Tag Archives: Native Americans

The Scene Of The Crime

16266194_1576646812351280_7451924563813283492_nTo know America is to go back to the beginning, which means when the robbed the Native American’s and stole the land murdering them and instituting the ungodly system of slavery. It all began in a place called The Jamestown Colony, England’s first permanent settlement in North America. It was a marshy wasteland, poor for agriculture and a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.

The settlement was such a harsh environment that only thirty-two of the estimated one hundred original settlers survived the first seven months. His-Story describes this as the “starving times” but all would change. It is also important to note the beginning of the most horrible crime the world has ever know – slavery!

On August 20, 1619, the first African “settlers” reached North America as cargo on board a Dutch man-of-war ship that rode the tide into Jamestown, Virginia carrying Captain Jope and a cargo of twenty Africans. It seems strange to me, but history cannot tell us why this mysterious ship anchored off Jamestown. It is believed the captain needed food and in exchange for food he offered his cargo of Africans as payment.

When the deal was consummated, Antoney, Isabella, and eighteen other Africans disembarked. Although they were not the first Africans to arrive in North America, they were the first African “settlers”. Regarded as indentured servants rather than slaves fifteen were purchased to serve their redemption time working for Sir George Yardley, the Governor of Virginia and proprietor of the thousand-acre Flowerdew Hundred Plantation.

In ten years, by the 1630’s, the colony had established a successful economy based on tobacco through the use of the Africans. Slavery was born, and slave trading became big business. These human souls were acquired in Africa for an average price of about twenty-five dollars each, paid primarily in merchandise. They were sold in the Americas for about one hundred fifty dollars each. As the price of slaves increased, so did the inhumane overcrowding of the ships.

This was the beginning of the worst crime every inflicted upon a people and the most morally reprehensible agenda the world has ever known. Adding to this injustice and more horrifying was that the perpetrators believed their actions were sectioned by God with a religious manifestation that justified Slavery. The next two-hundred years was a designed systematic effort to destroy millions of lives through in documentation, brutality, savagery, and terror. I am always struck by the use of the word civilization in this matter because the root word is “civil” and there is/was NOTHING civil about the institution of slavery, which means chattel making human beings property and servants for life.

The business of slave trading had one purpose – PROFIT. The process would begin with the African being paid to venture into the interior of the continent, capture other Africans, put them on a death march to the coast and sell their captives to Europeans. Now, if capturing and stealing the victims was not misery enough what was to follow surely was in every sense of the word.

A typical slave ship traveling from Gambia, the Gold Coast, Guinea, or Senegal would take four to eight weeks to reach New England, Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico, or the West Indies. Africans from Senegal were the most prized because many were skilled artisans. Ibos from Calabar were considered the most undesirable because of their, high suicide rate. Women, men, and children were crammed so tightly in the ships that out of a load of seven hundred, three or four slaves would be found dead each morning.

Most ships had three decks with the lower two used for transporting slaves. The lowest deck extended the full length of the ship and was no more than five feet high. The captives were packed into tomb like compartments side by side to utilize all available space. In the next deck, wooden planks like shelves, extended from the sides of the ship where the slaves were chained in pairs at the wrists and ankles crammed side by side. Men occupied middle shelves and were most often chained in pairs and bound to the ship’s gunwales or to ringbolts set into the deck. Women and children were sometimes allowed to move about certain areas of the ship.

There was no sanitation, although buckets were provided for use as toilets, which were not regularly emptied. The ships smelled of excrement, disease, and death. It is estimated that between 15 and 20 percent of the slaves died in route to the colonies, mostly from diseases associated with overcrowding, spoiled or poisoned food, contaminated water, starvation, thirst, and suicide. Others were thrown overboard; shot, or beaten to death for various reasons.

A typical slave ship coming directly to the American mainland from Africa weighed about one to two hundred tons, although some were slightly larger. Slave ships were eventually built especially for human cargo. These slave ships could carry as many as four hundred slaves and a crew of forty-seven, as well as thirteen thousand pounds of food. They were long, narrow, fast, and designed to direct air below decks. Shackling irons, nets, and ropes were standard equipment.

The competition at slave markets on the African coast grew so exceptionally that historians estimate that as many as 60 million human souls were captured and taken from the continent of Africa to be sold into bondage. It is estimated that as many as one-third of that number did not survive the trip called the “Middle Passage” to reach the shores of a place like Jamestown in the name of God.

