Tag Archives: slavery

False Flag

I’mma play the devil’s advocate on this one. So there’s an online petition asking for the removal of the Confederate flag fueled recently by the shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. In the south, for some, the flag represents a symbol of pride. When seen, it’s a rally cry for those that felt oppressed by a government (the North/Union) who destroyed their families’ livelihoods over a century and a half ago. For others, it represents a beckon of hate. A constant reminder of days past where people of color were tormented and tortured; entrenched in history, with the burning cross (imagine that), as a sign of the danger to come for those whose hue, sexual orientation or religious background were different from that of their oppressors. Whether carried by hooded rogues or waving in an afternoon breeze on the back of a Ford F-150, gun-rack in tow, it instilled fear and horror. It’s symbolizes the Black holocaust here in a country where one of the slogans are “Give us your poor, your tired, your huddled masses longing to be free.” Does removing the flag from state buildings, tailgating events and other venues resolve the root causes of racism? The answer for some is it’s a step in the right direction. It would mean that as a society we’re making progressive steps by attempting to solve a problem deeply woven in the annals of American history. The real answer is “No!” As a material object, it doesn’t change the psychology of the individual enveloped in its clutches. It’s something which is embedded as a result of exposure and practice; it’s a behavior that’s taught and the flag only serves as a reminder of a cause, not its intrinsic value or intent. Members of the Klu Klux Klan no longer walk around wearing their robes and other garments in reverence to their agenda. They pose as your doctors, attorneys, pediatricians, police officers and teachers. Though the fabric may be buried underneath valuables in a basement or hanging near trinkets in an attic, it’s a mindset that goes unchanged by judgment, public opinion or common sense. If you’re willing to remove the Confederate flag, be willing to remove the flag of this very country because the foundations are virtually the same. A mere search through history will reveal the methods by which the United States was able to establish, expand, maintain and continue its dominance as a global power.

I say keep the flag; let it serve as a reminder of the atrocities that have occurred under its banner. Keeping those that are aware of its history to be ever mindful of the smell of burning buildings, decomposed corpses, shattered windows and broken dreams which occurred and continues to do so while it flies. Allow it to summon the strength and courage necessary to overcome the adversity associated with its colors, stars & bars. Let people bask in its splendor as a reminder of the loss the South suffered during the War on Northern Aggression (The Civil War). It’ll be contradictory to remove generations of tradition, be it right or wrong, because it doesn’t adhere to the norms of society. No different than the Native Americans or the Africans that arrived here via the TransAtlantic Slave Trade being stripped of their culture, religion & beliefs. Changing the names and uniforms of the Ole Miss Rebels, stopping the sales of automobile license plates or removing the red bars from the State of Florida’s flag (which represents its time in the confederacy) won’t change the underlying issue. Racism, though enhanced by signs, symbols and images, is an inherent practice that is taught and instilled psychologically. Until the thought process changes, the removal of objects is only a superficial attempt to alleviate the issue. If that were the case, the existence of a divine being that can relieve the world of its ills and solve individual suffering wouldn’t be praised on a daily basis.


Maybe I feel this way because I don’t reside in a Bainbridge, Georgia, the Appalachian Mountains or Jackson, Mississippi where racism is felt and dealt with at a different degree and the flag carries an entirely different meaning. On second thought, take that sh*t down! It endorses principles that are no longer applicable and is a constant reminder of servitude and alleged racial superiority based solely on the color one’s skin. . So as Bree Newsome is praised for her courageous act of civil disobedience after climbing the flag pole and removing the Confederate flag from the Statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina, perhaps it should be considered that other flags be removed from their perch atop buildings of stature worldwide upon further examination of their histories of colonization. “As a people we are fighting to maintain the Heaven-ordained supremacy of the white man over the inferior or colored race. As a national emblem, it (the Confederate flag) is significant of our higher cause, the cause of a superior race.” (William T. Thompson, designer of the Confederate flag) “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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“The more things change, the more they stay the same”, was first used by French novelist Alphonse Karr (1808-1890). There’s no explanation as to why he coined this phrase, but if he were alive today, I’m sure his sentiment would remain identical to his initial thought. Despite the world’s technological and socioeconomic advances, humanity’s compassion appears to resemble that of a Neanderthal; primitive, unenlightened, culturally and intellectually backwards. We live on a planet where the richest 1% of the world’s population controls nearly half of the global wealth; leaving the remaining percentile to fight for the residual resources; where despite these developments, we remain blinded to the reality that engulfs us in chaos.

A scene of uproar and confusion; bedlam has been embedded into the Black populous. “Allegedly” arriving to the New World in 1502, the injustices of the Black Male still stands atop a syndicated list. Since those times, we’ve dealt with indentured servitude, slavery, the Casual Killing and Meritorious Manumission Acts of 1705 and 1710 respectively, Reconstruction, sharecropping, the establishment of unions to exclude “negroes” from the workplace and mortgage discrimination. Notwithstanding the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, the three (3) things that have hindered Black progress; the 13th Amendment in conjunction with the Black Codes and Jim Crow laws, which has led to mass incarceration; a contentious relationship with law enforcement and the psychological damage caused as a result of serfdom. The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime. Though the amendment formally abolished slavery throughout the United States, factors such as Black Codes, white supremacist violence, and selective enforcement of statutes continued to subject some African-Americans to involuntary labor; particularly in the once Confederate South. Many activists site this as the reason for the mass incarceration of people of color, as Blacks make up 12-14% of the general population, yet account for over 50% of the incarcerated individuals in correctional facilities. Jim Crow laws were racial segregation state and local laws enacted after the Reconstruction period in the “South” that continued until 1965 mandating de jure racial segregation in all public facilities starting in 1890 with a “separate but equal” status for African Americans. Jim Crow laws mandated the segregation of public schools, public places and public transportation, and the segregation of restrooms, restaurants and drinking fountains for Whites and Blacks. The implementation of these edicts followed the 1800–1866 Black Codes, which had previously restricted the civil rights and civil liberties of African Americans.

It can be argued that the foundation for police departments were instituted by the creation of slave patrols. The first patrols were established in South Carolina in 1704, and were organized groups of White men who monitored and enforced discipline upon Black slaves in the prewar United States southern states. The principle began when other measures failed and was installed to instill slave control and obedience. The first police department in the United States was established in New York City in 1844 (it was officially organized in 1845). This occurred as urbanization was occurring at a rapid pace and old informal watch and the constable system was no longer adequate to control disorder. This can be debated, as many will suggest actions like “Stop and Frisk” and “Driving while Black” are a means of profiling and singling out people of color as being unruly and unworthy of having the rights and privileges afforded to all of the country’s citizens.

Lastly, the most powerful weapon used was the division created amongst Blacks as a result of slavery. The encouragement for “self-hate” is accurately described in the Willie Lynch Letter, and whether real or fabricated, continues to ring true to this present time. According to the manuscript, Lynch presented to an audience of slave owners on the bank of the James River in Virginia in 1712, a full proof method for “controlling their Black slaves” and he guaranteed the slave masters that this method would control the slaves for at least 300 years. He stated that he used fear, distrust and envy for control purposes. After the slaves received this indoctrination, they would become self-refueling and self-generating for years to come. He first stated to pit the different aspects of a Black slave against another Black slave; old Black male vs. young Black male, light skin slaves vs. dark skin slaves, female vs. male and vice versa in all the situations stated. It appears this method continues to work as all the images and rhetoric reflects the self-destructive behavior Lynch stated would occur for centuries.

