Tag Archives: slavery

Remember Juneteenth: A Day Of Celebration

Celebrate Juneteeth and Father’s DayJuneteenth is the oldest known celebration that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States. This celebration dates back to 1865 June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that those enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which became official January 1, 1863.

The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance. Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years.

The story that is often told is of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another story is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. Then there is yet another story that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All of which, or neither of these version could be true. Certainly, for some, President Lincoln’s authority over the rebellious states was in question. Regardless, the conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

One of General Granger’s first orders of business was to read to the people of Texas, General Order Number 3 which began most significantly with:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and free laborer.”

The reactions to this profound news ranged from pure shock to immediate jubilation. While many lingered to learn of this new employer to employee relationship, many left before these offers were completely off the lips of their former ‘masters’ – attesting to the varying conditions on the plantations and the realization of freedom. Even with nowhere to go, many felt that leaving the plantation would be their first grasp of freedom.

North was a logical destination and for many it represented true freedom, while the desire to reach family members in neighboring states drove the some into Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Settling into these new areas as free men and women brought on new realities and the challenges of establishing a heretofore non-existent status for black people in America. Recounting the memories of that great day in June of 1865 and its festivities would serve as motivation as well as a release from the growing pressures encountered in their new territory. The celebration of June 19th was coined “Juneteenth” and grew with more participation from descendants.

The Juneteenth celebration was a time for reassuring each other, for praying and for gathering remaining family members. Juneteenth continued to be highly revered in Texas decades later, with many former slaves and descendants making an annual pilgrimage back to Galveston on this date. A range of activities were provided to entertain the masses, many of which continue in tradition today. Juneteenth almost always focused on education and self-improvement. Thus, often guest speakers are brought in, and the elders are called upon to recount the events of the past. Prayer services were also a major part of these celebrations.

Dress was also an important element in early Juneteenth customs and is often still taken seriously, particularly by the direct descendants who can make the connection to this tradition’s roots. During slavery, there were laws on the books in many areas that prohibited or limited the dressing of the enslaved. During the initial days of the emancipation celebrations, there are accounts of former slaves tossing their ragged garments into the creeks and rivers to adorn clothing taken from the plantations belonging to their former ‘masters’.

Economic and cultural forces provided for a decline in Juneteenth activities and participants beginning in the early 1900’s. Classroom and textbook education in lieu of traditional home and family taught practices stifled the interest of the youth due to less emphasis and detail on the activities of former slaves. Classroom textbooks proclaimed Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863, as the date signaling the ending of slavery – and little or nothing on the impact of General Granger’s arrival on June 19th.

The Civil Rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s yielded both positive and negative results for the Juneteenth celebrations. While it pulled many of the African American youth away and into the struggle for racial equality, many linked these struggles to the historical struggles of their ancestors. This was evidenced by student demonstrators involved in the Atlanta civil rights campaign in the early 1960’s, whom wore Juneteenth freedom buttons. Again in 1968, Juneteenth received another strong resurgence through Poor Peoples March to Washington D.C. Rev. Ralph Abernathy’s call for people of all races, creeds, economic levels and professions to come to Washington to show support for the poor.

The future of Juneteenth looks bright as the number of cities and states creating Juneteenth committees continues to increase. Respect and appreciation for all of our differences grow out of exposure and working together. Getting involved and supporting Juneteenth celebrations creates new bonds of friendship and understanding among us. This indeed, brightens our future – and that is the Spirit of Juneteenth. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…

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Remembering: Fannie Lou Hamer

1Fannie Lou Hamer was one of the most courageous civil rights activist who was famous for saying she was sick and tired of the condition of black people, stood up and took a stand. She used a passionate depiction of her own suffering in a racist society helped focus attention on the plight of African Americans throughout the South. While working with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1964; Hamer helped organize the 1964 Freedom Summer African American voter registration drive in her native Mississippi.

Born Fannie Lou Townsend on October 6, 1917 in Montgomery County, Mississippi the daughter of sharecroppers, Hamer began working the fields at an early age. Her family struggled financially, and often went hungry. In the summer of 1962, she made a life-changing decision to attend a protest meeting. She met civil rights activists there who were there to encourage African Americans to register to vote.

Hamer became active in helping with the voter registration efforts, which few in Mississippi were brave enough to do. Hamer dedicated her life to the fight for civil rights, working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) after going involved with the struggle. This organization was comprised mostly of African American students who engaged in acts of civil disobedience to fight racial segregation and injustice in the South. These acts often were met with violent responses by angry whites.

