The labor of enslaved Africans proved crucial in the development of South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and
Maryland and contributed indirectly through commerce to the fortunes of New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Though
the enforced destination of Africans was primarily to plantations and farms for work in cash crop agriculture, they were also
used in mining and servicing the commercial economy. They were placed in towns and port cities as domestic servants; and many
urban residents performed essential commercial duties working as porters, teamsters, and craftsmen.
America, Africans were concentrated in the agricultural lowlands of South Carolina and Georgia, especially in the Sea Islands,
where they grew rice, cotton, indigo, and other crops. In Louisiana, they labored on sugarcane plantations. They were employed
on tobacco farms in the tidewater region of Virginia and Maryland. The tidewater, together with the Georgia and South Carolina
lowlands, accounted for at least two-thirds of the Africans brought into North America prior to the end of legal importation
Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade to America: Volume IV: The Border
Colonies and The Southern Colonies by Elizabeth Donnan
Voyages of the Slavers St. John & Arms of Amsterdam by Edmund
Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade to America: Volume III: New England and the Middle
Colonies by Elizabeth Donnan
Hundreds of Children Starving in Niger Hundreds of Hungry
Hundreds of Children Starving in NigerHundreds of Hungry Children in
Niger Clinging to Life;
Foreign Help Finally Coming
By NAFI DIOUF Associated Press Writer
MARADI, Niger Jul 24, 2005 — Nasseiba Ali is the face of hunger in Niger. The 20-month-old girl
weighs just 12 pounds, and her eyes are clouded at night, one of the symptoms of her chronic malnourishment. Nasseiba may
survive because her grandmother was able to get her to a feeding center. But aid groups despair that so many other children
are dying because the world was slow to respond.
"I thought we would not make it safely," Nasseiba's grandmother,
Haoua Adamou, said in Hausa through an interpreter after walking several hours with the baby on her back to the emergency
feeding center at Maradi, some 400 miles east of the capital, Niamey.
She sat Saturday fanning flies from Nasseiba's
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The aid agency Oxfam warned last week that about 3.6 million
people, about a third of them children, face starvation in this West African nation devastated by locusts and drought. The
U.N.'s humanitarian agency estimates some 800,000 children under 5 are suffering from hunger, including 150,000 faced with
The warnings have been coming for months. The United Nations first appealed for assistance in
November and got almost no response. Another appeal for $16 million in March generated about $1 million. The latest appeal
on May 25 for $30 million has received about $10 million.
Donations jumped dramatically in the last week because of
increased media attention and TV images of starving children, U.N. humanitarian chief Jan Egeland said Friday. Egeland estimated
that thousands of children are dying in Niger.
Nasseiba dozed fitfully in the intensive care tent of the emergency
center erected by Doctors Without Borders in Maradi, where 55 other chronically malnourished children were receiving care.
Her mother, who is three months pregnant, and her father stayed behind to work their farm to coax something from the dry soil
come the October harvest.
Nasseiba tried several times to pull out the tiny feeding tube securely taped to her forehead
and running down into her nose. She found sleep after several meager mouthfuls of enriched formula and what looked like a
long, cold stare, sign of her troubled vision that leaves her blind at night.
Selma to Montgomery marches
John Lewis and Hosea Williams lead marchers across the
Edmund Pettus Bridge,March 7, 1965The Selma to Montgomery marches, which included Bloody Sunday, were three marches that marked
the political and emotional peak of the American civil rights movement. They were the culmination of the movement in Selma
for voting rights, launched by Amelia Boynton Robinson and her husband, who brought many prominent leaders of the American
Civil Rights Movement to Selma, including Martin Luther King Jr., Jim Bevel, and Hosea Williams.
The first march occurred
on "Bloody Sunday", March 7, 1965, when 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by state and local police with billy clubs
and tear gas. Only the third, and last, march successfully made it into Montgomery. The route is memorialized as the Selma
to Montgomery National Trail.
1 Bloody Sunday - the first march
2 The second march
3 The third
4 External links
Bloody Sunday - the first march
Police attack marchersOn March 7, 1965,
525 to 600 civil rights marchers headed east out of Selma on U.S. Highway 80. Discrimination and intimidation had prevented
Selma's black population, roughly half of the city, from registering and voting; three weeks earlier, February 18, 1965, a
trooper shot Jimmie Lee Jackson as he tried to protect his mother in a civil rights demonstration. He died of a massive infection
at Selma's Good Samaritan Hospital eight days later. The marchers hoped to bring notice to the violations of their rights
by marching to the state capitol in Montgomery.
In their first march, led by the Reverend Hosea Williams, they made
it only as far as the Edmund Pettus Bridge, six blocks away. State troopers and the Dallas County Sheriff's Department, some
mounted on horseback, awaited them. In the presence of the news media the lawmen attacked the peaceful demonstrators with
billy clubs, tear gas, and bull whips, driving them back into Selma.
Police wait for marchers to come across the
Edmund Pettus BridgeBrutal televised images of the attack, which left many bloodied and severely injured, roused support for
the US civil rights movement. Amelia Boynton Robinson was beaten and gassed nearly to death -- her photo appeared on the front
page of papers and newsmagazines around the world. Seventeen marchers were hospitalized, leading to the naming of the day,
The second march
Immediately after "Bloody Sunday" Martin Luther King Jr., as leader of the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference, began organizing a second march to be held on Tuesday, March 9, 1965, calling for
people across the country to join him. Hundreds of people responded to his call, shocked by what they had seen on television.
prevent another outbreak of violence the marchers attempted to gain a court order that would prohibit the police from interfering.
Instead of issuing the court order Federal District Court Judge Frank M. Johnson, Jr. issued a restraining order, preventing
the march from taking place until he could hold additional hearings later in the week.
Rather than abiding by the court
order the SCLC decided to hold a partial, "ceremonial", march, taking into consideration that they had gathered hundreds of
marchers for the event, but did not want to alienate one of the few southern judges who was often sympathetic to their cause.
March 9th King led the marchers out to the Edmund Pettus Bridge and held a short prayer session before turning the marchers
back around, thereby not breaking the court order preventing them from marching all the way to Montgomery. Only the SCLC leaders
were told of this plan, causing some consternation in the marchers who had traveled long distances to make the march, but
many stayed after King asked the crowd to remain for another attempt at the march.
On March 9, after the second march,
James Reeb, a white Unitarian Universalist minister from Boston who had come for the second march and had agreed to stay,
was attacked with a club in front of the Silver Moon Café, a hangout for whites. Being turned back by the small local hospital
in Selma (reported to be full at the time), Reeb's companions were forced to take him to University Hospital in Birmingham,
two hours away. Reeb died on Thursday, March 11, at University Hospital with his wife by his side.
Reeb's death garnered
national attention, much to the chagrin of some blacks after the death of Jimmie Lee Jackson went largely unnoticed. Student
Nonviolent Coordinating Committee spokesperson Stokely Carmichael was reported as saying "What you want is the nation to be
upset when anybody is killed . . . but it almost [seems that] for this to be recognized, a white person must be killed".
A week after Reeb's death, the federal judge ruled in favour of the SCLC, preventing the State from blocking
the marchers, weighing the right of mobility against the right to march:
The law is clear that the right to petition
one's government for the redress of grievances may be exercised in large groups . . . and these rights may be exercised by
marching, even along public highways.
Exactly two weeks, March 21, 1965, after Bloody Sunday, about 3,200 marchers set
out from Selma to Montgomery, about 50 miles away. They walked about 12 miles (20 km) a day, sleeping in fields at night.
They reached Montgomery on March 24 and camped out at the Catholic complex City of St. Jude. That night, a "Stars for Freedom"
rally was held, with singers Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Sammy Davis Jr. all performing.
the time they reached the capitol the next day, Thursday, March 25, their numbers had swollen to 25,000, and King delivered
the speech "How Long, Not Long" from the capitol steps.
Within five months of the third march, President Lyndon Johnson
signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Amelia Boynton Robinson was present during the ceremony.
Transatlantic Slave Trade:
Dutch, French Spanish 100,000
As Europeans fought for control of the trade on the African Coast, new battles of conquest began
in the Americas. In 1492, Columbus mistakenly landed in America in his search for India. His mistake opened a new world of
discovery and conquest for the Europeans and a world of devastation for the native Americans and Africans. After Columbus’
initial trip, a flood of explorers and fortune hunters followed. In 1500 Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered Brazil for the Portuguese.
The Spanish American and Portuguese possessions multiplied from then on. The main economic activities were ranching, mining
and agriculture. Spain carried on a prosperous trade with its colonies throughout the sixteenth century. The discovery of
vast silver mines in the 1540s enriched the colonial inhabitants and increased the volume of trade across the Atlantic.
not initially inclined to do so, other European countries sought to expand their own empires and trading systems and soon
joined the Spanish and Portuguese in the Americas. By 1609, the English had conquered Bermuda. By 1623, they also possessed
Antigua, Monster, Nevis, Barbados, and other islands. Guadeloupe and Martinique belonged to the French by 1625. The Dutch,
Swedes, and Danes also joined in the rush to the Americas.
But the colonization of this new world was not easy. Many
European traders who crossed the Atlantic did not want to colonize, but only to profit from the trade. It is reluctantly that
many traders decided to live away from their native countries. For example, England's initial plan for the Americas was to
put as few people as possible overseas for the efficient running of their trading systems. But soon, the European countries
were pushed into a colonial administration by their drive for profit. With the success of sugar and tobacco in the new world,
small farmers and profiteers came in droves to the new world to gain from the prosperous new trade. This was only the beginning
of the colonization process. To work the large plantations which soon formed, the English and other Europeans sent over white
indentured servants. At the same time, the Spanish and Portuguese planters especially were exploiting Indian labor against
the will of their governments and of the Catholic Church. The conquistadors raided the interior to find more Indians to exploit.
Soon , most of the Indians, unused to the work, died of disease or were worked to death. To replace their dwindling resource,
the Portuguese began to import slaves from their African ports. Thus, the African slave trade came to the new world.
Columbus' exploits in the Caribbean Islands for the crown of Castille opened new opportunities for trade
and wealth for the Spanish throne. Spanish society of the period was conquest oriented. Even until 1492, the crown was still
contending with Moorish settlements to the south. The expansionist mentality was Ingrained in the society . Columbus wanted
to establish forts and trading posts , in which Spaniards would work for a salary, to facilitate trade with the native peoples.
However, the crown preferred to populate the areas discovered by Columbus and to transplant Spanish society to America. In
line with this policy, a large shipment of people and supplies left Spain in 1493 destined for Hispaniola, now the countries
of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Santo Domingo became the capital of this new settlement.
GOLD AND INDIAN EXPLOITATION
Spaniards employed the encomienda system to exploit the labor of the Indians on the island. In the ecnomienda system, a tribe
of Indians is given to a powerful Spaniard by the governor for his exploitation. Gold was the only commodity the Spanish could
easily produce. So they forced the Indians to mine it for them. This gold supported the colony for twenty years. The colonists
traded it for the European goods they desired such as wine and olive oil. The Portuguese monopolized the sugar trade. The
colonists' desire to replicate their old society in the "New World" led to increased trade across the Atlantic in European
cloth and manufactured goods as well. The Spanish felt that their society was the best and sought to impose it where possible.
Italian merchants initially funded and controlled trade between Spain and the Indies, but eventually, members of the Castillian
throne took over.
EXPANISION TO THE NORTH AND SOUTH
Conquistadors led Spanish expansion on the mainland in the
search for gold, pearls, and Indian Slaves. With their metal weapons, shield, and armor, they easily captured Indian tribes.
They later conquered present day Panama and Peru (The Incas) to the south and Cuba and Mexico (The Aztecs) to the north. In
their wake they left their culture, mores, and religion. The discovery of silver mines in Peru in the 1540s boosted trade
across the Atlantic as booty hunters made their fortunes.
FROM GOLD TO SUGAR
When the gold reserves began to
run out, the Spanish resorted to planting sugar around 1515. They brought sugar experts from the Canary Islands and copied
the plantation styles of the islands. They also began importing black slaves. By the 1540, there were several large sugar
plantations in Hispaniola and around the Caribbean. Spanish throne imposed trading regulations and licenses on merchants heading
to the Caribbean with complex restrictions. In spite of all of Spain's efforts however; smuggling was rampant. There was a
strong demand for slaves, and a guaranteed profit for anyone who would provided them.
FRANCE THREATENS SPANISH POSSESSIONS
IN THE EARLY 17TH CENTURY
The French threatened Spanish possessions in the New World. Separatist organizations in Holland
prevented serious interest from being developed in the New World in the very early 17th century. Florida was the focus of
France's attacks. Soon French pirates and buccaneers were intercepting Spanish ships entering and exiting the Caribbean
sugar cultivation began in Cyprus and Sicily long before the Portuguese began exploring the African coast. The Italians took
control of the sugar trade and actively traded it and financed its cultivation. They brought the techniques of sugar production,
estate `management, and commercial organization to the Iberian Peninsula, the Atlantic Islands and later to the Americas.
The Atlantic Islands included Madeira, Sao Tome, the Canaries, and the Azores. With Italian funding, the Portuguese developed
complex sugar plantations and monopolized sugar production. Later, the Dutch West India Company became middlemen for the Portuguese
BACKGROUND ON BRAZIL
Pedro Alvares Cabral, a Portuguese captain, was the first European to enter Brazil
in 1498. Brazil was named after the brazilwood trees that lined its coast. The Portuguese had ignored the new discovery in
favor of oriental trade. However, when the French began trading with the native peoples of Brazil for their trees, the Portuguese
became concerned. European dye makers loved the dye extracted from the Brazil trees. The Spanish also traded somewhat along
the Brazilian coast. The Portuguese therefore established Brazil's first settlement, Sao Vincent, in 1532 to ensure their
dominion over the colony.
SUGAR AND SLAVERY
Colonization of Brazil was a lengthy process. Eventually, though,
sugar became a major industry. The labor force was of course comprised of black slaves. The discovery of gold in 1693 led
to a decline in sugar profits. European masters, bringing their slaves, flocked to gold mining sights in order to make their
fortunes. In spite of this slump and others that would follow, sugar continued through 1750 to be the major crop of the Caribbean
which enriched many European powers.
Tobacco production in the Caribbean was extremely important to the "triangular
trade." The good quality tobacco was sent to Europe for pipes and snuff. Poorer quality tobacco was mixed with molasses and
other additives and sent to Africa. However, tobacco was always secondary to sugar.
Mulatto or mixed race people were
the inevitable byproduct of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Lonely European men who worked in the new world took mistresses
and wives from among the Native Americans and some of the black slaves. Europeans discrimnated against this new race of people.
However, they occasionally rose to positions of prominence within soceity.
The Transatlantic slave trade
about 1500 and 1870 it is estimated that at least 12 million African people were forcibly shipped across the Atlantic to work
as slaves in the Americas. This period has come to be known as the Transatlantic Slave Trade and it changed the course of
history on three continents.
Europeans captured African slaves
The Portuguese were the first to capture Africans
for export during the great Age of Discovery in the 15th century. But by the end of the 18th century they had been joined
by the British, Dutch, French and Spanish who were buying almost 100 000 African slaves a year to work on their sugar, cotton,
tobacco and rice plantations. Roughly 40% of these Africans were taken to Brazil, 40% to the Caribbean, and the remaining
20% went to the Spanish islands and North America.
The Caribbean sugar industry
Although slavery existed in African
societies before the Europeans intervened, the sheer scale of the transatlantic trade was unlike anything that had gone before.
The profits to be made from sugar in particular led to an almost insatiable demand for slaves to cultivate it. The African
traders and local chiefs exploited the commercial and political opportunities to secure a steady supply of firearms with which
to capture more slaves and make their states more powerful.
Misery of slavery
But at the heart of this commerce
was individual human misery. We know from shipping records, that most enslaved people left West Africa from the ports of present
day Ghana, Benin, Nigeria and Angola, but this is only half the story. It could take as long as a year to reach the coast
for those captured up to 1000 miles into the interior. Europeans preferred to buy males aged between 15 and 25 and so countless
communities were deprived of young men just when they needed them most.
Crossing The Middle Passage
survived the journey to the coast, the captured Africans would then be held in secure cages or 'barracoons' for weeks on end
until there were enough of them to fill a ship's hold. Shackled together and packed tightly in the filthy holds below deck,
the slaves would then embark upon the hellish journey west across the Atlantic known as The Middle Passage.
on board ship were appalling. The length of the voyage varied but on average it would take around 7-8 weeks to reach the Americas.
Although it was in the slavers' interests to land with as many healthy slaves as possible, rebellion, suicide, malnutrition,
dysentery and other contagious diseases, all contributed to an average mortality rate of almost 15%.
their ship reached its destination in the Americas, the Africans would be made to look as healthy as possible in readiness
for the slave auctions. After being prodded and poked and subjected to the most humiliating inspections the slaves would be
sold off and taken to the plantations.
