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Black History: The Massacre Of Black Wall Street

462_160I am very glad that John Legend is bringing the story of horror to the movie screen for all to see. This story like the Nat Turner story should be seen and understood like many other atrocities that have been hidden for far too long. These stories and many others are not taught or even spoken about for the people who inflicted the pain and evil upon black people that would make Hitler blushI’m the author of the phenomenal novel “Just a Season” titled from the religious knowledge referring to a period of time characterized by a particular circumstance, suitable to an indefinite period of time associated with a divine phenomenon called life. During this passage through time I have come to realize that there are milestones, mountains, and valleys that we must encounter. This speaks loudly to the challenges of black people in America.

“Black Wall Street” is a history lesson that may cause some not to believe something so dastardly could happen in America. It is intended to inspire, enlighten, empower, and share the history of a people at a time when the odds were against all odds. It was during a time called segregation when Jim Crow ruled and separate but equal was the law of the land. Because of this de facto Apartheid-like system African American were forced to live in communities dependent upon each other in order to survive and survive they did. Every town had such a place and during this series of articles, I will visit those communities to sharing their rich histories.

Let me ask you never forget – Tulsa Oklahoma’s “Black Wall Street” and what white folk did to this community. The name was fittingly given to the most affluent all-black community in America. This community was the epitome of success proving that African Americans had a successful infrastructure known as the golden door of the Black community during the early 1900’s. Although, it was in an unusual location Black Wall Street was a prime example of the typical Black community in America that did business far beyond expectations.

Let me explain, the state of Oklahoma was set aside to be a Black and Indian state that included over 28 Black townships. Another point worth noting, nearly a third of the people who traveled in the terrifying “Trail of Tears” alongside the Indians from 1830 to 1842 were Black people. The citizens of Oklahoma chose a Black governor; there were PhD’s, Black attorneys, doctors and professionals from all walks of life contributing to the successful development of this community. One such luminous figure was Dr. Berry, who also owned the bus system generating an average income of $500 a day in 1910. During this time physicians owned medical schools to empower and develop African Americans.

The area encompassed 36 square blocks, over 600 businesses with a population of 15,000 African Americans. There were pawn shops everywhere, brothels, jewelry stores, churches, restaurants and movie theaters. Their success was monumentally evident in that the entire state of Oklahoma had only two airports, yet six Blacks owned their own planes. Just to show how wealthy many Black people were, there was a banker in a neighboring town who had a wife named California Taylor. Her father owned the largest cotton gin west of the Mississippi. When California shopped, she would take a cruise to Paris every three months to have her clothes made.

There was also a man named Mason in nearby Wagner County, who had the largest potato farm in the west. When he harvested, he would fill 100 boxcars a day. Another Black man not far away was doing the same thing with a spinach farm. The typical family averaged five children or more, though the typical farm family would have ten kids or more who made up the nucleus of the labor.

What was significant about Black Wall Street was they understood an important principle – they kept the money in the community. The dollars circulated 36 to 1000 times within the community, sometimes taking a year for currency to leave the community. Something the African America community of today does not fully appreciate or practice because a dollar will leave the Black community today in 15 minutes. This community was so tight and wealthy because they traded dollars hand-to-hand because they were dependent upon one another as a result of Jim Crow laws.

Another powerful image, and extremely significant, was education. The foundation of the community was to educate every child because they understood that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize those forces that breed poverty and despair. When students went to school, they wore a suit and tie because of the morals and respect they were taught at a young age. Also, nepotism contributed greatly to the success of this community as a way to help one another – a tactic that needs to be instilled in our culture today.

A postscript to Tulsa’s legacy is the world renowned R&B music group the GAP Band. The group of brothers Charlie, Ronnie & Robert Wilson, chose the group’s name taken from the first letters of the main thoroughfare Greenwood Avenue that intersects with Archer and Pine Streets; from those letters you get G.A.P. Another legendary figure from Tulsa is their favorite son, basketball great and jazz musician the late Wayman Tisdale. These are just a few luminaries that Tulsa has produced, surely the most recognized today.