At the Democratic National Convention later that year, she was part of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, an integrated group of activists who openly challenged the legality of Mississippi’s all-white, segregated delegation. For her devotion and commitment she paid a heavy price. She was beaten within an inch of her life. So brutally that it took months for her to recover but she never gave up the fight.

During the course of her activist career, Hamer was threatened, arrested, beaten, and shot at but none of these things deterred her from her work. In 1964, Hamer helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which was established in opposition to the state’s all-white delegation to that year’s Democratic convention. She brought the civil rights struggle in Mississippi to the attention of the entire nation during a televised session at the convention.

The next year, Hamer ran for Congress in Mississippi but was unsuccessful in her bid. Along with her political activism, Hamer worked to help the poor and families in need in her Mississippi community. She also set up organizations to increase business opportunities for minorities and to provide childcare and other family services.

Hamer died of cancer on March 14, 1977 from cancer. The encryption on her tombstone denotes her famous quote, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” I’ll ask, when will this statement impact your life, whereas you will affect change. Mrs. Hamer put her life on the line for freedom. The next time you look in the mirror, ask yourself – WOULD YOU? And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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The Origin Of Memorial Day

2Black folk celebrate every holiday with vigor, yet most don’t know the origins or the reason why. DID YOU KNOW? Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers, who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for two weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.

The truth is the custom of holding observances the laying of flowers on burial sites to remember and honor those who gave their lives in military service goes back many hundreds if not thousands of years. In the United States, that custom has long since been formalized in the creation of Memorial Day formerly known as Decoration Day. A federal holiday observed on the last Monday in May to remember the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

What we celebrate or know as the modern Memorial Day originated with an order issued in 1868 by Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, the commander in chief of the Grand Army of the Republic, for the annual decoration of war graves. Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. It is believed that date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremonies centered around the mourning-draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children of Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns.

The story of Memorial Day, some say, began in the summer of 1865, when a prominent local druggist, Henry C. Welles, mentioned to some of his friends at a social gathering while praising the living veterans of the Civil War; it would be well to remember the patriotic dead by placing flowers on their graves. On May 5, 1866, the Village was decorated with flags at half mast, draped with evergreens and mourning black. According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, roughly two dozen places claim to be the primary source of the holiday. An assertion found on plaques, on Web sites and in the dogged local historians across the country.

In his book Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory, Professor David W. Blight made the case for Charleston, South Carolina, as Memorial Day’s birthplace, as that city was the site of an obscure (possibly suppressed) May 1865 event held at a racetrack turned war prison. During which freedmen properly reburied hundreds of Union dead found there and then held a ceremony to dedicate the cemetery.

The official dedication ceremony was conducted by the ministers of all the black churches in Charleston with prayers, reading of biblical passages, and singing spirituals black Charlestonians gave birth to an American tradition. In so doing, they declared the meaning of the war in the most public way possible by their labor, their words, their songs, and their solemn parade of roses, lilacs, and marching feet on the old planters’ Race Course.

After the dedication, crowds gathered at the Racecourse grandstand to hear some thirty speeches by Union officers, local black ministers, and abolitionist missionaries. Picnics ensued around the grounds, and in the afternoon, a full brigade of Union infantry, including Colored Troops, marched in double column around the martyrs’ graves and held a drill on the infield of the Race Course. The war was over, and Memorial Day was founded by African Americans in a ritual of remembrance and consecration.

Professor Blight termed it “the first Memorial Day” because it predated most of the other contenders…” he said. Today, this celebration has morphed into, as Howard Zinn remarked: “Memorial Day will be celebrated … by the usual betrayal of the dead, by the hypocritical patriotism of the politicians and contractors preparing for more wars, more graves to receive more flowers on future Memorial Days. The memory of the dead deserves a different dedication.”

I am a veteran and have yet to receive any gratitude for my service in the war, came home, and was less free than when I left. However, I am very grateful I survived the carnage and horrors of it! The fact is, if we could stop war there would not be a reason to celebrate this day! Only the rich can truly celebrate this day because of the wealth they receive! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


White Fear Equals Racism

th-14This post is a “reblog” of an article written by April V. Taylor on the Kulture Kritic. She writes what the renowned linguist and activist Noam Chomsky has been speaking with philosopher George Yancy on the white fear as part of a feature for the New York Times.

