The World is Coming to Africatown

By: Anderson Flen

Hopefully, we all know the story of Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. I call it the B and B Syndrome. That story has been a real truth killer for too many people and communities. This Syndrome does not happen when great leadership is present. We know great leadership does two things.

Know that the B and B Syndrome was never a part of my rearing in Africatown. Rather, I was taught in Magazine Point and Plateau by some of the wisest, hardest working men and caring women in the world. I see many of their faces today in my mind. They taught me to take personal responsibility for defining what life means to me. They taught me to take personal responsibility for developing the career success competencies I need to succeed. Also, to take personal responsibility for building and nurturing strong lasting relationships of integrity that will help create success beyond today and into the legacy of my descendants. So, when my name is called let it represent excellence in every way with honor.

I am proud to know we have partners that have shown total respect for our community and its people. These partners have shown what true leadership is all about. Partners, for example, the Alabama Historical Commission who are working to showcase, protect and enhance the community assets and landmarks. They are making sure that we are equally at the decision table in tangible ways. Partnerships with the National Black Scuba Divers and Diving with a Purpose group that have brought Black international divers to our community to share and train our youth in the arts and sciences of the scuba world of water. The National Park Service (RCTA) who is helping to reconnect our rich culture back to the water (Blueway) from the Old Baptism place. Reconnecting to fishing, hunting, the Clotilda landing and other locations. We have strong working partnerships with major Colleges and Universities namely Oberlin College, Mississippi State University, Penn State University, Michigan State University, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) who have come to the table with integrity, resources and transparency. We are being showcased and promoted by the Smithsonian African American museum as a community of importance in the history of this country. We have been selected as a Middle Passage UNESCO site that places us on the international map as a place of prominence. We have a grand champion in Senator Vivian Figures. She has become from day one, our most vocal political ally on the State and National stage. We have Commissioner Merceria Ludgood, our most consistent local champion, and State Representative Adeline Clark always at our table. In addition, Senator Doug Jones memorialized the discovery of the Clotilda in Senate Resolution.

Yes, there are some major key local political absentees that seem to be caught in the Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, Nobody B and B Syndrome. However, we will continue to extend the open hand of friendship welcoming them to the table. I pray that they come soon on board with actions that embrace a servant leader spirit.

We have an opportunity to make a fantastic difference in preserving our community’s history while shaping its future in three core areas: Education, Economics, and the Environment. The MCTS Alumni Association has and will continues to play a major role in the direction of this historical moment and movement. However, we need the help of everyone to join, tell your story, share your talents, give a little time, and offer resources. We need people and partners with integrity, passion and the desire to see justice served to and for this community.

We all know that life is full of choices. It has been said that choices are represented by one of three actions. Those actions being; one can make things happen, watch things happen or wonder what has happened. Too many of us are continuing to wondering what has happened. I strongly encourage each of you to get involved to help make things happen. Your involvement must be your choice, not your friend or family member’s choice, but your choice.

Let us not come to the final day of our time with regrets and disappointments. Let us not fail to do something we care about, because we were waiting for someone to tell us it was okay to help ourselves preserve and tell our story, and do the right thing.
The world is knocking on our door. Will you answer the door with us? It’s your choice.