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FOUNDER`S MESSAGE
 
By
Dr. Robert Starling Pritchard
31 January 2003
 
Ladies and gentlemen of the press… members of the African and Caribbean Island States Diplomatic Corp and Our fellow American brothers and sisters of all colours, creeds, cultures and from various and sundry foreign countries of family origin…..
 
It is in the spirit of both national and international brotherhood, that it is in Our capacity as the Founder of the National Black History Month Observance, that We welcome you on this occasion of the 38th Anniversary of the Black History Month Observance, and the 5th Anniversary of the International Black History Month Observance.
 
Indeed, it is solely because We have dedicated Our life as history`s first career viable American virtuoso concert pianist and recording artist of African descent… to Our last 38 year leadership activities as the Founder of the Black History Month Observance in the United States and Canada, that at Our present day age of 75 years young and despite the debilitations that We suffer as a consequence of the daily attacks of Acute Intermittent Porphyria (which is an inherited excruciatingly painful metabolic illness, which is accompanied by internal hemorrhaging attacks), that We regard each day of interrupted physical activity as a sign from the God-of-Us-All, that Our commitment to continue to address the economic development and international trade major issues of the National and International BHMO`s has His unqualified approbation.
 
For a-veritas, the commitment of the BHMO State and Regional Founder`s Commissioners to support the economic development and international trade BHMO programmes (with their particular emphases on the paper money colour green rather than upon the colour black) is indeed significant since said emphases represent the logical direction towards the still non-extant level of inter-racial equity that was preached and fostered by the great and still very much lamented American Civil Rights leader (the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King).
 
Moreover, We have no doubt whatsoever, that the economic development and international trade mission of both the National and International black History Month supporters would have been commended by the Rev. Martin Luther King, even before he passed on into the Dimensionless Dimension and the Timelessness of Time.
Dr. Robert Starling Pritchard, BHM Observance Founder, presenting the 2003 BHM Founder's Message at the National Press Club.
Amongst the audience at the BHM Press Conference was the President of Harlem Writer's Guild, the author/journalist, William Banks (center, front row).
James Brown, President of JWB Management Services, Inc. and Financial Advisor to Dominique Wilkns, pledges the collaboration of the basketball legend, Dominique Wilkins, in the economic development activities of the Panamerican-Panafrican Association.
Dr. Pritchard addressed the issue of INS racialism towards people-of-colour and of Arab descent, particularly in the case of Fawzieh Hassan (standing in photo above). Attorney B.J. Stephenson, a member of the Board of the Panamerican Panafrican Association, is seatead at left.  Dr. Pritchard also made reference to the case of  young Dimitri Guild (photo below) who is accompanied by his adoptive father, Paul Guild (far right). Dimitri bears both Malagasy and French citizenship.
For who can deny the reasonableness of Our belief-of-certainty, that via equity of African-American access to the very same neighborhood primary and secondary school education norms that have traditionally existed and still exist in Euro-American communities… that the present day debate on the issue of “Affirmative Action” would not have risen to a level of racial-divisiveness which the spirit of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, could only respond at a level of grievous disappointment that his “E-Pluribus-Unum” vision of America has not as yet been fulfilled.
 
Nor is it even conceivable that the Rev. Martin Luther King would be at all pleased with the present-days level of economic inequities between the African-American poor and the Euro-American poor, between the low economic condition of the African American working class and the Euro-American working class…  nor about those American educational norms which literally hallow the achievements of Euro-American and European scientists, scholars, business-magnets, creative and performing artists and explorers without any reference whatsoever to such accessible facts as the discovery of  the Americas in 1312 by the Mali Emperor Bakari II (whose cartography was discovered by  Columbus during his pre-voyage visit to a Monastery in Spain).
 
Moreover, who can deny the obvious fact that African American students would be far more self-encouraged to give their unrequited attention to their studies in primary and secondary public schools if the curricula of their social studies, their studies of history and their studies of world cultures informed them that their African ancestors made as significant contributions to world culture as those that have been made by Europeans and Euro-Americans. Whilst there may be many well meaning debates about Our contentions… in response, We are in a position to assert, that it is precisely because Our family of educators, medical physicians, and a banker were also scholars whose lunch and dinner conversations were so fixated on the history of the great world contributions that were made by both Our African ancestors and their African Slave progeny during the New World African Diaspora that the Pritchard children never even once experienced the degrading feelings of racialism, principally because, from the time that We were infants, Our parents, aunts and uncles provided Us access to Our race`s contributions to world society as a supplement to the still existing Euro-oriented norms of the history, social science, arts, and physical science discipline sources.
 
