Are You A Rattler or a Snake?

Every Snake Ain’t A Rattler

Let us join together
With all our might to see that
FAMU moves upwardly and onwardly
For academic excellence with caring.
If any one-Be he or she great or small,
Governor or legislator; administrator or faculty,
Staff or student, Alumni, friend or foe

Endeavor to do anything to keep FAMU from
Moving upwardly and onwardly
Toward achieving true greatness, let his or her
Right hand forget its cunning
And his or her tongue
Cleave to the roof of his mouth; 
For FAMU must live on! ” – Moses General Miles, FAMU Rattler 


 I should be sitting here mapping out my curriculum and working on my classroom management plan. (First year teacher and I’m super stoked! Ahhh!) The classroom has been a ten-year pursuit for me; one that will actually begin when school starts in 7 days.  When I should be finishing up the rest of my bulletin boards, making a final list of supplies, and creating name tags for the first day, I am instead building a list of contacts, organizing and revising documents, and researching contracts. A week before one of the most exciting days I have had to look forward to in a very long time and I am gearing up for battle. 

I am preparing to fight for FAMU. Again.

That is hardly a complaint; It’s a matter of responsibility. When duty calls, Rattlers answer. It is what it is.

Real Radical Rattlers and The Call

FAMU’s enemies are usually easy to spot; they are found lurking in Tallahassee’s city hall and capitol building.  Old clear men in suits who work relentlessly behind closed doors to turn FAMU into “FSU South,” A term that still sends chills up the back of any Real Rattler who came to The Hill anytime during the 70’s. These particular Rattlers were entrenched in activism on behalf of FAMU the moment they stepped on campus. These Real Radical Rattlers answered and accepted The Call. 

The “FAMU Today, FAMU Tomorrow, FAMU Forever” Rattlers; You know well what it means to accept The Call.  It was The Call Rattlers took in 1968 to protest the death of Dr. King and a year earlier when they snuck Stokely Carmichael onto campus against the wishes of FAMU administration.  Rattlers answered The Call in the wake of the death of Martin Lee Anderson in 2006, and Trayvon Martin in 2012.  The Call was answered to protest South African apartheid in the 90’s, the Rape of a FAMU student in the 50’s, and the racially motivated and unjust firing of President Nathan B. Young in the 20’s.  Simply put: Real Radical Rattlers have been answering The Call since 1887.

But this fight, is different.  It is different because the enemy, is in-house.  

Rattlers Vs Snakes  

At FAMU you are either one of two things: A Real Radical Rattler, or a treacherous, trifling, treasonous, snake. There is no in between. Real Radical Rattlers answer The Call swiftly to defend The university against any threats; venomous snakes slither across campus hiding behind the accolades of a faded FAMU legacy that matters to no one outside of their own heads.  Snakes boast about their lineage without inquiry and insist that their authority rest not on merit or their capabilities (neither of which they possess), but merely on the account that their great-great-great-grandmother was the first woman on campus to wear pants to class or whatever ridiculous reason they tout. Real Radical Rattlers pray with you;  Snakes prey on you. Real Radical Rattlers put the village before self. Snakes preserve self at the expense of the village.

 Snakes tout mess;  Rattlers write checks. 
Which are you?

A Message To The Snakes

Over the next few weeks, I will be laying the case out for why it is imperative that FAMU retain its current administration. This is the most stable FAMU has been in nearly 15 years.    There is a very sinister plan at play and FAMU stands to lose more than just an Engineering School if we don’t act fast.  But, we must first separate the Rattlers from the snakes. When the grass has been cut down, and every stone has been turned over,  will you know where you stood? Where where you when things became tough? Did you cower over and slither your way to a comfortable safety? Did you jump on Facebook and Twitter and talk about what FAMU needed to do as opposed to asking what you can do?  Did you put self in front of the the village? Did you keep FAMU’s best interest in mind? Did you govern with her preservation as the end goal? If you find any of these difficult to answer, it is clear: You are a snake.The recent acts to oust the current President of FAMU is nothing more than the “works” of a few snakes whose actions should be viewed as nothing less than full and complete betrayal to the Rattler Nation.  

