Origin of Cyclops

 

 

 

 

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But like it or not DIY isn’t a new idea or particularly innovative, perhaps emerging technologies give it a new spin, but the core of the idea has been at the heart of ethnic communities for hundreds if not thousands of years. In my case, DIY was a pillar of African American culture passed down from one generation to the next.

Old School, A Little History

When my maternal grandfather Darbin Archie and his wife Juanita ventured into the backwaters of Texas in the 1930’s, they were part of an educational experiment determined to develop a Negro middle-class comprised of college educated professionals uplifted from a Negro population trapped in the rural South. They most certainly carried ideals of liberty, justice and education for all, but as southern white conservative forces mobilized, institutional racism proved to be an obstruction capable of undermining and negating their efforts. However, there is a part of this tragic tale usually left untold. It concerns conditions the “Talented Tenth” encountered once entrenched in rural Negro communities. As distasteful as it must have been, they discovered a positive aspect of segregation.

 The exclusion of the Negro from white social and economic life meant Negro’s were on their own, and there were benefits to be found in this isolation. What Negros lacked in political and social freedoms, were offset by a sense of autonomy and freedom of choice in terms of everyday living. Lacking the umbrella of civil rights white’s felt entitled too; Negro’s had to exercise sound individual judgment in association and a straight forward sense of do-it-yourself. For all its evils, segregation stripped Negro’s of dependence on experts and professionals. Negros had to do whatever was needed themselves. What proved unfortunate at this crucial juncture in African American history was the inability of the educated Negro elite to appreciate what DIY had to offer in terms of social cohesion.

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