July 4, 2015

How Black Folks Feel About Independence Day

On the 2nd of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress gave words to the idea of liberty as follows:
"Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved."
Our Declaration of Independence was signed on the 4th of July ... and our nation celebrates it with great pride and patriotism. The principles in the Declaration of Independence should be sacrosanct to all of us.

However, we know that the principles were not applied to Americans of African descent. Frederick Douglass said it best on July 5, 1852 when he was a keynote speaker.

I encourage all villagers to read the full speech.

However, here is the section of his speech that I read to myself every year on the 4th of July. This part of his speech resonates with all African Americans:
"What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour."
Villagers, our nation is much better today than we were 163 years ago on the date of this speech from Frederick Douglass.

All Americans can share in the pride of our nationality. However, we must never forget our past, lest it be repeated!

June 29, 2015

Village Tip: Improve Your Ad in 30 Seconds

Feel like your ad just isn't quite right? Here are a few quick fixes to heighten the effectiveness of your ad:

1. Set them in your targets - The most important way to improve an ad is to tightly target your audience. You will often have more luck placing your ad in a trade publication than in a general newspaper, even if the readership is not as high.

2. Make you ad stand apart from the rest - Most people are constantly bombarded by advertisements, but what makes yours stand out from the rest? The ads we pay attention to are the ones that pertain directly to our most pressing concerns. The ads we notice are the ones that promote a product, service, or idea that can solve our problem, make us feel better, make us richer, or make us feel sexy and loved.

3. Improve your headline - Get attention by targeting your best audience. Then use a headline to shout out a problem or solution your target audience will immediately identify with.

4. Make your ad skim-friendly
  • Only a small percentage of us start at the beginning of an ad and read every word to the end. 
  • If the ad is more than a couple of sentences, we will skip it. 
  • Put your most important phrases in bold. 
  • Keep sentences short. 
  • Use simple everyday words. 
  • Make your paragraphs no longer than three lines. 
  • Try to limit yourself to one idea per sentence.
I will continue to share these Village Tips on a semi-regular basis!

June 27, 2015

Top 21 African American Professional Groups

By Dan Woog, Monster Contributing Writer

Whether you're an African American accountant, attorney or astrophysicist, there's probably a related professional organization. Joining an association can provide education in your field, networking opportunities and advocacy -- all with a focus on issues important to African Americans. Find the right one for you by checking out this list of 21 of the largest and oldest national groups:

  • BDPA: Organized in 1975. More than 40 chapters. Open to African Americans in STEM-related fields.
  • National Association of Black Accountants: Founded in 1969. Goal is to represent the than 200,000 African American professionals in accounting and finance.
  • National Association of African Americans in Human Resources: A national organization of human resource professionals with 36 local chapters; includes consultants and students.
  • National Black Business Trade Association: A self-help resource and networking group founded in 1993 that provides businesspeople with information, products, services and technologies.
  • National Black MBA Association: A 8,000-member professional organization made up of African American graduates with MBAs and advanced degrees. Established in 1970, its mission is to increase the number and diversity of African Americans in business.
  • National Sales Network: An association of African American sales and sales management professionals. Organized in 1992, with more than 2,000 members in 16 chapters.

