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First blog post

This is the post excerpt.

Parting is such sweet sour, but over the years I learned some things. The Empire may have fallen, but I’m still here.

For every ending, there is another opportunity for a new beginning. Napoleon Hill said it better, than anyone else I know: “Every adversity brings with it a seed of equivalent advantage”. The future is seen in the minds eye and sometimes we can’t connect the dots until we have finished the journey. Blogging on a consistent basics just opened up the memory bank of a life that was a little different.

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Change is difficult, but sometime necessary. If you can’t swim, the above picture is really scary, but if you can float, you can adapt and survive.  I started blogging as something to keep my mind active because of my early retirement. It would have been nice, if I made a little money to supplement social security but staying active was my main goal. One of the core requirements was to “blog daily” to build an audience.

As a baby boomer, this blog thing was like Greek, but I have always been up to a challenge. I learned that a blog is an on-line  commentary on any particular subject; they can function as a personal diary or as an on-line advertising vehicle. They can be text, images and links to other blogs or pages. Some focus on art (art blogs), photographs (photo blogs), videos (video blogs or vblogs), music (MP3 blogs) and audio (podcast). What is so unique is readers can leave comments for quick response.

For me to blog on a regular basics, required me to think about something that would hold my interest, or else I would quit. I happen to like the personal development, self-help field. I’ve had a very interesting and unique personal development story and loved to read and listen to the stories of the great motivational speakers. Plus, we all could use a little help in that area.

With the Empire Network blogging platform I didn’t understand a lot, but I was retired and had time to write. I’m not a trained writer, but I have written many things over the years. I wrote a fiction novel in junior high, a very long time ago and I wrote many staff papers and a training program for civilian warehouse workers as a U.S. Army Quartermaster Officer.

I was born and raise in Detroit MI, when it was the Motor Capital of the world. In fact Detroit was tagged the Motor City and the home of Motown. I even worked on the assembly line during my last year of high school. It wasn’t easy but I had worked my first summer job and liked the idea of having money in my pocket. I turned 18 and applied, but Pops told me I still had to finish high school.

I was home along when the 1967 Detroit Riots started (Pop was out of town and I was on my own).  I saw the movie recently with my sister when I returned back home from Philadelphia PA. Hard to believe it’s been 50 years since that happened. But the numbers are still amazing; 2,000 buildings were destroyed, over 7,200 people were arrested, 1,100 people were injured and 43 people were killed.

God must have directed my steps. It would have been very easy for me to go left instead of staying right, but because I didn’t act foolish, I didn’t become a statistic. It’s because, I didn’t cross the police line, I was able to walk the flight line in Libya North Africa (US Air Force) and later support the front line in Germany (US Army).

Even though I lost a library of material, I saved enough to write a book. This is a different platform so I’m just getting use to it. Stay tuned there is more inside.

H.G.M.

Google Doodle Honors Vets on Veterans Day

On Nov. 11, 2018 (Veterans Day) Google honored Olivia J. Hooker by featuring her story on the Google Doodle. It was their salute to all the military veterans on Veterans Day.  As an Air Force and Army veteran I listened to all the stories.

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When Olivia started to tell her story, and she said that she was 103 and that she was the first African American to join the US Coast Guard in 1945. I became curious, so I went to Wikipedia, the on-line Encyclopedia to learn more.

Hooker applied to the Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) of the US Navy, but was rejected because of her ethnicity, so she enlisted in the US Coast Guard instead. She was one of only five African American females to first enlist in the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARS) program. She thought she would be working in the galley, scrubbing pots and pans but she performed administrative duties. She earned the rank of Petty Officer 2nd Class before the program was disbanded.

Olivia J. Hooker is also the oldest survivor of Black wall street and the Tulsa Oklahoma Riots. The Greenwood neighborhood of 10,000 residents were totally destroyed. And at that time it was one of the most prominent concentrations of African American businesses in the United States during the early 20th century.

The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921 was one of the most devastating massacres in the history of US Race relations; 10,000 African Americans were left homeless and property damage amounted to $1.5 million in real estate and $750,000 in personal property ($30 million in 2017 dollars all together). Olivia was only six when she survived the riots.

Olivia did more than survive she thrived. She went on to earn her master’s and her PhD and became an Associate Professor at Fordham University. She was also a founding member of the American Psychological Association (APS) and she served as the early Director of the Kennedy Child Study Center in New York.

In 2015, the Staten Island Coast Guard Dining Facility was named in her honor and a Coast Guard Training Facility at the Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington D.C. was also named in her honor.

President Obama in his address to the United States Coast Guard Academy, Class of 2015 said that her story captures the persistence and patriotism of people willing to do the hard thing during difficult times. The mob destroyed her father’s clothing store, they looted her house and they even burned the little cloths for her doll, but she didn’t give into bitterness. She said, ” It’s not about you or me. It’s about what we can give to this world.” I call it leaving a lasting legacy!

