The Mighty Maroon Giants, but why?

“We are the Giants, the Mighty Mighty Giants!”

For those of you who had a mediocre high school experience, this blog is not for you. Well, maybe it is for you because the words and the analysis I’m about to present has everything to do with the enduring human spirit. The way I see myself, and the way I see others is all wrapped up, tied up, and put together predominantly at one location; 2432 N. Drake Rd. in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Otherwise known as Kalamazoo Central World-Class High School.

So I learned a lot about myself through being identified with something much larger than me: the maroon giant legacy. Kalamazoo Central was the first public high school in the state of Michigan founded in 1859. Now, I wasn’t around obviously in 1859 when the mascot “maroon giant” was chosen. I don’t know why they chose maroon and white. I don’t know why I keep going back, it’s just a school.

Or is it just a school? See the further away I am from N. Drake Rd., the more I understand how much North Drake is inside of me.  I carry it with me everyday, everywhere I go. I learned there that one human being can make a difference. I learned that it is imperative for all of us to be a part of something that’s larger than us. For if we are not a part of a larger “we” then were destined to live out his life all by ourselves with nothing to show for our existence.

All of the maroon giants that I know, or those individuals who worked on behalf of the maroon giants were all outstanding people who believed in collective success. A vast majority the alumni of Kalamazoo Central high school  have gone on to do wonderful things in this world, to transform the human condition, and to leave this world a better place than they found it. As I research maroon giants I found that there was a whole another group of maroon giants that lived long before the high school.

In the New World as early as 1512, black slaves had escaped from Spanish and Portuguese owners and either joined indigenous people or lived on their own. As early as 1655, runaway slaves had formed their own communities in Jamaica and by the 18th century other villages begin the fight for independent recognition. These early slaves who banded together and subsided independently were called “maroons”.

One of the amazing attributes of these maroon people was that they gained their independence from the British many years before the abolishment of the slave trade. These were individuals who created their own economic structure, participated in the care of their own communities, and who were committed to the abolishment of one of the largest sins known to man; treating another human being as less than human. When I read about the maroon people, the word that immediately came to mind was ‘giant’. These maroon people as well as the maroon giants for whom I know are aptly named maroons.  The 1500’s maroon giants and the present day classes both continue to abolish people’s low expectations of them. And furthermore the maroons made the world a better place than what they found, and so do maroon giants today!

There are great lessons to be learned both from the maroon giants of this age and the maroon giants of afore-time.  I continue to learn lessons about how these maroons are the ones that we need today and forever more.

So if you’re a maroon giant, Loy Norrix Knight, or a San Diego slugger; it’s of no consequence. What is of great consequence is your ability and willingness to abolish those forces that would hold you and others back from reaching their full potential, and committing yourself to making sure that you rise above the crowd to make a real difference in the world.

As in my other blogs I continue to urge all of us to exercise leadership in our own space. And there’s only one question left to ask…will the real maroon giants please stand up?

Peace, joy,  and Go Giants!

2432 North Drake Road


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