America: It’s Time to Cash the Check

Have you ever bounced a check? Better yet, have you ever bounced a check and had it returned due to insufficient funds being in your bank account?

Sucks, doesn’t it?

Writing a check that you thought you had enough money for in the bank, and then all of a sudden, you get the embarrassing and costly news that your check has been returned.

Come on now…don’t get all holier-than-thou on me. I am almost certain that you have written an insufficient check at one point in time in your life.

As a former banker and as a bank customer, I’ve seen and experienced my fair share of checks being returned due to insufficient funds, and it’s not a good feeling.

Something happens though once you’re notified by the bank that you’ve written a bad check or two – the bank charges you an insufficient funds fee, or an NSF fee that must be paid to them.

Sometimes the bank pays the check you wrote. Sometimes the bank returns the check back to the entity or person you wrote it to. Sometimes the bank will hold on to the check and attempt to run the check back through your account in order to see if will clear the second time.

Whatever the case may be, the fact that you wrote a check that you didn’t have the money to pay for once it tries to clear the bank, will constitute you paying that insufficient funds fee.

I was thinking about the famous message that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered in 1963 from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., where he spoke about the need for the United States to do the right thing by making sure Black people received the respect, freedom and justice they deserved and were rightfully owed.

During his speech entitled “Normalcy, Never Again,” which is commonly referred to as the “I Have a Dream” speech, Dr. King’s message to America was more than just a dream. He demanded that America re-evaluate itself, and make an immediate change so as to provide equal freedom and equal justice for Black people – a people who had suffered countless injustices and had consistently received disparate treatment in this country.

Dr. King delivered some strong and direct words to America, as if he was a seasoned banker dealing with a customer who had bounced a check, saying:

“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s Capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, Black men as well as White men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check; a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds’. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check- a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

Dr. King demanded that America give Black people the opportunity to thrive in this country, by providing Black people with the ability to pursue economic vibrancy, wealth generation, voting rights, social justice and freedom from police brutality and racial injustice.

While his message should never be forgotten, it seems to have been forgotten in the minds of many, and it’s time to resurrect that strong and direct message of Dr. King by telling America: It’s Time to Cash the Check!

Black Americans are still dealing with many of the same pertinent issues that Dr. King fought to address during his lifetime – many at a greater level. Black Americans are still plagued with many issues that require the immediate attention of the American government, legislators, corporate America, community activists and educators. America: It’s Time to Cash the Check!

Dr. King was more than just a simple Black man who had a ‘dream’. Dr. King was a conscientious Black man who had a vision of what America should look like with Black people being an integral and respected part of it. America: It’s Time to Cash the Check!

Dr. King let America know that normalcy would no longer be tolerated in America under his watch. He also let America know that Black people were no longer going to settle for the status-quo opportunities and inadequate treatment. Dr. King told America that things had to change, and that same message needs to be shared today. America: It’s Time to Cash the Check!

Dr. King was a visionary and his message should be replayed and revisited right now, especially when he said during that same speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial:

“It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”

If there was ever a since of urgency for America to do right by Black people, by ensuring we have an account that is in the black to offset the bad check given to Blacks for decades, and that properly clears with no further problems, that time is now. America: It’s Time to Cash the Check!

We have been given a bad check, and a raw deal, and that must be acknowledged. As a people, Blacks have not been treated with the same level of economic and social respect as other groups in this country, and that’s not something Blacks should have to complain about or beg for.

Like Dr. King, I’m not content with what has been normally done to Black people. We must put the proper resources in this insufficient account of life in America, by making sure the proverbial bad check is fully paid (and the checks have been bad checks), and by making sure all of the insufficient fund charges that have accrued over the years get rectified also.

The bottom line is this: America: It’s Time to Cash the Check!

Jeffrey L. Boney serves as Associate Editor and is an award-winning journalist for the Houston Forward Times newspaper. Jeffrey has been a frequent contributor on the Nancy Grace Show and Primetime Justice with Ashleigh Banfield. Jeffrey has a national daily radio talk show called Real Talk with Jeffrey L. Boney, and is a dynamic, international speaker, experienced entrepreneur, business development strategist and Founder/CEO of the Texas Business Alliance. If you would like to request Jeffrey as a speaker, you can reach him at