I was home along in my last year of high school (dad was out of town for the weekend) when the 1967 Detroit Riots broke out in which 2,000 building were destroyed, 7,200 people were arrested,1,100 people were injured and 43 people were killed. I was not shot or arrested so I was able to enlist into  the Air Force to escape the assembly line. I transitioned into the Army by way of the R.O.T.C. program. As I publish my first book we will see what kind of legacy I will leave.

H.G.M.

Not Voting is VOTING

Not voting when you can, is the same as voting to hand over your power to someone else. Remember the old tale about the ostrich burying their head in the sand. If you put your head in the sand, guess what gets exposed?

Indifference, apathy, and ignorance are bed fellows which allow others to take advantage of our system of government. This country was built on a set of principles that have stood the test of time. Part of the problem is too many think their vote doesn’t count when it does, or the system is rigged. If it didn’t matter, why is there so much voter suppression.

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The other problem is civics education has been taken out of the schools. I remember taking civics classes when I was in school, but then again, I over 60. Justice Sonia Sotomayor and fellow Justice Neil Gorsuch in their CBS Sunday Morning interview with Mo Rocca said that only 25% of American citizens can name the three branches of government. What is funny, but sad is the fact that 10% of the population think that Judge Judy is one of their colleagues.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor developed a video program (www.icivics.org/about) to teach kids about the democratic process. She said that it’s not something that gets passed down through the gene pool, it must be taught and learned anew by each generation. There is a video game titled “Win the White House” and “Do I have a right” which covers protection under the United States Constitution.

There was a time when politicians worked across the aisle to get things done. Now it’s party politics over anything else, and as a result, nothing seems to get done. Normal people who have a job to do, and don’t do their job, are fired. Politicians go through a long legal process. Politicians are usually replaced by other politicians from the discretion of the voters during elections.

Some people are learning what is not healthy for the country. We should be constructive, not destructive. Faith, commitment and the principles of democracy are more important than a political stand.

The last political man to take a stand was Senator John McCain. He was the gladiator who defied the party and stood up against the man who wanted to be king.

H.G.M.

Blogging leaves a Legacy

If you are a blogger keep blogging. You can overcome almost anything if you keep going. Reginald F. Lewis was the head of Beatrice International Foods, one of the largest food companies in the country. In 1987 TLC made world news with a $985 million buyout.

 

The Reggie Lewis continued with the American Legacy Television Special. What kind of statements will your family and friends say about you when you are gone. Reggie wrote a book titled Why should white guys have all the fun?  And he had fun building his empire and setting the stage for others Black Entrepreneurs.

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Buying 64 companies in 31 countries is a huge undertaking no matter who you may be. Only a person with vision does something like that. His mother, Carolyn Fugett talked about some of the things he had to overcome to keep going.

His colleagues said he was very smart and highly focused. He knew what he wanted, and he had the talent to get to where he wanted to go. As an entrepreneur we may know where we want to go but, we need a vehicle that gives us reach and speed to get to where we need to go.

His mother talked about giving him some tough love. When Reggie was young he wanted to leave home, but she explained that if he didn’t want to follow the house rules we would end on the streets or in jail. She told him that he needed to find out who he really was: Mama baby or mama little man.  His mom left his dad because he didn’t have enough drive. He didn’t have the drive, so he settled. Reggie made up in his mind that that would not be him when he got married.

I wrote a blog about the life lesson we learn when we are kids. They determine what we will do later in life. Reggie’s mom took over his paper route when he went to summer camp for two weeks and delivered the papers herself. When he came home, he asked her about his money. She told him that he didn’t deserve the money because he didn’t make an agreement before he left so he didn’t deserve the money.

When he went to law school he made sure no one else took advantage of him.  Harvard Law School seemed like a perfect fit for him. A college professor said that Reggie seemed right at home.

Four years out of law school he had Ben Chavis, the Civil Rights Leader as his client. In 1992 Reggie gave $3 million dollars to the Harvard Law school. At the time it was the most that anyone who had given that much before. When you give that kind of money, most schools name something after you: They dedicated the Reginald F. Lewis International Law Center in his honor.

Along the way he met a strong intelligent woman who supported him for 24 years. He left a legacy that will be lasting. What kind of legacy will you leave.

H.G.M.

Will this be the Year of Political Pink Power?

Will 2018 be the year that more women get elected into political office? According to CBS News more than 500 women are running for all kinds of political positions. Some media folks are calling it “The Pink Wave”.

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Jahana Hayes is just one example. In 2016 she was selected as the “National Teacher of the Year”. Now she is a candidate for the House of Representatives in the 5th District of Connecticut. I don’t know if it’s a ‘sexist thing or a political thing’ but 92 % of Democrats think it’s important that women get elected into political offices while only 50% of Republicans feel the same way.

