Book and Technology Conference 2000:
Robert B. Ingram, Ph.D.

Thank you for inviting me to participate in this marvelous experience. This Book and Technology Conference 2000 - Making connections will introduce participants to a wide range of subjects:

a. The Afro-Latin connection Hispanic studies
b. The impact of immigration on South Florida
c. Women Studies
d. Reinventing Overtown and many, many, others.

These Learning interest are designed to renew ones self -examination and perhaps revise one's commitment to live out the commandments offered by Yehuda Bauer:

1) Thou shalt not be a victim.
2) Thou shalt not be a perpetrator
3) And above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.

I've stopped by to speak to you as a son of a people whose suffering continue evento this day in the United States. I speak to you as an African American, but please accept that my comments are inclusive of all people wherever they have come from. I am a person who has seen certain things in my life and I thank you for the opportunity to share my reflections and my vision with you.

As I forestated, I speak to you as an African American, one who was born in "Colored town, Downtown, Overtown," Miami and raised in the projects of Liberty City - a drop out who is probably the most unlikely individual to speak to you today.

I come from a place where remnants of the wall of separation still exist. A place where my mother and my father were filled with faith in a better day. My mother and my father, had a faith that was ablaze as was the blazing faith of the first Africans who were brought in chains to these shores in 1619, that a faith that said inspite of their condition, they had faith in a better day.

I grew up in segregated Miami. In a world that was divided, by a legal chasm; a world of African Americans and Anglo Americans. A time of white drinking fountains & colored drinking fountains- of riding in the back of the bus and attending segregated schools.

The Anglo-Americans did not accept African Americans back then, yet I was convinced better days would come. Unfortunately it took the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President John F. Kennedy for America to begin truly addressing the pervasiveness of the suffering of a race of people who had survived the slave trade to make this country great.


That's the reason, The Pledge of Allegiance is more than the words to remember and recite for me. To me it is a marching order to bring to life the American Dream.

"I Pledge Allegiance To The Flag of the United States Of America and to the Republic for which it stands One Nation, under GOD, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all."

Promerto Lealtad A la Bandera De Los Estados Unidos De America Y A La Republica Que Representa, Una Ncaion De Dios Indivisble Que Guarantiza Libertatad Y Juusticia Para Todo."

Throughout the course of history the words contained in our Pledge of Allegiance has stood and still stands firmly as a statement of our most fundamental and cherished values freedom, our national flag represents a living country, emblematic of the respect and pride we have in our nation. "Liberty and justice for all!" ALL as all colors of the rainbow.

But, as this making the connections conference will remind you, nowhere in the annals of history have a people experienced such a long and traumatic ordeal as Africans who have survived the slave trade. Over the nearly four centuries - which continued until the end of the Civil War- men, women, and children were savagely torn from their homeland, herded onto ships, and dispersed my ancestors all over this so called New World.

Although There is no way to compute how many people perished, it has been estimated that between thirty and sixty million Africans were subjected to this horrendous triangular trade system and that only one third-if-that-of those people survived...' The slaughter and carnage of those dreadful years constitute one of the darkest chapters in human history.

I can truly testify, from personal experiences, that over the Years:

African Americans have suffered too severely;
African Americans have been water hosed too many times;
African Americans have been cattle-prodded in too many instances;
African Americans have been Billy-clubbed by too many police officers;
African Americans have cried too many tears;
African Americans have marched too many miles;
African Americans have prayed too many prayers;
African Americans have died too many deaths; and
African Americans have buried too many bodies to ignore the horror that has been heaped upon us as a people.

However, the Psalmist authenticated for me that: "...weeping may endure the night, but there will be joy, joy in the morning" (Psalms 30:15)

For that reason Yehuda Bauer words are alive in me today:

Thou shalt not be a victim.
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
And above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.


Let me lay the foundation of the impact of those words by "making connections" with reflections on the contributions of women to this our country. In the 1800s, women, especially white women in the United States had few legal rights and constitutionally did not have the right to vote.

Susan B. Anthony, a great woman advocate of her time, championed the women's right movement and was arrested on a charge of an illegal vote in the presidential election of 1872. She was tried and then fined $100 but because of her well founded belief she refused to pay.

She put forth a potent plea to her fellow citizens calling for their support to make America live up to its Constitutional preamble that says: "we, the people" meaning ALL people.

Susan B. Anthony noted that it was "...a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government - ballot" (1873).

Following her death in 1906 after five decades of tireless work the Democratic and Republican parties finally endorsed women's right to vote and in August of 1920, the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was finally ratified, allowing women to vote.

Here again one can seethe principles of Yehuda Bauer allive in Susan B. Anthony's efforts:

Thou shalt not be a victim.
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
And above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.


