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Did We Sell Each Other Into Slavery?:


A Commentary by Oscar L. Beard, Consultant in African Studies
24 May 1999

The single most effective White propaganda assertion that continues to make it very difficult for us to reconstruct the African social systems of mutual trust broken down by U.S. Slavery is the statement, unqualified, that, "We sold each other into slavery." Most of us have accepted this statement as true at its face value. It implies that parents sold their children into slavery to Whites, husbands sold their wives, even brothers and sisters selling each other to the Whites. It continues to perpetuate a particularly sinister effluvium of Black character. But deep down in the Black gut, somewhere beneath all the barbecue ribs, gin and whitewashed religions, we know that we are not like this.

This singular short tart claim, that "We sold each other into slavery", has maintained in a state of continual flux our historical basis for Black-on-Black self love and mutual cooperation at the level of Class. Even if it is true (without further clarification) that we sold each other into slavery, this should not absolve Whites of their responsibility in our subjugation. We will deal with Africa if need be.

The period from the beginning of the TransAtlantic African Slave so-called Trade (1500) to the demarcation of Africa into colonies in the late 1800s is one of the most documented periods in World History. Yet, with the exception of the renegade African slave raider Tippu Tip of the Congo (Muslim name, Hamed bin Muhammad bin Juna al-Marjebi) who was collaborating with the White Arabs (also called Red Arabs) there is little documentation of independent African slave raiding. By independent is meant that there were no credible threats, intoxicants or use of force by Whites to force or deceive the African into slave raiding or slave trading and that the raider himself was not enslaved to Whites at the time of slave raiding or "trading". Trade implies human-to-human mutuality without force. This was certainly not the general scenario for the TransAtlantic so-called Trade in African slaves. Indeed, it was the Portuguese who initiated the European phase of slave raiding in Africa by attacking a sleeping village in 1444 and carting away the survivors to work for free in Europe.

Even the case of Tippu Tip may well fall into a category that we might call the consequences of forced cultural assimilation via White (or Red) Arab Conquest over Africa. Tippu Tip s father was a White (or Red) Arab slave raider, his mother an unmixed African slave. Tip was born out of violence, the rape of an African woman. It is said that Tip, a "mulatto", was merciless to Africans.

The first act against Africa by Whites was an unilateral act of war, announced or unannounced. There were no African Kings or Queens in any of the European countries nor in the U.S. when ships set sail for Africa to capture slaves for profit. Whites had already decided to raid for slaves. They didn't need our agreement on that. Hence, there was no mutuality in the original act. The African so-called slave "trade" was a demand-driven market out of Europe and America, not a supply-driven market out of Africa. We did not seek to sell captives to the Whites as an original act. Hollywood s favorite is showing Blacks capturing Blacks into slavery, as if this was the only way capture occurred. There are a number of ways in which capture occurred. Let s dig a little deeper into this issue.

Chancellor Williams, in his classic work, The Destruction of Black Civilization, explains that after the over land passage of African trade had been cut off at the Nile Delta by the White Arabs in about 1675 B.C. (the Hyksos), the Egyptian/African economy was thrown into a recession. There is even indication of "pre-historic" aggression upon Africa by White nomadic tribes (the Palermo Stone). As recession set in the African Government began selling African prisoners of war and criminals on death row to the White Arabs. This culminated as an unfortunate trade, in that, when the White Arabs attacked, they had the benefit of the knowledge and strength of Africans on their side, as their slaves. This is a significantly different picture than the propaganda that we sold our immediate family members into slavery to the Whites.

In reality, slavery is an human institution. Every ethnic group has sold members of the same ethnic group into slavery. It becomes a kind of racism; that, while all ethnic groups have sold its own ethnic group into slavery, Blacks can't do it. When Eastern Europeans fight each other it is not called tribalism. Ethnic cleansing is intended to make what is happening to sound more sanitary. What it really is, is White Tribalism pure and simple.

The fact of African resistance to European Imperialism and Colonialism is not well known, though it is well documented. Read, for instance, Michael Crowder (ed.), West African Resistance, Africana Publishing Corporation, New York, 1971. Europeans entered Africa in the mid 1400 s and early 1500 s during a time of socio-political transition. Europeans chose a favorite side to win between African nations at a war and supplied that side with guns, a superior war instrument. In its victory, the African side with guns rounded up captives of war who were sold to the Europeans in exchange for more guns or other barter. Whites used these captives in their own slave raids. These captives often held pre-existing grudges against groups they were ordered to raid, having formerly been sold into slavery themselves by these same groups as captives in inter-African territorial wars. In investigating our history and capture, a much more completed picture emerges than simply that we sold each other into slavery.

The Ashanti, who resisted British Imperialism in a Hundred Years War, sold their African captives of war and criminals to other Europeans, the Portuguese, Spanish, French, in order to buy guns to maintain their military resistance against British Imperialism (Michael Crowder, ed., West African Resistance).

Eric A. Walker, in A History of Southern Africa, Longmans, London, 1724, chronicles the manner in which the Dutch entered South Africa at the Cape of Good Hope. Van Riebeeck anchored at the Cape with his ships in 1652 during a time that the indigenous Khoi Khoi or Khoisan (derogatorily called Hottentots) were away hunting. The fact of their absence is the basis of the White "claim" to the land. But there had been a previous encounter with the Khoi Khoi at the Cape in 1510 with the Portuguese Ship Almeida. States Eric A. Walker, "Affonso de Albuquerque was a conscious imperialist whose aim was to found self-sufficing colonies and extend Portuguese authority in the East&He landed in Table Bay, and as it is always the character of the Portuguese to endeavor to rob the poor natives of the country, a quarrel arose with the Hottentots, who slew him and many of his companions as they struggled towards their boats through the heavy sand of Salt River beach." (Ibid. p. 17). Bartholomew Diaz had experienced similar difficulties with the indigenous Xhosa of South Africa in 1487, on his way to "discovering" a "new" trade route to the East. The conflict ensued over a Xhosa disagreement over the price Diaz wanted to pay for their cattle. The Xhosa had initially come out meet the Whites, playing their flutes and performing traditional dance.

In 1652, knowing that the indigenous South Africans were no pushovers, Van Riebeeck didn't waste any time. As soon as the Khoi Khoi returned from hunting, Van Riebeeck accused them of stealing Dutch cattle. Simply over that assertion, war broke out, and the superior arms of the Dutch won. South African Historian J. Congress Mbata best explains this dynamic in his lectures, available at the Cornell University Africana Studies Department. Mbata provides three steps: 1) provocation by the Whites, 2) warfare and, 3) the success of a superior war machinery.

There are several instances in which Cecil Rhodes, towards the end of the 19th Century, simply demonstrated the superiority of the Maxim Machine Gun by mowing down a corn field in a matter of minutes. Upon such demonstrations the King and Queen of the village, after consulting the elders, signed over their land to the Whites. These scenarios are quite different from the Hollywood version, and well documented.

It has been important to present the matters above to dispel the notion of an African slave trade that involved mutuality as a generalized dynamic on the part of Africans. If we can accept the documented facts of our history above and beyond propaganda, we can begin to heal. We can begin to love one another again and go on to regain our liberties on Earth.

Respectfully,

Oscar L. Beard, B.A., RPCV
Consultant in African Studies
P.O. Box 5208
Atlanta, Georgia 31107

 

 

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.

Those 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.

The 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

1). 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?

There 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.

The 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).

Several 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.

REFERENCES

Conyers, John Rep. "About The Bill." The Proposed Reparations Study Commission. 4 Feb.

2002.
Carroll, Jon. "Reactions to Reparations." San Francisco Chronicles. (2001). 4 Feb. 2002.



Harper, James. "Bethune Puts The Issue on Trial." Black Voices About Reparations.



Jemel. "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.

 

2005-06-16

Has King Tut been whitewashed?:

US black activists demand King Tut’s bust be removed from exhibition because its rendition of his face is ‘distortion of reality’.

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LOS ANGELES - US black activists demanded Wednesday that a bust of Tutankhamun be removed from a landmark exhibition of artefacts from the Egyptian boy king's tomb because the statue portrays him as white.

The bust that activists object to is a central part of "Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs," the first US exhibition of relics from king Tut's tomb in nearly 30 years, which opens here Thursday amid Hollywood fanfare.


The face of the legendary pharaoh, who died around 3,300 years ago at the age of just 19, was reconstructed earlier this year through images collected through Cat Scans of his mummy, found near Luxor in Egypt in 1922.


But Legrand Clegg, a historian and prosecutor of the Los Angeles area city of Compton, is demanding that the bust of King Tut be removed from the show because its rendition of his face is a "distortion of reality."


"They have depicted King Tut as white, but the ancient Egyptians were black people," he said.


We do not need modern scientists to reconstruct the bust and tell us what to see. Do not deprive black children of their heritage," Legrand said in an appeal to organisers to remove the likeness from display.


Clegg said the protest would take the form of a peaceful picket outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where the 27-month three-city tour of the United States is poised to open.


The action comes after Los Angeles city officials declined to intervene with exhibition organisers to remove the bust.


"There is no evidence that King Tut was white," Clegg told city officials at a public meeting last week. "Egypt is on the continent of Africa."


Clegg maintains that the inhabitants of ancient Egypt were descended from the black Nubian people that inhabited that country and neighbouring Ethiopia.


He said his group would protest as long as there was a "suppression of black history," that he said was "conspiratorial" and "has to stop."


Organisers of the exhibit billed it as a "blockbuster" display that will leave its mark on the worlds of archaeology and the American public.


Clegg said his drive was supported in his quest to have the bust removed by the Compton branch of the powerful National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).


The show, which boasts 130 funerary objects some of which have rarely or never travelled out of Egypt before, opens its doors 26 years after the last US display of artefacts from Tutankhamun's tomb ended in 1976.

 

From"In Defense of Self-Defense":

June 20, 1967


Men were not created in order to obey laws. Laws are created to obey men. They are established by men and should serve men. The laws and rules which officials inflict upon poor people prevent them from functioning harmoniously in society. There is no disagreement about this function of law in any circle the disagreement arises from the question of which men laws are to serve. Such lawmakers ignore the fact that it is the duty of the poor and unrepresented to construct rules and laws that serve their interests better. Rewriting unjust laws is a basic human right and fundamental obligation.

Before 1776 America was a British colony. The British Government had certain laws and rules that the colonized Americans rejected as not being in their best interests. In spite of the British conviction that Americans had no right to establish their own laws to promote the general welfare of the people living here in America, the colonized immigrant felt he had no choice but to raise the gun to defend his welfare. Simultaneously he made certain laws to ensure his protection from external and internal aggressions, from other governments, and his own agencies. One such form of protection was the Declaration of Independence, which states: ". . . whenever any government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations on such principles and organizing its powers in such forms as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

Now these same colonized White people, these bondsmen, paupers, and thieves deny the colonized Black man not only the right to abolish this oppressive system, but to even speak of abolishing it. Having carried this madness and cruelty to the four corners of the earth, there is now universal rebellion against their continued rule and power. But as long as the wheels of the imperialistic war machine are turning, there is no country that can defeat this monster of the West. It is our belief that the Black people in America are the only people who can free the world, loosen the yoke of colonialism, and destroy the war machine. Black people who are within the machine can cause it to malfunction. They can, because of their intimacy with the mechanism, destroy the engine that is enslaving the world. America will not be able to fight every Black country in the world and fight a civil war at the same time. It is militarily impossible to do both of these things at once.

The slavery of Blacks in this country provides the oil for the machinery of war that America uses to enslave the peoples of the world. Without this oil the machinery cannot function. We are the driving shaft; we are in such a strategic position in this machinery that, once we become dislocated, the functioning of the remainder of the machinery breaks down.

Penned up in the ghettos of America, surrounded by his factories and all the physical components of his economic system, we have been made into "the wretched of the earth," relegated to the position of spectators while the White racists run their international con game on the suffering peoples. We have been brainwashed to believe that we are powerless and that there is nothing we can do for ourselves to bring about a speedy liberation for our people. We have been taught that we must please our oppressors, that we are only ten percent of the population, and therefore must confine our tactics to categories calculated not to disturb the
sleep of our tormentors.

The power structure inflicts pain and brutality upon the peoples and then provides controlled outlets for the pain in ways least likely to upset them, or interfere with the process of exploitation. The people must repudiate the established channels as tricks and deceitful snares of the exploiting oppressors. The people must oppose everything the oppressor supports, and support everything that he opposes. If Black people go about their struggle for liberation in the way that the oppressor dictates and sponsors, then we will have degenerated to the level of groveling flunkies for the oppressor himself. When the oppressor makes a vicious attack against freedom-fighters because of the way that such freedom-fighters choose to go about their liberation, then we know we are moving in the direction of our liberation. The racist dog oppressors have no rights which oppressed Black people are bound to respect. As long as the racist dogs pollute the earth with the evil of their actions, they do not deserve any respect at all, and the "rules" of their game,
written in the people's blood, are beneath contempt.

The oppressor must be harassed until his doom. He must have no peace by day or by night. The slaves have always outnumbered the slavemasters. The power of the oppressor rests upon the submission of the people. When Black people really unite and rise up in all their splendid millions, they will have the strength to smash injustice. We do not understand the power in our numbers. We are millions and millions of Black people scattered across the continent and throughout the Western Hemisphere. There are more Black people in America than the total population of many countries now enjoying full membership in the United Nations. They have power and their power is based primarily on the fact that they are organized and united with each other. They are recognized by the powers of the world.

We, with all our numbers, are recognized by no one. In fact, we do not even recognize our own selves. We are unaware of the potential power latent in our numbers. In 1967, in the midst of a hostile racist nation whose hidden racism is rising to the surface at a phenomenal speed, we are still so blind to our critical fight for our very survival that we are continuing to function in petty, futile ways. Divided, confused, fighting among ourselves, we are still in the elementary stage of throwing rocks, sticks, empty wine bottles and beer cans at racist police who lie in wait for a chance to murder unarmed Black people. The racist police have worked out a system for suppressing these spontaneous rebellions that flare up from the anger, frustration, and desperation of the masses of Black people. We can no longer afford the dubious luxury of the terrible casualties wantonly inflicted upon us by the police during these rebellions.

Black people must now move, from the grass roots up through the perfumed circles of the Black bourgeoisie, to seize by any means necessary a proportionate share of the power vested and collected in the structure of America. We must organize and unite to combat by long resistance the brutal force used against us daily. The power structure depends upon the use of force within retaliation. This is why they have made it a felony to teach guerrilla warfare. This is why they want the people unarmed.

The racist dog oppressors fear the armed people; they fear most of all Black people armed with weapons and the ideology of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. An unarmed people are slaves or are subject to slavery at any given moment. If a government is not afraid of the people it will arm the people against foreign aggression. Black people are held captive in the midst of their oppressors. There is a world of difference between thirty million unarmed submissive Black people and thirty million Black people armed with freedom, guns, and the strategic methods of liberation.

When a mechanic wants to fix a broken-down car engine, he must have the necessary tools to do the job. When the people move for liberation they must have the basic tool of liberation: the gun. Only with the power of the gun can the Black masses halt the terror and brutality directed against them by the armed racist power structure; and in one sense only by the power of the gun can the whole world be transformed into the earthly paradise dreamed of by the people from time immemorial. One successful practitioner of the art and science of national liberation and self-defense, Brother Mao Tse-tung, put it this way: "We are advocates of the abolition of war, we do not want war; but war can only be abolished through war, and in order to get rid of the gun it is necessary to take up the gun."

The blood, sweat, tears and suffering of Black people are the foundations of the wealth and power of the United States of America. We were forced to build America, and if forced to, we will tear it down. The immediate result of this destruction will be suffering and bloodshed. But the end result will be the perpetual peace for all mankind.

 

Bush to New Orleans:
September 3, 2005

George W. Bush was in New Orleans to deliver a clear and unmistakable message: Drop Dead. And then, according to various reports, he went off to play golf.

Little in our history can match his administration's astounding non-response to this excruciating human catastrophe.

Before Katrina, even Bush's harshest critics might have found non-credible his leaving tens of thousands of American citizens to suffer and die in utterly gratuitous squalor, disease, hunger and thirst.

Taxpaying American citizens are dying in the heart of a great city because their government can't be bothered to get them clean water. Or a bed. Or to a hospital.

The weather has been clear since Katrina passed. Bush commands the world's most advanced armada of land, sea and airborne vehicles. The resources to save our brothers and sisters are readily available.

But we see our elders, black and white, sitting confused and in pain, dying of heat and thirst and utter neglect in clear, sunny weather while the President of the United States babbles aimlessly and the Secretary of State shops for shoes.

We see babies by the dozen dying of dehydration and hunger where there is no war and no storm, only incompetence and contempt.

Global warming caused this storm. And there are no secrets about the corruption and stupidity that weakened New Orleans's earthen defenses and opened the floodgates.

The Bush junta slashed funds for levees, let the wetlands be drained, let the developers rape and pillage. It assaulted those who warned the city would be laid bare to the storms everyone knew would come.

But even from this unelected gang of thugs and thieves, the horrifying abandonment of New Orleans has taken things to a new level.

Amidst a dire crisis, American citizens put their trust in the government. They walked into the Superdome. And they were utterly, cynically abandoned. No food. No water. No emergency electricity. No organized evacuation. No cleaning of the bathrooms. No disinfectants for the hot, damp, stinking stadium. No provisions for fresh clothing. No medical care for the elderly. No formula for the babies. No sanitary facilities for pregnant women. No insulin for diabetics. No injections for the sick. No policing. No leadership. No airlift of doctors, nurses, EMTs, psychologists, medicines….nothing!

Only a big, empty vacuum, the ultimate symbol of an administration with absolutely nothing in its head or heart.

That the federal government has utterly failed in these lethal days is universally obvious.

Is it because so many of these people are black and poor? Is it because Bush has successfully stolen a second term and just doesn't care? Is it because this gouged and battered organization that was once our government has been so thoroughly exhausted by war and corruption that it cannot or will not manage so basic a task as bringing the necessities of life to its needlessly dying citizens?

Fox News and macho fools like Haley Barbour, the corrupt and inept Republican governor of Mississippi, will rant endlessly about a few looters and the shot that may or may not have been fired at rescue helicopters. We will see endless footage of the African-American family arrested for "stealing" a car so they could escape and live.

But to hear of dead bodies being stacked outside a professional football stadium to avoid further stench where ten thousand Americans can't get water, food or sanitary facilities….To see dazed elders who've just lost their homes or hospital rooms being laid on sidewalks to die…To watch crying children stretched out on the ground, separated from their parents, dehydrated, overheated, starving….this is too much to bear.

How utterly can our nation have failed? How totally bankrupt can we be?

As we mourn our most colorful city, the home of our truest American music, and of so much gorgeous history and culture….we are heartsick and disgraced.

These global-warmed hurricanes will be coming again and again.

And with this ghastly Bush crew, soul-killing scenes like these will define our nation.

--
Harvey Wasserman is co-author, with Bob Fitrakis, of How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008 (http://www.freepress.org/) , and author of Harvey Wasserman's History of the U.S. (http://www.harveywasserman.com/) .

 

The Scottsboro Boys:

The case of the Scottsboro Boys arose in Alabama during the 1930s, when nine black teenagers, none older than nineteen, were accused of raping two white women on a train. After a trial which is now regarded as one of the travesties of the American justice system, the defendants were sentenced to death, despite the fact that one of the women later denied being raped. The convictions were overturned on appeal, and all of the defendants were all eventually acquitted, paroled, or pardoned, some after serving years in prison.


The beginnings

The Scottsboro BoysOn March 25, 1931, a skirmish between black and white men broke out on a Southern Railway freight train after a white man stepped on a black man, Haywood Patterson. All but one white man, Orville Gilley, were forced off. When the train stopped in Paint Rock, Alabama, the nine blacks were arrested on charges of assault. Two women dressed in boys clothing, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, were found hiding on the freight train as well. They were all taken to Scottsboro, Alabama, the Jackson County seat. The two women agreed to testify against the boys on a rape charge.

After a lynch mob gathered, the Alabama Governor, Benjamin Meeks Mille, was forced to call the National Guard to protect the jail. On March 30th, the Scottsboro Boys were indicted by a grand jury and in April all were convicted and sentenced to death, except one thirteen year old boy who was sentenced to life in prison. In April, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the International Labor Defense both took up the case, but the NAACP dropped the case in January, 1932. Despite the fact that a letter surfaced in which Ruby Bates denied that she was raped, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the convictions of seven of the Boys in March, 1932. Samuel Leibowitz, a noted Jewish attorney from New York who was widely known for winning the vast majority of his criminal cases, defended the boys.

The U.S. Supreme Court
On November 7, 1932, in Powell v. Alabama, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the defendants were denied the right to counsel, which violated their right to due process under the Fourteenth Amendment. On April 1, 1935, in Norris v. Alabama, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the exclusion of blacks from the grand jury which issued the indictment violated the Boys' Fourteenth Amendment rights.


The end of the case
In July, 1937, Clarence Norris was convicted of rape and sentenced to death, Andy Wright was convicted of rape and sentenced to 99 years, and Charlie Weems was convicted and sentenced to 75 years in prison. Ozzie Powell pleaded guilty to assaulting the sheriff and was sentenced to 20 years. In addition, four of the boys, Roy Wright, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery and Willie Roberson, were released after all charges against them were dropped. Later, Alabama Governor Bibb Graves reduced Clarence Norris' death sentence to life in prison. Norris was later pardoned by the governor. All of the Scottsboro Boys were eventually paroled, freed or pardoned, except for Haywood Patterson, who was tried and convicted of rape and given the death penalty four times. He escaped north to Detroit. When he was later arrested by the FBI in the fifties the governor of Michigan did not allow him to be extradited back to Alabama. He died a free man in the 1960s.

 

The Haitian Revolution:
1794 - 1804



INTRODUCTION

In August 1791, a massive slave uprising erupted in the French colony Saint-Domingue, now known as Haiti. The rebellion was ignited by a Vodou service organized by Boukman, a Vodou houngan (High Priest). Historians stamp this revolt as the most celebrated event that launched the 13-year revolution which culminated in the independence of Haiti in 1804.

In the 18th century, Saint-Domingue became France's wealthiest producing colony. The wealth came from a plantation system based on the labor of black slaves, imported from Africa. Recipients of the wealth were mainly French planters and gens de couleur of African and French descent. The third and fourth positions of the stratified class system were filled by a small amount of middle class whites (artisans, merchants, shop keepers) and a lesser number of lower class whites (mechanics, overseers, sailors and soldiers). Ranking last were about 500,000 black slaves, outnumbering all others by about ten to one.

At the time of the slave uprising, the colony was in a melee with several revolutionary movements brewing simultaneously. The planters were moving toward independence from France, the free people of color wanted full citizenship, and the slaves wanted freedom. All were largely inspired by the French Revolution of 1789 with its call for liberty and equality.

One of the most notable leaders of the Haitian Revolution to emerge was Toussaint L'Ouverture, a former slave. Toussaint organized armies of former slaves which defeated the Spanish and British forces. By 1801 he conquered Santo Domingo, present-day Dominican Republic, eradicated slavery, and proclaimed himself as governor-general for life over the whole island.

In 1801, Napoleon Bonaparte dispatched General Leclerc, along with thousands of troops to arrest Toussaint, reinstate slavery, and restore French rule. Toussaint was deceived into capture and sent to France, where he perished in prison in 1803. Jean-Jacques Dessalines, one of Toussaint's generals and a former slave, led the final battle that defeated Napoleon's forces. On January 1, 1804, Dessalines declared the nation independent, under its indigenous given name of Haiti, thus, making it the first black republic in the world and the first independent nation in Latin America.

