I went to school in California. The only Black History I was taught was a few sentences about George Washington Carver and Booker T. Washington. Beyond that, nothing else was mentioned. However, when I got older, I discovered vast amounts of information on black history at the library, through literature of Langston Hughes, famous poet and playwright, James Weldon Johnson, author and poet, and Sterling Brown’s book, Negro Caravan, and many, many others.
The Alex Haley series, “Roots”, aired on television when I was taking a Bar review in the 70s, in preparation for the California Bar examination. That was real discovery for all Americans to see. It told how blacks from Africa got to America and what their beginning was like. The story of the naming of Kunta Kinte reveals volumes of who we really are, in spite of what we were renamed. Our journey from hunter to kidnapped slave, through the door of no return, to a slave sales auction block, to resident on the plantation, to White House occupant has many twists and turns, but we must tell the story of how we made it up the rough side of the mountain, through toil and snares.
A real education should include a trip to a slave auction block where you can close your eyes and imagine children being sold off to the highest bidder with a crowd watching and mothers crying and screaming.Men and women working the fields, picking cotton from sun up to sun down. Some of the men who had wives would leave the fields to their cabin where they encountered the master, was forced to watch helplessly while he went in to rape his woman. If she became pregnant, they watched her belly grow and waited to see the color and sex of the child, knowing that if the baby was too dark their outcome would be another slave laboring in the fields. If the baby was female, and light enough, she would be subjected to work in massa’s house where she may be constantly raped.
A true education should include learning about systemic racism in America. Blacks seeking a loan to buy a house, or start a business in certain parts of town, soon discovered redlining. If whites don’t want blacks to live in or have a business in white part of town, you get a loan or the prices would go up so high, you couldn’t afford it. Blacks in certain parts of town are suspects and subjected to harassment by whites and the police. The first thing whites want to do is call the police and report something erroneous, alleging wrong doing. When the police come, blacks feel they must be on their guard because the police usually escalate the situation. When blacks are stopped by the police, they present some phony story like you’re being stopped because you “look” suspicious. Or they want to check your license because you fit the description of the guy/person who robbed the liquor last week, but you don’t drink, and if you talk up, you end up in jail, charged with attempted murder, or beaten, and/or dead.
You watch as your children are shipped off to the wrong school, because you don’t live in the (Redlined) district where the good schools are designated. Then your child is placed in the wrong classes because they are black. The schools automatically feel they belong in the remedial classes and not in college preparatory classes because they will probably fail. Your child is asked in class questions about Marvin Gaye, the Scottsboro Boys, or how many countries in Africa, because they were black and your child is black, and of course, they should know everything about blacks and should be able to answer for all of them.
The questions we should be asking them is, “What about reparations, or pay back, instead of about or regulations and, retaliations?” “What is it about the Confederate flag that you want it hung and taught along with Jefferson Davis or Robert E. Lee, and your other ‘heritage’ Treasonists, but not Farrakhan, Marcus Garvey, Malcolm X, or the Black Lives Matter flag?” Why is it always the black symbols and movements that are so corrupt in your eyes?
A whole group of gun-toting whites from the current president’s base is demonstrating for the right of America to keep the Confederate statutes and monuments. They argue it’s their history and their heritage, and this president also says they are their heroes. They give whites the illusion of white supremacy. Rather than wanting to be proud, whites should be ashamed for wanting monuments that depict such sinful acts by their forefathers. Blacks view them as painful reminders of the past and the desire to return to the days of slavery.
I’ve seen the Confederate flag, stood in the door of no return in Dakar, Senegal, I’ve seen pictures of slaves on the slave auction block and pictures of lynching’s and hangings. Nothing gives me more pain than watching so called Christians allow the President to flout the laws, with impunity, as he does. They say it’s for the judges to decide, but what of the Judge of all judges and King of all kings? King Jesus!