Monday, February 17, 2014

Welcome to Clifford J. Scott High School

My entry into tenth grade at Clifford J. Scott High School was as that of a youth inspired. Not only did I want to but I actually believed that in some way I could change the world. Absent from my mind at the time, was any concept of personal limits.

The embers of promise were afoot in my heart however my size eleven feet suddenly ended up becoming entangled on the football field one Saturday afternoon against our opponent in Roselle, New Jersey as I tried to tackle the player returning the ball on a kickoff. The  outcome was that I ended up fracturing my right ankle.

The hard cast that I had to wear was supposed to remain on my ankle for a total of eight weeks. However, I decided to cut it off two weeks early with a dull steak knife so that I could start getting myself in shape in time for the junior varsity basketball tryouts that year.

Not at all in peak form, I did manage to survive Coach Brian Hill’s cut. This is the same Brian Hill who went on to become the head coach of the Orlando Magic from 1993 to 1997 and is the Magic’s most successful coach with a record of 191–104. During that time period, he led the Magic to their first NBA Finals in 1995 and also led the team to a 60-22 record the following season. Coach Hill told me that he thought I could go on to become a good college basketball player based on the sound fundamental skills that I displayed at the time as a high school sophomore. He also strongly urged me to concentrate on one sport.  Unfortunately, I did not heed his sage advise and as result I failed to ever progress to my fullest potential as a player. Many times, I have looked back and wished that I had taken his words to heart. Who knows what might well have been?

That year, our J.V. team was pretty talented and at the tail end of the season I got the chance to play in two varsity games one being for our team's birth in the Essex County tournament where I started at the forward position.

Another activity that I became involved in that year was the “Bagpipe”, our school newspaper were I filled the role of reporter. Below, I have included a couple of brief articles that show how much my home environment had begun to shape my developing social, cultural, and political thinking.

Blacks, Be Proud! Make Your Future!

In America today we-the young-have become the determiners as our forefathers were the founders. And our children, instead of becoming inheritors, will become victims of society unless we young brothers and sisters unite to give importance to the basic belief that ALL men are created equal.

Many Afro-Americans have the weakness of leaning on, easing up, watching thereby failing to pursue no further, saying that as long as Mr. I. M. White is at the top, he will not let them have and hold onto nothing. But we have our identity, our purpose, and our direction; now we must strive for and maintain our future-speaking, creating, naming, and defining for ourselves instead of being spoken for and defined by others.

In 1936, Jesse Owens won the hurdles relay in the Olympics in Germany. Adolph Hitler refused to shake his hand and walked out of the stadium. Since then great men like Jesse Owes have symbolized blacks rising in America. In our own lifetime Martin Luther King, Jr. lived what Patrick Henry gave only lip service to: “Liberty or Death.” He died leading us to the mountain top. If we are to go down the other side of the mountain, if the many failings of our forefathers are to be amended, we must fulfill our dreams together.

Blacks come to understand that you are lovers and sons of lovers, warriors and sons of warriors, poets and sons of poets, and all the loveliness here in the world. A brother recently said, "I’m going to tell it like it is." Black brothers we are on our way to greatness. We have learned that in order to love we must love what we are.

We now know and will remember that there is no such thing as nigger. Rise up and reach out, Black America, toward a better tomorrow.

Here is one other example,

Think, People, Think! Love Opens Your Life

Hey world, can you tell me why is it… Why is it our great black artists, our writers, our poets, and our other images do not become images, but a day I had used? We believe our life after death is our children and our great works. Thus our black poets die from not being read. Our images die from society causing erosion of their minds. Most poets seldom die from overexposure.

Brothers and Sisters: Those of us who are thought to be wise, but are always criticizing, are a severe blow towards brothers and sisters who have yet to get an assist which paves the way to their greatness. This is simply because we talk without really conveying to the outside what we really feel on the inside. I’ve learned a great deal in the last year about my people and about myself. Why we are here and what is our first cause. I’ve just recently learned what it means to be a brother, a nationalist. With this knowledge, I now know brothers and sisters can no longer be silent, unconscious robots. You must establish a voice along with a combined union. I have also yet to change yet to change because I do not show what I truly feel. However, this does not mean I should not help others as well as myself to do so.

Think Progress--How can this school grow? The same as the body-through experience, development and great expectations. Think, people, think! Black people, think-think black! You don’t grow in one day; it takes many years. We can get it together and get on the go for love, which can open our lives and make it possible for us to taste the sunlight of Life.

It is safe to say, that all-in-all, steady progress was being made on my part in adapting to my new learning environment and without much concern over where it might eventually lead too.