In war, the “vanguard” are the advance troops who are first to engage an enemy. They are most times the best trained and equipped fighters and are accountable for establishing the character of the conflict. In political or social movements there is also a “vanguard”. They are the tacticians, spokesmen, exemplars and heroes to their movements. Their actions, words and deeds establish the character and directions of their movements.
During the sixties and seventies, American Afrikans witnessed the assassination, imprisonment and repression of the civil justice vanguard and their movements. Men, women and organizations that struggled to bring civil and indeed human rights to American Afrikans, were systematically eliminated or neutralized. As a result, the momentum of their struggles for equal justice and opportunity were all but halted. Even to this day, American Afrikans remain among the least educated, least employed and most imprisoned Americans.
We are beyond waiting for a Black Messiah to rise and take us to a “promised land”. Nor can we wait for America to overcome her systemic systems of white supremacy on her own. If we are to pick up the fallen torch of the freedom fighters of our recent civil rights past, we must first inculcate, nurture and embrace an “evolutionary” Afrikan vanguard spirit.