Knowledge is Power

Knowledge is Power


~ By Melany J. Silas

“Some men know the value of education by having it. I know its value by not having it.” ~Frederick Douglass As we embark on another academic year, let us reflect on those that have come before us. Those who have sacrificed even unto death, that we might have the rights that we possess today. Although we live in this present time, where education is a choice for all, not too long prior to our present state we lived in a time when African Americans were not only denied education, but our freedom.
Many since then have fought and died on our behalf.

They sacrificed themselves so that generations following would never have to question nor fight for the access to education that was rightly ours. “What is possible for me is possible for you.” ~Frederick
Douglass When I reflect on the journeys of our forefathers and foremothers who refused to go untaught and from slavery
found a way to learn and then taught others, I am reminded of two wise quotes: “To whom much is given, much is required;” and “I am because we are, and we are because I am.” These statements command a sense of communal responsibility to one another. One that beckons us to reach back to lift another; to acknowledge those that have been left marginalized and disenfranchised; and to forge ahead to become forerunners for future generations.

We have numerous examples that the most
difficult goals can be accomplished. We have been propelled by those who have conquered fear. We have witnessed those who dared to break the status quo and demand equality even in the face of calamity. We, ourselves, are proof that nothing is
impossible! “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ~Frederick Douglass The fight for education is not over. We are surrounded with schools with increasing dropout rates and decreasing graduation rates. We must not wait for someone to save our children; we must be the savior that we are waiting for. Let us commit to raising the standard for not only ourselves but our children as well. Let us ignite the atmosphere with an expectation of greatness, of brilliance, and of success. Speak life into your household, into your friends and into your extended families. Celebrate and advocate for our present generations and generations to come. If we don’t…who will? “To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crimes against human nature. It is easy to deny them the means of freedom and the rightful pursuit of happiness and to defeat the very end of their being.” ~Frederick Douglass The Douglass Leadership House (DLH) at the University of Rochester is housed on the University’s Fraternity Quad.

It made history as the first African American residential house on the quad and their mission is to celebrate and raise awareness of the many facets of the Black experience including its culture, politics, history, and the Diaspora. On Saturday October 12, 2013, during Meliora Weekend the University’s largest Alumni gathering, DLH will be making history once again as they present the Choreopoem: The Douglass Leadership House: We’ve Come This Far By Faith. The production will explore the messages of Frederick Douglass and other historic Black leaders as they became the voice
for education and equality and how current students at the University of Rochester continue that vision. As we embrace
our own call to be all that we have been purposed to be, let us support this artistic and historic endeavor.


Melany J. Silas is a Professor at Monroe Community College, a Minister as well as an author, poet and playwright. Founder and Board Chair of The NIA Arts Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization

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