First, let me thank the publications, publishers, editors and—most importantly—the readers of “The Manhood Line” over these many years. It has been a joy to put this column out (the flagship column for Barnstorm Communications International, by the way). God has blessed this column to go from my home city of Indianapolis, Indiana around the world and back. It has visited a variety of HBCUs and other college campuses. It has hit Tokyo, Japan. It sipped tea in Rome, Italy. It made its share of high-fives across Europe, tossed a boomerang or two in Australia and hung out in the Motherland of Africa.
We have managed to get our toes wet in the Caribbean basin. Oh yes, we have even been blessed to be on-line at the dawn of the Internet! Who would have thought that a simple handful of writings, from a “biblical, business and common-sense perspective” would have appeared as a part of a college curriculum; generated letters from BOTH the high up and the common and been around during the formative years of TWO of the hottest, hippest and best Black electronic publications on the World Wide Web: Black Men In America.com (tip of the hat to “Master Chef”, Gary Johnson—Publisher extreme)! Another stalwart in the forward trenches of the Black publication ranks who has done this column proud: Kwasi Akyeampong of “The Black List.net”.
The two of you have my gratitude for taking a chance on a new—now veteran—column!
WHY—AND HOW ‘THE GOLD FILES’?
Now, in the vein of the obvious, one may wonder why there is a need for a selection of ‘the best of the best’ of this column? Why take the time to re-introduce this work?
There are several reasons, which I would be happy to list.
First, many of the original readers of these columns have grown up; hopefully deepened their relationship with Jesus Christ, gotten married, have kids of their own or are currently undergoing the stormy seas of the Wuhan Virus. In our uncertain times, it seemed right to bring back some of the ‘classics’ (updated in certain ways of course) to give the brotherhood something to show to the young brothers under their watch to teach THEM what it means to be an upright (not an uptight) man in a society bent on producing males.
Second, “The Manhood Line” was birthed at a time (which I will get to) slightly before the satanic host was more visible in blasting away in its aim to assassinate the Black male image. In spiritual warfare there is usually a ‘test’ case before the main assault is rolled out. That is how Satan and his minions work: find a test group to ply their dirt and IF successful; IF there is the desired result of damage in the test group then move on to a larger group.
Today, there continues to be an all-out assault on godly manhood by the same Entertainment/Mainstream Mess/Education/Political/Sports coven that existed when this column began. They have expanded their ammo dump to include rounds from same sex marriage, transgender confusion, wayward women and timidity among men—coupled with Black Lives Manipulated, a dash of drag queen schlock, political cheats and creeps along with the minions of the ‘rent a mob’ crew.
Third, the time seemed right to bring back some solid teaching on biblical manhood up and down the funky electronic frontier. Brothers: I’m not tired yet! It has been said, in our modern education structure, a generation may be successfully taught, influenced or programmed in an average of 15-to-20 years. This column is right on time to reach out with the truth to the next generation of men. You may not want to hear it, but brothers, you will find a need for it!
MEANWHILE—AT GROUND ZERO:
My columns have always been written from a belief that with God’s leadership, we can take on the enemies of manhood in their many guises and disguises. A man WITH God through Jesus Christ IS a majority. My philosophy, brothers? “Yeah…we can take ‘em!”
My mascot for “The Manhood Line” has always been a Battleship. Battleships do NOT give up! Neither do I! You have never seen a battleship painted in ‘soft’ colors. They are always ready for action…even if they are docked in port. Those guns and that armor mean one thing: it is a ship that WILL come out fighting, if need be!
Now, it would be easy to ‘make like’ that my life has been perfect and at ease in the arena of sunshine and blue skies. That’s NOT me. I’ve had my share of hard times and cloudy days. So, let me spool out my story with just a touch of cool added to keep the grill under control, Amen?
When I started this column back in 1996, it truly was a different world. That previous year had been lesson learning. First, I had a great victory my first time out the box as a Precinct Committeeman (PC) for my county Republican party. Later in the year, I ran a hard-fought 1995 political campaign for a seat on the Indianapolis City-County Council (Republican, of course) and got soundly defeated. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
I spent the next few months mulling over my loss and having a good, ol’ fashioned pity-party. A good friend provided some wise counsel as to how to process my defeat. Soon after that the Pastor of my church gave the brothers in attendance some words of healing AND challenge. Both items encouraged me to press on and persevere in those dark, hurting days.
However, the Lord had a better idea—pen a column on the matter as an encouragement to other brothers who were having to process their OWN defeats in life, often without much in the way of support. Further, the column would be an uplifting and encouraging work, rather than ‘beating brothers down’ (which is where MOST writing aimed at men was centered in those early days). I took the idea to Mary Tandy, Publisher of the Indiana Herald. She saw my vision for the column and gave the green light for weekly publication.
A few months later, “The Manhood Line” appeared in print for the very first time. In less than six months God opened the door for the column to expand. The column soon was added into a monthly format through the Christian publication: “The Christian Advocate”. Thus, its first year saw the column in BOTH a non-Christian Black publication with a statewide reach (and member of the NNPA) and a Christian regional publication geared towards a mostly Caucasian audience.
The response from the readership of both publications was phenomenal.
Little did I know that these few words on electronic paper would put my home city of Indianapolis, Indiana on the map in a mighty way…whether people acknowledge this work or not. The rest is history!
THE BEST OF THE BEST—I’M NOT TIRED YET:
As we spend time together…I’ll let you in on a little secret. A LOT of women read this column. “The Manhood Line”, unlike other columns in this genre, is written FOR MEN. If women ‘get it’, then it is a double blessing. Right from the base line, this column has been meant for the brotherhood. If women want a ‘shrew service’ and cannot handle straight up ‘man talk’, then they need to head on down the street. Or, as our parents used to say: “Child, go somewhere else and play—this is ‘grown folks’ talk!”
Oh, by the way. Cancel culture hasn’t worked on this column all these years. It won’t work now. “The Manhood Line” is like fine cream…it will ALWAYS rise to the top because it has something worth saying. The truth needs NO defense!
So, in our next column we will begin to unpack some of “The Gold Files”. We will revisit and update some of the best of the best of “The Manhood Line” from the early years. We have been blessed to come down the street and across the plate for a long time. In the words of one of my all-time favorite songs by the Mississippi Mass Choir (if you have not guessed): “I’m Not Tired Yet!”
Mike Ramey is a Minister, Syndicated Columnist and Modern Street Gangs Specialist and Consultant from Indianapolis, Indiana. Ramey is the author of THE MANHOOD LINE: THE GOLD FILES. Bringing back some of the classic THE MANHOOD LINE columns for a new generation of men. THE MANHOOD LINE was and is a syndicated, monthly column, written from a biblical, business, and common-sense perspective FOR MEN. Email welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org. ©2021 Mike Ramey/Barnstorm Communications International (1).