“Forging Ahead”

John E. Harmon Sr. | 3/1/2015, 6 a.m.
Black History month, has once again, come and gone. The shortest month in the year, is now a part of ...
Frederick McKinley Jones

Black History month, has once again, come and gone. The shortest month in the year, is now a part of our recent history. However, what knowledge did you retain, and how will it be applied, as you forge ahead into a new year?


John E. Harmon, Sr.

Perhaps, you may call upon the courage of Frederick Douglass, the next time you contemplate whether to exercise your right to vote in the upcoming election or to just stay home. Mr. Douglass, as you may recall, was born a slave, however, he refused to accept that as his station in life, and later purchased his freedom by selling his writings. Douglass also ran for President of The United States, and received only, one vote, his own. The fact that he only received one vote did not diminish his standing in his eyes as a black man nor did it minimize his self- confidence.

Mr. Douglass, is a very familiar historical figure, so, let me introduce you to another person named Frederick. Mr. Frederick McKinley Jones, an inventor. He designed a small shockproof refrigeration unit. Jones later partnered with his boss to establish, The Thermo King Corporation, a well-recognized company, which still produces refrigeration units today for transportation of perishable commodities via, airplane, train, ships and trucks. Mr. Jones’ ability to produce devices which kept items or facilities cool led to the creation of refrigerators for home use and the ability to transport blood and body parts safely.

It’s a fact, that Black History is a significant component of American History, because without the labor, ingenuity and contributions of our ancestors, who made cotton king, built many of this country’s national landmarks and infrastructures, mass produced a variety of agricultural commodities which fueled capitalistic enterprises which lead to generational wealth for many in 21st century America.

Fannie Lou Hamer

Fannie Lou Hamer

We cannot ever forget the relevance of blacks in America, in times past or present, due to the inherent benefits derived when we collectively stay true to our roots and obligation to one another.

My hope with sharing the above perspective with you; one that has undoubtedly be heard before, is that, this time, it may ignite a flame or stir up a thought that will prompt you to do something which you have not done. Remember, excuses are for losers. In today’s society there are an abundance of opportunities available to you that were nonexistent to those whom lived during slavery or the post Jim Crow Era. So, the question to you as we exit Black History Month and enter the final days of the first quarter of a New Year, is, are you ready to Forge Ahead?

New Jersey is home to approximately 9 million people, a significant proportion of its residents are descendants of slaves who migrated north, once free, and settled in this state. Therefore, you could potentially be a member of this populous. It is possible that you possess similar personality traits of a Fannie Lou Hamer, an advocate for voting rights; Madame C.J. Walker, the first female self-made millionaire; Satchel Paige, one of the best baseball players to ever live. He began his career in the Major Leagues at the age of 42 and played until he was 59 or Benjamin Banneker, who designed the roadways of Washington, D.C. Banneker also, once viewed a man’s pocket watch and later designed a replica out of wood based on his visual observation.