The Haitian Revolution was a remarkable phenomenon, which is of great importance for many people concerned with revolutionary class struggles, colonialism, black history, Latin American and the Caribbean, particularly with the country of Haiti. The year 2004 will commemorate the bicentennial celebration of Haiti's Independence. It is hoped that this pathfinder will be a valuable guide for the anticipated growing number of people who will want to learn about the Haitian Revolution. It is also hoped that it will serve to honor this heroic struggle in world history.


Resource Bank Contents

The French Revolution of 1789 not only propelled all of Europe into a war, but also touched off slave uprisings in the Caribbean. On Saint Domingue, the free people of color began the chain of rebellion when French planters would not grant them citizenship as decreed by the National Assembly of France in its "Declaration of the Rights of Man."

A bloody, thirteen-year revolution ensued, a complex web of wars among and between slaves, whites, free people of color, France, Spain and Britain that would eventually create the first independent black nation in the Western world.

In 1794 France built upon the "Declaration of the Rights of Man" and officially abolished slavery in its colonies. Toussaint L'Ouverture, the leader of the Saint Domingue rebellion, abandoned his Spanish allies, joined the forces of the French Republic as a brigadier general, and turned his troops against Spain.

In 1797 Toussaint was made commander-in-chief of the island by the French Convention. Following the defeat of the Spanish and British forces, Toussaint began moving toward independence from France. With Toussaint as its Governor for life, St. Domingue was still technically a French colony, but was acting as an independent state.

In 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte, who had seized power in France in 1799, sought to restore slavery to the West Indies through political guile and military force. Toussaint was captured and exiled, but the fighting continued under the leadership of Jean Jacques Dessalines and Henri Christophe. On January 1, 1804, Dessalines proclaimed himself ruler of the new nation, which was called Haiti, a "higher place."

Haitian Revolution:
Haiti--History
Haiti--History--Revolution, 1791-1804
Haiti--Politics and government--1791-1804

Toussaint L'Ouverture
Famous Characters:
Toussaint Louverture, 1743?-1803
Dessalines, Jean-Jacques, 1758-1806
Henri Christophe, King of Haiti, 1767-1820
Boyer, Jean Pierre
Leclerc, Charles
Sonthonax, Leger Felicite, 1763-1813
Petion, Alexandre

 

Royal African Company:

The Royal African Company was a slaving company set up by the Stuart family and City of London merchants once the former retook the English throne in 1660. It was led by James, Duke of York, Charles II's brother.

Originally known as the Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa, it was granted a monopoly over the English slave trade, by its charter issued in 1660. With the help of the army and navy it established trading posts on the West African coast, and it was responsible for seizing any rival English ships that were transporting slaves.
It collapsed in 1667 during the war with Holland, and re-emerged in 1672.
In the 1680s it was transporting about 5000 slaves per year. Many were branded with the letters 'DY', after its chief, the Duke of York, who succeeded his brother on the throne in 1688, becoming James II.
Between 1672 and 1689 it transported around 90,000-100,000 slaves. Its profits made a major contribution to the increase in the financial power of those who controlled the City of London.

In 1698, it lost its monopoly. This was advantageous for merchants in Bristol, even if the Bristolian Edward Colston had already already involved in the Company. The number of slaves transported on English ships then increased dramatically.
The company continued slaving until 1731, when it abandoned slaving in favour of trafficking in ivory and gold dust. It was dissolved in 1752, its successor being the African Company.

The Royal African Company's logo depicted an elephant and castle.

House of Stuart



The Coat of Arms of Queen Anne, the last British monarch of the House of Stuart
The House of Stuart or Stewart was a Scottish, and then Great Britain's, Royal House of Breton(British) origin. The House started off ruling Scotland but after the death of Elizabeth I of England, the last monarch from the House of Tudor, took over the whole of Britain. It was followed by the House of Hanover. The House began with the hereditary High Stewards of Scotland.



The earliest known member of the House of Stewart was Flaald I (Flaald the Seneschal), an 11th century Breton noble who was a follower of the Lord of Dol and Combourg. Flaald and his immediate descendants held the hereditary and honorary post of Dapifer (food bearer) in the Lord of Dol's household. His grandson Flaald II was a supporter of Henry I of England and made the crucial move from Brittany to Britain, which was where the future fortunes of the Stewarts lay.
Walter the Steward (died 1177), the grandson of Flaald II, was born in Shropshire. Along with his brother William, ancestor of the Fitzalan family (the Earls of Arundel), he supported Empress Matilda during the period known as the Anarchy. Matilda was aided by her uncle, David I of Scotland, and Walter followed David north in 1141, after Matilda had been usurped by King Stephen. Walter was granted land in Renfrewshire and the position of Lord High Steward. Malcolm IV made the position hereditary and it was inherited by Walter's son, who took the surname Stewart.


The Crown of Scotland

The sixth High Steward of Scotland, Walter Stewart (1293-1326), married Majory, daughter of Robert the Bruce, and also played an important part in the Battle of Bannockburn currying further favour. Their son Robert was heir to the House of Bruce; he eventually inherited the Scottish throne when his uncle David II of Scotland died childless in 1371.

In 1503, James IV of Scotland attempted to secure peace with England by marrying Henry VII's daughter, Margaret Tudor. The birth of their son, later James V, brought the House of Stewart into the line of descent of the House of Tudor, and the English throne. Margaret Tudor later married Archibald Douglas, 6th Earl of Angus, and their daughter, Margaret Douglas, was the mother of Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. In 1565, Darnley married his half-cousin Mary, the daughter of James V. Darnley's father was Matthew Stewart, 4th Earl of Lennox, a direct descendant of James II and Mary's heir presumptive, who had changed the spelling of his surname whilst at the English court. Therefore Darnley was also related to Mary on his father's side, and at the time of their marriage was himself second in line to the Scottish throne. Because of this connection, Mary's heirs remained part of the House of Stewart.

 

White Enslavers Raping Black Women:

A while ago I was watching a talk show and the subject was interracial relationships. At one point, the conversation came to people who claimed to be pure white or pure Black. The host claimed that no one was of pure ethnicity because there had been too much race mixing in the past. This brought the conversation to how white slave "masters" raped their Black female slaves. The white female host made the implication that the only reason the white men raped Black women is because their wives refused to give them as much sex as they wanted.

This is insulting because it implies that the white men didn't find the Black women attractive and only wanted them because they couldn't get what they really wanted. The truth is, in that time period, women had no more rights than Black people. If a white man wanted to rape a white woman, it would have been just as easy as raping a Black woman. In fact, the only reason a white man had to rape a Black woman is because that is what he preferred.

Black people get insulted every day in media, whether is be on television, radio, newspapers, or the Internet. There are entire web sites devoted to the degradation of people of African descent, not to mention TV and radio programs. The fact is evident in the examples provided by news stations covering the Mike Tyson and O. J. Simpson trials. Both people were talked about as convicted criminals before their trials ever started. Only messages that supported those beliefs were broadcasted.

The producers of the media do not concern themselves with evidence or lack thereof, because they only have one goal: to fulfill the need of white America to believe that nonwhite people are worse than them. White Americans feel shame for the wickedness their people perpetuated and cannot rest until they justify their own wickedness by convincing themselves that the people they mistreated deserve to be mistreated. This is what they want to believe so this is what their news media delivers to them, and they believe it without question as to the accuracy of the reports. It is past time that white people stopped twisting the truth to make themselves feel good about the things they've done.

Website: African American Culture

http://straightblack.com/culture/

Contact African American Culture

http://www.straightblack.com/culture/African-American-Articles/White-Slave-Drivers-Raping-Black-Women.html

The British colonization of America
When America was allegedly discovered and colonized by England, England did not populate her American colonies with people who were refined and cultured. If you read the history of England, she did the same thing here that she did in Australia. All the convicts were sent here to this country. The prisons were emptied of prostitutes, thieves, murderers, whores and many different kinds of freaks. They were sent over here to populate this country. When those people jump up in your face today, talking about how the Founding Fathers (Matt. 23:9) from England, know that they were outcasts from its dungeons and prisons. When these thieves and liars arrived here, they proved it. They created one of the most criminal societies that have ever existed on the Earth since time began.

Excerpted from Our Bondage

http://www.wpunj.edu/~newpol/issue31/chajua31.htm

.........................................................

SLAVERY WAR CASH CROPS MARX REPERATIONS

Slavery quickly became important to southern agriculture. Southern plantations grew three major crops: (1) tobacco, (2) rice and (3) indigo. Indigo comes from the inner core of a fibrous stalk. Planters soaked the stalks for at least two weeks to extract a rich blue dye from the pith. The British textile industry prized the dye and offered a bonus for every pound produced. Most planters hated the smelly unpleasant work with the rotted stalks so they forced slaves to handle it. In time the indigo trade depended entirely on slave labor.

ANTEBELLUM SLAVERY

The enslavement of African Americans in what became the United States formally began during the 1630s and l64Os. At that time colonial courts and legislatures made clear that Africans--unlike white indentured servants--served their masters for life and that their slave status would be inherited by their children. Slavery in the United States ended in the mid-1860s. Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863 was a masterful propaganda tactic, but in truth, it proclaimed free only those slaves outside the control of the Federal government--that is, only those in areas still controlled by the Confederacy. The legal end to slavery in the nation came in December 1865 when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, it declared: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Development of American Slavery
The history of African American slavery in the United States can be divided into two periods: the first coincided with the colonial years, about 1650 to 1790; the second lasted from American independence through the Civil War, 1790 to 1865. Prior to independence, slavery existed in all the American colonies and therefore was not an issue of sectional debate. With the arrival of independence, however, the new Northern states--those of New England along with New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey--came to see slavery as contradictory to the ideals of the Revolution and instituted programs of gradual emancipation. By 1820 there were only about 3,000 slaves in the North, almost all of them working on large farms in New Jersey. Slavery could be abolished more easily in the North because there were far fewer slaves in those states, and they were not a vital part of Northern economies. There were plenty of free white men to do the sort of labor slaves performed. In fact, the main demand for abolition of slavery came not from those who found it morally wrong but from white working-class men who did not want slaves as rivals for their jobs.
Circumstances in the newly formed Southern states were quite different. The African American population, both slave and free, was much larger. In Virginia and South Carolina in 1790 nearly half of the population was of African descent. (Historians have traditionally assumed that South Carolina had a black majority population throughout its pre--Civil War history. But census figures for 1790 to 1810 show that the state possessed a majority of whites.) Other Southern states also had large black minorities.
Because of their ingrained racial prejudice and ignorance about the sophisticated cultures in Africa from which many of their slaves came, Southern whites were convinced that free blacks would be savages--a threat to white survival. So Southerners believed that slavery was necessary as a means of race control.
Of equal importance in the Southern states was the economic role that slaves played. These states were much more dependent on the agricultural sector of their economies than were Northern ones. Much of the wealth of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia came from the cash crops that slaves grew. Indeed, many white Southerners did not believe white men could (or should) do the backbreaking labor required to produce tobacco, cotton, rice, and indigo, which were the regions chief cash crops.
As a consequence of these factors, the Southern states were determined to retain slavery after the Revolution. Thus began the fatal division between "free states" and "slave states" that led to sectionalism and, ultimately, to civil war.
Some historians have proposed that the evolution of slavery in most New World societies can be divided (roughly, and with some risk of over generalization) into three stages: developmental, high-profit, and decadent. In the developmental stage, slaves cleared virgin forests for planting and built the dikes, dams, roads, and buildings necessary for plantations. In the second, high-profit stage, slave owners earned enormous income from the cash crop they grew for export. In these first two phases, slavery was always very brutal.
During the developmental phase, slaves worked in unknown, often dangerous territory, beset by disease and sometimes hostile inhabitants. Clearing land and performing heavy construction jobs without modern machinery was extremely hard labor, especially in the hot, humid climate of the South.
During the high-profit phase, slaves were driven mercilessly to plant, cultivate, and harvest the crops for market. A failed crop meant the planter could lose his initial investment in land and slaves and possibly suffer bankruptcy. A successful crop could earn such high returns that the slaves were often worked beyond human endurance. Plantation masters argued callously that it was "cheaper to buy than to breed"--it was cheaper to work the slaves to death and then buy new ones than it was to allow them to live long enough and under sufficiently healthy conditions that they could bear children to increase their numbers. During this phase, on some of the sugar plantations in Louisiana and the Caribbean, the life span of a slave from initial purchase to death was only seven years.
The final, decadent phase of slavery was reached when the land upon which the cash crops were grown had become exhausted--the nutrients in the soil needed to produce large harvests were depleted. When that happened, the slave regime typically became more relaxed and less labor-intensive. Plantation owners turned to growing grain crops like wheat, barley, corn, and vegetables. Masters needed fewer slaves, and those slaves were not forced to work as hard because the cultivation of these crops required less labor.
This model is useful in analyzing the evolution of Southern slavery between independence and the Civil War. The process, however, varied considerably from state to state. Those of the upper South--Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia--essentially passed through the developmental and high-profit stages before American independence. By 1790, Maryland and Virginia planters could no longer produce the bumper harvests of tobacco that had made them rich in the earlier eighteenth century, because their soil was depleted. So they turned to less labor-intensive and less profitable crops such as grains, fruits, and vegetables. This in turn meant they had a surplus of slaves.
One result was that Virginia planters began to free many of their slaves in the decade after the Revolution. Some did so because they believed in the principles of human liberty. (After all, Virginian slave owners wrote some of the chief documents defining American freedom like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and much of the Bill of Rights.) Others, however, did so for a much more cynical reason. Their surplus slaves had become a burden to house and feed. In response, they emancipated those who were too old or feeble to be of much use on the plantation. Ironically, one of the first laws in Virginia restricting the rights of masters to free their slaves was passed for the protection of the slaves. It denied slave owners the right to free valueless slaves, thus throwing them on public charity for survival. Many upper South slave owners around 1800 believed that slavery would gradually die Out because there was no longer enough work for the slaves to do, and without masters to care for them, the ex-slaves would die out as well.
Two initially unrelated events solved the upper South's problem of a surplus slave population, caused slavery to become entrenched in the Southern States, and created what we know as the antebellum South. They were the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney of Connecticut in 1793 and the closing of the international slave trade in 1808.
The cotton gin is a relatively simple machine. Its horizontally crossing combs extract tightly entwined seeds from the bolls of short-staple cotton. Prior to the invention of the gin, only long-staple cotton, which has long soft strands, could be grown for profit. Its soft fibers allowed easy removal of its seeds. But this strain of cotton grew in America only along the coast and Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. In contrast, short-staple cotton could grow in almost any non-mountainous region of the South below Virginia. Before the invention of the cotton gin, it took a slave many hours to dc-seed a single pound of "lint," or short-staple cotton. With the gin, as many as one hundred pounds of cotton could be dc-seeded per hour.
The invention of the cotton gin permitted short-staple cotton to be grown profitably throughout the lower South. Vast new plantations were created from the virgin lands of the territories that became the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. (Louisiana experienced similar growth in both cotton and sugar agriculture.) In 1810, the South produced 85,000 pounds of cotton; by 1860, it was producing well over 2 billion pounds a year.
There was an equally enormous demand for the cotton these plantations produced. It was so profitable that by 1860 ten of the richest men in America lived not just in the South but in the Natchez district of Mississippi alone. In 1810, the cotton crop had been worth $12,495,000; by 1860, it was valued at $248,757,000.
Along with this expansion in cotton growing came a restriction on the supply of slaves needed to grow it. The transatlantic slave trade was one of the most savage and inhumane practices in which people of European descent have ever engaged. The writers of the Constitution had recognized its evil, but to accommodate the demands of slave owners in the lower South, they had agreed to permit the transatlantic slave trade to continue for twenty years after the Constitution was ratified. Thus, it was not until 1808 that Congress passed legislation ending the transatlantic trade.
These two circumstances--the discovery of a means of making the cultivation of short-staple cotton profitable throughout the lower South and territories and the restriction on the supply of slaves needed to produce it--created the unique antebellum slave system of the South. It made at least some Southerners very rich and it also made slaves much more valuable. One consequence was that some American slaves were perhaps better treated than those elsewhere in the New World, not because American slave owners were kinder, but because American slaves were in short supply and expensive to replace. The price of slaves increased steadily from 1802 to 1860. In 1810, the price of a "prime field hand" was $900; by 1860, that price had doubled to $1,800.

The Slave System in the Nineteenth Century
Slavery in the antebellum South was not a monolithic system; its nature varied widely across the region. At one extreme one white family in thirty owned slaves in Delaware; in contrast, half of all white families in South Carolina did so. Overall, 26 percent of Southern white families owned slaves.
In 1860, families owning more than fifty slaves numbered less than 10,000; those owning more than a hundred numbered less than 3,000 in the whole South. The typical Southern slave owner possessed one or two slaves, and the typical white Southern male owned none. He was an artisan, mechanic, or more frequently, a small farmer. This reality is vital in understanding why white Southerners went to war to defend slavery in 1861. Most of them did not have a direct financial investment in the system. Their willingness to fight in its defense was more complicated and subtle than simple fear of monetary loss. They deeply believed in the Southern way of life, of which slavery was an inextricable part. They also were convinced that Northern threats to undermine slavery would unleash the pent-up hostilities of 4 million African American slaves who had been subjugated for centuries.
REGULATING SLAVERY. One half of all Southerners in 1860 were either slaves themselves or members of slaveholding families. These elite families shaped the mores and political stance of the South, which reflected their common concerns. Foremost among these were controlling slaves and assuring an adequate supply of slave labor. The legislatures of the Southern states passed laws designed to protect the masters right to their human chattel. Central to these laws were "slave codes," which in their way were grudging admissions that slaves were, in fact, human beings, not simply property like so many cattle or pigs. They attempted to regulate the system so as to minimize the possibility of slave resistance or rebellion. In all states the codes made it illegal for slaves to read and write, to attend church services without the presence of a white person, or to testify in court against a white person. Slaves were forbidden to leave their home plantation without a written pass from their masters. Additional laws tried to secure slavery by restricting the possibility of manumission (the freeing of ones slaves). Between 1810 and 1860, all Southern states passed laws severely restricting the right of slave owners to free their slaves, even in a will. Free blacks were dangerous, for they might inspire slaves to rebel. As a consequence, most Southern states required that any slaves who were freed by their masters leave the state within thirty days.
To enforce the slave codes, authorities established "slave patrols." These were usually locally organized bands of young white men, both slave owners and yeomen farmers, who rode about at night checking that slaves were securely in their quarters. Although some planters felt that the slave patrolmen abused slaves who had been given permission to travel, the slave patrols nevertheless reinforced the sense of white solidarity between slave owners and those who owned none. They shared a desire to keep the nonwhite population in check. (These antebellum slave patrols are seen by many historians as antecedents of the Reconstruction era Ku Klux Klan, which similarly tried to discipline the freed blacks. The Klan helped reinforce white solidarity in a time when the class lines between ex--slave owners and white yeomen were collapsing because of slavery's end.)

Not long after Thomas Jefferson wrote the "Declaration of Independence," a free black wrote Jefferson asking if the "all men are created equal" phrase applied to blacks. Jefferson replied that slavery embarrassed him but he did nothing about it then or during his presidency. The Quakers spoke out against slavery during the colonial period but they were the only religious movement to do so. Anglicans worked among the slaves and attempted to Christianize them.

"The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signaled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. On their heels treads the commercial war of the European nations, with the globe for a theatre.... If money according to Augier, 'comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek', capital comes dripping from head to foot from every pore with blood and dirt."
-Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 1

The brutality and viciousness of capitalism is well known to the oppressed and exploited of this world. Billions of people throughout the world spend their lives incessantly toiling to enrich the already wealthy, while throughout history any serious attempts to build alternatives to capitalism have been met with bombings, invasions, and blockades by imperialist nation states. Although the modern day ideologues of the mass media and of institutions such as the World Bank and IMF never cease to inveigh against scattered acts of violence perpetrated against their system, they always neglect to mention that the capitalist system they lord over was called into existence and has only been able to maintain itself by the sustained application of systematic violence. It should come as no surprise that this capitalist system, which we can only hope is now reaching the era of its final demise, was just as rapacious and vicious in its youth as it is now. The "rosy dawn" of capitalist production was inaugurated by the process of slavery and genocide in the western hemisphere, and this "primitive accumulation of capital" resulted in the largest systematic murder of human beings ever seen. However, the rulers of society have found that naked force is often most economically used in conjunction with ideologies of domination and control which provide a legitimizing explanation for the oppressive nature of society. Racism is such a construct and it came into being as a social relation which condoned and secured the initial genocidal processes of capitalist accumulation--the founding stones of contemporary bourgeois society.

The fact that an African slave could be purchased for life with the same amount of money that it would cost to buy an indentured servant for 10 years, and that the African's skin color would function as an instrument of social control by making it easier to track down runaway slaves in a land where all whites were free wage labourers and all Black people slaves, provided further incentives for this system of racial classification. In the colonies where there was an insufficient free white population to provide a counterbalance to potential slave insurgencies, such as on the Caribbean islands, an elaborate hierarchy of racial privilege was built up, with the lighter skinned "mulattos" admitted to the ranks of free men where they often owned slaves themselves.

Why Reparations
Reparations are provided as an acknowledgment of responsibility for wrongdoing, and a partial effort to repair the damage resulting from the wrongdoing. The wrongdoing is slavery, and the oppression associated with it. The theory concerning reparations is the effects of slavery are still with us today, and a significant factor in the problems African Americans face in many aspects of their lives.

In order to consider the necessity or morality of reparations for descendants of slaves, people must first be able to realize slavery can affect people long after the slavery has ended, and slavery can also benefit descendants of slave drivers long after the slavery has ended. People must also be able to realize slavery and oppression can exist in forms not as clearly visible as whips, chains, and cotton fields.

This text will explore the adversity our race suffers due to slavery and associated practices, as well as the lasting effects of the adversity, and how they relate to reparations.

Depleting Africa's Greatest Resource
Africa's greatest resource is its people. During slavery, incredible numbers of African men and women were taken from the people they served, protected, and helped to survive. Slaves were not always captured randomly. People were chosen who would be the most effective slaves. The most physically capable people were chosen. This process of removing hard workers from Africa served the purpose of providing slave drivers with a very able work force, but also deprived the worker's families and societies of that work force.

While this wouldn't necessarily destroy the Black communities, it led to less production than their would have been, which led to less stability, comfort, and advancement, as well as other things. The additional work force acquired by the slave drivers led to increased comfort, stability, and advancement for them, and the profits from selling slaves led to increased comfort for the slave sellers. This led to increased difficulty for the Black race as a whole, which includes Africans in America.

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Authority.

 

Octoroon:

An octoroon or mustee is the offspring of a quadroon and a European parent, having ancestry that is one-eighth Negroid. This term is considered obsolete and is no longer in general use.

This was part of a race classification used in the Spanish and French colonies in the New World, and to some extent also used in the Southern United States in the 19th century. Octoroons were considered "colored" and often subject to slavery in the colonial era, but sometimes given more privileges than slaves with a greater degree of African ancestry. The child of an octoroon and a white person was referred to as a quintroon. Homer Plessy was a famous octoroon.

 

 

Mulatto:



Representation of Mulattos during the Latin American colonial period
Mulatto (also Mulato) is a term of Spanish and/or Portuguese origin describing the offspring of African and European ancestry. The forms "mulatto/mulato" are widely used in Spanish and Portuguese. Many Americans of Hispanic and/or Latino origin identify themselves as mulatto; the term is also used in many other countries.
In colonial years the term originally referred to the children of one European and one African parent, or the children of two mulatto parents. During this era a myriad of other terms, both in Latin America and the USA, were in use to denote other individuals of African/European ancestry in ratios smaller or greater than the 50:50 of mulattos: octoroon for example. Today, mulatto refers to all people with significant amounts of both European and African ancestry.