An unprecedented amount of global business was conducted from within the Black Wall Street community, which flourished from the early 1900 until 1921. Then the unthinkable happened, and the community faced a valley or more accurately stated fell off a cliff. The Black Wall Street community suffered the largest massacre of non-military Americans in the history of this country. As you might well imagine, the lower-economic Europeans looked over and saw how prosperous the Black community had become and destroyed it. I don’t know the true reason; jealousy was mentioned, but racism was certainly at its core. Lead by the infamous Ku Klux Klan, working in concert with ranking city officials, and many other sympathizers.

The destruction began Tuesday evening, June 1, 1921, when “Black Wall Street,” the most affluent all-black community in America, was bombed from the air and burned to the ground by mobs of resentful whites. In a period spanning fewer than 12 hours, a once thriving Black business district in northern Tulsa lay smoldering. A model community destroyed and a major African-American economic movement resoundingly defused. The night’s carnage left some 3,000 African Americans dead and over 600 successful businesses lost. Among them were 21 churches, 21 restaurants, 30 grocery stores and two movie theaters, plus a hospital, a bank, a post office, libraries, schools, law offices, a half-dozen private airplanes and even the bus system.

You would think this historic event would be common knowledge, but not so. One would be hard-pressed to find any documentation concerning the incident, let alone an accurate accounting of it. Not in any reference or any American history books documenting the worst incidents of violence ever visited upon people of African descent. This night of horror was unimaginable. Try if you will to imagine seeing 1,500 homes being burned and looted, while white families with their children standing around the borders of the community watching the massacre much, in the same manner, they would watch a lynching. It must have been beyond belief for the victims.

I wonder if you are aware of this little-known history fact; this is where the word “picnic” came from? It was typical to have a picnic on a Friday evening in Oklahoma. The word was short for “pick a nigger” to lynch. They would lynch a Black male and cut off body parts as souvenirs. This went on every weekend in many parts of the country with thousands lynched in the first part of the last century. Unfortunately, that is where the word actually came from.

The riots weren’t caused by anything Black or white. It was caused as a result of Black prosperity. A lot of white folks had come back from World War I and they were poor. When they looked over into the Black Wall Street community and saw that Black men who fought in the war came home as heroes also contributed to the destruction. It cost the Black community everything – justice and reconciliation are often incompatible goals because not a single dime of restitution was ever provided, to include no insurance claims have been awarded to a single victim.

As I began, there are milestones, mountains, and valleys which surely encompassed this community and its people. This is why it is so important to teach these lessons because those who neglect the lessons of the past are doomed to see it repeated. Life is not a race you run, it is a relay and it is your responsibility to pass the baton. Our youth, the next generation, must be prepared and know when they look at our communities today that they came from a people who built kingdoms. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Source:
“A Black Holocaust in America.”
Ron Wallace, Jay Jay Wilson

JUST A SEASON


A Slave Holiday Experience

African Americans are, arguably, the most religious people on the face of the earth and have always been since arriving in this place the slaves called “merica.” With that said, I am sure many have wondered, in spite of the wretched system of slavery; how was it celebrated by the slave population?

The American slaves experienced the Christmas holidays in many different ways. Joy, hope, and celebration were naturally a part of the season for many. For other slaves, these holidays conjured up visions of freedom and even the opportunity to bring about their freedom. Still, others saw it as yet another burden to be endured.

I suppose, if there was ever any joy, it might well have been during the Christmas holidays for the enslaved African Americans. At least their captures, in the spirit of Jesus’ birth allowed them to have a day free from drudgery. The prosperity and relaxed discipline associated with Christmas often enabled slaves to interact in ways that they could not during the rest of the year.

