Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dr. Julia Hare, Ebony Power Woman

When Dr. Julia Hare calls me, I expect it to be a call of importance: like seeking advice on a printer for her latest book, or the latest antics of a so-called Negro. Recently she called to ask if I had seen her picture in May’s edition of Ebony, among the 150 most powerful North American Africans. “No,” I replied to my adopted aunt—it’s been years since I bought John H. Johnson’s “world of make believe,” as sociologist E. Franklin Frazier described it in his classic Black Bourgeoisie. Julia urged me to run out to get Ebony. Being her modest self, she asked, “Now how did I qualify to get in there, Marvin?” I replied, “Julia, you know you are the Woman of the Hour! You know you steal the show everywhere you go.”

She changed the subject, “Marvin, would you tell me how Michael Eric Dyson writes all those books?” “He probably talks an’ types. I doubt if he thinks bout what he writes. He has a book out before the subject is out the news. Paul Cobb called me the most prolific writer in America —aside from Associated Press—but Michael Dyson tops me.”

Julie repeated to her husband Dr. Nathan Hare what I said. “Now Marvin, you gave me some notes on getting my book published, but I can’t find the notes.” I tell her again to deal with my printer the same way I do: to bargain with him but don’t exploit him, let him make money too. Then I invite her and Nathan to participate in my planned conference A Conversation On Race. I wanted to title it after my book

How to Recover From The Addiction to White Supremacy, but people are generally afraid of the title. I told Julia and she told Nathan. Nathan advised I call it A Conversation On Race. Julia said she wasn’t sure she could attend because she might still be addicted to white supremacy. “Julia, you don’t have to participate, just be the mistress of ceremony.” I knew that her wit and wisdom would steal the show, even if she gave out programs at the door.

Julia made the hallowed pages of Ebony because she does inspire and motivate audiences coast to coast, from Tavis Smiley’s Black Forum to Harvard University . And no matter the topic, whether education or male/female relations. This latter topic she can speak with authority since she and Nathan have been married fifty-plus years. This sassy diva stole the show at my Kings and Queens of Black Consciousness concert at San Francisco State University when she said, “Women ask me how to get a man. I tell them don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to meet it!” Then she called out to Nathan sitting in the audience, “Didn’t I swim out to meet you Nathan?” And she blew him a kiss. The audience went wild.

As a dutiful nephew, I went out to find Ebony and there she was on the page with Dr. Cornel West and Geoffrey Canada, CEO of Harlem ’s Children’s Zone. This always provocative and radical sister deserves the recognition she gets, and she’s getting a lot these days.

--Marvin X



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