We fast forward now to our Hispanic Brothers and Sisters in the United States. You see, before there was New England, there was New Spain; and before there was Boston, Mass., there was Santa Fe, N.M.

The teaching of American history normally emphasizes the founding and growth of the British colonies in North America, their emergence as an independent nation in 1176, and the development of the United States of America from east to west. This treatment easily omits the fact that there was significant colonization by Spain of what is now the American Southwest from the 16th century onward. It also tends to ignore, until the Mexican War is mentioned, that the whole Southwest, from Texas westward to California, was a Spanish-speaking territory with its own distinctive heritage, culture, and customs for many decades.

Let me hasten to add that the term Hispanic is not an ethnic description. It refers to native language and to cultural background. Moreover, Hispanics today form the fastest growing minority in the United States. Numbering about 22.4 million in 1992, they make up the second largest minority in the nation, African Americans being the largest. It must be noted that about 60 percent of these Hispanics trace their origin to Mexico. Interestingly, within the group called Hispanics are peoples of diverse ethnic origins.

In our Miami-Dade County area, we have been blessed to rescue thousands of Cubans from the clutches of a fiendish dictator - we have blessed to talk to welcome them to this community individually and collectively. I personally am about the business of Yehuda Bauer's Words:

Thou shalt not be a victim
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
And above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.


Which brings us to what I have read was another terrible time in history - and that time was a period described as the Holocaust - when six million Jews were murdered.

I read of a Nazi named Erich Gnewuch, who testified about gassing Jews in Nazi-occupied USSR, 1942-3 [Quoted in "Nazi Mass Murder: A Documentary History of Poison Gas", edited by E. Kogon, H. Langbein, and A.Ruekerl, Yale University Press, 1993, p. 57-9]

I read how Gnewuch detailed how he personally gassed about twelve convoys of arriving Jews. He stated that it was in 1942, and that there were about a Thousand Jews in each convoy. And then he tried to absolve himself by testifying the he never shot any Jews - he only gassed them.

Hitler and the nazi Party gained in power in Germany in 1933 and lost power in 1945-and only in 12 years Europe was in shambles and nearly 30 million died. Among the dead were over SIX MILLION Jews-men, women, and children -who were systematically and efficiently slaughtered for no other reason than that they were Jews.Why did such a thing happen? How could such a

thing happen? How could such a thing happen in an advanced, civilized modern nation? Can it happen again? How can its reoccurrence be prevented? Many of the material that will be presented during this "making connections" conference will be disgusting, brutal, offensive, and shocking. But it is all true and it is the one truth in modern history that the world must forget! Or such tragedies will happen again!!!


Thou shalt not be a victim.
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator.
And above all, Thou shalt not be a bystander.


We must in every way support diversity. Have you ever noticed that many of us get out of bed in our pajamas, a garment of East Indian origin, we then drink our breakfast coffee, grown from a plant First discovered by the Arabs, We place upon our heads a molded piece of Felt invented by Nomads of eastern Asia.And then if it rains we put on outer shoes of rubber discovered by Ancient Mexicans, And not only that, to cover ourselves we take our umbrella Invented in India and Then run to catch a train (we call tri-rail) which is an English invention, and at the train station we buy a newspaper with coins invented in ancient Lydia.

And once onboard the train we settle back and read the news imprinted on characters Invented by early Semites, By a process invented in Germany, Upon material invented in China, As we watch a Florida Sate Governor go about encouraging legislation forbidding foreign ideas and immigrants - using a language of Indo - European origin and calling on the name of God that was born in Africa.

Friends I am reporting these incidents without rancor and surely without rage and of course, without retaliation in mind. I believe what Rev. King had to say, "none of us are free until all of us are free."

I suggest that these experiences, as well as all experiences, must bring us together instead of apart. Whatever happened during those years of torture and tragedy was a result of separation and human deprivation; and, therefore, we must do whatever we can to turn this schism into a bridge: A bridge over troubled water.

And we should all respect one another not to reject one another. I mean we should all respect individuality, ingenuity, and the industry in one another. As a African American I must and I do accept and respect you and your traditions, as you, I pray, will respect me and respect mine.


This Program "Making Connections is an affirmation of that respect - a respect not easily won without deep inner struggle. For me, this day is day of great value, a day of effervescence, and a day for celebration for we are gathered together "Making Connections."

How can we celebrate?

Today you are going to hear things or see things of sadness, tragedy, and solitude. You will hear about the Holocaust and names like Trebiinka, Majdanek and or Auschwitz, these names will become one of your primary missions to understand. Because these names enter into our world of study and represent the sacred memory and the sacred desire of a people to remain human in an inhuman world.