Did you know the first registered slave ship was named “The Good Ship Jesus” and in the name of God the greatest crime the world has known began in this place called “Jamestown.”

I am reminded of the powerful words of Sojourner Truth who was asked shortly before her death, if she knew how many slaves she freed while conducting the Underground Railroad. She did not think about it – replying quickly, “I could have freed a lot more if they had only known they were slaves.”

My hope is that one day the devastating effect of bondage will be removed, and we will be able to join hands and sing the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.” And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

 


The Messenger Of Truth

007_1000I am a huge fan of wordsmiths and in my view the greatest unheralded voice of our time was Gilbert “Gil” Scott-Heron; a genius of a musician, song writer, and author. However, Gil was known primarily for his work as a messenger thought his the art of spoken word. His heyday was during the 1970s and 80s but his legacy is everlasting. His vocal stylings as he put it, was that of a “bluesologist”, which he is defined by others as “a scientist who is concerned with the origin of the blues.”

The music of Gil Scott Heron, most notably on Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. His recorded work received much critical acclaim, especially one of his best-known compositions “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised“. His poetic style has influenced hip-hop where those artists referred to him as the Godfather. Gil’s music was a genre all to itself and worthy of recognition because he was a head of his time and courageous enough to speak truth to power on behalf of the powerless.

What we are seeing today is his prophetic prophesy. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

Winter in America 
From the Indians who welcomed the pilgrims
And to the buffalo who once ruled the plains
Like the vultures circling beneath the dark clouds
Looking for the rain
Looking for the rain
Just like the cities staggered on the coastline
Living in a nation that just can’t stand much more
Like the forest buried beneath the highway
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow
 
And now it’s winter
Winter in America
Yes and all of the healers have been killed
Or sent away, yeah
But the people know, the people know
It’s winter
Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
‘Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your soul, Lord knows
From Winter in America
 
The Constitution
A noble piece of paper
With free society
Struggled but it died in vain
And now Democracy is ragtime on the corner
Hoping for some rain
Looks like it’s hoping
Hoping for some rain
 
And I see the robins
Perched in barren treetops
Watching last-ditch racists marching across the floor
But just like the peace sign that vanished in our dreams
Never had a chance to grow
Never had a chance to grow
 
And now it’s winter
It’s winter in America
And all of the healers have been killed
Or betrayed
Yeah, but the people know, people know
It’s winter, Lord knows
It’s winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
Save your souls
From Winter in America
 
And now it’s winter
Winter in America
And all of the healers done been killed or sent away
Yeah, and the people know, people know
It’s winter
Winter in America
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows, nobody knows
And ain’t nobody fighting
Cause nobody knows what to save

Rest In Peace my brother. Thank you for the messages. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Search For Justice

200x200Black People, Native Americans, and other so-called minorities have prayed, marched, protested, and in search of justice, probably since time began; certainly since white supremacy ruled the world. There have been this movement or that, a group or two who fought for justice supposedly but in the hundreds of years of so-call civilization one who think we might have found some symbolic of this they call Liberty for the least of thee! However, history has proven this has not been the case.

There was the Abolition Movement, the Niagara Movement, and the Civil Rights Movement; today there is the Black Lives Matter Movement that has brought much-needed attention to the disparity in the way terror is inflicted on these groups of people. The criminal justice system treats African Americans dreadfully. But seemingly, all of movements have only made minimal strides in the brown people’s quest for justice. Case in point, the police still kill unarmed black man, women, and children with regard for consequences.

So why is it that in four hundred years of terror there is no solutions? In the United States today, the civil justice system is the last line of defense for people wronged who have faced discrimination or abuse from the system. Lawsuits and the threat of lawsuits have been the most effective way to force recalcitrant governments, institutions, and individuals to take action against harm and/or terror arising from discriminatory and racial acts of violence.

Of course knowing that the system is designed to protect the system courthouses are not open to all. The way cases are handled can intentionally throw up barriers to justice. The main reason I would say few people can afford to pay a good attorney to handle their particular matter. One thing the OJ case showed was that if you have the means, it does not matter the crime – you will walk. Other than OJ, for most black folk, the problem is even worse. Most of us cannot afford what it cost to price of justice.