To me, Jahana Heyes is an American success story of persistence and determination. She went from teen mom to become a Social Studies Teacher and mentor for at-risk kids in a high poverty school district in Waterbury CONN. to “National Teacher of the Year”. The students would say she didn’t get it, and she told them she did.

Hayes grew up in public housing until her family got evicted when she was in the fifth grade. Her mother was an addict most of her life. When Hayes got pregnant at 16, she earned her high school diploma in a program for teen parents in the basement of Waterbury’s City Hall. When she made it to college she worked three jobs to take care of her family and while earning her degree.

When she returned home to teach, she realized that a lot of the students were living in the same conditions that she had, when she was younger. She told them her story and then she developed programs to help them to overcome some of the challenges she had faced when she was in their situation. For her efforts she was recognized as “Connecticut’s Teacher of the Year”.

As the “National Teacher of the Year”, she traveled around the country and the world leading workshops for other educators. When she went to Tunisia on a trip sponsored by the State Department as part of her duties, her daughter called and told her that her grandson wanted to know if her trip to African was to find a new home? Someone kid on the school bus told him that, “We have a new President and they are going to build a wall, so all the Brown people will have to leave”. That’s probably when she got the idea that she could do more than just teach.

I visited Tunisia when I was stationed at Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya during the base closure by Col. Muammar Gahafi. The Base Commander Col. Daniel “Chappie James” left a lasting impression on me because he went to become a trail blazer. I believe Jahana Heyes will go on to blaze some trails before she is through.

H.G.M.

Search for the Information

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Seek out the information to feed your mind. If you don’t search, you will never find. You should never wait for someone to show up and turn you on. Turn your own self on. We get so busy on our daily grind and we don’t want to fall behind. But sometimes we should take a pause and think about what we want to do later in life.

Going to college is one way to gain knowledge but it’s not the only way to get ahead. Many of the movers and shakers of the world didn’t go to college but they gained a wealth of knowledge. Some even dropped out of college and grew their name and their fame so that they were invited to come to college and share their experience and their knowledge as commencement speakers.

Become self-educated and self-motivated. Most people stop reading after they graduate from school; and it doesn’t matter if it’s high school or grad school. If it’s not required for the job, we just don’t read as much.

My mom was a country girl from Mississippi and never graduated from school. Her mother died when she was only eight, so she never had a good example to follow. She only knew of her father and got married at an early age and started having babies.

She did the best that she could and lived a long life. I was born as she was starting over again in the North. When I was about eight or nine she sent me to live with my father until she returned from her hospital stay.

That’s when things changed for me. My grades were horrible, and he was not going to let me, to continue to do that. He made me read and forced me to do my homework. Little did I know that the seeds of discipline were being planted in my mind. My grades improved, and I begin to like reading because it fired up my imagination.

That was a long time ago. TVs had rabbit ears, telephones were linked to the wall and there was no such thing as a mall. Even TV stations shut down at a certain time of the night. Technology has really changed things and now people are stuck to the phone in their pockets, TVs are always on, and people shop at the i-mall.

Many years passed, and I left home at last. Nine years with mom and the same with dad, now Uncle Sam was in charge. I’m in the Air Force and I’m stationed in a radar site in Nevada. I had time on my hands, so I started to read again. I read a special edition of Ebony Magazine that focused on Africa. And it changed my way of thinking.

Africa became more than the backdrop to a Tarzan movie. It was not all jungle and little villages. It was many countries (50+) and big cities and towns and diverse populations all over the place. I became keenly consciously and aware of the many things I had never thought about.

I left the desert of Nevada and went to of all the places in the world; the city by the Mediterranean Sea and the Saharan sand, Tripoli Libya in North Africa. I became a part of history that I had only read about.

Col. Muammar Gadhafi had deposed Libya’s King Idris and was forcing the US out of the country, but the base Commander Col. Daniel “Chappie” James, made sure there was no major incidents and the base was closed-down on time.

I was part of a small group of young Black Airmen that went to see the Black Base Commander to air some grievances. I’m still amazed to this day, that we didn’t have a heavy price to pay. I found out that you can be socially conscience, but you can’t be militant in the military.

Col. Daniel “Chappie” James had paid the price as a Tuskegee Airman and had gone on to become a decorated combat veteran in Korea and Vietnam. I don’t remember all that he said but I remember receiving a ‘flag waving speech’ where he said, “We are the people who face the enemy to defend the freedoms we all enjoy. We may come from different places, but we come together to form one nation.  Protest is OK, but we get paid to do a job. If we don’t do our assigned duty there will be a price to pay”.

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Col. “Chappie” James went on to become the First African American to become a Four-Star General in the United States Air Force.

H.G.M.

Making ends meet

Justice is blind to those who get left behind.