The origin of the term is often said to derive from "mula", the Spanish word for mule, once a generic designation name for any hybrid. This is not certain but, as a result, it is considered offensive by some English-speakers, who might prefer terms like "biracial" instead. Others however insist on the use of the term mulatto because it is more precise. It must also be noted that words change their actual meaning independently from their etymological origin. Many words that are now widely used once had a negative origin. (examples are: hysterical (sexist origin), berber, slavic, hapa etc.) Spanish-speakers do not consider "mulatto" offensive. An alternate etymology traces mulatto to the Arabic muwallad, which means "a person of mixed race ancestry".
Mulatto was also used as a term for those of white and Native American ancestry during the early census years.

Hispanic America and Brazil

In Latin America, mulattos officially make up the majority of the population in the Dominican Republic1 (73%) and Cuba (51%).
In other American countries where mulattos do not constitute a majority, they can represent a significant portion of their populations; Brazil (aprox. 38%), Colombia (14%), and Panama (14%). However, these are exceptions rather than the rule.
Although mulattos, and even full-blooded Africans, did once represent a portion of the population in countries such as Mexico and Honduras, they were absorbed there by the mestizo populations of mixed European and Native American descent.

United States and Puerto Rico

In the USA, one criticism made in the use of "mulatto" is that it is said to ignore the high rate of racial intermixing in North America, in which few people have African ancestry without some small traces of European ancestry.
While the criticism is a valid one, it fails to take into account that in the USA the historic Anglo-American tradition of the One-Drop Rule (the custom of deeming all people with any amount of African blood to be black) prevented mulattos from becoming an independent ethnic entity, with members seeing themselves as such. The existing mulatto communities in Charlston, Richmond, New Orleans and elsewhere were torn apart by the one-drop-rule. As a result of this, most US mulattos mixed with the African population, and while they did endow many modern African-Americans with the European ancestry mulattos possessed, that ancestry is now quite diluted. This in turn conflicts with the fact that the term mulatto usually refers to people with significant amounts of both European and African ancestry.
Mulattos might also constitute a significant portion of the population of Puerto Rico2, a commonwealth territory in association with the USA. However, recent genetic research indicates that, in relation to matrilineal ancestry as revealed by mtDNA, 61% have inherited mitochondrial DNA from an Amerind female ancestor, 27% have inherited mitochondrial DNA from a female African ancestor and 12% showed to have inherited mitochondrial DNA from a female European ancestor. Conversely, patrilineal input as indicated by the Y chromosome, showed that 70% of all Puerto Rican males have inherited Y chromasome DNA from a male European ancestor, 20% have inherited Y chromasome DNA from a male African ancestor and less than 10% have inherited Y chromasome DNA from male Amerindian ancestor. Because these test measure only the DNA along the matrilineal line and patrilinel lines of inheritance, each test only measures the one individual out of thousands, perhaps millions of ancestors; they cannot tell us exactly what percentage of Puerto Ricans have African Ancestry.
Nevertheless, independent of their actual numbers, the history of the population of Puerto Rican mulattos is independent from those of the US mainland. Prior to the Spanish-American War - when Puerto Rico became a commonwealth of the United States - Puerto Rico was an integral part of the Spanish Empire, and it still constitutes a cultural-geographic segment of Latin America, thus their history is a shared one with those from Hispanic America and Brazil.

Haiti

In Haiti (formerly Saint-Domingue), a non-Hispanic country of the Caribbean, mulattos represented a smaller proportion of the population than in many hispanic countries. Today they constitute about 5% of the population.
Historically, Haitian mulattos have been looked down upon by both blacks and whites alike, and used by both when best suited. Blacks regarded them as no better or worse than their unmixed French progenitors. Mulattos made up a class of their own. They were free and usually had a preference for French rather than African culture. Often they were highly educated and wealthy. This is much in contrast to US mulattos which were often grouped together with blacks, and saw themselves as such - although in French-influenced areas of the Southern United States prior to the Civil War, particularly New Orleans, Louisiana, a number of mulattoes were also free and slave-owning3.
Being part of their time, many Haitian mulattos were also slaveholders and as such actively participated in the oppression of the black majority. However, many also actively fought for the abolition of slavery. Distinguished mulattos such as Nicolas Suard and others were prime examples of mulattoes who devoted their time, energy and financial means to this cause. Some were also members of the Les Amis des Noirs in Paris, a social club that fought for the abolition of slavery.
Nevertheless, many mulattos were slaughtered by black Haitians during the wars of independence in order to secure black political power over the island. Earlier some black volunteers had already aligned themselves with the French against the mulattos during the first and second mulatto rebellion.
In Haiti, mulattos initially possessed legal equality, which provided them with many benefits, including inheritance. In the 18th century, however, Europeans fearful of slave revolts had restricted their rights, but they were successfully reclaimed in 1791.

Contemporary Mulattos

In modern Europe, there is now an emerging community of contemporary mulattos who have nothing to do with slavery. These are the offspring of Europeans and recent African immigrants across several European countries.

Footnotes

In the Dominican Republic, locally known as "Quisqueya" (Taíno. "The Great Island"), the mulatto population has absorbed the small number of Taíno Amerindian strains once present in that country.
In Puerto Rico, locally known as "Borinquen" (Taíno. "The Land of the Mighty Lord"), a historic identifiably mestizo population absorbed most of the remaining unmixed Taíno Amerindians, these mestizos were then themselves absorbed into the general Puerto Rican population, which is heterogeneous and based on a tri-racial amalgam that may exhibit all types of phenotypes , from an "unmixed" appearance to any of the many intermediates.
According to the 1860 census, there were 10,689 free "Blacks" (most often mulattos) in the city of New Orleans. John Hope Franklin, a professor at Duke University, estimates over 3,000 of these "Blacks" owned slaves.

 

 

Coolie:



Newly arrived Indian coolies in Trinidad.
The term "coolie" refers to unskilled laborers from Asia in the 1800s to early 1900s who were sent to the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, North Africa and the West Indies. The term usually referred to Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Korean laborers and was often used in a derogatory way.

Origin and general usage

The word may derive from the Chinese word ?? k? lě which literally means "bitterly hard (use of) strength". However, Webster's New World Dictionary of the English Language traces it back to the Hindi q?l?, which means "hired laborer." Other forms occur in the Bengali, kuli and the Tamil, kuli, "daily hire." The following statement explains why coolie labor was imported for colonial enterprises: "In tropical countries where white labor is impossible, there arose with the abolition of slavery a need for cheap labor capable of doing the heavy tasks of plantations, factories, and shipping."
In India, "coolie" refers to porters who work at railway stations. In Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and other parts of the Caribbean, the word is considered an offensive term on par with "nigger."

Regional usage


British Empire

In the British Empire, a "coolie" was an indentured labourer with conditions resembling slavery. The system had been inaugurated in 1842 and involved the use of licensed agents. Slavery itself had been banished from the British Empire in 1834. Immediately, the need to replace the slaves generated the use of laborers who were only slightly better off than the slaves had been. In India and Africa, Mahatma Gandhi led a campaign against such indentured servitude. Many "coolies" who entered Africa stayed there permanently, effectively becoming immigrants.
The permanent settlement of formerly indentured Indians created problems in Africa, in particular. The Natal province of the Union of South Africa and Kenya amassed clusters of such immigrants. In the Transvaal, after the conclusion of the Boer War, the deficiency of native labor in the Rand mines led to the enactment of an ordinance in February, 1904, providing for the importation of Chinese laborers. The Boer element in the Transvaal was bitterly opposed to the ordinance as tending to introduce a new factor into the already serious racial problem of South Africa. The issue was largely responsible for the Liberal triumph in the United Kingdom general election, 1906, by which time over 50,000 Asiatic laborers had been imported. The decision to put an end to the system affected firstly Natal and Mauritius in 1910 and other places afterwards in 1917.

The Americas

Chinese coolies contributed to the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in the United States, but many of the Chinese laborers were not welcome to stay after its completion. California's Anti-Coolie Act of 1862 and Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 also contributed to the oppression of Chinese laborers in the United States. Coolies also labored in the sugarcane fields of Cuba well after the 1884 abolition of slavery in that country. Before the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Havana had Latin America's largest Chinatown. In South America, Coolies labored in Peru's coastal economy (guano, sugar, cotton) from the mid-1850s to the mid-1870s; about 100,000 came as indentured workers.

Slave codes:

Slave codes were laws passed in colonial North America to regulate slavery, and were abolished after the U.S. Civil War. Slave codes were long criticised by abolitionists for their brutality. There have been a number of legal definitions in the U.S regarding slaves:

Virginia, 1639 - "Act X. All persons except Negroes are to be provided with arms and ammunitions or be fined at the pleasure of the governor and council."

Maryland, 1664 - "That whatsoever free-born [English] woman shall intermarry with any slave [...] shall serve the master of such slave during the life of her husband; and that all the issue of such free-born women, so married shall be slaves as their fathers were."

Virginia, 1705 - "All servants imported and brought into the Country [...] who were not Christians in their native Country [...] shall be accounted and be slaves. All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves within this dominion [...] shall be held to be real estate. If any slave resist his master [...] correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction [...] the master shall be free of all punishment [...] as if such accident never happened."

Virginia, 1667 - "Act III. Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children that are slaves by birth [...] should by virtue of their baptism be made free, it is enacted that baptism does not alter the condition to the person as to his bondage or freedom; masters freed from this doubt may more carefully propagate Christianity by permitting slaves to be admitted to that sacrament."

Virginia, 1682 - "Act I. It is enacted that all servants [...] which [sic] shall be imported into this country either by sea or by land, whether Negroes, Moors [Muslim North Africans], mulattoes or Indians who and whose parentage and native countries are not Christian at the time of their first purchase by some Christian [...] and all Indians, which shall be sold by our neighboring Indians, or any other trafficking with us for slaves, are hereby adjudged, deemed and taken to be slaves to all intents and purposes any law, usage, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding."

 

The Transatlantic Slave Trade - The Development of the Trade:

In the mid-fifteenth century, Portuguese ships sailed down the West African coast in a maneuver designed to bypass the Muslim North Africans, who had a virtual monopoly on the trade of sub-Saharan gold, spices, and other commodities that Europe wanted. These voyages resulted in maritime discoveries and advances in shipbuilding that later would make it easier for European vessels to navigate the Atlantic. Over time, the Portuguese vessels added another commodity to their cargo: African men, women, and children.

For the first one hundred years, captives in small numbers were transported to Europe. By the close of the fifteenth century, 10 percent of the population of Lisbon, Portugal, then one of the largest cities in Europe, was of African origin. Other captives were taken to islands off the African shore, including Madeira, Cape Verde, and especially Săo Tomé, where the Portuguese established sugar plantations using enslaved labor on a scale that foreshadowed the development of plantation slavery in the Americas. Enslaved Africans could also be found in North Africa, the Middle East, Persia, India, the Indian Ocean islands, and in Europe as far as Russia.

English and Dutch ships soon joined Portugal's vessels trading along the African coast. They preyed on the Portuguese ships, while raiding and pillaging the African mainland as well. During this initial period, European interest was particularly concentrated on Senegambia. Culturally and linguistically unified through Islam and in some areas, Manding culture and language, the region and Mali to its east had a long and glorious history, centered on the ancient Kingdom of Ghana and the medieval empires of Mali and Songhay. Its interior regions of Bure and Bambuk were rich in gold. It reached the Mediterranean and hence Europe from Songhay. The slave trade was closely linked to the Europeans' insatiable hunger for gold, and the arrival of the Portuguese on the " Gold Coast" (Ghana) in the 1470s tapped these inland sources.

Later, they developed commercial and political relations with the kingdoms of Benin (in present-day Nigeria) and Kongo. The Kongo state became Christianized and, in the process, was undermined by the spread of the slave trade. Benin, however, restricted Portuguese influence and somewhat limited the trade in human beings.

Starting in 1492, Africans were part of every expedition into the regions that became the American Spanish colonies. By the beginning of the sixteenth century, they were brought as slaves to grow sugar and mine gold on Hispaniola, and were forced to drain the shallow lakes of the Mexican plateau, thereby finalizing the subjugation of the Aztec nation. In a bitter twist, the Africans were often forced to perform tasks that would help advance the genocide that would resolve the vexing "Indian question."

Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade to America: Volume I: 1441-1700 by Elizabeth Donnan


By the middle of the seventeenth century, the slave trade entered its second and most intense phase. The creation of ever-larger sugar plantations and the introduction of other crops such as indigo, rice, tobacco, coffee, cocoa, and cotton would lead to the displacement of an estimated seven million Africans between 1650 and 1807. The demand for labor resulted in numerous innovations, encouraged opportunists and entrepreneurs, and accrued deceptions and barbarities, upon which the slave trade rested. Some slave traders - often well-respected men in their communities - made fortunes for themselves and their descendants. The corresponding impact on Africa was intensified as larger parts of west and central Africa came into the slavers' orbit.

Slave Exports from Africa - The Atlantic Migration from Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa by Paul E. Lovejoy
Nationality of Ships Engaged in the Atlantic Slave from Transformations in Slavery: A History of Slavery in Africa by Paul E. Lovejoy


The third and final period of the transatlantic slave trade began with the ban on the importation of captives imposed by Britain and the United States in 1807 and lasted until the 1860s. Brazil, Cuba, and Puerto Rico were the principal destinations for Africans, since they could no longer legally be brought into North America, the British or French colonies in the Caribbean, or the independent countries of Spanish America. Despite this restricted market, the numbers of deported Africans did not decline until the late 1840s. Many were smuggled into the United States. At the same time, tens of thousands of Africans rescued from the slave ships were forcibly settled in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and several islands of the Caribbean.

 

Charles Taylor:

Charles Taylor announces his resignation on Liberian TV, 2003
Charles Ghankay Taylor (born January 28, 1948) was the President of Liberia from 1997 to 2003. A prominent warlord in the Liberian Civil War of the early 1990s, he was subsequently elected president, but his time in office was marked by rebellion and regional conflict and he was forced into exile after another civil war.

Taylor was born in Arthington, a city near Monrovia. His father was Americo-Liberian; his mother was a member of the Gola tribe. Taylor was a university student in the United States from 1972 to 1977. He was briefly arrested in 1979 after threatening to take over the Liberian diplomatic mission in New York. He returned to Liberia in 1980.

Taylor was appointed by President Samuel Doe to run the General Services Agency but was arrested in Massachusetts, in the United States, when Doe accused him of embezzeling almost US$ 1 million. He remained in prison from May 1984 to September 1985 while awaiting extradition. He escaped prison and is thought to have gone to Libya.

In December 1989 Taylor launched an armed uprising from Côte d'Ivoire. Doe was soon overthrown, and tortured to death the following year by Prince Johnson, at that time an ally of Taylor's. Doe's fall led to the political fragmentation of the country into violent factionalism. In mid-1990, Prince Johnson's supporters split from Taylor's group and captured Monrovia for themselves, depriving Taylor of outright victory.

The civil war turned into an ethnic conflict, with seven factions fighting for control of Liberia's resources (especially iron ore, timber and rubber). Up to 200,000 people were killed and more than 1 million were forced from their homes.

After the official end of the civil war in 1996, Taylor became Liberia's president on August 2, 1997, following a landslide victory in July, in which he took 75% of the vote. The election was judged free and fair by observers, although Taylor's victory has been partially attributed to the belief that he would resume the war if he lost, and therefore many people may have voted for him simply to preserve peace. For example, his campaign song included the words "he killed my ma, he killed my pa, I'll vote for him."

Taylor supported the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a rebel group in Sierra Leone, during the 1990s, and has been accused of having perpetuated that war through his support for the RUF. During much of his term in office, Taylor was harshly criticised by Western governments and media, and according to one long-standing accusation, Taylor was involved in the trading of "blood diamonds."

In 1999, a rebellion against Taylor began in northern Liberia, led by a group calling itself Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). This group has been frequently accused of grave atrocities, and there is strong evidence that the group is allied with or controlled by the government of neighboring Guinea, which is in turn a regional ally of the United States.

In early 2003, as LURD was consolidating its control of northern Liberia, a second rebel group, called the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) and allegedly backed by the Ivorian government, emerged in southern Liberia and achieved rapid successes. By the summer, Taylor's government controlled less than a third of Liberia.

In June 2003, a United Nations justice tribunal issued a warrant for Taylor's arrest, charging him with war crimes. The UN asserts that Taylor created and backed the RUF rebels in Sierra Leone, which is accused of a range of atrocities, including the use of child soldiers.

The indictment was issued at Taylor's official visit to Ghana. With the backing of South African president Thabo Mbeki, against the urging of Sierra Leone president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, Ghanaian police failed to arrest Taylor, who returned to Monrovia.

During his absence for the peace talks in Ghana, it is alleged that the US urged the vice president, Moses Blah, to seize power. Upon his return, Taylor briefly dismissed Blah from his post, only to reinstate him a few days later. Meanwhile, the rebel group LURD initiated a siege of Monrovia, and several bloody battles were fought as Taylor's forces defeated rebel attempts to capture the city. The pressure on Taylor increased further as U.S. President George W. Bush stated that Taylor "must leave Liberia" twice in July 2003.

Taylor insisted that he would resign only if American peacekeeping troops were deployed to Liberia. The neighbouring nation of Nigeria also deployed dozens of troops to the country, and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo offered President Taylor safe exile in his country. On August 6, less than a dozen U.S. Marines were deployed as a liaison with the peacekeepers.

On August 10, Charles Taylor appeared on national television in Liberia to announce that he would resign the following day and hand power to the nation's vice president, Moses Blah. He harshly criticized the United States in his farewell address, saying that the Bush administration's insistence that he leave the country was a foolish policy that would hurt Liberia.

On August 11, Taylor resigned, leaving Moses Blah as his successor until a transitional government was established on October 14. At the handover were Ghanaian President John Kufuor, South African President Thabo Mbeki, and Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, representing African regional councils. The U.S. brought three warships with 2,300 Marines into view of the coast. Taylor flew to Nigeria where the Nigerian government provided houses for him and his entourage in Calabar.

In November 2003, the United States Congress passed a bill that included a reward offer of two million dollars for Taylor's capture. While the peace agreement had guaranteed Taylor safe exile in Nigeria, it also required that he not attempt to influence Liberian politics, a requirement his critics claim he has disregarded. On December 4, Interpol issued a "red notice", suggesting that countries have the international right to arrest him. Taylor is now on Interpol's Most Wanted list, noted as possibly being dangerous, and is wanted for "crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Convention." However, Nigeria, which is currently holding Taylor, has stated that it will not submit to Interpol's demands, unless Liberia wants to try him; if so, Nigeria will return Taylor to Liberia for a fair trial.

On March 6, 2004, the United States presented a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council seeking a freeze of Taylor's assets, as well as those of his family and allies.


References

The Liberian Civil War by Mark Huband, 1998

 

The Child Will Raise The Man : June 2005
Nhamo Rupare, 11-Jun-2005 18:29

Life is full of surprises and in some instances it’s way too predictable. A lot of people have been asking me how I reacted to the elections in Zimbabwe and my response in most cases is always the same – "an era is yet to end and at this time in Zimbabwe’s lifespan, its all about adjustment, realization, understanding and most importantly a time to be closely observed as it will shape Zimbabwe for generations to come. Now I’m not saying I’m for Mugabe or not but I understand.

I took a couple of hiatuses from writing and getting involved in the lifeline that is Africa and during this period I had many a moments where I became absorbed by contemplative thoughts. To be more specific, I have been juxtaposing my life experiences with those of my brothers in Zimbabwe, Somalia, Rwanda, Congo, Ivory Coast, Liberia, and other crevices of Africa that have become a source of debates and chit chat. A saying I came across in an NGO annual report stated, " The child will raise a man". The clarity in these words is astounding and yet intelligently coverted in multi-layered idioms. They conjure up words of Marcus Garvey who said Afrikan men the world over must practice one faith, that of confidence in themselves, with: one cause, one goal, one destiny. As I write this, my mind is unfurling the catacomb of darkness that lies ahead of every word I think of. I cannot grasp the elusive calamity of the words written in that annual report but as an Afrikan man living in today’s society where culture has stopped being a two way street I remembered the words of Dr. Na’im Akhar who in one of his articles talks about Afrikan people healing themselves.

The child will raise the man. My extrapolation and understanding of these words is based purely on our culture, which is the nucleus of our sane existence. What we teach our children or young Afrikans today will become the foundation for their journey into the western influenced society of ours and it turn will play an integral part in how they nurture their own off springs. This also applies to community leaders, role models, mentors, and anyone who assumes a leadership role. One of the reasons why being an Afrikan is such a wonderful thing is out structured value system. We have a deep-rooted cultural foundation and if used correctly can raise us to be the Kings and Queens that we are. A person without lineage is a person without citizenship, without identity and without allies.

Why are we then failing to realize the true importance of cultural identity. We have suffered centuries of humiliation, dehumanization and demonisation and yet at a time when we can assert ourselves in our own space we fail to impart this to people that are will carry out legacy into the next millennia. Our future is of galactic importance especially when we celebrate Afrika day. It has become a tough choice to bring a child into a world that is a juxtaposition of our culture and foreign cultures. A clearly marked isthmus is needed to direct our future generation in direction that is not littered with routines of supeficiality, materlistic attitudes and a demotion of our being as Afrikans.

Sometimes I think we are afriad of the obvious – this is our land and we can define how we live, act and most importanly what we teach our children. Some of us are willing to accept other people’s definitions of what or who we are because we are so frightened of taking a position, making a decision and defining ourselves with utmost Afrikan precision. This could merely be my own observation which to some degree, is shared by Dr Akhbar. I believe that there is some truth in this. Before I continue rumbling on we at Kush pay homage to Afrikan leaders like Patrice Lumumba who believed that its better to die with your head held high, your faith steadfast and your confidence profound in the destiny of our country and continent rather than to live in submission and scorn of sacred principles. Enjoy this edition which sees us moving from our old design to a simpler, easier to navigate site that still feeds your mind, soul and quenches your quest for Afrikan writing that is relevant to our generation.

Food for thought
Rhythm is the pulse of the unitary vitalism that flows through and permaeates the Afrikan’s mind and world. It is manifested in everything from Afrikan movements to Afrikan speech, and, in more or less subtle forms, in all aspects of Afrikan life. It is simultaneously the essence of the oneness of the Afrikan wherever they are and the motivation for unification that characterises the proverbial search of the Afrikan spirit. When disorder occurs, whether it is manifested physically, mentally, or spiritually, the disruption emanates from a disturbance in the rhythm, which is the Afrikan’s gauge of oneness.
Nhamo Rupare holds an MBA (Marketing) and various teachings on communication, music, commerce and visual arts. He is the chief editor of www.kush.co.za and founding member of Kush Kollective. Nhamo is a commentary protagonist of African culture.

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Trans-Saharan trade:



Djenné, founded in 800, an important trading base, now a World Heritage Site
Trans-Saharan trade, between Mediterranean countries and West Africa, was an important trade route from the eighth century until the late sixteenth century. Before inquiring about the locations of caravan routes and the ebb-and-flow of trade volume, it is essential to ask how such trade existed at all. For the Sahara Desert is a hostile expanse that separates the Mediterranean world-economy from the economy of the Niger. Fernand Braudel pointed out (in The Perspective of the World), such a zone, like the Atlantic Ocean, is only worth crossing in exceptional circumstances, when the gain outweighs the loss. However, unlike the Atlantic, the Sahara has always been home to groups of people practising trade on a local basis.
The trade was conducted by caravans of Arabian camels. These camels would be fattened for a number of months on the plains of either the Maghreb or Sahel before being assembled into a caravan. According to Ibn Battuta, the explorer who accompanied one of the caravans, the average size was a thousand camels per caravan with some being as large as 12,000. The caravans would be guided by highly paid Berber guides who knew the desert and could ensure safe passage from their fellow desert nomads. The survival of a caravan would be precarious and rely on careful coordination. Runners would be sent ahead to oases so that water could be shipped out to the caravan when it was still several days away, as the caravans could not carry enough with them to make the full journey.