black 2

We all see the atrocities on a daily basis; our hearts mourn for the losses of lives that occur in our communities, nationally and abroad. Police violence on its citizens appears to have escalated and acquittals for those that appear to “purposely” harm African-Americans are becoming the norm. The sympathetic tears no longer flow from those trying to understand their plight and the obstacles they’ve faced, because in their eyes, that’s the way they conduct themselves. Take the events of recent weeks involving the shootings of Walter Scott in South Carolina and Eric Harris in Tulsa, Oklahoma; look at the comment sections related to the stories and review the threads. Many of the responses consist of individuals stating, “If you don’t want to get shot, don’t commit the crime!” or “You deserve what you get for being a criminal!” The media (television, news and other visual forms of entertainment) plays a huge part in contributing to the public perception. What the Black community views as amusement is perhaps someone’s only glimpse as to who they think people are. So when a juror deliberates the information provided and has to determine the fate of someone who looks like “them” and is believed to have upstanding character, morals and values; and in return have to resort to imagery, lack of exposure or what they’ve been taught or heard when analyzing their inverse, the conclusion is seamless. Victims are left to wonder how this verdict could have been reached when the evidence is so clear. The African-American community sees it as a loss of life; every life is to be cherished and appreciated; no one individual is greater than another; we’re a part of the human race. However, in society’s mind they may only see the ongoing issues that inflict violence. From Chicago to the Bloods & Crips in South Central Los Angeles, we see gang violence. “Refugees” and looters craze the streets due to the damage of Hurricane Katrina. Television shows such as “Empire” and musical personalities like Rick Ross, Lil’ Wayne and Chris Brown paint imageries that our lifestyles are full of violence and their lyrics emend a negative monotone on our culture. We now have athletes; Ray Rice, Greg Hardy and the one who paved the way for them all; Ray Carruth who now adds counts to incarceration rates and nightly news segments identifying an African-American as the usual suspect. In many cases, society has a trained perception although it isn’t right, the Black race has provided them with this site map of autonomy due to the refusal to acknowledge the reflections within their own mirrors. So when an adolescent dies in the streets of Overtown (Miami, Florida); Charleston, South Carolina; Detroit or Philadelphia as a result of the catch phrase “Black on Black” violence; people, from behind their keyboards and telecommunication devices, cry out, “Why aren’t we marching against sh*t like this?” The fact is most murders are intra-racial; with 86% of White victims killed by White offenders and 94% of Blacks victims killed by Black offenders. Advocates will suggest that during the 503 days between the Trayvon Martin shooting and the George Zimmerman verdict, 10,865 Blacks were killed by other Blacks. In addition, there are those who will propose that there’s no significant racial disparity when it comes to police violence against the country’s inhabitants. In an article written by Politifact in August 2014, the website indicated that The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps data on fatal injuries from 1999 to 2011 and one category is homicides by legal intervention. The term “legal intervention” covers any situation when a person dies at the hands of anyone authorized to use deadly force in the line of duty. Over the span of more than a decade, 2,151 Whites died by being shot by police compared to 1,130 Blacks. Brian Forst, a professor in the Department of Justice, Law and Criminology at American University, said this difference is predictable. “More whites are killed by the police than blacks primarily because Whites (63%) outnumber Blacks (12%) in the general population by more than five to one,” Forst said. A 2002 study in the American Journal of Public Health found that the death rate due to legal intervention was more than three times higher for blacks than for whites in the period from 1988 to 1997. Candace McCoy is a criminologist at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York, and she provided a theory as to why the Black rate was much higher. McCoy said, “Blacks might be more likely to have a violent encounter with police because they are convicted of felonies at a higher rate than Whites.” Felonies include offenses such as violent crimes like murder and rape, property crimes like burglary and embezzlement, to drug trafficking and gun offenses. This would explain the outrage the public has when it appears that violence by those sworn to “protect and serve” is being perpetrated against one segment of society. ‬‬

What if I told you those same protests, marches and events that people clamor for concerning “Black on Black” violence and “police brutality” take place nationwide; but because you don’t, and in many cases won’t see them on your television, they weren’t announced, properly organized, or the occasion wasn’t as heavily “shared” via social media as Taraji P. Henson saying “Take these cookies!” you were unaware they took place. Taking all these elements into consideration, what is being done to prevent the perceived extinction of the Black race here in the United States or worldwide? We’re reminded through history that the Holocaust, also known as the Shoah, was a genocide in which approximately six (6) million Jews were killed by the Nazi regime and its collaborators under the reign of Adolf Hitler. We’re reminded annually about the terrorist events of September 11th. Yet when asked to right the wrongs inflicted by slavery or compensation (reparations) for helping lay the foundation for the United States being the super power it is today, Blacks are asked to “get over it” and no one is held accountable. According to Michelle Alexander, author the book “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”, there more Black men incarcerated or under the watch of the criminal justice system than enslaved in 1850. Cecil Rhodes was a perpetrator of genocide, responsible for the displacement of millions of African people for the benefit of White settlers and enslavement of African people on their own land. White people came from Europe and became wealthy from the theft of the gold and diamonds in Southern Africa. Rhodes paid a mercenary army from England and stocked them with Maxim machine guns; and with only five (5) machine guns the English slaughtered 5,000 African people in one afternoon alone–then celebrated with dinner and champagne. King Leopold II of Belgium was responsible for the deaths and mutilation of 10 million Congolese Africans during the late 1800’s. Belgium owes much of its spoils to the people of the Congo River Basin. Yet these events are rarely, if ever discussed, and many of these tyrants are forever honored for the mayhem and destruction they’ve caused, with an example being the Rhodes Scholarship, named after Rhodes, which is an international postgraduate award for selected foreign students to study at the University of Oxford. The world’s last surviving male northern white rhino – stripped of his horn for his own safety – is now under 24-hour armed guard in a desperate final bid to save the species. Sudan (the rhino’s name) is guarded day and night by a group of rangers who risk their lives as they try to keep it from poachers lured by the rising price of ivory. Who will protect the Black race from the verge of extinction as a result of mass incarceration, death by their oppressors or by their own hands? Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We want things on earth as it is in heaven, yet refuse to work together to create that reality. #Wakeup “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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Preyed Upon

I and my kind have roamed these lands for eons. I have no perception of time, so the sun rising and falling are of no consequence to me. I thrive in an ecosystem where every species has its place and familiar with their roles. I have no concept for the species for which I’m categorized; I only follow my animalistic instincts and do what’s natural. I live a free-flowing lifestyle; for I am the lord of these lands and ruler of all I survey. There are others that are thought to be superior to me, but are no challenge to my authority, cunning and intuition. I’m an imposing figure once upright and out of my stance. I’m deceptively fleet of foot and have the mental capacity to astonish. Some have thought I am the missing link to all existence; the strands of my DNA the missing piece to complete the puzzle of all humanity. And for this I’m WANTED.

This day is no different than any other. The morning dew litters the leaves and the sun rays pierce through the vegetation in which I dwell. I and other members of the troop go out to seek nourishment to fill our empty bellies. We separate briefly in an attempt to locate an area of abundance that will satisfy the needs of the band. The acreage in which I live is dubbed the “Dark Continent” because it remains shrouded in mystery and holds treasures the likes the world has never seen. Strangers have scoured these shores capturing my kind and ravaging the land of its resources. I wander the brush and detect an unfamiliar scent. My senses are now heightened. There’s uneasiness in the foliage; a twig breaks silently and I immediately perceive the presence of danger. I seek higher ground from the company of an enemy which remains invisible, and within moments I’m entwined in the confines of a net. I struggle to release myself from this prison and I’m met with butt of a shotgun; struck squarely between my eyes and forehead. I scrape and claw; bite and scratch and with the second blow, I’m left unconscious. I will see the lands of my birth no more.

I awaken caged and shakled. The ebb and flow of the seas make my stomach uneasy. I roar, shaking my enclosure unmercifully in an attempt to escape. My captors can’t understand me, as my dialect is foreign to their ears. Thus, my cries for help go unnoticed. To my enslavers, it’s an annoyance and they strike me with their staffs to silence me. I comply because I wish the pain to stop. We arrive at our destination and I’m met with awe; passersby halt in amazement. They’ve never seen a specimen such as me. Three (3) men to my left appear to negotiate an agreement for my services, and now I’m off to a life which is destined to be brutal and unbearable. They’re confident that because of my strength and size, I can outperform the work done by others; they’re correct in their assessment. They believe because of my stature, I eat meat and will devour everything placed before me, scraps, tiny morsels and all; they’re wrong because it’s been proven that I’m more herbivore than carnivore; the dietary change is something I’ll grow accustomed to. They assume because I can’t articulate my feelings, I’ll absorb their verbal abuse; they’re correct with their assumptions as with each act of defiance I am punished more severely. They think by cracking the whip and striking me with their instruments I’ll work harder, longer, faster; they’re wrong as I can only work to my body strengths and limitations. And after all of this, they force me to breed with others of my kind and continue the cycle that they’ve instilled. And for generations, I and my kind have entertained you; appeared on your televisions and featured films; you’ve pointed at me from the other side of impenetrable glass or a gate separated by a cavern; people have impersonated me and made a mockery of the ideals for which I stand; they’ve performed experiments and still can’t understand the state of my being; and if I’m deemed dangerous, they won’t hesitate to kill me on site. And though my freedom has gradually increased over the decades, I feel no freer than the day of my arrival. I yearn for peace and tranquility, and seek a reversal of the psychological damaged that has been inflicted upon me, plagued my kind and rule our existence. I am the Mountain Gorilla from Rwanda, Africa, and with my dwindling numbers I’m deemed an endangered species. Change my habitat to the concrete jungle and my species to human, what would I be? “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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A Reason For Celebration

Starships and Rockets in a world that don’t give a damn

Bullets fly past me, who can I trust

A player doing the best I can

If you set yo’ mind free baby

Maybe you’ll understand

Starships and Rockets, in a world that don’t give a damn – Eightball from the song Starships and Rockets

Change those lyrics to fireworks and explosives, and for one day those lyrics have a more profound meaning. Shortly after Thanksgiving and just prior to Christmas, most companies & government agencies release their schedules for holiday days off for the upcoming year. We scan the dates, flip our calendars to determine when events will be scheduled. We gaze toward the future to determine how we can manipulate the dates to our benefit. If a holiday falls on a Tuesday, the thought is party hard Monday evening at an event we’d normally miss because we don’t have to report to our employers the following day; #Turnup! “Four (4) day weekend!” The concept is repeated during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. “You mean to tell me I have Thursday, Friday and the weekend off?” #Turnup! LOL! So now we arrive at the day to celebrate our nation’s independence. The 4th of July has arrived, and low and behold it’s on a Friday. The attendance in any local club or venue will reach optimum capacity as people plan to enjoy the lengthy weekend. The one thing as Americans we learn to do is “live for the weekend.” (OJay’s reference)  The men will prep their meats and other commodities for the forthcoming day of festivities. Preparations are made to find a location to watch the fireworks extravaganza held at a local park or other location. On this date, the nation is filled with pride as we celebrate our supposed independence from the British Empire; the Crown if you will. Hell… Nathan’s will have their famous Hot Dog Eating Contest to determine if Joey Chestnut can repeat as champion. Ah… You can hear the music from one of the Rocky movies or Hulk Hogan’s wrestling ring introduction blaring in the background, “I am a real American/fight for the rights of every man/I am a real American/fight for the rights, fight for the rights…” Flags will waive from houses and cars and the aroma of barbecue will fill the atmosphere. But as a person of color, should I too celebrate this joyous occasion? What significance does this holiday mean to me? Hop into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine to a time of segregation, mass discrimination and slavery and you’ll find that my relatives and the ancestors of the indigenous people of this land found no reason to celebrate this occasion. They were either working, entertaining or fighting for their survival. So I ask, what does the 4th of July mean to me; to you?