What is more appalling is that in all these years not one of the so-called leader have focused on building an organization to defend those they claim to help. In most cases, I would argue they are being paid by the very system we fight. Every other ethnic group has an arm or association to defend their people, but not the least of thee; black folk and Native Americans. For example look at what is happening with the Standing Rock protests!

Black folk has been marching for eons and what has been the result – sore feet and that good old Christian fellowship – hymns and prayers. But black folk have to deal with another dangerous issue, which is if the case gets to a trial and it takes a long time the bigger issue is jurors are particularly sensitive to cases involving race because of the racial makeup, beliefs, and prejudices. Which means race will make them look at race as not credible, or doesn’t believe that race was a factor.

So let’s say your child was gunned down like Tamir Rice – think about how long ago that was and still no justice! There are deep-seated flaws in the civil and criminal justice system that should not be ignored. Race matter and the outcome or a search for justice directly affects the outcome. A Supreme Court Justice wrote in his remarks in the case of Plessey v. Ferguson that “there are no rights a black man has that a white man is bound to respect.”

They people, black people in particular, thinking just wait till you die and the Heavenly Father will work it out and take care of you. Not – dead is dead! I am one who believes the answer to the problem of injustice is simple – boycott. Do not spend you many with those who disrespect you and violate your interest! Until then we will never overcome! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


A Day of Thanks and Giving

11Thanksgiving is a season that should be for reflection on successes, challenges, and life’s many blessings. As I reflect on the year that was, I am thankful that I woke up this morning, and you should be too. I cannot understand, and dare I say believe that we live in a country once known as the breadbasket of the world; yet we see and witness so much hunger in the land. Our government in an attempt to camouflage the impact of this suffering has created a new phrase – “Food Insecurity.” SHOCKING!!!

I am one who firmly believes that giving of yourself to the benefit of others is humanities greatest gift. Being a benevolent spirit, I have experienced my share of mountains, milestones, and valleys. Also, my generosity has sometimes been viewed as a weakness, which I am pleased to say that it has not turned my heart into stone. To that point, my heart requires the blessings and the reward of giving. However, what I have learned is that you don’t give to those who want your help, rather to those who need your help!

LAW AND ORDER THEME! Now, that brings me to Thanksgiving!

In the supposed richest nation in the world, we live in a nation of rampant hunger, homelessness, and despair. The Bible tells us that when Jesus faced such challenges, in one case, he took two fish and a loaf of bread and fed his legion of his followers. There are many churches, community group, and non-profits that are desperately modeled on the tradition of giving trying to meet the needs of many, and I applauded them for their compassion. But our government would rather support the greedy than the needy. We have enough bombs to destroy the entire universe, yet most of the planet is starving or as they might say suffer from “Food Insecurity.”

It was almost fifty years ago, when then President Johnson, declared a “War on Poverty” and today there is more poverty than ever. Why? I think it’s important to note that you don’t have to be on the streets to be struggling with hunger and yes, despair. If the rich who have all the advantages are struggling with this crisis; how do you think the least of thee is fairing? I must ask, where is the mercy and compassion for humanity?

Let’s forget about the notion that America really cares because we witnessed just a few years ago a major city drowned and the country consciously watched. Of course, our government will find and send billion to “help” any other nation on the planet. But my question is; if you opened your heart to help another soul during this so-called special day, what will you do on Friday and in the days that follow. Does it, make you feel good, to do this good deed on this so-called holiday or is it like Sunday when you go to church and leave the message there until next week?

The whole concept of Thanksgiving is a misnomer – it is a commercial event. The origins began in 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged as one of the first Thanksgiving celebration in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of millions.

Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country. Historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.

So, like I said, let’s forget about those views and look at your neighbors, community, or in the mirror and realize that it is an issue, crisis, that affects mankind, real people, human beings, and yes, children. Thanksgiving should not be a day created for parades, football, and self. You might also want to consider that next year it might be you facing homelessness and hunger.

Lastly, an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity. So let’s make this day one of being thankful and giving. Just remember that you were born to become a blessing: BE ONE!!! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Biggest Issue Of Our Time

2In today’s world, everyone with an issue feels their issue is the biggest issue we face. The LBGT community calls their issue the “New Civil Rights” issue. There are many who say it is health care; others will say it Women’s Rights”; still others will say its “Race” and the list goes on and on… Now, equality is involved in the grievances of whoever has an issue. I agree with all who face discrimination! However, I happen to believe, notwithstanding anyone’s issue, that the biggest issue we face as humans is that of “Income Equality.”

