History Happens Now

frican-American history offers tales of tragedy and triumph. We are reminded of the tragedy of slavery. We celebrate the triumph of African-American achievement in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Dr. Carter G Woodson, Sojourner Truth, Reverend Martin King Jr., and Miles Davis are a few of the notable people we remember. Still, history is not just about the past it is also about the present and the future.

It is the leadership of the present that becomes the history of the future.

The Highland Park NAACP, in partnership with Rainbow PUSH Michigan, recently hosted the event History Happens Now, which featured activist Yusef Shakur, advocate Brandon Jessup of Michigan Forward, Donnell White, executive director of the Detroit Branch NAACP and hip-hop artist Khary Frazier.

Yusef Shakur is a former gangster who has become an activist. Free from prison for nine years, he has written two books and is currently fighting against the rising tide of violence in urban Detroit.


Brandon Jessup is a rising public policy advocate. He is currently involved in organizing a campaign to repeal Public Act 4, or the emergency financial manager act. 

Donnell White is the executive director of the Detroit Branch NAACP. He is the youngest executive director of the largest NAACP branch in the continental United States.

More than 100 people listened while we shared our perspectives on initiative, purpose and the future of social engagement. We talked about our passion and our initial motivation to become agents for change.

We also admitted that our true strength is found our unity and commitment to working together. This mirrors the message that we all ultimately have for our community – the community is strongest when we are unified. This is the message of African-American history.

D. Alexander Bullock is pastor of Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church, president of the Highland Park NAACP and Rainbow PUSH Detroit Chapter/State Coordinator. Watch Bullock and others discuss the History Happens Now initiative below. 

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