What positive impact has a black man-father, mentor or someone else-played in your life?”

100 Black Men rally Mayfield and Chicago Avenue

Diedre Crawford

“My brothers. I have six brothers and they all were raised to protect their sister. My brothers were always there for their sisters. Anytime I need someone to talk to about personal problems, one of my brothers is always there. I’m just blessed to have six brothers who are caring and as protective as they are for their sisters.”

Abdul Muhammad

“The black man, in spite of what we all have gone through in America, stood up and pointed to the direction of the creator. He has provided for us and let us know that we are somebody and that we can be a positive influence in society. Other men in the world, be it black, Caucasian, red man, yellow man or brown man; we all can stand up and proud to be a human being. First, we are human beings, then we are black men, women and children in this society. We must stand up, take in pride as human beings, then as African-Americans.”

Pastor Rickey Sanders

“My father had a positive influence on my life when he started me to cooking at home. That is how I developed my catering business-Rick’s Divine Catering. Growing up in the 1970s and ’80s, I saw black fathers, black barber and beauty shops, restaurants and stores. They made a positive impact that makes me proud of who I am. Also, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, even Barack Obama, today have been a positive impact in my life, letting me know that I can continue to be a great man of God. Also, the black preachers. There are so many black men that have made a positive impact on my life to be the father, husband, pastor, and man that God has created me to be.”

Paul Flanagan

“The two positive influences on my life would have to be my father and my grandfather. I’m from a military family. My father and grandfather instilled values, purpose and love within me. My father never once put his hands on me. Whenever a situation would occur he would explain to me and ask me if I understood what I just experienced. I would respond, no. But he would respond with the best of his ability what it was pertaining to. My father always told me that he loved me; always hugged and kissed me. So, I never had a problem addressing another brother.”

Tracy Lewis

“The positive impact that the black man has made in my life is making me proud to be black. It doesn’t make a difference of your skin color. You can succeed in anything that you do if you put your mind to it, and if you have the love and support of your family. I was raised by a single mom and my grandfather. My grandfather only had a sixth-grade education, but he made sure I had more than that. My mom, sometimes I didn’t know where the money was going to come from to go to a private school. But she did what any mom would do and that is the best that she could. That is all any parent can do. But the other thing I feel so strong about is that being a black American has its ups and downs. Frederick Douglass, Dr. King-I wasn’t around for the movement, but I’ve read books and I understood the sacrifice that they made to make my situation better.”

Charles Thompson

“Well, it was my brother-in-law. My father died when I was 2 years old. He was my role model [and] was always there. He wasn’t always employed, but he was always doing something for his family, something for us. He was the man of the house. His name is Charles Hunt. He was fixing roofs in the ceiling, mowing grass, chopping down trees-whatever needed to be done, he was always there. He was always providing whatever he could for the family. He’s still married to my sister and he is a great man.”