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cover8By: Darwin Campbell, African-American News&Issues

Dallas – There was a time in history when a man walked up to another man in a garden and kissed him. It was that kiss that set off an arrest, false accusations and a firestorm of controversy.

His work, lessons and examples were misunderstood by many. Much of his work created gossip, allegations, seeded distaste and revolt among the masses against an oppressive government. That made officials feel uneasy, so they despised him.

It causes such a stir that he was taken, mocked and tried in a public forum by government officials and that sent his fearful followers underground and scattering in every direction.

Like a lamb being led to slaughter, the man himself was left standing all alone open to ridicule and persecution.

It is the plight of any outspoken leader who champions the cause of the people, freedom, equality, heritage and history. It is the fallout of turning over Black history and attacking the filthy truths and historical rags of Dallas racism both past and present.

It is the burden of Dallas Commissioner John Wiley Price, who now is under attack by a slick combination of Federal investigations and indictments and biased, slimy attempts at journalism by a White dominated media organizations in Dallas that are controlled and manipulated by racists and Republicans in that city.

Last week, federal investigators swooped down on Price arresting him and announcing  a 13-count indictment involving alleged bribery, tax fraud and mail fraud. Price has pled not guilty to all charges.

Federal prosecutors claim from 2001 to 2011 Price allegedly received a stream of $950,000 in corrupt payments and financial benefits in the form of money, cars and land. The also contends he did not report over $1.1 million on his tax returns which is why the IRS was also involved in the three year investigation.

Friends and supporters who know him stand by the man they call a trailblazer and example for Black men and Black leaders.

Longtime McLennon County Commissioner Lester Gibson said the attacks on Price are for his years of freedom fighting and exposing racism and injustices in Dallas and Dallas County.

“He has meant a lot to the Black political struggle in Dallas and across the state of Texas,” Gibson said.

“He broke barriers and has been responsible for setting the tone and inspired a lot of Black politicians. It is one of the main reasons for the surge in Blacks running for commissioner and other offices over the past 30 years.”

Gibson said Whites in Dallas do not like or appreciate the fact that Price is truly an outspoken man who has been a leader and has been sincere in defending issues and perspectives as they relate to the Black history and the community.

“There has been an ongoing crusade to target and topple him,” he said. “It is simply because he stands up for what is right and gives the community truth and a conscience.”

Gibson compares the attack on Price to a scene in the movie “Roots” where actor Levar Burton was being beaten and whipped by slave masters for only saying his African name, which was Kunta Kinte.

His master beat him and beat him trying to make him say his name was “Toby”.

Kunta Kinte refused to yield to his master’s calling to rename him Toby.

“They want to beat John Wiley (Price) down until he says “Toby”,” he said. “John is not going to say “Toby”. 

John Wiley Price, the first African American elected to the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court, has served for more than 25 years and remains as passionate and popular as he was when he first took office on January 1, 1985.

Price, lovingly known in the Black community as “Our Man Downtown”, has been a strong and compassionate voice on issues involving Blacks, Hispanics and the poor.

His vision, his vigor and his veracity has made him popular throughout this nation as a powerful proponent and advocate for all of the people of Dallas County and far beyond.

He has always been tough and passionate leader on issues and did not hesitate to help others or take important messages and issues to the streets.

Price has been a vocal street marcher, an active protester and has never been hesitant to speak his mind on issues affecting the African-American community.

While many other Black run for cover or bow down to pressure from White power structures and machines, Price has always stood firm and tried to carry the torch for a Black community of diverse voices and ideas without fear or favor.

Freedom Fighter Juanita Wallace, president of the Dallas Chapter of the NAACP, said the feds and media are manipulating public opinion by trying the case in the public eye.

“What we see coming out of the media in Dallas is purely unfair,” said Juanita Wallace, president of the Dallas Chapter of the NAACP. “It is a public lynching and the Dallas media and federal investigators are the ones doing it.”

Since the indictments, the media has dogged Price, watching every move, profiling him and following him like he is on TMZ, she said.

Wallace notes that since Price’s arrest there have been numerous articles and news stories highlighting his brash words, past protests and raw truth that called out  “Whites”, the dark side of White history  and racism in Dallas.

“Their efforts are a clear attempt to label him and bring him down by attacking his character and motives,”she said. “This is a vendetta to influence public opinion. He is innocent until proven guilty, but it is apparent that Black public officials are not treated with the dignity and respect as Whites.”

Longtime Community Activist Fred Ghaffer agrees.

He said the Price indictment clearly shows the biases in justice system that exists between Black and White officials and underscores the fact that all Dallas White media organizations use and mock Black people.

“There are two standards of prosecution and justice – one system for Blacks and one for Whites,” he said. “White politicians have the same issues and they are not under indictments here. They are not even being looked at. A few years back, the Feds tried their best to remove every Black official in office here with some kind of investigations. How many Whites did they look at? How many Whites went to prison? They all took the same money and voted on the same projects, even then Mayor Laura Miller. She got no jail time. It was all ignored.”

Ghaffer predicts that the conscious Black community will not scatter, but stand up and support Price when the issues are brought to trial.

Wallace also warns that Blacks must understand the full and complete underlying political motives involved with taking down a high profile Black community role model like Price.

He is withstanding the pressures of the fiery furnace that is Dallas politics and has plans to weather the storm.

John Wiley Price does not walk on water, but neither does White racists or Tea Party Republicans who are brainwashed into thinking that their form of harassment, persecution and political conservatism is approved and authorized by God himself.

Wallace said blacks cannot be fooled by the hype and current swirl of news reports and poisonous rhetoric being spewed by those who control the White news media.

She calls for African-Americans to remain vigilant in the fight for truth, equality and justice.

“It is designed to intimidate, slow down the progress and stop political activism,” she said. “Some here think that the ideal of bringing Commissioner Price down would cause others Black activists to give up the fight, fold up tents and go home. Well, they are wrong.”