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Entrepreneur Bernard Kinsey: Why White People Struggle To Understand The Black Lives Matter Movement!

06/12/20

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DATE: JUNE 12, 2020

PROGRAM: ALWAYS EVOLVING

SHOW#: CM1023

GUEST: BERNARD KINSEY

HOST: MIKE BAYER

(START OF PODCAST)

COACH MIKE BAYER: Today on Always Evolving I have a guest that I saw on television, I saw him on CBS News, his name is Bernard Kinsey and he was selected to spearhead the rebuilding of LA by then mayor Tom Bradley and so I wanted to get his wisdom and also he, too, is a huge fan of art. He has one of the biggest collections, uh, African American art. Welcome Bernard!

BERNARD KINSEY: Well thank you so much, uh Coach Mike, I’m really looking forward to it and our family, we’re really looking forward to sharing some thoughts with you today.

MIKE: Great. So what, what um, give everyone a little bit of a history on, on how you ended up, uh, spearheading kind of a, some direction after…

BERNARD: Well, okay let, let’s go, let’s go at it this way—uh, before we talk about the 1992 LA riots or unrest—and you have to use both because it depends on what side of the street you were on.

MIKE: Mm hmm.

BERNARD: Uh, Shirley and I live our lives on two simple principles—to whom which is given, much is required and a life of no regrets. We’ve been married for 53 years         , left uh, Tallahassee, we graduated from Florida A&M University, a Black college and moved west and we were part of the great migration and we didn’t even know it but we were trying to get away from a lot of the things that were bad about the South, uh…

MIKE: Mmm…

BERNARD: …in the 60’s. Uh, and interesting for your, your audience, um, my wife Shirley, at 17, came to Florida A&M and got arrested within the first two weeks of, of her enrollment. So she was the kind of young lady I immediately, uh, resonated with because she’s someone of conscious and people that look back in the 60’s are, this has been a conscious struggle all the way back to the founding of this country. So I wanted to try and get uh, that piece out and for your audience, what we have tried to do uh, over our, our marriage, is, is be responsible. One of my favorite sayings is, uh, “God grant me a gift to give it to someone else that needs it more than me.” And the idea that we’ve been blessed immeasurably is one of the things we always take, so, uh, we have, I mentioned earlier about having a li-a life of uh, uh, many lanes and many lives. Um, and because of how we managed our lives, I think we were prepared for the, this big, uh, uh job, you know…

MIKE: Mm hmm.

BERNARD: …uh, responsibility in 1992. So, I, I’ll tell you how it happened. So the 29th and 30th of April, uh, we had $2 billion worth of loss here in LA, 54 lives were, were taken, uh, and uh, over 2,000 stores, most of them Korean stores, and it really was this hostility uh, from the Rodney King beating and the uh, four police officers acquitted. But it also was coming out of 1965 with the Watts Riots, which, nothing really happened after that. Most of the buildings had not been rebuilt. A lot of vacant lands and so forth and so on. So what you’re seeing in, in uh, 2020 is really this continuum that’s really started, you know, uh, three, four hundred years ago. As early as 1711 Black people in New York were beginning to push back on slavery. So…

MIKE: Mm hmm. And by the way, let me just jump in—how absolutely crazy, I mean I watched one of your videos, I think you said 1832 a slave owner bought another Black man for $500…

BERNARD: Right.

MIKE: …it’s so crazy that that, that somehow that is um, that that even existed.

BERNARD: Well, this country was founded on slavery. Almost every, we have a saying—they’re the stories that made America and there’s the stories that America made up.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: And the problem that we have and there have been so many (UNINTELLIGIBLE) located by our history books are, Khalil and I and Shirley, we, the Kinsey Collection, it…