For example, at the present time, there is not a single Euro-American college or university cultural studies programme which makes reference to the fact that, in-tandem with the great European Baroque and Classical Music Eras, African composers in Brazil, Peru and Venezuela created a body of American continental Cantatas and Misas which are the equal of the very same genres that were composed by Joseph Haydn (whose composer-sons were their teachers). The explanation for that historical fact is that when the sixteenth century Brazilian Emperor, Dom Pedro III became aware of the fact that the Royal African slave princes could not be successfully enslaved, and were also musically gifted… in the Emperor`s wisdom, he dispatched them to Europe where they studied with the Haydenesque composers and returned to Brazil, where they became the Brazilian counterparts of  Germany`s Kapellmeisters.
 
As an aside, but not as either a self- or organizational-aggrandizing reference… We take this occasion to inform you that in honour of the 1976  200th anniversary of the founding of Our country`s Republic, Our Foundation accepted the invitation of the United Nations to organize and produce a choral and symphony orchestra concert of the choral and symphonic masterworks of the Black Brazilian composers of the Minas Gerais on the grand stage of the United Nations General Assembly Hall. Whilst the choruses of that performance was composed of music major students from the historically black colleges and universities in the United States, We organized a multi-racial symphony orchestra. The scores of the choral and symphonic masterpieces of the composers of Minas Gerais now exist in the Black Music Center  in Chicago. However, there is not a single cultural studies curriculum in the USA (outside of the HBCU community) which makes any reference whatsoever to the fact that the Americas also contributed to the music of the post-Baroque and early Classical music eras.
 
Nor does any Euro-American business school reference the fact that the hair commodity preparations millionaire businesswoman of the late 20s, was an African-American Madam C.J. Walker, whose memory was commemorated in a US postage stamp. As a boy, We once had the pleasure to read a bevy of letters that were written to Our Euro-American patroness of the arts, the late Elsa von-Kahre-Richardes, and her husband, the late Col. Kenneth Goldwin Richardes, by Madame Walker. Incidentally, it is because the Canadian-Englishman Col. Richardes believed as We do… that if the American progeny of Our enslaved African forefathers an d foremothers in America were to avoid the onus of stasis as a permanent American underclass… said avoidance could only be achieved at such a time as African-Americans find themselves in an economic position to participate equitably in the American body-economique. Thus it was, that Col. Richardes (whom we very fondly referred to as “Papa Toots”), created the first mutual fund business in the United States, which was recommended to the then extant African-American businessmen and women in Harlem, as a consequence of the recommendation of Col. Richardes by the then president of the Washington, D.C. Howard University (Mordecai Johnson ), who was a personal friend of both Mr. and Mrs. Richardes.
 
Indeed, during the early years when We became the Artist-in-Residence at the Richardes family`s English Tudor Estate in New York State, We sat in at each of the bi-monthly meetings during which Col. Richardes received his 30 or more mutual fund salesmen. Although at that time in Our life, We had never been in a business course in college… it was Our experience with Col. Richardes, in addition to Our experience with Our father and Our two uncles (who had created a very successful real estate company which was called the Crispus Attucks Realty Association), that we very quickly absorbed a level of on-the-job-training that superceded that which could be acquired by a business student at that time.
 
When in the early 60s We established the Panamerican Association, Inc. (which was the predecessor to the Panamerican-Panafrican Association, Inc.) with the Uruguayan musicologist Dr. Francisco Curt Lange (who was the discoverer of the manuscripts of the Black Brazilian composers of the Minas Gerais), in addition to the cultural and educational exchange programmes of the Foundation, We also created Our Foundation`s several Permanent Programme Units, which included the Pa/Pa`s International Trade Consultants Group, which fostered international trade between the United States and those states of 'Le Monde Noir` which were rich in those natural resources which could be of benefit to the economically healthy states in Europe and the Americas.
 
Thus it was, that during each year`s celebration of the Black History Month Observance, Our Foundation fostered contact between public and private sector leaders throughout 'Le Monde Noir` and their counterparts in the USA and Europe for the purpose of fostering those trade relationships which would be not only of benefit to Our country, but also of benefit to the economic development and international trade aspirations of the leadership within 'Le Monde Noir.`
 
For example… many years ago, We arranged for a visit of a member of the Monarchy in the Southern African Kingdom of Lesotho to participate in the Black History Month Observance in the State of Kansas. The result of that Royal visit was the purchase of over 60 silos by the Lesothan representative. That was a time when We also literally assisted in brokering the agreement between Lesotho and the World Bank, which produced the funds for Lesotho to build what is now referred to as the historic largest inland waterway system and hydro-electric plant… the results of which have produced a viable economy for Lesotho and for certain sections of South Africa.
 