Those of you who have committed these acts,  particularly the FAMU Board of Trustees members who voted not to renew her contract, the melee of meddling mediocre preachers  who have slithered in and out of FAMU’s affairs for far too long, and the fraudulent leadership of the FAMU National Alumni Association adhere to these words: your acts of betrayal are nothing less than treason.  

Enjoy this Homecoming.  It will be your last.

Real Radical Rattlers: It’s Time To Give.

Before we address the acts of treason that have been committed against FAMU, we must first do what matters most: give. I was originally set out to donate $100. I’ll be honest, this is the first time in years I’ve donated to FAMU.  Don’t get me wrong, my service to Her has been real in the last decade.  But, this latest attack against her signaled that my words, no matter how much I thought they mattered, didn’t buy student books, or support The Marching 100.  I had to get serious about supporting The Hill. 

 I got my first check Friday as a school teacher. I quit my last job a month before I actually received my teaching position so this first check was literally right on time as 30 days had elapsed between my last pay day and this one.  I budgeted just $100. 

But then I started to really think  about where that money came from: my very first paycheck as a teacher. I was finally fulfilling a dream I’d chased for 10 years and  I thought about all of the skills both tangible and intangible I had been given at FAMU. FAMU opened me up to the majesty of the Black mind. FAMU currently has one of only two-African centered psychology curriculums in the nation that focuses on the experiences of Black people in America. When virtually everyone around me told me that attending a Black school and majoring in Black psychology and Black History would lead to disastrous employment opportunities, FAMU said “Yes.” On Tuesday, I begin my journey as 5th grade math and science teacher at one of only 20 African-Centered schools in the nation.

FAMU not only prepared me for my purpose; She gave me my voice: FAMU saw something in me, made me great, and now I have been blessed with the task of educating Black children from the south side of Chicago. Because of FAMU, I get to earn a pay check by reminding  Black children each and every day just how Bad & Black & Black & Bad they truly are.  FAMU made me realize that I am more than a teacher – I train future Pharaohs. I upped my pledge to $500. 

Then reality sank in.  I started to do that that thing we do when we aren’t serious about  F A I T H: I started to worry. This was  literally a third of my paycheck. I started thinking about bills. I thought about rent that’s already late.  I thought about my upcoming 30th birthday trip to Denver. I thought about all of the wonderful things I would do with my first paycheck; I thought about all of the  things that often keep me from making the sacrifices necessary to support our institution. Being an adult is gross. 

But then I thought about the time I met Angela Davis and delivered vegetarian soul food to her hotel room – a once-in-a-lifetime experience made possible by FAMU.  I thought about the first time I saw the K’s perform “This is a Serious Matter,” and first time I saw the Alphas ape walk (Eric O’Rear put his whole line to shame).  I thought about Dick Gregory and Cornel West, and Sistah Souljah, and Michelle Obama and all of the Brilliant Black minds I witnessed speak.   I thought about all of the times I spent hours in the Black Archives going through old yearbooks and being blown by the fact that OutKast, Ice Cube, James Brown, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and all of the Black artist that came though FAMU at some time or another.  I thought about the time I ran across an old issue of the FAMUan that praised a Nina Simone concert that took place on the eve of Homecoming in 1968.  Nina ended her show by proclaiming that every Rattler in the house was indeed, “Young, Gifted, & Black”.  Two-thirds of  my first paycheck as a teacher is going to FAMU – and I don’t even mind.  September’s rent check – in its entirety went to FAMU.    