On July 5, 1852, Frederick Douglass addressed an audience in Rochester, New York with his speech, “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” during the peak of North American slavery. During this era, people of color weren’t allowed at 4th of July celebrations in the slaveholding South because many slaveholders feared that they may conceive an idea of freedom from such events; Blacks were also discouraged from attending similar events in the Northern states. Frederick Douglass is an individual I aspire to emulate. He was a magnificent writer and outstanding orator. If I can be a quarter of the individual he was and touch the number of people he did, I would be making great progress in my goal to enlighten the masses. Below is the speech Mr. Douglass delivered regarding the celebration of the United States. From that era until today, we remain divided as a country and amongst Blacks, we remain divided as a people. It is my hope that this speech will enlighten people to the plight of that time and how it continues to resonate at this very moment.

Mr. President, Friends and Fellow Citizens:

He who could address this audience without a quailing sensation, has stronger nerves than I have. I do not remember ever to have appeared as a speaker before any assembly more shrinkingly, nor with greater distrust of my ability, than I do this day. A feeling has crept over me quite unfavorable to the exercise of my limited powers of speech. The task before me is one which requires much previous thought and study for its proper performance. I know that apologies of this sort are generally considered flat and unmeaning. I trust, however, that mine will not be so considered. Should I seem at ease, my appearance would much misrepresent me. The little experience I have had in addressing public meetings, in country school houses, avails me nothing on the present occasion.

The papers and placards say that I am to deliver a Fourth of July Oration. This certainly sounds large, and out of the common way, for me. It is true that I have often had the privilege to speak in this beautiful Hall, and to address many who now honor me with their presence. But neither their familiar faces, nor the perfect gage I think I have of Corinthian Hall seems to free me from embarrassment.

The fact is, ladies and gentlemen, the distance between this platform and the slave plantation, from which I escaped, is considerable-and the difficulties to he overcome in getting from the latter to the former are by no means slight. That I am here to-day is, to me, a matter of astonishment as well as of gratitude. You will not, therefore, be surprised, if in what I have to say I evince no elaborate preparation, nor grace my speech with any high sounding exordium. With little experience and with less learning, I have been able to throw my thoughts hastily and imperfectly together; and trusting to your patient and generous indulgence I will proceed to lay them before you.

This, for the purpose of this celebration, is the Fourth of July. It is the birth day of your National Independence, and of your political freedom. This, to you, as what the Passover was to the emancipated people of God. It carries your minds back to the day, and to the act of your great deliverance; and to the signs, and to the wonders, associated with that act, and that day. This celebration also marks the beginning of another year of your national life; and reminds you that the Republic of America is now 76 years old. l am glad, fellow-citizens, that your nation is so young. Seventy-six years, though a good old age for a man, is but a mere speck in the life of a nation. Three score years and ten is the allotted time for individual men; but nations number their years by thousands. According to this fact, you are, even now, only in the beginning of your national career, still lingering in the period of childhood. I repeat, I am glad this is so. There is hope in the thought, and hope is much needed, under the dark clouds which lower above the horizon. The eye of the reformer is met with angry flashes, portending disastrous times; but his heart may well beat lighter at the thought that America is young, and that she is still in the impressible stage of her existence. May he not hope that high lessons of wisdom, of justice and of truth, will yet give direction to her destiny? Were the nation older, the patriot’s heart might be sadder, and the reformer’s brow heavier. Its future might be shrouded in gloom, and the hope of its prophets go out in sorrow. There is consolation in the thought that America is young.-Great streams are not easily turned from channels, worn deep in the course of ages. They may sometimes rise in quiet and stately majesty, and inundate the land, refreshing and fertilizing the earth with their mysterious properties. They may also rise in wrath and fury, and bear away, on their angry waves, the accumulated wealth of years of toil and hardship. They, however, gradually flow back to the same old channel, and flow on as serenely as ever. But, while the river may not be turned aside, it may dry up, and leave nothing behind but the withered branch, and the unsightly rock, to howl in the abyss-sweeping wind, the sad tale of departed glory. As with rivers so with nations.

Fellow-citizens, I shall not presume to dwell at length on the associations that cluster about this day. The simple story of it is, that, 76 years ago, the people of this country were British subjects. The style and title of your “sovereign people” (in which you now glory) was not then born. You were under the British Crown. Your fathers esteemed the English Government as the home government; and England as the fatherland. This home government, you know, although a considerable distance from your home, did, in the exercise of its parental prerogatives, impose upon its colonial children, such restraints, burdens and limitations, as, in its mature judgment, it deemed wise, right and proper.

But your fathers, who had not adopted the fashionable idea of this day, of the infallibility of government, and the absolute character of its acts, presumed to differ from the home government in respect to the wisdom and the justice of some of those burdens and restraints. They went so far in their excitement as to pronounce the measures of government unjust, unreasonable, and oppressive, and altogether such as ought not to be quietly submitted to. I scarcely need say, fellow-citizens, that my opinion of those measures fully accords with that of your fathers. Such a declaration of agreement on my part would not be worth much to anybody. It would certainly prove nothing as to what part I might have taken had I lived during the great controversy of 1776. To say now that America was right, and England wrong, is exceedingly easy. Everybody can say it; the dastard, not less than the noble brave, can flippantly discant on the tyranny of England towards the American Colonies. It is fashionable to do so; but there was a time when, to pronounce against England, and in favor of the cause of the colonies, tried men’s souls. They who did so were accounted in their day plotters of mischief, agitators and rebels, dangerous men. To side with the right against the wrong, with the weak against the strong, and with the oppressed against the oppressor! here lies the merit, and the one which, of all others, seems unfashionable in our day. The cause of liberty may be stabbed by the men who glory in the deeds of your fathers. But, to proceed.

Feeling themselves harshly and unjustly treated, by the home government, your fathers, like men of honesty, and men of spirit, earnestly sought redress. They petitioned and remonstrated; they did so in a decorous, respectful, and loyal manner. Their conduct was wholly unexceptionable. This, however, did not answer the purpose. They saw themselves treated with sovereign indifference, coldness and scorn. Yet they persevered. They were not the men to look back.

As the sheet anchor takes a firmer hold, when the ship is tossed by the storm, so did the cause of your fathers grow stronger as it breasted the chilling blasts of kingly displeasure. The greatest and best of British statesmen admitted its justice, and the loftiest eloquence of the British Senate came to its support. But, with that blindness which seems to be the unvarying characteristic of tyrants, since Pharaoh and his hosts were drowned in the Red Sea, the British Government persisted in the exactions complained of.

The madness of this course, we believe, is admitted now, even by England; but we fear the lesson is wholly lost on our present rulers.

Oppression makes a wise man mad. Your fathers were wise men, and if they did not go mad, they became restive under this treatment. They felt themselves the victims of grievous wrongs, wholly incurable in their colonial capacity. With brave men there is always a remedy for oppression. Just here, the idea of a total separation of the colonies from the crown was born! It was a startling idea, much more so than we, at this distance of time, regard it. The timid and the prudent (as has been intimated) of that day were, of course, shocked and alarmed by it.

Such people lived then, had lived before, and will, probably, ever have a place on this planet; and their course, in respect to any great change (no matter how great the good to be attained, or the wrong to be redressed by it), may be calculated with as much precision as can be the course of the stars. They hate all changes, but silver, gold and copper change! Of this sort of change they are always strongly in favor.

These people were called Tories in the days of your fathers; and the appellation, probably, conveyed the same idea that is meant by a more modern, though a somewhat less euphonious term, which we often find in our papers, applied to some of our old politicians.

Their opposition to the then dangerous thought was earnest and powerful; but, amid all their terror and affrighted vociferations against it, the alarming and revolutionary idea moved on, and the country with it.