MIKE: Khalil is your son…

BERNARD: Yeah, Khalil is our son and uh, if you go on our website TheKinseyCollection.com, we have uh, um, uh, a 230-page book that uh, is in its fifth edition. We just published a second book. So, what we are trying to do is to tell the story of the African American experience of achievement and accomplishment. And everything that we’ve been trying to do starting in 1595, we have a document from 1595 of an African American girl being baptized in what’s, in St. Augustine, Florida. Uh, which goes against some of the stories that we only came here in 1619, we were all enslaved so forth and so on. So, this, this continuum, and we, we say this—you cannot understand the Civil War without understanding slavery. And you cannot understand Civil Rights without understanding Jim Crow. But let me, let me break it down and we’ll get into 1992 and 2020—the reality is that slavery was everything about America. It led up to the Civil War and even uh, from there. We, we were given our freedom in 18, uh, 65, but we were never given equality. So Jim Crow came in and Jim Crow was this, uh, really almost more pernicious than slavery because Black folk, all of the rights of, of freedom and voting uh, normal passage into this country were taken away. For instance—1793 George Washington signed a bill that basically depu-deputized White civilians to be able to go and hunt Black people that had run away from their plantations. Now we don’t use the word “plantation” every time you hear the word “plantation” strike it out and say “prison” because that’s where Black people lived for the first two or 300 years of this country. We lived in prisons. We lived and died on that acreage. So, what we are trying to do is tell this story of accomplishment and achievement. You know The Kinsey Collection is this uh, collection of art and history that’s traveled the world and the piece that you’re talking about is a piece from 1832 and, let me give it to you this way—a friend of mine, a White guy, Wally, he was, uh, uh, in Tallahassee and he called me and said, “Bernard, I found this document.” He said, but he wouldn’t tell me what it was, and I immediately knew what it was. He said, I said, “Send it to me, Wally.” The next day I get it in FedEx. I open it up and I’ve pulled it out and here’s a bill of sale on a brother, 18 years old in Alabama, being sold for $500.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: And (STAMMERS) I can remember how I felt then as I feel now—it shook me to the core. And I made up my mind right then, I wanted to know—how did Black folks get into this predicament in America? And from that piece, I will it on this, I mean, for the last 40 years read, I read two hours a night, by Black folks and investments. Those are the two things because in this country, you gotta know about your history and you better have enough money to be able to live above the poverty line. So that’s what it just, propelled us, and in trying to answer the question of “How did we get into this predicament. It began (STAMMERS) to lay out the story of slavery and how it’s been so integrated into American life. I’ll give an example—John Brown was the largest slaver, that’s what you call them, “slavers” okay? Not “businessmen”…

MIKE: Mm hmm.

BERNARD: …the largest slaver in the 18th century. He brought over 100,000 Africans—stole, kidnapped—to America. He finds, founds Brown University, so Brown University was founded on what? Slave money. Um, Charles Tiffany—his dad was a slave merchant in Montgomery, sent in $500 to open a store on Broadway. That later becomes Tiffany’s. Charles Tiffany. I can go on and on and on—matter of fact, all of, uh, Wall Street was essentially built by, by Black folk. Lafayette Square which, our president, you know, uh, moves all of the peaceful demonstrators out—that was a slave market in Washington. The, the capital was built by Black folks, enslaved Black folks.

MIKE: Why don’t you think that’s top? Like, why don’t you think we learn this?

BERNARD: Well part of it is it did, it didn’t help uh, slaveholders, Jim Crow and the privileged class of today to keep their, uh, people ignorant about how they got where they got, you follow me? I mean, White people are, are ashamed of this story when it’s really laid out. And what we say, you shouldn’t be ashamed of it—embrace it and go because we know White history, you don’t know Black history. So, Khalil will tell you if, if we’re trying to have a relationship and I respect you and you don’t respect me—we’re never gonna have a relationship. And that’s where we are in America today. White America does not respect Black America. And that’s why…

MIKE: Is that…all White people? Is there like, is there a majority of White people? Like, what’s the cut of…