Regardless of where you live without money, you are a slave. Let me ask, when was the last time you got a pay raise. Facts indicate that the income for what we commonly refer to as the 1% have increased significantly and often. Here in America the imposed Free Trade Agreements foster low wages because sending jobs offshore significantly impede both jobs and wages. This is not just an American issue – it is a worldwide concern.

In his “apostolic exhortation,” Pope Francis recently stated that “today we… have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality.” President Obama has remarked that the result of technological, social and political change “is an economy that’s become profoundly unequal and families that are more insecure.” These two men are the two most powerful men in the world; the Pope and the president saying the same thing and neither does anything about it.

Between 1870 and 2000, distribution of incomes of world households became hugely unequal. What does not seem to matter where you were born wealth remains with a relatively few people. If global inequality has indeed fallen, that would be the first time in two centuries. Any small reduction in inequality is the consequence of two off-setting forces: relatively fast growth of average incomes in some very large poor countries, notably China and India, and rising inequality within almost all countries, notably including China.

The level of concentration of income in America has not been constant throughout its history. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer! Going back to the early 20th Century, when income statistics started to become available, there has been a “great economic arc” from high inequality “to relative equality and back again,” in the words of Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman. In a New York Times editorial, Krugman suggests that those numbers do indeed show that today the top 10 percent now has half of all U.S. income.

In 1915, an era in which the Rockefellers and Carnegie dominated American industry, the richest 1% of Americans earned roughly 18% of all income. By 2007, the top 1 percent account for 24% of all income. In between, their share fell below 10% for only three decades. Concerning the nation’s wealth, rather than income as of 2011; the top 1 percent control 40 percent of all wealth.

At the same time, the federal minimum wage for American workers is $7.50 per hour. Unemployment has remained around 8% for a decade. The government cuts assistance for help to the needy in both unemployment and food stamp programs. The recent presidential candidate actually said, 47% of Americans he could forget and they did not count.

Let me leave you with this: there was a horrible system sanctioned by the government called slavery. In comparing the way the system is working for most Americans is very much like slavery with the difference being the new masters practices what I called the Judas Principle – no conscience and they have sold their souls for… SILVER! Therefore, the age old practice of divide and conquer works as we see on group pitted against another. When the real issue, the common issue, we all face is “Income and Equality.” And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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REBELLION: Black Seminole John Horse

09The story of John Horse and the Black Seminoles of Florida has been largely untold for their accomplishments creating the largest haven in the American South for runaway slaves. In a more profound way than Nat Turner’s rebellion, Horse led the largest slave revolt in United States history. He was at the forefront to secure the only emancipation of rebellious slaves before the Civil War. He was a leader in what formed the largest mass exodus of slaves across the United States and, ultimately, to Mexico. I have to say this is surely a little known black history fact.

John Horse was a Black Seminole and a military adviser to Chief Osceola, and a leader of Black Seminole units fighting against United States troops during the Seminole Wars in Florida. Horse was born around 1812 in Florida as a Seminole slave. He assumed the surname of his owner, Charles Cavallo, who may also have been his father. “Horse” is the meaning of Cavallo. His mother may have been of mixed African-Indian parentage and was possibly owned by Charles Cavallo as well. However, not much is known about Charles Cavallo.

Horse was thought to be born the same year the War of 1812 broke out between the United States and the Great Britain. When General Andrew Jackson invaded the area, he scattered the tribal peoples and their black allies. The First Seminole War occurred during Horse’s childhood. During the Second Seminole War of 1835 to 1842, Horse served as a sub-chief of the Seminoles and negotiated with the U.S Army.

Horse was given his freedom by General Worth for his service to the U.S. in the latter days of the Second Seminole War in Florida. Horse had taken advantage of General Thomas Jesup’s promise of freedom to escaped slaves who would surrender and accept removal to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi.

Horse’s wife and children were also removed to Indian Territory but did not gain freedom by his service, so they were at risk from slave traders. With other Seminole, Horse was shipped from Tampa Bay to New Orleans and then to the Indian Territory, which is now Oklahoma. There he settled with the Seminole and Black Seminole, who had accepted removal. In the Indian Territory, Horse rose as a leader of the Black Seminole.

He accepted a job as an interpreter for the US Army. They asked him to help persuade remaining insurrectionists in Florida to surrender and relocate to Indian Territory. Horse returned to Florida in 1839 to recruit people for removal. He returned to Indian Territory in 1842 along with some 120 Seminole, who had been captured and deported.

