RACE The Power of an Illusion Episode 1

A Broken System: Education

The History of Major Slave Revolts; Americas and the Caribbean

The exact statistics of how many slave rebellions and revolts that took place are unknown, but historical records show there were many. American Negro Slave Revolts, by Herbert Aptheker concluded that there were at least 250 slave revolts within the United States alone prior to the year 1865, in addition to localized opposition. On record was also mutiny aboard slave ships, 155 on record; many success stories and many brutally suppressed mutinies.

According to African American Desk Reference, as early as 1522, slaves in Saint Domingue rose up in an attempt to create a African Republic; rebellious slaves destroyed the settlement of Santa Maria in Columbia.

Here are more recorded revolts.

1653 In Gloucester Virginia, a plot was betrayed by a man named Berkenhead (A White indentured servant); he was rewarded his freedom and 5,000 pounds of tobacco.

1658 Black slaves aided by Native Americans burned their masters’ homes in Hartford Connecticut.

1691 Mingoe, a Virginia slave escaped from his master; Mingoe gathered a group of followers and destroyed a number of plantations, mainly in Rappahannock County. The rebels acquired cattle, hogs and some guns. Sadly there wasn’t any documented account about their fate.

Discrimination against free blacks was more severe in Connecticut than in other New England colonies. Their lives were strongly proscribed even before they became numerous. In 1690, the colony forbade blacks and Indians to be on the streets after 9 p.m. It also forbid black “servants” to wander beyond the limits of the towns or places where they belonged without a ticket or pass from their masters or the authorities. A law of 1708, citing frequent fights between slaves and whites, imposed a minimum penalty of 30 lashes on any black who disturbed the peace or who attempted to strike a white person. Even speech was subject to control. By a 1730 law, and black, Indian, or mulatto slave “who uttered or published, about any white person, words which would be actionable if uttered by a free white was, upon conviction before any one assistant or justice of the peace, to be whipped with forty lashes.”

http://slavenorth.com/connecticut.htm

For more slave rebellions and revolts, go to Schomberg Center for research in Black culture; African American Desk Reference. 

The Missing Piece of Film History

film thumbnail

http://sincereignorance.com/2015/02/11/oscar-micheaux-film-industry-more/

Minnesota African American Museum and Cultural Center

The history of African Americans in Minnesota is rich, varied and sometimes difficult. The future for African Americans in the region is bright and beautiful. The Minnesota African American Museum (MAAM) celebrates the contributions made by African Americans in Minnesota and the Midwest. MAAM educates and ensures that future generations will have the knowledge, skills and information they need to compete and succeed for many years to come.”

“MAAM partners with local schools to host field trips, educational workshops and performances. The historic building serves as community space in which diverse organizations can promote cross-cultural understanding. The museum is an interactive classroom, a first-class gathering space and a beacon of hope.

 

 

 Minnesota North Star Pioneers

Native peoples and individuals from the world over have come together to make Minnesota the wonderful patchwork quilt it is. The Minnesota North Star Pioneers exhibit chronicles the journey of African Americans to Minnesota and documents the African American contribution to the settlement and development of the Midwest.

http://www.maamcc.org/exhibits/minnesota-north-star-pioneers.php

http://www.maamcc.org/

Black Baseball

Did you know baseball had a long history of African American players before legend Jackie Robinson ever hit the field? Explore the story of “Negro League” baseball and Minnesota’s many surprising contributions to baseball’s rich history.

http://www.maamcc.org/exhibits/black-baseball.php

Crossroads: A Story Inspired By Robert Johnson

https://i1.wp.com/image.tmdb.org/t/p/original/yz4Pc1FTiZNs8z1EhNZqocVJho7.jpg

I held my guitar, strumming the strings to hear its cool twang echo bounce through the forest as I stepped up the moonlit dirt road. I thought I was pretty good. Some said I had talent, but I was never talented enough to step on stage.

But that was about to change. I reached an intersection, where four worn roads came together. By this time, the forest was behind me and there was nothing but miles of sweeping Mississippi farmland coating the earth. The distant, pained howl of a hound lingered in the night air for a second before fading into silence.

A man stood in the center of the crossroads, dressed in a sharp gray suit with a fedora tipped sideways atop his head. The look in his dreary blue eyes sent a whirlwind of doubt ripping though my subconscious. I stopped within six feet of him; a lump filled my throat.