They customarily received material goods from their masters: perhaps the slave’s yearly allotment of clothing, an edible delicacy, or a present above and beyond what he or she needed to survive. For this reason, among others, slaves frequently married during the Christmas season. More than any other time of year, Christmas provided slaves with the latitude and prosperity that made a formal wedding possible.

On the plantation, the transfer of Christmas gifts from master to slave was often accompanied by a curious ritual. On Christmas day, “it was always customary in those days to catch people’s Christmas gifts, and they would give you something.” Slaves and children would lie in wait for these pittances.

This ironic annual inversion of power occasionally allowed slaves to acquire real power. Henry, a slave whose tragic life, and death are recounted in Martha Griffith Browne’s Autobiography of a Female Slave, saved “Christmas gifts in money” to buy his freedom. Some slaves saw Christmas as an opportunity to escape. They took advantage of relaxed work schedules and the holiday travels of slaveholders, who were too far away to stop them.

While some slaveholders presumably treated the holiday as any other workday, numerous authors record a variety of holiday traditions, including the suspension of work for celebration and family visits. Because many slaves had spouses, children, and family who were owned by different masters and who lived on other properties, slaves often requested passes to travel and visit family during this time. Some slaves used the passes to explain their presence on the road and delay the discovery of their escape through their masters’ expectation that they would soon return from their “family visit.”

Jermain Loguen plotted a Christmas escape, stockpiling supplies and waiting for travel passes, knowing the cover of the holidays was essential for success: “Lord speed the day freedom begins with the holidays!” These plans turned out to be wise, as Loguen and his companions were almost caught crossing a river into Ohio, but were left alone because the white men thought they were free men “who have been to Kentucky to spend the Holidays with their friends.” Harriet Tubman helped her brothers escape at Christmas.

Their master intended to sell them after Christmas but was delayed by the holiday. The brothers were expected to spend the day with their elderly mother but met Tubman in secret. She helped them travel north, gaining a head start on the master who did not discover their disappearance until after the holidays. Likewise, William and Ellen Crafts escaped together at Christmastime. They took advantage of passes that were clearly meant for temporary use.

Christmas could represent not only physical freedom but spiritual freedom, as well as the hope for better things to come. The main protagonist of Martha Griffin Browne’s Autobiography of a Female Slave, Ann, found little positive value in the slaveholder’s version of Christmas equating it with “all sorts of culinary preparations” and extensive house cleaning rituals but she saw the possibility for a better future in the story of the life of Christ.

“This same Jesus, whom the civilized world now worship as their Lord, was once lowly, outcast, and despised; born of the most hated people of the world . . . laid in the manger of a stable at Bethlehem . . . this Jesus is worshiped now”. For Ann, Christmas symbolized the birth of the very hope she used to survive her captivity. Not all enslaved African Americans viewed the holidays as a time of celebration and hope. Rather, Christmas served only to highlight their lack of freedom.

Frederick Douglass described the period of respite that was granted to slaves every year between Christmas and New Year’s Day as a psychological tool of the oppressor. In his 1845 Narrative, Douglass wrote that slaves celebrated the winter holidays by engaging in activities such as “playing ball, wrestling, running foot-races, fiddling, dancing, and drinking whiskey.” He took particular umbrage at the latter practice, which was often encouraged by slave owners through various tactics.

In My Bondage and My Freedom, Douglass concluded that “all the license allowed [during the holidays] appears to have no other object than to disgust the slaves with their temporary freedom, and to make them as glad to return to their work, as they were to leave it.” While there is no doubt that many enjoyed these holidays, Douglass acutely discerned that they were granted not merely in a spirit of charity or conviviality, but also to appease those who yearned for freedom, ultimately serving the ulterior motives of slave owners.

Now we know, and it was not all that grand occasion! That’s my Thought Provoking Perspective!

“Just a Season”

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AMAZON

Legacy – A New Season

Black By Popular Demand

I’ve received many emails recently telling me that I have begun to get too political and that I should continue to empower the consciousness of those who have no real connection or understand of the greatest story ever told, which is the African American Diaspora. I received one particular email from a young lady who could not remember when we were Negroes. As a result of this surprising revelation I promised that I would re-post my Black History Month Series “The Twenty-Eight Days of Us.”