Small trade routes around the Nile Valley have been used for millennia, but travel across the Sahara prior to the domestication of the camel was difficult. Objects and materials found far from their places of origin are archaeological records of some trade taking place, particularly in the far west, where the desert is at its narrowest. There are also some reports of contacts in classical literature. The growth of the city of Aoudaghost may have been around this limited trade, but suggestions that all urbanisation in the region was as a result of it are now discounted.
Depictions of horses drawing chariots in contemporary cave art south of the Sahara have led some to suppose that they were used. However, no horse skeletons have been found dating from this early period in the region, and chariots would have been unlikely vehicles for trading purposes due to their small capacity.
The earliest evidence for domesticated camels in the region dates from the third century. Used by the Berber people, they enabled more regular contact across the entire width of the Sahara, but regular trade routes did not develop until the beginnings of the Islamic conversion of West Africa in the seventh and eighth centuries. Two main trade routes developed. The first ran through the western desert from modern Morocco to the Niger Bend, the second from modern Tunisia to the Lake Chad area. These stretches were relatively short and had the essential network of occasional oases that established the routing as inexorably as pins in a map. Further east the area south of Libya was impassable due to its lack of oases and fierce sandstorms. A route from the Niger Bend to Egypt was abandoned in the tenth century due to its dangers.

Trans-Saharan trade in the Middle Ages

The rise of the Ghana Empire, centred on what is now southern Mauritania, paralleled the increase in trans-Saharan trade. Mediterranean economies were short of gold but could supply salt, whereas West African countries had plenty of gold but desired salt. The slave trade was also important because large numbers of Africans were sent north, generally to serve as domestic servants. The West African states imported highly trained slave soldiers. Several trade routes became established, perhaps the most important terminating in Sijilmasa and Ifriqua in what is now Morocco to the north. There, and in other North African cities, Berber traders had increased contact with Islam, encouraging conversions, and by the eighth century, Muslims were travelling to Ghana. Many in Ghana converted to Islam, and it is likely that the Empire's trade was privileged as a result. Around 1050, Ghana captured Audaghost, but new goldmines around Bure reduced trade through the city, instead benefiting the Soso, who later founded the Mali Empire.
Like Ghana, Mali was a Muslim kingdom, and under it, the gold - salt trade continued. Other, less important trade goods were slaves, kola nuts from the south and slave beads and cowrie shells from the north (for use as currency). It was under Mali that the great cities of the Niger bend —including Gao and Djenné— prospered, with Timbuktu in particular becoming known across Europe for its great wealth. Important trading centers in southern West Africa developed at the transitional zone between the forest and the savanna; examples include Begho and Bono Manso (in present-day Ghana) and Bondoukou (in present-day Côte d'Ivoire). Western trade routes continued to be important, with Ouadane, Oualata and Chinguetti being the major trade centres in what is now Mauritania, while the Tuareg towns of Assodé and later Agadez grew around a more easterly route in what is now Niger.
The eastern trans-Saharan route led to the development of the long lived Kanem-Bornu empire centred on the Lake Chad area. This trade route was somewhat less efficient and only rose to great prominence when there was turmoil in the west such as during the Almohad conquests.

Decline of trans-Saharan trade

The Portuguese journeys around the West African coast opened up new avenues for trade between Europe and West Africa. By the early sixteenth century, European bases were being established on the coast and trade with the now wealthier Europeans became of prime importance to West Africa. North Africa had declined in both political and economic importance, while the Saharan crossing remained long and treacherous, but the major blow to trans-Saharan trade was the Moroccan War of 1591-2. Morocco sent troops across the Sahara and attacked Timbuktu, Gao and some other important trading centres, destroying buildings and property and exiling prominent citizens. This disruption to trade led to a dramatic decline in the importance of these cities and resulting animosity reduced trade considerably.
Although much reduced, trans-Saharan trade continued. But trade routes to the West African coast became increasingly easy, particularly after the French invasion of the Sahel in the 1890s and subsequent construction of railways to the interior. A railway line from Dakar to Algiers via the Niger bend was planned but never constructed. With the independence of nations in the region in the 1960s, the north - south routes were severed by national boundaries. National governments were hostile to Tuareg nationalism and so made few efforts to maintain or support trans-Saharan trade, and the Tuareg Rebellion of the 1990s and Algerian Civil War further disrupted routes, with many roads closed.
Today, a few tarmaced roads cross the Sahara and a limited number of trucks carry trans-Saharan trade, particularly fuel and salt. Traditional caravan routes are largely void of camels, but shorter routes from Agadez to Bilma and Timbuktu to Taoudenni are still regularly - if lightly - used. Some members of the Tuareg still use the traditional trade routes, often traveling 1,500 miles and six months out of every year by camel across the Sahara trading in salt carried from the desert interior to communities on the desert edges.

M'hammad Sabour and Knut S. Vikřr (eds), Ethnic Encounter and Culture Change, Bergen, 1997, [1] Google Cache Last Retrieved Jan.2005.
The Trans-Saharan Gold Trade 7th-14th Century from the Museum of Modern Art
Kevin Shillington (eds), "Tuareg: Takedda and trans-Saharan trade" from the Encyclopaedia of African History, Fitzroy Dearborn, 2004, ISBN 1579582451
Lewicki T., "The Role of the Sahara and Saharians in Relationships between North and South", from UNESCO General History of Africa: Volume 3, University of California Press, 1994, ISBN 9236017096
Fernand Braudel, The Perspective of the World, vol III of Civilization and Capitalism 1984 (in French 1979)

 

Why African History? by John Henrik Clarke:

Africa and its people are the most written about and the least understood of all of the world's people. This condition started in the 15th and the 16th centuries with the beginning of the slave trade system. The Europeans not only colonialized most of the world, they began to colonialize information about the world and its people. In order to do this, they had to forget, or pretend to forget, all they had previously known abut the Africans. They were not meeting them for the first time; there had been another meeting during Greek and Roman times. At that time they complemented each other.

The African, Clitus Niger, King of Bactria, wa also a cavalry commander for Alexander the Great. Most of the Greeks' thinking was influenced by this contact with the Africans. The people and the cultures of what is known as Africa are older than the word "Africa." According to most records, old and new, Africans are the oldest people on the face of the earth. The people now called Africans not only influenced the Greeks and the Romans, they influenced the early world before there was a place called Europe.

When the early Europeans first met Africans, at the crossroads of history, it was a respectful meeting and the Africans were not slaves. Their nations were old before Europe was born. In this period of history, what was to be later known as "Africa" was an unknown place to the people who would someday be called, "Europeans." Only the people of some of the Mediterranean Islands and a few states of what would become the Greek and Roman areas knew of parts of North Africa, and that was a land of mystery. After the rise and decline of Greek civilization and the Roman destruction of the city of Carthage, they made the conquered territories into a province which they called Africa, a word derived from "afri" and the name of a group of people about whom little is known. At first the word applied only to the Roman colonies in North Africa. There was a time when all dark-skinned people were called Ethiopians, for the Greeks referred to Africa as, "The Land Of The Burnt-Face People."

If Africa, in general, is a man-made mystery, Egypt, in particular, is a bigger one. There has long been an attempt on the part of some European "scholars" to deny that Egypt was a part of Africa. To do this they had to ignore the great masterpieces on Egyptian history written by European writers such as, Ancient Egypt. Light of the World, Vols. I & II, and a whole school of European thought that placed Egypt in proper focus in relationship to the rest of Africa.

The distorters of African history also had to ignore the fact that the people of the ancient land which would later be called Egypt, never called their country by that name. It was called, Ta-Merry or Kampt and sometimes Kemet or Sais. The ancient Hebrews called it Mizrain. Later the Moslem Arabs used the same term but later discarded it. Both the Greeks and the Romans referred to the country as the "Pearl Of The Nile." The Greeks gave it the simple name, Aegyptcus. Thus the word we know as Egypt is of Greek Origin.

Until recent times most Western scholars have been reluctant to call attention to the fact that the Nile River is 4,000 miles long. It starts in the south, in the heart of Africa, and flows to the north. It was the world's first cultural highway. Thus Egypt was a composite of many African cultures. In his article, "The Lost Pharaohs of Nubia," Professor Bruce Williams infers that the nations in the South could be older than Egypt. This information is not new. When rebel European scholars were saying this 100 years ago, and proving it, they were not taken seriously.

It is unfortunate that so much of the history of Africa has been written by conquerors, foreigners, missionaries and adventurers. The Egyptians left the best record of their history written by local writers. It was not until near the end of the 18th century when a few European scholars learned to decipher their writing that this was understood.

The Greek traveler, Herodotus, was in Africa about 450 B.C. His eyewitness account is still a revelation. He witnessed African civilization in decline and partly in ruins, after many invasions. However, he could still see the indications of the greatness that it had been. In this period in history, the Nile Valley civilization of Africa had already brought forth two "Golden Ages" of achievement and had left its mark for all the world to see.

Slavery and colonialism strained, but did not completely break, the cultural umbilical cord between the Africans in Africa and those who, by forced migration, now live in what is called the Western World. A small group of African-American and Caribbean writers, teachers and preachers, collectively developed the basis of what would be an African Consciousness movement over 100 years ago. Their concern was with African, in general, Egypt and Ethiopia, and what we now call the Nile Valley.

In approaching this subject, I have given preference to writers of African descent who are generally neglected. I maintain that the African is the final authority on Africa. In this regard I have reconsidered the writings of W.E.B. DuBois, George Washington Williams, Drusilla Dungee Houston, Carter G. Woodson, Willis N. Huggins, and his most outstanding living student, John G. Jackson. I have also re-read the manuscripts of some of the unpublished books of Charles C. Seifert, especially manuscripts of his last completed book, Who Are The Ethiopians? Among Caribbean scholars, like Charles C. Seifert, J.A. Rogers (from Jamaica) is the best known and the most prolific. Over 50 years of his life was devoted to documenting the role of African personalities in world history. His two-volume work, World's Great Men of Color, is a pioneer work in the field.

Among the present-day scholars writing about African history, culture and politics, Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan's books are the most challenging. I have drawn heavily on his research in the preparation of this article. He belongs to the main cultural branch of the African world, having been born in Ethiopia, growing to early manhood in the Caribbean Islands and having lived in the African-American community of the United States for over 20 years. His major books on African history are: Black Man of the Nile, 1979, Africa: Mother of Western Civilization, 1976, and The African Origins of Major Western Religions, 1970.

Our own great historian, W.E.B. DuBois tells us, "Always Africa is giving us something new . . . On its black bosom arose one of the earliest, if not the earliest, of self-protecting civilizations, and grew so mightily that it still furnishes superlatives to thinking and speaking men. Out of its darker and more remote forest vastness came, if we may credit many recent scientists, the first welding of iron, and we know that agriculture and trade flourished there when Europe was a wilderness."

Dr. DuBois tells us further that, "Nearly every human empire that has arisen in the world, material and spiritual, has found some of its greatest crises on this continent of Africa. It was through Africa that Christianity became the religion of the world . . . It was through Africa that Islam came to play its great role of conqueror and civilizer."

Egypt and the nations of the Nile Valley were, figuratively, the beating heart of Africa and the incubator for its greatness for more than a thousand years. Egypt gave birth to what later would become known as "Western Civilization," long before the greatness of Greece and Rome.

This is a part of the African story, and in the distance it is a part of the African-American story. It is difficult for depressed African-Americans to know that they are a part of the larger story of the history of the world. The history of the modern world was made, in the main, by what was taken from African people. Europeans emerged from what they call their "Middle-Ages," people-poor, land-poor and resources-poor. And to a great extent, culture-poor. They raided and raped the cultures of the world, mostly Africa, and filled their homes and museums with treasures, then they called the people primitive. The Europeans did not understand the cultures of non-Western people then; they do not understand them now.

History, I have often said, is a clock that people use to tell their political time of day. It is also a compass that people use to find themselves on the map of human geography. History tells a people where they have been and what they have been. It also tells a people where they are and what they are. Most importantly, history tells a people where they still must go and what they still must be.

There is no way to go directly to the history of African-Americans without taking a broader view of African world history. In his book Tom-Tom, the writer John W. Vandercook makes this meaningful statement: A race is like a man.
Until it uses its own talents, takes pride in its own history, and loves its own memories, it can never fulfill itself completely.

This, in essence, is what African-American history and what African-American History Month is about. The phrase African-American or African-American History Month, taken at face value and without serious thought, appears to be incongruous. Why is there a need for an African-American History Month when there is no similar month for the other minority groups in the United States. The history of the United States, in total, consists of the collective histories of minority groups. What we call 'American civilization' is no more than the sum of their contributions. The African- Americans are the least integrated and the most neglected of these groups in the historical interpretation of the American experience. This neglect has made African-American History Month a necessity.

Most of the large ethnic groups in the United States have had, and still have, their historical associations. Some of these associations predate the founding of the Association For The Study of Negro Life and History, (1915). Dr. Charles H. Wesley tells us that, "Historical societies were organized in the United States with the special purpose in view of preserving and maintaining the heritage of the American nation."

Within the framework of these historical societies, many ethnic groups, Black as well as white, engaged in those endeavors that would keep alive their beliefs in themselves and their past as a part of their hopes for the future. For African-Americans, Carter G. Woodson led the way and used what was then called, Negro History Week, to call attention to his people's contribution to every aspect of world history. Dr. Woodson, then Director of the Association For the Study of Negro Life and History, conceived this special week as a time when public attention should be focused on the achievements of America's citizens of African descent.

The acceptance of the facts of African-American history and the African-American historian as a legitimate part of the academic community did not come easily. Slavery ended and left its false images of Black people intact. In his article, "What the Historian Owes the Negro," the noted African-American historian, Dr. Benjamin Quarles, says:

"The Founding Fathers, revered by historians for over a century and a half, did not conceive of the Negro as part of the body of politics. Theoretically, these men found it hard to imagine a society where Negroes were of equal status to whites. Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, who was far more liberal than the run of his contemporaries, was never the less certain that "the two races, equally free, cannot live in the same government."

I have been referring to the African origin of African-American literature and history. This preface is essential to every meaningful discussion of the role of the African-American in every aspect of American life, past and present. I want to make it clear that the Black race did not come to the United States culturally empty-handed.

The role and importance of ethnic history is in how well it teaches a people to use their own talents, take pride in their own history and love their own memories. In order to fulfill themselves completely, in all of their honorable endeavors it is important that the teacher of history of the Black race find a definition of the subject, and a frame of reference that can be understood by students who have no prior knowledge of the subject. The following definition is paraphrased from a speech entitled, "The Negro Writer and His Relation To His Roots," by Saunders Redding, (1960): Heritage, in essence, is how a people have used their talent to created a history that gives them memories that they can respect, and use to command the respect of other people. The ultimate purpose of history and history teaching is to use a people's talent to develop an awareness and a pride in themselves so that they can create better instruments for living together with other people. This sense of identity is the stimulation for all of a people's honest and creative efforts. A people's relationship to their heritage is the same as the relationship of a child to its mother. I repeat: History is a clock that people use to tell their time of day. It is a compass that they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It also tells them where they are, and what they are. Most importantly, an understanding of history tells a people where they still must go, and what they still must be.

Early white American historians did not accord African people anywhere a respectful place in their commentaries on the history of man. In the closing years of the nineteenth century, African- American historians began to look at their people's history from their vantage point and their point of view. Dr. Benjamin Quarks observed that "as early as 1883 this desire to bring to public attention the untapped material on the Negro prompted George Washington Williams to publish his two-volume History of The Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880. The first formally trained African-American historian was W.E.B. DuBois, whose doctoral dissertation, published in 1895, The Suppression Of The African Slave Trade To The United States, 1638-1870, became the first title to be published in the Harvard Historical Studies. It was with Carter G. Woodson, another Ph.D., that African world history took a great leap forward and found a defender who could document his claims. Woodson was convinced that unless something was done to rescue the Black man from history's oversight, he would become a "negligible factor in the thought of the world. " Woodson, in 1915, founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. Woodson believed that there was no such thing as, "Negro History. " He said what was called "Negro History" was only a missing segment of world history. He devoted the greater portion of his life to restoring this segment.

Africa came into the Mediterranean world, mainly through Greece, which had been under African influence, and then Africa was cut off from the melting pot by the turmoil among the Europeans and the religious conquests incident to the rise of Islam. Africa, prior to these events, had developed its history and civilization, indigenous to its people and lands. Africa came back into the general picture of history through the penetration of North Africa, West Africa and the Sudan by the Arabs. European and American slave traders next ravaged the continent. The imperialist colonizers and missionaries finally entered the scene and prevailed until the recent re-emergence of independent African nations.

Africans are, of course, closely connected to the history of both North and South America. The African-American's role in the social, economic and political development of the American states is an important foundation upon which to build racial understanding, especially in areas in which false generalization and stereotypes have been developed to separate peoples rather than to unite them. Contrary to a misconception which still prevails, the Africans were familiar with literature and art for many years before their contact with the Western World. Before the breaking-up of the social structure of the West African states of Ghana, Mali and Songhay and the internal strife and chaos that made the slave trade possible, the forefathers of the Africans who eventually became slaves in the United States, lived in a society where university life was fairly common and scholars were held in reverence.

To understand fully any aspect of African-American life, one must realize that the African-American is not without a cultural past, though he was many generations removed from it before his achievements in American literature and art commanded any appreciable attention. Africana, or Black History, should be taught every day, not only in the schools, but also in the home. African History Month should be every month. We need to learn about all the African people of the world, including those who live in Asia and the islands of the Pacific.

In the twenty-first century there will be over one billion African people in the world. We are tomorrow's people. But, of course, we were yesterday's people, too. With an understanding of our new importance we can change the world, if first we change ourselves.

Dr. John Henrik Clarke, a pre-eminent African-American historian, is author of several volumes on the history of Africa and the Diaspora. He is head of the Department of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College of the City University of New York.

 

Runaway slaves!:

Far from being contented and docile,
American slaves dreamed of liberty,
and thousands rebelled or ran away


American slaves were
tortured or killed if caught
trying to run away.

American slaves were always looking for opportunities to be free, as John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger document in their recent book, Runaway Slaves. The authors researched plantation records, newspapers, diaries, runaway slave notices and other original documents.

Slaves did all kinds of things to rebel on the plantations. "Slaves pulled down fences," the authors explained, "sabotaged farm equipment, broke implements, damaged boats, vandalized wagons, ruined clothing, and committed various other destructive acts. They set fires to outbuildings, barns, and stables; mistreated horses, mules, cattle, and other livestock. They stole with impunity: sheep, hogs, cattle, poultry, money, watches, produce, liquor, tobacco, flour, cotton, indigo, corn, nearly anything that was not under lock and key – and they occasionally found the key."

"Some blacks worked slowly, or indifferently, took unscheduled respites, performed careless or sloppy labor while planting, hoeing, and harvesting crops. Some chopped cotton so nonchalantly that they cut the young plants nearly into fodder, while others harvested rice or sugar with such indifference that they damaged the crop. Slaves feigned illness, hid in outbuildings, did not complete their assigned tasks, and talked at performing dangerous work."

Countless thousands of slaves ran away. They left because they were treated badly, they were afraid of being sold to a new master, they wanted to see their spouses on other plantations, or they just wanted to be free.

Slaves rebelled against and ran away from black as well as white slaveholders. As Franklin and Schwendinger wrote, "The largest black slaveholder in the South, John Carruthers Stanly of North Carolina, faced a number of problems in the 1820s in dealing with a slave labor force on his three turpentine plantations in Craven County. With a total of 163 slaves, Stanly was a harsh, profit-minded taskmaster, and his field hands would run away. Stanley dealt with this through his two white overseers and with a spy network that included a few trusted slaves. Brister, his slave barber in New Bern, was responsible for relaying to his owner rumors of planned escapes…Nor did Stanly have any pangs of conscience about selling children away from their parents or holding free blacks in bondage."

Franklin and Schweninger continued, "Free black slave owners who lived in urban areas – Charleston, Savannah, Mobile, Natchez, and New Orleans – also faced difficulties with their slave property. Free mulatto barber William Johnson of Natchez was not certain what had happened to his recently purchased slave, Walker, when he disappeared in 1835. He had either been stolen or had run away to Kentucky to rejoin his wife. When on 4 July 1833, authorities in Ascension Parish, Louisiana, jailed the twelve- or fourteen-year-old black boy named Isaac taken off the steamer Watchman, he admitted he was owned by a ‘free woman of color in New Orleans named Jane.’" So whether slaves were owned by whites or blacks, they just wanted to be free.

During the War of 1812, the British blockaded American ports, invaded Virginia and guaranteed the liberty of runaway slaves, and the number of runaway slaves soared. Slaveholders moved their slaves away from British forces, where they would have a harder time running away. "In South Carolina," Franklin and Schweninger reported, "Elliott’s Cut became so filled with outlaws and runaway slaves during the war that the governor ordered out a detachment of militia to clear this ‘Negro thoroughfare.’"

Even crippled slaves tried to escape. A one-legged slave named Andrew ran away from his New Orleans owner. Other slaves ran away because of injuries they suffered, like broken bones, by abusive plantation overseers.

Although it has often been claimed that cruelty was rare, since slaveholders must have been concerned about protecting their "property," in fact they were very concerned about discipline. Plantation overseers harshly punished anyone caught trying to run away. "On many plantations and farms," Franklin and Schwendinger wrote, "slaves who attempted to escape or who openly defied white authority were routinely whipped and severely beaten. Sometimes, they were cut with knives, attacked by dogs, shot with buckshot…One overseer admitted that he tied a female slave’s hands, put her head down a steep hill, placed a log under her belly, and administered several hundred lashes. He ‘whipped her so brutally’ that the woman, who was pregnant, miscarried and ‘was seriously injured and disabled.’"

Runaway slaves were sometimes shot for allegedly frightening women and children. Alleged rape, of course, was punished by lynching.

Slaves who were fortunate to live in a border state could gain their freedom by crossing the border into a free state, but for most slaves running away was extraordinarily difficult because they usually had no money, they were illiterate, and there were very few places they could go. Slave hunters naturally checked to see if they went to stay with relatives, so these places weren’t safe. "Some runaways concealed themselves, used disguises, obtained free papers [saying an individual wasn’t a slave], traveled back roads, and hid out for months, but were still captured," Franklin and Schwendinger reported.

In an effort to suppress the underground economy and make it more difficult for runaway slaves to survive, Southern states had laws forbidding slaves from buying or selling anything without permission of their owners. In Georgia, it was illegal for a slave to buy or sell "any quantity of amount whatever of cotton, tobacco, wheat, rye, oats, corn, rice or poultry."

Prospects for runaways were best in towns and cities which had a free black population. Some of the urban blacks were slaves who were permitted to hire themselves out for pay (supposedly giving most of the money to their masters). "Hired slaves worked for businesses," Franklin and Schwenginger wrote, "moved about, met other slaves, became acquainted with literate free blacks, and acquired some knowledge of the world beyond their locale. Some of them saved small amounts of money. When they did run, they often posed as free blacks and carried forged identification papers…In cities of the Lower South, self-hired slaves could at times gain their freedom by simply moving from one section of a city to another. In New Orleans, self-hired men and women often went to a different section of the city or a suburb and hired themselves out."