Plantation life was hard and in Jamaica the backbreaking work of sugar cultivation
and the poor living conditions meant that most slaves did not survive for more than ten years after their arrival. In fact
Jamaica was the one society in the Caribbean where the slave population could not reproduce itself naturally. More and more
African slaves then needed to be imported to replace them. Britain abolished the slave trade in 1807 butdid not emancipate
all her slaves until 1838.
Find out more about the slave trade
Reclaiming lost roots
Caribbean slaves came from hundreds of ethnic groups, their languages and cultures were soon 'creolised' into one identity.
Many descendants of these enslaved Africans are now looking to genetics and history to reclaim the lost roots of their ancestors.
Discover what genetics has shown us about the roots of British African Caribbean people
Musical Compilations Explicit in this Information:
2bans' Roots Hiphop. Against Humanity.
Show Them How We Feel.
All these materials are available to download for Free From www.2ban.co.uk Courtesy of 3rdWorld Natives and the Indeginous.
Colombia's displaced - BLACK CHILDREN
Colombia's displaced caught in cross fire of war and racism
Cecilia Cortes survives in Nelson Mandela
City after escaping Columbia's guerrilla war.
By Karl Penhaul
Special to CNN
CARTAGENA, Colombia (CNN) --
The last African slaves landed at Colombia's port of Cartagena 150 years ago. But long after abolition, their descendants
are still not masters of their destiny.
More than 50,000 refugees, almost all of them black, have left behind plots
of land in the interior of Colombia and are now squatting on the outskirts of the former slave port.
They call their
shantytown Nelson Mandela City, after the South African statesman. The collection of shacks made from scraps of wood, tin
and plastic is their only haven from Colombia's drawn-out war between leftist guerrillas, right-wing paramilitary squads and
"The paramilitaries came, and we were afraid and we came here and left everything and our crops behind,"
said Cecilia Cortes, one of the shantytown residents who abandoned her village.
The refugee children are malnourished,
and the only relief comes from a United Nations-aided soup kitchen. The shantytown has no running water.
of new internal refugees, or displaced people, in Colombia surged in the first quarter of this year compared with the same
period in 2000 as Colombia's war escalated. More than 90,000 peasants were uprooted during the first three months of 2001
from historical mining areas and other strategic tracts of land.
About 30 percent of the refugees are black or indigenous
people although those groups make up 10 percent of the population overall, said Leila Lima, head of the U.N. High Commissioner
for Refugees in Colombia.
Jobs are scarce. Desperate refugees are reduced to such unhealthy activities as picking
through trash heaps to recycle glass bottles and cardboard in exchange for about $2 a day.
International aid agencies
have helped build schools and organize community projects in Nelson Mandela City, but the shanty dwellers said that history
and race work against them. Blacks have historically been among Colombia's poorest populations and have received little government
"They've denied opportunities to the black people," said community leader Miguel Lopez, "because black
and poor people, when they're educated, are dangerous because they have that resentment that has been brewing since the time
they were slaves."
While the refugees no longer have a war on their doorsteps, their battle for survival is no less
desperate as they try to stave off starvation and disease on the fringes of Colombian society.
The Fugitive Slave Law or Fugitive Slave Act :
The Fugitive Slave Law or Fugitive Slave Act was passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 1850 as part
of the Compromise of 1850 between Southern slaveholding interests and Northern Free-Soilers and abolitionists.
cause of conflict between the Southern slave states and the Northern free states was the lack of assistance given by northerners
to southern slave-owners and their agents seeking to recapture escaped slaves. (Seek research on Underground railroad.)
In 1842 the Supreme Court had ruled that states did not have to proffer aid in the hunting or
recapture of slaves, and in some areas locals had actively fought attempts to seize black fugitives and return them to the
South. Some northern states passed personal-liberty laws mandating a jury trial before alleged slaves could be moved; others
forbade the use of local jails or the assistance of state officials in the process of arrest or return.
the Fugitive Slave Bill of 1850 made any federal marshal or other official who did not arrest an alleged runaway slave liable
to a fine of $1,000. Law-enforcement officials everywhere in the United States now had a duty to arrest anyone suspected of
being a runaway slave on no more evidence than a claimant's sworn testimony of ownership. The suspected slave could not ask
for a jury trial or testify on his or her own behalf. In addition, any person aiding a runaway slave by providing food or
shelter was to be subject to six months' imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Officers capturing a fugitive slave were entitled
to a fee for their work.
In fact the Fugitive Slave Law brought the issue home to anti-slavery citizens in the North,
since it made them and their institutions responsible for enforcing slavery. Even moderate abolitionists were now faced with
the immediate choice of defying what they believed an unjust law or breaking with their own conscience and belief. The case
of Anthony Burns fell under this statute.
Many Methodists were highly active in the abolition movement, though the
Methodist Episcopal Church was officially hesitant to speak out for fear of losing the southern churches. Their reluctance
stimulated at least two splinter groups of Methodism, the Wesleyan Church in 1843 and the Free Methodists in 1860. These,
along with some like-minded Quakers, maintained many of the "stations" of the Underground Railroad.
The Fugitive Slave
Act brought a defiant response from the "station masters." Rev. Luther Lee, pastor of the Wesleyan Methodist Church of Syracuse,
New York wrote in 1855:
I never would obey it. I had assisted thirty slaves to escape to Canada during the last month.
If the authorities wanted any thing of me my residence was at 39 Onondaga Street. I would admit that and they could take me
and lock me up in the Penitentiary on the hill; but if they did such a foolish thing as that I had friends enough on Onondaga
County to level it to the ground before the next morning.
Other participants in the resistance movement, such as Harriet
Tubman simply treated the law as just another complication in their activities. The most important reaction was making the
neighbouring country of Canada the main destination of choice for runaway slaves.
With the outbreak of the American
Civil War, General Benjamin Butler justified refusing to return runaway slaves in accordance to this law because as the Union
and the Confederacy were at war, the slaves could be confiscated and set free as contraband of war.
After much debate
and hesitation, March 13, 1862, the federal government forbade all Union army officers from returning fugitive slaves, thus
effectively annulling the Law. Later, the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment made that annullment official.
1850 Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law. Only John P. Hale, Charles Sumner, Salmon Chase and Benjamin Wade voted against
the measure. The law stated that in future any federal marshal who did not arrest an alleged runaway slave could be fined
$1,000. People suspected of being a runaway slave could be arrested without warrant and turned over to a claimant on nothing
more than his sworn testimony of ownership. A suspected black slave could not ask for a jury trial nor testify on his or her
Any person aiding a runaway slave by providing shelter, food or any other form of assistance was liable to
six months' imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Those officers capturing a fugitive slave were entitled to a fee and this encouraged
some officers to kidnap free Negroes and sell them to slave-owners. Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison
and John Greenleaf Whittier led the fight against the law. Even moderate anti-slavery leaders such as Arthur Tappan declared
he was now willing to disobey the law and as result helped fund the Underground Railroad.
The 1793 Fugitive Slave
Law was written in response to a conflict between Pennsylvania and Virginia. Although the problem of fugitive slaves was addressed
at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 (in Article IV, Section 2 in the final document), there was an assumption that interstate
cooperation would allow this provision to be enforced. In reality, differences of moral attitudes and questions over legal
responsibility for enforcement made the rendition of fugitives difficult. The particular case that forced the US Congress's
hand in 1793 centered around John Davis. Pennsylvania's governor, Thomas Mifflin, sought the extradition of three Virginians
accused of kidnapping Davis and taking him to Virginia. Virginia's governor, Beverly Randolph, refused the extradition request
on the grounds that Davis was a fugitive slave subject to rendition. Mifflin objected claiming that Davis was free and should
be protected. The 1793 Fugitive Slave Law that was written in response to this interstate struggle marked the first of several
federal attempts to balance the rights of personal liberty and personal property.
Although slaves' legal status as
property disqualified them from claiming constitutional rights, the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793 denied these rights to freed
slaves as well. Escaped slaves were not allowed jury trials, and it was not uncommon for runaways to be refused permission
to present proof of their freedom.
The law gave teeth to the provisions of the U.S. Constitution that protected slavery.
It made it a federal crime to assist an escaping slave, and established the legal mechanism by which escaped slaves could
be seized (even in "free" states), brought before a magistrate, and returned to their masters. The Act made every escaped
slave a fugitive-for-life, liable to recapture at any time anywhere within the territory of the United States, along with
any children subsequently born of enslaved mothers. A whole industry of slave-catching developed in response to the Act, and
even free blacks were unlawfully seized by slave-catchers and sold into slavery. The Act had a chilling effect on the lives
of the one-fifth of the American population that was of African descent, and the Underground Railroad grew in response to
it. Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act overwhelmingly in February 1793, and Washington signed it into law on February
Text of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1793
For the better security of the peace and friendship now entered into by the contracting parties,
against all infractions of the same, by the citizens of either party, to the prejudice of the other, neither party shall proceed
to the infliction of punishments on the citizens of the other, otherwise than by securing the offender, or offenders, by imprisonment,
or any other competent means, till a fair and impartial trial can be had by judges or juries of both parties, as near as can
be, to the laws, customs, and usage's of the contracting parties, and natural justice: the mode of such trials to be hereafter
fixed by the wise men of the United States, in congress assembled, with the assistance of such deputies of the Delaware nation,
as may be appointed to act in concert with them in adjusting this matter to their mutual liking. And it is further agreed
between the parties aforesaid, that neither shall entertain, or give countenance to, the enemies of the other, or protect,
in their respective states, criminal fugitives, servants, or slaves, but the same to apprehend and secure, and deliver to
the state or states, to which such enemies, criminals, servants, or slaves, respectively below (sic).
Reparations For The Enslavement Of African:....September 6th, 2004
AN ARGUMENT FOR THE PAYMENT TO DECENDANTS
OF AFRICAN SLAVES
By Joseph S. Spence, Sr.
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In the past Europeans with ill will almost entirely
stripped and raped Africa of its most valuable resources: gold, ivory, diamonds and its people. The raping of Africa came
in the form of disguises by those malevolent Europeans claiming that they were there to help the African nation. The resulting
impact of the disguised "help" was the transportation of approximately fourteen million Africans from their continent as captives
to the West into slavery. Since then many abolitionists have fought for the ending of slavery. The overt sign of the shackles
are gone; however, the covert aspect of slavery still remains. The prevailing question that springs from the slave experience
is that of reparations being paid to the descendants of slavery. As a result of the brutality, demoralization, genocide and
other negative actions inflicted upon Africans because of the slave trade, including a devastating impact beyond the initial
enslavement, we will see that reparations should be paid to the descendants of slavery.
Europeans of ill will went
to Africa with the hidden intent of stripping and raping the country of its most valuable resources -its young people. Words
of untruth were told to Africans. Promises were made with no intent to be kept. Deception was implemented to trick Africans
into a trap of oppression. The hidden plans of the malicious Europeans were to capture and transport Africans as slaves to
be sold in the West. The resulting impact is the kidnapping, beating, and forced taking of approximately 14,000,000 Africans
and their descendants, and enslaving them in the United States from 1619 to 1865 (Conyers 1).
Africans and their descendants
have suffered in the United States as a result of the slavery imposed upon their ancestors and elders. African-Americans today
are still suffering from the "remnants of the badge of slavery." This came as a result of their ancestors and elders being
stolen from their homeland, Africa, and being forced to work without compensation in a land foreign to them. Their slave owners
and their descendants benefited from the fruits of the African enslavement. On the opposite hand, Africans had their culture,
heritage, family, language and religion stripped from them. The self-identity and self-worth of the proud African people were
destroyed by repression and hatred (Conyers 1).
African women were raped and forcefully seduced into sexual activities
for the production of children into slavery. African men who resisted being sold as slaves and sought freedom from captivity
were hunted down, captured, whipped and killed at times. African boys and girls were sold into slavery for a little or nothing
as chattel for their so-called masters. Many slave owners became wealthy as a result of slave labor from Africans working
in fields, farms, barns, and the like, and have refused to pay for the wealth produced by African slaves. Why should those
who profited from such outrageous actions continue to reap the benefits? Why should those who reaped wealth resulting from
such unconscionably inflicted woe upon Africans continue to live the high life while the descendants of slaves continue to
suffer from covert slavery? Granting reparations is a just, fair and equitable action to take as a corrective measure to alleviate
the physical, mental and social wrongs inflicted upon Africans and their descendants by those who profited from such injustices.
who continue to benefit from the spoils of slavery, and refuse to make things right, have raised some objections to reparations.
For example, some have argued that all the slaves are dead, and the slave masters are also dead; therefore, it is not a good
idea to pay reparations to the present generations because they were not slaves (Carroll 2). This argument is flawed and illogical
because reparations over the years were paid to many within our legal system. For instance, the families of individuals who
have died as a result of medical malpractice by a physician are entitled to just and fair compensation for past and future
pain and suffering, loss of consortium for not experiencing the love and affection of a loved one, loss of income, and other
benefits one would classify as reparations. Furthermore, a precedent on reparations was established when Japanese-Americans
were paid reparations for the pain they experienced in World War II interment camps in the United States (1). Such interment
does not compare to the captivity of Africans who suffered gross injustices from the actions of imposed slavery.
Jews were also paid reparations as a result of their imprisonment in concentration camps and their indentured servitude to
the Germans. The injustices experienced by the Jews do not compare in any way, shape, or form to the oppressions and degradation
suffered by Africans at the hands of Europeans and Americans during and after slavery. Those in opposition to the payments
of reparations have argued that Americans did not make such payments; neither was the Jew enslaved by America. Upon examination,
negative arguments of this nature are senseless. For instance, in December 1999, officials from Germany, Eastern Europe and
the United States signed a historic agreement to pay $5 billion in reparations to Nazi slave laborers and their families (Love
The Unites States was intimately involved in the Jewish reparations process. Ask yourself, is it right for America to help
those in foreign countries obtain reparations, while in the same breath it refuses to help African descendants on its own
shores here at home who have suffered greater fates?
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who discovered late
in life that she is of Jewish descent, spoke on the reparations event. She classified the agreement as the first serious attempt
to compensate "those whose labor was stolen or coerced during a time of outrage and shame." She also states, "it is critical
to completing the unfinished business of the old century before entering the new." America in this instance pressured the
Swiss and German nations to correct the sins of their past (Love 1). Isn't this the perfect example of Washington making amends
for past wrongs to others? Was this accomplishment made possible because the Jews who suffered were not Africans and had a
greater political lobby and wealth? Who will convince America with the truth to pay reparations to African descendants? Or
is America so set on not paying reparations that it turns a blind eye to its own internal problems while policing the world?
is a feeling among many that before any consideration of reparations is made, America must first apologize to African-Americans
for the oppression inflicted upon them as a result of slavery. Some African-Americans state that they deserve more respect
and will accept respectful treatment as reparation instead of monetary payments. Others state that they would rather have
monetary payments as reparation instead of an apology or a statement of respect, since such actions do not put food on the
table, nor pay the bills. However, there should be a national recognition of the wrongs fostered upon Black people by the
forced captivity and slavery they had to endure (Jemel 1). Will America come to grips and ever say, "I am sorry for the past
wrongs inflicted upon Africans and their descendants"? Is there so much pride involved here that a simple apology, which will
satisfy some, is even too hard to make? It is obvious that without overcoming the initial stages of denial, reparations may
have a long way to go before becoming a reality for African-Americans unlike other groups that have received reparations.
issue of how reparations are to be paid is another common objection by the opponents. It appears that some have decided to
negatively argue this issue, with the hopes that if a decision is not possible the problem may go away. Other opponents believe
that they have found a "soft spot" by which to stop the advancement of the reparation issue. They have decided to use this
in their favor to derail the advancement of reparation payments. Other opponents are under the presumption that if enough
disagreement is created between African-Americans and White-Americans on the payment issue, the initial question of reparations
may be dead on arrival. However, many advocates have proposed viable solutions and recommendations (Jemel 1).
attempts have been made in the past to obtain reparations. States across America have now taken up the issue of reparations
with serious debate. Boston University has even held a debate on reparations. During Boston University's debate, those who
argued against reparations were actually arguing for some form of reparation other than monetary payments. Congressman John
Conyers even sponsored a bill on reparations in 1989 known then as HR 40. During testimony Conyers stated, "I haven't been
able to hold a hearing. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is my biggest stumbling block." Conyers also feels that the opponents
to his commission's study on reparations believe that they are being blamed for something they had nothing to do with (Harper
2). Based on these insights, it is obvious that politics has played a negative role in reparations. One would speculate that
if Newt Gingrich was consulted on reparations over dinner, and if the Republicans had sponsored the bill, the opposition would
not have been that great, and the reparation bill would probably have been approved.