On the 2nd of July, 1776, the old Continental Congress, to the dismay of the lovers of ease, and the worshipers of property, clothed that dreadful idea with all the authority of national sanction. They did so in the form of a resolution; and as we seldom hit upon resolutions, drawn up in our day, whose transparency is at all equal to this, it may refresh your minds and help my story if I read it.

“Resolved, That these united colonies are, and of right, ought to be free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, dissolved.”

Citizens, your fathers made good that resolution. They succeeded; and to-day you reap the fruits of their success. The freedom gained is yours; and you, there fore, may properly celebrate this anniversary. The 4th of July is the first great fact in your nation’s history-the very ringbolt in the chain of your yet undeveloped destiny.

Pride and patriotism, not less than gratitude, prompt you to celebrate and to hold it in perpetual remembrance. I have said that the Declaration of Independence is the ringbolt to the chain of your nation’s destiny; so, indeed, I regard it. The principles contained in that instrument are saving principles. Stand by those principles, be true to them on all occasions, in all places, against all foes, and at whatever cost.

From the round top of your ship of state, dark and threatening clouds may be seen. Heavy billows, like mountains in the distance, disclose to the leeward huge forms of flinty rocks! That bolt drawn, that chain broken, and all is lost. Cling to this day-cling to it, and to its principles, with the grasp of a storm-tossed mariner to a spar at midnight.

The coming into being of a nation, in any circumstances, is an interesting event. But, besides general considerations, there were peculiar circumstances which make the advent of this republic an event of special attractiveness. The whole scene, as I look back to it, was simple, dignified and sublime. The population of the country, at the time, stood at the insignificant number of three millions. The country was poor in the munitions of war. The population was weak and scattered, and the country a wilderness unsubdued. There were then no means of concert and combination, such as exist now. Neither steam nor lightning had then been reduced to order and discipline. From the Potomac to the Delaware was a journey of many days. Under these, and innumerable other disadvantages, your fathers declared for liberty and independence and triumphed.

Fellow Citizens, I am not wanting in respect for the fathers of this republic. The signers of the Declaration of Independence were brave men. They were great men, too-great enough to give frame to a great age. It does not often happen to a nation to raise, at one time, such a number of truly great men. The point from which I am compelled to view them is not, certainly, the most favorable; and yet I cannot contemplate their great deeds with less than admiration. They were statesmen, patriots and heroes, and for the good they did, and the principles they contended for, I will unite with you to honor their memory.

They loved their country better than their own private interests; and, though this is not the highest form of human excellence, all will concede that it is a rare virtue, and that when it is exhibited it ought to command respect. He who will, intelligently, lay down his life for his country is a man whom it is not in human nature to despise. Your fathers staked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor, on the cause of their country. In their admiration of liberty, they lost sight of all other interests.

They were peace men; but they preferred revolution to peaceful submission to bondage. They were quiet men; but they did not shrink from agitating against oppression. They showed forbearance; but that they knew its limits. They believed in order; but not in the order of tyranny. With them, nothing was “settIed” that was not right. With them, justice, liberty and humanity were “final”; not slavery and oppression. You may well cherish the memory of such men. They were great in their day and generation. Their solid manhood stands out the more as we contrast it with these degenerate times.

How circumspect, exact and proportionate were all their movements! How unlike the politicians of an hour! Their statesmanship looked beyond the passing moment, and stretched away in strength into the distant future. They seized upon eternal principles, and set a glorious example in their defence. Mark them! Fully appreciating the hardships to be encountered, firmly believing in the right of their cause, honorably inviting the scrutiny of an on-looking world, reverently appealing to heaven to attest their sincerity, soundly comprehending the solemn responsibility they were about to assume, wisely measuring the terrible odds against them, your fathers, the fathers of this republic, did, most deliberately, under the inspiration of a glorious patriotism, and with a sublime faith in the great principles of justice and freedom, lay deep, the corner-stone of the national super-structure, which has risen and still rises in grandeur around you.

Of this fundamental work, this day is the anniversary. Our eyes are met with demonstrations of joyous enthusiasm. Banners and pennants wave exultingly on the breeze. The din of business, too, is hushed. Even mammon seems to have quitted his grasp on this day. The ear-piercing fife and the stirring drum unite their accents with the ascending peal of a thousand church bells. Prayers are made, hymns are sung, and sermons are preached in honor of this day; while the quick martial tramp of a great and multitudinous nation, echoed back by all the hills, valleys and mountains of a vast continent, bespeak the occasion one of thrilling and universal interest-nation’s jubilee.

Friends and citizens, I need not enter further into the causes which led to this anniversary. Many of you understand them better than I do. You could instruct me in regard to them. That is a branch of knowledge in which you feel, perhaps, a much deeper interest than your speaker. The causes which led to the separation of the colonies from the British crown have never lacked for a tongue. They have all been taught in your common schools, narrated at your firesides, un folded from your pulpits, and thundered from your legislative halls, and are as familiar to you as household words. They form the staple of your national po etry and eloquence.

I remember, also, that, as a people, Americans are remarkably familiar with all facts which make in their own favor. This is esteemed by some as a national trait-perhaps a national weakness. It is a fact, that whatever makes for the wealth or for the reputation of Americans and can be had cheap! will be found by Americans. I shall not be charged with slandering Americans if I say I think the American side of any question may be safely left in American hands.

I leave, therefore, the great deeds of your fathers to other gentlemen whose claim to have been regularly descended will be less likely to be disputed than mine!

My business, if I have any here to-day, is with the present. The accepted time with God and His cause is the ever-living now.

Trust no future, however pleasant,

Let the dead past bury its dead;

Act, act in the living present,

Heart within, and God overhead.

We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and to the future. To all inspiring motives, to noble deeds which can be gained from the past, we are welcome. But now is the time, the important time. Your fathers have lived, died, and have done their work, and have done much of it well. You live and must die, and you must do your work. You have no right to enjoy a child’s share in the labor of your fathers, unless your children are to be blest by your labors. You have no right to wear out and waste the hard-earned fame of your fathers to cover your indolence. Sydney Smith tells us that men seldom eulogize the wisdom and virtues of their fathers, but to excuse some folly or wickedness of their own. This truth is not a doubtful one. There are illustrations of it near and remote, ancient and modern. It was fashionable, hundreds of years ago, for the children of Jacob to boast, we have “Abraham to our father,” when they had long lost Abraham’s faith and spirit. That people contented themselves under the shadow of Abraham’s great name, while they repudiated the deeds which made his name great. Need I remind you that a similar thing is being done all over this country to-day? Need I tell you that the Jews are not the only people who built the tombs of the prophets, and garnished the sepulchers of the righteous? Washington could not die till he had broken the chains of his slaves. Yet his monument is built up by the price of human blood, and the traders in the bodies and souls of men shout-“We have Washington to our father.”-Alas! that it should be so; yet it is.

The evil, that men do, lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones.

Fellow-citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here to-day? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? and am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions! Then would my task be light, and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold, that a nation’s sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude, that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish, that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation’s jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the “lame man leap as an hart.”

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of the disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you, this day, rejoice, are not enjoyed in common.-The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity and independence, bequeathed by your fa thers, is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought light and healing to you, has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak to-day? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrevocable ruin! I can to-day take up the plaintive lament of a peeled and woe-smitten people!

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down. Yea! we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there, they that carried us away captive, required of us a song; and they who wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.”

Fellow-citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions! whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are, to-day, rendered more intolerable by the jubilee shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not faithfully remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, “may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!” To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs, and to chime in with the popular theme, would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world. My subject, then, fellow-citizens, is American slavery. I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave’s point of view. Standing there identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this 4th of July! Whether we turn to the declarations of the past, or to the professions of the present, the conduct of the nation seems equally hideous and revolting. America is false to the past, false to the present, and solemnly binds herself to be false to the future. Standing with God and the crushed and bleeding slave on this occasion, I will, in the name of humanity which is outraged, in the name of liberty which is fettered, in the name of the constitution and the Bible which are disregarded and trampled upon, dare to call in question and to denounce, with all the emphasis I can command, everything that serves to perpetuate slavery-the great sin and shame of America! “I will not equivocate; I will not excuse”; I will use the severest language I can command; and yet not one word shall escape me that any man, whose judgment is not blinded by prejudice, or who is not at heart a slaveholder, shall not confess to be right and just.

But I fancy I hear some one of my audience say, “It is just in this circumstance that you and your brother abolitionists fail to make a favorable impression on the public mind. Would you argue more, and denounce less; would you persuade more, and rebuke less; your cause would be much more likely to succeed.” But, I submit, where all is plain there is nothing to be argued. What point in the anti slavery creed would you have me argue? On what branch of the subject do the people of this country need light? Must I undertake to prove that the slave is a man? That point is conceded already. Nobody doubts it. The slaveholders themselves acknowledge it in the enactment of laws for their government. They ac knowledge it when they punish disobedience on the part of the slave. There are seventy-two crimes in the State of Virginia which, if committed by a black man (no matter how ignorant he be), subject him to the punishment of death; while only two of the same crimes will subject a white man to the like punishment. What is this but the acknowledgment that the slave is a moral, intellectual, and responsible being? The manhood of the slave is conceded. It is admitted in the fact that Southern statute books are covered with enactments forbidding, under severe fines and penalties, the teaching of the slave to read or to write. When you can point to any such laws in reference to the beasts of the field, then I may con sent to argue the manhood of the slave. When the dogs in your streets, when the fowls of the air, when the cattle on your hills, when the fish of the sea, and the reptiles that crawl, shall be unable to distinguish the slave from a brute, then will I argue with you that the slave is a man!