BERNARD: Well let’s, let’s say this—I, I understand what you’re saying and I can nuance that in saying that most White people are like that if you, if that works. But the fact of the matter is—almost all White people at the core. The only way that athletes and celebrities and all that get away is because they’re who they are. Once they take those titles off, they become just like anybody else. But they could be driving down the car and they have no agency. So let’s talk about it from that standpoint. Citizenship is something that is valued in the White community, in our community, it’s devalued because we don’t believe we have the same rights as anyone else. And it’s because if you Black in America, the chances of something happening you only because of race is high. I just read a story about a brother in Texas. He didn’t dim his headlights. The Texas Highway Patrol ended up stopping him 28 minutes after he’s stopped the brother is shot to death, only because he didn’t do his headlights. Now he difference was if he were White, he would have gotten “Please dim your lights.” Because he was Black, it escalated almost from the beginning. And what you see is this, this notion of agency that is not (STAMMERS) apparent. So uh, the, the idea of privilege in this country is operating all the time. And that’s hard for White people to understand. The average White person, he works or she works hard, his family, I mean, it’s hard for them, too. But they, uh, the deficit that Black families have to do just to get to where they are, and that is really part of what this whole notion of, of Black Lives Matter is and I’m, I can’t believe it’s happening in my lifetime that Black—White people are saying “Black lives matter” because they have not mattered. Look here—it was 1968 before a White person was convicted of killing a Black person in this country.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: 1968. In other words, Black life does not have the same value as White life and I think all White people really know that. So if you see NBA players or NFL players, yes they are revered as long as they around and people know who they are.

MIKE: Well I think, and I think the irony, the irony is you look at how many of these pro-football teams have African American owners or Black owners, how many of the basketball teams do, and then, it’s just, it’s in, it’s just an odd dynamic because um, for example, and like, this isn’t race, but I own a treatment center…

BERNARD: Okay.

MIKE: …one of the businesses I have is a treatment center, dual diagnosis treatment center. So a lot of the people who get into the profession of helping other people in my profession they, like I’m an ex-drug addict, right? So a lot, we love, we love people who have struggled because we’re like, “You’ve got it, you’ve suffered, you’ve struggled, you’re one of us—come on over!” Like…

BERNARD: Right.

MIKE: …we’ll embrace you and your story makes you strong. And it’s a part of our industry, the mental health industry. But then in athletics, it feels odd because I just, it’s just such a disconnect to me, it, why would 75% of football players be Black and the majority of owners be White…it just seems weird. Like…

BERNARD: Well, that, that’s how, that’s how the system works. Let, let me just say it this way—White, White people talk about meritocracy but don’t practice it. Major Taylor in the 1890’s was the fastest bicycle rider in the world, a Black man form Indianapolis. You never heard of him. You never heard of him because of the Myth of Absence. And what we try to do is the Myth of Absence is the, that Black people are invisibly present in this country. Let me—stay with me—and when we say that we’re invisibly present that means we’re there but we’re just not part of the narrative, we’re not part of the picture, we’re not part of the process of how America works. Unless it’s something like right now when there’s race…

MIKE: Yeah.

BERNARD: …and then you see all these Black people on TV. You don’t see us on TV for anything else, okay? Rarely do we see that. I’ll stay with what you’re saying—so here, here’s what we’re trying to say is—we know that we have agency in this country, but we can’t prove it because our history books have wiped us out. So…

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: …what The Kinsey Collection has been doing for the last 15 years, we’ve been to 31 cities around the world—I’m really proud of this—31 cities translated into Chinese and into Spanish, and we’ve had over 15 million people see this incredible array of art and historical document dating from 1595—that’s what I want your audience to understand. We talk about Black people all the—from the point of view that they did manual labor with cotton and tobacco and rice, you know, we did a lot more. We had ingenuity. We created things—we did all these ceramics, all the silverware. All the raw iron in Savannah and New Orleans—all that is done by Black people. All of the furniture. If you’ve ever heard of Thomas Day? Thomas Day from North Carolina almost single-handedly, he and his family almost built the furniture business in North Carolina—1841,  maybe. Look it up, Google it. Here’s a Black man that his furniture was so valued that he would carve in his name, like a piece of art.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: And you know what? Ninety-nine percent of the people in this country don’t know it. Including the people living off of his, his ingenuity and craftsmanship. Those are just some of the things that we want America to know about our agency as it relates to the contribution that we made to this country. And we shouldn’t be, the average Black person now has about $11,000 net worth versus…

MIKE: Mm hmm.

BERNARD: …$110 for Whites. We…

MIKE: You know, I went to, I went to the doctor, um…

BERNARD: Okay.

MIKE: …two days ago and the street was blocked off in Santa Monica. There was like military there, I was just going to…

BERNARD: Okay.

MIKE: …get bloodwork, it was a Friday. Um the doctor thought it was gonna be cancelled ’cause the street was blocked off and…

BERNARD: Mm hmm.