Just like World War II was the
war to end all wars, which did not happen, some Americans are under the misguided conception that the Emancipation Proclamation
officially ended slavery for African-Americans, which also did not happen. Wars are still being fought and African-Americans
are still enslaved. The ratification of the constitutional amendments following the Civil War did not end the intense discrimination,
degradation and depravation suffered by African-Americans (Conyers 2). The lasting effects of slavery have inflicted low self-esteem,
lack of cultural identity and economic dependency on the descendants of former slaves. However, in the reverse, slavery has
provided enormous profits to many White-Americans. They have enjoyed the benefits of their ancestors' unconscionable acts.
Furthermore, they are still acting in an unconscionable manner by refusing to pay reparations to African-Americans. Additionally,
to make matters worst, they are just doling out menial jobs to African-Americans are still working on a lesser level. As a
result, while they go to their mansions and pent houses, African-Americans have to go elsewhere and live in conditions not
as lavish as the descendants who enslaved their fore parents.
In a recent development to enhance the fight for reparations,
The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America has announced plans to sue the United States government on the
reparations issue. One must wonder why such an announcement is not shown on the major news media such as CNN, MSNBC, or even
published in local news media. The organization currently based in Washington, D.C. is making headway in its preparation.
Adjoe Aiyetoro, the group's attorney states, "our team is convinced that a solidly crafted lawsuit will help us achieve our
reparations. Much like our ancestors who fought for 250 years to end chattel slavery, we cannot refuse to demand reparations
in every forum because it appears that the government is unlikely to give it to us or that we do not have agreement as to
what form it will take." (2). It appears that accomplishments by African-Americans in the past came at a price mixed with
blood, sweat and tears. It also appears that this may be the path to take in the future.
In summary, African-Americans
have suffered immensely as a result of slavery. Others who have suffered similar fates have received reparations. Why not
African-Americans? The Emancipation Proclamation, Civil War and the constitutional amendments have not officially solved the
issue of racism, discrimination, depravation, and reparations for African-Americans. Achievements made by African-Americans
came with the cost of blood, sweat and tears. The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America lawsuit may be a
potential solution. African-Americans have made great progress by taking their plea to the courts of law. Tremendous achievements
have been made in this arena. Hopefully, such achievements will continue in the future when a just, fair and equitable court
decision is handed down on paying reparations.
Conyers, John Rep. "About The Bill." The Proposed
Reparations Study Commission. 4 Feb.
Carroll, Jon. "Reactions to Reparations." San Francisco Chronicles.
(2001). 4 Feb. 2002.
Harper, James. "Bethune Puts The Issue on Trial." Black Voices About Reparations.
"Reparation - A Simple Plan." (1999). 4 Feb. 2002.
Love, David A. "U.S. Needs to Pay Reparations for Slavery."
The Progressive Media Project.
(2000). 4 Feb. 2002.
Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment - 400 African American men:
In 1932 the American Government promised 400 men - all residents of Macon County, Alabama,
all poor, all African American - free treatment for Bad Blood, a euphemism for syphilis which was epidemic in the county.
Treatment for syphilis was never given to the men and was in fact withheld. The men became unwitting subjects for a government
sanctioned medical investigation, The Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male. The Tuskegee Study, which lasted
for 4 decades, until 1972, had nothing to do with treatment. No new drugs were tested; neither was any effort made to establish
the efficacy of old forms of treatment. It was a non therapeutic experiment, aimed at compiling data on the effects of the
spontaneous evolution of syphilis on black males. What has become clear since the story was broken by Jean Heller in 1972
was that the Public Health Service (PHS) was interested in using Macon County and its black inhabitants as a laboratory for
studying the long term effects of untreated syphilis, not in treating this deadly disease.
The Tuskegee Study symbolizes
the medical misconduct and blatant disregard for human rights that takes place in the name of science. The studies principal
investigators were not mad scientists, they were government physicians, respected men of science, who published reports on
the study in the leading medical journals. The subjects of the study bear witness to the premise that the burden of medical
experimentation has historically been borne by those least able to protect themselves. The government doctors who participated
in the study failed to obtain informed consent from the subjects in a study of disease with a known risk to human life. Instead,
the PHS offered the men incentives to participate: free physical examinations, free rides to and from the clinics, hot meals
on examination days, free treatment for minor ailments, and a guarantee that a burial stipend would be paid to their survivors.
This modest stipend of $50.00 represented the only form of burial insurance that many of the men had. By failing to obtain
informed consent and offering incentives for participation, the PHS doctors were performing unethical and immoral experiments
on human subjects. From the moment the experiment begun, the immorality of the experiment was blatantly apparent.
forty years between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 399 black men in the late
stages of syphilis. These men, for the most part illiterate sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama, were
never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness. Informed that they were being treated for "bad blood,"
their doctors had no intention of curing them of syphilis at all. The data for the experiment was to be collected from autopsies
of the men, and they were thus deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphilis, which can include tumors,
heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity, and death. "As I see it," one of the doctors involved explained, "we have no
further interest in these patients until they die."
Using Human Beings as Laboratory Animals
nature of the experiment had to be kept from the subjects to ensure their cooperation. The sharecroppers' grossly disadvantaged
lot in life made them easy to manipulate. Pleased at the prospect of free medical care, almost none of them had ever seen
a doctor before, these unsophisticated and trusting men became the pawns in what James Jones, author of the excellent history
on the subject, Bad Blood, identified as "the longest non therapeutic experiment on human beings in medical history." The
study was meant to discover how syphilis affected blacks as opposed to whites, the theory being that whites experienced more
neurological complications from syphilis whereas blacks were more susceptible to cardiovascular damage. How this knowledge
would have changed clinical treatment of syphilis is uncertain. Although the PHS touted the study as one of great scientific
merit, from the outset its actual benefits were hazy. It took almost forty years before someone involved in the study took
a hard and honest look at the end results, reporting that "nothing learned will prevent, find, or cure a single case of infectious
syphilis or bring us closer to our basic mission of controlling venereal disease in the United States." When the experiment
was brought to the attention of the media in 1972, news anchor Harry Reasoner described it as an experiment that "used human
beings as laboratory animals in a long and inefficient study of how long it takes syphilis to kill someone."
Heavy Price in the Name of Bad Science
By the end of the experiment, 28 of the men had died directly of syphilis,
100 were dead of related complications, 40 of their wives had been infected, and 19 of their children had been born with congenital
syphilis. How had these men been induced to endure a fatal disease in the name of science? To persuade the community to support
the experiment, one of the original doctors admitted it "was necessary to carry on this study under the guise of a demonstration
and provide treatment." At first, the men were prescribed the syphilis remedies of the day, bismuth, neoarsphenamine, and
mercury, but in such small amounts that only 3 percent showed any improvement. These token doses of medicine were good public
relations and did not interfere with the true aims of the study. Eventually, all syphilis treatment was replaced with "pink
medicine" aspirin. To ensure that the men would show up for a painful and potentially dangerous spinal tap, the PHS doctors
misled them with a letter full of promotional hype: "Last Chance for Special Free Treatment." The fact that autopsies would
eventually be required was also concealed. As a doctor explained, "If the colored population becomes aware that accepting
free hospital care means a post-mortem, every darky will leave Macon County . . ." Even the Surgeon General of the United
States participated in enticing the men to remain in the experiment, sending them certificates of appreciation after 25 years
in the study.
Following Doctors' Orders
It takes little imagination to ascribe racist attitudes to the
white government officials who ran the experiment, but what can one make of the numerous African Americans who collaborated
with them? The experiment's name comes from the Tuskegee Institute, the black university founded by Booker T. Washington.
Its affiliated hospital lent the PHS its medical facilities for the study, and other predominantly black institutions as well
as local black doctors also participated. A black nurse, Eunice Rivers, was a central figure in the experiment for most of
its forty years. The promise of recognition by a prestigious government agency may have obscured the troubling aspects of
the study for some. A Tuskegee doctor, for example, praised "the educational advantages offered our interns and nurses as
well as the added standing it will give the hospital." Nurse Rivers explained her role as one of passive obedience: "we were
taught that we never diagnosed, we never prescribed; we followed the doctor's instructions!" It is clear that the men in the
experiment trusted her and that she sincerely cared about their well being, but her unquestioning submission to authority
eclipsed her moral judgment. Even after the experiment was exposed to public scrutiny, she genuinely felt nothing ethical
had been amiss. *SEE HER LINK BELOW*
Many critics of The Tuskegee Study draw comparisons to the similar degradation
of human indignity in inhumane medical experiments on humans living under the Third Reich. How could such callousness happen
outside Nazi Germany? To deny that race played a role in The Tuskegee Study is naive. All 600 subjects (399 experimental and
201 controls) were black the PHS directors and most of the doctors who studied them were white. Was The Tuskegee Study government
sanctioned, premeditated genocide? In July 1972, Jean Heller broke the story. Under examination by the press, the PHS was
not able to provide a formal protocol for the experiment, in fact, one never existed. While it was obvious to the American
public as a whole, PHS officials maintained that they did nothing wrong. By the time the story broke, over 100 of the infected
men had died, others suffered from serious syphilis related conditions that may have contributed to their later deaths even
though penicillin, an effective treatment against syphilis, was in widespread use by 1946.
On July 23, 1973, Fred
Gray, a prominent civil rights lawyer, brought a $1.8 billion class action civil suit against many of those institutions and
individuals involved in the study. Gray demanded $ 3 million in damages for each living participant and the heirs of the deceased.
The case never came to trial. In December, 1974, the government agreed to a $10 million out of court settlement. The living
participants each received $ 37,500 in damages, the heirs of the deceased, $15,000. Gray received nearly $ 1 million in legal
fees. Had the subjects of The Tuskegee Study been taken advantage of ? Although the survivors and the families of the deceased
received compensation, no PHS officer who had been directly involved in the study felt contrition. No apologies were ever
tendered; no one ever admitted any wrong doing. On the contrary, the PHS officers made it clear that they felt they were acting
in good conscience. They felt betrayed by the government's failure to defend the study they commissioned. But as one survivor
said "...I don't know what they used us for. I ain't never understood the study." In 1990, a survey found that 10 percent
of African Americans believed that the U.S. government created AIDS as a plot to exterminate blacks, and another 20 percent
could not rule out the possibility that this might be true. As preposterous and paranoid as this may sound, at one time the
Tuskegee experiment must have seemed equally farfetched. Who could imagine the government, all the way up to the Surgeon General
of the United States, deliberately allowing a group of its citizens to die from a terrible disease for the sake of an ill
conceived experiment? In light of this and many other shameful episodes in our history, African Americans widespread mistrust
of the government and white society in general should not be a surprise to anyone.
THEORIES THAT AIDS IS A GOVERNMENT CONSPIRACY TO DESTROY UNDESIRABLE POPULATIONS MAY MAKE
POLITICAL SENSE, BUT ARE THEY SUPPORTED BY FACTS?:
AIDS has an uncanny
knack for attacking people the dominant society considers "undesirables": gays, injection drug users (IDUs), prisoners, and
people of color. The commonly cited US statistic that African Americans have twice the AIDS rate as white Americans understates
the problem because it is based on the total number of cases since 1981. While white gay men constituted the large majority
of cases in the early days, by the early 1990s the rate of new cases among Latinos was 2.5 times higher than among whites,
and the black/ white ratio was even starker at 5-1 for men and 15-1 for women. By 1993, AIDS had become the leading cause
of death among African Americans between the ages of 25 and 44. Internationally, the racial disparity is even worse: About
80 percent of the world's 9 million AIDS deaths through 1995 have occurred in Africa, where 2 million children have already
AN ALMOST PERFECT FIT
The correlation between AIDS and social and economic oppression is clear
and powerful. What is more, the pattern meshes neatly with an extensive history of chemical and biological warfare (CBW) and
medical experiments which have targeted people of color, Third World populations, prisoners, and other unsuspecting individuals.
In the first North American example of CBW, early European settlers used smallpox infected blankets as a weapon of genocide
against Native Americans. A few centuries later, the US Army conducted hundreds of tests that released "harmless" bacteria,
viruses, and other agents in populated areas; one was to determine how a fungal agent thought mainly to affect black people
would spread. Washington also subsidized the pre marketing tests of birth control pills before a safe dosage was determined
on Puerto Rican and Haitian women who were not warned of the potentially severe side effects. Since the 1940s, the US has
conducted 154 tests on 9,000 people, soldiers, mental patients, prisoners many of whom had no idea of the risks involved.
On another level, the drug plague in the ghettos and barrios whether by intent or not has the effect of chemical warfare against
The most apposite example is the four decade long Tuskegee syphilis study. Starting in 1932,
under US Public Health Service auspices, about 400 black men in rural Alabama were subjects in an experiment on the effects
of untreated syphilis. They were never told the nature of their condition or that they could infect their wives and children.
Although penicillin, which became available in the 1940s, was the standard of treatment for syphilis by 1951, researchers
not only withheld treatment but forbade the men from seeking help elsewhere. This shameful "experiment" was stopped in 1972,
only after a federal health worker who was involved blew the whistle. Nor is experimentation on people of color a thing of
the past. Beginning in 1989, 1,500 children in West and East Los Angeles and Inglewood were given an experimental measles
vaccine as part of a government sponsored trial. Most of the subjects were Latino or African American. The parents of these
children were never told that they were part of an experiment with an unlicensed drug, and thus had a less than adequate basis
for giving their consent. The Edmonston-Zagreb, or E-Z vaccine was also tested in Senegal and Guinea-Bissau and Haiti, Guinea,
and more than a dozen other Third World countries. Trials in Los Angeles conducted with the cooperation of Kaiser Permanente,
the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and John Hopkins University, were stopped two years later after questions were raised
about the vaccine's relationship to an increased death rate among female infants. When use of the experimental drug came to
light, CDC Director Dr. David Satcher noted, "A mistake was made. It shocked me. ... But things sometimes fall through the
cracks." Dr. Stephen Hadler, director of the epidemiology and surveillance division of the CDC's national immunization program,
said that although researchers have not confirmed a causal association between the more potent dose of E-Z vaccine and the
deaths, "it was enough to make the World Health Organization say that "high doses of the vaccine should no longer be considered
for use in kids." It should be emphasized, he told the Los Angeles Times, that the deaths occurred among children living in
poor countries, many of whom were malnourished and did not have access to adequate health care. Hadler did not, however, emphasize
that those same conditions are all too common in the US. In light of this gruesome pattern and pervasive evidence in every
corner of society that the lives of blacks are less valued, there are good reasons why so many prisoners as well as a significant
portion of the African American community believe that government scientists deliberately created AIDS as a tool of genocide.
Dangerous To Your Health
There is only one problem with this almost perfect fit: It is not true. The theories
on how HIV the virus that causes AIDS was purposely spliced together in a lab wilt under scientific scrutiny. Moreover, these
conspiracy theories divert energy from the work that must be done in the trenches if marginalized communities are to survive
this epidemic: grassroots education, mobilizations for AIDS prevention, and better care for people living with HIV. They distract
from the urgent need to focus a spotlight on the life-and-death issue of AIDS prevention and on the crucial struggle against
a racist and profit driven public health system that is responsible for tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths. After more
than nine years doing AIDS education in prison, I have found these conspiracy myths to be the main internal obstacle in terms
of prisoners' consciousness to implementing risk reduction strategies. A recent study at the University of North Carolina,
Chapel Hill, confirmed that African Americans who believe in the conspiracy theories are significantly less likely to use
condoms or to be tested for HIV. Put bluntly: The false conspiracy theories are themselves a contributing factor to the terrible
toll of unnecessary AIDS deaths. What's the use, believers ask, of making all the hard choices to avoid spreading or contracting
the disease if the government is going to find a way to infect people anyway? And what's the point of all the hassles of safer
sex, or all the inconvenience of not sharing needles if HIV can be spread, as many conspiracy theorists claim, by casual contact
such as sneezing or handling dishes? The core of the mind-set that undermines prevention efforts is "denial." People whose
activities have put them at risk of HIV are often petrified and turn to conspiracy theories as a hip and seemingly militant
rationale for not confronting their own dangerous practices. At the same time, such theories provide an apparently simple
and satisfying alternative to the complex challenge of dealing with the myriad of social, behavioral, and medical factors
that propel the epidemic. While convinced that humans did not design HIV, my main concern here is not to disprove the conspiracy
theories. Neither do I attempt to solve the problem of the origins of AIDS or even review the many different theories and
approaches to that question. The origin of this disease, as of many others, is likely to remain unsolved for years to come.
Rather, the article examines the validity of one set of theories being widely propagated to prisoners and to African American
communities: that HIV was deliberately spliced together in a lab as a weapon of genocide. What follows is a look at the major
flaws in, and political agenda of, the major conspiracy theories. Readers uninterested in this detailed critique may skip
to the section beginning with "The Real Genocide," which discusses the system that made these theories so plausible and that
abets as part of its routine functioning the spread of AIDS to "undesirable" communities.
