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I trust that you are doing well today.
This is just a short letter to encourage you to learn more about your heritage and where you came from. This is more important than you may think. It is crucial to your self-esteem, confidence and vision for the future. You see, having knowledge of your history will help make you a wiser person today, and give you a better idea as to where to go in the future. As they say, a person who does not know where he came from does not know where he is going.
Now, this important knowledge is gained in two basic ways: One way is by word of mouth: i.e., through the words of parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents and great grandparents. And, of course, the second way is through reading and studying good black history books.
In my last letter, I exhorted you to speak to older black men in general. In this letter, I want to encourage you to take some time and visit your older relatives, and ask them some questions about how it was “back when.” Ask questions like, what did they go through? How did they handle racism? What were my ancestors like? Where did they live? What did they do? What kind of personalities did they have? What made them who they were? What interests, desires and dreams did they have? Dear Y.B.M., you can learn a great deal about yourself by learning about your people. You can learn from their successes as well as their failures and mistakes.
Earlier, I also mentioned the value of books in this regard. Simply put, it would help you greatly to read two or three Black American history books as well as history books on Africa and two or three general American history books. If you read, study, and absorb such books, you will be head and shoulders above the crowd as far as how to handle present situations and people, and as to how to plan for the future.
A good working knowledge of history is crucial. By taking heed of this humble advice, you will gain a perspective on life that is rare among young people today. It will give you a proper perspective on your role and place in America and the world. With this knowledge, you will be able to more successfully relate to your own people as well as to others.
George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Go back, son, so you can go forward.
P.T.: Randall Robinson said, “It is impossible to love ourselves without having an affection for Africa.”
Colin L. Powell said, “Our Black heritage must be a foundation stone we can build on, not a place to withdraw to.”
Langston Hughes said, “We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain, free within ourselves.”
Booker T. Washington said, “Let us hold up our heads and with firm and steady tread go manfully forward.”
Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. said, “We must give our children a sense of pride in being Black. The glory of our past and the dignity of our present must lead the way to the power of our future.”
Ossie Davis said, “I can move between different disciplines because I am essentially a storyteller, and the story I want to tell is about black people. I always want to share my great satisfaction at being a black man at this time in history.”
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in twenty-three foreign countries. He is the author of thirty-four books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts, The Prayer Motivator Devotional and the Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report and the Second Coming Watch Update. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, and a Master’s degree in Religion from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for twenty-five years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.