MIKE: …I uh, I walk up and you know, a young, must have been like, 25 years old or something, stops me and says, uh, “Where you going?” and I go, “Oh, I have a doctor’s appointment.” And he said, “Uh, well do you have proof of that?” I’m like, “No, I mean, I said, like, “Look, I’m, I’m on television. I, I do things…” and all of a sudden he went, “You’re on television?” and I said, “Yeah” and he goes “Alright, it’s cool.” Right? Which is wild to me and I left. I was walking to the doctor, in that moment I thought, “If I was Black, if I Black…

BERNARD: You couldn’t have got…

MIKE: …I, I do not think I would have had the same uh, unless I was a famous Black person…

BERNARD: Right.

MIKE: …right? Then it could have worked. But if I’m just a, uh, not a guy pulling up who has a big presence and looks super White, that person is going to get, it’s going to be more difficult for them. And I, and I…didn’t catch on—the great thing about what’s going on right now is it actually makes you think differently…

BERNARD: Right.

MIKE: …than before…

BERNARD: Well Mike, before you go to that, that’s what I like about what you’re doing, okay? Because let’s say it this way—most White people would not look at that situation the way you looked at it.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: Would not have that a-ha moment, which is really what we want people to have, more a-ha moments. In other words, what would have happened had I been Black? So, I mean, and that, and that’s why this dialogue is so critical now because if you’ve been doing something all your life, you have rights that you really don’t even know if you have rights.

MIKE: Mm hmm.

BERNARD: So you, I mean, it’s hard for somebody to say, you know, we’re not even saying give ’em up, but just be aware of ’em. And know that, you know, we have a saying, “Privilege is like being born on third base and thinking you hit a triple.”

MIKE: Hmm. I think you’re right. Like, I’m okay with the discomfort that I could feel being a White male and knowing that I have a bunch of advantages because I’m White.

BERNARD: Yeah.

MIKE: But you have to get comfortable with it and realize it is what it is, like to deny, to suddenly believe that that’s not real to me is like, I don’t even know how people could think that.

BERNARD: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you know, we live in the Palisades which is a very, very…

MIKE: Oh yeah.

BERNARD: …uh, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) area, and we’ve lived here for 35 years. And I, you know, I used to be a consul general uh, head of diplomatic placing and all of that back in the 90’s, uh, early 2000’s, so Khalil used to drive our new Lexus and literally, I mean, without fail, he would get stopped before he would get out of the Palisades because people wanted to know “Why are you driving this car? Who are you?” So forth and so on.

MIKE: For the listeners—the Palisades is like, uh, it’s like Beverly Hills on the beach.

BERNARD: Oh, yeah. It’s, it’s, you know…let me, let me go back to your first question—in, I was a vice president with Xerox from uh, 1980 to 1991 so Xerox back then was like Apple, Google, Microsoft put together. It was Fortune 20 company. So here’s a Black man in a major, uh, American corporation in 1980. I mean, that’s 40 years ago, come to think of it. So, let me tell you about what we did at Xerox, and for your corporate people, in Xerox in 1971, we had less than 1,000 Black people working for Xerox. That’s when I was hired, September ’71. And we formed the Xerox Black Employees as a, uh, employee group to begin to take uh, action about the lack of Black people working for Xerox, so forth. In 20 years we went from less than 1,000 to over 14,000 Black people. When I left Xerox as the vice president in 1991, we had 26 Black vice presidents, okay? You cannot find 26 Black vice presidents almost, in corporate America now. We have gone backwards, you follow me? We only have 3% of CEOs that are Black. Less than 5% of the corporate…

MIKE: Why is that?

BERNARD: Well, because it’s a Good Old Boys club. You might not talk about, you know, uh, (STAMMERS) the Jockey Syndrome. The Jockey Syndrome—when you get too good, we change the rules. Black people have done really, really well in this country when there are rules. That’s why they do well in civil service. That’s why we do well in the military, ’cause there’s strict performance rule and criteria that we can adhere to. And we have some pushback if we don’t get it. In corporate America, it’s a whole different game. So, what we said with the Xerox Black Employees—you got your club, we gonna form our club. And we did. And that club became the premiere, what they call the employee resource group, in the country. In terms of changing the conversation because we got the CEO of Xerox, you follow me? To buy into that what was going on in Xerox was not right. So…

MIKE: Mm hmm.