An early version of the AIDS-as-biowarfare theory was based on the work of two East German scientists, Jakob and Lilli
Segal, published by the Soviet news agency Tass on March 30, 1987. The Segals claimed that HIV could not have evolved naturally,
being in fact an artificial splice between visna virus (a retrovirus that infects the nervous system of sheep) and HTLV-1
(the first retrovirus known to infect humans). This splice, they asserted, was created at the notorious CBW lab at Fort Detrick,
Maryland, and then tested on prisoners in the area. Finding the article politically credible, I sent it to Janet Stavnezer,
a friend and long-time supporter of the civil rights and anti-war movements, who is a professor of molecular genetics and
microbiology specializing in immunology. Her response was unequivocal: The Segals' splice theory is scientifically impossible.
A few years later, as perestroika spread, the Soviet Union withdrew these charges whether out of good science or good diplomacy
is unknown. In any case, by then, even non-scientists had noted flaws. For example, there was an obvious error of US geography.
The Segals had speculated that the Maryland prisoners, once released congregated in New York City, which then became the seedbed
of the epidemic. But most Maryland prisoners would have returned to Baltimore, or Washington, DC neither of which was an early
center of AIDS. Since the Segals, there have been a number of related theories that HIV was artificially created by splicing
two existing viruses. One, set at Fort Detrick, puts the date back to 1967; another implicates the World Health Organization
(WHO), starting in 1972. Stavnezer and Mulder debunk these theories by showing that none of the viruses posited in the various
splice theories has nearly enough genetic similarity (homology) with HIV to be one of its parents. Investigative journalist
Bob Lederer conducted a separate inquiry into AIDS conspiracy theories for Covert Action Information Bulletin in 1987. One
of his prime sources, Dr. David Dubnau, a long- time activist against CBW, was emphatic: The HIV splice theorists "are simply
wrong," he said, and offered the same explanation as Stavnezer and Mulder. Lederer had written in the 1987 article that the
various non splice theories of dissemination were plausible. Recently, in light of current knowledge, he has revised his conclusion
and determined that "None of the AIDS as CBW theories [including the non splice theories] really holds up." Needing a vehicle
for the deliberate dissemination of the allegedly spliced virus, the conspiracy theorists also characterize vaccination programs
(against smallpox in Africa, hepatitis-B among gay men in the US, and polio in various places) as examples of a CBW campaign.
While vaccination programs with inadequate controls for contamination may have contributed to the spread of the infection,
they could not have been a prime cause: The geography of the vaccination campaigns does not correspond with the locations
of early centers of AIDS. Meanwhile such unsubstantiated rumors can dangerously discourage people here and in the Third World
from getting the same protection for their children that have done so much to stop diseases for more privileged whites.
is another telling problem with the theories: timing. HIV almost certainly arose well before scientists had any reason to
consider retroviruses as possible CBW agents to destroy the human immune system. The first human retrovirus (HTLV-1) was not
discovered until 1977, and could not immediately be linked to any disease. Through the end of the 1970s the search for human
retroviruses was propelled by speculation that they might cause cancer, not that they would target the immune system. Since
the epidemiological evidence shows AIDS in several countries in 1978, HIV (a virus with a long incubation period), had to
exist at least a few years before that. And it is probably considerably older. Retrospective tests on 1,129 blood samples
taken in 1971-72 from US injection drug users found that 14 were HIV positive. There are also cases of patients who died of
AIDS defining illnesses decades ago: a teenager in St. Louis in 1968, a sailor in England in 1959, and a Norwegian sailor,
his wife and child in the late 1960s. Preserved tissue and blood samples from all of these cases later tested positive for
HIV antibodies, although the more difficult direct tests failed to find the virus itself. Medical case histories going back
to the 1930s the earliest period in which accurate records were kept show isolated cases with all the earmarks of AIDS. Various
analyses of the DNA sequences a technique used for broad assessment of a specie's age have provided estimates for the age
of HIV that range from 30-900 years. In brief, the lack of knowledge of any human retroviruses before the late 1970s and the
compelling evidence for the earlier genesis of HIV virtually eliminate the possibility that scientists deliberately designed
such a germ to destroy the human immune system. More specifically, and decisively, Stavnezer and Dubnau independently confirm
that all the alleged splices are in fact impossible because HIV does not have nearly enough genetic similarity to any of the
proposed parent viruses.
The most common source of the conspiracy theories circulating
in New York State prisons is William Campbell Douglass, M.D.15 His article "WHO Murdered Africa, "(referring to the World
Health Organization), and his book AIDS: The End of Civilization, are prime sources for many black community militants and
prisoners who embrace the conspiracy theory out of a sincere desire to fight genocide. But Douglass, who is white, expresses
little concern for black lives. He instead states his purpose as being the defense of Western civilization, and describes
his politics as "conservative" which turns out to be quite an understatement for his ultra right wing political agenda. Douglas
taps into the font of mistrust created by the arrogance and glibness of establishment science. Quick acceptance of the still
unproven African green monkey theory was especially suspect and led many people to react against the presumptions of mainstream
medicine. Douglass' alternative, however, is a bizarre cocktail of half truths, distortions, and lies. He fails to recognize
a basic distinction in epidemiology between the cause of AIDS (a virus) and a means of transmission (dirty needles) (p. 171).
He evidently thinks that all RNA viruses are retroviruses (p.230) which is like thinking that all fruits are citrus. And his
pronouncements on the possibility of transmission by insects display fundamental ignorance of the science involved. There
is also something radically wrong with his statistics; he offers five different figures for the number of HIV infected people
in the US (pp. 53, 60, 63, 168, 170) without trying to reconcile the variations. He also" proves" that HIV is a splice of
two other viruses by comparing shapes as depicted in his own crude sketches (p. 231), when the scientific method for determining
the degree of relatedness of different viruses is to make a detailed
comparison of the sequence of the base pairs of nucleic
acid in the DNA. Such an analysis disproves the splice theory.
Douglass goes beyond
mere distortion when he reaches the core of his conspiracy. His "smoking gun" is an article from the Bulletin of the World
Health Organization. In a blatant distortion of the 1972 article, Douglass claims that the World Health Organization called
for the engineering of a retrovirus to cause AIDS. He is unequivocal: WHO is talking about "retro viruses" and is asking scientists
to "attempt to make a hybrid virus that would be deadly to humans. ...That's AIDS. What the WHO is saying in plain English
is Let's cook up a virus that selectively destroys the T-cell system of man, an acquired immune deficiency.' " (Emphasis in
original.) He presents an almost identical description in his book. (p. 80) Aside from the unlikelihood of conspirators' publishing
their evil plans, Douglass' characterization borders on fraud. The WHO article in question is not primarily about retroviruses;
it is not at all about engineering new viruses; it never discusses making hybrids; and it is absolutely not about making a
virus to destroy the human immune system. Anyone who takes the time to look at the original will find that it details a number
of existing viruses that cause various illnesses in humans and other mammals. Evidence was emerging by 1972 that some of these
viruses, in addition to their direct damage, impacted the immune system. The only call the article makes is to study these
secondary effects. He offers only one quote from the original. Not only does he change the context, he omits the list of viruses
under study. All the listed viruses were related to already recognized illnesses; most are not retroviruses; none is a retrovirus
that affects humans; and none is a suspect in any of the proposed scenarios for HIV splicing. Douglass has created a bogeyman
out of thin air.
Douglass' disinformation becomes a deadly threat when he discredits the very
prevention measures needed to save lives: "It is possible, " he wrote, "that even the government propaganda concerning intravenous
drug use is a red herring. If the intravenous route is the easiest way to catch AIDS, why does it take as long as five to
seven years for some recipients of contaminated blood to come down with AIDS?" (p. 171) Here, he seems to forget the well
established incubation period between infection with HIV and onset of AIDS, although he manages to remember it later when
he refers to a "latency" period of 10 years. (p. 245) And arguing that there isn't a perfect correlation between the number
of acts of intercourse and infection, he declares "AIDS is not a sexually transmitted disease. "(p. 243) Then, after sabotaging
prevention efforts by disparaging the well established danger of needle sharing and unprotected sex, Douglass fuels hysteria
with claims that AIDS can be contracted by casual contact. "The common cold is a virus," he says in his article. "Have you
ever had a cold? How did you catch it?" By failing to differentiate between airborne and blood borne viruses, he is conjuring
up a scare tactic as scientific as warning that your hand will be chopped off if you put it in a goldfish bowl because, after
all, a shark is a fish. He also asserts, citing no evidence, that "the AIDS virus can live for as long as 10 days on a dry
plate," and then asks, "so, are you worried about your salad in a restaurant that employs homosexuals?" People are understandably
skeptical of government reassurances on any matter. But we can turn instead to the experiences of families of people with
AIDS and of grassroots AIDS activists: There are hundreds of thousands of us who have worked closely with infected people
for years without catching the virus. The unwarranted fears about casual contact deter sorely needed support for our brothers
and sisters living with HIV infection and divert attention from the most common means of transmission: unprotected sex and
shared drug injection equipment.
Despite the apparent irrationality, there is a coherence
to Douglass' distortions and fabrications. They are driven by an ultra-right-wing political agenda that goes back to the 1960s,
when he was a member of the John Birch Society and ran a phone line spouting 90 second "patriotic message." In it, Douglass
railed against the civil right movement and denounced the National Council of Churches and three presidents as part of a "Communist
conspiracy." Among the nuggets he offered callers in at least 30 US cities was the likelihood "that those three civil rights
workers [presumably Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman] in Mississippi were kidnaped and murdered by their own kind to drum up
sympathy for their cause." In another message he predicted that "The Civil Rights Act will turn America into a Fascist state
practically overnight." Two decades later he was blaming gays for AIDS in The Spotlight, the organ of the ultra-right-wing
Liberty Lobby, for which he wrote regularly and in which he ran advertisements for "The Douglass Protocol," his cure all medical
clinics. In 1987, he wrote, "some have suggested that the FDA is waiting for the majority of the homosexuals to die off before
releasing ribavirin," a drug he was at the time promoting as a miracle cure for AIDS. Douglass, however, opposed withholding
a "suppressed" cure "although I feel very resentful of the homosexuals because of the holocaust they have brought on us."
Later Douglass began promoting a strange cure all treatment (pp. 251-52), photoluminescence, in which small amounts of blood
are drawn, irradiated with ultraviolet light, and reinjected. Treatments at his Clayton, Georgia, clinic can span several
weeks and cost thousands of dollars. By 1992, when he wrote AIDS: End of Civilization, hes aw AIDS as part of the "entire
mosaic of the current attack against western civilization" (p. 14); the term "western" being a thinly veiled code word for
"white." He had also shifted blame from homosexuals to communists, and portrayed AIDS as a diabolical plot perpetrated by
WHO, which "is run by the Soviets." (p. 118) In these later writings, Douglass weaves an elaborate and intricate plot describing
how the communists much like an invading virus took over the machinery of the US Army's CBW labs at Ft. Detrick and the US
National Institutes of Health in order to use them to create and propagate HIV.
Douglass is so mired in anti communism
that he fails to revise this scenario for his 1992 edition after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He even charges that a
Russian, Dr. Sergei Litivinov, headed WHO's AIDS control program in the late 1980s, when, in fact, it was led by an American,
Jonathan Mann, whose writings Douglass cites favorably on a number of occasions. In the guise of a program against AIDS, Douglass
proposes a basket full of policies favored by the ultra right and neo-Nazis: support and strengthen the powers of local law
enforcement (p. 139); make preemptive military strikes against Russia (p. 138); abolish the UN and WHO (p.120); and stop all
illegal Mexican immigration into the US (p. 253). Then there are his more specific proposals: mandatory testing for HIV (p.
66); quarantine of all those with HIV (pp. 165-66); removal of HIV infected children from school (p. 161); and incarceration,
castration, and execution to stop prostitution. (p. 158) He argues that if we don't overcome a tradition "where civil rights
are more revered than civil responsibility," hundreds of millions will die. (p. 165) While such proposals may further the
right's law-and-order agenda, a wealth of public health and activist experience has shown that such repressive measures are
counterproductive. Discrimination and repression drive those with HIV and its high risk activities underground, making people
unreachable for prevention, contact notification, and care. And here is the final appeal in his book: "[I]t appears that regulation
of social behavior, as much as we hate it in an egalitarian society such as ours, may be necessary for the survival of civilization."
SIGN OF THE TIMES
As bizarre, self contradictory, and refutable as his pronouncements are, Douglass
is not an isolated crackpot. A fellow conspiracy theorist with whom he shares much common ground is Lyndon LaRouche, a notorious
neo-fascist with documented links to US intelligence agencies. LaRouche's "National Democratic Party Committee" organized
the intensely homophobic campaign in 1986 for California's Proposition 64, which, had it not been rejected by voters, would
have mandated an AIDS quarantine. In 1989, Douglass and many key LaRouchites spoke at a conference which focused on various
conspiracy theories for the origin of AIDS. The "scientific" source that the LaRouchites used for their reactionary campaign
is Robert Strecker, M.D., who also addressed the conference Douglass has worked closely with Strecker, considers him a mentor,
and dedicates AIDS: The End of Civilization to him. Michael Novick reported in White Lies/White Power that within the far
right, it is "The LaRouche groups that are particularly dangerous because, despite their fascist orientation, they have been
attempting to recruit from black groups for some time." The political analysis of Bo Gritz, head of the "Populist Party" is
another source for AIDS conspiracy theorists. As Novick's book shows, the "Populists" use anti business rhetoric to try to
recruit among the left, but the organization has deep roots in the ku klux klan and strong ties to the extreme white supremacist
christian identity. When such forces propagate AIDS conspiracy theories among African Americans, one result is to divert people
from the grassroots mobilization around prevention and education that could foster greater cohesion, initiative, and strength
within the black community. At the same time, the right fans the flames of homophobia which combines with the problem of racism
within the predominately white gay and lesbian movement to undermine a potentially powerful alliance of the communities most
devastated by government negligence and inaction on AIDS. We live in a strange and dangerous period when the attractive mantle
of "militant anti-government movement" has been bestowed on ultra-right-wing, white supremacist groups. The main reason they
can get away with such a farce is that their big brother the police state did such an effective job in the blood- soaked repression
of opposition groups such as the Black Panthers, which was rooted in the needs and aspirations of oppressed people. With people's
movements silenced, the right has co-opted the critique of big government and big business to achieve new credibility. The
seedbed of discontent comes from the erosion of the previous guarantee of economic security and relative privileges for a
wide range of white people in the middle and working classes. The right, however, portrays the threat as coming from the inroads
made by women, immigrants and people of color. Thus their vehemence and militancy spring from the same legacy of white supremacy
and violence that is the basis of the government they criticize and their program is in essence a call to return to the pioneer
days' ethos that any white male had the right to lay a violent claim to Native American land, African American labor, and
female subservience. Whatever the right's motives, the practical consequences are clear: There is a definite correlation between
believing these myths and a failure to take proven, life saving preventive measures. In the end, the lies promulgated by the
likes of Douglass, Strecker, and LaRouche kill.
THE REAL GENOCIDE
The New York Times, in an editorial
expressing alarm that an "astonishing" number of African Americans believe in conspiracies with AIDS as a prime example could
only understand the phenomenon as "paranoia." Educated white folks, to the degree they are aware of such matters, tend to
be "amazed" by such beliefs. But what is truly amazing is that so many whites are so out of touch with the systematic attack
by the government-medical-media establishment on the health and lives of African Americans. The stone wall of calculated ignorance
and denial that blacks face every day is a fine surface on which to write conspiracies, and may explain why some people become
vested in a plot scenario that seems to crystallize the damage. But the problem is far more powerful and pervasive than any
narrow conspiracy theory can capture. And although the health horror this society imposes on African Americans is not a "mainstream"
public issue, black people know what they are experiencing. They also know that the radical gap between the life expectancy
of African Americans and that of white Americans was there even before AIDS burst onto the scene. A 1980 Health and Human
Services Department report showed that there were 60,000 "excess deaths" among blacks. This is the number of black people
who would not have died that year if blacks had the same mortality rate as whites. That figure marks more unnecessary deaths
in one year alone than the total number of US troops killed during the entire Vietnam War. The black body count is a direct
result of overwhelming black/white differences in living conditions, public health resources, and medical care. The infant
mortality rate a good indication of basic nutrition and health care is more than twice as high among black babies as among
whites, while black women die in childbirth at three times the rate of whites. There are also major differences in prevention,
detection, treatment, and mortality for a host of other illnesses, such as high blood pressure, pneumonia, appendicitis and
cancer. Comparisons are even starker when class as well as race is factored, and, of course, the health status of both Latinos
and poor whites is worse than that of more affluent whites. The situation has worsened since 1980 with the advent of AIDS
and the new wave of tuberculosis. TB, long considered under control in the US, began a resurgence in 1985. One big factor
was the greater susceptibility of HIV infected people to TB. But TB is an important example for another reason: It has always
been closely linked to poverty. Crowded tenements, homeless shelters, jails, inadequate ventilation, and poor nutrition all
facilitate the spread of this serious disease. Given the distribution of wealth and privilege, it is not surprising that the
rate of TB for black Americans is twice that for white Americans, African Americans are also assailed by a range of problems
such as high stress, poor nutrition, and environmental hazards. One significant example of environmental hazards is the excessive
blood levels of lead in children a condition with proven links to lowered academic performance and to behavioral disorders.