In which they discusses race and racism in America pointing out the roots of deeply rooted in America’s soul and the legacy of black enslavement and subjugation in America. It is an impressive read going into detail about how “fears that the victims might rise up and take revenge are deeply rooted in American culture.”  This article articulates the foundation of what American Black people have known:

White People’s Fear Of Revenge For Slavery Is ‘Deeply Rooted In American Culture’

The conversation begins with Yancy pointing out that when terrorism and the United States are discussed, there is often an omission of “the fact that many Black people in the United States have had a long history of being terrorized by white racism.” Chomsky elaborates by saying, “We…cannot allow ourselves to forget that the hideous slave labor camps of the new ’empire of liberty’ were a primary source for the wealth and privilege of American society.” As Chomsky puts it, “The America that ‘Black people have always known’ is not an attractive one.”

When the exploited labor force of slaves was no longer available because of the abolition of slavery, “Blacks were arrested without real cause and prisoners were put to work for…business interests. The system provided a major contribution to the rapid industrial development from the late 19th century.” The Thirteenth Amendment’s Exception Clause, allowing slavery to continue if a person was convicted of a crime, was being used to its fullest extent. Reagan’s War on Drugs provided more Black bodies to be exploited for their labor, leading to what Michelle Alexander terms, the new Jim Crow.

While slavery, Jim Crow, and mass incarceration have been the source of innumerable tragedies, Chomsky points out that perhaps the greatest tragedy is America’s refusal to acknowledge its own history of oppression, violence and genocide. Chomsky describes it as an ‘intentional ignorance,’ that compels Americans to put the horrors of slavery, genocide, racism, and mass incarceration, “…behind us and march on to a glorious future, all sharing equally in the rights and opportunities of citizenry.”

While this may sound like a compelling ideal, it is reality is much uglier. Black people in America continue to fall at the bottom of nearly every statistical indicator for wealth, economics, education, and health while white America seems to all too easily forget how much their “wealth and privilege was created in no small part by the centuries of torture and degradation of which [white people] are the beneficiaries,” and Black people are the victims.

Hundreds of years of forced labor, racism and subjugation have inevitably led to resentment and anger, and Chomsky does not shy away from acknowledging that white people have long been gripped by the fear that those they have oppressed will rebel against the forced racial hierarchy.

Chomsky states, “Some of the slave-owners, like Jefferson, appreciated the moral turpitude on which the economy relied. But he feared the liberation of slaves, who have ‘ten thousand recollections’ of the crimes to which they were subjected. Fears that the victims might rise up and take revenge are deeply rooted in American culture, with reverberations to the present.” Alongside this acknowledgement, Chomsky admits that there is not easy answer to ending racism, no magic wand that can erase hundreds of years of violence and terrorism against non-white American citizens.

Most people and surely white folk know that black people have been subjugated, enslaved, oppressed, and still some people pretend this is not true. This article clearly sums up why the centuries of oppression exists, which drives the fear and need for whites to maintain the system of white supremacy and privilege; it is the fear of another Nat Turner like rebellion ever present that one day there will be payback directed at the dominant society [whites] on mass for the “sins of their fathers”. And this is a world phenomena! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


The Unspoken Truth

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I celebrate Black History every day – 365 days a year. It has been nearly 400 years since that fateful or should I say infamous day in the year of our Lord 1619. When the first African was dragged onto the shores of this place the slaves called “merica” – nothing has changed for black people! These people were physical slaves, but today most are locked in mental bondage. Sure there are a few black faces in high places but some will say these people are bought and sold by the dominant culture doing nothing the masses of the race. This group still, for the most part, remains in a destitute situation compared to the “Real Americans”. Therefore, through this blog, I write articles specifically designed to be a potent source of empowering knowledge for the enhancement of the minds of mankind.

In today’s world, they tell us that the gay movement is the new civil rights movement and that black people have “overcome.” Like Malcolm told us; we have been, hoodwinked! Black people have yet, in spite of government law, to obtain their rights as a human beings and nothing close to what is called civil rights. It is my sincere wish that black people not continue to fall into the trap of divide and conquer, which has worked so well for so long. Let us understand the phenomenal history and difficult struggles of the African American experience and learn from the mistakes of the past. Our story is the “Greatest Story Ever Told!!!

The legacy of dependency, apathy, and entrenchment of the American social order from its beginning provides clear evidence of those with a diabolical intent to bankrupt the souls of African Americans based on an ideology of supremacy. The remnants of stolen souls exist today within the people of color, who bear the burden of a system that perpetrated, in the name of God, the greatest crime known to man. Hence, from the beginning, people of African descent were intended to be a nation of people living within a nation without a nationality.

This is without question “The Unspoken Truth”. The words herein are intended to empower by educating people through knowledge concerning issues that many blacks continue to face today from the untreated wounds of America’s forefathers. Let us understand through this knowledge-based examination of the African American Diaspora that I simply offer explanations whereby we can look at and understand the root-cause of the asymptomatic behaviors.

