CLINGMAN: Making Black History, Pt. 4 — Buy African Coffee

David Robinson
David Robinson (Courtesy of sweetunityfarmscoffee.com)

This will end my four-part series on “Making Black History.” Although there are many things we can do to make our own history, I have offered four so that next year we can celebrate what we did in addition to only celebrating what others did to make history. These offerings are quite simple and easy to do; it is my hope that we will bring them to fruition.

David Robinson, youngest son of Jackie and Rachel Robinson, moved to Tanzania in east Africa to do what many of us simply talk about: Reconnect. After getting permission from his village council, he and 15 men, equipped only with axes, hoes and shovels, began clearing 120 acres of forest, which later became known as Sweet Unity Coffee Farm. For months those men, including David’s New York-born son, Howard, unified in one purpose, toiled, persisted and achieved their goal.

David’s sister, Sharon Robinson, wrote a book, “Jackie’s Nine: Jackie Robinson’s Values to Live By,” in which David reflected on the work that had to be done to start his coffee farm.

“Our fifteen men walking in single file, often in silence, fifteen men walking to accomplish one task,” he wrote. He described seeing men of various Tanzanian tribes collectively committed to one purpose, laying aside any differences and subscribing to one agenda that would benefit the whole. No complaining, no backbiting, and no jealousy, just working together to get the job done.

Robinson went on to write, “All men of my race, who had agreed to move together, to labor with one purpose, to toil until the land was open and fresh and planted with thousands of six-inch coffee seedlings. In the early morning, with feet moving quietly in unison, I felt that which I named our farm: ‘The sweetness of unity.’ The thrill of many coming together to act as one.”

A few weeks ago I wrote about Sweet Unity Farms Coffee and asked my readers to purchase it and make it a regular part of their morning pleasure. For those who do not drink coffee, I asked that you give it as gifts for Kwanzaa, birthdays, etc. in order to support Brother Robinson’s business and the small coffee farmers in the Tanzanian co-op. I suggested that we make an incredible collective economic statement by buying one million bags of Sweet Unity by October 2017. (Listen to this: https://youtu.be/TJr_pGSE90k)

This time I want to be even clearer by letting you know that this is not merely a consumer/black business issue. Your purchases of Sweet Unity Coffee go much further than to the bottom line of an income statement. Profits from sales also go to help educate Tanzanian children and adults, and to purchase solar panels for homes in their villages.

We can make history the same way David Robinson and his entire family, both here and abroad, have made and are still making history. Buy Sweet Unity Farms Coffee and make it your coffee of choice, the way I and others have, thereby living up to our “support black business” and our “connect with the Motherland” mantras, instead of just talking about it. We can fire an economic shot heard round the world by doing this simple thing and by making black history in other ways as well, especially when it comes to empowerment and self-determination.

To review my four offerings through which we can make black history: In the next 90 days, at least one million black voters should change their registration to Non-Party Affiliated (The way staunch Republican conservative George Will has done); form alliances to buy and develop the land in our neighborhoods on which we can start and grow businesses that can, in turn, hire our youth; make a pledge on www.blackamericanmade.com to purchase products made by black people, and add black made products to the website as well; and purchase at least one million bags of Sweet Unity Coffee this year, and experience the feeling that David Robinson had when he began to clear the land for his coffee farm — “The sweetness of unity.” All it takes to empower ourselves economically and politically is a collective conscientious mindset and appropriate action.

Jackie Robinson was one of our “firsts” — let’s honor his legacy by making this effort a “first” too. The U.S. coffee market is worth tens of billions of dollars. Shouldn’t black people claim a niche in that market, especially since our brothers and sisters grow and harvest the best coffees?

David Robinson ended his writing with sage advice, saying, “I have seen the merit and often the necessity of joining hands to achieve a goal. Unity is often not a state reached easily, but the inability to achieve it can often mean failure.”

Go to www.iamoneofthemillion.com, click on “Products” and buy Sweet Unity Coffee.