NORMAN J CLEMENT RPH., DDS, NORMAN L.CLEMENT PHARM-TECH, MALACHI F. MACKANDAL PHARMD, BELINDA BROWN-PARKER, IN THE SPIRIT OF JOSEPH SOLVO ESQ., IN THE SPIRIT OF REV. C.T. VIVIAN, JELANI ZIMBABWE CLEMENT, BS., MBA., IN THE SPIRIT OF THE HON. PATRICE LUMUMBA, IN THE SPIRIT OF ERLIN CLEMENT SR., WALTER F. WRENN III., MD., WILLIE GUINYARD BS., JOSEPH WEBSTER MD., MBA, BEVERLY C. PRINCE MD., FACS., LEROY BAYLOR, JAY K. JOSHI MD., MBA, ADRIENNE EDMUNDSON, ESTER HYATT PH.D., WALTER L. SMITH BS., IN THE SPIRIT OF BRAHM FISHER ESQ., MICHELE ALEXANDER MD., CUDJOE WILDING BS, MARTIN NDJOU, BS., RPH., IN THE SPIRIT OF DEBRA LYNN SHEPHERD, BERES E. MUSCHETT, STRATEGIC ADVISORS
(“REAL” Service, starts when ‘Worship Service’ is Over)
Joseph L. Webster, Sr., MD, MBA, FACP
November 17, 1967, at 08:05 pm I “crossed the burning sands” and entered the sacred and hallowed grounds of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. via the cherished and noble portal called, BN (Beta Nu) Chapter, Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, Florida.
Barely nineteen years old, suddenly I became an “Alpha Man” with all the ‘rights and privileges appertaining there unto’ along with my countless Brothers of Alpha Dom strategically ‘scattered’ around the world that we know as Earth.
Finally, I had ‘Finished Pledging’ and could begin ‘enjoying’ the great opportunities that Alpha Phi Alpha provided – Agape Love, Fraternal Spirit, Brothers for life, Academic Associates, Business Partners and Opportunities, Wine and Women, Expert tutorials, (a few ‘free unspeakables’), and countless ‘portals’ to the finer things in life simply because I was an “Alpha Man”!
The Laws of Thermal Dynamics hold true for social institutions as well as they do for the physical world that Newton and others (Faraday, etc.) were describing when they were derived several centuries ago. There is an inverse relationship between the intensity of the heat generated by a source and the distance that the heat must traverse.
The further I got from FAMU and November 17, 1967, 08:05 pm the ‘less intense’ the HEAT that had felt when I crossed the burning sands. My ‘Love’ for Alpha has never diminished, but the ‘demonstrated Love’ as measured by the tangibles and easily quantifiable variables – paid dues, meetings attended, offices held at local, regional, and national levels, banquets and picnics attended, reading sessions for underprivileged students, etc. – have been constantly ‘replaced’ with what I almost embarrassingly call ‘more important and more immediately demanding’ issues in my life at all levels.
The replacement factors include – raising a family, 70 – 80-hour workweek (I am an ‘old physician’ and we worked those crazy hours), church leadership duties, professional organizations, civic organizations, NAACP, URBAN LEAGUE, three post-doc degrees, and the constant demand to ‘keep one step ahead of disruptive innovations in our chosen professions.
Granted, the ‘replacement factors’ are all legitimate matters that have to care for at the very highest level of precision as one would expect from an Alpha Man – regardless of the task, as long as the task was one of ‘Manly Deeds, Scholarship, and Love for All Mankind.’
It is this apparent ‘divergence’ of ‘Being and Alpha Man’ and doing all the other ‘non-Frat-house’ activities that challenge us to rethink the idea of the possibility of ever being able to “Finishing Pledging”.
It also affords an opportunity to ‘redefine’ what we mean by ‘Pledging’ in the context of a rapidly changing world and the associated need for transformative change in every fiber of the world that we want to see tomorrow.
That world tomorrow must include ‘productive innovation’ from the Divine Nine that will not simply duplicate the countless contributions of these dynamic organizations for the last 125 years. Frantz Fanon stated it best nearly 75 years ago in 1961:
“Europe (The United States of America – ‘little Europe) now lives at such a mad, reckless pace that she has shaken off all guidance and all reason and is running headlong into the abyss: we would do well to avoid it with all possible speed.”
“ . . . . comrades, we must turn over a new leaf, we must work out new concepts, and try to set afoot a NEW MAN (African American)”
I argue that we, the Divine Nine, are indeed the ‘talented tenth’ that Du Bois referenced. We are the people that we are waiting for to change the world for our children for generations to come.
We have already been ‘reincarnated’ and in each one of us is an ‘all you need’ portion of Chaka Zulu, Moses, Joseph, Suni Ali, Martin, Malcolm, Tupac, Toussaint, Du Bois, Booker T., Garvey, Blyden, Rosa – and the countless Sisters and Brothers that painfully transitioned during the several hundred years of transatlantic exploitation of human cargo from the shores of Africa.
Their spirits are immutably intertwined with our spirits. Their last breath is all the wind that we need to take flight.
Just as Alpha Phi Alpha did in 1946 with its “Forward with Alpha” articulated by Brothers Channing Tobias, Paul Robeson, Rayford Logan, Max Yergan, and General President – Belford V. Lawson, Alpha Phi Alpha, again stepped to the plate in support of our physician brother Retired Naval Captain Greg Belcher MD.,(War Veteran) from California both he and his wife Vilisini Ganesh MD., battle against Bad Faith Peer Review of African American and India Healthcare providers. This is but one of the forms of “Pledging 201” that all of us are challenged to strive for.
Tomorrow’s challenge is for the Pledging to start with strategic ‘root-cause analyses’ of the myriad of problems and circumstances that the powers to be called – ‘social determinants! Whatever happens in a given society is ‘determined by the policies that govern the definition and distribution of the resources available to the members of that society.
The outcomes are almost 100% ‘nurture’ and not ‘nature’. It is the responsibility of the Divine Nine to strategically deploy every ounce of our collective resources – starting with our intellectual prowess and organizational networks – to address the ‘upstream’ causes that are responsible for our current situation.
“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to DO what lies clearly at hand.”
Indeed, each one of us must prepare for the infinite journey of ‘Pledging’ and recommit our lives to addressing the reason behind what we see in the streets and hear on the news. Biblically speaking, we must put on the ‘whole armor of God’, and the sandals that will be required to deal with the ‘new burning sands’ must be ‘sandals of the MIND’. Alpha in 1947, demonstrated the spirits of ‘liberalism, courage, and determination.’
We must prepare to turn over a new leaf and set afoot a NEW African American that is committed to changing the world for our children – starting at the root cause of what is wrong with The United States of America.
The Pledging never ends!
FOR NOW, YOU ARE WITHIN