By Doni Glover, Publisher
(BALTIMORE – February 26, 2023) – As the Morgan State University student sang the words to James Weldon Johnson’s “Negro National Anthem”, the audience got the distinct honor of witnessing what our ancestors prayed for: a day and time when we could live with liberty and be happy “in the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
“Lift every voice and sing til earth and heaven ring …” Oh, how far we’ve come!
In one single room in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum on Friday during a Black History Month Celebration, there was the first Black governor of Maryland, the first Black elected Mayor of Baltimore, and the current Mayor. There were also two of the four Black college presidents in the state.
In so many ways, for me, it was a picture-perfect portrait of Black Excellence, 2023-style. And this time, academic excellence was on display. This is so critically important to understand. In America, sports and entertainment consume so much attention.
People like BEYA’s Dr. Tyrone Taborn toil consistently to ensure our youth have a chance in this world amidst the widened gap of digital apartheid. Edwin Avent of the Baltimore Collegiate School for boys uses his skill set to help save some precious lives, despite attacks from certain forces. Consequently, some Black boys in Baltimore have a fighting chance at success. In my very own house growing up, my father, Donald E. Glover, was Phi Beta Kappa. He went on to become one of the best morticians in the world. In all of these instances, at the very core of these men’s success is education.
Former Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke told me just before the ceremony how he suggested now-Gov. Wes Moore to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship. I was not surprised because Mayor Schmoke used to push me during my hiatus from college as he’d often sit in my section at then-Harrison’s Pier 5 Restaurant.
Somewhere along the dinner, as I was serving crab cakes and stuffed Rockfish, he’d invariably remind me I needed to finish what I started at Morehouse.
I cannot thank him enough. He’d also have a hand in the start of my journalism career at the Sandtown-Winchester ViewPoint Newspaper. Because of Mayor Schmoke, Sandtown got more attention than ever before. For that, the Sandtown Community is perpetually grateful.
Gov. Moore couldn’t thank Mayor Schmoke enough, either. He told the story of how Mayor Schmoke mentored him many moons ago – back when the Governor’s mother first started working in Baltimore at the Annie Casey Foundation.
Gov. Moore shared how essential that move was in his life and how the Rhodes Scholarship tremendously augmented his trajectory. (Governor Wes Moore Black History Month Address). Such a vivid reminder in a world where so many young Black boys exist, never to live, never to dream. Many don’t expect to live past 17 … 13. Our hearts bleed and our souls fall every time a young boy dies without ever knowing his potential because education was never an option. May these men and others be a reminder that Black boys do indeed grow up to do more than exist. They grow up to become Governor, Mayor, and President, too. They run companies that hire people. They teach. They create artistic masterpieces and feature films. They practice law and serve as judges. They practice medicine. And they fulfill childhood dreams. And quite often academic excellence had everything to do with their success.