“I believe you know how this works, right?” he asked, his voice as pale as his skin.

I nodded and swallowed my uncertainty. I stepped closer to present my guitar to him.

His eyes widened. “I suppose not. We’ve changed policy, dear.”

Before I could raise an eyebrow, he slipped a hand into his jacket, pulled out a sleek pen and a sheet of paper— offering it to me. I placed my guitar on the ground, next to his briefcase, and took the instrument.

“Sign the dotted line, please,” he said.

The paper was strong enough to write on without need for a clipboard and it was glazed with legal jargon. Some words I couldn’t even pronounce, let alone understand.

“Midnight doesn’t last forever,” he said after a few minutes.

Fearless of sin, I scribbled my name in pen. The signature glowed a bright blue, but the ink started to sizzle and smolder to a coal black. There was a blank section below the signature line which filled itself in with words that formed my biography. Before I could speak, the man snatched the paper back and scanned it.

He arched an eyebrow. “Keisha Williams? Born in New Orleans, sixteen-years-old, and second daughter of James and Angela Williams?”

I nodded.

He bit his lip. “I see, and what do you plan to do when you’re a rich and famous musician?”

I paused for a second. “Charity,” I admitted.

A thin mocking smirk played on his lips. “For the hurricane, I assume.”

“Yes.”

He tore the paper to pieces and blew them into the humid air. Like fireflies, the pieces lit up the night sky before fading into darkness.

The man then reached into the breast-pocket of his jacket, taking out a red pack of cigarettes and a pack of matches. He shook a thin single out and plopped it between his lips. “Please don’t try to undo our work, Ms. Williams. You have a good evening.”

He struck a match and a bright flash nearly blinded me; my eyes slammed shut. The flames crackled like witches. When my eyes flicked open, he was gone. The dirt beneath me was covered in dark soot.

My guitar sat next to my sneakers as a pile of black ash. Left were the twisted metal strings protruding from the instrument’s charred remains.

Law school it is, then.

————————————–

Robert Johnson was the inspiration for this story. I felt it could’ve went in a better direction, but I see these shorts I’m posting as literary exercise than anything else. Decent to be written in a day I’d hope.

https://i0.wp.com/www.sacurrent.com/imager/king-of-the-delta-blues-robert-johnson/b/original/2401841/9337/cityguide48-1.jpg

Robert Johnson was a 30’s blue musician, passing away at the age of 27 and joining the legendary 27 Club (with Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix), Johnson left a huge dent in music despite his short tenure in blues. In the 60’s his re-released works grew immensely popular and went on to inspire many white and black powerhouse artists of the day.

It’s always been according to legend that Johnson made a deal with the Devil to play the guitar the way he did. That, coupled with the fact little is known about Johnson’s life besides his music career and his early demise, and you have yourself the music blues legend.

Things like this “alleged footage” increase the spookiness factor.

The idea of the crossroads has always interested me. Standing alone by yourself, making a choice in which direction to go. Or hoping to meet something of supernatural origin to strike a deal that you’d soon regret.

Check out some of Johnson’s music:

Sources:

http://www.robertjohnsonbluesfoundation.org/biography

http://www.biography.com/people/robert-johnson-9356324

https://i0.wp.com/fc03.deviantart.net/fs45/i/2009/124/6/f/Robert_Johnson_by_jugodenaranjo.jpg

Africans and The Making of the Americas: Part 4, Agriculture

There was a desperate need for African agricultural skills in the Americas.

Diverse groups of Africans from the coastal regions were highly skilled at clearing and cultivating forest land, an expertise that was unknown to Europeans at the time. One African technique involved burning delineated sections of forest and later using the ash for fertilizer, this had to be done carefully. Many also knew how to raise crops in semi-tropical and tropical soils; high temperatures and heavy rains cause nutrients to seep out more quickly than they do in temperate climates.

The complex art of rice cultivation practiced by West Africans for centuries rescued the U.S. The technique and technology used for rice cultivation was unknown by Europeans outside of southern Italy at the time. Rice cultivation was one of the most difficult types of work one could do, working in knee-deep water every day. By 1750, South Carolina became the rice-growing center of North America; rice was the colony’s major export. Other crops introduce by Africans include, black-eyed peas, pumpkins, sesame seeds, kola nuts, cotton, yams, sorghum, muskmelon, and water-melon.

