing for all of the people. In America goverment does not mean the same thing as it means in other parts of the world. In America goverment means policemen, firemen, teachers, schools, hospitals, the supervision of the drugs we take, prisons, colleges, universities, churches, congress, the White House, the Supreme Court and everything relating to national and international affairs. Almost half of the country works for the goverment, so the goverment is us, and we have disappointed us.

Harlem symbolized all that is good and bad in America, she represents America’s biggest success and greatest failures. The world lives in Harlem, all colors, creeds, nationalities, religious diversities, the hopeful and the hopeless, study Harlem and you will know America.

Into Harlem poured the oppressed and the hopeful, and those who were  – in the future- destined to forget the land, which restored their faith in themselves and gave them an opportunity to not only for the thought of song, but the courage to release the songs within their soul. – Today many forget this Harlem of their prison release from oppression. Europeans came from oppressive societies in south Eastern Europe, where many fled from fear of their physical being and religious oppression. Still others fled from the South Eastern States of the United States of America, where black people suffered emotional and psychological oppression, and an occasional tree swinging party planned by the local Christian branch of the KKK – to discourage intellectual expression. The purpose of the KKK was to silence the song within and to keep the singer in his place. The winds of freedom swept all over the world, and millions of people made the decision to change geographical locations in search for a better life.

As the ships arrived weekly and docked in New York harbor and boarded for Ferries to Ellis Island carrying the hopes of Europe to the shores of America, hundreds of trains were filled with refugees leaving America’s hate lands. These two groups would meet with a non – welcoming population, who although were not happy to see them, would not cause them the physical harm they were seeking to escape. Together the immigrant and the migrant embarked on Harlem, shared its resources, attended school together, shared neighborhoods and developed their own Harlem culture.

African American shared the Harlem experience – with Irish,- Italians,- Jews and – Puerto Ricans, and were all – displaced in the right place – and were ready to fight anyone who tried to say anything different.

The Irish took the role as the public school teachers, and their role was to get the migrants in, through, and out of this experience and ready to move into the American dream. They did this with the whack of the ruler without prejudice or restraint. Today many forget those exciting days of Harlem or pretend these humble beginning were not part of their history. It is amusing to hear ethnic groups who were part of that shared experience, pretend, their ancestors came here as wealthy barons and they were not part of those railroad flats, which define our shared childhood. The immigrant of today is the same as the immigrant of yesterday.

They have the same challenges in language and the bi-lingual struggle; substitute Italian, Yiddish or Polish for Spanish, Haitian for Chinese – and you have a fair and clear understanding of challenges faced. There were always those who put out the idea that if you were different, – you were less competent – but that was based on fear and not science. Harlem does have an army of visible and invisible angels – who have the task of guiding its visitors through the maze – which upon completion – will prepare all who travel – with the skills – to make the dream a reality. Some visit for a short stay – and some visit for generations – and find the visit addictive – and hard to give up. Harlem, however, is not a permanent place. Each generation must make arrangement and space for the next group to come in – and get the experience – and survival skills – necessary for upward – social and economic mobility.

Harlem does expand to include those who refuse to give up their claim to this small area of land set aside by God as a major enculturation center and gateway to the mother land. God’s gateway to America is still New York City and its five boroughs, it is in New York City where the combative cultures and ethnic groups of the world, learn to adjust thoughts and behaviors in order to live in a land large enough to encourage the diversity – for the people of the earth. Leave your guns, machetes, burning words from Bibles, Torahs, and Korans, and historical battles and hatreds at the water’s edge and Airports, and welcome to Harlem. We really do not care who you were, but only who you are.

Leave a Reply