BERNARD: …go ahead to 1992. So I go in to see Peter Ueberroth who I knew from, uh, when I ran the Olympics for Xerox in 1984 and the first thing he said, he said, “Bernard, uh, we don’t wanna talk to you about your electric car company” I was representing as a consultant. We wanna talk to you about coming to work and rebuilding LA” and I said, “Get outta here—I just left. I just quit being vice president, why would I wanna come work?” you know. So he said, let me give you a story, he said that “Mayor Bradley called me and told me that you, I should hire Bernard Kinsey.” Long story short, after some deliberation, I decided to do that. And it was really one of the best things I’ve done. Let me describe what Rebuild LA was. Rebuild LA was a totally private organization funded privately, and it was basically a principle of three, a three-legged stool—government, community and business. All along, we’ve all had the government and community trying to solve the problem. America doesn’t work unless business gets involved. And I’ll give you a classic example. After the, the unrest of the riots in ’92, all the supermarkets were burned. So one of the immediate needs was the replace supermarkets in South Los Angeles. We have about 2 million people that were really coming to the Palisades or Santa Monica or wherever just to buy groceries. I read an article in LA Times that Barnes, for the first time, their same-store sales in the suburb had declined. I went to Peter and he and I were co-chairs, I didn’t work for him, he and I were, were equal, but a good guy and he had the Black Book and I said, “Peter—do you know Roger Stanglin, the CEO of Barnes?” He said, “Yes” I said, “This is our opportunity. Let’s call him in and show him where he can put grocery stores.” Long story short, we bring Stanglin in and lay it out, show him the territory, show him the demographics, show him the economics, on the spot he does 10 supermarkets at $100 million. We did the same thing with Smart & Final, they did 12 stores. We did the same thing with Albertson’s—same thing with Ralph’s. So, within about a six to eight month period, we took an area that was a food desert and they put 33 supermarkets. And here’s the other thing we did with the city and Mayor Garcetti is doing a great job, he’s doing the same thing. So we told the supermarkets that we will help you get through building it safely and getting your permitting, because it was taking three years for supermarkets to get, uh, permits. We cut that down to eight months, you follow me? What it meant was instead of waiting three years for supermarket to be built, in eight months it was being built. The next thing we did, we decided that we’re gonna have Black and Latino contractors, which was unheard of, because the bonding requirements on building big buildings. So we went to all of the big contractors and we convinced them that we should have a minority/majority consortium. In other words—they would bond these Black and Latino contractors and they would then have an opportunity to do it. I mean, that was an extraordinary. So here you have 33 supermarkets being built by Black and Brown contractors along with every one of these stores we asked them—we couldn’t require that they bring either a Black manager or a Latino manager and then hire from within three miles of their, their uh, stores. All of a sudden, people have jobs.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: And that is really the issue in this country. If people are working, they ain’t got, I mean, people don’t got time to be doing anything but taking care of their family.

MIKE: With Trump saying that, Donald Trump saying he’s done more for Black people than any other president…

BERNARD: It’s just…

MIKE: …what…

BERNARD: That’s just extraordinary. Donald Trump has, has lied 20+ thousand times based on the Washington Post uh, uh, article. When people were demonstrating in Lafayette Square—which was a slave market

MIKE: Hmm.

BERNARD: …you got me? It was a slave…

MIKE: I got you.

BERNARD: Donald Trump was in the bunker hiding and Tweeting, you follow me? I don’t wanna hear that! I mean, the idea that he has done something—he doesn’t even understand Black people because the way he talks about us, “I’ll help them. I’ll help those Black people” like they’re an object of some kind. How can someone say that they are helping a group of people when he doesn’t have any idea what these people are? I mean, it is, it’s just nonsensical.

MIKE: I don’t, and, I don’t the stats uh, in general but like do you know what percent of Black people vote compared to, like, other ethnicities?

BERNARD: When we vote we win elections In 2008, we voted at a higher level than Whites for the first time in history. Guess what? We elect a Black president.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: Same thing in 2012. So the, the question we have as a community, a Black community is that’s one agency that we need to do.