Runaways always had to fear slave catchers. "Among this group," reported Franklin and Schwendiner, "were men who specialized in tracking slaves. They sometimes owned or could secure dogs and were willing to expend substantial effort to find their prey. They were hired by planters who could not spare their overseers, plantation managers, or other whites on the plantation to go on the frequent expeditions that might last for days, sometimes weeks. Charging by the day and mile, they were often illiterate, nonslaveholding whites who could earn what was for them a sizeable amount – ten to fifty dollars – for bringing back a runaway."

Another obstacle to liberty were laws restricting freedom of movement. "In Virginia," according to Runaway Slaves, "the law required that emancipated slaves leave the state within twelve months after gaining their freedom. Since the neighboring state of North Carolina denied them permission to enter and other states restricted their movement and ability to earn a living, those freed in Virginia faced the dilemma of leaving the South entirely and abandoning loved ones or remaining in the state with the constant fear of reenslavement…The manumitted William remained free for nineteen years following emancipation by his owner, Charles Ewell, a planter on the eastern shore on Accomack County. In October 1838, he was found guilty of remaining in the state and sentenced to be sold. On New Year’s Day, 1839, he was auctioned off for $530 to a local farmer."

Of all the slaves who ran away, very few made it far enough into the North or Canada where they would be safe. But as the most famous runaway Frederick Douglass reflected, "The wretchedness of slavery, and the blessedness of freedom, were perpetually before me. It was life and death with me."

See:

John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger, Runaway Slaves, Rebels on the Plantation (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000).

"Eyewitness testimony," in Jim Powell, The Triumph of Liberty (New York: Free Press, 2000).

Information about purchasing The Triumph of Liberty.

Online text of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845).

 

Amistad Revolt:

(1) New York Journal of Commerce (30th August, 1839)

On board the brig we also saw Cinques, the master spirit and hero of this bloody tragedy, in irons. He is about five feet eight inches in height, 25 or 26 years of age, of erect figure, well built, and very active. He is said to be a match for any two men on board the schooner. His countenance, for a native African, is unusually intelligent, evincing uncommon decision and coolness, with a composure characteristic of true courage, and nothing to mark him as a malicious man. He is a negro who would command in New Orleans, under the hammer, at least $1500.

He is said, however, to have killed the captain and crew with his own hand, by cutting their throats. He also has several times attempted to take the life of Senor Montes, and the backs of several poor negroes are scored with the scars of blows inflicted by his lash to keep them in subjection. He expects to be executed, but nevertheless manifests a sang froid worthy of a Stoic under similar circumstances.



(2) The Colored American (19th October, 1839)

We have seen a wood-cut representation of the royal fellow. It looks as we think it would. It answers well to his lion-like character. The head has the towering front of Daniel Webster, and though some shades darker than our great countryman, we are struck at first sight, with his resemblance to him. He has Webster’s lion aspect. - his majestic, quiet, uninterested cast of expression, looking, when at rest, as if there was nobody and nothing about him to care about or look at. His eye is deep, heavy - the cloudy iris extending up behind the brow almost inexpressive, and yet as if volcanoes of action might be asleep behind it.

The nose and mouth of Cingues are African. We discover the expanded and powerful nostrils mentioned in the description, and can fancy readily its contractions and dilations, as he made those addresses to his countrymen and called upon them to rush, with a greater than Spartan spirit, upon the countless white people, who he apprehended would doom them to a life of slavery. He has none of the look of an Indian - nothing of the savage. It is a gentle, magnanimous, generous look, not so much of the warrior as the sage - a sparing and not a destructive look, like the lion’s when unaroused by hunger or the spear of the huntsman. It must have flashed terribly upon that midnight deck, when he was dealing with the wretched Ramonflues.

We bid pro-slavery look upon Cingues and behold in him the race we are enslaving. He is a sample. Every Congolese or Mandingan is not, be sure, a Cingues. Nor every Yankee a Webster. "Giants are rare," said Ames, "and it is forbidden that there should be races of them." But call not the race inferior, which in now and then an age produces such men.

Our shameless people have made merchandise of the likeness of Cingues - as they have of the originals of his (and their own) countrymen. They had the effrontery to look him in the face long enough to delineate it, and at his eye long enough to copy its wonderful expression.

By the way, Webster ought to come home to defend Cingues. There is indeed no defence to make. It would give Webster occasion to strike at the slave trade and at our people for imprisoning and trying a man admitted to have risen only against the worst of pirates, and for more than life - for liberty, for country and for home.



(3) The New York Morning Herald reported that one of its readers had visited Joseph Cinque in prison (18th September, 1839)

Instead of a chivalrous leader with the dignified and graceful bearing of Othello, imparting energy and confidence to his intelligent and devoted followers, he saw a sullen, dumpish looking negro, with a flat nose, thick lips, and all the other characteristics of his debased countrymen, without a single redeeming or striking trait, except the mere brute qualities of strength and activity, who had inspired terror among his companions by the indiscriminate and unsparing use of the lash. And instead of intelligent and comparatively civilized men, languishing in captivity and suffering under the restraints of the prison, he found them the veriest animals in existence, perfectly contented in confinement, without a ray of intelligence, and sensible only to the wants of the brute.



(4) Report of Joseph Cinque's testimony in court, New York Journal of Commerce (10th January, 1840)

Cinque, the leader of the Africans, was then examined. Cinque told Captain Gedney he might take the vessel and keep it, if he would send them to Sierra Leone. His conversation with Captain Gedney was carried on by the aid of Bernar, who could speak a little English. They had taken on board part of their supply of water, and wanted to go to Sierra Leone. They were three and a half months coming from Havana to this country.

Cross examined by General Isham. Cinque said he came from Mendi. He was taken in the road where he was at work, by countrymen. He was not taken in battle. He did not sell himself. He was taken to Lomboko, where he met the others for the first time. Those who took him - four men - had a gun and knives. Has three children in Africa. Has one wife. Never said he had two wives. Can't count the number of days after leaving Havana before the rising upon the vessel. The man who had charge of the schooner was killed. Then he and Pepe sailed the vessel. Witness told Pepe, after Ferrer was killed, to take good care of the cargo.

The brig fired a gun, and then they gave themselves up. When they first landed there they were put in prison. Were not chained. They were chained coming from Africa to Havana, hands and feet. They were chained also on board the Amistad. Were kept short of provisions. Were beaten on board the schooner by one of the sailors. When they had taken the schooner they put the Spaniards down in the hold and locked them down.

Grabbaung and Fuliwa, two more of the Africans, testified, in the main, to the same facts as above. Fuliwa stated that Captain Ferrer killed one of the Africans, Duevi by name, before the Africans killed him.



(4) Henry Highland Garnet, speech on slavery in Buffalo, New York (16 August 1843)

Joseph Cinque, the hero of the Amistad. He was a native African, and by the help of God he emancipated a whole ship-load of his fellow men on the high seas. And he now sings of Liberty on the sunny hills of Africa, and beneath his native palm trees, where he hears the lion roar, and feels himself as free as that king of the forest.



(5) James Monroe Whitfield, To Cinque (1853)

All hail! thou truly noble chief,

Who scorned to live a cowering slave;

Thy name shall stand on history's leaf,

Amid the mighty and the brave:

Thy name shall shine, a glorious light

To other brave and fearless men,

Who, like thyself, in freedom's might,

Shall beard the robber in his den.

Thy name shall stand on history's page,

And brighter, brighter, brighter grow,

Throughout all time, through every age,

Till bosoms cease to feel or know

"Created worth, or human woe."

Thy name shall nerve the patriot's hand

When, 'mid the battle's deadly strife,

The glittering bayonet and brand

Are crimsoned with the stream of life:

When the dark clouds of battle roll,

And slaughter reigns without control,

Thy name shall then fresh life impart,

And fire anew each freeman's heart.

Though wealth and power their force combine

To crush thy noble spirit down,

There is above a power divine

Shall bear thee up against their frown.

 

Jamaica:

Conference To Continue Fight For Reparations For Slavery:
By Dionne Jackson Miller

MONTEGO BAY - Though busy organising a national conference on reparations for the African slave trade, and helping to collate information on its economic impact in Jamaica, Barbara Blake Hannah is very clear that the project will not be completed any time soon.

''It's not a tomorrow thing. I'm talking about for my grandchildren, (but) it has to begin now,'' she stresses.

Blake Hannah, a journalist, Rastafarian and coordinator of the Jamaica Movement for Reparations, is among a growing community of people worldwide who are determined to press the case for reparations for slavery at the highest levels.

''The world conference (on racism) in Durban in 2001 gave us instructions to put in more or less a reparations invoice covering 17 different areas in which reparations can be awarded, and make our case to the United Nations. We have been working towards this,'' Blake Hannah says.

The upcoming national conference, to be held at the University of the West Indies in the next month or two, will be a significant step in preparing this invoice, but she points out that much more material will have to be collated.

Meanwhile the reparations movement has been building steam in Jamaica and throughout the world.

Last October, more than 500 delegates meeting in Barbados created the Pan African Movement, which voted to launch lawsuits this year against former slave-trading nations, including Britain, Germany, Belgium and France.

In Jamaica, the Rastafari Brethren of Jamaica, through the office of Public Defender Howard Hamilton, sent Queen Elizabeth II a letter requesting reparations for slavery and repatriation to Africa. Though the response received earlier this month from the British High Commission was negative, Hamilton believes there is room for optimism.

''I am, for my part, not disappointed by it, I'm very encouraged by it,'' he says, citing a passage referring to the slave trade as ''barbaric and uncivilised'' and ''one of the worst examples of man's inhumanity to man''.

The High Commission went on to note that while slavery constitutes a crime against humanity under the statute of the International Criminal Court, ''the historic slave trade was not a crime against humanity or contrary to international law at the time when the U.K. government condoned it''.

''We regret and condemn the inequities of the historic slave trade. But these shameful activities belong to the past. Governments today cannot take responsibility for what happened over 150 years ago,'' the High Commission said.

''What I had extracted from this letter is that it's an admission, and the language, couched in the Queen's English, is in the strongest terms of condemnation,'' Hamilton says.

He believes that the U.K. Government has admitted a wrong, while trying to absolve itself by citing the laws of the time.

''Once there has been the admission of a wrong, what must be done now,'' Hamilton adds, is ''the minds must be put together to determine how can we achieve a remedy''.

''Debt relief is one method that could go a long way.''

But attorney-at-law Michael Lorne notes that the British Government has used similar expressions of regret in response to several previous petitions for reparations, to no practical effect.

For example, a letter dated Aug. 4, 1998 from the British High Commission to the Ethiopia Africa Black International Congress, in Bull Bay Jamaica, said in part, ''We can all agree that slavery was a deplorable chapter in world history and a major human tragedy. The question of responsibility is complex. The said reality is that all too many parties made slavery possible, including indigenous rulers and traders in Africa''.

On Aug. 26 1999, a letter from the British Foreign Commonwealth Office to Guyanese attorney-at-law Saphier Husain repeated assertions about the involvement of African traders and indigenous rulers in the slave trade, and pointed out the difficulty in determining how reparations would be paid.

For his part, Lorne tried to bring a case for reparations on behalf of the Marcus Garvey People's Political Party and the Ethiopian International Unification Committee against the Queen of England, the Governor General of Jamaica and the Prime Minister before the Jamaican court last year. But the case was thrown out on the basis that it did not fall under the court's jurisdiction.

Lorne maintains that a legal remedy should be pursued, preferably at the international level.

''The black world is looking at how we can go about it. I know in Zimbabwe, in Nigeria, ourselves, black lawyers in America, we're all looking at ways we can coordinate our actions now to bring action against the Queen and against the British Government for the atrocities committed during slavery,'' he says.

But Hamilton believes that going through the United Nations would be a more effective initiative.

''I don't agree with a route through the courts at this time,'' he says. ''It has to be moral suasion that's spread throughout the world,'' adds Hamilton.

Lorne argues that the two approaches are not mutually exclusive, and that public education, legal action and moral suasion would be an effective multi-pronged approach, as discussed at last year's Barbados Conference for Reparations for Slavery.

Whatever the next move, it must mobilise and unify those fighting for reparations, Hamilton believes.

''It has to be a groundswell. It has to be something which the big powers feel, and will feel obliged to respond to, and I believe that that groundswell is already developing,'' he says.

''What we need to do is get together with all these forces that are talking; it has to be a voice that starts out small and ends up in a crescendo''.

 

 

Slave Revolts: A New World Calendar

Below is a roster of revolts by enslaved Africans in the New World.

Dates

1519 Africans revolt in Spanish Hispaniola
1522 Revolt in Puerto Rico
1530 Revolt in Mexico
1550 Revolt in Panama and Peru
1630-1697
Thousands of enslaved Africans establish Palmares, Brazil
1639
First British West Indies African revolt (Providence Island)
1655 Revolt of 1,500 Africans in Jamaica
1663-1739 Nearly 76 years of insurrections by enslaved Jamaicans
1674 Revolt in Barbados
1687 Revolt in Antigua
1691

First revolt in Haiti


1712 New York City's Africans accused of "freedom fires"
1715-1763 Enslaved Africans revolt in Surinam
1739 Stono, South Carolina enslaved Africans revolt
1741
Suspected city-wide arson plan by New York City's enslaved Africans
1760 Major revolt in Jamaica led by "Tackey"
1763 Major revolt of enslaved Africans in Dutch Surinam
1765 Revolt by enslaved Africans in Honduras
1768 Discovery of revolt plot on St. Kitts
1773 Enslaved Jamaicans in major revolt
1791-1803
Some 500,000 enslaved Africans successfully revolt in Haiti
1796 Enslaved Africans revolt in St. Lucia
1800
Gabriel Prosser and 1,000 fellow Africans plot Virginia revolt
1801 Revolt of enslaved Africans in Guadeloupe
1811
Revolt of enslaved Africans in St. John's Parish, Louisiana
1816 Attempted revolt in Fredericksburg, Virginia
1819 Attempted revolt in Augusta, Georgia
1822
Revolt plot in South Carolina by Denmark Vesey and 5,000 enslaved Africans
1823 Major slave revolt in Guyana
1828-1837 Revolt of enslaved Africans in Brazil
1831 Revolt of enslaved Africans in Antigua
Major revolt in Jamaica, led by Samuel Sharpe
Major U.S. enslaved Africans revolt under Nat Turner in Virginia
1844 Revolt of enslaved Africans in Cuba
1848

Revolt of enslaved Africans in the Virgin Islands

 

Aaron Patterson conviction:

Putting a lid on Chicago’s Pandora’s box?
By Dora Muhammad
Managing Editor
Updated Aug 21, 2005, 11:43 pm

"Free Aaron Patterson"

In 1989, Aaron Patterson was sentenced to death row. After spending 13 years on death row, and 17 years in prison, for a crime he did not commit, he received a pardon in January 2003 by then-governor George Ryan.
CHICAGO (FinalCall.com) - The path toward justice for Aaron Patterson took a detour July 29 with the delivery of a guilty verdict in his recent trial on charges of drug and weapons violations.
Co-counsel on the defense Paul Camarena informed The Final Call that an appeal is planned on the grounds of reports from psychiatrists that Mr. Patterson suffers from PTSD—a result of withstanding torture in the 80s, compounded with 17 years behind bars, not knowing whether he was going to be executed for a crime he did not commit.

"No one ever doubted his ability to understand the proceedings, but he was not able to work with his attorneys," Atty. Camarena explained of the two-prong criterion to determine whether a client is fit to stand trial. "What happened in court was a direct result of those illnesses," he added, referring to objections by Mr. Patterson, which on one occasion actually led to a physical fight with the lead counsel on the case, Tommy Brewer. "These major episodes in court prejudiced him in the jury’s mind."

Justice delayed is justice denied

After Mr. Patterson was arrested in 1986 for allegedly murdering a couple, he was bound, beaten and suffocated during hours of interrogation aimed at forcing a confession. While in custody, he found a paper clip and scratched a message into a bench: "Aaron 4/30 I lie about murders. Police threaten me with violence. Slapped and suffocated me with plastic. No lawyer or dad. No phone."

In 1989, he was sentenced to death row. After spending 13 years on death row, and 17 years in prison, for a crime he did not commit, he received a pardon in January 2003 by then-governor George Ryan, who also declared a moratorium on the death penalty in the state of Illinois as one of his last acts in office.

"In April of 1986, Aaron Patterson was tortured by Area 2 Violent Crimes detectives, under the direct supervision and with the active participation of Commander (Jon) Burge," Gov. Ryan explained at a press conference announcing his pardon of Mr. Patterson and three other men. "The record in Mr. Patterson’s case shows that he was one of the last of the approximately 60 known victims who have alleged torture by Chicago Police detectives at Area 2 Police Headquarters from 1972 to 1986."

During his remarks, Gov. Ryan informed that "much of the evidence of this systemic Area 2 torture and abuse had not emerged at the time of Mr. Patterson’s trial in 1989." Evidence that had emerged since his trial included the recanting of testimony of the 16-year-old witness who said Mr. Patterson made an admission to her; no physical or forensic evidence at the crime scene to link him to the murders; fingerprints at the crime scene do not match his; and an affidavit that a man who was the acquaintance of the victims committed the crimes and subsequently committed a similar crime.

"It was on the basis of this evidence, as well as the incompetence of his trial lawyers that the Illinois Supreme Court sent Mr. Patterson’s case back to the Cook County courts for a new hearing into whether this evidence requires that Mr. Patterson receive a new trial a year ago, There clearly has, however, been no rush to do justice," Gov. Ryan continued in his remarks.

"Here we have four more men who were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to die by the state for crimes the courts should have seen they did not commit. ... Thy are perfect examples of what is so terribly broken about our system. These cases call out for someone to act. They call out for justice. They call out for reform."

In June 2003, Mr. Patterson filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department and Cook County State Attorney’s Office, among others, seeking $30 million in compensation for his torture, a case that is still pending. He refused a settlement offer of $4 million from the city. Yet, on August 5, 2004—just weeks before Lt. Burge was scheduled to appear for his deposition—Mr. Patterson was picked up by the police on the weapons and drug charges, in what his supporters suggest is a backlash to his federal lawsuit. The arrest concluded a five-month sting operation from the U.S. attorney’s office that included an undercover informant and wiretapping.

Pandora’s box opened

Attorney Demetrus Evans, the first federal defender to take Mr. Patterson’s case the day after his arrest last year, recounted her efforts to effectively represent her client, despite a series of frustrations: denials of her motions, events that appeared to indicate to her behind-the-scenes conversations and decisions to which she was not privy, her client being forcefully removed from his cell to appear in court despite his request not to appear in court one day, "purposeful omissions" from court transcripts—all of which led to her walking out of the courtroom, and eventually being removed from the case. However, she maintains, that the motion to withdraw her as lead attorney stems from her reputation of being a "fighter."

"Some of it was stupidity and some of it was pure ignorance. Some of it, I firmly believe, was just plain hatred," she shared.

She recalled a line of questioning by the prosecution during a hearing to discuss one element of Aaron’s defense, wherein he stated that the government’s informant put himself in harm’s way. According to Atty. Evans, when the prosecution asked if he meant the informant would be harmed by him, Mr. Patterson said the harm is coming from the government, and asked him if he was not familiar with the El Rukn trial?

"He talked about these witnesses and how witnesses were set up with prostitutes, and how they gave them money. The things that he brought out, you could just hear a penny drop on the carpet. I didn’t know it and I had no idea that Aaron knew it and that it was going to come out then. But when he started talking about it, you can believe that the courtroom was packed," she said. "People were going out and calling on their cell phones and almost every supervisor in the U.S. attorney’s office was in the courtroom. So, I knew, oh my gosh, we are opening up a can of worms here, that have been sleeping for a long time and people don’t want it woken up. Nobody wanted to hear about it. It was making me cringe."

She unsuccessfully attempted to cut short the prosecution line of questioning. "I don’t know if Chris (Niewoehner) just didn’t know or if he wanted to see how much Aaron knew about the U.S. attorney’s office in this district and how they prosecute," she said, "and he knew a lot. He knew a lot of dirty things."

A chilling coincidence

"We cannot let them slaughter this soldier in silence," implored Fred Hampton Jr., chairman of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee (POCC), who also stated for the record that Mr. Patterson has been made the Chairman of Defense for the POCC.

Not only did he use his $100,000 of the compensation received along with his 2003 pardon to bond out of prison Nathson Fields, who spent time on death row with him, but within his year of freedom, Mr. Patterson grew into a frontline community leader and activist, running for local political office, and campaigning for the Anti-Terrorism Bill against police terrorism.

The Aaron Patterson Defense Committee, along with other dedicated supporters from the community, said they are determined to continue the fight for his freedom, despite their experiences of harassment in the courtroom, some over certain articles of dress that included army-fatigue pants, a t-shirt of Dr. Martin Luther King, and a t-shirt with the picture of Chairman Fred Hampton Sr. and the words, "You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution." Delores Quinn, a 58-year-old diabetic, charged that she was forcefully pulled out of her seat and out of the courtroom because she did not get up fast enough, due to her severely swollen foot and ankle, when everyone was ordered out the court. Supporters contend their mistreatment only reflects the unfair treatment that Aaron Patterson received in court.

"It is so disheartening, the way the system has tracked him, gone after him and got him off the streets," lamented Mr. Fields. "We lost a great leader. He was the type of guy who would help anybody. It is a travesty."

Sentencing for Mr. Patterson is scheduled for Dec. 2. Atty. Camarena told The Final Call that, because he would be in Tanzania in November, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer set the sentencing for the first week in December.

Originally, the sentencing was announced in court for Dec. 4, which turned out to be a Sunday and a chilling coincidence—it is the date when police assailed the Chicago headquarters of the Black Panthers with 98 rounds of bullets in an early morning raid in 1969, assassinating Chairman Fred Hampton and Defense Captain Mark Clark. Laying in the bed next to Chairman Fred Sr. was Akua Njeri, who was eight months pregnant with their son, Fred Jr.

Ms. Njeri, chair of the December 4th Committee, has also worked with the Aaron Patterson Defense Committee to free him. One day, while outside the courtroom, she told The Final Call that she was surrounded by several U.S. Marshalls and escorted upstairs in an elevator to a floor where nearly 15 other officers were standing in a hallway. She said she was informed that she had made a threat against the U.S. attorney’s office.

Randall Samborn, spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on the alleged threat. John O’Malley, of the press office for the U.S. Marshalls Office, confirmed that Ms. Njeri was brought upstairs for an interview, but she refused to make any comment. He said she was subsequently escorted out of the building and banned from entering the building.

A week after the incident, approximately 40 law enforcement agents, who witnesses say identified themselves as FBI agents, came to her house, blocking off the streets at 7 a.m. with bullet-proof vests and dogs, Ms. Njeri said, adding that they questioned her on Aaron Patterson, her support of his case, and the supposed threat that she made against the prosecution.

"This whole process has been to intimidate people and stop them from supporting Aaron Patterson. I love Aaron, as a mother. He fought for our people and he continues to fight. We have to work harder," she insisted full of emotion. "I don’t care how scared we are, how tired we are. We need a groundswell of support all over the country, demanding his freedom."

Aaron Patterson, ..21664424
Metropolitan Correctional Ctr.
71 W. Van Buren
Chicago, Illinois 60605

 

CONGRESS 97-0 VS. Khallid Abdul Muhammad:

Three years ago, the Senate took the bold step of condemning - in a 97-0 vote -- the racist and anti-Semitic comments of former high-ranking Nation of Islam leader Khallid Abdul Muhammad.
Soon after that vote, civil rights leader Julian Bond began pressuring the Senate to comment on similar statements by the Council of Conservative Citizens -- a group which promotes the preservation of the white race and whose Web site at the time featured an article warning that the nation was turning into a "slimy brown mass of glop."

