Carl W. Kenney II is an award winning columnist and novelist. He is committed to engaging readers into a meaningful discussion related to matters that impact faith and society. He grapples with pondering the impact faith has on public space while seeking to understand how public space both hinders and enhances the walk of faith.
Megan Donohue of the Columbia Missourian
“It’s like the people here are sleepwalking,” Harold
Warren, Sr. said as he clutched the stirring wheel of his car as if to keep
from shaking.“We have to fight for our
Warren was the first black person
elected to serve on Columbia, Missouri’s City Council.It took more than 30 years for residents to
elect another black person. Almeta
Crayton was the first black woman to serve on the city council
Crayton died last week at 53.
“I tell people it’s sad that I was the
first black person elected to the council,” Warren says. “Not much has changed
He parked in front of the Wendy’s near
the Columbia Mall. Memories of when it first opened came to mind as I reflected
on the massive growth since I left 25 years ago. So much has changed. Some
things are the same.
Warren then told me the story of Brandon Coleman’s
death.Coleman, a 25-year-old
groundskeeper at the University of Missouri, was killed on May 19 following a
confrontation over an interracial relationship.No arrest was ever made and, last week, Boone County prosecutor Dan
Knight declared the shooting “legally justified” and that no charges would be
Warren says an argument began when Broadus arrived at
the house to see his girlfriend.The
girl’s father came to the door holding a machete and threatened to use it if
Broadus refused to leave.
“He (Broadus) had a gun but he didn’t pull it out,”
Warren says the son of the man arguing with Broadus
opened fire on Broadus with a 12-gauge shotgun. Josiah Williams, a witness at
the scene, told a reporter with the Columbia Daily Tribune he heard three quick
gunshots, a pause and then a fourth gunshot.Williams said he went outside and overheard a man telling neighbors he
looked out the window to see his father being held at gunpoint and started shooting.
Williams told the Tribune he could see Coleman rolling
on the ground in pain. He said he called 911 four times but never spoke to a
dispatcher because the phone continued to ring or he was placed on hold. He
estimated it took 25 minutes for an ambulance to arrive.
Winona Coleman-Broadus, Brandon’s mother, claims racial
prejudice played a role in the decision not to file charges. Coleman-Broadus
has reached out to the U.S. Justice Department for help.
Coleman-Broadus said witnesses claim her son did not
fire a weapon at the person who shot. Coleman-Broadus believes authorities did
not act fast enough to save her son’s life.
“I don’t understand why trained, professional people
could not have tried to stop bleeding, start CPR and reassured and comforted
him.They could have at least allowed my
son to die in a humane fashion rather than like a damn animal because he is not
an animal.He was a good kid who made
some bad choices,” Coleman-Broadus told reporters with KRCG-TV.
Witnesses told Coleman-Broadus that police did nothing
to save her son’s life while they waited 30 minutes for an ambulance to make
the five minutes trip to the crime scene. Columbia police refused to respond to
what witnesses told family members.
The protest of black residents has fallen on deaf
ears.Coleman-Broadus and fewer than 50
gathered on the corner of Providence and Broadway to plead for justice. Their
signs and tears reflect the lack of change in community long divided along the
broad line that keeps blacks on the other side. For those begging for a day in
court, there is no daylight – just darkness.
Such is life in a city that has only elected two
blacks to the city council.
“It’s been this way for so long they don’t know how to
act another way,” Warren said.
It’s about time it happened.I’m not shocked.Football players from Gambling State
University refused to suit up and play this weekend.
Enough is enough.Players are fed up with long trips on a bus, poor facility conditions
and a tumultuous coaching situation.They decided not to make the trip to play Jackson State University.
Way to go team.
It hurts that I happened at Grambling – the school
Eddie Robinson coached 57 years on his way to becoming the second winningest
coach in Division I (NCAA) history.Robinson exposed the world to the gifted athletes playing on the
campuses of historically black universities.Robinson began coaching in 1941, long before black players were allowed
to play for major college programs.He
retired in 1997 with a record of 408 wins, 15 losses, and 15 ties.
Robinson coached hundreds who played in the NFL.Three –Willie Brown, Buck Buchanan and Willie
Davis – are members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.Doug Williams is the first and only black quarterback
to lead a team to a Super Bowl win.Williams led the Washington Redskins in a 42-10 rout over John Elway and
the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.