MIKE: How do we actually help uh, beyond awareness because it often becomes confusing how to be a part of the change…

BERNARD: Yeah.

MIKE: …and support it.

BERNARD: Well, here’s what I, I say—first of all, let’s start in your home, you follow me? I mean, the big problem in America, America is so segregated that White people never run into contact with Black people and vice versa unless they under different circumstances, okay? That’s the first thing. In your corporations, particularly in your foundations, look at how much you’re doing in the Black community. Look how many people of color are Black females, Black males, Latinos, Asians—which is not a problem,  we figured that one out—and White females and we finally figured that out one. But those other three groups we still haven’t figured out. We haven’t figured out that Black people can go up and down the latter and the reason that is so disheartening because at Xerox as late as 1991, we, we had extraordinary penetration…and we gave most of it back. I mean the first Black CEO of a cor-uh, female, was from Xerox. They came out of the Xerox Black Employees. We’re the ones that told Xerox you need to get out of South Africa, you need to hire, bring in a Black, uh, Board member Vernon Jordan, and then Vernon Jordan then told them they need to have a Black CEO.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: That’s how it works! We’re not, I mean, why do we have to recreate stuff? I mean, if I go to Apple or Google or Facebook and just ask them, “What’s your population?” Less than two to three percent. Yes it’s good, you know, what is your foundation doing to help Black foundations and non-profits? I mean, where’s your responsibility in that? And, you know, I mean, like it’s, it’s just, it’s unconscionable, you know? America is a banquet and most Black people are starving to death.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: That’s what’s happening in this country right now, you know? It’s better to be rich and guilty than being poor and innocent in this country. That’s what we’re dealing with every day. And the people that mean good—and I’m not saying, I, my, my common saying is “All White people aren’t racists but all White people are privileged” and you gotta come out of that, that ivory tower (STAMMERS) and what I love about what’s going on. The young people and not-so-young are on the streets together for the first time. That’s a big difference from 1991, ’92, that White people and I see some Asians and women and all, are out together because at the end of the day, the social media has democratized this process, you follow me? For the first time. But, corporate America has still, I don’t think, gotten it. We only have, I think one, two, three, four CEOs in the Fortune 500. Truly.

MIKE: Wow.

BERNARD: And let me tell you what—if they’re not with one of their White colleagues, instead of, he’ll always have somebody White around them because if they go in a place that does not have, that does not know them or their, their advanced people don’t let them know, they’ll have problems, too. And they’ll tell you that. 

MIKE: So, just to transition a little bit, and uh, in terms of like, uh, art—I wanna get a little bit into…

BERNARD: Sure, let’s talk about it.

MIKE: …what’s, one is, um, how does the change keep happening, like, and when I say “change” it’s up to also White people’s…

BERNARD: Everybody, yeah.

MIKE: …every—I mean, it’s responsibility and then and then the second part is, um, I’d also love to highlight, you know, Black artists in general.

BERNARD: Yeah.

MIKE: The Kinsey Collection, let me tell you right now, has the biggest spread of, I mean, you guys have stuff over the last, what, 300 years?

BERNARD: Four hundred twenty five years.

MIKE: Four hundred twenty five years. So that is like an enormous spread. You guys also rep talent or artists or showcase new talent?

BERNARD: Well, what we started to do is help uh, midcareer artists and we’ve done this all of our lives in terms of, uh, the, we’ve done 31 cities with the Kinsey Collection and every city we go in we always try to feature, uh, local artists and try to bring them into our collection, uh, so that they can get exposure. Because art is one of these things that you need three things for it to be successful. You need someone to produce     it, someone to buy it and then some place to show it.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: You follow me? Our artists are producing stuff all the time. It’s hard to get some of this stuff sold and it’s almost impossible to get Black shows in museums and that’s, that’s another, problem we got. You know, our museum world (STAMMERS) is very elite-elitism, uh, to a fault sometimes because they still have this European flavor. That, if it comes from Europe it must, you must print it, you follow me? With that, the African American experience in art uh, starts in 1865. Uh, and if you can put those, those, uh, I’ll just take you through those, but in 1865 we have a, in 1865 Robert Scott Duncanson from Cincinnati and if you ever go to Cincinnati there is the Taft, uh, the Taft House. 

