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The Greatness of Black Men

Yesterday was the three year anniversary of my brother-in-laws Mike Cromartie’s death. He passed away at the age of 67. We had many discussions together during the last months of his fight against cancer. He was frustrated that at the apex of his success with Faith Angle Forum his life was being cut short. There is something especially tragic by an untimely early death. But there is something beneficial as well. I told Mike that your life will be remembered in the context of your greatest contribution while that contribution is still fresh on everyone’s mind. It was not surprising that 4,000 people attended his funeral. Yesterday also marked the untimely death of Chadwick Boseman who died at the age of 47. Boseman was an iconic Black actor known for his work in 42, Black Panther, Get On Up, and Marshall. He was a leading Black actor who celebrated in story the greatest mythic achievements of Black men. Some of his greatest cinematic roles took place while he was battling cancer. His life was a significant contribution to our society and an achievement because he told a neglected story about our historical collective unconscious. One can only hope that his untimely passing, a tragic death, will further highlight the pride we must all share in the accomplishments of Black men—both his and the iconic lives he depicted in film. We are a better nation for Chadwick Boseman and the stories he told about Black men. In the words of Jackie Robinson, “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” Mr. Boseman’s life and life work mattered. Mixed in our tears of loss is profound appreciation.

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