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ABC News did a story about people struggling to make ends meet. They started with Archie Bunker as the typical working class middle income family. That was thirty years ago and things have changed. The woman who moved into the Archie Bunker house many years ago who’s husband was a trucker explained the things have really changed. When they moved into the neighborhood houses cost $60,000 now they cost $800,000. And most of the people moving in now, are bankers and CEO’s.

The next couple live in a small apartment in California. The wife said it a choise between affording where you live and affording a life. Her parents owned their own home and she and her husband are struggling just to pay rent. Prices continue to rise while income stay the same.

The next story is about a young man working two jobs in the fast food industry. Sixteen hour days will take a toll on you. I tried it for a couple of years and it almost wore me out. I didn’t work in the fast food industry but I sold cars and worked in security at night.

In the 1980’s a lot of the workers were young people, now 75% of them are in their 20’s and older. What’s really rough is some of those folks have kids. And minimum pay is not enough to pay the bills and feed the kids. Some people get stuck and don’t move up but they still work hard and deserve to make a decent living wage.

Companies want to maximize their profits and minimize their loses. Fast food places will throw away food at the end of the night to avoid being sued. Maybe some companies think that if they increase wages for their workers it will effect their bottom line. But they made $6.6 billion in 2015 while their employees were getting public subsides to survive. That the working poor!

The CEO of the insurance company was the son of an auto worker, so he knew what it took for his family to take care of him and send him to school. As a results he rose up in the ranks. He took the time to see what was going on at the lower level of the company and raised the wages of his workers. But he is only one of a few.

I worked on the assembly line when I was still in high school and became determined that I would find a way off the line. I enlisted in the Air Force during the time that most of my classmates were being drafted in the Army and the Marine Corps  and sent off to the Vietnam War.

As a writer, blogger and a published author I wrote about my journey of working on the assembly line, walking on the flight line and supporting the front line. Standing in the Shadows, Listening to the Greats!!! For me reading was the key. Runaway Inequality An Activist Guide to Economic  Justice by Les Leopold explained how things began to change.

People need to get out and vote. No matter who is in charge, if things are not good, it’s time for a change. To all those who though it didn’t matter look at where we are now.

HG.M.

 

 

A rare look at good business leadership

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In a time when the world seems full of corporate greed, it’s a pleasure to write about someone who gets it right, indeed.

Ken Chenault is one of America’s most respected CEOs. He was the former boss of the corporate giant American Express. When he was interview by CBS News Special Correspondent James Brown, thousands showed up at the World Headquarters to bid him goodbye. He was considered a Rock star to the Green card AmEx faithful and the cool and calm leaders to the employees worldwide.

Ken Chenault was the just the fourth African American to run a Fortune 500 Company. He said that someone once said, that they couldn’t conceive of an African American ever running a major division at American Express. Ken’s reply, “Then you haven’t met many African Americans, because there are many qualified people who can do the job”. The Brown vs the Board of Education case provided opportunities for people like him to enter the field and the Harvard Law school just expanded his world view.

Warren Buffett, one of the largest shareholders in American Express called Ken Chenault “A class act. The kind of person that you would want to be the trustee of your will or to be your next-door neighbor. Warren Buffett has been Ken’s friend for 20 years.

In 1981 Chenault was recruited by American Express where he faced a big challenge. The merchandise services unit was losing money and he pulled together a team that went from generating $100 million in sales to $700 million in sales. That propelled him into the fast lane; President and COO in 1997 and CEO in 2001.

He was tested again when the American Express Corporate Headquarters suffered major damage during the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in which the company loss 11 employees. The next test came during the Great Recession of 2008. He kept his head while others were losing theirs.

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Chenault was interviewed by the Associated Press about the new tax law, being a Black CEO and the effect of competition.

  1. You are leaving AmEx but if you were staying, how would you use the benefits from the tax bill?
  2. I think a lower corporate tax rate will spur the economy in the long run…We wanted to create some long-term benefits for our employees. That’s why we did this one-time incremental benefit in profit sharing. We also going to put $200 million into incremental investment places where the company can grow and expand.
  3. Your departure reduces the number of African American CEOs at Fortune 500 Companies to three. What legacy would you talk about tied to that role you play in society and business?
  4. That’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing because there are thousands of people who are just as qualified or more qualified but haven’t been given the opportunity. What’s needed is a pipeline where quality people are coming in and the need to create an environment where people are embraced and engaged rather that just tolerated. Diversity and inclusion should be a core priority not just the flavor of the month.
  5. What will American Express look like once plastic cards go away?
  6. People see the services and the service is the brand. In 2017 Forbes named American Express as the 23rd most valuable brand in the world. In 2018 Fortune ranked American Express as the 14th most admired company worldwide and the 23rd Best Company to work for.

Maybe that’s the reason why the advertising program so effective, “Don’t leave home without them.”

H.G.M.