The Black Child’s Pledge

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Recently, there has been some criticism about Black People teaching The Black Pledge to their children.They” feel that it is polarizing and that it adds no value to a young persons life.

I use the Black Pledge with my youth group. The Pledge was developed in 1968,  by Shirley Williams for the Black Panthers.

Despite their public image, the Black Panthers embraced all of the values that America holds dear.

I am not a member, nor have I ever been.  But when I was thinking about a statement for my youth, this came to mind.

I remembered the existence of this pledge from hearing it back in the 70’s, so I looked it up. That is how I became aware of the current controversy.

The purpose of a pledge is to state the values, principles and mission of an organization.  It assures that each and every member of the organization, knows what is expected.  When a person makes a pledge it, is a statement of agreement with the pledge and loyalty to the person or organization..

The Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have a pledge, I assume that most Fraternities do to.  This is the statement regarding the Girl Scout Promise and Law (Pledge).

The Girl Scout Promise and Law are shared by every member of Girl Scouting.

The Girl Scout Promise is the way Girl Scouts agree to act every day toward one another and other people.

The Girl Scout Law outlines a way to act towards one another and the world.

The Black Pledge The Black Panther Pledge October 26, 1968 by Shirley Williams

I pledge allegiance to my Black People.

I pledge to develop my mind and body to the greatest extent possible.

I will learn all that I can in order to give my best to my People in their struggle for liberation.

I will unselfishly share my knowledge and understanding with them in order to bring about change more quickly.

I will discipline myself to direct my energies thoughtfully and constructively rather than wasting them in idle hatred.

I will train myself never to hurt or allow others to harm my Black brothers and sisters.

for I recognize that we need every Black Man, Woman, and Child to be physically, mentally and psychologically strong.

These principles I pledge to practice daily and to teach them to others in order to unite my People.

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Let’s examine this pledge

Line 1  I pledge allegiance to my Black People. Allegiance, means support and cooperation. It meant that I will come to your defense if you need me.   Do you see a problem so far?

Line 2  I pledge to develop my mind and body to the greatest extent possible.

To develop my mind and body to the greatest extent possible. Is anything wrong with physical fitness, and intellect?

Line 3  I will learn all that I can in order to give my best to my People in their struggle for liberation.

Learn all that I can – do you have a problem with education for black youth?

To give my best to my people in their struggle for liberation. No one is suggesting a revolution, but a change has got to come. Change can be affected in the arts, in the sciences, and in the humanities.

It can take place in homes, on playgrounds and in the church. Change can happen in politics and in industry. This is not a bad thing.

The liberation that is being spoken of is more psychological then physical.  Consider liberation from the mental hold that seems to have followed us from slavery,  through the civil rights movement, and into today.

It suggest that we should be able to free ourselves from the impact of hundreds of years of institutional

discrimination, both conscious and unconscious. This is a call for us to do something about our own situation.

Line 4  I will keep myself physically fit, building a strong body free from drugs and other substances which weaken me and make me less capable of protecting myself, my family and my Black brothers and sisters.

Physical fitness, purposeful nutrition, and abstinence from things that affect you mental awareness and physical well being. Is there a problem yet.

Protect my self… Every man desires to protect his home and family, right?

Line 5  I will discipline myself to direct my energies thoughtfully and constructively rather than wasting them in idle hatred.

Discipline and positive use of energy and effort. I don’t see a problem yet.

Line 6  I will train myself never to hurt or allow others to harm my Black brothers and sisters

Care and concern for your own kind and humanity in general. Not an issue in my book.

Line 7  for I recognize that we need every Black Man, Woman, and Child to be physically, mentally and psychologically strong.

Is there a problem with a community of strong, healthy, mentally stable Black Folks?

Line 8  These principles I pledge to practice daily and to teach them to others in order to unite my People.

Unity, we live in the United States of America.

If you review this pledge, you will see that I am practicing this every day. That is what My Village Project is all about.

Side note  When I finished writing this article, I went into the living room, the TV was on. It was Jet Li’s Fearless, the movie was at the part when all of the fighters stood together and said a pledge, this is what I heard.

…”must not disagree or fight one another, we must remain strong, so that we can be strong as a nation.

What a coincidence!

It takes a village to raise a child, this is My Village Project

Take care of your village

The Village Mother

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