Williams returned home to succeed Robinson in
1998.He resigned in 2002, after three
Southwestern Conference titles from 2000-2002, to become a personal executive
with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the team that drafted him in the first round in
1978.Williams returned to Grambling in
2011 after serving as the General Manager of the Virginia Destroyers of the
United Football League.
Williams was fired in September after a battle with
administrator over mats in the weight room.
The program Robinson built deserves better than this. Williams
deserves better than this, but, more than any of that, players deserve better
On Thursday, the school relieved George Ragsdale of
his duties as interim coach and replaced him with defensive coordinator Dennis
"Dirt" Winston.Winston was on
the list of coaches the team is willing to accept as their coach.
Removing Ragsdale wasn’t enough to convince the team
to get on the bus headed to play Jackson State.They want to know why Williams was fired.
Before his termination, Williams had raised funds
through an alumni group and purchased new mats for the weight room.According to Sport’s Illustrated, the old
mats presented safety hazards, but since the raised money had not gone through
the school's foundation, the school president and athletic director ordered the
new mats to be stored in another building.
Williams was fired a week later.
The letter from the players said they had to pay for
their own Gatorade and poorly cleaned uniforms have contributed to several
players suffering multiple cases of staph infection.
In the letter, players said the athletic complex
"is in horrible condition, and has many hazards that may contribute to our
overall health. First, the complex is filled with mildew and mold. Mildew and
mold can be seen on the ceiling, walls and floor, and are contributing to water
leaks because of faltering walls and ceilings."
Players rode on bus 750-miles to a neutral-site game
in Indianapolis, SI.com reported that the team left campus at 6 p.m. on a Thursday
and arrived in Indianapolis at 9 a.m. Friday. Grambling lost 48-0 to Alcorn
State the next day. Alcorn State, based in Mississippi, flew to the game.The game at Jackson State is a 160 mile trip
from Grambling, La.
This is not what they agreed to when they signed a
national letter of intent.They enrolled
at Grambling because it’s an HBCU with a rich legacy.They came because of Robinson, Williams and
the hundreds who played at Grambling.
It’s a sickening story that is hard to report. Who
should we blame - school administrators, the coaches, the players or the
I point the finger at all of us for failing our nation’s
HBCU’s.The problems with Grambling’s
football team reflect a broader issue related to the financial stability of HBCU’s.
On June 2, Saint Paul’s College officials announced
that it planned to close its doors.After 125 years, the school in Lawrenceville, VA was forced to terminate
75 employees and tell students to seek an education at another school. Atlanta’s
Morris Brown College is $35 million in debt and has been struggling to stay
open for years. Morris Brown has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
A board member from Howard University wrote a letter
presenting financial problems, and John Silvanus Wilson Jr., president of Morehouse
College, shared his concerns with National Public Radio’s Michel Martin.
The problems at Grambling transcend football. HBCU’s
aren’t making the revenue to stay afloat. The University of Texas football
program made a profit of $68,830,484 last year. Louisiana State University, a
school in the same state as Grambling, profited $43,253,286.
With all that money being made on college football,
shouldn’t we be upset that players at Grambling have to buy their own Gatorade
and ride a bus 750 miles a play?
It’s shameful.It’s disgusting.All of us should
Moving from a community you love feels like the end of
a long relationship.Packing bags and
moving on is tough to do when you have unfinished business.
That’s how I’m feeling today – like there’s too much
in Durham, NC left unresolved. You see, I still love her.She’s a city like no other, and I did marry
her a few years back.
Don’t get me wrong, Columbia, MO has a lot to offer.
It’s just not the same.I keep
comparing her to Durham. It’s not fair to limit my affection based on what used
to be, but I still have feelings that make it hard to let go.
The coffee isn’t the same, there isn’t much diversity,
I can’t find a Whole Foods, and, and.My
list is making me cry.I have to let her
go.It’s difficult to see the good in
the new when you’re trapped in loving the old.
Moving on is harder when you walk away with a bag of
unresolved business.There’s so much I
wanted to say before leaving.I didn’t
get a chance to address a few matters that have haunted me since leaving. So, let
me share what’s on my mind.
I left with
concerns related to the mentally ill. The
death of Derek Walker left a foul taste in my spirit. I never got a chance to
share my disdain for the way he was gunned down by police after pleading to be
killed with a gun to his head.It
troubles me that so many watched him die with tears flowing because he couldn’t
find the courage to live.