During the early 70s, when Great Britain attempted to put the “economic muscle” on the government of Zambia, whose copper mines had previously been solely owned by British entrepreneurs… it was because We had become aware that the Zambian copper mines produce the world`s 2nd largest amount of copper (with Chile being the 1st largest producer of copper), that We advised the President of Zambia to persuade the then President of Chile to join him in calling a moratorium on copper production, sales and exportation… so that Zambia would be in a position to freely “call its own economic shots.” Although the President of Zambia was shocked at the success of Our plan… thereafter economic justice between Zambia and Great Britain created an ambiance of mutual trust that had never before existed between those two countries.
 
Similarly, at a later time, when the three leading American aluminum companies attempted to force the Jamaican government to lower its price of bauxite… We were called in by the then Minister of State to assist them in their effort to continue selling their bauxite at the previously mutually agreed price between them and the three leading American aluminum businesses. Very simply, We suggested that the government of Jamaica declare a 30 day moratorium of selling its bauxite to the three giant American aluminum factories. Of course, We were all too well aware of the fact that the potential economic losses of the three giant aluminum factories would provide the very same economic experience for them that they had attempted to impose on their trading partners-of-colour in Jamaica.  Accordingly, it should be needless for Us to say, that the three giant American aluminum moguls very quickly saw the light and very happily agreed to honour the terms of their contract with the Jamaican government.
 
Unfortunately, the bottom-line truth is that the protocols of big business are not as yet either understood or practiced even by those few African-American big-businessmen who  are in a position to create highly profitable international trade relations between the public and the private sector leadership in Our country and their opposite numbers in the Black States of Africa, the Caribbean Island States and in those Latin American States which have significant numbers of citizens of African descent. Accordingly, We particularly reach out to the business schools of Our country`s HBCUs to provide those forms of training for their African-American students which would accrue to the development of sophisticated young Black men and women, who can serve their own personal and their country`s international trade interests and aspirations in a manner which would also convert them into role models for each new generation of Afrian American businessmen and  businesswomen. 'N`est ce pas? Mais Oui!`
 
Regarding the widely debated subject matter of reparations… We can best share Our views with you by referencing that very same subject matter in the context of a CNN Black History Month debate in which We participated several years ago. As it has never been Our wont to publicly ridicule anyone for any reason… We will not divulge either the name of the other guest debater or the name of the book which he wrote and which was widely circulated throughout the New York State University  system.  The contention of the Euro-American professor was that great “progress” has occurred in race relations. My response to his contention can best  be summarized as follows:
 
How can one speak of "progress" in American race-relations, when Black Americans were in 1619, 1719, 1819 and even in 1919 (54 years after the end of the Era of legal slavery) not only below the bottom rung of the economic staircase of America, but in fact, as enslaved Africans, our forefathers and foremothers were a-veritas, for a period of two and a half centuries, the very rungs of the American economic ladder upon which the Southern Plantocrat and his Northern brethren Industriocrat climbed to that point of wealth, which spared the new United States the necessity to depend upon loans from European states. It was for that reason, that our country was in the position to build a capitalist state, free of economic dictation by the world powers in existence at the end of the 18th Century. The fact also is, that the level of wealth could have never been achieved as quickly as it was achieved in the United States, if the human exploitive international trade in slavery, had not been wholly embraced and dominated by the same dynamic of the American official and private sector institutional construct that today still directs and guarantees the oppressive presence of White racialist dominance of the majority population over the minority Black and other populations of colour.
 
Indeed, throughout every century of the Slavocracy, from 1619, 1719 and 1819, our forefather and foremother enslaved Africans in the British colonies (later to become the United States), stood on no rung of the American economic ladder, whilst White Americans moved steadily upwards in all areas of enterprise. Nor did change in our enslaved ancestors' 246 year period of involuntary servitude, produce anything remotely related to progress. Nor did the change in our economic condition in 1865 as manumitted ex-slaves, through the Reconstruction Era and the early 20th Century decades, produce any "progress" in race-relations, so far as narrowing the gap of disparity between the races, albeit the fact of significant change in our economic condition is inarguable.
 
