Like many other people on planet earth, I was touched and even influenced by the great Muhammad Ali. Ali was the last of my mentors to check out of planet Earth which is why I can’t mention Ali without mentioning the other three most influential men in my development into manhood as there is a little of all of them in me—for true! My father passed before I was even a teenager so I didn’t have a real father figure to follow. Being born in the Jim Crow era, I was often dissatisfied with my identity and how life was as a black child compared to whites. As a child, I was even disappointed at being black knowing that white kids had it so much easier and better.
But thanks to Muhammad Ali I was inspired to be proud of my blackness. I even adopted Ali’s braggadocios play and desire to destroy my opposition in track during my college days and my critics of today that readers may have noticed in my newspaper articles. Ali and Dr. King both inspired me to be outspoken and courageous to fight against the injustices of mankind and for what is right and best in our society—so I have a lot of Ali and Dr. King in me. Thanks to Dr. King for his sacrifice and leadership that inspired me to be a “lifelong activist for the people.” Thanks to James Brown for his inspiration that restored and heightened my self-esteem to a new level with the song—“Say It Loud”, I’m black and I’m proud, if JB only knew how proud he made me of myself with a simple song of eight words! Thanks to Reverend William Milton Fields, one of the most prominent and prolific pastors in Memphis “the Preacher’s Preacher” who gave me his middle name along with an immense body of theological knowledge which also had a lot to do with my writing style that I got from his sermons while attending his church for the first 30 plus years of my life. I guess you can tell he was a “fire and brimstone” preacher from my no nonsense letters to the editor. I must also thank Reverend Ambrose Bennett, who gave me my first name and for inheriting his passion for writing as he was the author of most of the National Black Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union materials. If you think about it, I was stamped at birth to do what I do best.
I may have grown up without a father but I had these great men to look up to as y role models. I am truly humbled as I know I was blessed to have these men as my mentors and role models. I just wanted to say publicly that the world is a better place because of these great men and I can only pray that my two cents has help to make a difference here in the CNMI. Muhammed gave me the courage as all my mentors passed on a trait in me to transcend religious and cultures obstacles to be a champion of and for the people. I am truly blessed to have been influenced by some of the greatest men I ever knew on planet Earth. I may never be as great as my male mentors but I will continue to live and even die trying to be a man like them. Thanks Ali, Dr. King, JB, and Rev. Fields
Readers, I am sharing this not to be braggadocios but just to let the thousands of people who truly appreciate me and my many letters and articles over the many years to know where I got the inspiration and a lot of the wisdom to write the many articles I have written—thank you for your support as you are truly appreciated and the main reason I continue writing today!
PS: As for Francisco Agulto’s distaste and disbelief over my IQ being 139, which is only 1 point from the Genius category—you need to stop hatting and being jealous! My IQ was not self-proclaimed but a matter of fact established by a psychiatrist through tests for the State of Tennessee as I was one of the state’s test subjects when White America was trying to understand blacks and their level of true intelligence as a race. My IQ is for real which tells me and most readers that I may have a competitive edge on you Francisco and the rest of my critics who just don’t get it that I’m about them and the people because their minds are so full of the clouds of hate!
Ambrose M. Bennett