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That speaks volumes, while here in the District, stakeholders await the word of federal prosecutors who could announce that our current black mayor, Democrat Vincent C. Gray, is a criminal, too.

Blacks were killed and jailed to get the right to do things small — like drink from a water fountain — and large — like vote and become president of the United States.

Soon we will come together to pay homage to Mr. Guyot, who was no shrinking violet even as his body gave way to heart problems and diabetes.

As Keith Silver, president of the D.C. chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said of Mr. Guyot: He brought “down south” service and commitment “up south.”

Perhaps focus should be placed on a single key word: leadership.

Leaders become leaders naturally and by design.

The role of providence in such organizations as the SCLC is obvious. The role of Mr. Guyot in founding the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to upset the national party’s segregationist ways was by design.

How many more black leaders must be lost before we take a moral stand and redesign black leaders, whether their party designation is Democrat, Republican or other?

Seems this is the time for a reckoning among blacks — the time for a moral majority of blacks to preach to and begin seriously grooming a new generation of black leadership.

Our leaders should become our leaders by design, not by chance.

Deborah Simmons can be reached at