MIKE: Mm hmm.

BERNARD: There are called the Duncanson, uh, Murals and you go in there and this whole house owned by the Taft family was done by this Black man Robert Scott Duncanson in 1865 we have one of his earlier pieces, but also Queen Elizabeth has a piece in Buckingham Palace. The Queen of Norway has one his pieces—you never heard of him. He just had to leave America and go to Paris and England and became really famous there because of Jim Crow and slavery here in the United States. Uh, Edward Mitchell Bannister in 1876 won the highest award for art…

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: …in this country. You never heard of him! You follow me? I mean, I can go on and on and on about the, the contributions of African Americans. I mean, if you go into the Harlem Renaissance all the writers and poets and artists and musicians all came out of the Black story. All the African American experience. And that experience is both pain and expression. And we’ve been able to synthesize that and keep our sanity…

MIKE: Hmm.

BERNARD: …you know, while we’re doing it. But (STAMMERS) it’s just not easy, you know? And let me just say this for our audience, I think our police department has improved dramatically since 1992. I mean, no question about it the, the restraint and professionalism that I saw by those officers made me cry.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: That was not true in 1992, we lost 54 lives.

MIKE: And how was it in 1992 compared to now?

BERNARD: Most of the police did the shootings.

MIKE: Got it, so 54 police officers killed…

BERNARD: None of the…

MIKE: …during those riots.

BERNARD: Right, right, right, right.

MIKE: I gotcha.

BERNARD: Okay, Birch says this time zero. We have five officers hurt and they should not have been hurt, but that’s a far cry from the issues that we had in 1992 so, I think we, and I’m big on uh, looking at progress because if you keep saying you never had any progress, people give up on you, you follow me? So you gotta keep, you’ve gotta be able to show that this thing is progressing and I think we are making, but what’s happening on the streets now with Black Lives Matter is extraordinarily good for this country and this world.

MIKE: I mean, I think it’s beautiful what you’ve done, what you’ve done as a family, um, you know, I’m really grateful for you coming on Always Evolving with me. Um…

BERNARD: Well I, I’ve enjoyed you, I tell ya. This has been fun. I mean, your audience what I like you to do is go on TheKinseyCollection.com and you will see an unbelievable amount of videos and material and art and historical documents and our foundation is the Bernard & Shirley Kinsey Foundation for Arts and Education and that’s what the Kinsey Collection does better than any, anyone. We have hundreds of stories of African American people doing extraordinary things and the stories being buried. And what we’ve done is dug ’em out of the grave. I tell people when you go with the myth of absence, it’s like going into a graveyard with no headstones. That’s what the African American history is, is coming in our country. And what The Kinsey Collection is trying to do is to put names on those headstones of all of the people that contributed so much that nobody knows about.

MIKE: Well Bernard, look, we could have spent a few more hours talking…

BERNARD: Thank you.

MIKE: …and once we’re able to do it in person let’s, I’d love to go through your, like film and go through the collections and take a look, you know, that’s more my style. I know we did, uh…

BERNARD: You can’t…

MIKE: …you can’t do that with everything that’s going on right now, but I’m uh, I’m drooling at just immersing myself in what you’ve built. I really appreciate you coming on um, Bernard Kinsey everyone.

BERNARD: Can I give one little jewel before I go?

MIKE: Give us one more jewel.

BERNARD: Okay, okay. You needed three things for successful life—you need something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to. That’s how Shirley and I have structured our lives, around those three principles.

MIKE: Something to do…

BERNARD: Someone to love.

MIKE: Someone to love.

BERNARD: And something to look forward to.

MIKE: And something to look forward to.

BERNARD: And a Buddhist monk shared that with me in 1980 in Kathmandu, Nepal, okay?

MIKE: I love it.

BERNARD: And it changed my life.

MIKE: Mmm.

BERNARD: Because, it’s so simple, it’s hard and when you rassle with it, and as you rassle with it, you rassle one down and you rassle it, you know, but I wanted to share that with the audience because I think it is a how-to on living the kind of life that we all strive for and want to have, for us and our family. Thank you so much.

MIKE: Thank you, Bernard. Uh, everyone click to subscribe, download, let me know what you thought of Bernard Kinsey and keep evolving.

(END OF PODCAST)