J. Edgar Hoover is responsible for terrorizing Black people and countless civil rights activists. His reign of terror across America must be remembered and taught as part of the Critical Race Theory movement. The truth of his evil acts toward Black people must be brought to light in every classroom in America. The truth about his personal life must also be brought to light. He was a closeted gay man who targeted and terrorized the LGBTQ community. The tactics he employed to smear the names of so many, including MLK and Malcolm X must never be forgotten. J. Edgar Hoover was an American made monster. And yet, his name remains a shameful stain and hurtful reminder of America’s relentless racism on the FBI building in Washington, DC. It’s time to rename the FBI Headquarters to reflect the future all Americans deserve.
As we close the month of February marking Black history in America, it’s important to reflect on our collective journey since the Diaspora out of Africa. And the stories that highlight our diverse experience as Black folks, like Anansi folktales, continue to shape our culture and humanity. The anthem, “I’m Black and I’m proud” takes on a whole new meaning when put in proper perspective these days. Our ancient life lessons are evident in countless modern stories, including that of Nathanial “Nate” Mines, a holistic health guru, retired firefighter and owner of Dynamic Health & Wellness in Washington, DC.
Nate, as most people affectionately call him, for years has advocated a return to nature and holistic living, especially for Black people. “Natural living is what I advocate for my people,” he said during our interview at his H St. NE location. And his holistic health and wellness business is growing, especially amongst his target audience: Black folks. And it’s a welcome sign Nate says, especially when data continually show African Americans have the greatest need for improvement when it comes to their health. And long-standing social factors—racism, poverty, education, housing, access to healthy foods, environmental exposures, violence, criminal justice—are still the main determinants of these health disparities.
Nate says our salvation lies in nature. And when we can’t access nature, supplements, exercise and healthy eating can make a difference. He says the holistic supplements, oils, herbs and books he carries have personally changed his life and he works to share the blessings of nature and holistic living and healing with others. “Everyone has a calling and this is mine.” Nate and his grandsons are planning to open another store in Atlanta and they’re in the middle of planning a Grand Opening in the coming days for the newest Dynamic Health & Wellness in Waldorf, MD. In addition to his herbs, oils and supplements, Nate leads a weekly Chess Club with fellow instructor, Vaughn Bennett. The two advocate teaching Chess to Black youths as a way to overcome structural racism and to break barriers. Bennett recently started a petition in partnership with Change.org to help end systemic racism in Chess.