Conflict arose as the Seminoles had been placed on the Creek people reservation from which the Seminole had earlier established their independence. Many Creek’s were slaveholders, and they raided the Black Seminole settlements to kidnap people for enslavement. In 1844, Horse traveled to Washington DC to seek a separate land grant for the Seminole. After failing to secure a treaty, Horse returned to Indian Territory. Horse traveled back to Washington to lobby General Jesup, for a separate reservation. Jesup granted the Fort Gibson area to the Seminole.

During Horse’s time in Washington, then Attorney General John Mason ruled that as most of the Black Seminole were descendants of fugitive slaves. Thus legally still considered born into slavery, he could not protect them from slave raiders. More than 280 Black Seminoles, including Horse’s family, were at risk of being captured for sale as slaves. He died en-route to Mexico City in 1882, intending to try to gain more land rights for his people in northern Mexico. Several hundred descendants of Black Seminoles, known as Mascogos, still reside in Coahuila.

 

The video below tells a more detailed view of the life of this “hero.” And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

 


Thanksgiving

2The history of America is littered with crimes against many nations and the people on its stolen land; from the massacres of the Native American’s under the guise of “Manifest Destiny” to the enslavement of people of African American descent. On a day that has nothing to do with being thankful, rather an economic celebration of one of America’s earliest crimes derived from one of history’s biggest lies. However, I am thankful to be alive but living for most black and poor people is a life very different from those of privilege!

This day should be rooted and derived from something like the Sermon on the Mount since America proclaims to be a Christian nation. It was said in that sermon that the first will be last, and the last will be first. It was also mentioned something about the least of thee. With regard to black people’s oppression and the near weekly murders at the hands of the police, we have been first at last for a long time and the least of thee. As we witness the uprisings across the nation and dare, I say around the world. The time is ripe to expose wrongs and make them right.

We hear the common mantra that this is a nation of laws to which they neglect to add that those laws were written for and by white people for the benefit of white people etched in and established by the Constitution. What I see, as a product of the 1960s, is that “we remain a nation of people living in a nation without a nationality and treated as such!” In short this means black people’s lives are of no value.

Just a little historical perspective here; we know black people and men, in particular, were lynched throughout the history of America. However, it was one particular incident in 1955 with the murder of Emmitt Till that sparked a revolution [Civil Rights Movement] that changed the world and improved the lives of every black person thereafter. In addition, the people of that day who had the courage to rise up against the system of injustice were young people. In fact, Dr. King was only in his mid-twenties.

Other more militant groups emerged when young people realized prayer and peacefully begging for the most basic human rights did not work nor has it ever. The system, police, and government destroyed those organizations except those whites control, which is most. I knew people, then as I see now, who says everything is fine, and there is no reason to express outwardly outrage. I’ll tell you why; silent is a more destructive force imposed on the mind of the hopeless and feeds the systemic oppression that will continue.

Fast forward to today with the murder of another child [17 years old] shot instantly without a chance. However, Mick Brown’s death has galvanized people like nothing since the murder of Emmitt Till. I admire the young people for standing up, rising up, and organizing against the travesties of police killings. They organize, today, much like the did in the 1960s against government sanctioned and the license for what they call “righteous kills” and abuses never any accountability.

I am thankful today that we have video cameras and that no long can they cover up killings, like they tried to do in Chicago. No longer can they tell people anything or half of the truths and expect the lies to be believed as truth or accepted. The protesters today are not your father’s protesters – these are the children born the philosophy of Malcolm X, Stokely, Rap Brown, and some with a little of Nat Turner in their blood. Not that of Martin or the organizations of the big six who sang “We Shall Overcome” more than fifty years ago because this generation sees that “We Have Not Overcome”!

As you celebrate this day, that pays homage to terrorism, which represent the slaughter of millions of the native people that continue. Stop for a moment and say, “enough is enough” of the terror inflicted upon black people and say this murderous assault upon our people and children must stop. Or next time it could be you or your child. Take a stand and remember what Nat Turner said minutes before he was hung – “They Crucified Jesus didn’t they”.

So let me wish each of you a Happy Savage Day and say what I am thankful for today is that this generation’s devotion and willingness to seek justice by any means necessary and yes I know Black Lives Matter! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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