 What is also inarguable, is that the notion of progress with respect to the economic well-being of White Americans, in contrast to that of Black Americans, is totally indefensible when one considers that whether under the legal institution of slavery or as legally free citizens, the unrelenting oppression of institutional White racialism, has permitted of significant change of the economic condition of Black Americans and insignificant progress in the context of the obvious economic control that our White racialist institutions continue to maintain over the economically captive poor masses of Black Americans.
 
It is from that purview, that it becomes clear, very clear indeed, that neither corporate America, or the American body politic, have ever been prepared to seriously encourage "Equity of Access to Equality of Economic Opportunity," for Americans of African descent, to the extent that economic power sharing between Blacks and Whites, would ever be permitted to replace the dynamic of White economic control over our Black communities. Rather, have all too many of our Black leadership, been beguiled into the belief that the fact that our African-American population has for the most part steadily increased its purchasing power from 1865 through 1996, is synonymous with progress, albeit we are still on the bottom and they are still economically on the top.
 
Accordingly, what pride can we justifiably take in an economic condition where the American body politic and the White majority American citizenry at large, has been manifestly far more willing to accede to our demands for civil rights, even political rights, than for economic power sharing. For, when all is said and done, economic power is really the name of the game for those who seek optimum fulfillment in modern societies.
 
From 1619 through 1865, our forefathers and foremothers were  subjugated under a cruel and harsh system of slavery beyond that experienced by any other single American ethnic group, save Native Americans. In fact, our people's subjugation, cannot be compared to that of any other world minority group, who has experienced a holocaust of the body, the mind, of culture, of the sanctity of womanhood and motherhood, of the sanctity of manhood and familyhood, indeed, of the sanctity of the human and spiritual condition itself.
 
 For the suffering that our forefathers and foremothers experienced and the unrelentingly harsh residuals of attitudinal and behavioral legacies of the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th century practices of White racialism, are as attitudinally alive and well today as they were legally enforced during the post-Slavocracy, Reconstruction and Jim Crow Eras. Moreover, in our time, those practices prevail, precisely because White racialist attitudes are daily metamorphisized into racialist impacted economic policies, expressed in red lining practices of banks and insurance companies and the still all too prevalent "last to be hired, first to be fired" practices of small and big businesses, supported by "liberal talking and racialist walking" unionists.
             
 Surely you will agree, that it is beyond folly for anyone to claim that the changes that have taken place in American race-relations have been sufficient to significantly alter the obvious fact of which race is still on the bottom of the American economic ladder. For that fact can be seen on every rung of that ladder, from the bottom to the top, representing every interest and enterprise-of-power that exists in the United States. And consistently on the bottom rung of the American economic ladder, are Black Folk.
 
"Change in race relations?"..... obviously yes. But if you and I had fallen asleep in a time capsule on that first slave ship of Black indentured servants destined for Jamestown in 1619, and awoke 377 years later in Jamestown, Virginia; Savannah, Georgia; New Orleans, Louisiana; the Black communities of Harlem, New York; Roxbury, Boston; Anocostia, Washington, D.C., or for that matter of fact, right here in Buffalo and even in my current city of Syracuse or my previous residence in the Village of Baldwinsville, New York, would you dare have the effrontery to attempt to make yourself believe that Black people were no longer at the bottom rung of the economic ladder of the United States?
 
For those here present who may have very erroneously assumed that Our reference was one of race baiting … We can immediately put that false moniker to rest by referencing a positive reference to an economic development saga within Our own family line  in the state of North Carolina. First permit Us to share some intimate details of both Our paternal and maternal families. Our late mother`s father (whose name was General Guillaume de Pickard) was of Moroccan and African American lineage. Our mother`s mother was of African-American, Cherokee and Jewish lineage. All of the children of Our grandfather and grandmother created extraordinary levels of success in their lives.  Our late aunt, Dr. Francis Pickard Crawford was the very first Supervisor of an integrated school system of the southern states of the USA. She fell in love and married a southern gentleman who was very, very natively intelligent, albeit he was totally illiterate. However, he possessed such a high level of what they then referred to as “smarts,” that he created a stretch of 12 savings and loan banks (of course, with my aunt`s assistance). It was from Our knowledge of that experience, that We have little patience for anyone of any colour who blandly uses the issue of race as an explanation for their failures in life. For indeed, the exigencies of life can be overcome by anyone of any colour, creed, culture or from any foreign country of family origin, if they summon-up the will to overcome. Indeed, it is via such overcoming, that racialist attitudes are also eventually overcome.
 
