Bending to Justice

It has been recorded that the first slave rebellion occurred in 1739 in the colonies when African slaves sought their freedom from human traffickers.   The trend, contrary to popular belief and most popular slave narratives, rebellions were a real issue.  Not only did slavers employ patrols that evolved into America’s modern day police, but psychological and tactical measures to prevent them.

As the abducted Africans began to amalgamated into the resilient African Americans of today, their determination for freedom became increasingly clear.  Even in the face of being a minority population, Africans-Americans continue to push for freedom, greater civil rights and now reparations for years of disenfranchisement from US government policy and local practice. The “Negro Problem, ” that the barbarous ones lamented,  would not disappear.

“One had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap”

~Ida B. Wells, Journalist.

In 2020 a UN CERD Committee Report called on the United States to render reparations to African Americans; determining African Americans had a right to reparations and redress.  Although only 13-14 percent of the population African Americans account for nearly 30 percent of fatal police killings.   Black Americans, their communities and businesses have been under attack and sabotage for decades.  A silent war has been waged against unarmed moms and dads, their babies and communities.   And no one has ever come to their rescue–in fact, they have seldom asked. 

Instead, these brave souls have stood in the face of rampant and continued Apartheid policies from Jim Crow to mass incarceration. Even during these times, they have been strong supporters of South Africa’s Black majority lobbying strongly for the end of Apartheid in South Africa. In the early 1900s when African Americans in palpable numbers began to relocate to South Africa, they began aligning with the Black Africans there encouraging their self determination and right to the land of their birth.

History is a clock that people use to tell their political and cultural time of day. It is a compass they use to find themselves on the map of human geography. It tells them where they are, but more importantly, what they must be.

~John Henrik Clarke, Historian

The Apartheid Transvaal government called their alliance, “Ethiopianism,” saying it produced a similar affinity among Africans, as the Afrikaner bond.  In 1930 thousands of African Americans sought to enlist in the Ethiopia army to defend it against the second wave of Italian Invasions. John C. Robinson, an African American member of the Brown Condos squadron actually fought the Facist 1935 occupation.

It was Kwame Nkrumah’ s time studying at the HBCU Lincoln University in Pennsylvania experiencing the Black American push for civil rights and self-determination that he summed his will to return to Ghana and advocate for its liberation. Nkrumah became the Father of African freedom and liberation from the barbarity of colonialism with the liberation of Ghana in July 1960.  Nkrumah would set off a chain reaction across Africa.

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

~Martin Luther King Jr.

The Civil Rights movement plowed on, even past the unfortunate death if it’s foremost leader Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.  His advocacy for non-violent resistance was admirable until his pivot toward national reparations and closing the wealth gap. King was at his most unpopular state at his death, dispite his nonviolent reputation.

But the movements for freedom would not die with King, nor could they.   The human spirit requires freedom. And so the Black Panther movement of the 1970s emerged hoping to safeguard communities from police brutality and provide food and support to persecuted African American communities. 

Even after the onslaught of the CIA and Iran Contra Affair which funded the inner city Crack Epidemic of the 1980s, the Black American community emerged again with an internal comunity focus that sparked the rise of the Million Man March in 1995 and the emergence of several community organizations like One Hundred Black Men and the Concerned Black Men nonprofit organizations. 

No man knows what he can do until he tries.

~Carter G. Woodson

In 2015, America watched as 19-year old Mike Brown was murdered by cops sworn to serve and protect, the grassroots Black Lives Matter movement emerged in Saint Louis and Ferguson,  Missouri.  The heinous crime caught on video, reignighted the plight that unarmed innocent Black Americans face against state sponsored violence. 

And again in 2020 when George Floyd was ruthlessly murdered at the hands of another apartheid-style cop in Minnesota,  African Americans once again took to the streets to protest the continued ethnic cleansing. There were 10,000 plus arrests and 19 deaths during those protests.  Promises for police and judicial reform remain unmet.

There are two things I’ve got a right to, and these are, Death or Liberty – one or the other I mean to have. No one will take me back alive; I shall fight for my liberty, and when the time has come for me to go, the Lord will let them, kill me”.

~Harriet Tubman, Abolitionists

These brave souls are my countrymen, they are my brothers and sisters and the gentle family that has always sought the good of the people and the freedom of their brothers.   African Americans are communal and lack tribalism, which has helped them to see all Africans as brothers, support the plight of others groups as well as unending allegiance for communities from Ethiopia to South Africa.

It is therefore with great honor, that I salute their efforts across time and expanse and wish everyone a Happy Black History Month.  I also encourage every African American to visit the continent of Africa at least once in their lives and begin the journey of detoxing the mind and soul from from a one-sided antagonism they did not start.  May I encourage many to move to enclaves, towns and nations far from the bararity you have faced. And begin finding peace from the war you did not start.

Whenever African Americans have ventured to Africa, they have done so with the notion they were returning home after a long seperation. They were happy to see the local people, experience the culture and enjoy the cuisine.  They live quiet useful lives as good neighbors, business owners, bloggers/vloggers, school masters, restauranteurs, and professionals with a zeal for new opportunities far from oppression.  I believe, as one who has travelled well on the continent, these deserve a place to call home in the homeland of their ancestors.

I think this brief but poignant look back,  requires a call. A call to action for the African Union and African nations hosting African Americans to quickly ratify processes to issue African Americans passports and residency.  A call to the United Nations and similar institutions of justice to act: through alliance, treaty and ratification to enact support, refuge, protected status and defence for these many million innocent.

While we continue to seek justice and tangible support in America and the international community, we know the mandate is the same as it ever was…. to keep going, keep believing, and to know that the human spirit will always rise.  If nothing, I have found, African Americans, are brave.  And that gives me courage. Outnumbered, outgunned, a minority, with no backup whatsover, in the face of unimaginable barbarity and unfaverable odds; they never give up. They always rise again to fight another day. Ever another reincarnation of justice, until freedom is realized.  May you take from our struggle, to never give up when you know what is right.

Fall down seven, stand up eight.

And still I rise.

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise

Maya Angelou, Author and Poet

Happy Black History Month!

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