The Miracle Man of the Millennium

Article excerpt

FOR a thousand years, they've been preaching the Brother's funeral--and for a thousand years, he's been hangin', giving us Ellingtons and Mandelas and Kings. For a thousand years, he's been on the list of endangered species--and for a thousand years, he has risen repeatedly from the grave, shocking the mourners with his cool and virility and indomitable tenacity of spirit.

And so it's time, after a thousand years, for somebody to stand up and shout and say, Thank you, for one of the greatest inventions of the millennium--The Brother.

Thank you for Michael and Walter and Jim Brown and Ron Brown and Jesse Jackson and Jackie Robinson and Martin and Malcolm and Medgar, and for the Mothers and Sisters, the Rachel Robinsons and the Coretta Kings and Betty Shabazzes and Myrlie Evers Williamses, who stood with them in The African-American Century and made us one.

It's time, after all this time, for somebody to say it loud--Thank you, James Brown--that we're proud of the miracle man of the millennium, the miracle man who survived the greatest pressure ever inflicted on a people and who is still steppin' and rappin' and changing fashions and rhythms and visions.

And so, for all these Brothers, for all the witnesses and lovers and warriors, Thank You.

For Daddy King and MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. and Kwame Nkrumah and NELSON MANDELA and Frederick Douglass and W. E. B. DUBOIS and Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable and RICHARD ALLEN and Absalom Jones and JAMES VARICK and Prince Hall and MICHAEL MANLEY and Thurgood Marshall and JULIUS NYERERE and Colin Powell and ASA PHILIP RANDOLPH and Paul Robeson and NAT TURNER and Harold Washington and WALTER WHITE and Carter Woodson and SHAKA ZULU and Louis Farrakhan and the BILLION-BROTHER MARCH from 1000 to 2000.

For Joe Louis and LOUIS ARMSTRONG and Muhammad Ali and Bill Cosby and MILES DAVIS and Ossie Davis and EDWARD KENNEDY ELLINGTON and Dizzy Gillespie and GARDNER TAYLOR and W.C. Handy and MAYNARD JACKSON and Jesse Owens and CHARLIE PARKER and Gordon Parks and SIDNEY POITIER and Brock Peters and HARRY BELAFONTE and Denzel Washington.

For Jack Johnson and JOHN H. JOHNSON and James Weldon Johnson and J. …