For example… in 1975, We and Our Foundation`s multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural colleagues successfully overcame the endemic level of fear that most Americans of African descent have experienced since the days during and after the era of the American Slavocracy.  
 
It was in Our capacity as a member of the press, and with the consent of the KKK Imperial Wizard James R. Venable, that we sought to attend and report on a Ku Klux Klan rally at Stone Mountain, Georgia. As the rumor of the presence of a black man at the rally spread, word reached the speaker`s rostrum. A voice boomed out, “This is a white rally on white property… hold your tempers… throw him out, but hold your tempers.” But the crowd converged on the press-box and began assaulting Us. We were kicked, beaten and maced as we made Our way out of the rally. Over the loudspeaker, We and Our multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-cultural staff could hear the Imperial Wizard implore his members not to “do any harm. If you harm this man, you`ll be indicted and convicted in the United States and in this county under conspiracy. Let him alone, I`m warning you.”
 
As We stated at that time during an interview with the Afro-American newspaper, “The greatest menace and danger to America is not from without. It is in the potential subversion of our liberties from within by the proliferation of hate groups at a rate unparalleled in our history. This was not a black-white white situation. If you add up all the minority groups the Klan is against, what you`ve got is the great multi-ethnic, majority of all Americans. These hate groups are exploiting every right we hold sacred.”
 
However, it must also be very truthfully stated that even We, in Our time, have experienced the most outrageous forms of Euro-American racialism. For despite the fact that one of Our Foundation`s former live-in student interns from Afghanistan is currently a member of the new government in Afghanistan…  despite the fact that one of Our Foundation`s former student externs is currently a successful businessperson in Indonesia… despite the fact that We hosted the most resplendent soiree musicals, public lectures, celebrations of both the Christmastide and Easter for Our Christian student interns… it was out of Our consideration for Our Jewish student interns, that We also annually celebrated their Chanukah and Yom Kippur seasons. Indeed, We conducted Our Foundation Student Intern Programmes in a manner that would expand the cultural-horizons of those African-American student interns who felt as much rejected by the African-American bourgeoisie as they similarly were rejected by the local racialist Euro-American community.
 
All-in-all, if America is to maintain its leadership in the world… its first line of concern should be that of summarily addressing the issue of wide-spread racialism in Our country by providing to all of its citizens of all colours, creeds, cultures and foreign countries of family origin with the means to become productive American citizens in an American “E-Pluribus-Unum” society which provides “equity of access to economic opportunity,” particularly for all of its citizens-of-colour.
 
For a-veritas, even Our immigration policies have become so polluted with more than a few forms of racialism, that even well known TV commentators like Bill O`Reilly actually foster attitudes of racialism under the very same guises of being pro-American that were traditionally enunciated by David Duke (who We successfully debated on a radio show) and the former Senator of South Carolina, Strom Thurmon, who We do not assume that We will eventually meet in a heaven that is also populated with the souls of Black folks. N`es ce pas? Mai Oui!
 
Several cases in point are:
 
1. During the last year of the Clinton Administration, when the USDJ and the INS announced an order for the deportation of 15,000 Liberian nationals from the USA, We appeared at a hastily organized press conference at the National Press Club, during which We denounced the Administration for, on the one hand welcoming thousands of Kosovars to the USA, and on the other hand, planning the deportation of African citizens of a continental African state which was formed by American ex-slaves who were returned to Africa by the American Colonization Society during the Monroe Presidency. In response to Our charge of USDJ and INS racialist inspired deportation order, the Clinton Administration reversed said order (given the fact that the members of the Congressional Black Caucus supported Our position).
 
2. During Our 1998 visit to Latakia, Syria, We were so disturbed by the state of indentured servitude to which a middle aged woman had been subjected since the age of 5 that We arranged to bring her to the United States, to free her from her state of slavery. The INS Judge`s position has been so outrageously anti-Arab, that We continue to fight to prevent the INS from returning her to her country, where she would certainly face death, or be consigned to a life as a beggar on the streets of Syria.
 
3. Similarly, a USAID Euro-American couple, Mr. Paul Guild and his wife,  are currently encountering what We have described as the all-too-typical example of INS racialism towards the couple`s African soon-to-be-adopted-teenage-son, who bears both African citizenship and French citizenship.
 
4. A Ghanaian and Syracuse, New York based established and brilliant writer, is facing those very same inhuman-racialist responses by the INS to his overly long efforts to receive a favourable response from the INS to his applications for visas for his family member in Ghana who won the Immigration lottery in his country, entitled him with admission into the United States.
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