“I was born here, and here I stay, with the people of Trinidad and Tobago, who educated me free of charge for nine years at Queen's Royal College and for five years at Oxford, who have made me whatever I am, and who have been or might be at any time the victims of the very pressure which I have been fighting against... I am going to let down my bucket where I am, right here with you in the British West Indies." From Public Lecture at Woodford Square, 21 June 1955 Dr. Eric Eustace Williams (1911-1981)
Abraham Lincoln once said “I do not care what my Grandfather was, I am more concerned about what is Grandson is going to be.” Fine words some cynics would say for the man that successfully traded his early humble log cabin existence, for the illustrious mansion later referred to as the White House, ending up on the winning end of America’s racial segregationist Civil War, got a bullet in his head for his efforts, and finally got his face on a statuesque rock on Mt. Rushmore. This whole scale historical amnesia trend did not emanate with the 16th President of the United States however, but was the habit of one of country’s prominent founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson it's 3rd President as well. Who can fail to remember the awe inspiring words of the Declaration of Independence which began by saying that “All men are created equal?” Though touching to many today, back then, another founding father John Adams though enthralled by the brilliance of his political nemesis, and fervent arch rival, he was simultaneously befuddled by the life of contradictions. Adams was said to have viewed the morally bankrupt Virginian political leader Jefferson, with some apprehension, as the latter never had the decency to provide an official pardon for one of his females slave ‘baby mommas,’ and the several illegitimate children he eventually fathered with her. Centuries later, the half black grandchildren had to resort to legal means to obtain the dignity and recognition they deserve, as descendants of their distinguish white Grand Father.
As the nation prepares to support Barrack Obama in his quest to build what some political and media pundits like to describe as a “post racial society,” I hope that many won’t forget the price paid by black African slaves -and millions of their decedents then and now -in the interest of the nation. Far too often their cries of neglect are ignored by others too quick to dismiss such issues as that of lazy, shiftless, and over dependent childlike adults eager to continue and feed like piglets particularly at the hands of the state. No other race on the face of the earth seemed to carry such a burden, as for generations many sacrificed so much, and received so little in return.
Obviously Historical amnesia is a very pragmatic political solution for budding Utopian post racial societies and world, as they embrace the desire to move forward. My only concerns are that proponents are not too selective in dishing off negative labels, and unrealistic expectations of the many that have made the early down payment ,as they silently provided freely of blood, sweat and tears to build societies, nations and continents, but are still awaiting reasonable, modest, modern returns ,for such early and costly investments efforts.
On this special our day, I too salute the nation , and eagerly look forward to the next 46 years with hope an anticipation that the dividends due will finally be delivered, as we too celebrate a post racial society.
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