For the present, it is enough to affirm the equal manhood of the Negro race. Is it not astonishing that, while we are ploughing, planting, and reaping, using all kinds of mechanical tools, erecting houses, constructing bridges, building ships, working in metals of brass, iron, copper, silver and gold; that, while we are reading, writing and ciphering, acting as clerks, merchants and secretaries, having among us lawyers, doctors, ministers, poets, authors, editors, orators and teachers; that, while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, digging gold in California, capturing the whale in the Pacific, feeding sheep and cattle on the hill-side, living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives and children, and, above all, confessing and worshipping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men!

Would you have me argue that man is entitled to liberty? that he is the rightful owner of his own body? You have already declared it. Must I argue the wrongfulness of slavery? Is that a question for Republicans? Is it to be settled by the rules of logic and argumentation, as a matter beset with great difficulty, involving a doubtful application of the principle of justice, hard to be understood? How should I look to-day, in the presence of Americans, dividing, and subdividing a discourse, to show that men have a natural right to freedom? speaking of it relatively and positively, negatively and affirmatively. To do so, would be to make myself ridiculous, and to offer an insult to your understanding.-There is not a man beneath the canopy of heaven that does not know that slavery is wrong for him.

What, am I to argue that it is wrong to make men brutes, to rob them of their liberty, to work them without wages, to keep them ignorant of their relations to their fellow men, to beat them with sticks, to flay their flesh with the lash, to load their limbs with irons, to hunt them with dogs, to sell them at auction, to sunder their families, to knock out their teeth, to burn their flesh, to starve them into obedience and submission to their masters? Must I argue that a system thus marked with blood, and stained with pollution, is wrong? No! I will not. I have better employment for my time and strength than such arguments would imply.

What, then, remains to be argued? Is it that slavery is not divine; that God did not establish it; that our doctors of divinity are mistaken? There is blasphemy in the thought. That which is inhuman, cannot be divine! Who can reason on such a proposition? They that can, may; I cannot. The time for such argument is passed.

At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and its crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer; a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy-a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of the United States, at this very hour.

Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me, that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

Take the American slave-trade, which we are told by the papers, is especially prosperous just now. Ex-Senator Benton tells us that the price of men was never higher than now. He mentions the fact to show that slavery is in no danger. This trade is one of the peculiarities of American institutions. It is carried on in all the large towns and cities in one-half of this confederacy; and millions are pocketed every year by dealers in this horrid traffic. In several states this trade is a chief source of wealth. It is called (in contradistinction to the foreign slave-trade) “the internal slave-trade.” It is, probably, called so, too, in order to divert from it the horror with which the foreign slave-trade is contemplated. That trade has long since been denounced by this government as piracy. It has been denounced with burning words from the high places of the nation as an execrable traffic. To arrest it, to put an end to it, this nation keeps a squadron, at immense cost, on the coast of Africa. Everywhere, in this country, it is safe to speak of this foreign slave-trade as a most inhuman traffic, opposed alike to the Jaws of God and of man. The duty to extirpate and destroy it, is admitted even by our doctors of divinity. In order to put an end to it, some of these last have consented that their colored brethren (nominally free) should leave this country, and establish them selves on the western coast of Africa! It is, however, a notable fact that, while so much execration is poured out by Americans upon all those engaged in the foreign slave-trade, the men engaged in the slave-trade between the states pass with out condemnation, and their business is deemed honorable.

Behold the practical operation of this internal slave-trade, the American slave-trade, sustained by American politics and American religion. Here you will see men and women reared like swine for the market. You know what is a swine-drover? I will show you a man-drover. They inhabit all our Southern States. They perambulate the country, and crowd the highways of the nation, with droves of human stock. You will see one of these human flesh jobbers, armed with pistol, whip, and bowie-knife, driving a company of a hundred men, women, and children, from the Potomac to the slave market at New Orleans. These wretched people are to be sold singly, or in lots, to suit purchasers. They are food for the cotton-field and the deadly sugar-mill. Mark the sad procession, as it moves wearily along, and the inhuman wretch who drives them. Hear his savage yells and his blood-curdling oaths, as he hurries on his affrighted captives! There, see the old man with locks thinned and gray. Cast one glance, if you please, upon that young mother, whose shoulders are bare to the scorching sun, her briny tears falling on the brow of the babe in her arms. See, too, that girl of thirteen, weeping, yes! weeping, as she thinks of the mother from whom she has been torn! The drove moves tardily. Heat and sorrow have nearly consumed their strength; suddenly you hear a quick snap, like the discharge of a rifle; the fetters clank, and the chain rattles simultaneously; your ears are saluted with a scream, that seems to have torn its way to the centre of your soul The crack you heard was the sound of the slave-whip; the scream you heard was from the woman you saw with the babe. Her speed had faltered under the weight of her child and her chains! that gash on her shoulder tells her to move on. Follow this drove to New Orleans. Attend the auction; see men examined like horses; see the forms of women rudely and brutally exposed to the shock ing gaze of American slave-buyers. See this drove sold and separated forever; and never forget the deep, sad sobs that arose from that scattered multitude. Tell me, citizens, where, under the sun, you can witness a spectacle more fiendish and shocking. Yet this is but a glance at the American slave-trade, as it exists, at this moment, in the ruling part of the United States.

I was born amid such sights and scenes. To me the American slave-trade is a terrible reality. When a child, my soul was often pierced with a sense of its horrors. I lived on Philpot Street, Fell’s Point, Baltimore, and have watched from the wharves the slave ships in the Basin, anchored from the shore, with their cargoes of human flesh, waiting for favorable winds to waft them down the Chesapeake. There was, at that time, a grand slave mart kept at the head of Pratt Street, by Austin Woldfolk. His agents were sent into every town and county in Maryland, announcing their arrival, through the papers, and on flaming “hand-bills,” headed cash for Negroes. These men were generally well dressed men, and very captivating in their manners; ever ready to drink, to treat, and to gamble. The fate of many a slave has depended upon the turn of a single card; and many a child has been snatched from the arms of its mother by bargains arranged in a state of brutal drunkenness.

The flesh-mongers gather up their victims by dozens, and drive them, chained, to the general depot at Baltimore. When a sufficient number has been collected here, a ship is chartered for the purpose of conveying the forlorn crew to Mobile, or to New Orleans. From the slave prison to the ship, they are usually driven in the darkness of night; for since the antislavery agitation, a certain caution is observed.

In the deep, still darkness of midnight, I have been often aroused by the dead, heavy footsteps, and the piteous cries of the chained gangs that passed our door. The anguish of my boyish heart was intense; and I was often consoled, when speaking to my mistress in the morning, to hear her say that the custom was very wicked; that she hated to hear the rattle of the chains and the heart-rending cries. I was glad to find one who sympathized with me in my horror.

Fellow-citizens, this murderous traffic is, to-day, in active operation in this boasted republic. In the solitude of my spirit I see clouds of dust raised on the highways of the South; I see the bleeding footsteps; I hear the doleful wail of fettered humanity on the way to the slave-markets, where the victims are to be sold like horses, sheep, and swine, knocked off to the highest bidder. There I see the tenderest ties ruthlessly broken, to gratify the lust, caprice and rapacity of the buyers and sellers of men. My soul sickens at the sight.

Is this the land your Fathers loved,

The freedom which they toiled to win?

Is this the earth whereon they moved?

Are these the graves they slumber in?

But a still more inhuman, disgraceful, and scandalous state of things remains to be presented. By an act of the American Congress, not yet two years old, slavery has been nationalized in its most horrible and revolting form. By that act, Mason and Dixon’s line has been obliterated; New York has become as Virginia; and the power to hold, hunt, and sell men, women and children, as slaves, remains no longer a mere state institution, but is now an institution of the whole United States. The power is co-extensive with the star-spangled banner, and American Christianity. Where these go, may also go the merciless slave-hunter. Where these are, man is not sacred. He is a bird for the sportsman’s gun. By that most foul and fiendish of all human decrees, the liberty and person of every man are put in peril. Your broad republican domain is hunting ground for men. Not for thieves and robbers, enemies of society, merely, but for men guilty of no crime. Your law-makers have commanded all good citizens to engage in this hellish sport. Your President, your Secretary of State, your lords, nobles, and ecclesiastics enforce, as a duty you owe to your free and glorious country, and to your God, that you do this accursed thing. Not fewer than forty Americans have, within the past two years, been hunted down and, without a moment’s warning, hurried away in chains, and consigned to slavery and excruciating torture. Some of these have had wives and children, dependent on them for bread; but of this, no account was made. The right of the hunter to his prey stands superior to the right of marriage, and to all rights in this republic, the rights of God included! For black men there is neither law nor justice, humanity nor religion. The Fugitive Slave Law makes mercy to them a crime; and bribes the judge who tries them. An American judge gets ten dollars for every victim he consigns to slavery, and five, when he fails to do so. The oath of any two villains is sufficient, under this hell-black enactment, to send the most pious and exemplary black man into the remorseless jaws of slavery! His own testimony is nothing. He can bring no witnesses for himself. The minister of American justice is bound by the law to hear but one side; and that side is the side of the oppressor. Let this damning fact be perpetually told. Let it be thundered around the world that in tyrant-killing, king-hating, people-loving, democratic, Christian America the seats of justice are filled with judges who hold their offices under an open and palpable bribe, and are bound, in deciding the case of a man’s liberty, to hear only his accusers!