Therefore, as I promised this proud Black Woman thirsting for knowledge of self that I would provide her and you with the knowledge she seeks. But I can’t resist talking about that insanity of this political season because it is important to understand that we have, but one choice which is to not to elect the Trumpeter as our president.

What struck me by this request was a comment she made. She said, “make it plain my brother.” This was something that Brother Malcolm used to say, and I was an honor to have been connected to such a powerful statement. So I will do just that and “Make It Plain” starting with this post called “What Happened to the Black Family”!

I have seen a lot of life and at one point in a past life, I taught a college course called the Psychology of the Black Family. From time to time I go back and look through some of those old term papers from that class to which I become enthralled by the content. The assignment given to each student was to write a term paper on “The Breakdown of the African American Family.” As I read through some of the thirty or so papers, I found several very significant points and a common theme throughout the papers. I decided to capture some of the key points from those research papers to share with you.

During slavery, and from the 1800’s through the 1980’s, the concept of family was tight-knit, strongly woven, and the envy of most cultures. The African American family unit survived in spite of unimaginable cruelty and adversity. It is only recently, during the last thirty years or so that the African American family became dysfunctional and lost its direction. One has to think for some twisted reason we do not feel whole because, in many cases, we allow others define us.

I can recall a powerful statement made by one of the students who expressed that she thinks the different social pressures on black men and women have contributed to the weak traditional family structure. Black women have been able to achieve more economical and educational success than black men, leading to them being higher wage earners. This inequality has eroded black women’s reliance on men and their willingness to compromise on their needs or expectations, which in turn has led to resentment and disappointment on both sides.

Black women raise children, too often alone, and the bitterness that difficult task creates causes some women to make derogatory complaints against men in general, tainting their daughters and shaming their sons. Also, it seems that black women do not often hold their sons to as high a standard as their daughters, making them further vulnerable.

If the proper behavior is not modeled for young people, they have difficulty fulfilling those expectations. This creates the perfect ingredients for the dismal situations to occur in our community. She went on to say that a lot of that has to do with our values, and the lack of knowing the importance of loving our communities, our families, and ourselves.

These are 12 conditions expressed that continue to cause irreparable harm to black people:

1. The Vietnam War: Hundreds of thousands of strong, intelligent, hard working black men were shipped abroad to be murdered, returned home shell shocked, severely damaged, or addicted. Many of which were unable to get back on track after returning from war because the government abandoned them.

2. COINTELPRO: The covert actions of J. Edgar Hoover in the wake of the Civil Rights Era and the Black Power Movements all but insured that anyone speaking out against the governments wrong doings would receive either long prison sentences or bullets. This fear silenced our forward progression, fueling distrust, and removing many of our leaders as well as potential future leaders.

3. The Assassinations of the 1960’s: Left a huge void in leadership that has yet to be filled, particularly within the Civil Rights Movement to include within the community. Instead, a universal acceptance of the pimp/hustler image in popular culture that presented alternative heroes to black youth, which resonant in the form of Gangster Rap. This genre leads to the glorification of the criminal element amidst immature minds that lack familial structure. In addition to black on black crime and staying silent while black youth are murdered by other black youth.

4. The Feminist Movement: Backed by liberal white women to fight for the equal rights of women; the same rights most black men had yet to fully be granted. A lot of black women got lost in the rhetoric of how men were keeping them down, losing sight of the fact that black men were down there with them. To this day, the power exchange and infighting among black men and women, is sadly considered the norm, a tool enumerated by Willie Lynch.

