By Ronald Court
Only six hours into the new year, Chicago has its first of several hundred annual homicides. Preliminary police records indicate that in 2008, there were 508 Chicago homicides, up from 442 in 2007.
Those numbers don’t speak very highly of the twenty-years of work as Chicago’s vaunted “community-organizer,” soon to be our nation’s President. We sincerely pray that he does better with the vastly more difficult responsibilities he will assume in his new job.
He might consider the lessons taught by an earlier ‘community organizer’ with a far better track record, even while operating under the view of hateful white racists as well as resentful black racialists. Like Barack Obama, Booker T. spoke eloquently and inspired millions, but he placed little faith in government to ‘do the right thing’ – at least for that times’ near and intermediate future. Rather, he exhorted his audience to develop practical skills and improve their conduct in ways that ultimately, he foresaw, would be recognized and valued. History has shown that his approach works.
He spoke out against and tracked lynching rates, which brings me back to Chicago’s homicides, To put it in perspective, the most lynchings ever recorded in one year (1892) was two-hundred thirty (230). Of these, 69 were white, 161 were black. Nationwide. Adjust for population today and control for black-on black homicides, and lynching pales.
In these few weeks before his inauguration, Barack Obama would do well to learn to emulate the life and methods of fellow ‘community organizer,’ Booker T. Washington.