Washington Post reporter Kevin Merida went straight to the top to ask Lott why the Senate would not call a vote to condemn the CCC, a modern-day version of the so-called white citizen councils that fought federal efforts to end segregation during the civil rights era. Lott hemmed and hawed and declared impatiently of the Senate's lack of action on the CCC: "No, that doesn't seem hypocritical to me."

I place the word "startling" in quotations because there is nothing new about these revelations. We all knew Lott was a segregationist racist, but until now, no one had deigned to make an issue of it.

Of course, as noted in previous posts and throughout the web, Lott has been a big fan, and possibly dues-paying member, of the CCC. And to all of you Republican apologists, who claim the GOP is not a racist party, how's this:

And going back to 1984, Lott, speaking to the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Biloxi, Miss., said: "The spirit of Jefferson Davis lives in the 1984 Republican platform."
This is not me, some "radical" liberal, making these comments. This is the NUMBER TWO guy in the Republican Party, waxing nostalgic on the confederacy and segregation, and how the spirit of those past evils still lives inside the modern GOP. So don't give me crap about how I am tarring all Republicans with the Lott brush. He's doing the job himself.

AND, the top Republican, President Bush, has STILL not repudiated the comments!

Update: Okay, one week after Lott made his comments, the president finally has repudiated them:

Recent comments by Sen. Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country. He has apologized and rightly so. Every day that our nation was segregated was a day our nation was unfaithful to our founding ideals.
Of course, this now leads us to speculate about what it means. Has Rove finally decided to pull the plug on Lott? While Bush's loyalty is near-legendary and he would probably stand with Lott to the end of his days, Rove calls the shots. And I can't imagine Rove is liking the beating his party is taking right now.

 

Sacremental King:

as posted by the homie sacramento king:

 

(Sacramento KING)

This is for all you internet Gang Bangers.To me that shit is weak as fuck and disrespectful to the game.Most of yall dont even know the true history to the shit that yall are up on here representin.Plus if yall are up on here with Bk or Ck in yalls name then thats what the fuck you should be doing instead of at home on the internet.I been A crip since 1988 and can speak on this cuz im real wit it.Yall dont even know that the original Crips and Bloods where like the Black Panthers.Crip stands for Community Revolution In Progress.In the 1960's the whites in L.A. used to go around harassing our people and beatin up women and kids like cowards.They called themselves Spook Hunters.So the young black men in the community started the Crips to defend the black people.Look up Stanley Tookie Williams on your computer and get wise to the shit you claim you lames.I cant speak on the Bloods history cuz im not up on that and I would be lyin if I tried,but I can tell you that the beef between the Crips and Bloods started over a Crip tryin to get at a Bloods woman.That shit is crazy how hundreds of thousands of people white, black ,brown,and all races have died in a war started by some niggaz over a woman.To me all that shit needs to cease.I am 27 now and have been in a gang 18 years and have been to the pen 4 times YA one time and I just now opened my eyes the last time I was in the pen.I was workin in the Library at DVI the prison in Tracy CA and I read all kinds of books on Crips and Stanley Williams and other black revolutionist from the past and that shit put me in a whole diffrent mind frame on the Crip shit.Why should I hate another black man just cuz he wears red,or cuz he is from another neighborhood that neither of us own.I just want all you fake ass internet gangstaz on here to see how stupid yall look on here with that Ck Bk shit.Like I ALREDY SAID."If thats what you are about then get off of your moms computer and go ride on the rivals so you can go to the real steel curtin so that you can find out that you are not gangsta at all up in that penatentary.Them cats up in there with three or four life sentences are the real gangstaz,the people who have went through life without commiting a crime and sucseeded are gangsta to me.That shit is harder the just livin day by day not casin shit but dead end dreams in life.So I tilt my hat to the people who are legit.I had four cousins that I grew up with that where all Nerds to me growin up cuz they did the school thing and all that.Now they all have jobs and make like a hundred thousand a year so in the end I am the Nerd.I got a collage degree but I didnt get it at a collage I earned my shit behind them walls and bars.I still say Crip still represent Crip and still got all my gang tattoos but I speak of it on that Black power shit that it originated from.I dont beef with other hoods just cuz they bloods or some shit like that.Im a real nigga.

A real nigga will represent real shit.If you are in a gang and you go to jail and out of a gang of thousands on nigga writes you if your lucky that aint real.If you go to jail and you get out and nobody writes you at all but soon as you get out niggaz want to come around again and act like they didnt know where you were at knowin they didnt look for you at all,that aint real.Niggaz in gangs now be snitchin on each other and robbin each other and all kinds of shit that aint real.Fuck a gang homie,if a nigga ask me what I bang I say my daughters name.I just wanted to shoot this messge on here cuz I see all these fake G's on here and that shit works my nerves when a nigga on here on myspace has a page with ck and all this other shit on it knowin they aint never even shot a gun at a shooting range.So my point is Fuck a Crip and a Blood nigga pick up a book and get your shit right and put up something that means somethin instead of crip killa.Do you really kill Crips?Do you really think you hate all crips cuz some bloods bitch got hollerd at in the 60's before you were ever swimin in yo daddy's sack?Holla at me on some real shit though.I got major knowledge and mouth piece so if any of you INGB's that want to holla at a nigga on some change your life type shit get at me cuz im all about tryin to change.

 

The Haitian Revolution: Exploration

Although the eighteenth century was experiencing a widespread revolutionary situation, not all of it ended in full-blown, convulsing revolutions.6 But everywhere, the old order was being challenged. New ideas, new circumstances, and new peoples combined to create a portentously "turbulent time." Bryan Edwards, a sensitive English planter in Jamaica and articulate member of the British Parliament, lamented in a speech to that body in 1798 that "a spirit of subversion had gone forth that set at naught the wisdom of our ancestors and the lessons of experience." But if Edwards's lament was for the passing of his familiar, cruel, and constricted world of privileged planters and exploited slaves, it was certainly not the only view.

For the vast majority of workers on the far-flung plantations under the tropical sun of the Americas, the revolutionary situation presented an opportunity to change fundamentally their personal world, and maybe the world of others equally unfortunate. Nowhere was the contrast sharper than in the productive and extremely valuable French Caribbean colony of Saint Domingue between 1789 and 1804. The hundreds of thousands of African slaves and tens of thousands of legally defined free coloreds found the hallowed wisdom and experiential "lessons" of Bryan Edwards to be a despicably inconvenient barrier to their quest for individual and collective liberty. Their sentiments were motivated not only by a difference of geography and culture but also by a difference of race and condition.

Within fifteen turbulent years, a colony of coerced and exploited slaves successfully liberated themselves and radically and permanently transformed things. It was a unique case in the history of the Americas: a thorough revolution that resulted in a complete metamorphosis in the social, political, intellectual, and economic life of the colony. Socially, the lowest order of the society—slaves—became equal, free, and independent citizens. Politically, the new citizens created the second independent state in the Americas, the first independent non-European state to be carved out of the European universal empires anywhere. The Haitian model of state formation drove xenophobic fear into the hearts of all whites from Boston to Buenos Aires and shattered their complacency about the unquestioned superiority of their own political models. To Simón Bolívar, himself of partial African ancestry, it was the Euro-American model of revolution that was to be avoided by the Spanish-American states seeking their independence after 1810, and he suggested the best way was to free all slaves. Intellectually, the ex-colonists gave themselves a new name—Haitians—and defined all Haitians as "black," thereby giving a psychological blow to the emerging intellectual traditions of an increasingly racist Europe and North America that saw a hierarchical world eternally dominated by types representative of their own somatic images. In Haiti, all citizens were legally equal, regardless of color, race, or condition. Equally important, the example of Haiti convincingly refuted the ridiculous notion that still endures among some social scientists at the end of the twentieth century that slavery produced "social death" among slaves and persons of African descent. And in the economic sphere, the Haitians dramatically transformed their conventional tropical plantation agriculture, especially in the north, from a structure dominated by large estates (latifundia) into a society of minifundist, or small-scale, marginal self-sufficient producers, who reoriented away from export dependency toward an internal marketing system supplemented by a minor export sector. These changes, however, were not accomplished without extremely painful dislocations and severe long-term repercussions for both the state and the society.

If the origins of the revolution in Saint Domingue lie in the broader changes of the Atlantic world during the eighteenth century, the immediate precipitants must be found in the French Revolution. The symbiotic relationship between the two were extremely strong and will be discussed later, but both resulted from the construction of a newly integrated Atlantic community in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The broader movements of empire building in the Atlantic world produced the dynamic catalyst for change that fomented political independence in the United States between 1776 and 1783. Even before that, ideas of the Enlightenment had agitated the political structures on both sides of the Atlantic, overtly challenging the traditional mercantilist notions of imperial administration and appropriating and legitimating the unorthodox free trading of previously defined interlopers and smugglers. The Enlightenment proposed a rational basis for reorganizing state, society, and nation. The leading thinkers promoted and popularized new ideas of individual and collective liberty, of political rights, and of class equality—and even, to a certain extent, of social democracy—that eventually included some unconventional thoughts about slavery. But their concepts of the state remained rooted in the traditional western European social experience, which did not accommodate itself easily to the current reality of the tropical American world, as Peggy Liss shows in her insightful study Atlantic Empires.

Questions about the moral, religious, and economic justifications for slavery and the slave society formed part of this range of innovative ideas. Eventually, these questions led to changes in jurisprudence, such as the reluctantly delivered judgment by British Chief Justice Lord William Mansfield in 1772 that the owner of the slave James Somerset could not return him to the West Indies, implying that, by being brought to England, Somerset had indeed become a free man. In 1778, the courts of Scotland declared that slavery was illegal in that part of the realm. Together with the Mansfield ruling in England, this meant that slavery could not be considered legal in the British Isles. These legal rulings encouraged the formation of associations and groups designed to promote amelioration in the condition of slaves, or even the eventual abolition of the slave trade and slavery.

Even before the declaration of political independence on the part of the British North American colonies, slavery was under attack by a number of religious and political leaders from, for example, the Quakers and Evangelicals, such as William Wilberforce (1759–1833), Thomas Clarkson (1760–1846), and Granville Sharp (1735–1813). Antislavery movements flourished both in the metropolis and in the colonies. In 1787, Abbé Grégoire (1750–1831), Abbé Raynal (1713–1796), the marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834), and others formed an antislavery committee in France called the Société des Amis des Noirs, which took up the issue in the recently convened Estates General in 1789 and later pushed for broadening the basis of citizenship in the National Assembly. Their benevolent proposals, however, were overtaken by events.

The intellectual changes throughout the region cannot be separated from changes in the Caribbean. During the eighteenth century, the Caribbean plantation slave societies reached their apogee. British and French (mostly) absentee sugar producers made headlines in their respective imperial capitals, drawing the attention of political economists and moral philosophers. The most influential voice among the latter was probably Adam Smith (1723–1790), whose Wealth of Nations appeared in the auspicious year of 1776. Basing his arguments on the comparative costs of production, Smith insisted that, "from the experience of all ages and nations, I believe, that the work done by free men comes cheaper in the end than that performed by slaves." Slavery, Smith further stated, was both uneconomical and irrational not only because the plantation system was a wasteful use of land but also because slaves cost more to maintain than free laborers.

The plantation system had, by the middle of the eighteenth century, created some strange communities of production throughout the Caribbean—highly artificial constructs involving labor inputs from Africa and managerial direction from Europe producing largely imported staples for an overseas market. These were the plantation communities producing sugar, coffee, cotton, and tobacco.26 Elsewhere, I have referred to this unintended consequence of the sugar revolutions as the development of exploitation societies—a tiered system of interlocking castes and classes all determined by the necessities, structure, and rhythm of the plantations.

French Saint Domingue prided itself, with considerable justification, on being the richest colony in the world. According to David Geggus, Saint Domingue in the 1780s accounted for "some 40 percent of France's foreign trade, its 7,000 or so plantations were absorbing by the 1790s also 10–15 percent of United States exports and had important commercial links with the British and Spanish West Indies as well. On the coastal plains of this colony little larger than Wales was grown about two-fifths of the world's sugar, while from its mountainous interior came over half the world's coffee." The population was structured like a typical slave plantation exploitation society in tropical America. Approximately 25,000 white colonists, whom we might call psychological transients, dominated the social pyramid, which included an intermediate subordinate stratum of approximately the same number of free, miscegenated persons referred to throughout the French Caribbean colonies as gens de couleur, and a depressed, denigrated, servile, and exploited majority of some 500,000 workers from Africa or of African descent. These demographic proportions would have been familiar to Jamaica, Barbados, or Cuba during the acme of their slave plantation regimes. The centripetal cohesive force remained the plantations of sugar, coffee, cotton, and indigo and the subsidiary activities associated with them. The plantations, therefore, joined the local society and the local economy with a human umbilical cord—the transatlantic slave trade—that attached the colony to Africa. Economic viability depended on the continuous replenishing of the labor force by importing African slaves. Nevertheless, the system was both sophisticated and complex, with commercial marketing operations that extended to several continents.

If whites, free colored, and slaves formed the three distinct castes in the French Caribbean colony, these caste divisions overshadowed a complex system of class and corresponding internal class antagonisms, across all sectors of the society. Among the whites, the class antagonism was between the successful so-called grands blancs, with their associated hirelings—plantation overseers, artisans, and supervisors—and the so-called petits blancs—small merchants' representatives, small proprietors, and various types of hangers-on. The antagonism was palpable. At the same time, all whites shared varying degrees of fear and mistrust of the intermediate group of gens de couleur, but especially the economically upwardly mobile representatives of wealth, education, and polished French culture.33 For their own part, the free non-whites had seen their political and social abilities increasingly circumscribed during the two or so decades before the outbreak of revolution. Their wealth and education certainly placed them socially above the petits blancs. Yet theirs was also an internally divided group, with a division based as much on skin color as on genealogy. As for the slaves, all were distinguished—if that is the proper terminology—by their legal condition as the lifetime property of their masters, and were occasionally subject to extraordinary degrees of daily control and coercion. Within the slave sector, status divisions derived from a bewildering number of factors applied in an equally bewildering number of ways: skills, gender, occupation, location (urban or rural, household or field), relationship to production, or simply the arbitrary whim of the master.

The slave society was an extremely explosive society, although the tensions could be, and were, carefully and constantly negotiated between and across the various castes. While the common fact of owning slaves might have produced some mutual interest across caste lines, that occurrence was not frequent enough or strong enough to establish a manifest class solidarity. White and free colored slaveowners were often insensitive to the basic humanity and civil rights of the slaves, but they were forced nevertheless to negotiate continuously the way in which they operated with their slaves in order to prevent the collapse of their world. Nor did similar race and color facilitate an affinity between free non-whites and slaves. Slaves never accepted their legal condemnation, but perpetual military resistance to the system of plantation slavery was inherent neither to Saint Domingue in particular nor to the Caribbean in general. So when and where the system broke down resulted more from a combination of circumstances than from the inherent revolutionary disposition of the individual artificial commercial construct.

Without the outbreak of the French Revolution, it is unlikely that the system in Saint Domingue would have broken down in 1789. And while Haiti precipitated the collapse of the system regionally, it seems fair to say that a system such as the Caribbean slave system bore within itself the seeds of its own destruction and therefore could not last indefinitely. As David Geggus points out,

More than twenty [slave revolts] occurred in the years 1789–1832, most of them in the Greater Caribbean. Coeval with the heyday of the abolitionist movement in Europe and chiefly associated with Creole slaves, the phenomenon emerged well before the French abolition of slavery or the Saint-Domingue uprising, even before the declaration of the Rights of Man. A few comparable examples occurred earlier in the century, but the series in question began with an attempted rebellion in Martinique in August 1789. Slaves claimed that the government in Europe had abolished slavery but that local slaveowners were preventing the island governor from implementing the new law. The pattern would be repeated again and again across the region for the next forty years and would culminate in the three large-scale insurrections in Barbados, 1816, Demerara, 1823, and Jamaica, 1831. Together with the Saint-Domingue insurrection of 1791, these were the biggest slave rebellions in the history of the Americas.

In the case of Saint Domingue—as later in the cases of Cuba and Puerto Rico—abolition came from an economically weakened and politically isolated metropolis.

The local bases of the society and the organization of political power could not have been more different in France and its overseas colonies. In France in 1789, the political estates had a long tradition, and the social hierarchy was closely related to genealogy and antiquity. In Saint Domingue, the political system was relatively new, and the hierarchy was determined arbitrarily by race and the occupational relationship to the plantation. Yet the novelty of the colonial situation did not produce a separate and particular language to describe its reality, and the limitations of a common language (that of the metropolis) created a pathetic confusion with tragic consequences for metropolis and colony.

The basic divisions of French society derived from socioeconomic class distinctions. The popular slogans generated by the revolution—Liberty, Equality, Fraternity and the Rights of Man—did not express sentiments equally applicable in both metropolis and colony. What is more, the Estates General, and later the National Assembly, simply could not understand how the French could be divided by a common language. And yet they hopelessly were.

The confusion sprung from two foundations. In the first place, the reports of grievances (cahiers de doléances) of the colonies represented overwhelmingly not the views of a cross-section of the population but merely those of wealthy plantation owners and merchants, especially the absentee residents in France. Moreover, as the French were to find out eventually, the colony was quite complex geographically. The wealthy, expatriate planters of the Plain du Nord were a distinct numerical minority. The interests and preoccupations of the middling sorts of West Province and South Province were vastly different. In the second place, each segment of the free population accepted the slogans of the revolution to win acceptance in France, but they then particularized and emphasized only such portions as applied to their individual causes. The grands blancs saw the Rights of Man as the rights and privileges of bourgeois man, much as the framers of North American independence in Philadelphia in 1776. Moreover, grands blancs saw liberty not as a private affair but rather as greater colonial autonomy, especially in economic matters. They also hoped that the metropolis would authorize more free trade, thereby weakening the restrictive effects of the mercantilist commerce exclusif with the mother country. Petits blancs wanted equality, that is, active citizenship for all white persons, not just the wealthy property owners, and less bureaucratic control over the colonies. But they stressed a fraternity based on a whiteness of skin color that they equated with being genuinely French. Gens de couleur also wanted equality and fraternity, but they based their claim on an equality of all free regardless of skin color, since they fulfilled all other qualifications for active citizenship. Slaves were not part of the initial discussion and sloganeering, but from their subsequent actions they clearly supported liberty. It was not the liberty of the whites, however. Theirs was a personal freedom that undermined their relationship to their masters and the plantation, and jeopardized the wealth of a considerable number of those who were already free.

In both France and its Caribbean colonies, the course of the revolution took strangely parallel paths. The revolution truly began in both with the calling of the Estates General to Versailles in the fateful year of 1789. Immediately, conflict over form and representation developed, although it affected metropolis and colonies in different ways. In the metropolis, the Estates General, despite not having met for 175 years, had an ancient history and tradition, albeit almost forgotten. The various overseas colonists who assumed they were or aspired to be Frenchmen and to participate in the deliberations and the unfolding course of events did not really share that history and that tradition. In many ways, they were new men created by a new type of society—the plantation slave society. Their experience was quite distinct from that of the planters and slaveowners in the British Caribbean. In Jamaica, Edward Long was an influential and wealthy member of British society as well as an established Jamaican planter. Bryan Edwards was a long-serving member of the Jamaica Legislature and after 1796 a legitimate member of the British Parliament, representing simultaneously a metropolitan constituency and overseas colonial interests.

At first, things seemed to be going well for the French colonial representatives, as the Estates General declared itself a National Assembly in 1789 and the National Assembly proclaimed France to be a republic in August 1792. In France, as James Billington puts it, "the subsequent history of armed rebellion reveals a seemingly irresistible drive toward a strong, central executive. Robespierre's twelve-man Committee of Public Safety (1793–94), gave way to a five-man Directorate (1795–99), to a three-man Consulate, to the designation of Napoleon as First Consul in 1799, and finally to Napoleon's coronation as emperor in 1804." In the colonies, the same movement is discernible with a major difference—at least in Saint Domingue. The consolidation of power during the period of armed rebellion gravitated toward non-whites and ended up in the hands of slaves and ex-slaves or their descendants.

With the colonial situation far too confusing for the metropolitan legislators to resolve easily, the armed revolt in the colonies started with an attempted coup by the grands blancs in the north who resented the petits blancs–controlled Colonial Assembly of St. Marc (in West Province) writing a constitution for the entire colony in 1790. Both white groups armed their slaves and prepared for war in the name of the revolution. When, however, the National Assembly passed the May Decree enfranchising propertied mulattos, they temporarily forgot their class differences and forged an uneasy alliance to forestall the revolutionary threat of racial equality. The determined desire of the free non-whites to make a stand for their rights—also arming their slaves for war—made the impending civil war an inevitable racial war.

The precedent set by the superordinate free groups was not lost on the slaves, who comprised the overwhelming majority of the population. If they could fight in separate causes for the antagonistic free sectors of the population, they could fight on their own behalf. And so they did. Violence, first employed by the whites, became the common currency of political change. Finally, in August 1791, after fighting for nearly two years on one or another side of free persons who claimed they were fighting for liberty, the slaves of the Plain du Nord applied their fighting to their own cause. And once they had started, they refused to settle for anything less than full freedom for themselves. When it became clear that their emancipation could not be sustained within the colonial political system, they created an independent state in 1804 to secure it. It was the logical extension of the collective slave revolt that began in 1791.

But before that could happen, Saint Domingue experienced a period of chaos between 1792 and 1802. At one time, as many as six warring factions were in the field simultaneously: slaves, free persons of color, petits blancs, grands blancs, and invading Spanish and English troops, as well as the French vainly trying to restore order and control. Alliances were made and dissolved in opportunistic succession. As the killing increased, power slowly gravitated to the overwhelming majority of the population—the former slaves no longer willing to continue their servility. After 1793, under the control of Pierre-Dominique Toussaint Louverture, ex-slave and ex-slaveowner, the tide of war turned inexorably, assuring the victory of the concept of liberty held by the slaves.44 It was duly, if temporarily, ratified by the National Assembly. But that was neither the end of the fighting nor the end of slavery.

The victory of the slaves in 1793 was, ironically, a victory for colonialism and the revolution in France. The leftward drift of the revolution and the implacable zeal of its colonial administrators, especially the Jacobin commissioner Léger Félicité Sonthonax, to eradicate all traces of counterrevolution and royalism—which he identified with the whites—in Saint Domingue facilitated the ultimate victory of the blacks over the whites. Sonthonax's role, however, does not detract from the brilliant military leadership and political astuteness provided by Toussaint Louverture. In 1797, he became governor general of the colony and in the next four years expelled all invading forces (including the French) and gave it a remarkably modern and democratic constitution. He also suppressed (but failed to eradicate) the revolt of the free coloreds led by André Rigaud and Alexander Pétion in the south, captured the neighboring Spanish colony of Santo Domingo, and freed its small number of slaves. Saint Domingue was a new society with a new political structure. As a reward, Toussaint Louverture made himself governor general for life, much to the displeasure of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Why did the revolution follow such a unique course in Saint Domingue and eventually culminate in the abolition of slavery? Carolyn Fick presents a plausible explanation:

It can be argued therefore that the abolition of slavery in Saint Domingue resulted from a combination of mutually reinforcing factors that fell into place at a particular historical juncture. No single factor or even combination of factors—including the beginning of the French Revolution with its catalytic ideology of equality and liberty, the colonial revolt of the planters and the free coloreds, the context of imperial warfare, and the obtrusive role of a revolutionary abolitionist as civil commissioner—warranted the termination of slavery in Saint Domingue in the absence of independent, militarily organized slave rebellion . . .