In 1991, 21 percent of black American children had harmful quantities of lead in their blood, compared with 8.9 percent of
all US children. In addition to disease, the high rate of black-on-black homicide a secondary but particularly painful source
of needless deaths is in its own way a corollary of the frustration and misdirected anger bred by oppression.
The evidence is clear that far from being a mysterious new development, AIDS and other epidemics and health
hazards flow most easily along the contours of social oppression. There are two particular ways in which the racist structure
of US society fosters the spread of HIV: The public health system fails to stem the spread of sexually transmitted diseases
(STDs); and the legal system seeks only to punish drug abusers rather than treat them or ameliorate the underlying social
and economic causes. A major risk factor for HIV transmission is untreated STDs. These infections can concentrate HIV laden
white blood cells in the genital tract and can also cause genital sores, which are easier points of entry for HIV. Although
STDs can be readily contained by responsible public health programs, rates began to soar for blacks in the mid-1980s, with,
for example, a doubling of syphilis for Blacks from 1985 to 1990. At the same time, rates have remained stable for whites.
This grave racial difference probably results from the lack of adequate STD clinics and the failings of public health education,
along with the more general breakdown in social cohesion and values that can affect communities under intense stress. Drugs,
along with the violence and police repression that accompany them, constitute a plague in their own right for the ghettos
and barrios. However, the public perception that illicit drug use is more prevalent among non whites is wrong. Household surveys
conducted by the National Institute of Drug Abuse show that African Americans, 12 percent of the US population, comprise 13
percent of illicit drug users. Where there is a tremendous difference, though, is in incarceration. Seventy four percent of
the people in prison for drug possession are African American. There is also a major racial disparity in terms of drug related
infection by HIV. While partially a result of which drugs are used and how they are used, there is certainly a big and deadly
difference in access to new (sterile) needles and syringes through either pharmacies or personal networks. Also, on the street,
the police are much more likely to stop and search Blacks and Latinos. This practice deters injection drug users of color
from carrying personal sets of works (in states where they are illegal) and pushes them instead to share needles at shooting
The latest example of the public health failing concerning AIDS is hardly
known beyond the immediate circles of AIDS workers. Studies completed in 1993 showed that the previously recommended and widely
disseminated protocol for cleaning needles with bleach does not work. Yet there has been no wide scale effort to sound the
urgently needed alarm about this grave danger. The literature since 1993 has delineated a new, more effective bleach method
that entails using 100 percent undiluted bleach (as opposed to a 10 percent solution) and holding the bleach or rinse water
in the needle and syringe, while shaking and tapping, for a full 30 seconds for each step of the nine step process. However,
most IDUs do not even look at new handouts because they believe they already "know" the bleach method. In addition, public
health authorities have taken no responsibility for the type of training it takes to get an IDU, anxious to get high, to properly
complete such a complex and time consuming process. One reason the authorities haven't trumpeted warnings about the problems
with bleach may have more to do with politics than public health: The assumption that there is an easy method of bleach sterilization
serves as a buffer against pressure to implement sorely needed needle exchange programs. There is impressive evidence that
these programs, which allow IDUs to obtain new, sterile needles and syringes, are highly effective in reducing HIV transmission,
while there is no evidence that they lead to any increase in drug use. Needle exchange programs could even serve as an outreach
and contact point for reducing drug use if "anti drug" politicians allocated funds for treatment instead of incarceration.
Despite the clear public health evidence, many politicians have opposed needle exchange programs out of fear of being labeled
"soft on drugs." Meanwhile, the rate of HIV among IDUs in states where needle are proscribed is five times higher than in
states where they are legal. Tens of thousands of IDUs their lovers, and their children have been condemned to die because
health agencies won't advertise their mistakes and because politicians posture for political advantage by banning the use
of federal AIDS funds for needle exchange programs. Shared needles is just one area of potential risk reduction. For overall
prevention to work, the most effective and documented method of sharply reducing HIV transmission in peer education. Homeboys
and home girls with appropriate training in HIV/AIDS information speak the same language, live in the same situations, and
can work with the people in their communities in the consistent, caring way needed to change risky behaviors. Meanwhile, prisons
provide fertile ground for peer education. They have some of the highest HIV rates in the US, and people who might have been
constantly on the move in the street are now stationary and congregated. The vast majority of prisoners eventually return
to their outside communities where they can spread either AIDS awareness or AIDS. But prison administrations have generally
been hostile to peer led HIV/AIDS education; only a pitiful handful of such programs exist, and those are often hamstrung
by bureaucratic restrictions. Allowing misinformation about cleaning needles to persist, blocking needle exchange programs,
failing to treat STDs, and thwarting prison peer programs are major examples of the continuing official criminal negligence
with regard to AIDS and in particular, how this plague has been allowed to explode in the ghettos and barrios.
Waiting for the government to act is suicidal. The peer education model shows that when we take responsibility
for ourselves, our families, and our communities, we can make a big difference. Through grassroots organizing communities
can ally to demand social use of social resources instead of allowing tax dollars to go to massive military budgets and corporate
welfare schemes. What we don't need are the fundamentally right wing conspiracy theories of Dr. Douglass and the like that
lead us on a wild goose chase for the little men in white coats in a secret lab. The false information they purvey that HIV
is spread by casual contact but not by sex and drugs generates cruelty toward people with AIDS and fosters support for a police
state. In a bitter twist, these conspiracy theories divert people from identifying and fighting back against the real genocide.
While US government plots such as the secret radiation and Tuskegee experiments do in fact exist the damage they've done is
small compared to the high human costs of the everyday functioning of a two tiered public health system that is rooted in
racism, sexism, and profiteering. Overall, the living conditions of people of color in the US are a concatenation of epidemics
that cascade through the ghettos and barrios: AIDS-TB-STDs; unemployment, deteriorating schools, homelessness; drugs, internal
violence, police brutality, wholesale incarcerations; violence against women, teen pregnancies, declining support structures
for the raising of children; and environmental hazards. These mutually reinforcing crises flow from decisions made by government
and business on social priorities and the allocation of economic resources. Government policies that have such a disparate
impact on survival according to race can be defined as genocide under international law. Whatever term is used, the cruelty
of tens of thousands of preventable deaths is unconscionable. This reality is the basis for the scream of a people that "mainstream"
society seems unable or unwilling to hear. These conditions are the real genocide in progress that must be confronted.
Christianity, Islam and Slavery:
The most difficult subject to write about is when you are dealing with someone’s spiritual
belief system. Something someone grew up with since the day of reasoning. On the other hand, being a historian, I am obligated
to bring forth the whole truth, no matter how devastating it may be. In the 1960s, it was almost sacrilege to talk about certain
things Black people did. Two things come to mind, though not always honored: the woman of Afrikan descent, and the Afrikan
involvement in the slave trade.
Back when I was a graduate student at UCLA, studying Afrikan world history and music,
I wrote an article for the Afrikan student newspaper, NOMMO. It was entitled, "Can Afrikans Be Forgiven?" meaning ourselves.
It focused on the Afrikan complicity in assisting Europeans in the Afrikan Holocaust, which today we commonly label as the
Atlantic Slave Trade. Many people of Afrikan descent stopped talking to me and looked at me funny out of the corner of their
eyes. That’s when my greatest scholastic influence at that time, the late Dr. Boniface I. Obichere, stepped in and told
me, "Kwaku, you don’t worry about what others are saying. You keep writing about the truth. That’s what history
is supposed to do."
There was slavery in Afrika prior to the Arab and European incursions. In Afrika, one could become
a slave in virtually one of three ways: prisoner of war; to pay off a debt; as a criminal. But a slave in Afrika rarely ever
lost his/her humanity and could rise very high in particular societies. When Arabs invaded Northeastern Afrika in the 7th
century A.D., in the name of Islam, this brought about a whole new relationship to the institution of slavery. Afrikans were
captured, treated brutally and inhumanely, then shipped off to other Arab countries in Asia, or other parts of Afrika that
they controlled. This happened approximately 600 years before the European Christians got involved.
The saddest and
most painful reality of this situation is, that same slave trading is occurring today, still in the name of Islam. It is primarily
happening in the countries of Mauritania, located in northwest Afrika, and Sudan, in northeast Afrika. There is a lot of denial
about this from various corners, but as a scientist, the body of available evidence can only determine proof. In my case,
I will sight three sources. For the past fifteen years, every Arab I have asked about this subject has openly admitted that
it exists. Not some mind you, but each and every one. I have read various articles of eyewitness accounts that seemed believable.
But the most prevailing evidence that I have seen comes to us by a scholar named Samuel Cotton, a documentary filmmaker, an
investigative journalist, and a brother. He presents us with his book, SILENT TERROR – A Journey Into Contemporary African
Slavery. This book was published in 1998, which records his undercover journey into Mauritania, at extreme danger to his life,
and actually witnessed, and interviewed present and former Afrikan slaves there, gives the best analyses of the present situation,
and shows how it is all cloaked under the auspices of Islam. For a Muslim, this is horrifying, but then again, if those Arab
Muslims were truly Muslims, practicing the religion of peace, they would not continue to be in the business of the slave trade,
contributing to the Afrikan Holocaust. If we assess what we have before us, this only leaves us to conclude that this is a
horrendous misuse of Islam. Brother Cotton states in his vitally important book, "It is especially important for me to see
that those who worship Islam, whether they are white or black, say or do something about the abuse and enslavement of their
black spiritual brothers and sisters."
Of course, this could be continued, but I don’t want to leave out the
Christians. The reason people of Afrikan descent are in the Americas today can be attributed to the massive slave trading
business of the European Christians. The reason Afrika is in the state that it is in today can basically be attributed to
the European Christians. The reason most people of Afrikan descent do not know who they are and may frown when someone accidentally
calls them an Afrikan, can also be attributed to the European Christians. This whole process began with Pope Julius II who
signed a document entitled the "Papal Bull," dividing the world amongst his two most powerful Christian countries, Portugal
and Spain. Prior to the 16th century, Spain signed a contract with the Portuguese called "Asiento," allowing them a monopoly
in the carrying and selling of Afrikans across the Atlantic, until the English, who were the most aggressive, along with the
French, Dutch, and later the rest of Europe joined in.
Slavery in the United States, by the European Christians, in
the name of Christianity, was the development of the worst form of slavery in world history; "chattel slavery." In other words,
Afrikans were not considered human but property or animals, with absolutely no type of human rights at all. This was justified
through the misinterpretation of Bible stories, particularly about Afrikan people being cursed and turned black. I say in
my classes all the time, I will give any student $100 if they can prove that Afrikan people were cursed and turned black in
the Bible. After a number of years, I still have the $100.
Lastly, let me briefly mention those Europeans who converted
to the ancient Hebrew Afrikan religion called Judaism. Though they were not involved to the extent of the Christians, their
basic contribution to the Afrikan Holocaust was turning the slave trade into a business, and running it very effectively in
Europe and Central and South America.
I approach this subject with much trepidation. When one believes in a particular
spiritual belief system, generally referred to as organized religions, it can be very hurtful to hear what has happened in
the past in the name of their religion. But as I have attempted to show, if a person is a true Christian, Muslim or Jew, there
is no way that this tragic event in world history, and presently, could possibly occur. That being the case, looking at all
that is happening in the world today, under the guise of a particular religion, one has to wonder, is God heading these religions,
or is Satan?
Published: June 7, 1999
Dr. Kwaku Person-Lynn is on the faculty at California State University,
Dominguez Hills, Africana Studies, and author of FIRST WORD Black Scholars Thinkers Warriors.
Wonder in fresh battle for black civil rights
By Harry Mount in New York
Stevie Wonder led calls at the weekend for the Bush
administration to renew a landmark law designed to protect the voting rights of America's black minority.
In a moving
speech during a performance at New York's Apollo theatre, the blind singer and musician, 55, recalled an early tour in the
Deep South as a teenager, when he was prevented from using the whites-only lavatory in a service station.
Wonder: demands renewal of the Voting Act
A rapturous crowd, including the actress Nicole Kidman, roared their approval
at Wonder's return to the Apollo, a centre of black music which is celebrating its 70th anniversary. He made his big break
there in 1963, aged 13, when he won the weekly Amateur Night talent competition that still continues today.
is helping to lead the campaign to renew the provisions of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which removed discrimination laws.
Certain provisions of the Act are due to expire in 2007, giving states greater power over voting practices - potentially making
it more difficult for the poor to vote. "We must begin now to make the public aware that this is an important democratic right
we must protect for all people," said Wonder.
The audience whooped, "That's right", as he recalled his first tour of
He was 14 and in Mississippi with a white teacher. "I'd been drinking so much soda, we had to stop. My teacher
asked where the bathroom was and the man told him. He started walking me to the bathroom when the man shouted, 'Hey, no niggers
supposed to use the bathroom here!'
"'This is Stevie Wonder,' " said my teacher.
"'I don't give a damn who this
is. Use the back.'
"We drove off. I didn't have any more sodas."
Wonder then recalled the early career of another
blind soul star, the late Ray Charles. "I remember with one of his early hits, I Can't Stop Loving You, they wouldn't have
a picture of him on the cover. It was a big hit because every-body thought he was white. He didn't outlive racism and hatred.
Unfortunately, we will probably not outlive it either.
"I'm not OK with having to still march and organise groups of
people so that this Voting Act will be signed, and every single American citizen will have the right to vote without question
Wonder has been involved in the civil rights movement since the 1960s. He backed the movement to end apartheid
in South Africa, and helped the campaign to make Martin Luther King's birthday a national holiday with his song, Happy Birthday.
Saturday, about 2,000 civil rights activists marched in Atlanta, Georgia, to mark the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights
Act and to demand its renewal. Rights leaders told a rally of their fears of a return to discrimination without such a move.
of the law - including a provision requiring a number of mostly southern states and counties to get pre-approval from Washington
before changing voting times, places or methods - are set to expire in 2007 unless re-authorised federally.
president of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, said immediate action was necessary because
some states had passed legislation requiring voters to show state-issued identification at the polls. Critics say such efforts
discriminate against blacks and Hispanics who lack acceptable forms of identification such as driving licences and birth certificates
Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act on Aug 6, 1965, months after black civil rights protesters were savagely beaten
in Selma, Alabama. It was designed mainly to eliminate discriminatory practices in the then-segregated south.
Voting Rights Act of 1965
The 1965 Enactment
By 1965 concerted efforts to break the grip of state disfranchisement had
been under way for some time, but had achieved only modest success overall and in some areas had proved almost entirely ineffectual.
The murder of voting-rights activists in Philadelphia, Mississippi, gained national attention, along with numerous other acts
of violence and terrorism. Finally, the unprovoked attack on March 7, 1965, by state troopers on peaceful marchers crossing
the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, en route to the state capitol in Montgomery, persuaded the President and Congress
to overcome Southern legislators' resistance to effective voting rights legislation. President Johnson issued a call for a
strong voting rights law and hearings began soon thereafter on the bill that would become the Voting Rights Act.
determined that the existing federal anti-discrimination laws were not sufficient to overcome the resistance by state officials
to enforcement of the 15th Amendment. The legislative hearings showed that the Department of Justice's efforts to eliminate
discriminatory election practices by litigation on a case-by-case basis had been unsuccessful in opening up the registration
process; as soon as one discriminatory practice or procedure was proven to be unconstitutional and enjoined, a new one would
be substituted in its place and litigation would have to commence anew.
President Johnson signed the resulting legislation
into law on August 6, 1965. Section 2 of the Act, which closely followed the language of the 15th amendment, applied a nationwide
prohibition against the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on the literacy tests on a nationwide basis. Among its other
provisions, the Act contained special enforcement provisions targeted at those areas of the country where Congress believed
the potential for discrimination to be the greatest. Under Section 5, jurisdictions covered by these special provisions could
not implement any change affecting voting until the Attorney General or the United States District Court for the District
of Columbia determined that the change did not have a discriminatory purpose and would not have a discriminatory effect. In
addition, the Attorney General could designate a county covered by these special provisions for the appointment of a federal
examiner to review the qualifications of persons who wanted to register to vote. Further, in those counties where a federal
examiner was serving, the Attorney General could request that federal observers monitor activities within the county's polling
The Voting Rights Act had not included a provision prohibiting poll taxes, but had directed the Attorney General
to challenge its use. In Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), the Supreme Court held Virginia's
poll tax to be unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. Between 1965 and 1969 the Supreme Court also issued several key
decisions upholding the constitutionality of Section 5 and affirming the broad range of voting practices that required Section
5 review. As the Supreme Court put it in its 1966 decision upholding the constitutionality of the Act:
had found that case-by-case litigation was inadequate to combat wide-spread and persistent discrimination in voting, because
of the inordinate amount of time and energy required to overcome the obstructionist tactics invariably encountered in these
lawsuits. After enduring nearly a century of systematic resistance to the Fifteenth Amendment, Congress might well decide
to shift the advantage of time and inertia from the perpetrators of the evil to its victims.