I’m tormented that police officers had to pull the
trigger. They didn’t want to see Walker die.I worry about the mental health of the officers involved in the incident,
and how people are quick to throw stones at those who did their very best not
to kill Walker.I’m hurting for everyone
involved – his 5-year-old son, his mother, his family and a village grappling to
understand why it had to end this way?
being said, what is going on with Durham’s Police Department. After a series of questionable actions by the police,
one has to wonder if there is the emergence of a culture within the police
department that assumes brute force and racial profiling as normative
strategies in enforcing the law.
The death of Jose Adan Cruz, the uncalled for beating and
arrest of Stephanie Nickerson, and the dubious arrest of Carlos Riley, Jr. hint
that it may be time for new leadership at the police department.It doesn’t help that Police Chief Jose Lopez
is accused of saying Attorney David Hall deserved to be shot because he works
as a public defender.
I have lots to
say about Durham’s City Council election. The analysis on this election is loaded with potential lasting
implications. Let me share a few.
What is the significance to Durham having political
leaders that don’t reflect the age of the population they serve?As the average age Durham decreases, and the hipster
crowd reshapes the culture of the city, what does it say about the political
machinery of Durham that youth are locked out due to the influence of Durham’s
Omar Beasley is positioned to add youth to the City Council,
but faces stiff opposition from Eddie Davis who received 59% of the votes in
the primary compared to Beasley’s 21%.That gap advances speculation that black voters are opting to reject the
endorsement of the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People due to
issues with the organizations leadership.
The contest between Davis and Beasley continues the
battle of supremacy between Durham’s PAC’s. If Davis wins, serious issues will
follow the Durham Committee after a battle between two highly capable, black candidates.Watch the black vote in Durham to quantify
the hold the Durham Committee has on black voters.
what impact will the Rolling Hills development have on extending economic development
beyond the downtown core? Even more
pressing is the role North Carolina Central University will serve in revitalizing
the area decimated by urban renewal.The
area known as Hayti reaped a death when the Durham Freeway was built to connect
Durham to the Research Triangle Park.Hundreds of black owned businesses were displaced.
What will happen next?
If downtown development can be used as a clue, Durham
will witness massive gentrification that will shift the demographics of the
inner city core.The change will be
celebrated as growth, but what are the consequences of all that change?
I have so much to talk about.Maybe I can move on and love my new home the
way she deserves.Maybe I should start
writing her love letters.Not a bad
thought.That’s what commentary is for
me – a love letter to the world about things that matter to me.
Ben Carson must be practicing surgery on his own
brain.It’s the only thing to excuse his
recent remarks about Obamacare.
"It’s the worst thing that has happened in this
nation since slavery," Carson, who retired from the John Hopkins
University School of Medicine, said at the Values Voter Summit in Washington. "It
is slavery, in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the
government. It was never about healthcare. It was about control.”
Did I hear a reference to Master beating slaves in
Carson’s tone? Did he compare Obama to Lincoln for having the audacity to let
God’s people go?
It’s almost always wounding when a person uses slavery
to illustrate a contemporary affliction. It’s even worse when a black man pulls
that trick from his conservative bag of foolishness. I won’t blame Carson for spending
most of his time reading books on the human anatomy.God knows he’s earned respect for his work as
a neurosurgeon. All props to the dude for separating conjoined twins joined at
Everyone has their weakness. It’s best to stay in your
lane. In other words, Carson gets F’s in American History and street credibility.
He’s no black role model. I say that not because of
his abhorrence of Obamacare. Carson isn’t the only black person grappling to
find the merit of the plan pushed by the nation’s first black President. He has
every right to align with conservatives to defend an agenda that best serves
his personal goals.Do you Bo, but, for
God’s sake, and out of respect of OUR ancestors, please don’t minimize the
impact of slavery by comparing it to Obamacare.
You get no stupidity pass when it comes to this. One
has to ask, is becoming the darling of the conservative wing of the Republican
Party worth the forfeiture of the black boys and girls who viewed you as a role
model?Are the standing ovations worth
losing the tag of great blacks in American history? Welcome to the bench with Clarence
Thomas and others who sold their soul for white affirmation.
Even more disconcerting are the underlying implications
related to what Carson said.
"It is slavery, in a way, because it is making
all of us subservient to the government. It was never about healthcare. It was
So, Obama has forced Americans to become subservient
to the government.Obama is the
anti-Lincoln who implemented a policy that has subjugated not only blacks, but
every citizen of this country.A black
man did that.Obama is our Master, and
all of us are his slaves.