In glaring violation of justice, in shameless disregard of the forms of administering law, in cunning arrangement to entrap the defenceless, and in diabolical intent this Fugitive Slave Law stands alone in the annals of tyrannical legislation. I doubt if there be another nation on the globe having the brass and the baseness to put such a law on the statute-book. If any man in this assembly thinks differently from me in this matter, and feels able to disprove my statements, I will gladly confront him at any suitable time and place he may select.

I take this law to be one of the grossest infringements of Christian Liberty, and, if the churches and ministers of our country were nor stupidly blind, or most wickedly indifferent, they, too, would so regard it.

At the very moment that they are thanking God for the enjoyment of civil and religious liberty, and for the right to worship God according to the dictates of their own consciences, they are utterly silent in respect to a law which robs religion of its chief significance and makes it utterly worthless to a world lying in wickedness. Did this law concern the “mint, anise, and cummin”-abridge the right to sing psalms, to partake of the sacrament, or to engage in any of the ceremonies of religion, it would be smitten by the thunder of a thousand pulpits. A general shout would go up from the church demanding repeal, repeal, instant repeal!-And it would go hard with that politician who presumed to so licit the votes of the people without inscribing this motto on his banner. Further, if this demand were not complied with, another Scotland would be added to the history of religious liberty, and the stern old covenanters would be thrown into the shade. A John Knox would be seen at every church door and heard from every pulpit, and Fillmore would have no more quarter than was shown by Knox to the beautiful, but treacherous, Queen Mary of Scotland. The fact that the church of our country (with fractional exceptions) does not esteem “the Fugitive Slave Law” as a declaration of war against religious liberty, im plies that that church regards religion simply as a form of worship, an empty ceremony, and not a vital principle, requiring active benevolence, justice, love, and good will towards man. It esteems sacrifice above mercy; psalm-singing above right doing; solemn meetings above practical righteousness. A worship that can be conducted by persons who refuse to give shelter to the houseless, to give bread to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and who enjoin obedience to a law forbidding these acts of mercy is a curse, not a blessing to mankind. The Bible addresses all such persons as “scribes, pharisees, hypocrites, who pay tithe ofÝ mint, anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith.”

But the church of this country is not only indifferent to the wrongs of the slave, it actually takes sides with the oppressors. It has made itself the bulwark of American slavery, and the shield of American slave-hunters. Many of its most eloquent Divines, who stand as the very lights of the church, have shamelessly given the sanction of religion and the Bible to the whole slave system. They have taught that man may, properly, be a slave; that the relation of master and slave is ordained of God; that to send back an escaped bondman to his master is clearly the duty of all the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; and this horrible blasphemy is palmed off upon the world for Christianity.

For my part, I would say, welcome infidelity! welcome atheism! welcome anything! in preference to the gospel, as preached by those Divines! They convert the very name of religion into an engine of tyranny and barbarous cruelty, and serve to confirm more infidels, in this age, than all the infidel writings of Thomas Paine, Voltaire, and Bolingbroke put together have done! These ministers make religion a cold and flinty-hearted thing, having neither principles of right action nor bowels of compassion. They strip the love of God of its beauty and leave the throne of religion a huge, horrible, repulsive form. It is a religion for oppressors, tyrants, man-stealers, and thugs. It is not that “pure and undefiled religion” which is from above, and which is “first pure, then peaceable, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and with out hypocrisy.” But a religion which favors the rich against the poor; which exalts the proud above the humble; which divides mankind into two classes, tyrants and slaves; which says to the man in chains, stay there; and to the oppressor, oppress on; it is a religion which may be professed and enjoyed by all the robbers and enslavers of mankind; it makes God a respecter of persons, denies his fatherhood of the race, and tramples in the dust the great truth of the brotherhood of man. All this we affirm to be true of the popular church, and the popular worship of our land and nation-a religion, a church, and a worship which, on the authority of inspired wisdom, we pronounce to be an abomination in the sight of God. In the language of Isaiah, the American church might be well addressed, “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me: the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons, and your appointed feasts my soul hateth. They are a trouble to me; I am weary to bear them; and when ye spread forth your hands I will hide mine eyes from you. Yea’ when ye make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood; cease to do evil, learn to do well; seek judgment; relieve the oppressed; judge for the fatherless; plead for the widow.”

The American church is guilty, when viewed in connection with what it is doing to uphold slavery; but it is superlatively guilty when viewed in its connection with its ability to abolish slavery.

The sin of which it is guilty is one of omission as well as of commission. Albert Barnes but uttered what the common sense of every man at all observant of the actual state of the case will receive as truth, when he declared that “There is no power out of the church that could sustain slavery an hour, if it were not sustained in it.”

Let the religious press, the pulpit, the Sunday School, the conference meeting, the great ecclesiastical, missionary, Bible and tract associations of the land array their immense powers against slavery, and slave-holding; and the whole system of crime and blood would be scattered to the winds, and that they do not do this involves them in the most awful responsibility of which the mind can conceive.

In prosecuting the anti-slavery enterprise, we have been asked to spare the church, to spare the ministry; but how, we ask, could such a thing be done? We are met on the threshold of our efforts for the redemption of the slave, by the church and ministry of the country, in battle arrayed against us; and we are compelled to fight or flee. From what quarter, I beg to know, has proceeded a fire so deadly upon our ranks, during the last two years, as from the Northern pulpit? As the champions of oppressors, the chosen men of American theology have appeared-men honored for their so-called piety, and their real learning. The Lords of Buffalo, the Springs of New York, the Lathrops of Auburn, the Coxes and Spencers of Brooklyn, the Gannets and Sharps of Boston, the Deweys of Washington, and other great religious lights of the land have, in utter denial of the authority of Him by whom they professed to be called to the ministry, deliberately taught us, against the example of the Hebrews, and against the remonstrance of the Apostles, that we ought to obey man’s law before the law of God.2

My spirit wearies of such blasphemy; and how such men can be supported, as the “standing types and representatives of Jesus Christ,” is a mystery which I leave others to penetrate. In speaking of the American church, however, let it be distinctly understood that I mean the great mass of the religious organizations of our land. There are exceptions, and I thank God that there are. Noble men may be found, scattered all over these Northern States, of whom Henry Ward Beecher, of Brooklyn; Samuel J. May, of Syracuse; and my esteemed friend (Rev. R. R. Raymond) on the platform, are shining examples; and let me say further, that, upon these men lies the duty to inspire our ranks with high religious faith and zeal, and to cheer us on in the great mission of the slave’s redemption from his chains.

One is struck with the difference between the attitude of the American church towards the anti-slavery movement, and that occupied by the churches in Eng land towards a similar movement in that country. There, the church, true to its mission of ameliorating, elevating and improving the condition of mankind, came forward promptly, bound up the wounds of the West Indian slave, and re stored him to his liberty. There, the question of emancipation was a high religious question. It was demanded in the name of humanity, and according to the law of the living God. The Sharps, the Clarksons, the Wilberforces, the Buxtons, the Burchells, and the Knibbs were alike famous for their piety and for their philanthropy. The anti-slavery movement there was not an anti-church movement, for the reason that the church took its full share in prosecuting that movement: and the anti-slavery movement in this country will cease to be an anti-church movement, when the church of this country shall assume a favorable instead of a hostile position towards that movement.