  • Organization of Black Designers: Comprised of 10,000 design professionals in visual communications, as well as graphic, interior, fashion and industrial design.
Engineering and Science
  • American Association of Blacks in Energy: Founded in 1977; 36 chapters. Specialties include energy policy, technology and the environment.
  • National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers: Organized in 1972 to build a community of minority scientists and engineers; 39 professional and university chapters.
  • National Society of Black Engineers: Started in 1975, it now has more than 35,700 members, more than 390 college, precollege and technical professional chapters nationwide and overseas. The group's mission is to increase the number of African American engineers, as well as help them succeed professionally and to give back to their communities.
  • National Society of Black Physicists: The largest organization of African American physicists; 16 sections ranging from astronomy, astrophysics and nuclear physics to technology transfer, business development and entrepreneurship. Its mission is to promote the professional well-being of African American physicists within the international scientific community.
Food Services
  • BCA: Incorporated as the Black Culinarian Alliance in 1998 and now known by its acronym. A national educational and networking organization that serves African American and other minority professionals working in hospitality and food services.
  • 100 Black Men of America: Founded in 1963; now 110-plus chapters with more than 10,000 members. Its mission includes leadership, mentoring, education, health and economic development.
  • Blacks in Government: Members are civil servants at the federal, state, county and municipal levels. Founded in 1975; more than 50 chapters include the Departments of State and Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, and the National Institutes of Health.
  • National Black Nurses Association: Organized in 1971; 80 chapters represent more than 150,000 African American nurses in the US, Caribbean and Africa.
  • National Medical Association: The oldest (founded 1895) and largest national professional organization for African American physicians. A leading force for parity in medicine, it provides educational programs and conducts outreach efforts.
  • Student National Medical Association: The largest organization focused on the needs and concerns of African American medical students and residents.
Law and Criminal Justice

June 26, 2015

Old School Friday: The Whispers

My two daughters recently saw this photo of me in my younger days on stage with The Whispers. My youngest daughter didn't know anything about them. The eldest daughter simply explained that they are "Old School". It seemed like a good time to play the Old School Friday music again on my blog!

Just sit back, close your eyes and allow The Whispers to take you on a musical high with this powerful song that any man would want to sing to his lady. I imagine that any lady would love to know that a brother had this song and thought in his heart as he thinks of her. This is ol' school brothers and sisters!

June 25, 2015

Rest In Peace: Michael Jackson (1958-2009)

Whatever argument you have about his lifestyle ... there can be no argument about his life's work ... Michael Jackson is the greatest Black artist of all time. Consider his body of work as a child ... teenager ... and adult. He survived the test of time from the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.  He left us too soon...

I shared my favorite MJ tune a few months ago during Old School Friday. Here is another of my favorite Michael Jackson tunes: 'Human Nature'

M.Jackson Human Nature
by nicobus

Truth to tell, I didn't follow young Michael much when I was a child. However, he did enter into my world during college. My night as a DJ, whether at a club, skating rink or on the radio, was never complete in 1979 unless we played 'Rock With You'. Did you know that the original title to this track was “I Want To Eat You Up.” It was changed to “Rock With You” to better fit Jackson’s image. Little did we know...

Anyhow, Michael Jackson is my selection as the GOAT ('greatest of all time'). Who would you choose for that title?

June 22, 2015

Village Tip: Make Your ABOUT Page Sell

It's interesting how many web site visitors quickly click to the "about" page. This is the page that tells who runs the business, where it is located, and why they do what they do.

With all the uncertainty some folks still feel about buying online, it is only natural they want to find out more about the business before they seriously consider buying the product or service.

Include your photo, a photo of your staff, or a picture of your building on the "about" page. Be sure to give your address, one or more email addresses visitors can use, and a phone number. Anything less makes some people feel like you've got something to hide.

The "about" page is also a good place to tell your story. People love to hear about how you got started. They want to know what it is you like about your business and how you work to help customers. Give people a good story and they will remember it long after they have forgotten the particulars of the product they came to see.

I will continue to share these Village Tips on a semi-regular basis!

June 21, 2015

Only A Dad

This poem was originally written by Edgar Guest. Edgar Guest began his illustrious career in 1895 at the age of fourteen when his work first appeared the the Detroit Free Press. His column was syndicated in over 300 newspapers, and he became known as "The Poet of the People." I share the poem today in honor of Wayne Sr., George Jr., Walter and Charles (may he rest in peace) ... with a special sentiment for Kyra, Iyisa, Javoyne and Shenita.

Only A Dad
by Edgar Guest

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.

From the book "A Heap o' Livin'" ©1916