Approximately 500,000 people — mostly African-Americans — will descend upon New Orleans, Louisiana this weekend for the 2014 Essence Festival, produced in connection with Essence Magazine.
Given this incredible gathering of 'community,' family, and leaders too, I find it simply too attractive a venue, and an audience, to not deliver what I have begun to call The Memo for a new generation.
It's time for black and brown America to get their own copy of what I call The Memo. The Memo, in short, is how the free enterprise and capitalist system 'works.' And free enterprise, capitalism, the economy and money — lies underneath nearly everything we do (or don't do) in life!
It's not like we got The Memo and somehow screwed it up — we simply never got The Memo. And there are reasons why. Here are cliff notes to The Memo.
Soon after signing the Emancipation Proclamation, President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation creating the Freedman's Saving and Trust Co., commonly known as the Freedman's Bank.
Lincoln considered the bank's mission so important to the nation that he located the bank directly across from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where the president could keep an eye on it.
The bank's mission was radical: To teach newly freed blacks about money. In short, the President thought that the most important thing he could do, after physical emanication, was to teach freed slaves about how money, the free enterprise system and the economy worked!
Additionally, during the final period of the Civil War, one of Lincoln's top generals promised all freed slaves 40 acres and a mule, an opportunity to own collateral and machinery in their own names. Lincoln supported the initiative.
Unfortunately, Lincoln was assassinated. His successor, President Andrew Johnson, was diametrically opposed to things like the Freedman's Savings Bank. "As long as I am president, this nation will be white-run," Johnson was quoted as saying. So much for Lincoln's black empowerment ideas.
My personal hero Ambassador Andrew Young had it right when he said Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement succeeded in integrating cities and America, but failed to integrate the money.
In fairness, you can't really "integrate" money. But we can deliver The Memo, to show a new generation how to access it, own it, grow it and keep it.
It's time to finish what Lincoln started and Dr. King never had the opportunity to meaningfully address.
That's why I wrote the book, How The Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class. The Solution for the 100%.
Most people are focused on and talking about the problem. How it happened, why it happened. All of that is important, but this book is 100 percent focused on real and practical solutions to our problems. Solutions that actually solve.
Operation HOPE will become the nation's private banker to the working poor, the struggling class and the teetering middle class. We call it the HOPE Plan and Project 5117, and ground zero for our movement is HOPE Inside at Ebenezer, our flagship on the King Center campus in Atlanta, Georgia.
Getting The Memo represents true emanication and freedom, in an economic world.
Watch the movie, and share your thoughts on how together, we rebuild the path to the middle class.
Get The new book, How The Poor Can Save Capitalism, here.
Watch the 4-minute movie on How The Poor Can Save Capitalism here.
Listen to the first national interview for How The Poor Can Save Capitalism, on the Steve Harvey Morning Show here.