South Carolina v. Katzenbach,
383 U.S. 301, 327-28 (1966).
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The 1970 and 1975 Amendments
Congress extended Section 5 for five years
in 1970 and for seven years in 1975. With these extensions Congress validated the Supreme Court's broad interpretation of
the scope of Section 5. During the hearings on these extensions Congress heard extensive testimony concerning the ways in
which voting electorates were manipulated through gerrymandering, annexations, adoption of at-large elections, and other structural
changes to prevent newly-registered black voters from effectively using the ballot. Congress also heard extensive testimony
about voting discrimination that had been suffered by Hispanic, Asian and Native American citizens, and the 1975 amendments
added protections from voting discrimination for language minority citizens.
In 1973, the Supreme Court held certain
legislative multi-member districts unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment on the ground that they systematically diluted
the voting strength of minority citizens in Bexar County, Texas. This decision in White v. Regester, 412 U.S. 755 (1973),
strongly shaped litigation through the 1970s against at-large systems and gerrymandered redistricting plans. In Mobile v.
Bolden, 446 U.S. 55 (1980), however, the Supreme Court required that any constitutional claim of minority vote dilution must
include proof of a racially discriminatory purpose, a requirement that was widely seen as making such claims far more difficult
The 1982 Amendments
Congress renewed in 1982 the special provisions of the Act, triggered by coverage under
Section 4 for twenty-five years. Congress also adopted a new standard, which went into effect in 1985, providing how jurisdictions
could terminate (or "bail out" from) coverage under the provisions of Section 4. Furthermore, after extensive hearings, Congress
amended Section 2 to provide that a plaintiff could establish a violation of the Section without having to prove discriminatory
IGNORANCE AS ART - New Age of Ignorance:
The quixotic effort by many to classify rap music as a new revolutionary form of expression is quaint. Vulgar,
devoid of intelligence, and possessing none of the requirements of a musical genre, rap is destroying the African-American
The message of hatred of authority is not discrete. Coupled with antisocial behavior, rap suggests a barbaric
attempt to revolt against perceived authority. Yet, the esoteric ones who find success are not revolutionaries in any sense
of the word. They merely want to make money while keeping their gangster image intact to have credibility with the hoods who
John McWhorter wrote effectively on the issue a year ago. His research for the Manhattan Institute clearly
demonstrates the depravity of hip-hop. McWhorter describes two instances wherein he is at a Kentucky Fried Chicken and on
the subway. In both a group of modern hip-hop poets spew forth-vile language in a menacing manner. This false bravado coupled
with an inability to think for themselves leaves the street kids merely repeating poorly composed sentences written by thugs.
That is hardly an art form.
McWhorter reports that hip-hop is "reinforcing the stereotypes that long hindered blacks,
and by teaching young blacks that a thuggish adversarial stance is the properly "authentic" response to a presumptively racist
society, rap retards black success." It should be noted that a small number of rap artists, after the requisite gangster credentials
are obtained, find success monetarily. They leave a trail of destruction to find their fleeting wealth, but are hardly success
The thug who most often gets the nod for success is Sean Combs, a former student at Howard University. Hardly
fitting the gangster image with a middle class upbringing, Combs set out to obtain some "Cred," meaning credibility, by becoming
involved in a series of gun charges. If this practically illiterate person is looked upon as the educated Dean of Rap, then
the rest of the class fall in even lower. The true damage is measured in the black community. When blacks have every reason
to have hope for success via hard work and education, rap puts a different spin on success. McWhorter asks,
it progressive to describe life as nothing but "bitches and money"? Or to tell impressionable black kids, who’d find
every door open to them if they just worked hard and learned, that blowing a rival’s head off is "real"? How helpful
is rap’s sexism in a community plagued by rampant illegitimacy and an excruciatingly low marriage rate?"
there is little to celebrate in the black community where rap intersects.
"On a deeper
level, there is something unsettling and tragic about the fact that blacks have become the main agents in disseminating debilitating—dare
I say racist—images of themselves. Rap guru Russell Simmons claims that "the coolest stuff about American culture—be
it language, dress, or attitude—comes from the underclass. Always has and always will." Yet back in the bad old days,
blacks often complained—with some justification—that the media too often depicted blacks simply as uncivilized.
Today, even as television and films depict blacks at all levels of success, hip-hop sends the message that blacks are . .
. uncivilized. I find it striking that the cry-racism crowd doesn’t condemn it."
So why does rap succeed, at least
commercially? It appeals to the lowest form of human interaction. The lyrics are outrageous, which to people who crave vulgarity
is appealing. It also provides an antidote to the perceived poison of education and work. If only you are depraved enough,
you too can be a rap star. Like professional sports, it is sweet to the less than one percent that makes it big. For the others
in rap, it leaves them even bitterer about the perceived wrongness of everything in American culture. That point is precisely
why liberals support it as art. It is simply a vulgar great society that exploits, rather than builds, a community.
New Age of Ignorance
by Adissa Banjoko
Today Hip Hop culture has by
all measures reached in zenith. People on virtually all continents people are engaging in all the elements of Hip Hop culture,
with rap being at the forefront. Hip Hop culture sells clothes, cars, fast food, kids toys and all kinds of things most people
never thought would have any relationship to Hip Hop. The African oral tradition that were the roots of rap music have spawned
arguably some of the most prolific, most original and most soul stirring albums of all times.
Yet under the surface
of Hip Hops "success" runs a thread of ignorance that if continued upon could potentially fracture the entire framework of
the life giving qualities of this art.
This thread is known as jahiliyyah (jah-hill-ee-yah), it's Arabic for ignorance.
In Hip Hop a lot of us TALK about knowledge, and the importance of holding onto it. But the truth is, many people in Hip Hop
embrace ignorance much more readily. When most people use the term jahiliyyah, they are talking about the " age of ignorance"
as it realities to the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). The original jahiliyyah age took place in the land of Saudi Arabia
and the surrounding lands prior to the coming of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
During that time, the people of that
land were very courageous. They were acknowledged by the Greeks to be some of the most trustworthy people of their time. If
a jahili Arab took and oath, for better or worse one knew it would kept. In Hip Hop, one of the most common phrases is "word".
It's used as an affirmation that one has spoken the truth. People always talk about their "word is my bond", "thats my word
ya'll" etc. The power ones word in Hip Hop is unmatched.
On the other hand, there were many things about the jahiliyyah
age that were not good. The men of that time were very territorial. All ones dealings were based on which area you were from,
and your blood ties to various individuals.
Taking the most basic look at Hip Hop culture, one can see how much the
territorialism and clan affiliation permeate the art. One of the earliest and most popular reflections of this mind set are
seen in the Boogie Down Production song "South Bronx" and the track by MC Shan "The Bridge" (which championed the Queens area
of NY. Other records that express jahili terriorialism include "Straight Outta Compton", "New York, New York", "LA, LA" and
"Welcome to Atlanta"and almost any song by the Westside Connection. Many years later this poetic battle of territorialism
would have deadly impact as the east/west rhyme "war" escalated. It would go on to claim the lives 2Pac and Biggie Smalls.
Nevertheless, the jahiliyyah mind sent permeates the Black ghettoes of America. Today we see it in the on going battle between
Jay-Z and Nas.
Ask any Black man you know about the stress of strolling into a neighborhood that they do not belong
in. The first question they are asked is "N!....@ where are you from"? The wrong answer can have painful and many times deadly
consequences. The only thing that can save a man in this situation is strong clan ties to someone of that territory. Answers
like "Oh, me? Man, I'm from Frisco but do any of ya'll know T-Money? That my cousin"! Strong blood ties are generally the
only thing that can save a young man from a serious beat down, robbery or murder.
Another facet of jahili culture
was heavy disrespect of women. During the age prior to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), couples preferred boys over girl. People were
prone to bury their new born daughters alive, rather than carry the "burden" of having a daughter. In Hip Hop, women are not
buried alive physically, but verbally and visually. Every time these rap songs with the words b!@.. and h@.. get rotation
on the radio waves and TV screens they burn away the self esteem of women world wide. Some men believe that slapping a woman
is "keeping it real", because of how a lot of rappers act. A lot of rap encourages women not to think, not educate themselves,
not to put Gods word above mans, not love themselves and to not expect respect from their men. Much of Hip Hop music promotes
that women prefer being a physical play toy. Unfortunately, more and more women are embracing these same philosophies, believing
that being sexually loose is what makes women truly "powerful". Lil Kim, Foxy Brown and countless others reflect the females
Materialism was another big issue of those times. People were consumed with having gold trinkets, and
showing off in public what their financial clout was. In Hip Hop we have the "bling bling" era. It's about the cars, the gold
teeth the clothing brand- all jahili traditions. In truth, Hip Hop is so materialistic it borders idol worship. It reminds
me of a passage in the Bible that says "Some boast of horses and of chariots, but we boast the name of the Lord". Materialism
is another deadly trend many of us in Hip Hop celebrate, or silently champion through staying quiet about it's dangers. This
is not to say that people should not seek to make money in Hip Hop. They certainly should. But showing off to degrade others
is not needed, andit makes us look foolish to the outside world.
During the jahiliyyah era, some of the most powerful
people were the poets. The poets of every clan would make songs of pleasure, love, war and hate at will. All the tribal leaders
were hoped to be in good standing with the poets. If they ridiculed you, your integrity as a leader could be in jeopardy.
Our poets of today have power. However while in years back Public Enemy used their voice to encourage people to "Fight
the Power", many of today's rappers use their mics to inspire the young to pursue frivolous paths of materialism, mindless
violence and sexual conquest. Very few champion loving God and your neighbor. Once The Prophet (PBUH) said, "(Religious) knowledge
will be taken away (by the death of religious scholars) ignorance (in religion) and afflictions will appear; and Harj will
increase." It was asked, "What is Harj, O Allah's Apostle?" He replied by beckoning with his hand indicating "killing." Our
religious scholars are not all dead litterally- but mentally. We don't think of them and look to them as we should. And still,
others have been killed off by haters of the truth. There is a serious imbalance in the kind of Hip Hop that is not just played
on the radios and TV's, but even a lot of the "underground" Hip Hop has lost it's consciousness and brought in some jahili
elements. I believe that it's time for us to change, or possibly lose this beautiful art all together.
By the time
the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had finished his time on earth, he had unified all the Arabian peninsula. The age of ignorance
was gone and the status of women had been redeemed. The peoples quest for materialism, tribalism and frivolous entertainment
was erased. It was replaced with a new faith in God, and respect for humankind.
After reaching the ghettoes of American,
Islam straightened up some of it's worst citizens and turned them into some of it's best. Malcolm X is a perfect example,
but there are countless others. If people in Hip Hop truly want to grow, the might think about following his lead by emulating
his actions, rather than just buying a t-shirt with his words or face on it.
Unless we rid Hip Hop of the jahiliyyah
elements, we can only expect more of your sharp minded but misguided youth to perish over territorialism, materialism and
pursuit of the sensual path. I pray that Allah guides us better. I think that many of the Hip Hop Summits led by Min. Farakhan,
Min. Ben Muhammad and Russell Simmons are a great step in helping to stop much of the infighting and drama in Hip Hop. Also,
please do not think that this is a harsh critique of the beautiful culture of Hip Hop. I love Hip Hop, if I didn't, I would
not be sharing my concerns with you. Hip Hop is great. But it could be so much more of a life giving force than it is. The
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said "Beware of suspicion, for suspicion is the worst of false tales; and do not look for the others'
faults and do not spy, and do not be jealous of one another, and do not desert (cut your relation with) one another, and do
not hate one another". I don't hate you, I love you. It is my prayer that we all shed this new age of ignorance, soon.
more information on the jahiliyyah age and how it was turned around, you can visit alhambraproductions.com and get the tape
set "The Life of the Prophet (PBUH)", by Hamza Yusef. You can also visit www.zaytuna.org .
This article is dedicated to anyone who has died in pursuit of spreading the truth, and helping to
By: Adisa Banjoko "The Bishop of Hip Hop"
Adisa Banjoko "The Bishop of Hip Hop"
Examples of Scientific Racism:
3.Thomas, A.& Sillen, S. (1979). Racism and psychiatry. Secaucus, NJ: the Citadel Press,
p. 7. " One of the most influential proponents of the concept (of phylogenetic thinking) was ‘the father of child study’
in this country, G.Stanley Hall, founder of the American Journal of Psychology in 1887 and the first president of The American
Psychological Association…Hall (stated that) ‘every child from conception to maturity, recapitulates every stage
of development and must be treated gently and understandingly by more developed peoples. Thus, in his widely read work Adolescence
(1904), Hall described Africans, Indians, and Chinese as members of "adolescent races" in a stage of incomplete growth."
A.& Sillen, S. (1979). Racism and psychiatry. Secaucus, NJ: the Citadel Press, p. 8. "In view of the black man’s
background it is ‘miraculous’…that in America he has gone as far as he has. ‘All honor to the race
which has accomplished the impossible…(his bondage) in reality was a wonderful aid to the colored man.’ The necessity
for mental initiative was never his, and his racial characteristic of imitation carried him far on the road…During its
years of savagery…the race has learned no lessons in emotional control, and what they attained during their few generations
of slavery left them unstable.’ " Arrah B. Evarts, M.D. "Dementia Praecox in the Colored Race", 1914
G.O.(1916). The psychology of the Negro. Wesport, CN: Negro Universities Press, p.3. "No two races in history, taken as a
whole, differ so much in their traits, both physical and psychic, as the Caucasians and African. The color of the skin and
the crookedness of the hair are only the outward signs of many far deeper differences, including…temperament, disposition,
character…instincts, customs, emotional traits and diseases. All these differences…are seen to be great as to
qualify if not imperial every inference from one race to another…so that what is true and good for one is often false
and bad for the other." G. Stanley hall, The Negro in Africa and America, 1905
Study of African Origins in Western Civilization:
In Pursuit of George G. M. James'
Study of African Origins in "Western Civilization"
Yosef A. A. ben-Jochannan
PHILOSOPHIC THOUGHT PROCESS
This is … Aristotle's "Four
Humors" [or Plagiarized Nightmare]
If I leave you with this "DIAGRAM" without any further comment, you will probably
act as if it is genuine. Yet this is as authentic as the man for whom it is ascribed—ARISTOTLE, who masterminded the
sacking of the LIBRARY OF THE MYSTERIES SYSTEM of the Grand Lodge of Luxor, Egypt, Northeast Africa. It is his "FOUR HUMORS,"
this being the work of a "GREEK PHILOSOPHER" of the type that, allegedly, became such without any AFRICAN PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT
PROCESS in his training! It is the so-called "DIAGRAM OF OPPOSITES" you will find in many of the works on "GREEK PHILOSOPHY"
by "Western Academicians" over the past two hundred Years.
Aristotle was not amusing in his attempt at belittling the
Africans' DIAGRAM OF THE PRINCIPLE OF THE LAW OF OPPOSITES; neither those who attributed his distorted version of the original
you can see below. In fact, Aristotle's embryo wasn't formed when this PHILOSOPHICAL PRINCIPLE became common knowledge to
all of the "THIRD STAGE" [and/or "CREATORS"/"SONS OF LIGHT"] students who became a part of the "SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS" in
the Mysteries System of the Grand Lodge of Luxor; the Nile Valley Africans SYSTEM OF EDUCATION that included the teaching
of "PHILOSOPHY" from before ca. 4100 B.C.E. to this very moment we are assembled here tonight. Professor James made this point
very clear when he wrote the following on page 81 of Stolen Legacy; thus:
The history of the following ancient theory
of "The Four Qualities and Four Elements," provides the world with the evidence of the Egyptian origin of the doctrines of
(a) Opposites or Contraries, (b) Change or Transmutation and (c) the life and function of the universe is due to either of
four elements: fire, or water, or earth, or air.
DIAGRAM OF THE PRINCIPLE OF OPPOSITES
[8 was the highest
number at this period of antiquity. Only along the Nile River Civilizations]
The Four Elements: AIR, FIRE;
The Four Qualities: HOT, DRY; WET, COLD.
The 8 EQUAL D POLE STARS
Fuller, on page 19 of his HISTORY
OF GREEK PHILOSOPHY, articulated the very same point I have highlighted: thus he wrote:
Aristotle surmised that philosophy
first arose in Egypt because the priesthood there had leisure. With the geographical correctness of this statement we are
not concerned, but Aristotle's reasons for making it are significant. In the first place he lays down one of the conditions
necessary to philosophic specification. The Egyptian priesthood, he tells us, had leisure. Philosophy requires time—time
to wonder and meditate and make our guess about the inner constitution of the world.
