The History of Black Economic Empowerment lecture featured author and keynote speaker Dr. George C. Fraser in the Nursing building auditorium during convocation hours Tuesday. The 2010 Lyceum Committee presented the Black History event.
Dr. Jimmy McJamerson, associate professor of history, introduced the lecturer with greetings and a poem. Jamesia Leonard, sophomore class president, led the meditation.
Leonard prayed for the speaker, community and university president. History professor Dr. Roshunda Belton moderated the event.
Fraser strode from the stage to the floor and began his lecture with a quip.
“Yes. I am Black,” he said.
Fraser said that although a couple of young women weren’t sure, he was Black and prepared to share his experiences from a Black cultural paradigm.
Throughout the presentation he referenced the Bible and spirituality.
“God is first, and without God nothing is possible,” said Fraser. “The God in me greets the God in you.”
While he shared concerns regarding the current generation of Black Americans, he assured the audience that the necessary work is doable.
“We are the beacon of hope for every single person of African descent in the entire world,” said Dr. Fraser. “We are a powerful and awesome people.”
However, too many young people have forgotten that lineage, he said.
He said that his generation was the only generation to not move the following generation of Black Americans to a better position than that of their experience.
His lecture included a smorgasbord of wisdom, and he commented on education, accumulation of wealth, racial loyalties and understanding the value of Black people to avoid stereotypical and demeaning occupations.
He juxtaposed Eurocentric individualism with African- centered perspectives of community.
He contrasted the need to work with others with the need to free oneself from toxic individuals and groups that hinder success.
“We live to network,” said Fraser, insisting that the Black community must work with and through each other.
The Black community must emphasize inter-generational wealth, employ other Black people and remember that money trumps race in a democratic capitalistic society, said Fraser.
He encouraged students to follow the suit of Jewish, Arab and Asian citizens, whose money circulates throughout their communities, while the money in Black communities typically does not.
This point was highlighted with a chart he used to explain fiscal connections.
On one side of the chart there was a white background with several black dots.
Fraser said the dots represented Black people and how their money doesn’t intersect in their community.
On the opposite side of the paper the black dots were linked to each other and formed a web.
That side represented other minority communities who maintain their money.
His no-holds-barred-Brooklyn cadence, frank discourse and spiritual uplift struck a cord with the audience.
“The keynote speaker used a combination of amazing analogies and precise metaphors to communicate a strong point about the importance of time and execution of excellence and productivity in the Black community,” said hotel/restaurant junior Cameron Butler of Dallas.