Some people call it a conditioning in “certain” communities while others may call it the Willie Lynch Syndrome. Nonetheless, my view is not an excuse, rather an explanation as to why these behaviors were never unlearned and had been passed down from generation to generation. Over my relatively short lifetime, I have been referred to as Colored, Negro, Afro-American, Black, and an African American, which were the polite terms assigned to make known that people of African Descent were not American citizens.

The concept of African Americans being slaves, physically or mentally, is as old as the nation itself, designed to deprive a people of its culture and knowledge through sustained policies of control. To overcome these indignities, we must realize that education is the single most important ingredient necessary to neutralize the forces that breed poverty and despair. Regardless of how much we are held down, it is our responsibility to find a way to get up, even if the system is designed to protect the system.

We must teach and know that “learning without thought is labor lost; thought without learning is intellectual death, and courage is knowing what’s needed and doing it.” As tenacious beings, we must understand that there is no such thing as an inferior mind. So I say, it’s time for an awakening, if for no other reason than to honor those who sacrificed so much so that we could live life in abundance.

Be brave and remember this: “You only have a minute. Sixty seconds in it. Didn’t choose it, can’t refuse it, it’s up to you to use it. It’s just a tiny little minute but an eternity in it. You can change the world, but first, you must change your mind”. It is time for change and time for a movement! And that is my thought provoking perspective…

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Mental Conditioning: We Are All Brainwashed

Some have proclaimed that a slave was born. I disagree with this notion because a slave was made by means of a defined calculated, and well thought-out plan devised for the purpose of being a beast of burden. We know the reason for this atrocity was to build a nation stolen by others to obtain wealth. But what is not understood, en mass, is how it was designed to be sustainable and that varying forms reappear overtime and this footnote to history have been erased.

This reminds me of the powerful words Harriet Tubman expressed succinctly concerning the effectiveness of this system of mental conditioning. She 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.”

From that day in 1619, when it is believed the first Africans were dragged onto the shores of Jamestown to today where we’ve witnessed the first man of color elected President of these United States (or as Jesse would put it – from the outhouse to the White House), there is no doubt that our story is the greatest story ever told.  As it was said in scripture, “the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” But let’s understand that there was a plan, a sinister plan, conceived at some point to ensure that people of our hue remain the least of thee.

As the story goes, a British slave owner from the West Indies was invited to Virginia sometime during the year 1712 to teach his methods to slave owners. Willie Lynch was the name of the man credited with a speech delivered on the banks of the James River. It is noteworthy to mention that the James River was named for the diabolical King of England, who was ironically the same guy responsible for the twenty-eighth version of the cherished Holy Bible.

Lynch brought with him, as he put it, a foolproof method for controlling black slaves that will last for a thousand years. Consequently, it is believed the term “lynching” was derived from his last name as a way to pay homage to him for delivering this ingenious approach. The name Willie Lynch is interesting because it may be a simple play on words. For example, Will Lynch or Will he Lynch. Whatever the reason, it no doubt had significant psychological implications that played heavily on a naive race of people.

Lynch began his historic presentation with a warm greeting: “Gentlemen, you know what your problems are; I do not need to elaborate. I am not here to enumerate your problems. I am here to introduce you to a method of solving them. In my bag here, I have a foolproof method for controlling your black slaves. I guarantee every one of you that if installed correctly it will control the slaves for at least three hundred years. My method is simple…The black slave after receiving this indoctrination shall carry on and will become self refueling and self generating for hundreds of years, maybe thousands…..” The seeds of devastation were fertilized, and the process of destruction was underway for the making of a race into slaves.

In the speech, Lynch outlined a number of differences among the slaves. He stressed to his audience that they should take these differences and make them bigger. These differences included such things as age, color, intelligence, fine hair vs. coarse hair, tall vs. short, male vs. female. These tactics were not new; however they were more than likely put together collectively for this specific purpose for the first time as keys to control.

This short eight paragraph speech was profound in that it was the embodiment of the cruelest demoralizing agenda ever imposed upon a people since the days when the Romans crucified our Lord. As Lynch closed his speech that day, he said, “They must love, respect, and trust only us.” This is the key to producing a successful strategy. Whether this story is true or not is cause for speculation, however, as history demonstrates; a manufactured plan was developed by someone to achieve these results that continue to this day.