From the vantage point of revolutionary France the abolition of slavery seems almost to have been a by-product of the revolution and hardly an issue of pressing concerns to the nation. It was Sonthonax who initiated the abolition of slavery in Saint Domingue, not the Convention. In fact, France only learned that slavery had been abolished in Saint Domingue when the colony's three deputies, Dufay, Mills, and Jean-Baptiste Mars Bellay (respectively a white, a mulatto, and a former free black), arrived in France in January, 1794 to take their seats and asked on February 3 that the Convention officially abolish slavery throughout the colonies . . .

The crucial link then, between the metropolitan revolution and the black revolution in Saint Domingue seems to reside in the conjunctural and complementary elements of a self-determined, massive slave rebellion, on the one hand, and the presence in the colony of a practical abolitionist in the person of Sonthonax, on the other.

Such "conjunctural and complementary elements" did not appear elsewhere in the Americas—not even in the neighboring French colonies of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

The reality of a semi-politically free Saint-Domingue with a free black population ran counter to the grandiose dreams of Napoleon to reestablish a viable French-American empire. It also created what Anthony Maingot has called a "terrified consciousness" among the rest of the slave masters in the Americas. Driven by his desire to restore slavery and disregarding the local population and its leaders, Napoleon sent his brother-in-law General Charles Victor Emmanuel Leclerc with about 10,000 of the finest French troops in 1802 to accomplish his aim. It was a disastrously futile effort. Napoleon ultimately lost the colony, his brother-in-law, and most of the 44,000 troops eventually sent out to conduct the savage and bitter campaign of reconquest. Although Touissant was treacherously spirited away to exile and premature death in France, the independence of Haiti was declared by his former lieutenant, now the new governor general, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, on January 1, 1804. Haiti, the Caribbean, and the Americas would never be the same as before the slave uprising of 1791.

The impact of the Haitian Revolution was both immediate and widespread. The antislavery fighting immediately spawned unrest throughout the region, especially in communities of Maroons in Jamaica, and among slaves in St. Kitts. It sent a wave of immigrants flooding outward to the neighboring islands, and to the United States and Europe. It revitalized agricultural production in Cuba and Puerto Rico. As Alfred Hunt has shown, Haitian emigrants also profoundly affected American language, religion, politics, culture, cuisine, architecture, medicine, and the conflict over slavery, especially in Louisiana. Most of all, the revolution deeply affected the psychology of the whites throughout the Atlantic world. The Haitian Revolution undoubtedly accentuated the sensitivity to race, color, and status across the Caribbean.

Among the political and economic elites of the neighboring Caribbean states, the example of a black independent state as a viable alternative to the Maroon complicated their domestic relations. The predominantly non-white lower orders of society might have admired the achievement in Haiti, but they were conscious that it could not be easily duplicated. "Haiti represented the living proof of the consequences of not just black freedom," wrote Maingot, "but, indeed, black rule. It was the latter which was feared; therefore, the former had to be curtailed if not totally prohibited." The favorable coincidence of time, place, and circumstances that produced a Haiti failed to materialize again. For the rest of white America, the cry of "Remember Haiti" proved an effective way to restrain exuberant local desires for political liberty, especially in slave societies. Indeed, the long delay in achieving Cuban political independence can largely be attributed to astute Spanish metropolitan use of the "terrified consciousness" of the Cuban Creoles to a scenario like that in Saint Domingue between 1789 and 1804. Nevertheless, after 1804, it would be difficult for the local political and economic elites to continue the complacent status quo of the mid-eighteenth century. Haiti cast an inevitable shadow over all slave societies. Antislavery movements grew stronger and bolder, especially in Great Britain, and the colonial slaves themselves became increasingly more restless. Most important, in the Caribbean, whites lost the confidence that they had before 1789 to maintain the slave system indefinitely. In 1808, the British abolished their transatlantic slave trade, and they dismantled the slave system between 1834 and 1838. During that time, free non-whites (and Jews) were given political equality with whites in many colonies. The French abolished their slave trade in 1818, although their slave system, reconstituted by 1803 in Martinique and Guadeloupe, limped on until 1848. Both British and French imperial slave systems—as well as the Dutch and the Danish—were dismantled administratively. The same could be said for the mainland Spanish-American states and Brazil. In the United States, slavery ended abruptly in a disastrous civil war. Spain abolished slavery in Puerto Rico (where it was not important) in 1873. The Cuban case, where slavery was extremely important, proved far more difficult and also resulted in a long, destructive civil war before emancipation was finally accomplished in 1886. By then, it was not the Haitian Revolution but Haiti itself that evoked negative reactions among its neighbors.

By FRANKLIN W. KNIGHT

Assimilation:

Assimilation, from Latin assimilatio meaning "to render similar", is used to describe various phenomena:

The process of assimilating new ideas into a schema (cognitive structure). See schema (psychology). In the theories of Jean Piaget, the application of a general schema to a particular instance).

In psychoanalysis, a mutual penetration of conscious and unconscious contents.
A linguistic process by which a sound becomes similar to an adjacent sound. See Assimilation (linguistics).

In linguistics assimilation may also refer to the process of integrating a loanword, and if needed adapt it, into the system of the receiving language.

The conversion of nutrient into the fluid or solid substance of the body, by the processes of digestion and absorption. See Assimilation (biology).

The ability of water to purify itself of pollutants.

The process whereby a minority group gradually adopts the customs and attitudes of the prevailing culture. See Assimilation (sociology).

In economy, the absorption of a new issue by the public after all shares have been sold by the underwriting group.

In computer science, the modification of anti-virus software to detect a new virus.

In typesetting, the symmetry property possessed in varying degrees by a typeface that creates mirror relationships and other similarities of form between letters

Process used by the fictional Borg race to integrate a being into the collective structure. See Assimilation (Star Trek).

 

Belief:

Belief in the psychological sense, is a representational mental state that takes the form of a propositional attitude. In the religious sense, "belief" refers to a part of a wider spiritual or moral foundation, generally called faith; historically generated by a groups need to provide a functionally valid foundation to sustain them. The generally accepted faiths usually note that when oppressive states are generated by the it being exercised, and not a fact of reality, it was in need of more revelation or clarification.
Belief is considered propositional in that it is an assertion, claim or expectation about reality that is presumed to be either true or false (even if this cannot be practically determined, such as a belief in the existence of a particular deity). Historically, philosophical attempts to analyze the nature of belief have been couched in terms of judgement. David Hume and Immanuel Kant are both particularly well known for their analyses using this framework.

Belief, knowledge and epistemology

Knowledge is often defined as justified true belief, in that the belief must be considered to correspond to reality and must be derived from valid evidence and arguments. However, this definition has been challenged by the Gettier problem which suggests that justified true belief does not provide a complete picture of knowledge.
To believe something can be interpreted as assigning a probability of more than 50% that something is true. The rule of the thumb from a school of epistemology that says that certainty should be as big as the corresponding evidence is called evidentialism.

Belief as a psychological theory

Mainstream psychology and related disciplines have traditionally treated belief as if it were the simplest form of mental representation and therefore one of the building blocks of conscious thought. Philosophers have tended to be more rigorous in their analysis and much of the work examining the viability of the belief concept stems from philosophical analysis.

The concept of belief presumes a subject (the believer) and an object of belief (the proposition) so like other propositional attitudes, belief implies the existence of mental states and intentionality, both of which are hotly debated topics in the philosophy of mind and whose foundations and relation to brain states are still controversial.
Beliefs are sometimes divided into core beliefs (those which you may be actively thinking about) and dispositional beliefs (those which you may ascribe to but have never previously thought about). For example, if asked 'do you believe tigers wear pink pyjamas ?' a person might answer that they do not, despite the fact they may never have thought about this situation before.

The idea that a belief is a mental state is much more contentious. While some philosophers have argued that beliefs are represented in the mind as sentence-like constructs others have gone as far as arguing that there is no consistent or coherent mental representation that underlies our common use of the belief concept and is therefore obsolete and should be rejected.

This has important implications for understanding the neuropsychology and neuroscience of belief. If the concept of belief is incoherent or ultimately indefensible then any attempt to find the underlying neural processes which support it will fail. If the concept of belief does turn out to be useful then this goal should (in principle) be achievable.
Philosopher Lynne Rudder Baker has outlined four main contemporary approaches to belief in her book Saving Belief:

Our common-sense understanding of belief is correct - Sometimes called the ‘mental sentence theory’, in this conception, beliefs exist as coherent entities and the way we talk about them in everyday life is a valid basis for scientific endeavour. Jerry Fodor is one of the principal defenders of this point of view.

Our common-sense understanding of belief may not be entirely correct, but it is close enough to make some useful predictions - This view argues that we will eventually reject the idea of belief as we use it now, but that there may be a correlation between what we take to be a belief when someone says 'I believe that snow is white' and however a future theory of psychology will explain this behaviour. Most notably philosopher Stephen Stich has argued for this particular understanding of belief.

Our common-sense understanding of belief is entirely wrong and will be completely superseded by a radically different theory which will have no use for the concept of belief as we know it - Known as eliminativism, this view, most notably proposed by Paul and Patricia Churchland), argues that the concept of belief is like obsolete theories of times past such as the four humours theory of medicine, or the phlogiston theory of combustion. In these cases science hasn’t provided us with a more detailed account of these theories, but completely rejected them as valid scientific concepts to be replaced by entirely different accounts. The Churchlands argue that our common-sense concept of belief is similar, in that as we discover more about neuroscience and the brain, the inevitable conclusion will be to reject the belief hypothesis in its entirety.

Our common-sense understanding of belief is entirely wrong, however treating people, animals and even computers as if they had beliefs, is often a successful strategy - The major proponents of this view, Daniel Dennett and Lynne Rudder Baker, are both eliminativists in that they believe that beliefs are not a scientifically valid concept, but they don’t go as far as rejecting the concept of belief as a predictive device. Baker gives the example of playing a computer at chess. While few people would agree that the computer held beliefs, treating the computer as if it did (e.g. that the computer believes that taking the opposition’s queen will give it a considerable advantage) is likely to be a successful and predictive strategy. In this understanding of belief, named by Dennett the intentional stance, belief based explanations of mind and behaviour are at a different level of explanation and are not reducible to those based on fundamental neuroscience although both may be explanatory at their own level.

Is belief voluntary?

Most philosophers hold the view that belief formation is to some extent spontaneous and involuntary. Some people think that one can choose to investigate and research a matter but that one can not choose to believe. On the other hand, most people have the impression that in some cases people don't believe things because they don't want to believe, especially about a matter in which they are emotionally involved.
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Delusional beliefs

Delusions are defined as beliefs in psychiatric diagnostic criteria (for example in the DSM). Psychiatrist and historian German Berrios has challenged the view that delusions are genuine beliefs and instead labels them as "empty speech acts", where affected persons are motivated to express false or bizarre belief statements due to an underlying psychological disturbance. However, the majority of mental health professionals and researchers treat delusions as if they were genuine beliefs.

See also

Delusion
Faith
Folk psychology
Gettier problem
Moore's paradox
Propositional attitude
Propositional knowledge
Religion
Self-deception
Spirituality
Truth

 

Faith:

The word faith has various uses; its central meaning is similar to "belief", "trust" or "confidence", but unlike these terms, "faith" tends to imply a transpersonal rather than interpersonal relationship – with God or a higher power. The object of faith can be a person (or even an inanimate object or state of affairs) or a proposition (or body of propositions, such as a religious credo). In each case, however, the faithful subject's faith is in an aspect of the object that cannot be rationally proven or objectively known.
In religious contexts, "faith" has several different meanings. Sometimes, it means loyalty to one's religion. It is in the latter sense in which one can speak of, for example, "the Catholic faith" or "the Islamic faith." For creedal religions, faith also means that one accepts the religious tenets of the religion as true. For non-creedal religions, faith often means that one is loyal to a particular religious community. In general, faith means being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see with your physical (as opposed to spiritual) eyes.
Sometimes, faith means a belief in a relationship with a deity. In this case, "faith" is used in the sense of "fidelity." Such a commitment need not be blind or submissive, although it often shares these types of characteristics. For many Jews, for example, the Hebrew Bible and Talmud depict a committed but contentious relationship between their God and the Children of Israel. For quite a lot of people, faith or the lack thereof, is an important part of their identities. E.g. a person will identify him or herself as a Muslim or a skeptic.
Many religious rationalists, as well as non-religious people, criticise implicit faith as being irrational. In this view, belief should be restricted to what is directly supportable by logic or evidence.

Sometimes, faith means a belief in the existence of a deity, and can be used to distinguish individual belief in deities from belief in deities within religion. However it can also be used in context of belief in deities within religions. Many Hindus, Jews, Christians and Muslims claim that there is adequate historical evidence of their God's existence and their God's interaction with human beings. As such, they may believe that there is no need for "faith" in God in the sense of belief against or despite evidence; rather, they hold that evidence is sufficient to demonstrate that their God certainly exists, and that particular beliefs, concerning who or what their God is and why this God is to be trusted, are vindicated by evidence and logic. For people in this category, "faith" in a God simply means "belief that one has knowledge of [any particular] God". It is logically impossible that all these different religions with their mutually contradictory beliefs can simultaneously be true. Therefore the majority of believers have faith in a belief system which is in some ways false, which they have difficulty describing at least. This is disputed though by some religious traditions especially in Hinduism who hold the view that the several different faiths are just aspects of the ultimate truth that the several religions have difficulty to describe and understand. They see the different religions as just different paths to the same goal. This does not explain away all logical contradictions between faiths but these traditions say that all seeming contradictions will be understood once a person has an experience of the Hindu concept of moksha.
What is believed concerning God, in this sense, is at least in principle only as reliable as the evidence and the logic by which faith is supported.

Finally, some religious believers – and many of their critics – often use the term "faith" as the affirmation of belief without an ongoing test of evidence, and even despite evidence apparently to the contrary. Most Jews, Christians and Muslims admit that whatever particular evidence or reason they may possess that their God exists and is deserving of trust, is not ultimately the basis for their believing. Thus, in this sense faith refers to belief beyond evidence or logical arguments, sometimes called "implicit faith". Another form of this kind of faith is fideism: one ought to believe that God exists, but one should not base that belief on any other beliefs; one should, instead, accept it without any reasons at all. Faith in this sense, grounded simply in the sincerity of faith, belief on the basis of believing, is often associated with Sřren Kierkegaard for example, and some other existentialist religious thinkers; his views are presented in Fear and Trembling. William Sloane Coffin counters that faith is not acceptance without proof, but trust without reservation.


New Testament


The word "faith", translated from the Greek ?????? (pi´stis), primarily conveys the thought of confidence, trust, firm persuasion. Depending on the context, the Greek word may also be understood to mean "faithfulness" or "fidelity".-1Th 3:7; Tit 2:10.
Commenting on the function of faith in relation to the covenant of God, the writer of the letter to the Hebrews says, "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."(Heb 11:1 ESV). ????????? (hy-po´sta-sis), translated "assurance" here, commonly appears in ancient papyrus business documents, conveying the idea that a covenant is an exchange of assurances which guarantees the future transfer of possessions described in the contract. In view of this, Moulton and Milligan suggest the rendering: "Faith is the title deed of things hoped for." (Vocabulary of the Greek Testament, 1963, p. 660) The Greek word e´leg-khos, rendered "conviction" at Hebrews 11:1 (ESV), conveys the idea of bringing forth evidence that demonstrates something, particularly something contrary to what appears to be the case. Thereby this evidence makes clear what has not been discerned before and so refutes what has only appeared to be the case. This evidence for conviction is so positive or powerful that faith is said to be it. Christian faith, described in these terms, is not synonymous with credulity.

Hebrews 11:6 describes the meaning and the practical role of faith: "Without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.".
Summarizing the New Testament concept of faith, it is a reliance upon God's self-revelation, especially in the sense of confidence in the promises and fear of the threats that are written in Scripture. The writers evidently suppose that their concept of faith is rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures.

In addition, the New Testament writers conflate or equate faith in God with belief in Jesus. The Gospel of John is particularly emphatic on this point, having Jesus say, "The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him." (John 5:22, 23). When asked "What must we do to do the works God requires?", the writer has Jesus answering, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." (John 6:28, 29)

Protestantism


Faith is a kind of knowledge
Knowledge is an essential element in all faith, and is sometimes spoken of as an equivalent to faith (John 10:38; 1 John 2:3). Yet the two are distinguished in this respect, that faith includes in it assent, which is an act of the will in addition to the act of the understanding.


Faith is an operation of the Spirit of God
Assent to the truth is of the essence of faith, and the ultimate ground on which our assent to any revealed truth rests is the veracity of God. Historical faith is the apprehension of and assent to certain statements which are regarded as mere facts of history. Temporary faith is that state of mind which is awakened in men (e.g., Felix) by the exhibition of the truth and by the influence of religious sympathy, or by what is sometimes styled the common operation of the Holy Spirit. Saving faith is so called because it has eternal life inseparably connected with it, and is a special operation of the Holy Spirit.

The warrant of faith is the truthfulness of God
The basis for faith is divine testimony, not the reasonableness of what God says, but the simple fact that he says it. Faith rests immediately on, "Thus saith the Lord." But in order to this faith the veracity, sincerity, and truth of God must be owned and appreciated, together with his unchangeableness.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The Latter-day Saint perspective on faith differs from mainline Protestantism , and are outlined in the Lectures on Faith, which were prepared under the supervision of Joseph Smith.

They accept faith as a from of knowledge:
And now as I said concerning faith—faith is not to have a perfect knowledge of things; therefore if ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true. ( Book of Mormon , Alma 32:21)

For members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints , faith is also principle of action in both the temporal and spiritual realm, and it is furthermore a principle of power (Lecture 1). Additionally, faith is a form of work, specifically mental work (Lecture 7), which is entirely at variance with traditional Protestantism.
Faith is not just a principle of epistemology, but also a principle of metaphysics. In its broadest definition, faith "is the first great governing principle which has power, dominion, and authority over all things." (Lecture 1). For Latter-day Saints, the historical basis of faith comes from the record in the Bible, which leads to a personal Theophany, similar to what the ancient prophets frequently experienced.

The Lectures on Faith explain:
Let us here observe, that three things are necessary in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation:

First, the idea that he actually exists.
Secondly, a correct idea of his character, perfections, and attributes.
Thirdly, an actual knowledge that the course of life which he is pursuing is according to his will. For without an acquaintance with these three important facts, the faith of every rational being must be imperfect and unproductive; but with this understanding it can become perfect and fruitful, abounding in righteousness, unto the praise and glory of God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Lecture 3)

The characteristics of God are:
First, that He was God before the world was created, and the same God that He was after it was created.

Secondly, that He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness, and that He was so from everlasting, and will be to everlasting.
Thirdly, that He changes not, neither is there variableness with Him; but that He is the same from everlasting to everlasting, being the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that His course is one eternal round, without variation.
Fourthly, that He is a God of truth and cannot lie.
Fifthly, that He is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of Him.
Sixthly, that He is love. (Lecture 3)

The attributes and perfections of Christ are Knowledge, Faith or Power , Justice, Judgment , Mercy , and Truth(Lecture 4) . God, as and infinite and eternal being, has all of these attributes in ther fullness, an "infinity of fullness" (D&C 109:77)
By the operation of the Holy Ghost, which is given by laying on of hands and after baptism, and the miracle of the Atonement, each person’s character is perfected.
Through the atonement and mediation of Jesus Christ; by whose blood they have a forgiveness of sins, and also a sure reward laid up for them in heaven, even that of partaking of the fullness of the Father and the Son through the Spirit. As the Son partakes of the fullness of the Father through the Spirit, so the saints are, by the same Spirit, to be partakers of the same fullness, to enjoy the same glory; for as the Father and the Son are one, so, in like manner, the saints are to be one in them. Through the love of the Father, the mediation of Jesus Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, they are to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. (Lecture 5, emphasis added.)
This is key: the faith of the Latter-day Saints is based in the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

"The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 121).
This process cannot work independent of Christ’s divine Sonship, atoning Sacrifice, and miraculous Resurrection .

The last element of faith is personal sacrifice, akin to the sacrifice that the prophet Abraham made. The Lectures teach:

Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God.
When a man has offered in sacrifice all that he has for the truth's sake, not even withholding his life, and believing before God that he has been called to make this sacrifice because he seeks to do his will, he does know, most assuredly, that God does and will accept his sacrifice and offering, and that he has not, nor will not seek his face in vain. Under these circumstances, then, he can obtain the faith necessary for him to lay hold on eternal life. (Lecture 6)

The upshot of this process is perfection, or being assimilated into the character of Christ. That is, faith is the first principle of perfection and self-improvement.
These teachings of the Saviour most clearly show unto us the nature of salvation, and what He proposed unto the human family when He proposed to save them --that He proposed to make them like unto Himself, and he was like the Father, the great prototype of all saved beings; and for any portion of the human family to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved; and to be unlike them is to be destroyed; and on this hinge turns the door of salvation (Lecture 7)

This is a hefty process, will take a long time to accomplish. Joseph Smith explained:
When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel—you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 348)

He also taught that this process is done incrementally:

". . . by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power." (ibid, 346)
This is no different that what Peter wrote:
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. (2 Peter 1:5-10, KJV)
For the Latter-day Saints, faith is not a one time experience, but a life-long transformation into a wholly new being. The change is so radically, that it can only be described as being ‘ born again "

Catholicism

In an objective sense, faith is the sum of truths revealed by God in Scripture and tradition and which the Church presents to us in a brief form in her creeds. Subjectively, faith stands for the habit or virtue by which the these truths are assented to.

Faith is a supernatural act

Faith is a supernatural act performed by Divine grace. It is "the act of the intellect assenting to a Divine truth owing to the movement of the will, which is itself moved by the grace of God" (St. Thomas, II-II, Q. iv, a. 2). And just as the light of faith is a gift supernaturally bestowed upon the understanding, so also this Divine grace moving the will is, as its name implies, an equally supernatural and an absolutely gratuitous gift. Neither gift is due to previous study neither of them can be acquired by human efforts, but "Ask and ye shall receive."

Faith not blind

"We believe", says the Vatican Council (III, iii), "that revelation is true, not indeed because the intrinsic truth of the mysteries is clearly seen by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Who reveals them, for He can neither deceive nor be deceived." Thus, with regard to the act of faith which the Christian makes in the Holy Trinity, faith can be described in a syllogistic fashion, thus:
Whatever God reveals is true
but, God has revealed the Holy Trinity, which is a mystery
therefore this mystery is true.

Roman Catholics accept the major premise as being beyond doubt, a presupposition upon which reason is based and thus intrinsically evident to reason; the minor premise is also true because it is declared by the Church, which is held to be infallible in its declarations, and also because, as the Vatican Council says, "in addition to the internal assistance of His Holy Spirit, it has pleased God to give us certain external proofs of His revelation, viz. certain Divine facts, especially miracles and prophecies, for since these latter clearly manifest God's omnipotence and infinite knowledge, they afford most certain proofs of His revelation and are suited to the capacity of all." Hence Thomas Aquinas writes: "A man would not believe unless he saw the things he had to believe, either by the evidence of miracles or of something similar" (II-II:1:4, ad 1). Thomas is here speaking of the motives of credibility, the causes which give rise to belief.
Text adapted from The Catholic Encyclopedia article "Faith".
A small paragraph is from Wikinfo.