5. Oliver North & the Contras: The volume of drugs, mainly crack cocaine that flooded the black community during the 80 to which most of the drugs came in on U.S. ships with the support of the Government. The CRACK era escalated death and incarceration rates, unwanted pregnancies, neighborhood prostitution and a culture of violence. Folks were selling their kids to hit the pipe, and selling their souls to sell what went in that pipe. This epidemic destroyed our community in ways slavery could never have done. This form of contemporary was the cruelest type of slavery imposed upon our communities.

6. Mass media brainwashing & mind control: The influences of propaganda and distorted images of beauty and male/female roles. Shows like Life Styles of the Rich and Famous, Dynasty, Different Strokes, and the Jefferson’s for example. The American conscious during the 80’s was money driven. Materialism became the idea that stuff defines you and others.

7. Education: The lack of proper education, financing support, and knowledge being taught by African American professionals. In addition our leaders and academics failed us as they fled the hood in droves for the suburbs during those crazy 80’s. Prior to this period, kids saw on a daily basis married couples that looked like them, even if they didn’t live in their households. Yet the great migration to greener pastures left a void in the community leaving it to be filled by the image of the hustler-pimp-thug, ruthlessness, and violence.

8. Communication: This speaks to education of self and listening to the wrong messengers. The communication of values – parents became unavailable to hand down family legacies, traditions and value systems. We’re like POW’s locked in the same building for 20 years, unable to converse thru cement walls confined by our persona’s, egos, insecurities, isms etc.

9. The Black Church: Many churches have lost their way. The business of religion is bankrupting our communities. Many churches are not touching the lives of those outside of the church most in need. Just like back in the day when it was the design of slave masters, who did so much wickedness to use this as a tactic by offering a bible and in most instances nothing more than pain and a promise of a better life to keep us in line. This is not the same as faith which was necessary to survive our struggles.

10. Urbanization – work and home were once connected. Parents were near their families and children understood work as a way of life. Urbanization helped create “latch key” kids and images of hard work disappeared while replacing it with material objects.

11. Social Services: The advent of the system of welfare that demanded the absence of the influence of the black man in the home. Before Claudine during the early 50’s welfare was a Midwestern farmer hook up and back then you HAD to be a complete family to apply. So the laws for welfare changed in the inner-city while many in the farm lands of Mid America started to change in culture to fit the application for welfare. For decades to follow, trillions of dollars in government spending on ineffective social programs in our cities have not by enlarge benefited the mobility of the family.

12. Segregation: Jim Crow Laws and Black Codes that prevented legal marriages, dehumanized people, and discriminatory practices in work/education left many African Americans unable to access resources necessary to build strong family bases causing disillusioned men/husbands/fathers to abandonment rather than face daily reminder of their “failure”.

It is these elements that continue to affect all black people and lastly, let us not forget slavery and the Willie Lynch Theory! So when you look in the mirror or just look at the picture I have inserted; I hope you will think about and understand that it is a designed plan, as it has been from the beginning to enslave a whole race of people. And that’s my THOUGHT PROVOKING PERSPECTIVE!


The Birthplace Of Mankind

black prencessIn the beginning, there was a place of magnificent splendor was known as Pangaea where mankind was born. It consumed all of the earth’s land mass and was also the birthplace of civilization. Today, we know it, the center anyway, as Africa. Since the evolution of human existence, there have been many tribes, nations, countries, and cultures to dot its landscape. By virtue of its wealth, many of these civilizations of great stature have altered the course of the world.

So for the purposes of this historical narrative exploring the African American Diaspora, succinctly, I must start at the beginning. To take you on a journey that I believe is the greatest story ever told. I will begin at a time that is significant to the African American plight around 500 AD.

The region was on the coast of West Africa where there were three might empires that flourished. The empires of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai had powerful army’s and controlled great wealth that included large quantities of gold, fine manufactured goods, thriving agriculture, and enormous profits from trading.

Their empire’s economic strength and centralized political control made it easy to suppress revolts. The rulers of these nations were strong, surrounded by competent, loyal government officials, and military commanders who were able to unify empires composed of di­verse peoples with different languages, cultures, and geographic locations.