In total, I donated $887 to FAMU. It’s not a lot, but it’s all I had. It would have been a $1,000 but I had to take a few dollars for groceries and laundry; the rest – every single dollar to my name at the moment, belongs to FAMU. I have experienced the uncertainty of where the rent money is coming from…plenty of times.  Believe me when I say this, it is an absolute honor to invest into FAMU at this critical time. I have experienced broke before.  I have even experienced homelessness.  What I have not experienced, nor what I cannot fathom, is a world without FAMU.  The Hill made me who I am; The Hill prepared me well for the battle that I have deemed necessary to wage in order to achieve our chief aim as a people: full and complete liberation.  When I speak of FAMU having campuses that sprawl thousands of acres and boasting a School of Medicine, a School of Dentistry, A School of Hospitality and an International Hotel,  A Film School, and an enrollment of 20,000, I speak from the  place of a Rattler who dreams big, works hard, and believe in the vision for FAMU.  But dreams aren’t free and school aren’t built on fantasies.  Sacrificial giving will get us to where we need to be. 
The current president has been accused of being “unfriendly” because as Black people, sometimes we need somebody to pat us on our back and smile at us, and make us feel all warm and gooey inside even when we know we in the wrong. Then there are those times we need an intelligent, capable, and no-nonsense Black Woman, who is unimpressed by your mediocrity and demand you to be better.  Elmira Mangum was unimpressed by the mediocrity happening at FAMU and demanded that we all do better.Under her leadership, FAMU is doing better. If she has an attitude, it’s likely because an attitude is what you have to have when dealing with treacherous, treasonous, and trifling snakes.   Mangum has been forced to work against a poisonous backdrop of micro-management, bullying, harassment, unfair evaluations, relentless public scrutiny  blatant sexism, and misogyny.  Still,  like a true Rattler, worked her way through all of that mess and still managed to build an respectable institution along the way. She is thinking Global in a time when snakes are still grappling with the idea that you can actually earn a real degree online.  Madame President Mangum has proven that she is a fighter for FAMU.  

Madame President Mangum is a Rattler.  I have never met her, but has been super impressed by what she has done at the helm of an institution whose internal culture is a mess.  Rattlers should be reminded that not only was Madame President the most qualified candidate in the last Presidential search, but the quality of applicants was so low and trifling, that a funeral director actually applied to run Our University.

Perhaps FAMUans should be reminded of the list Presidential candidates.  Two years laters, after the very public maltreatment of Elmira Mangum, no one will want to run FAMU.  But, leave it in the hands of the snakes, they’ll just install one of their own. Anything to keep “The Orange & Green Coon Club” alive and thriving. 

If we do not act, then we deserve a funeral director as our president.
If we do not give, then we deserve a funeral director as our president.
If we do not organize, then we deserve a funeral director as our president.  

Rattler Nation is More Than Capable of Raising of $10,000,000 before Homecoming.

So lets do it.  If you can give $1,887, then give it.  If you can give $1.00 then give it.  But do not tweet, talk, and hold on to your money.  Your opinion on FAMU is about as relevant as Donald Trump’s opinon on FAMU when you do not give

 I’ll bring this to a close because we have much to discuss,and we to need to do immediately?  GiveGive to the “I Support Magnum” campaign.  Give to the FAMU Gospel Choir. Give to whomever you want. Just give. I gave $887 to the Black Male College Explorer’s Program.  I am pledging another $1,000 more.  I won’t rest until I have given $1,887 to my alma mater. – And then, I’ll give $1,887 more.  Now more than ever, I convinced ALUMNI GIVING MATTERS!  Every dollar in support of student initiatives.  Scholarships, retention programs, travel opportunities, graduate schools: any way we can shape and form and protect the students is our number one priority.  Excuse us Howard while FAMU takes its rightful pace as the New and True Black Mecca. 


After we give, we will then turn our attention to the snakes. Then, Rattler Nation, We will deal with these snakes and their acts of treason the way a Nation deals with treasonists.

Then, once we raise $10 Million, and Olivia Pope the treasonists, and swell the National Alumni Association voter rolls by 10,000 we will then turn our attention to the real culprit behind FAMU’s instability: The Florida Legislature. By the by time we have had our way and our day in court, we will have eliminated forever any mention of an impending “FSU South.” When it is all said and done, it will be Rattlers moving ahead with our  plans for “FAMU @ Midtown.”

 Today, we give as Rattlers. 

 Tomorrow, we address the snakes.
Which are you? 

1 Comment

  1. Personally, I'd rather not see my contributions go to paying for stays at places like the Ritz-Carlton in NY and British Columbia, the Lermitage Hotel in Beverly Hills, etc, or $750 limo rides from Miami to Orlando when she has a driver and car assigned to her already. The unversity card issued by the foundation is not a personal debit card.

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