Carson’s argument serves as the most forceful claim
that we are living in a post-race society.Carson has pushed a button held by those fearing the aftermath of a
black President – slavery has been reversed.It took a black man to say it. The fight against Obamacare is about
control, but not the type of domination alleged on the surface of Carson’s
The teabaggers fear being controlled by a black man.
Master Obama is coercing them to make bricks out of
straw. Run to the North Star where freedom lives.Run fast now. Massah Bama got a big
whip.We gonna be free. We gotta fight,
but they working on our liberation.
Sorry Uncle Ben, you can’t play with those
emotions.This is not a post-race
society.The flame of hate still burns
So, get on the bench with Clarence Thomas and Herman
Cain.It’s going to be a long time
before you get to play with black folks.
my sixth day in Columbia, MO – almost a week. It all seems so surreal
isn’t home yet. The house is the same as when I left Columbia 30 years
ago.The furniture is the same. The
first television my pops purchased is parked in the living room. It doesn’t
work.It serves as a reminder of when
color television came to replace black & white.My old Bose 501 speakers are surrounded by
old cassettes.Many are recordings of my
former radio show on KOPN FM.
I’ll make a return to radio.
something special about cleansing.It
comes with both good and bad – like cleansing your colon.You have to drink the bad and wait for the
movement before you feel the benefits of flushing out all that junk.I know, I know – too much information. That’s
the way this feels.
good news is the news that it’s good for you.Good health requires that we suck it in, take our medicine and wait for
the results.Did I mention I’ve already
lost 5 pounds?A lot has been lost since
leaving Durham, North Carolina to move back home.I’m still waiting for the things I’ll gain.
of my clothes are stacked on the floor in the bedroom.I haven’t found time to move the clothes in
the closet to the garage.I have six
boxes of clothes waiting to be shipped here from Durham.There’s no room for them.That describes my life here – there’s no
space for my life.I simply have to find
a way to make it all fit.
still read the Durham Herald-Sun, the News & Observer, the Durham News and
the Independent Weekly.I rise every
morning at 4:30 am to begin my day.After reading newspapers and writing in my journal, I prepare my pops
breakfast.After feeding him, giving him
his meds and confirming his schedule for the day, I do my best to find time for
it’s time to cook lunch.There are
doctor appointments almost every day.The nurse comes to the house three days a week.The phone calls come in daily from my sister
and mother.They’re concerned about my
pops big toe.His doctor is considering
amputation.Pops says he’s prepared for
the worse.He keeps smiling like it’s no
big deal.I know the truth.
tired. After two open heart surgeries, a bout with cancer, an aneurism,
enduring a diabetic coma, bacterial meningitis and numerous strokes, he has
every right to be tired. After countless visits to the hospital and
rehabilitation centers, his journey makes me tired.
1000 insulin syringes are stuffed in a closet.They are packed in with the other medical supplies shipped monthly.They keep coming despite the fact pops has
more than he will ever use.The company
that sends them knows Medicare will pay the bill.A short look in the closet solves the riddle
of why Medicare is losing money.
company called Signature Foods delivers meals for the week every Thursday.The frozen meals are packed in the
freezer.They can’t be good for
you.I refuse to accept they’re the best
option.I’ve been searching for a Whole
Foods and local gardens.My pops loves
the frozen meals.I’m begging him to
stop drinking milk, but his doctor tells him to drink three glasses a day.I talk to him about eating less meat and eating
fresh vegetables.I feel the coming of a
haven’t had coffee since my arrival.I broke
away for two hours on Tuesday to visit the editor of Inside Columbia
Magazine.She offered to contract with
me to write for the magazine.The
managing editor at a local newspaper meets with me next week.
did go to church on Sunday.I felt out
of place.The church is 50 yards from my
pops house.I preached my first sermon
there in 1979.I counted 5 people I
knew.I walked home after the service
and asked God what it all means.God
didn’t answer my question.
time to cook pops lunch.I have to call
his doctor and ask about the IV that wasn’t removed from his arm when he left
the hospital on Saturday.The nurse at
the doctor’s office told me the people at the wound clinic were supposed to
remove it on yesterday.The people at
the wound clinic told me it wasn’t there responsibility.They said they were only advised to take care
of my pops foot.It’s been an hour since
the nurse said she would call me back.
I’ll get out later today to get a cup of coffee.Maybe I will meet new friends at the
praying pops blood sugar drops before he eats his lunch.It was 238 at breakfast.It’s been as high as 382 this week.