Americans! your republican politics, not less than your republican religion, are flagrantly inconsistent. You boast of your love of liberty, your superior civilization, and your pure Christianity, while the whole political power of the nation (as embodied in the two great political parties) is solemnly pledged to support and perpetuate the enslavement of three millions of your countrymen. You hurl your anathemas at the crowned headed tyrants of Russia and Austria and pride yourselves on your Democratic institutions, while you yourselves consent to be the mere tools and body-guards of the tyrants of Virginia and Carolina. You invite to your shores fugitives of oppression from abroad, honor them with banquets, greet them with ovations, cheer them, toast them, salute them, protect them, and pour out your money to them like water; but the fugitives from oppression in your own land you advertise, hunt, arrest, shoot, and kill. You glory in your refinement and your universal education; yet you maintain a system as barbarous and dreadful as ever stained the character of a nation-a system begun in avarice, supported in pride, and perpetuated in cruelty. You shed tears over fallen Hungary, and make the sad story of her wrongs the theme of your poets, statesmen, and orators, till your gallant sons are ready to fly to arms to vindicate her cause against the oppressor; but, in regard to the ten thousand wrongs of the American slave, you would enforce the strictest silence, and would hail him as an enemy of the nation who dares to make those wrongs the subject of public discourse! You are all on fire at the mention of liberty for France or for Ireland; but are as cold as an iceberg at the thought of liberty for the enslaved of America. You discourse eloquently on the dignity of labor; yet, you sustain a system which, in its very essence, casts a stigma upon labor. You can bare your bosom to the storm of British artillery to throw off a three-penny tax on tea; and yet wring the last hard earned farthing from the grasp of the black laborers of your country. You profess to believe “that, of one blood, God made all nations of men to dwell on the face of all the earth,” and hath commanded all men, everywhere, to love one another; yet you notoriously hate (and glory in your hatred) all men whose skins are not colored like your own. You declare before the world, and are understood by the world to declare that you “hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; and are endowed by their Creator with certain in alienable rights; and that among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and yet, you hold securely, in a bondage which, according to your own Thomas Jefferson, “is worse than ages of that which your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose,” a seventh part of the inhabitants of your country.

Fellow-citizens, I will not enlarge further on your national inconsistencies. The existence of slavery in this country brands your republicanism as a sham, your humanity as a base pretense, and your Christianity as a lie. It destroys your moral power abroad: it corrupts your politicians at home. It saps the foundation of religion; it makes your name a hissing and a bye-word to a mocking earth. It is the antagonistic force in your government, the only thing that seriously disturbs and endangers your Union. it fetters your progress; it is the enemy of improvement; the deadly foe of education; it fosters pride; it breeds insolence; it promotes vice; it shelters crime; it is a curse to the earth that supports it; and yet you cling to it as if it were the sheet anchor of all your hopes. Oh! be warned! be warned! a horrible reptile is coiled up in your nation’s bosom; the venomous creature is nursing at the tender breast of your youthful republic; for the love of God, tear away, and fling from you the hideous monster, and let the weight of twenty millions crush and destroy it forever!

But it is answered in reply to all this, that precisely what I have now denounced is, in fact, guaranteed and sanctioned by the Constitution of the United States; that, the right to hold, and to hunt slaves is a part of that Constitution framed by the illustrious Fathers of this Republic.

Then, I dare to affirm, notwithstanding all I have said before, your fathers stooped, basely stooped

To palter with us in a double sense:

And keep the word of promise to the ear,

But break it to the heart.

And instead of being the honest men I have before declared them to be, they were the veriest impostors that ever practised on mankind. This is the inevitable conclusion, and from it there is no escape; but I differ from those who charge this baseness on the framers of the Constitution of the United States. It is a slander upon their memory, at least, so I believe. There is not time now to argue the constitutional question at length; nor have I the ability to discuss it as it ought to be discussed. The subject has been handled with masterly power by Lysander Spooner, Esq. by William Goodell, by Samuel E. Sewall, Esq., and last, though not least, by Gerrit Smith, Esq. These gentlemen have, as I think, fully and clearly vindicated the Constitution from any design to support slavery for an hour.

Fellow-citizens! there is no matter in respect to which the people of the North have allowed themselves to be so ruinously imposed upon as that of the pro-slavery character of the Constitution. In that instrument I hold there is neither warrant, license, nor sanction of the hateful thing; but interpreted, as it ought to be interpreted, the Constitution is a glorious liberty document. Read its preamble, consider its purposes. Is slavery among them? Is it at the gate way? or is it in the temple? it is neither. While I do not intend to argue this question on the present occasion, let me ask, if it be not somewhat singular that, if the Constitution were intended to be, by its framers and adopters, a slaveholding instrument, why neither slavery, slaveholding, nor slave can any where be found in it. What would be thought of an instrument, drawn up, legally drawn up, for the purpose of entitling the city of Rochester to a tract of land, in which no mention of land was made? Now, there are certain rules of interpretation for the proper understanding of all legal instruments. These rules are well established. They are plain, commonsense rules, such as you and I, and all of us, can understand and apply, without having passed years in the study of law. I scout the idea that the question of the constitutionality, or unconstitutionality of slavery, is not a question for the people. I hold that every American citizen has a right to form an opinion of the constitution, and to propagate that opinion, and to use all honorable means to make his opinion the prevailing one. Without this right, the liberty of an American citizen would be as insecure as that of a Frenchman. Ex-Vice-President Dallas tells us that the constitution is an object to which no American mind can be too attentive, and no American heart too devoted. He further says, the Constitution, in its words, is plain and intelligible, and is meant for the home-bred, unsophisticated understandings of our fellow-citizens. Senator Berrien tells us that the Constitution is the fundamental law, that which controls all others. The charter of our liberties, which every citizen has a personal interest in understanding thoroughly. The testimony of Senator Breese, Lewis Cass, and many others that might be named, who are everywhere esteemed as sound lawyers, so regard the constitution. I take it, therefore, that it is not presumption in a private citizen to form an opinion of that instrument.

Now, take the Constitution according to its plain reading, and I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it. On the other hand, it will be found to contain principles and purposes, entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.

I have detained my audience entirely too long already. At some future period I will gladly avail myself of an opportunity to give this subject a full and fair discussion.

Allow me to say, in conclusion, notwithstanding the dark picture I have this day presented, of the state of the nation, I do not despair of this country. There are forces in operation which must inevitably work the downfall of slavery.

“The arm of the Lord is not shortened,” and the doom of slavery is certain. I, therefore, leave off where I began, with hope. While drawing encouragement from “the Declaration of Independence,” the great principles it contains, and the genius of American Institutions, my spirit is also cheered by the obvious tendencies of the age. Nations do not now stand in the same relation to each other that they did ages ago. No nation can now shut itself up from the surrounding world and trot round in the same old path of its fathers without interference. The time was when such could be done. Long established customs of hurtful character could formerly fence themselves in, and do their evil work with social impunity. Knowledge was then confined and enjoyed by the privileged few, and the multitude walked on in mental darkness. But a change has now come over the affairs of mankind. Walled cities and empires have become unfashionable. The arm of commerce has borne away the gates of the strong city. Intelligence is penetrating the darkest corners of the globe. It makes its pathway over and under the sea, as well as on the earth. Wind, steam, and lightning are its chartered agents. Oceans no longer divide, but link nations together. From Boston to London is now a holiday excursion. Space is comparatively annihilated.-Thoughts expressed on one side of the Atlantic are distinctly heard on the other.

The far off and almost fabulous Pacific rolls in grandeur at our feet. The Celestial Empire, the mystery of ages, is being solved. The fiat of the Almighty, “Let there be Light,” has not yet spent its force. No abuse, no outrage whether in taste, sport or avarice, can now hide itself from the all-pervading light. The iron shoe, and crippled foot of China must be seen in contrast with nature. Africa must rise and put on her yet unwoven garment. “Ethiopia shall stretch out her hand unto God.” In the fervent aspirations of William Lloyd Garrison, I say, and let every heart join in saying it:

God speed the year of jubilee

The wide world o’er!

When from their galling chains set free,

Th’ oppress’d shall vilely bend the knee,

And wear the yoke of tyranny

Like brutes no more.

That year will come, and freedom’s reign.

To man his plundered rights again



God speed the day when human blood

Shall cease to flow!

In every clime be understood,

The claims of human brotherhood,

And each return for evil, good,

Not blow for blow;


That day will come all feuds to end,

And change into a faithful friend

Each foe.

“We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

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40 Acres And A Mule – Why Now?

The year was 1989! It was my freshman year at the campus on the highest of seven (7) hills; Florida A&M University, located in Tallahassee, Florida.  A virgin to college life from Miami, Florida, I walked the facility’s grounds on a daily basis taking in the essence of being in an environment with my peers from all corners of the United States, away from home for an extended period for the first time.  The variations of complexions, the array hues, the beautiful women, the sternness of the men, the overall history surrounding my every being was overwhelming.  I can remember a young man approaching me, no older than 19, leather jacket (this was in the summer, late August mind you), afro with his pick deeply entrenched in the back pocket of his blue jeans, handing me a flyer, looking me squarely in my eyes behind the lenses of his sunglasses and asking me if I were ready for the “Revolution?”  “Hell yeah”, I responded. (What?) Man… what da hell am I talking about? I’ve just arrived on “da yard” and I better not sh*t on my parents money or this little scholarship I have trying to be radical.  That would soon come though. As the days passed, I noticed people wearing college apparel with a patch that read, “40 Acres and a Mule”. The clothing was fashionable and I wanted to learn more about it since I was unfamiliar with the brand and the slogan.  I would come to learn to that the merchandise was owned by an aspiring director by the name of Spike Lee and the concept was based on a famous episode during the Civil War/Reconstruction era where in 1865, Union General William T. Sherman issued “Special Field Order 15”, which ordered distribution of lots of forty (40) acres to freed black families and could be lent some surplus army mules.  This was the first systematic attempt to provide a form of reparations to newly freed slaves by redistributing property formerly possessed by Confederate land owners.

