(Photo by Steve McAdams)
(ANNAPOLIS – February 21, 2018) – It’s not an everyday occurrence to see highly respected politicians from both sides of the aisle in the same room, particularly in this day and time. However, yesterday served witness to just that: Democrats and Republicans in the same room, celebrating African American history, without incident.
Gov. Larry Hogan may have snatched some Democratic thunder as his choice for keynote at his annual Black History Month program at Government House in Annapolis was none other than former Congressman and former NAACP CEO Kwiesi Mfume.
Other notable Democrats in the room included Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant from “the City of Excellence” in gorgeous Prince George’s County. Before introducing Mfume, Hogan acknowledged “the countless contributions of African Americans” to the history of this state and nation. Those names included Harriet Tubman, state Senator Verda Welcome (the first black state senator), Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall (the first black Supreme Court Justice), and Frederick Douglass.
“I appreciate the sincerity of your leadership,” said Mfume of Gov. Hogan. Mfume said that Hogan has been “straightforward and honest”. He also thanked Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford “for his genuine willingness to listen to Marylanders all across this state who have different opinions and different backgrounds.”
He also thanked Rutherford for acknowledging the life of Henrietta Lacks, a woman who lived in Turner Station and whose cells were used for unprecedented scientific and medical advancements. Mfume also has roots in Turner Station.
To say the least, this was yet another Mfume moment of greatness as he touched on Abraham Lincoln’s speech from 1858 in Edwardsville, Illinois: “And when, by all these means, you have succeeded in dehumanizing the negro; when you have put him down and made it impossible for him to be but as the beasts of the field; when you have extinguished his soul in this world and placed him where the ray of hope is blown out as in the darkness of the damned, are you quite sure that the demon you have roused will not turn and rend you?”
Delivered as only Mfume can do (hear FULL SPEECH), yesterday’s speech and broader event may serve as a signal that Maryland Democratic gubernatorial challengers have a seriously uphill climb if they plan to unseat Hogan in November.
After all, Mfume is a leading Democratic voice not only in Maryland, but in the entire US and beyond. He is a noted Civil Rights leader and author. Further, he embodies what can happen when a young man from Baltimore can take his life by the horns and turn the tide of national statistics into a true American success story.
My only point is that whatever the Democratic gubernatorial hopefuls have planned, it better be stellar because at present, Hogan is beating them at every turn. Granted, the winner of the Democratic primary in June will have roughly four months to raise millions, but more importantly sell their vision to Marylanders before November 6’s General Election.
However, time is of the essence. Otherwise, Hogan gets another four years which could ultimately lead to a potential gubernatorial run for Boyd Rutherford who, if he were to win, would become the first African American governor in Maryland’s history.