The agricultural skills of Africans and African-Americans garnered extraordinary wealth for the Americas and Europe.

List of Crops Introduced by Africans/African-Americans

black-eyed peas

pumpkins

sesame seeds

kola nuts

cotton

yams

sorghum

muskmelon

water-melon

okra

tania

kidney beans

lima beans

millet

red peas

Source:

http://www.nypl.org/locations/schomburg

http://slaverebellion.org/index.php?page=crops-slave-cuisines

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/03/140301-african-american-food-history-slavery-south-cuisine-chefs/

 Part 1: http://sincereignorance.com/2015/01/27/africans-and-the-making-of-the-americas-part-1-exploration/

Part 2: http://sincereignorance.com/2015/01/27/africans-and-the-making-of-the-americas-part-2-mining/

Part 3: http://sincereignorance.com/2015/02/03/africans-and-the-making-of-the-americas-part-3-herding/

Black Smokejumpers Helped Save The American West

One group was charged with dismantling — and, if necessary, battling the forest fires caused by — the incendiary balloon bombs: the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, known as the Triple Nickels or Triple Nickles. Like the Tuskegee Airmen and others, the Triple Nickles were pioneers in a severely segregated U.S. military.

“We were the first and only paratroopers of color in 1944,” says Triple Nickle Association President Joseph Murchison, 84, from his home in Tampa, Fla. “It was the proudest period of my life, being in the Triple Nickles and doing something that nobody else was doing.”

Read more

http://www.npr.org/blogs/npr-history-dept/2015/01/22/376973981/how-black-smokejumpers-helped-save-the-american-west?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=npr&utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=20150122

http://www.triplenickle.com/

http://triplenickle.com/history.htm

African American Economics: Consuming

All credit goes to Afric Network.

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Benjamin Banneker: Anti-Slavery Activist, Scientist and Inventor

 

banneker

Benjamin Banneker was born on November 9, 1731, in Ellicott’s Mills, Maryland. A free black who owned a farm near Baltimore, Banneker was largely self-educated in astronomy by watching the stars and in mathematics by reading borrowed textbooks. He became an active writer of almanacs and was appointed by President George Washington to the District of Columbia Commission.

http://www.biography.com/people/benjamin-banneker-9198038

https://www1.nga.mil/About/History/NGAinHistory/Pages/BenjaminBanneker.aspx

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2p84.html

http://www.americaslibrary.gov/jb/colonial/jb_colonial_banneker_1.html

Benjamin’s Letter to Thomas Jefferson

SIR,
I AM fully sensible of the greatness of that freedom, which I take with you on the present occasion; a liberty which seemed to me scarcely allowable, when I reflected on that distinguished and dignified station inwhich you stand, and the almost general prejudice and prepossession, which is so prevalent in the world against those of my complexion.

I suppose it is a truth too well attested to you, to need a proof here, that we are a race of beings, who have long labored under the abuse and censure of the world; that we have long been looked upon with an eye of contempt; and that we have long been considered rather as brutish than human, and scarcely capable of mental endowments.

Sir, I hope I may safely admit, in consequence of that report which hath reached me, that you are a man far less inflexible in sentiments of this nature, than many others; that you are measurably friendly, and well disposed towards us; and that you are willing and ready to lend your aid and assistance to our relief, from those many distresses, and numerous calamities, to which we are reduced. Now Sir, if this is founded in truth, I apprehend you will embrace every opportunity, to eradicate that train of absurd and false ideas and opinions, which so generally prevails with respect to us; and that your sentiments are concurrent with mine, which are, that one universal Father hath given being to us all; and that he hath not only made us all of one flesh, but that he hath also, without partiality, afforded us all the same sensations and endowed us all with the same faculties; and that however variable we may be in society or religion, however diversified in situation or color, we are all of the same family, and stand in the same relation to him.

Sir, if these are sentiments of which you are fully persuaded, I hope you cannot but acknowledge, that it is the indispensible duty of those, who maintain for themselves the rights of human nature, and who possess the obligations of Christianity, to extend their power and influence to the relief of every part of the human race, from whatever burden or oppression they may unjustly labor under; and this, I apprehend, a full conviction of the truth and obligation of these principles should lead all to. Sir, I have long been convinced, that if your love for yourselves, and for those inestimable laws, which preserved to you the rights of human nature, was founded on sincerity, you could not but be solicitous, that every individual, of whatever rank or distinction, might with you equally enjoy the blessings thereof; neither could you rest satisfied short of the most active effusion of your exertions, in order to their promotion from any state of degradation, to which the unjustifiable cruelty and barbarism of men may have reduced them.