Rastafari

Faith to the Rastafarians implies knowledge of the divinity of Haile Selassie rather than belief in this proposition, as Rastas claim not to hold belief systems. The word faith does not hold such negative connotations. Their faith in Selassie as God, and as the being who is going to end their sufferings at the day of judgement when they will return to live in Africa under his rule is at the centre of their lives. The dreadlocks are worn as an open declaration of faith in and loyalty towards Haile Selassie, while marijuana is seen to help cultivate a strong faith by bringing the faithful closer to God. Rastas have faith when 2 or more of them come together to reason about their religion that Haile Selassie is with them. Selassie is seen as both God the Father, who created Heaven and earth, and as God the Son, the Reincarnation of Jesus Christ. To complete the Holy Trinity the Holy Spirit is seen as being in the believers themselves, and within all human beings. The announcement of the death of Selassie in 1975 did not disturb the faith of the Rastas, who assumed that God cannot die, and that therefore the news was false. Rastas also have a faith in physical immortality, both for Haile Selassie and for themselves.

See also

Apostasy
Belief system
Faith and rationality
Major world religions
Religious conversion
Rationalism
True-believer syndrome
Wishful thinking

 

Ethiopia despairs about obelisk:

Ethiopia despairs about obelisk
Addis Ababa - Ethiopia is "losing confidence" that the Italian government will return the historic Axum obelisk, looted in 1937 from the former Italian colony by invading troops under the dictator Benito Mussolini, the foreign minister has said here. "Ethiopia is losing its confidence in the Italian government. ... We don't have any belief that the Italian government will return the obelisk in goodwill," Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin said late on Wednesday on his return from the World Food Summit in Rome. The 160-ton granite Axum obelisk, which dates from the third century BC, stands outside the Rome headquarters building of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), where it was damaged by lightning two weeks ago. Seyoum and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi both attended the FAO-sponsored food summit in Rome, where Meles tried to organise a meeting with the Italian authorities to discuss the return of the obelisk, a bone of contention between the two countries since the end of World War II.
Obelisk 'humiliated'
"During my stay in Rome, I sought a meeting with the Italian government but it replied that this was impossible because of the large number of guests in Rome," the prime minister told the Italian news agency Ansa. "It made me very sad to see the obelisk humiliated, tied up with rope," he said. According to Seyoum, Rome's refusal to meet with Meles over the obelisk was a betrayal of trust. "The relations between the two countries cannot be based on mutual trust hereafter," he said. "The Italian government failed to give back the obelisk by producing various excuses," he added. The Italian under- secretary of state for culture, Vittorio Sgarbi, last month agreed in principle that the renowned obelisk, damaged in a violent thunderstorm on May 27, should be returned to Ethiopia, dropping previous objections by Rome that moving the ancient monument could damage it.
55 years
"In 55 years, Italy has never said no, but always 'Yes, but,' to the subject of returning the obelisk," Meles said Wednesday. "Today the government says it wants to restore it. But we're afraid this is just another excuse," he added. "We just want to put an end to this story and turn over a new leaf. I feel more frustrated than angry," the prime minister said. Italy lost what was then Abyssinia as its colony at the battle of Adua in 1896, where some 25$nbsp;000 Italian troops were defeated by around four times as many Abyssinian soldiers. In 1936, in a prelude to World War II, fascist Italy annexed Ethiopia. -

Sapa-AFP For related articles:

 

1723?-1770:


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Introduction
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.

Narrative Essay
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.

Boston Massacre
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."

Boston Honors
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."

Sources
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.

Stewart, 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.

Biography Resource Center
©2001, Gale Group, Inc.


 

 

White Enslavers Raping Black Women :

A while ago I was watching a talk show and the subject was interracial relationships. At one point, the conversation came to people who claimed to be pure white or pure Black. The host claimed that no one was of pure ethnicity because there had been too much race mixing in the past. This brought the conversation to how white slave "masters" raped their Black female slaves. The white female host made the implication that the only reason the white men raped Black women is because their wives refused to give them as much sex as they wanted.

This is insulting because it implies that the white men didn't find the Black women attractive and only wanted them because they couldn't get what they really wanted. The truth is, in that time period, women had no more rights than Black people. If a white man wanted to rape a white woman, it would have been just as easy as raping a Black woman. In fact, the only reason a white man had to rape a Black woman is because that is what he preferred.

Black people get insulted every day in media, whether is be on television, radio, newspapers, or the Internet. There are entire web sites devoted to the degradation of people of African descent, not to mention TV and radio programs. The fact is evident in the examples provided by news stations covering the Mike Tyson and O. J. Simpson trials. Both people were talked about as convicted criminals before their trials ever started. Only messages that supported those beliefs were broadcasted.

The producers of the media do not concern themselves with evidence or lack thereof, because they only have one goal: to fulfill the need of white America to believe that nonwhite people are worse than them. White Americans feel shame for the wickedness their people perpetuated and cannot rest until they justify their own wickedness by convincing themselves that the people they mistreated deserve to be mistreated. This is what they want to believe so this is what their news media delivers to them, and they believe it without question as to the accuracy of the reports. It is past time that white people stopped twisting the truth to make themselves feel good about the things they've done.

Website: African American Culture

http://straightblack.com/culture/

Contact African American Culture

http://www.straightblack.com/culture/African-American-Articles/White-Slave-Drivers-Raping-Black-Women.html

The British colonization of America
When America was allegedly discovered and colonized by England, England did not populate her American colonies with people who were refined and cultured. If you read the history of England, she did the same thing here that she did in Australia. All the convicts were sent here to this country. The prisons were emptied of prostitutes, thieves, murderers, whores and many different kinds of freaks. They were sent over here to populate this country. When those people jump up in your face today, talking about how the Founding Fathers (Matt. 23:9) from England, know that they were outcasts from its dungeons and prisons. When these thieves and liars arrived here, they proved it. They created one of the most criminal societies that have ever existed on the Earth since time began.

Excerpted from Our Bondage

http://www.wpunj.edu/~newpol/issue31/chajua31.htm

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SLAVERY WAR CASH CROPS MARX REPERATIONS

Slavery quickly became important to southern agriculture. Southern plantations grew three major crops: (1) tobacco, (2) rice and (3) indigo. Indigo comes from the inner core of a fibrous stalk. Planters soaked the stalks for at least two weeks to extract a rich blue dye from the pith. The British textile industry prized the dye and offered a bonus for every pound produced. Most planters hated the smelly unpleasant work with the rotted stalks so they forced slaves to handle it. In time the indigo trade depended entirely on slave labor.

ANTEBELLUM SLAVERY

The enslavement of African Americans in what became the United States formally began during the 1630s and l64Os. At that time colonial courts and legislatures made clear that Africans--unlike white indentured servants--served their masters for life and that their slave status would be inherited by their children. Slavery in the United States ended in the mid-1860s. Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of January 1863 was a masterful propaganda tactic, but in truth, it proclaimed free only those slaves outside the control of the Federal government--that is, only those in areas still controlled by the Confederacy. The legal end to slavery in the nation came in December 1865 when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified, it declared: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

Development of American Slavery
The history of African American slavery in the United States can be divided into two periods: the first coincided with the colonial years, about 1650 to 1790; the second lasted from American independence through the Civil War, 1790 to 1865. Prior to independence, slavery existed in all the American colonies and therefore was not an issue of sectional debate. With the arrival of independence, however, the new Northern states--those of New England along with New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey--came to see slavery as contradictory to the ideals of the Revolution and instituted programs of gradual emancipation. By 1820 there were only about 3,000 slaves in the North, almost all of them working on large farms in New Jersey. Slavery could be abolished more easily in the North because there were far fewer slaves in those states, and they were not a vital part of Northern economies. There were plenty of free white men to do the sort of labor slaves performed. In fact, the main demand for abolition of slavery came not from those who found it morally wrong but from white working-class men who did not want slaves as rivals for their jobs.
Circumstances in the newly formed Southern states were quite different. The African American population, both slave and free, was much larger. In Virginia and South Carolina in 1790 nearly half of the population was of African descent. (Historians have traditionally assumed that South Carolina had a black majority population throughout its pre--Civil War history. But census figures for 1790 to 1810 show that the state possessed a majority of whites.) Other Southern states also had large black minorities.
Because of their ingrained racial prejudice and ignorance about the sophisticated cultures in Africa from which many of their slaves came, Southern whites were convinced that free blacks would be savages--a threat to white survival. So Southerners believed that slavery was necessary as a means of race control.
Of equal importance in the Southern states was the economic role that slaves played. These states were much more dependent on the agricultural sector of their economies than were Northern ones. Much of the wealth of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia came from the cash crops that slaves grew. Indeed, many white Southerners did not believe white men could (or should) do the backbreaking labor required to produce tobacco, cotton, rice, and indigo, which were the regions chief cash crops.
As a consequence of these factors, the Southern states were determined to retain slavery after the Revolution. Thus began the fatal division between "free states" and "slave states" that led to sectionalism and, ultimately, to civil war.
Some historians have proposed that the evolution of slavery in most New World societies can be divided (roughly, and with some risk of over generalization) into three stages: developmental, high-profit, and decadent. In the developmental stage, slaves cleared virgin forests for planting and built the dikes, dams, roads, and buildings necessary for plantations. In the second, high-profit stage, slave owners earned enormous income from the cash crop they grew for export. In these first two phases, slavery was always very brutal.
During the developmental phase, slaves worked in unknown, often dangerous territory, beset by disease and sometimes hostile inhabitants. Clearing land and performing heavy construction jobs without modern machinery was extremely hard labor, especially in the hot, humid climate of the South.
During the high-profit phase, slaves were driven mercilessly to plant, cultivate, and harvest the crops for market. A failed crop meant the planter could lose his initial investment in land and slaves and possibly suffer bankruptcy. A successful crop could earn such high returns that the slaves were often worked beyond human endurance. Plantation masters argued callously that it was "cheaper to buy than to breed"--it was cheaper to work the slaves to death and then buy new ones than it was to allow them to live long enough and under sufficiently healthy conditions that they could bear children to increase their numbers. During this phase, on some of the sugar plantations in Louisiana and the Caribbean, the life span of a slave from initial purchase to death was only seven years.
The final, decadent phase of slavery was reached when the land upon which the cash crops were grown had become exhausted--the nutrients in the soil needed to produce large harvests were depleted. When that happened, the slave regime typically became more relaxed and less labor-intensive. Plantation owners turned to growing grain crops like wheat, barley, corn, and vegetables. Masters needed fewer slaves, and those slaves were not forced to work as hard because the cultivation of these crops required less labor.
This model is useful in analyzing the evolution of Southern slavery between independence and the Civil War. The process, however, varied considerably from state to state. Those of the upper South--Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia--essentially passed through the developmental and high-profit stages before American independence. By 1790, Maryland and Virginia planters could no longer produce the bumper harvests of tobacco that had made them rich in the earlier eighteenth century, because their soil was depleted. So they turned to less labor-intensive and less profitable crops such as grains, fruits, and vegetables. This in turn meant they had a surplus of slaves.
One result was that Virginia planters began to free many of their slaves in the decade after the Revolution. Some did so because they believed in the principles of human liberty. (After all, Virginian slave owners wrote some of the chief documents defining American freedom like the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and much of the Bill of Rights.) Others, however, did so for a much more cynical reason. Their surplus slaves had become a burden to house and feed. In response, they emancipated those who were too old or feeble to be of much use on the plantation. Ironically, one of the first laws in Virginia restricting the rights of masters to free their slaves was passed for the protection of the slaves. It denied slave owners the right to free valueless slaves, thus throwing them on public charity for survival. Many upper South slave owners around 1800 believed that slavery would gradually die Out because there was no longer enough work for the slaves to do, and without masters to care for them, the ex-slaves would die out as well.
Two initially unrelated events solved the upper South's problem of a surplus slave population, caused slavery to become entrenched in the Southern States, and created what we know as the antebellum South. They were the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney of Connecticut in 1793 and the closing of the international slave trade in 1808.
The cotton gin is a relatively simple machine. Its horizontally crossing combs extract tightly entwined seeds from the bolls of short-staple cotton. Prior to the invention of the gin, only long-staple cotton, which has long soft strands, could be grown for profit. Its soft fibers allowed easy removal of its seeds. But this strain of cotton grew in America only along the coast and Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. In contrast, short-staple cotton could grow in almost any non-mountainous region of the South below Virginia. Before the invention of the cotton gin, it took a slave many hours to dc-seed a single pound of "lint," or short-staple cotton. With the gin, as many as one hundred pounds of cotton could be dc-seeded per hour.
The invention of the cotton gin permitted short-staple cotton to be grown profitably throughout the lower South. Vast new plantations were created from the virgin lands of the territories that became the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Arkansas. (Louisiana experienced similar growth in both cotton and sugar agriculture.) In 1810, the South produced 85,000 pounds of cotton; by 1860, it was producing well over 2 billion pounds a year.
There was an equally enormous demand for the cotton these plantations produced. It was so profitable that by 1860 ten of the richest men in America lived not just in the South but in the Natchez district of Mississippi alone. In 1810, the cotton crop had been worth $12,495,000; by 1860, it was valued at $248,757,000.
Along with this expansion in cotton growing came a restriction on the supply of slaves needed to grow it. The transatlantic slave trade was one of the most savage and inhumane practices in which people of European descent have ever engaged. The writers of the Constitution had recognized its evil, but to accommodate the demands of slave owners in the lower South, they had agreed to permit the transatlantic slave trade to continue for twenty years after the Constitution was ratified. Thus, it was not until 1808 that Congress passed legislation ending the transatlantic trade.
These two circumstances--the discovery of a means of making the cultivation of short-staple cotton profitable throughout the lower South and territories and the restriction on the supply of slaves needed to produce it--created the unique antebellum slave system of the South. It made at least some Southerners very rich and it also made slaves much more valuable. One consequence was that some American slaves were perhaps better treated than those elsewhere in the New World, not because American slave owners were kinder, but because American slaves were in short supply and expensive to replace. The price of slaves increased steadily from 1802 to 1860. In 1810, the price of a "prime field hand" was $900; by 1860, that price had doubled to $1,800.

The Slave System in the Nineteenth Century
Slavery in the antebellum South was not a monolithic system; its nature varied widely across the region. At one extreme one white family in thirty owned slaves in Delaware; in contrast, half of all white families in South Carolina did so. Overall, 26 percent of Southern white families owned slaves.
In 1860, families owning more than fifty slaves numbered less than 10,000; those owning more than a hundred numbered less than 3,000 in the whole South. The typical Southern slave owner possessed one or two slaves, and the typical white Southern male owned none. He was an artisan, mechanic, or more frequently, a small farmer. This reality is vital in understanding why white Southerners went to war to defend slavery in 1861. Most of them did not have a direct financial investment in the system. Their willingness to fight in its defense was more complicated and subtle than simple fear of monetary loss. They deeply believed in the Southern way of life, of which slavery was an inextricable part. They also were convinced that Northern threats to undermine slavery would unleash the pent-up hostilities of 4 million African American slaves who had been subjugated for centuries.
REGULATING SLAVERY. One half of all Southerners in 1860 were either slaves themselves or members of slaveholding families. These elite families shaped the mores and political stance of the South, which reflected their common concerns. Foremost among these were controlling slaves and assuring an adequate supply of slave labor. The legislatures of the Southern states passed laws designed to protect the masters right to their human chattel. Central to these laws were "slave codes," which in their way were grudging admissions that slaves were, in fact, human beings, not simply property like so many cattle or pigs. They attempted to regulate the system so as to minimize the possibility of slave resistance or rebellion. In all states the codes made it illegal for slaves to read and write, to attend church services without the presence of a white person, or to testify in court against a white person. Slaves were forbidden to leave their home plantation without a written pass from their masters. Additional laws tried to secure slavery by restricting the possibility of manumission (the freeing of ones slaves). Between 1810 and 1860, all Southern states passed laws severely restricting the right of slave owners to free their slaves, even in a will. Free blacks were dangerous, for they might inspire slaves to rebel. As a consequence, most Southern states required that any slaves who were freed by their masters leave the state within thirty days.
To enforce the slave codes, authorities established "slave patrols." These were usually locally organized bands of young white men, both slave owners and yeomen farmers, who rode about at night checking that slaves were securely in their quarters. Although some planters felt that the slave patrolmen abused slaves who had been given permission to travel, the slave patrols nevertheless reinforced the sense of white solidarity between slave owners and those who owned none. They shared a desire to keep the nonwhite population in check. (These antebellum slave patrols are seen by many historians as antecedents of the Reconstruction era Ku Klux Klan, which similarly tried to discipline the freed blacks. The Klan helped reinforce white solidarity in a time when the class lines between ex--slave owners and white yeomen were collapsing because of slavery's end.)

Not long after Thomas Jefferson wrote the "Declaration of Independence," a free black wrote Jefferson asking if the "all men are created equal" phrase applied to blacks. Jefferson replied that slavery embarrassed him but he did nothing about it then or during his presidency. The Quakers spoke out against slavery during the colonial period but they were the only religious movement to do so. Anglicans worked among the slaves and attempted to Christianize them.

"The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black-skins, signaled the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief moments of primitive accumulation. On their heels treads the commercial war of the European nations, with the globe for a theatre.... If money according to Augier, 'comes into the world with a congenital blood-stain on one cheek', capital comes dripping from head to foot from every pore with blood and dirt."
-Karl Marx, Capital, Vol. 1

The brutality and viciousness of capitalism is well known to the oppressed and exploited of this world. Billions of people throughout the world spend their lives incessantly toiling to enrich the already wealthy, while throughout history any serious attempts to build alternatives to capitalism have been met with bombings, invasions, and blockades by imperialist nation states. Although the modern day ideologues of the mass media and of institutions such as the World Bank and IMF never cease to inveigh against scattered acts of violence perpetrated against their system, they always neglect to mention that the capitalist system they lord over was called into existence and has only been able to maintain itself by the sustained application of systematic violence. It should come as no surprise that this capitalist system, which we can only hope is now reaching the era of its final demise, was just as rapacious and vicious in its youth as it is now. The "rosy dawn" of capitalist production was inaugurated by the process of slavery and genocide in the western hemisphere, and this "primitive accumulation of capital" resulted in the largest systematic murder of human beings ever seen. However, the rulers of society have found that naked force is often most economically used in conjunction with ideologies of domination and control which provide a legitimizing explanation for the oppressive nature of society. Racism is such a construct and it came into being as a social relation which condoned and secured the initial genocidal processes of capitalist accumulation--the founding stones of contemporary bourgeois society.

The fact that an African slave could be purchased for life with the same amount of money that it would cost to buy an indentured servant for 10 years, and that the African's skin color would function as an instrument of social control by making it easier to track down runaway slaves in a land where all whites were free wage labourers and all Black people slaves, provided further incentives for this system of racial classification. In the colonies where there was an insufficient free white population to provide a counterbalance to potential slave insurgencies, such as on the Caribbean islands, an elaborate hierarchy of racial privilege was built up, with the lighter skinned "mulattos" admitted to the ranks of free men where they often owned slaves themselves.

Why Reparations
Reparations are provided as an acknowledgment of responsibility for wrongdoing, and a partial effort to repair the damage resulting from the wrongdoing. The wrongdoing is slavery, and the oppression associated with it. The theory concerning reparations is the effects of slavery are still with us today, and a significant factor in the problems African Americans face in many aspects of their lives.

In order to consider the necessity or morality of reparations for descendants of slaves, people must first be able to realize slavery can affect people long after the slavery has ended, and slavery can also benefit descendants of slave drivers long after the slavery has ended. People must also be able to realize slavery and oppression can exist in forms not as clearly visible as whips, chains, and cotton fields.

This text will explore the adversity our race suffers due to slavery and associated practices, as well as the lasting effects of the adversity, and how they relate to reparations.

Depleting Africa's Greatest Resource
Africa's greatest resource is its people. During slavery, incredible numbers of African men and women were taken from the people they served, protected, and helped to survive. Slaves were not always captured randomly. People were chosen who would be the most effective slaves. The most physically capable people were chosen. This process of removing hard workers from Africa served the purpose of providing slave drivers with a very able work force, but also deprived the worker's families and societies of that work force.

While this wouldn't necessarily destroy the Black communities, it led to less production than their would have been, which led to less stability, comfort, and advancement, as well as other things. The additional work force acquired by the slave drivers led to increased comfort, stability, and advancement for them, and the profits from selling slaves led to increased comfort for the slave sellers. This led to increased difficulty for the Black race as a whole, which includes Africans in America.

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REPARATIONS:

ITS TIME HAS COME

http://www.philly.com/mld/dailynews/news/opinion/11906378.htm  


Posted on Thu, Jun. 16, 2005

REPARATIONS: ITS TIME HAS COME


INITIALLY thought to be racially divisive and politically untenable,
the principle of reparations has gained intellectual legitimacy among
African-Americans, well beyond that of meaningless public apologies
for slavery.

Today's racial disparities sharply focus the legal and ethical aspects
of reparations. Viewing justice only as an ethical virtue, without
concrete means of correcting the wrongs of slavery and its many
psychic repercussions, matters little to a socio-economically
debilitated black America. Fairness presupposes well-reasoned public
initiatives, balancing the books, setting the record straight.

Over-broadness and over-vagueness in the advocacy of reparations
potentially crosses the line into reverse racism. Toning down the
rhetoric, of course, will lessen some of the backlash, although
post-Civil War immigrants are unlikely to be satisfied.

Nevertheless, avoiding the debate can only prolong black animus, while
dismissing the incalculable damage suffered by both Africans and
African-Americans as a consequence of slavery.

In "The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks," Randall Robinson
unflinchingly embraces reparations for slavery and the racial
discrimination that followed, demanding both monetary and non-monetary
restitution. He views black America as too tepid on the subject,
sidestepping the elephant in the middle of the road.

Boris I. Bittker, professor emeritus at Yale law school, wrote "The
Case for Black Reparations" nearly 30 years before Robinson's
broadside, concluding that compensation was justified not only for the
injury of slavery but also for the further setbacks from Jim Crow
laws, public school segregation, job discrimination and other measures
that effectively prohibited black Americans from enjoying the
privileges of citizenship.

He obliquely noted, however, the difficulty in precisely determining
slavery's net positive economic benefits and to whom those benefits
flowed.

My advocacy for reparations centers on recovery under contract law,
averting classic constitutional polemics (equal protection and due
process). My starting point: the U.S. Supreme Court's unconscionable
decision in Dred Scott (1857).

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roger B. Taney asserted, "The
right of property in a slave is distinctly and expressly affirmed in
the Constitution."

Eventually, the case passed into ignominy, and then well-deserved
ridicule. But the badges of slavery still linger, stark evidence of a
racially uneven playing field.

The legal theory of unjust enrichment lies at the root of reparations.
It's the fundamental contractual notion that no one should gain
unjustly by the labors of another.

AS FORTUNES were made from the cotton economy, the South thrived on
the uncompensated disposition of slaves. In return for their labors,
slaves received nothing. Moreover, notwithstanding the post-Civil War
constitutional proscriptions against slavery, former slaves and their
descendants remain uncompensated for their labors.

Garrison Frazier, outspoken abolitionist and Baptist minister, argued
that slavery meant one man's "receiving... the work of another man,
and not by his consent."

The Rev. Frazier defined "freedom" as placing former slaves "where we
could reap the fruit of our own labor... to have land and turn it and
till it by our own hands."

The labor of slaves built the platform from which substantial wealth
was bequeathed to the legatees of slave owners. In contrast, the
progeny of slaves advanced from slavery to poverty, as seemingly
condign punishment for their freedom.

Though few argue against a better America for black folk, much remains
owed and unrequited; and, payment follows contract, the breach of
which condemns every next black generation to its recurring plight.
The demands of African-Americans comport with the expectations of
legatees whose forbears' estates remain unsettled.

Reparations, therefore, is tantamount to debt collection.
Rotan E. Lee is a lawyer, writer, lecturer and radio talk show host.
He can be heard on the first and last Friday morning of the month on
WURD 900/AM's "Dialogues."

 

 




























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