As the story goes and what has been taught in school, the policy of “40 Acres and a Mule” was that General Sherman issued the Order on January 16, 1865, after his famous “March to the Sea” where his military campaign began in the captured city of Atlanta, Georgia on November 15, 1864 and ended with the capture of the port of Savannah, Georgia on December 21st of that same year.  However, what isn’t told is how the idea of the Order was generated by black leaders.  A discussion was had between Sherman, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton and twenty (20) leaders of the Black community in the City of Savannah, where Sherman was headquartered four (4) days before the Order was issued.  Abolitionists Charles Sumner and Thaddeus Stevens and other Radical Republicans had been actively advocating land redistribution “to break the back of Southern slaveholders’ power.” The Radical Republicans were a faction of American politicians within the Republican Party from about 1854 until the end of Reconstruction in 1877. They called themselves “radicals” and were opposed during the war by moderates and conservative factions led by Abraham Lincoln and after the war by self-styled “conservatives” and “liberals”. Radicals strongly opposed slavery during the war and after the war distrusted ex-Confederates, demanding harsh policies for the former rebels, and emphasizing civil rights and voting rights for freedmen. The meeting was held at 8:00 p.m., Jan. 12th, on the second floor of Charles Green’s mansion on Savannah’s Macon Street.  The Black leaders were all ministers, mostly Baptist and Methodist; eleven (11) of which had been born free in slave states, of which ten (10) had lived as free men in the Confederacy during the course of the Civil War.  The question was raised by both Sherman and Stanton as to what did the Negro most wanted? Land! “The way we can best take care of ourselves,” Rev. Garrison Frazier began his answer to the crucial third question, “is to have land, and turn it and till it by our own labor … and we can soon maintain ourselves and have something to spare … We want to be placed on land until we are able to buy it and make it our own.” And when asked next where the freed slaves “would rather live — whether scattered among the whites or in colonies by themselves,” without missing a beat, Brother Frazier (as the transcript calls him) replied that “I would prefer to live by ourselves, for there is a prejudice against us in the South that will take years to get over … ” Rev. Frazier was the group’s chosen leader, a Baptist minister, who at the time was sixty-seven (67) years of age, who had been born in Granville, North Carolina, and was a slave until 1857, “when he purchased freedom for himself and wife for $1000 in gold and silver,” as the New York Daily Tribune reported. Rev. Frazier had been “in the ministry for thirty-five years,” and it was he who bore the responsibility of answering the 12 questions that Sherman and Stanton put to the group.



Upon the Order being issued, the response was immediate. When the transcript of the meeting was reprinted in the Black publication Christian Recorder, an editorial note indicated that “From this it will be seen that the colored people down South are not so dumb as many suppose them to be.” Baptist minister Ulysses L. Houston, one in the group of men that had met with Sherman, led 1,000 Blacks to Skidaway Island, Ga., where they established a self-governing community with Houston as the “Black governor.” By June of that year, “40,000 freedmen had been settled on 400,000 acres of ‘Sherman Land.'”  Sherman later ordered that the army could lend the new settlers mules; hence the phrase, “40 acres and a mule.”  Below are excerpts of the Order:

Section one: “The islands from Charleston, south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering the St. Johns river, Florida, are reserved and set apart for the settlement of the negroes [sic] now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States.”

Section two specifies that these new communities, moreover, would be governed entirely by black people themselves: ” … on the islands, and in the settlements hereafter to be established, no white person whatever, unless military officers and soldiers detailed for duty, will be permitted to reside; and the sole and exclusive management of affairs will be left to the freed people themselves … By the laws of war, and orders of the President of the United States, the negro [sic] is free and must be dealt with as such.”

Finally, section three specifies the allocation of land: ” … each family shall have a plot of not more than (40) acres of tillable ground, and when it borders on some water channel, with not more than 800 feet water front, in the possession of which land the military authorities will afford them protection, until such time as they can protect themselves, or until Congress shall regulate their title.”

 With this Order, 400,000 acres of land — “a strip of coastline stretching from Charleston, South Carolina, to the St. John’s River in Florida, including Georgia’s Sea Islands and the mainland thirty miles in from the coast,”

So you then ask yourself, if all of this transpired, what happened to cause people of color to continue to feel disenfranchised and left in a state of suffering and misery? After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson, Lincoln’s successor and a sympathizer with the South, overturned the Order in the fall of 1865, and, as Barton Myers remarked, “returned the land along the South Carolina, Georgia and Florida coasts to the planters who had originally owned it” — to the very people who had declared war on the United States of America.

Most startling is that reparations were paid to former slave owners during the Civil War.  The District of Columbia Emancipation Act began just after President Lincoln signed the bill to end slavery in the district on April 16, 1862, and during the next nine (9) months, 930 former slave owners were compensated by the Board of Commissioners.  According to the National Archives and Records Administration, the former slave owners were given up to $300.00 emancipation compensation for each slave they owned, after being forced to give their captives freedom.  This amount was given to cover any loss they may incur for not having their slaves to work their land and make money for them.  They were also compensated for their loyalty to the Union throughout the duration of the conflict.  Ain’t that some sh*t!



So in reading all of this information, and grasping all of this history, you ask yourself why now?  Why am I being inundated with all this talk of reparations?  On May 21, 2014, Ta-Nehisi Coates, writer for a publication called The Atlantic, published an article called “The Case for Reparations – Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.”   And in this compelling article, it focused on the atrocities which have befallen people of color since their arrival on the shores of the Atlantic those hundreds of years ago; how housing discrimination, the inability secure loans, areas in which people are forced to live, all play a role in the current plight of the so-called African-American.  Since then, the subject has been broached on our show and Melissa Harris-Perry’s show on MSNBC.  So why now, because advocates such as Representative John Conyers (Democrat – Michigan) have suggested the creation of a Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for the African-Americans, H.R. 40.  It doesn’t matter that African countries also sold their own kind into slavery; the descendants responsible and those who were victims have long since passed.  Those wrongs of yesterday continue to have adverse effects on the present and will have long-standing consequences well into the future.  It’s amazing how a piece of clothing and an individual’s dream to shed light on the “Black” experience can jog the consciousness and spark a “revolution.”  “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)

Note: Information was gathered from Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s article “The Truth Behind 40 Acres and a Mule”.

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!!!

So during the Christmas holidays, BET (Black Entertainment Television) annually televises Alex Haley’s Roots. The highly recognized drama gives an account of his (our) ancestors’ existence in Africa and their subsequent life in the United States as slaves. It’s a generational account from a somewhat historical standpoint. Lost in the story is how people of color began studying Christianity. Prior to being brought to the Americas, people of color worshipped their own deities. It wasn’t until they were stripped of the language, culture & names, were they forced to adapt to their new lifestyle. One of these adaptions was being introduced to religion. Religion was a method to placate slaves and used as a means of control. In some instances, when the “labor force” was taught the ability to read, the first publication they were introduced to was the Holy Bible. Hence forth, that sometimes overlooked aspect of the television series, as Kunta Kinte AKA Toby would pray to Allah as opposed to Jesus Christ, would now prove to be the linchpin that holds a race in place.


How did you become a republican or democrat? Was it of your own doing by learning the democratic process in Social Studies or American Government? How did you choose your religion; Baptist, Methodist, Islamic faith, whatever? Was it your idea to begin attending church or Sunday school at a young age? I pose these questions to show that many of the beliefs we have, whether political, spiritual or following a sports franchise, aren’t consciously made by us using rationale. They’re made for us generationally. Long after slaves ships arrived on the banks of the Southeast Atlantic region, from great, great, great grandmothers to the present, whatever religion they believed, you also believed. Whatever political party they were aligned with, you had to register and do the same. An example of this would be that people of color use to be republicans until the mid to late 60’s. It could have been a result of Lyndon B. Johnson signing Civil Rights litigation; or Richard Nixon’s implementation of “Southern Strategy”, from that point forward, an entire race became Democrats despite the issues or the intent of the candidates in the election process; interesting to say the least.


The point of this is at birth we’re all born atheist. We have no concept of religion, racial disparities, political affiliations, anything until it’s taught. All of the results thereafter are learned behaviors. Some people can step outside the box and use all the information available to make conscious decisions regarding their faith, marital views and interactions. Those people go against the norms of society and use rational thinking and logic. So if they chose to practice a particular faith based on their research of the other religions, I respect that. If some choose to align themselves with one political party or be an independent based on their research, I’m cool with that. However, I can’t accept someone being a part of something or feeling a certain type of way based on the fact that, “It has to be! That’s the way I was taught or that’s all I know”. Just like with people, if you don’t know their entire story, how can you judge them based on appearance, speech or hearsay? Who religion is the best? Is it Christianity because we leave in America? Is it Islam because their residency in the Middle East? Is it Hindu or Buddhism because they reside in another part of the world? Wars have been fought over religion and political views since their advent! Make decisions based on your own thought process as opposed to those passed on by others. It’s ok not to swim with the school of fish; be your own person. “We Are The Change!”  I’m gone! (b)

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