THE EDITOR: After four hundred years of shackle slavery, and the worst kind of atrocities ever inflicted on any race of people bar none, all because of their melanin and without any apology and compensation, and therapy for Post Traumatic Slavery Syndrome, I am totally puzzled and confused with the reason for the celebration of Emancipation.
Slavery was a period in the history of the Africans who were stolen from their home land and family, and brought to the Americas against their will, bound with chains and treated worse than animals, to work under the most inhuman conditions, at building the Europeans’ empire.
The Africans were demonized, demoralized, stripped of all human dignity, and then molded into a new creature. He was fashioned into what is called today, a NEGRO. Definition: NEGATIVE GROWTH. This process was initiated by some of the most devious and diabolical minds of the day. The Africans who resisted, or were taking too long to conform, were used as examples to hasten the process in those who were coming along nicely into Massa’s plan. Some of the methods applied were the taking of a limb, a hand, a foot, an ear or an eye. Heavy flogging was the order of the day, or an occasional roasting over a fire like a pig, or tied to tree branches and having their limbs ripped apart. As a matter of fact, there were times when Africans brought here to the Americas, used to be hanging from trees more than fruits. How soon we forget, or would not like to remember.
But, as the saying goes – those who fail to remember the past are doomed to relive it. Africans were never given emancipation to celebrate. They never needed emancipating. The new breed, the Negroes had cause to be emancipated. In fact, that is what the whole apprenticeship thing was about making sure that no African was emancipated, because emancipation was for MASSA NEGROS. At the time of emancipation, the Negros were no longer property by bill of purchase only, but now their masters had gained control of their very minds, and could safely tell them they were free and they would not try to run away. At least not to Africa.
They were new creatures, made in the likeness of their masters, and there was no land called Negro Land, so they had no place to run to. They were even given a new god to glorify, so they spent what little free time afforded them, trying to save their souls rather than saving their anatomies. That is why some of them will tell you today, with a straight face, that they are not Africans, and slavery had nothing to do with them. Before the Negroes could properly understand or grasp the meaning of the process, they were made to celebrate it; mind control in action.
What are we celebrating? Is it the fact, that after one hundred and seventy six years or so of the lifting of the iron shackles off the body of the NEGROES they are yet to redefine their Africanness? Are we celebrating the fact that after all that pain and suffering they still cannot find a way to come together in true love, showing respect for our selves and our fellow man as a united people coming from a common experience. Are we celebrating the fact that we are divided by Class and Religion as defined by the past and present masters? Or, to take a line from Sister Maya Angelou, because we have forgotten our ancestors, and abandoned the wisdom of mothering and fathering, or the fact that our children are giving birth to children they neither want nor understand. The very children that are raining terror across the land, with no love in their hearts for their Gods nor their mothers, and no one to teach them the truth.
Is it because the Carnival mentality is so deeply rooted in our psyche that we cannot resist the opportunity to dress-up in African clothes and play African for a day… August 1st, after which we would put our costumes away until the next year. Or are we just saying thanks to Massa for delivering us from the miseries of shackle slavery? I would honestly like to know the reason for the celebration in the midst of losing so many of our young people to crime and violence. In our communities it is every man for himself, and we don’t see the need to be our brother’s keeper. Some say slavery was so long ago and should have no negative effect on the generation of today. Yet we find that medical science would trace particular medical complaints to some past generations. Still, we were made to believe that our messed-up fore-parents coming off the plantation should have no effect on the minds of their offsprings today. What a thing!
If ever there is a need, it is a need for serious reflection on the past, present and future. From then to now, what have we accomplished as a people? How is it working to advance our cause? Or maybe we don’t even have a cause? Maybe, our history started on the plantation and we were saved from eternal damnation by the coming of the Europeans. Maybe that is cause for celebration.
Oh how I remembered the love and togetherness that we shared, coming out of the 1970 Revolution: the new awakening, when one was looked upon as being anti-social or as subversive for wearing the Dashiki and keeping the Afro hair style. Unlike today, when we have a specific time and day to celebrate and fall back in line by midnight so we can get back to our Negro ways by sun up on August, 2nd. Again, I ask, what are we celebrating?
Sister Ella Andell once sang in a song composed to awake our warrior spirit –“We done teach the children the Fertility Dance, is time now to teach them about Arts and Science.” Are we preparing our children for a bright and prosperous future? Should we not be searching to find the reason for so many of them falling through the cracks? I’m begging those with the answers to my many questions, please don’t castigate me for my ignorance; I need to be enlightened. I can be a most dedicated and aggressive advocate to the cause, if only I can be enlightened. I am really trying to define my position so that I can continue to be a relevant part of the harmony in diversity that we in this twin-island state boast to the world about. Love still.
For a better TnT.
Michael L Joseph