Just as the previous two annual countdowns from the National African American Art Examiner contained people and events some found debatable, this one for the year 2011 is likely to do the same. The point, however, remains unchanged: to highlight known as well as largely ignored moments that have added significantly to contemporary ongoing African-American culture and history, and thereby adding the same to current American and world history in general.
At one end of the continuum known as history are first-time events that have generated notable measures of public recognition due to either a positive or negative impact. At the other end of the spectrum are individuals, organizations, and occurrences which have earned acknowledgment due to their enduring longevity and lasting influence upon humanity. This countdown list includes both and will be presented in ten separate posts starting Wednesday, December 14.
About Job Creation
As the calendar flipped forward from the year 2010 to 2011, the theme for the year for most citizens of the United States was set with National Urban League President Marc H. Morial’s observation that, “Everything that we do in this nation ought to be about job creation.”
History, however, determined otherwise as the United States became caught up in the sweep of Arab Spring 2011 even as it brought to conclusion the nine-year war in Iraq. Moreover, catastrophes such as the Japanese nuclear disaster also impacted on the country and the economic crisis that continues to rock the global economy spawned the Occupy Wall Street movement. African Americans were no less affected by these issues than anyone else and in some cases much more so.
Job creation remains a crucial component to the establishment and maintenance of a satisfying quality of life in the United States. It is also one of the central issues in the unfolding 2012 race for the U.S. presidency. Despite the recent drop of the general unemployment rate for Americans overall to 8.6 percent, throughout 2011 and at present it has continued to hover at closer to 16 percent or higher for African Americans.
Moreover, racial disparities in the American justice system, the alarming percentage of high school drop-outs among African Americans, the disproportionate threat of diseases such as AIDS and heart disease, single-parent households approaching 75 percent, and nearly a quarter of African-American children living in poverty along with entire families who do the same are causes for serious concern. In light of such conditions, the concept of a “post-racial America” remains a beautiful fantasy in which many wish to believe but which others concede is simply not reality. Conditions such as these provide ample cause for African Americans to move beyond occupying Wall Street to occupying the municipal, state and legislative, and judicial offices throughout the United States from sea to shining sea in search of solutions.
The challenges to survive, achieve, thrive, and excel have been part of the Black American experience since the days of indentured servitude and slavery four centuries ago. Likewise: the ability to take hard blows, bounce back from painful reeling defeats, and move forward to the beat of glorious victory has been part of that experience as well. The countdown list that follows will reflect some of both.
NEXT: Countdown of 10 Amazing Moments from the Year 2011: No. 10 The $7 Billion Actor
by Aberjhani, National African American Art Examiner
co-author Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance
and ELEMENTAL, the Power of Illuminated Love
Sample Pages from One Author’s Journal for 2011
- Looking at the World Through Michael Jackson’s Left Eye
- The Approaching 100thAnniversary of the Harlem Renaissance
- What Osama Bin Laden’s Death Indicates about Barack Obama’s Leadership
- Literary Legacies of Savannah Georgia
- Events, Book Highlight Flannery O’Connor Legacy