Sir, I freely and cheerfully acknowledge, that I am of the African race, and in that color which is natural to them of the deepest dye; and it is under a sense of the most profound gratitude to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, that I now confess to you, that I am not under that state of tyrannical thraldom, and inhuman captivity, to which too many of my brethren are doomed, but that I have abundantly tasted of the fruition of those blessings, which proceed from that free and unequalled liberty with which you are favored; and which, I hope, you will willingly allow you have mercifully received, from the immediate hand of that Being, from whom proceedeth every good and perfect Gift.

Sir, suffer me to recal to your mind that time, in which the arms and tyranny of the British crown were exerted, with every powerful effort, in order to reduce you to a state of servitude : look back, I entreat you, on the variety of dangers to which you were exposed; reflect on that time, in which every human aid appeared unavailable, and in which even hope and fortitude wore the aspect of inability to the conflict, and you cannot but be led to a serious and grateful sense of your miraculous and providential preservation; you cannot but acknowledge, that the present freedom and tranquility which you enjoy you have mercifully received, and that it is the peculiar blessing of Heaven.

This, Sir, was a time when you cleary saw into the injustice of a state of slavery, and in which you had just apprehensions of the horrors of its condition. It was now that your abhorrence thereof was so excited, that you publicly held forth this true and invaluable doctrine, which is worthy to be recorded and remembered in all succeeding ages : “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Here was a time, in which your tender feelings for yourselves had engaged you thus to declare, you were then impressed with proper ideas of the great violation of liberty, and the free possession of those blessings, to which you were entitled by nature; but, Sir, how pitiable is it to reflect, that although you were so fully convinced of the benevolence of the Father of Mankind, and of his equal and impartial distribution of these rights and privileges, which he hath conferred upon them, that you should at the same time counteract his mercies, in detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren, under groaning captivity and cruel oppression, that you should at the same time be found guilty of that most criminal act, which you professedly detested in others, with respect to yourselves.

I suppose that your knowledge of the situation of my brethren, is too extensive to need a recital here; neither shall I presume to prescribe methods by which they may be relieved, otherwise than by recommending to you and all others, to wean yourselves from those narrow prejudices which you have imbibed with respect to them, and as Job proposed to his friends, “put your soul in their souls’ stead;” thus shall your hearts be enlarged with kindness and benevolence towards them; and thus shall you need neither the direction of myself or others, in what manner to proceed herein. And now, Sir, although my sympathy and affection for my brethren hath caused my enlargement thus far, I ardently hope, that your candor and generosity will plead with you in my behalf, when I make known to you, that it was not originally my design; but having taken up my pen in order to direct to you, as a present, a copy of an Almanac, which I have calculated for the succeeding year, I was unexpectedly and unavoidably led thereto.

This calculation is the production of my arduous study, in this my advanced stage of life; for having long had unbounded desires to become acquainted with the secrets of nature, I have had to gratify my curiosity herein, through my own assiduous application to Astronomical Study, in which I need not recount to you the many difficulties and disadvantages, which I have had to encounter.

And although I had almost declined to make my calculation for the ensuing year, in consequence of that time which I had allotted therefor, being taken up at the Federal Territory, by the request of Mr. Andrew Ellicott, yet finding myself under several engagements to Printers of this state, to whom I had communicated my design, on my return to my place of residence, I industriously applied myself thereto, which I hope I have accomplished with correctness and accuracy; a copy of which I have taken the liberty to direct to you, and which I humbly request you will favorably receive; and although you may have the opportunity of perusing it after its publication, yet I choose to send it to you in manuscript previous thereto, that thereby you might not only have an earlier inspection, but that you might also view it in my own hand writing.

And now, Sir, I shall conclude, and subscribe myself, with the most profound respect, Your most obedient humble servant,

BENJAMIN BANNEKER.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2h71t.html

Thomas Jefferson’s Response

Philadelphia Aug. 30. 1791.

http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/jefferson/79.html

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2h71.html

What Thomas Jefferson to Secretary of The Academy of Sciences

http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/benjamin-banneker

The Betrayal

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part2/2h72.html

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