The issue here is that the GREEKS
themselves confirmed the origin of their own PHILOSOPHIC THOUGHT PROCESS as having come from their African teachers along
the Nile Valley High-Cultures—Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, etc. Aristotle knew first-hand .
enough Zeller, unknowingly, concurred with Fuller when he wrote on pages 46–47 of a History of Greek Philosophy the
Aristotle knew nothing of any philosophical inquiry pursued in Egypt. He contends that knowledge is on a
higher level when it is pursued only for the end of knowing, than when it serves the purposes of practical necessity, and
observes, in connection with this, that purely theoretical sciences therefore first arose in places where people were sufficiently
free from anxiety about the necessities of life to be able to devote themselves to such sciences.
Freedom to think
to Egypt and other Nile Valley nations had the climate of peace which Greece seldom experienced by virtue of the wars the
Greeks engaged in during the period of so-called Greek Philosophy. Greek life was nothing but TRAGIC from Thales to Aristotle:
At this point it is necessary to note that the first "Greek Philosopher," Thales [ca. 600 B.C.],
existence is questionable. We need not labor on the proof, as all of the Greek and other European chroniclers of antiquity
have agreed his origin, as existence, is doubtful; so as most of the others that preceded Sokrates. Throughout Professor James'
Stolen Legacy this is clearly stated and documented. Of course, I must assume that so critical a scholarly work will be read
by all of us! We must, if we are to understand "African Roots of Western Civilization"!
Certainly my following remarks
relative to Isis' IMMACULATE CONCEPTION, at least 4100 years before Mary's [which was less than 1981 years ago], deals with
a very deep philosophical and theosophical concept in teachings that originated in the Grand Lodge of Luxor's MYSTERIES SYSTEM.
The text reads that after Osiris' CRUCIFIXION, DEATH and BURIAL he "AROSE ON The THIRD DAY" and "BECAME THE RULER OF THE DEAD"
[Godfrey Higgins' ANACALYPSIS, Vol. II, p. 122]. During this period Isis, the mother of Horus, and her sister Nephthys, guarded
the body of Osiris [Veronica Ions' EGYPTIAN MYTHOLOGY, p. 133]. The philosophical dimension in this episode comes as Isis
began to restore Osiris back to life by the powers given her by Thoth [J. Gwyn Griffith's The Origins of Osiris, p. 4], the
moment of the "CONCEPTION OF HORUS"; AND THUS The Holy of Sacred Scripture from the OSIRIAN DRAMA where Osiris states:
sister comes to you, joyous through her love for you. You have her placed upon your phallus. Your sperm enters her, so that
she is like Sothis. It is Horus-Sopd who comes out of you as Horus who is also Sothis. You have become a glorious spirit through
him in his name Djenderowbarque. He saves you in his name of Horus-the-son-who-saves-his father.
You have noted the
source of the FATHER, SON and HOLY GHOST/SPIRIT basic philosophical concept adopted in the theology of the Judaeo-Christian
Religion for the god JESUS-the Christ. But you will also notice, I have applied 20th Century common/Christian Era English
form in my translation from the original HIEROGLYPH to ENGLISH; thus no "THY" and "THOU," etc.
on the Judaeo-Christian philosophical and theosophical teachings about the "IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF MARY" and the "VIRGIN
BIRTH OF JESUS," or any of the other "FIFTEEN CRUCIFIED SAVIOURS" [Kersey Braves' The Sixteen Crucified Saviors], are of no
major advantage here; as the continuation will only renew our prognostication about "RESURRECTION, IMMORTALITY" and "DEIFICATION,"
etc, already solved in the BOOK OF THE COMING FORTH BY DAY AND BY NIGHT [Book Of The Dead and Papyrus of Ani] of the African
A rapid departure from philosophy to music might otherwise indicate an attempt at detouring somewhat
from the critical point in question. But you must remember that neither can be extricated from the other in context of its
African/Egyptian point of reference; thus the philosophical development of medicine as an art-form with magico-religious functions.
This concept is best understood if you should become familiar with the evolution of medicine and the medical art in the ancient
southern Nile Valley High-Culture from central Africa [UGANDA, KENYA, TANGANYKA, and SOMALIA. Etc.] all the way down to Egypt
ca. 4100 miles away due north. For here, once again, we have the GOD OF PHILOSOPHY," Thoth equally being the "GOD OF MEDICINE."
And we also find him as "THOTH THE MEASURER," before her status as "GODDESS"; thus her title" "PATRONESS OF THE MAGICIANS."
Horus, too, is in MEDICINE," and even called a "PHYSICIAN"; thus" CHIEF PHYSICIAN IN THE HOUSE OF RÉ AT LETOPOLIS." Do not
exclude Imhotep, also called I-em-hotep, the most celebrated "GOD OF MEDICINE," the Greeks later renamed "Aescalapiou"; the
man who was equally great in "MAGIC," also called the "protector of the soul of both the dead and living from all physical
and spiritual enemies" [Y. ben-Jochannan's Black Man of the Nile and His Family, pp. 185–190, etc.]
concept of medicine can be best seen in eight different papyri which are most familiar to "Western Academicians"; they are
as follows according to their numerical chronological order:
 Kahum,  Edwin C. Smith,  Ebers,  Hearst,
Erman,  London,  Berlin,  Chester Beatty.
Obviously, these names are as hypocritical as the term "GREEK PHILOSOPHY"
and /or "GREEK PHILOSOPHER." All bear the names or titles of "Westerners" who had nothing whatsover to do with either except
as the illegal possessor of the booty caused by the colonial ravaging of Egypt and other Nile Valley Africans' High-Cultures
from the time of the Hyksos/Sheperd Kings of Beduina invasion and conquest of Egypt's Delta Region in cs. 1675 B.C. to the
present in 1980 A.D. by the descendants of Arab who did the same in ca. 640 A.D. under the banner of their extension of Judaism
and Judaeo-Christianity, called "Islam," and their later deity Al'lah in 622.
|Artworks by Earthwoman@SmashMouthEducation.
|Make His-Story Poverty 2005 g7/g8 Poster Theme.
(Crispus Attucks - Boston Massacre):
Historian George W. Williams in History of the Negro Race in America described the Boston Massacre as "the
bloody drama that opened the most eventful and thrilling chapter in American history." Neither a soldier nor a leading town
citizen proved the hero of that pre-Revolutionary War struggle. Instead, the first of five men to die in the massacre was
a runaway slave turned sailor, Crispus Attucks. His death has forever linked his name with the cause of freedom.
Historians know little about Attucks, and they have constructed accounts of his life more from speculation than facts.
Most documents described his ancestry as African and American Indian. His father, Prince Yonger, is thought to have been a
slave brought to America from Africa and that his mother, Nancy Attucks, was a Natick Indian. Researcher Bill Belton identified
Attucks as a direct descendent of John Attucks, an Indian executed for treason in 1676 during the King Philip War. The family,
which may have included an older sister named Phebe, lived in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Apparently, young Attucks
developed a longing for freedom at an early age. According to The Black Presence in the Era of the American Revolution, historians
believe that an advertisement placed in the Boston Gazette on October 2, 1750, referred to him: "Ran away from his Master
William Brown from Framingham, on the 30th of Sept. last, a Molatto Fellow, about 27 Years of age, named Crispas, 6 Feet two
Inches high, short curl'd Hair, his Knees nearer together than common: had on a light colour'd Bearskin Coat." The owner offered
a reward of ten pounds for the return of the slave and warned ship captains against giving him refuge. George Washington Williams
noted that the advertisement appeared again on November 13 and November 20. Biographers surveyed that Attucks escaped to Nantucket,
Massachusetts, and sailed as a harpoonist on a whaling ship.
Historians definitely place Attucks in Boston in March
of 1770. While in Boston, probably awaiting passage on a ship to the Carolinas, he found a job as a dockworker. Some writers
proposed that he was using the name Michael Johnson. Assuming that the Boston Gazette advertisement did refer to him, he would
have been about 47-years old.
By 1770 Boston had become "a storm center of brewing revolt," according
to Benjamin Quarles in The Negro in the American Revolution. The British had stationed two regiments in the city following
protests by the colonists against unfair taxes. Citizens welcomed neither the troops walking the streets nor the two canons
aiming directly at the town hall. Describing the setting, historian John Fiske explained in Unpublished Orations that "the
soldiers did many things that greatly annoyed the people. They led brawling, riotous lives, and made the quiet streets hideous
by night with their drunken shouts. ... On Sundays the soldiers would race horses on the Common, or would play `Yankee Doodle'
just outside the church-doors during the services."
As tensions mounted, the atmosphere grew ripe for confrontation.
Fiske pointed out that during February of 1870, "an unusual number of personal encounters" had occurred, including the killing
of a young boy. Regarding the evening of March 5, 1770, he explained, "Accounts of what happened are as disorderly and conflicting
as the incidents which they try to relate." A barber's apprentice chided a British soldier for walking away without paying
for his haircut. The soldier struck the boy, and news of the offense spread quickly. Groups of angry citizens gathered in
various places around town. Someone rang the church bell and such a summons usually meant that a fire had broken out. This
night, however, it presaged an explosive situation between the soldiers and the townspeople.
Captain Thomas Preston
called his Twenty-ninth Regiment to duty. Townspeople began pelting the troops with snowballs. From the dock area, a group
of men, led by the towering figure of Attucks, entered King Street, armed with clubs. Some accounts maintained that Attucks
struck soldier Hugh Montgomery. Others, for example, John Fiske, stated that he was "leaning upon a stick" when the soldiers
opened fire. However the incident occurred, Attucks lay dead, his body pierced by two bullets. Ropemaker Samuel Gray and sailor
James Caldwell also died in the incident. Samuel Maverick, a 17-year-old joiner's apprentice, died the next day. Irish leather
worker Patrick Carr died nine days later, and six others were wounded. Citizens immediately demanded the withdrawal of British
troops. Fiske noted in Unpublished Orations that the deaths of these men "effected in a moment what 17 months of petition
and discussion had failed to accomplish."
John Adams reluctantly agreed to defend the British soldiers, two of whom
were charged with manslaughter and branded. At the trial, Adams focused on Attucks, portraying him as a rabble-rouser. Because
of accounts given at the trial, some historians have questioned the motives of the massacred men. Fiske evaluated that although
we cannot know their motives, "we may fairly suppose them to have been actuated by the same feelings toward the soldiery that
animated Adams and Warren and the patriots of Boston in general."
The town's response to the murders
expressed the significance of the sacrifices these men made. The bodies of Attucks and Caldwell lay in state at Faneuil Hall;
those of Gray and Maverick lay in their homes. For the funeral service, shops closed, bells rang, and thousands of citizens
from all walks of life formed a long procession, six people deep, to the Old Granary Burial Ground where the bodies were committed
to a common grave. Until the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Boston commemorated their deaths on March 5, "Crispus
Attucks Day." According to Ted Stewart in Sepia, Boston abolitionist Wendell Phillips stated on the first such occasion, "I
place...this Crispus Attucks in the foremost rank of the men that dared."
Through the years, people have remembered
Attucks in a variety of ways. Paul Revere created a woodcut of the incident, and the National Archives housed a painting by
noted New England artist Benjamin Champney depicting the event. Negro military companies took the name Attucks Guards. Poets
dedicated works to his memory, and communities named schools after him.
In 1888 Boston erected a monument to the heroes
of the massacre which James Neyland in Crispus Attucks called "the first ever to be paid for by public funds" in Massachusetts.
City officials had rejected earlier petitions for such a monument. Even in 1888, various Boston factions heatedly debated
the appropriateness of this gesture. At the unveiling, speaker John Fiske called the Boston Massacre "one of the most significant
and impressive events in the noble struggle in which our forefathers succeeded in vindicating, for themselves and their posterity,
the sacred right of self-government."
In his 1995 biography, James Neyland wrote about Attucks: "He is one of the most
important figures in African-American history, not for what he did for his own race but for what he did for all oppressed
people everywhere. He is a reminder that the African-American heritage is not only African but American and it is a heritage
that begins with the beginning of America." Although obscure in life, Attucks played an important role in U.S. history through
his death. Bill Belton in the Negro History Bulletin contended that the name of Crispus Attucks will stand "forever linked
to the birth of this nation and its dream of freedom, justice, and equality."
Belton, Bill. "The Indian
Heritage of Crispus Attucks." Negro History Bulletin 35 (November 1972): 149--52.
Fiske, John. Unpublished Orations. Boston:
Bibliophile Society, 1909.
Kaplan, Sidney, and Emma Nogrady Kaplan. The Black Presence in the Era of the American
Revolution. Revised edition. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1989.
Ryan, Dennis P.
"The Crispus Attucks Monument Controversy of 1887." Negro History Bulletin 40 (January-February 1977): 656--57.
Ted. "Boston Blacks in the Revolution." Sepia 25 (May 1976): 58--67.
Williams, George W. History of the Negro Race
in America, 1619--1880. 2 vols. 1882. Reprint, New York: Arno Press and the New York Times, 1968.
William Loren Katz "Black Indians" a hidden heritage.
Black Indians want a place in history
In April 2002, celebrations of the 500 years of black Indian
culture are planned for sites of major historical and cultural significance - the pilgrimage of unification itself; an honoring
of 'Mother Life'
By Nomad Winterhawk
It happened that life crossed Africans
and Native Americans together into one circle.
This was in April, 1502, when the first Africans kidnapped were brought
to Hispanola to serve as slaves. Some escaped and somewhere inland on Santo Dominico life birthed the first circle of Black
Some black Indians have a dual ancestry of African and Native American bloodlines. Others are black people
who have lived with Native Americans and maintain their cultural-ceremonial traditions.
The seizure and mistreatment
of Native Americans and their land, and the enslavement of Native Americans and Africans, were the two parallel institutions
that resulted in the Black Indian culture.
Water color from 1735 showing black Indians, Native Americans
and an African together
Though neither white, Christian, nor European, together they created communities of permanence,
that included people from overseas. The early history of these communities provides examples of two diverse people living
together in peace.
Exclusion from most written historical texts does not erase or deny the facts. Only the absence
of true understanding of the relationships red and black peoples had, leaves unanswered questions for those groping to understand
their family's past.
Africans arrived on 'New World' shores with valuable assets for both European
and Native Americans. They were used to agricultural labor and working in field gangs, something unknown to most Indians.
experts in tropical agriculture, Africans found much to share with Native Americans, and the two groups shared and combined
knowledge about indigenous farming.
Native Americans found that Africans had 'Great Medicine' in their bodies. They
were virtually immune to European diseases that decimated most native populations. This was also an encouragement for joining
together, to create stronger, healthier children from the unions.
Their slave experience also qualified Africans as
experts on whites - their motives, diplomacy, armaments, strengths, weaknesses, languages, defenses and plans.
From a common foe, Africans and Native Americans found the first link of friendship and earliest motivation
for an alliance. They discovered they shared some vital life views.
Family was of basic importance to both, with children
and the elderly treasured. Religion, a love and respect for 'Mother Life', and the sacred mystery behind life, was a daily
part of cultural life.
Both Africans and Native Americans found they shared a belief in cooperation, rather than competition
and rivalry. Beyond individual human differences in personality, generally speaking, each race was proud, but neither was
weighed down by prejudice. Skill, friendship and trust, not skin color or race was important.
That Native Americans
and Africans merged by choice, invitation, and bonds of trust and friendship, cannot be understated. It explains why families
who share this biracial inheritance have never forgotten these family ties.
Since 1502, Black Indians have been reported,
documented, painted, and photographed coast to coast from Hudson's Bay to Tierra del Fuego. In the decades between the 1619
Jamestown settlement and the 'Great Treaty Signings' of the 1880's, Black Indian Societies were reported in more than 15 states
from New York to South Carolina as well as the thirty Caribbean Islands 'blessed' by European colonization.
As early as 1640 in 'British America' there were policies to separate Africans and Native Americans. This
beginning with Govenor John Winthrop's Narragansetts Policies.
Thomas Jefferson, a founding father of America, established
the "you don't look Indian" precedence, when he found "more negro than Indian blood" among the Mattaponies of his home state
Affected by this rule in their home regions over the next century, other Black Indians were legislated out
of existence: The Montauk, Fall River and Dudley Nations, to name a few.
It was around the 1740's that British colonists
in the southern colonies, introduced the practice of slavery among neighboring Native Americans. Later, as a result of the
Indian Removal Act of 1830, there were over ten thousand Black Indians to be counted among the 60.000 marched to Kansas and
Oklahoma on the 'Trail of Tears'. Unfortunately, neither many black nor Indian children, nor many of their parents have an
awareness of this legacy.
Black Indians for 500 years
Among those who know nothing about us or our culture,
there are some who hold the mistaken belief that one must look, act and speak in particular ways, to be recognized as being
part of a particular cultural heritage.
During the past 400 years, slavery, oppression and racism have served Black
Indians: like wind upon the desert corn, they have caused the roots of our culture to grow deeper, in places where experts
would say it is impossible for plants to grow.
April 2002 will mark the 500th year of Black Indians. For anyone who
cares to look, we have been there all the time.
