Getting Back to Cosbyville: How do we do it

Getting Back to Cosbyville: How do we do it

In the 1980's "The Cosby Show" was the #1 television show in America. I was in college and remember that we would rush from class to gather around televisions to watch the show and the subsequent spin off "A Different World'. We would do this because there were shows on TV that we truly could relate too. Attending a historically black college/university(HBCU) and living in a community where parents were present and people had and were taught values represented my life at that time. My school Florida A&M University (FAMU)and my community Chatham.

While at FAMU an article came out in the magazine, that had the second highest subscription rate on the campus, Ebony ran a story on Chatham taunting it as a great place to live. Some started calling it Cosbyville after the television show. It was not usually to have a doctor and lawyer in a home and have a community that respected it community and culture. After the article and the running of "Different World", African American college attendance and graduation rates increased.

Fast forward to 2012 and Chatham is not being called Cosbyville anymore. HBCU's are having difficult times attracting and retaining students. The popular television shows show dysfunctional African American families and individuals who have no respect for their community or culture.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I met a young man named Jahmal Cole who stated he wanted to run for office. I stated you have to get involved, understand the community issues and network. This was several years ago and now he has. He recently finished his book "A Torch of Decency" which chronicles the history of Chatham. he doesn't sugarcoat the issues but talks straight forward about why things are happening and what needs and can be done to correct the problems.

Here is a clip of Jahmal explaining his reason for the book:

Can Chatham get back to Cosbyville? With the next generation leaders like Jahmal, I believe we can.

Jahmal Cole is an author, speaker, and community leader and recent Idea Week Fellow. As a child, Jahmal was inspired by Nas to dream bigger than his surroundings. At the tender age of four, young Jahmal gave his first of many speeches at his pre-school graduation ceremony. Years later, he graduated from Reuther Central High School, and Cole’s dreams of a better life took him across the Midwest to Wayne State College in Nebraska, where he spent four years on the WSC Men’s Basketball Team. The recipient of a Scholar Athlete Award in 2005, Jahmal also made the Dean’s List on four separate occasions. From there, he has continued his dedication to lifelong learning by earning a Master’s Degree in Internet Marketing at Full Sail University and an MCSA Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator Certificate from Microtrain in Chicago, Illinois.

One of Cole’s first inspirations toward public service came from his father, who ran for City Council. Today, Jahmal is using that inspiration to service and mentor inner city youth. As the founder of Role Model Movement, a not-for-profit branch of Role Model Publishing, Cole strives to make the community a better place to live as he inspires and helps teens and young adults to rise above their present circumstances and upbringing. His message has reached over 2,500 young readers to date through his motivational book, Athletes and Emcees, published by Role Model Publishing. In Athletes and Emcees, Cole shares his remarkable story as he relates how basketball and hip-hop, his two favorite pastimes, became the foundation for his success, while revealing that the opportunity for a richer, more rewarding life is available to anyone.

Jahmal is passionate about shaping a better future for today’s youth and knows that community involvement and pride can positively impact tomorrow’s young leaders. Therefore, he is currently releasing his second book entitled, “The Torch of Decency,” a groundbreaking effort to preserve Chatham’s rich history and culture, while reigniting the community’s pride and commitment to its future. Jahmal is also an active associate board member of the Children’s Research Triangle and Children’s Home + Aid and a mentor for the Illinois Education Foundation. Jahmal Cole is the Treasurer of the Greater Chatham Alliance.

Today, 28-year-old Jahmal shares his inspirational message at high schools and colleges across the nation. He and his wife, Tiffany, are residents of the Southside of Chicago and the parents of a daughter, Khammur Monet’.

You can meet Jahmal
February 18, 2012
200 W 87th
Chicago, IL

If you are interested in helping Jahmal contact him at

Leave a comment