Rev. Leon Sullivan was a great American, one noted for his ability to put his vision into reality. A Baptist preacher from a coal town in West Virginia, he evolved into a producer of national job training programs to the Board of Directors for General Motors and the establishment of the Leon Sullivan Foundation. It was through his "Sullivan Principles" that he encouraged major corporations to invest in Africa and ensure their positive "corporate responsibility." He led the great effort to end apartheid in South Africa. He and other giants such as Randall Robinson were victorious. Africa is further down the road through the efforts of Leon Sullivan.
His serious focus on the economic and social development of Africa evolved into the African-African American Summit in 1991, later renamed the Leon H. Sullivan Summit. Rev. Sullivan would bring a large delegation from the United States and other nations to assemble in a designated African nation and discuss and propose beneficial initiatives for the sake of Africa's well-being. The summits rotate from nation to nation. Many thousands of people would attend these summits. Business leaders, entertainers, elected officials – especially members of the Congressional Black Caucus – would attend and participate in these events. A Leon Sullivan Summit event is a period of great Pan African pride and resolve.
Eventually, a new tradition started beginning with the Clinton administration. The sitting U.S. president would attend and keynote the current Summit. President Clinton attended and brought a good portion of his administration with him. President George W. Bush attended and gave a brilliant keynote address. He followed that up with an increase of 400 percent in foreign aid and healthcare relief such as the eradication of much of the malaria problem on the continent.
So it was reasonably assumed that our half-African president, Barack Obama, would be attending the Sullivan Foundation IX Summit in Equatorial Guinea. This was a big miscalculation.
This was a quandary that needed special finesse. However, the Obama administration did not choose finesse. Instead they decided to go their typical "divide and conquer" route. A massive campaign of lies and distortions directed at the Leon H. Sullivan Foundation and the sovereign African nation of Equatorial Guinea was unleashed. Oh, they weren't looking for a manufactured excuse to not attend. They were determined to destroy the Sullivan Foundation, now headed by Hope Sullivan Masters, the daughter of the late founder.
They ordered their contacts to begin a campaign of disinformation, smear and downright falsehoods to tarnish the image of the foundation. Also, they began, with the same evil fervor, to attack the nation of Equatorial Guinea. They accused this thriving and lovely nation as a human rights disaster. It is a lie! The attack was relentless replete with tweets that would reach a large populace and encourage people not to participate.
Democratic elected officials were put on lockdown and could not participate as they usually do. Celebrities associated with the Democratic National Committee were also warned not to attend. Like cowards or frightened slaves, they all obeyed. The dirty press operatives began announcing whenever a known official or celebrity would denounced the foundation and the nation of Equatorial Guinea. A written report even claimed that Honorary Chair John Kufuor (reputable former president of Ghana) resigned his chair and would not be coming. Kufuor was there and he was brilliant in his presentations. It was propaganda at its best. In the conspiracy world this is known as "Raising a False Flag." All this was an attempt to destroy a great Black legacy and dedicated foundation so that the president's absence would not look conspicuous.
It did not work. They delivered a lot of damage and hurt the attendance but still the Sullivan Foundation IX Summit was a success. I am writing this article from Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. I am a proud delegate of the Summit and can attest that it is one of the best trips of my life. This nation is beautiful. Cranes and construction projects are everywhere. The people are happy and unemployment is very low as compared to our nation. Access to government officials is very impressive and their Chamber of Commerce has embraced the NBCC members attending. Deals are being made.
"That which does not kill us; makes us stronger." That is certainly the case here. History will show that the Sullivan Foundation IX Summit was a success and the half-African U.S. President Barack Obama refused to attend. Evil cannot trump God's work.
Harry Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org.