Ghana’s ascent to great power was directly related to its acquisition of gold. The name Ghana meant “warrior king,” used to refer to the empire because of its gold. It was written that Ghana’s gold was so abundant that the king’s dogs wore gold collars. Al-Bakri, an Arab geographer, wrote that the king owned a nugget of gold so big that he could tether his horse to it. At its height of power, Ghana had a functioning judiciary system and other institutions to govern the nation’s people. The empire was ruled by a king supported by several provincial governors and viceroys. Ghana dominated the Sudan for three hundred years.

The empire of Mali differed considerably from the Ghana. It became a mighty nation in the sev­enth century when the small Mandingo state on the upper Niger River was transformed by two great African leaders – Sundiata Keita and Mansa Musa. Although Sundiata Keita began to transform the state into a great empire, its growth was slow until Mansa Musa became its ruler.

Mansa Musa, a devout Muslim, set out in 1324 on a pilgrimage to Mecca, the holy city for Muslims. His entourage included about sixty thousand persons, including twelve thousand servants. As many as five hundred servants each carried a staff of pure gold weighing six pounds. Eighty camels carried an average of three hundred pounds of gold each. These riches were to be distributed as alms and gifts.

Upon his returned from his pilgrimage, Mansa Musa directed his architect to design buildings in Tim­buktu and other cities under his control. At times, Mali’s empire numbered far more than one hundred thousand people. During this time, Timbuktu itself had a population of more than one hundred thousand people. It was a busy place where merchants displayed their merchandise to local and international consumers. Caravans from distant places frequently came to Tim­buktu to exchange their exotic goods for gold.

Tim­buktu is believed to be the first great university, rising to its highest level of development during the Songhai’s empire between 1493 and 1529. During this time, the University of Timbuktu produced more than forty books on subjects ranging from logic, theology, ethics, mathematics, and rhetoric. Akmed Baba was the last chancellor of the University and was considered one of the great intellectuals of the sixteenth century.

In his thirty-six-year quest to make Songhai the most powerful empire in the world, Askia Mohammed embarked on an effort to expand trade to include European countries. He eventually controlled most of West Africa, an area larger than Europe. The Europeans took notice to its wealth and Askia’s greed or naiveté creating an inhumane partnership of destruction. It is my opinion and would argue this was a pivotal point in the history of our past because it was during his rule that the sale of Black slaves became a major business.

The decline of the Songhai Empire marked the end of the great West African empires. I believe it was as a result of entering into an unholy alliance to participate in the slave trade where millions were sold into bondage – never to return. As a result of this atrocity a new breed of human was created by European’s that became known as “Negro.” The great history of these people was erased and stolen from their consciousness thereby rendering them a lost people; A nation of people living in a nation without a nationality. This was the greatest crime the world has ever known!

There are others who claim that the collapse came from the collision of two great religions Islam and Christianity. To that point, I would like you to pay attention as we travel through the Chronicles with respect to the roles each of these religions played upon a naive people. Let me ask that you mindfully remind yourself that there was no word “GOD” in any African language before the coming Europeans nor was there a word “Allah” before the coming of Muslims.

Knowing that this group of people, who has endured so much degradation, now referred to as African Americans, stand on the shoulders of giants, should unite, stand proud and tall for we are the Alpha and the Omega! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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Good Advice Thursday

Many people have been fooled by the smiling faces of white folk telling black people that what you see happening in America is not what you think you see – all things are fair and just. Black people buy into that story hook line and sinker because the number one rule of white supremacy is “White is Right”.

They change the narrative to what they want you to believe. For example, they say Black Lives Matter is racist and you people should be saying All Lives Matter, which it is clear that just means white folk. All I have to suggest to you is:

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The police are there to kill you and there is proof they will! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


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The Most Profound Photo In All Sports

The million dollar slaves today, called athletes, would not dare stand together for anything like these great men stood together for a cause. We need this type of conviction today!

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And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


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