by Alton H. Maddox, Jr.
This world belongs to our children. We only pay rent in it. If we fail, refuse or unable to pay rent, our children will become slum landlords while children who inherit from productive parents of other ethnic groups will prosper. Eventually, our children’s share of the world will revert to the state. In short, every omission has consequences. Our current conduct is sowing the seeds of destruction.
I am not proud to say that Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls is the only African-centered, sleep-away, summer camp in the nation. Other ethnic groups spend considerable time with their children. On the other hand, our children generally lack a support system. This is critical for their survival.
A summer program for children is expensive. United African Movement chose the historic Peg Leg Bates because of its proximity to the Underground Railroad. For example, the birthplace of Sojourner Truth is only twenty miles from this venue. The children travel at least four hours to Harriet Tubman House and Syracuse University to visit with Black professors. This is an overnight trip.
Other activities include, but are not limited to, swimming, hiking, moot court, arts and crafts, farming, horseback riding, African history and culture, sports, astronomy, “Family Day”, skating, African drumming, martial arts, nature walks, and a county fair. Most of these activities are unavailable to our children in public schools and the Black Church.
After President Barack Obama won the presidential sweepstakes in 2008, the Washington Post ran an article denoting the influences on his life. One of the persons who influenced his life was a camp counselor at a Jewish summer camp when President Obama was a teenager. The counselor introduced President Obama to Zionism. He is now a convert.
No Black person has any reason to quarrel with him for attending this summer camp. The only African-centered summer camp today was established in 1994 and years after he was a teenager. Today, virtually every Black leader has been nurtured by whites. This is a consequence of Brown v. Bd. of Education. “The hands that rock the cradle rules the nation”.
Compulsory education laws which promotes white paternalism and summer school which stigmatizes our children are two of the major weapons employed to cripple them for life. The third weapon is mayoral control. It only applies to “urban areas” in New York and it is unconstitutional but, in the absence of courageous and competent lawyers, it is being employed against our children.
Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls is only able to function because of volunteers and fund-raising efforts. Every child who attends this heralded summer program receives at least a partial scholarship. Our entire community as well as UAM should salute volunteers and donors on January 15 at 9:00 p.m. in Harlem. Some of the volunteers give at least two weeks of vacation time to Freedom Retreat for Boys and Girls. A few spend the entire time in July and August serving our children.
The Cotton Club has a seating capacity of 150 persons. UAM goal is for every seat to be occupied Saturday night. UAM’s membership should be striving to make MLK Birthday a success in Harlem. In honor of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., this is an evening for UAM and the Black community to honor the children and camp volunteers.
For forty-five dollars, it is a great evening at a basement bargain. It includes a sumptuous dinner buffet, live entertainment with Ann Sinclair and the Cotton Club All-stars, door prizes and a worthy cause in supporting our children in the only African-centered summer camp in the nation. This program will produce an African-centered President Barack Obama with your support. This will reconnect the cherry tree.
For more information, call UAM at 718-834-9034.
Too honest for the White Press and too black for much of today’s Black Press; bullet columnist Alton Maddox upsets the same people and status quo as he did as an uncompromising Defense Attorney. He is also a founding member of the Freedom Party. Contact him at c/o UAM P.O. BOX 35 BRONX, NY 10471