You will hear tales of people who went to their death and others who did not. You will hear of a universe of people, African Americans, Jewish Americans, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, men and women who lived and died, men and women whose shoulders we now stand. Humankind lived and perished in many of those tragic days and terrifying nights. So, this coming together, this "making connections" is more than useful, it is life fulfilling. Nothing can be more urgent for our generation than to learn and to understand our neighbors.


I see our overall mission as one is to assist in the effective delivery of programming that will prepare our more than:

a. 340,000 students, Representing many as
b. 165 countries, Who speak some
c. 140 different languages or dialects, at more than
d. 340 different school sites, Where
e 16 different languages are taught to build life-affirming strategies to function successfully in Miami-Dade's culturally and linguistically diverse community, and in the world.

Yes, inclusive sensitivity will help us all realize that this making connections adds value to our lives! Remember:

Thou shalt not be a victim
Thou shalt not be a perpetrator
And above all thou shalt bot be a bystander.


David McCullough, winner of a National Book Award and narrator of the series "The Civil War" vividly offers yet another view of my affirmation today. He noted that:

"We are a people that built the Panama Canal and the Golden Gate Bridge, the Mount Wilson Observatory, The Library of Congress, and the Lincoln Center. We invented jazz and the general hospital. We grew strong making steel in automobiles. Our production turned the tide of the world history in this century, in the Second World War. We are the people who devised Voyager II, the unmanned space craft that succeeded in photographing the planet Uranus, in the dark, while traveling at a speed of up to 65,000 miles per hour. Our public schools and great universities have long been considered the best in the world. And if our past can teach us anything, it is education - education second to none and open to all - has been our salvation, our making. That too, has been part of the work of America, The good work of America. We are what we do. The test will be in what we value, what we want."


Again thank you for inviting me to share some thoughts about MAKING CONNECTIONS. My instincts encourage me to CALL UPON ALL WHO HAVE ASSEMBLED HERE TO "Look To the Rainbow."


Because the rainbow is an excellent model of diversity-it is an arc that exhibits in concentric bands, the color of the spectrum - it is multi-hued - formed opposite the sun by refraction and reflections of the sun's rays in raindrops, spray or mist. In other words, the rainbow is a multi-tint array of color like the United States is a multi-colored array of people.

All this, is simple to say, America's colors: Red, Black, Brown and White are blended into an inescapable network of commonality; tied together in definite reflections of energies and enrichment that make our country great.

We must not be confused about this. We need look to the Rainbow. When I was a kid I heard Judy Garland sing these words that have stuck with me through the years:

Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high,
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere, over the rainbow, skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are fare behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly,
Birds fly over the rainbow,
Why then, oh why can't I?
If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow,
Why, oh why, can't I?"

Well I can, you can, and all of God's children can fly. We must look to the RAINBOW.


Looking to the Rainbow means to me that: The dream of equality can and will come true. You see, bad circumstances does not make a person. Bad circumstances shows us what a person is made of. Remember it's never about the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog!

I have come to the awesome and powerful conclusion; That when it comes to doing something about making connections, the most positive individual in my community is me. It is what I do that make the connection. What about you?

Pogo said it best, We have met the enemy, it is us". I've stopped by to invite you to do the best you can with the tools that you have. And you must not be overwhelmed by what you will face. A journey of a thousand must approach this walk to making a connection one step at a time.

"I am only one, but I am one,
I cannot do everything,
But I can do something
And by the grace of God
What I can do I will do!"

Dr. King's words, "Ring Loud and Clear Today," We must learn to live together as brothers and sister or perish together as fools." I've stopped by to invite you to look to the rainbow. There you will discover it will be well worth your effort.

Looking to the Rainbow will be well worth:
Every tear that you may have to dry.
Every burden you may have to bear.
Every difficulty you may have to face.
Every enemy you may have to face.
Every problem you may have to solve.
Every trial you may have to endure, and
Every crisis you may have to handle

Personally, I will make connections.

I shalt not be a victim.
I shall not be a perpetrator.
And above all I shall not, I shall not, I shall not be a bystander.

As I close, let me do so using areason, rhythm and rhyme from a chant I wrote some time ago that I believe is appropriate for our "Making Connections" today:
"I will be free, I must be free,
Because there will be others to follow me.
Where task exist in the struggle I must take one.
Where there are not paths to freedom I must make one

Sacrifice without scorn or sorrow,
Is the price I must pay today for a better tomorrow.
I must be neither mortified, terrified, nor petrified,
I must be edified, fortified and dignified.

This is the hour; God gave me the power.
'Though my head may be bloodied I'll not cry aloud,
My being is unbroken, un-bossed and unbowed!"

To contact Dr. Ingram, please call 305-995-1340 or e-mail