Book about black Indians
Nomad Winterhawk - Ntsistsista (Butterfly
Clan) - is a Black Indian of Cheyenne/Apache-Senegal African-Irish-Algonquin heritage. He has written a book honoring Black
Indians and the 500 Year Heritage: 'The Black Indian Cultural Heritage' - designed to empower other Black Indians and inspire
other individuals who have lost contact with their cultural roots.
Scheduled to be published in 2002, the focus of
the book is on the value of honoring life, and the issues that confront Black Indians in their daily, individual as well as
collective lives. As interesting alternatives to the violence we have around us, it provides valuable images of life passages,
in the context of community enhanced ritual mechanisms.
TERRITORY AND NATIVE AND AFRICAN AMERICAN SETTLERS
When more than 60,000 Native Americans were removed from their
homes during the 1830s by U.S. Federal troops from the southeastern states of the United States - they were forced Westward
to Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. This was called the "Trail of Tears." Many of these Native American tribes had previously
embraced and either helped or kept numerous African Americans as slaves. African Americans and Native Americans created a
mixed cultural blend depending upon the specific tribal group.
Diana Fletcher of the Kiowa
Taylor and her sister of the Ute Many Native Americans welcomed African Americans into their villages. Even as slaves many
African Americans became part of a family group, and many intermarried with Native Americans - thus many later became classified
as Black Indians. Therefore Black Oklahoma evolved in many areas as biracial communities within Indian nations. This is a
unique history, which developed in many of the western communities where the two
Homa Lusa: Center for African and Native American Research - The Center for African and Native American Research were
created to pursue theory, research, policy, and strategies related to issues of cultural retention and mental health among
Native Americans and African Americans. Our research interests also include the arenas in which African and Native American
interactions occurred historically and contemporarily.
The African Native Genealogy Homepage - Celebrating the Estelusti ~ The Freedmen Oklahoma's Black Indians of the
Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole Nations.
African-Native Americans - We are still here.
Black Indians - Although most of the two million claiming Native American ancestry in the United States are of racially
mixed backgrounds, many are still amazed to find that many African Americans are of Indian heritage.
Black-Indian History Resources - This bibliography is a representative--no means comprehensive--list of Black-Indian
resources for the so-called Five Civilized Tribes.
Heart of Two Nations: African Native Americans
Mawshakh Muurs - There are legends of the Nanticoke family of Lenni Lenabe; which tells of how during the Exodus
of the Hebrews a portion of them left Egypt in ships and founded colonies in Spain, Ireland, Scotland, and Maryland. These
people mixed in with the natives of the territory (the Lenni Lanabe) and became one family.
Black Indian Slave Narratives:
Lucinda Davis - Creek Freedwoman
"What yo' gwine
do when de meat give out?
What yo' gwine do when de meat
Set in de corner wid my lips pooched out!
What yo' gwine do when de meat come in?
What yo' gwine
do when de meat come in?
Set in de corner wid a greasy chin!
Dat's about de only little nigger song I know,
less'n it be de one about:
"Great big nigger, laying 'hind de log ___
Finger on de trigger and eye on the hawg!
go de trigger and bang go de gun!
Here come de owner and de buck nigger run!"
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION IN BRAZIL........July 20th, 2003:
By Italo Ramos (*) and Sheila Walker (**)
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Every time an educational system has to admit new slices of society, the power
structures suffer a shock. That's why, in Brazil, there is much ado about almost nothing: this year (2003), for the first
time, a Brazilian public university adopted an Affirmative Action quota system, copying the USA system. The elites are nervous
and organizing to fight to prevent a possible social earthquake. It may be "almost nothing", but in Rio de Janeiro, everything
that happens, quickly becomes national news. The new quota system is at only one university, the Universidade do Estado do
Rio de Janeiro, but the fallout is as volatile as the highest point on the Richter scale.
Brazilian society, with a population
of 175 million, has an interesting history with respect to racial issues. It was the last nation in the world to abolish slavery
(1888); is the most racially mixed society in the world (65 million are mulattos); has the second largest black population
in the world, after Nigeria (67 million Brazilians are of African descent); its racism is so subtle and diffuse that the country
is wrongly known as a "racial democracy"; its Congress approved a law making racism a crime, but even official data can not
hide the social, political, and economic frustration of its black people.
The difficult social climate in Brazil is
not new; on the contrary, it has persisted for a very long time. For example, in 1600, in a region named Palmares, a group
of 40 enslaved Africans rebelled, went to the mountains, and created a large community which existed for almost 100 years,
fighting against and defeating the Brazilian army many times (see "Enslaved Africa Revolts" , at this site). In the 1830s,
the Males, a contingent of slaves bought in Muslim countries, organized so many revolts that they were considered "too dangerous",
were deported back to Africa, and the government forbade the entrance of slaves that could read and write, as could those
Muslims. In 1800, revolts in Haiti killed 350,000 persons, and the country was declared independent. All those events spread
panic in Brazil, because the black population was too large and the risk of a new Haiti was real. So, Brazil has had numerous
experiences with the "black threat".
The biggest problem the new university quota system is facing is that the government
of the State of Rio de Janeiro has not mounted any sort of media campaign to educate the white public about the 'rightness'
of the Affirmative Action decision. Of course, the young white applicants who scored high in the entrance examination * which
is notoriously hard -- and are denied admission, will feel resentful. But this resentment will be even stronger if these students
and their parents know nothing about the reasons for Affirmative Action.
The truth is that white Brazilian students
have always gone to university without black students as competitors, and assumed that this arrangement would last forever.
Coming from expensive private schools, white applicants were always beyond dispute. In the Universidade de Sao Paulo, the
best public university in Brazil, blacks represent only 1.4% of the student body, but they are more than 34% of the population
in that state. Of course, no one is naïve enough to believe that a group who has had a privilege for centuries will not use
it. So, many white students are looking to the courts to abolish the quota system, while the Brazilian Supreme Court examines
if the system is constitutional or not.
The first action facing the Brazilian Supreme Court is not about the quota
system, per se. Rather, it is whether or not the principle of the autonomy of the university * which is in the Constitution
* has been violated, as the system was imposed by a law. Brazilian black political movements are afraid that the Supreme Court,
while protecting the constitutional principle of autonomy, will condemn the Affirmative Action decision.
with the past, no one would say that Brazilian society has not moved forward in the direction of black human rights. At least,
the existence of racism has never been admitted in so public a way as it is now, and this is, after all, an advance. Of course,
no one would say, too, that the advances are remarkable. They are not. Nevertheless, Affirmative Action in universities is
a fact, but the opposition of whites to it is also a fact. They were born together.
Among the students and some educational
systems analysts, the principal objection to the quota system is the lack of "merit". In Brazilian universities, there are
not enough vacancies for all the qualified applicants. So, students must take the most important test in their school life,
known as the "vestibular", to gain admission to the university. Those who attend expensive secondary schools, where the preparation
is better, have a greater chance to succeed. And they are mostly white, middle-class students. Now, whites are saying that
blacks don't have enough qualifications to get in, and that this can be proved by the fact that "some blacks" are against
the quota, too. Of course, some of them are. Why not? To suppose that all blacks would be for it is the same as saying that
all whites would be against it. So, it is interesting to see how those two little words * "some blacks" * serve to legitimate
the position of those who intend to postpone the correction of a form of educational discrimination.
Those who argue
for merit forget that merit is not applied to all, as it has never been a guarantee of equal salaries between women and men
with the same functions and qualifications in the labor market, for example. If the critics invoke the concept of merit to
condemn Affirmative Action, we must remind them of the ICMS. The ICMS is a Brazilian tax, a very democratic one, as it is
paid by all consumers, white and black. Part of it is used by the government to support public universities. So far, not one
white person has raised a voice to condemn the fact that more than 95% of the university students are white, while blacks,
who pay ICMS too, cannot take advantage of that service. Is this a white privilege or not? Where is the merit in this case?
If black Brazilians are paying a tax (ICMS) for a service they do not receive, then the government should give their
money back. Affirmative Action is a reparations instrument. Nothing more than this. Brazilian blacks must not expect that
it will also serve as an instrument to bring about integration. On the contrary, as far as we can see, history will repeat
itself, this time in Brazil, with more blacks admitted to the universities, but with nothing approaching true integration.
(by Italo Ramos and Sheila Walker CopyRight-2003 All Rights Reserved) (Brazilian journalist and American psychologist)
Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth:
by John G. Jackson (Originally published in 1941)
One: Pagan Origins of the Christ Myth
The cardinal doctrines of the Christian religion are (1) the Fall of Man and
(2) the Atonement. There are liberal Christian apologists who no longer subscribe to a literal belief in the Fall of Man.
They have relegated Adam and Eve to the realm of Mythology. These liberals are opposed by orthodox apologists, who declare
that belief in the Atonement implies belief in the Fall of Man. Logic seems to be on the orthodox side. As T. W. Doane has
These two dogmas cannot be separated from each other. If there was no Fall, there is no need of an atonement,
and no Redeemer is required. Those, then, who consent in recognizing in Christ Jesus a God and Redeemer, and who, notwithstanding,
cannot resolve upon admitting the story of the Fall of Man to be historical, should exculpate themselves from the reproach
Anyone who is familiar with the elements of the higher criticism knows that there are two stories
of the Creation and Fall of Man in the book of Genesis. The first, or Priestly Account, was written in the fifth century B.C.
and extends from the beginning of Genesis through verse 3 of chapter 2. The second, or Jehovistic Account, begins with verse
4 of chapter 2, and extends through the third chapter. This version of the story was written in the eight century B.C. It
is interesting to note that the second narrative is about three hundred years older than the first. In the following comparison
of these two tales, the Priestly version is designated by the letter P, and the Jehovistic version by the letters J.E. These
documents differ in six important points, to wit:
P: The earth emerges from the waters. It is saturated with moisture.
The world is at first a dry plain. There was no vegetation, because "the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth."2
P: Birds and beasts are created before man.
J.E.: Man is created before the birds and beasts.
All fowls that fly are made out of the waters.
J.E.: The Fowls of the air are made out of the ground.
is created in the image of god.
J.E.: Man is made out of the dust of the ground. It is only after eating of the forbidden
fruit that god said, "Behold, the man is become as one of us."3
P.: Man is made lord of the whole earth.
Man is merely placed in the garden to dress it and keep it.
P.: Man and woman are created together, as the closing
and completing work of the whole creation.
J.E.: Man is created first, then beasts and birds are, which are named by man.
Finally, the woman is made out of a rib of the man.
Orthodox Christians claim that both of these stories must
be believed, even though they contradict each other at numerous points. There have been eminent Christian authorities, however,
who have rejected a literal view of Genesis. The celebrated Church father, Bishop Origen wrote as follows:
of sense will agree with the statement that the first, second and third days, in which the evening is named and the morning,
were without sun, moon and stars? What man is found such an idiot as to suppose that God planted trees in Paradise like a
husbandman? I believe every man must hold these things for images under which a hidden sense is concealed.4
declared that "There is no way of preserving the first chapter of Genesis without impiety, and attributing things to God unworthy
of Him." There is, of course, nothing unique about these Hebraic Eden myths. They were known among the so-called heathens
thousands of years before the Bible was invented. Two very fine examples are cited by Sir Godfrey Higgins, the English orientalist,
"Another striding instance is recorded by the very intelligent traveler (Wilson) regarding a representation
of the fall of our first parents, sculptured in the magnificent temple of Ipsambul in Nubia. He says that a very exact representation
of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden is to be seen in that cave, and that the serpent climbing round the tree is especially
delineated, and the whole subject of the tempting of our first parents most accurately exhibited."6
brought by Colonel Coombs, from a sculptured column in a cave-temple in the South of India, represents the first pair at the
foot of the ambrosial tree, and a serpent entwined among the heavily-laden boughs, presenting to them some of the fruit from
Mr. George Smith, of the Department of Oriental Antiquity of the British Museum, discovered Assyrian terra-cotta
tablets in the ruins of Nineveh, dating from 1500 to 2000 B.C., which give not only the story of the creation of Man, but
narratives of the Deluge and the Tower of Babel as well. In referring to an engraving on an Assyrian cylinder, Mr. Smith notes
One striking and important specimen of early type in the British Museum collection has two figures sitting one
on each side of a tree, holding out their hands to the fruit, while at the back of one (the woman) is scratched a serpent
… thus it is evident that a form of the Fall, similar to that of Genesis, was known in early times in Babylonia.8
the original Babylonian Eden myth, as translated from a Sumerian tablet by Professor Edward Chiera, there is the story of
a great conflict among the gods. They cannot decide whether man ought to be created or not. A wise old reptile, the dragon
Tiamat, opposed the creation of the human race. The dragon fought against the great god Bel. Finally the god overcame the
dragon by blasting him with thunderbolts. Opposition having been crushed, man was created. This conflict between Bel and the
dragon bears a close analogy to the story of the Revolution in Heaven recorded in the Apocalypse:
And there was war
in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
And prevailed not;
neither was their place found any more in heaven.
And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the
Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.9
myths of the Fall are based on man's yearning for immortality. Due to the habit of certain species of snakes periodically
shedding their skins, primitive man got the idea that serpents were immortal. The natural vanity of man told our distant ancestors
that the gods had intended the gift of eternal life for humanity alone. So it was conceived that the serpent had stolen the
precious prize from the human race. The biblical version of the Fall of Man is incomplete. The role of the serpent in not
explained, and the Tree of Life is not given due prominence in the story. The original story, which we are able to piece together
from fragments gathered from the mythology of many lands, reads as follows:
God placed the first man and woman in a
garden of delights. In this garden were two trees, the Tree of Life and the Tree of Death (called the Tree of Knowledge in
the Bible). Man had the choice of eating the fruit of the Tree of life and becoming immortal, or of eating the fruit of the
Tree of Death and becoming mortal. God sent the serpent to tell Adam and Eve to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Life, so that
they might live forever, and to warn them against eating of the fruit of the Tree of Death, for if they should eat this forbidden
fruit they would surely die, and this course would descend to their children from generation to generation. The wily serpent,
however, reversed the message. He told the first human pair that they would obtain immortality by eating of the fruit of the
Tree of Death. Unfortunately Adam and Eve believed the diabolical snake, ate the forbidden fruit, and as a consequence were
expelled from Eden and became mortal. The sly reptile, on the other hand, helped himself to the fruit of the Tree of Life
and gained immortal life for himself and his kind.
For a masterly study of myths concerning the Fall of Man, the reader
is referred to volume 1 of Sir James George Frazer's Folk-Lore in the Old Testament.10 Frazer holds that the Hebrews got their
version, directly or indirectly from Africa:
Even if the story should hereafter be found in a Sumerian version this
would not absolutely exclude the hypothesis of its African origin, since the original home of the Sumerians is unknown. …
In favor of the African origin of the myth it may be observed that the explanation of the supposed immortality of serpents,
which probably furnished the kernel of the story in its original form, has been preserved in several African versions, while
it has been wholly lost in the Hebrew version; from which it is natural to infer that the African versions are older and nearer
to the original than the corresponding but incomplete narratives in Genesis.11
The hypothetical first man of the Bible
is rightly named Adam, since the word Adam, which means "Man," was reputedly made out of Adamah, which means the "Ground"
or "Earth." Similarly among the ancient Romans, man was called Homo, because he was supposedly made from Humus, the Earth.
According to an ancient Egyptian myth, Knoumou, the father of the gods, moulded the earliest men out of clay on a potter's
wheel. We are informed by the Chaldean priest, Berosus, that the great god Bel decapitated himself, and that the other gods
mixed his blood with clay, and out of it fashioned the first man. In the Greek mythology, Prometheus is depicted as manufacturing
men from clay at Panopeus.12
W. Doane, Bible Myths and Their Parallels in Other Religions, Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles
with Those of Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also Their Origin and Meaning (New York: The Truth Seeker Company,
1882), p. 17.
Origen (A.D. 185?–254?), Greek writer, teacher and church father,
On First Principles, trans. G. W. Butterworth (Magnolia, MA: Peter Smith).
St. Augustine (353–430), church father,
bushop of Hippo (396–430), The Confessions of St. Augustine and City of God (New York: Dorset Books, 1961).
Higgins, Esq., Anacalypsis: An Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of the Saitic Isis; or an Inquiry into the Origin of Languages,
Nations and Religions, 2 vols. (new York: J. W. Bouton, 1878), vol. 1, p.403.
Higgins, Anacalypsis, vol. 1, pp. 403–404.
George Smith, The Chaldean Account of Genesis (New York: 1876), p. 91.
Sir James George
Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament: Studies in Comparative Religion, Legend, and Law, 3 vols. (London: Macmillan and Co.,
Sir James George Frazer, Worship of Nature, Gifford Lectures 1924–25 (1926), P. 223–244.
scholarly studies of these creation tales the curious reader is referred to Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, by Sir J. G. Frazer,
and Forgery in Christianity: A Documented Record of the Foundations of the Christian Religion, by Major Joseph Wheless (Moscow,
Idaho: "Psychiana," 1930).
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