The Willie Lynch letter first appeared in the early 1970’s but gained widespread notice during the nineties, when it began appearing on the Internet. Since then, it has often been promoted as an authentic account of slavery during the 18th century, but its inaccuracies and anachronisms have led historians to conclude that it is a hoax. Let’s be honest; I don’t think any reasonable person would think that those persons present, if there was a meeting, took written notes. However, the same reasonable thinking person can see that there was a designed plan created by someone in order to sustain such division. It may have been something as simple as “divide and conquer.”

So let’s suppose the Willie Lynch story is a modern creation, either the concept was ingenious or the biggest urban myth ever. Then it begs the question, why are we still fighting amongst ourselves. Further, how can the ruling people, or anyone for that matter, justify a philosophy for building and maintaining a government which sanctioned murder, among other atrocities, to enslave human beings?  This I know, and mind you, I was not taught this in school nor did anyone explain that the government, through legislative sessions, passed laws to ensure that our bondage was sustained.

This wicked system was sanctioned by the church in the name of God. Therefore, it is important to understand, when the church endorsed slavery and the vehicle that drove it; this meant in the eyes of the system that God himself authorized this immoral agenda. If this was the mentality of the church, and it is a historical fact that religion sanctioned and justified enslaving people for centuries. It begs the question, does that mentality still exist? And that is my Thought Provoking Perspective…

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Damn White People

001They, white folk, blame black people for everything and take every opportunity to use “black on black crime” for all of America’s ills. For example, take the former Mayor of New York city who recently said that black people should do a better job of raising their children and they might not get killed. I remind him that they, white people, hung black men in their Sunday bests and in suits! This remark is coming from a man that has had three wives and his own children hate him. I don’t know if he or most white folk are in any position to speak on the subject of black lives, particularly, when they have done everything to destroy black lives. What happens is that black people have more laws imposed on them than created for them.

But now, like in the Wizard of Oz, the curtain has been removed to expose the ilk hiding behind the scenes at Fox News. For example, Bill O has been fired and they paid him 25 million dollars to leave. Now we can see the real bigotry behind the GOP and clearly the new president who seems like the leader of the KKK! At his rallies you hardly see a black face in the crowd let alone working at the event. Those folks cheered their fascist standard bearer who is more like a Hitler figure than a president, but the bigot’s praise this guy with great fervor. If there was any doubt about white folk, they are clearly on display and the world is laughing!

These folks have been on the wrong side of every issue; voting rights, health care, and their favorite target was the black president. Trump and others seem to have selective memory and have forgotten the mess that the last Republican president left the country in 2006; yes Bush and company was the biggest disaster the nation has ever seen – until now. Of course, their bigotry cannot give credit to President Obama for saving the nation from financial ruin for what Bush created. So they hate him and his family. Trump has been in office about a month and his has taken a weekly vacation, signed dozens executive orders, they think he is doing great because he is white!

The Republicans found fault in everything president Obama did in spite of the fact that he has done remarkable things that no other president has done and by the way with not had a hint of scandal during his entire presidency. This new guy has a new scandal every day! Let be mindful of the past several Republican presidents; one resigned in disgrace along with his Vice President; Reagan had half of his senior leadership going to prison (26 in all); Reagan was caught bringing drugs into black communities; Bush Sr. started a needless war and so did Bush Jr. who was a disgrace from his neglect of Katrina to lying about taking the country to war in the Middle East. All were disgraceful concerning their duties by any reasonable measure.

Now let’s take about the present where the GOP’s propaganda machine, Fox News, that has been revealed as an operation that turns out to be what amounts to a “pimp and hoes” operation. Yet, there is not a word from them about Trump’s predatory behavior. These folks champion all the wrong things while calling themselves patriots. Pick the topic they are wrong on the issue. I thought they reach deep and hit the bottom of the barrel when they picked Palin, but no I was wrong they have now picked Trump. Damn white people!!!

However, the most despicable behavior, in my opinion, is their denial of the countless murders of unarmed black people at the hands of the police. They see the killing on video and claim we did not see what we thought we saw. This talking point goes back to the Rodney King beating saying that nobody saw what happened before the killing. Like the kid in Cleveland who was a threat to the police, when he was shot in 2 seconds by the police. Of course Chicago is their battle cry and a reason they say, they should send in federal troops. Worse yet, there was a Fox News guy who said the slaves who built the White House were fed and had sheltered. Despicable!

The best they can come up with is a racist like Trump and his Klan gang! The only truth Trump has told was the system is rigged and rigged to benefit crooks like him. The fact is black people have been saying that since 1619. No wonder slavery happened and it was very real – it’s in their DNA as evident by their candidate for president! And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


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