Virginia The Slave Breeding State Slave Coast, The Capitalized “ WOMB “ We Demand Reparations For Sexual Terrorism ( Forced Sex For Profits/Capitalism Through Forced Slave Labor ) – Haki Kweli Shakur

Young women were often advertised for sale as “good breeding stock”. To encourage child-bearing some population owners promised women slaves their freedom after they had produced fifteen children. One slave trader from Virginia boasted that his successful breeding policies enabled him to sell 6,000 slave children a year.

It has been claimed that plantation owners were often the fathers of slave children. Harriet Jacobs, a house slave in Edenton, North Carolina, claimed that when she reached the age of fifteen, her master, Dr. James Norcom attempted to have sex with her: “My master, Dr. Norcom, began to whisper foul words in my ear. Young as I was, I could not remain ignorant of their import. I tried to treat them with indifference or contempt. The master’s age, my extreme youth, and the fear that his conduct would be reported to my grandmother, made him bear this treatment for many months. He was a crafty man, and resorted to many means to accomplish his purposes. Sometimes he had stormy, terrific ways, that made his victims tremble; sometimes he assumed a gentleness that he thought must surely subdue. Of the two, I preferred his stormy moods, although they left me trembling.” Several of the young slaves gave into his demands. Harriet points out in her autobiography: “My master was, to my knowledge, the father of eleven slaves.”

Olaudah Equiano was a slave who witnessed the rapes of slave women: “While I was thus employed by my master, I was often a witness to cruelties of every kind, which were exercised on my unhappy fellow slaves. I used frequently to have different cargoes of new Negroes in my care for sale; and it was almost a constant practice with our clerks, and other whites, to commit violent depredations on the chastity of the female slaves; and these I was, though with reluctance, obliged to submit to at all times, being unable to help them. When we have had some of these slaves on board my master’s vessels, to carry them to other islands, or to America, I have known our mates to commit these acts most shamefully, to the disgrace, not of Christians only, but of men. I have even known them to gratify their brutal passion with females not ten years old.” Henry Bibb, a slave from Shelby County, Kentucky, has argued: “A poor slave’s wife can never be true to her husband contrary to the will of her master. She can neither be pure nor virtuous, contrary to the will of her master. She dare not refuse to be reduced to a state of adultery at the will of her master.”

In fact, most American slaves were not kidnapped on another continent. Though over 12.7 million Africans were forced onto ships to the Western hemisphere, estimates only have 400,000-500,000 landing in present-day America. How then to account for the four million black slaves who were tilling fields in 1860? “The South,” the Sublettes write, “did not only produce tobacco, rice, sugar, and cotton as commodities for sale; it produced people.” Slavers called slave-breeding “natural increase,” but there was nothing natural about producing slaves; it took scientific management. Thomas Jefferson bragged to George Washington that the birth of black children was increasing Virginia’s capital stock by four percent annually.

Here is how the American slave-breeding industry worked, according to the Sublettes: Some states (most importantly Virginia) produced slaves as their main domestic crop. The price of slaves was anchored by industry in other states that consumed slaves in the production of rice and sugar, and constant territorial expansion. As long as the slave power continued to grow, breeders could literally bank on future demand and increasing prices. That made slaves not just a commodity, but the closest thing to money that white breeders had. It’s hard to quantify just how valuable people were as commodities, but the Sublettes try to convey it: By a conservative estimate, in 1860 the total value of American slaves was $4 billion, far more than the gold and silver then circulating nationally ($228.3 million, “most of it in the North,” the authors add), total currency ($435.4 million), and even the value of the South’s total farmland ($1.92 billion). Slaves were, to slavers, worth more than everything else they could imagine combined.

Just reading that turns my stomach. The Sublettes also recast the 1808 abolition of the transatlantic slave trade as trade protectionism.

Virginia slaveowners won a major victory when Thomas Jefferson’s 1808 prohibition of the African slave trade protected the domestic slave markets for slave-breeding.

 

A popular defense of the southern slave states by the neoconfederates is that the north was responsible for all the actual slave trading, and especially the import of slaves from their native soils, and the southern states were opposed to the importation of slaves.  This is partially true, and I ‘m not interested in defending the north’s record on race relations as it’s pretty abominable.  But it wasn’t kindness that motivated the majority of the south’s opposition to slave ships. It was a self interested objection to competition- several of the slave states were in the business of breeding human beings.

In the 30 years leading up the Civil War the upper Southern states began breeding slaves for export. Before that there had been some moral concerns about breeding human beings like cattle, even among those who owned human beings as though they were cattle. I am not sure what social and cultural reasons eroded these moral concerns. Perhaps the continued owning of other human beings based solely on their colour acted as a corroding acid on the moral viewpoint of those who professed a position of superiority based entirely on skin color. Perhaps Darwin’s theories broke down the last barrier in a slave-owner’s mind between the human beings he ‘owned’ and the cattle he owned. Or perhaps it was purely economics, a matter of supply and demand. The slave breeding states had more slaves than agriculture. The slave buying states had more good agricultural land and fewer slaves (partly because of death by overwork).

Slave Breeding ( Virginia & Sexual Terrorism ) – Haki Kweli Shakur

“The Virginia times (a weekly newspaper, published at Wheeling, Virginia) estimates, in 1836, the number of slaves exported for sale from that state alone, during the ’12 months preceding,’ at forty thousand, the aggregate value of whom is computed at twenty-four millions of dollars. Allowing for Virginia one-half of the whole exportation during the period in question and we have the … sum of eighty thousand slaves exported in a single year from the breeding states. Maryland ranks next to Virginia in point of numbers, North Carolina follows Maryland, Kentucky North Carolina, then Tennessee and Delaware. The Natchez (Mississippi) Courier says ‘that the States of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, imported two hundred and fifty thousand slaves from the more northern states in the year 1836.”

From another issue of the Virginia Times:

“We have heard intelligent men estimate that number of slaves exported from Virginia, within the last twelve months, at a hundred and twenty thousand, each slave averaging at least six hundred dollars, making an aggregate of seventy-two million dollars. Of the number of slaves exported, nor more than one-third have been sold, the others having been carried by their masters, who have removed.”

From a Mississippi paper of 1837:

“so large has been the return of slave labor, that purchases by Alabama of that species of property from other states, since 1833, have amounted to about ten million dollars annually.”

There was an attempt in the Virginia legislature to free the slaves several years before the Civil War.  It came surprisingly close to passing but was unfortunately blocked, largely by the efforts of a Professor Dew, who  said:

“A full equivalent being left in the place of the slave (the purchase-money), this emigration becomes an advantage to the state, and does not check the black population as much as at first view we might imagine; because it furnishes every inducement to the master to attend to the Negroes, to encourage breeding, and to cause the greatest number possible to be raised… Virginia is, in fact, a Negro-raising state for the other states.”

Mr. Goode of VA, in a speech before the VA legislature in January of 1832:

“The superior usefulness of the slaves in the South will constitute an effectual demand, which will remove them from our limits. We shall send them from our state, because it will be our interest to do so. But gentlemen are alarmed let the markets of other states be closed against the introduction of our slaves. Sir the demand for slave labor must increase.”
The South’s answer to this ‘need’ was to insist on breaking any compromise attempts and opening the territories for slaves- in fact, his very next words were about acquiring the territory of Texas as a slave state because then the economic value of this ‘product’ would rise again.

Judge Upshur in the 1829 debates of the VA convention said that

“The value of slaves as an article of property depends much on the state of the market abroad. In this view, it is the value of land _abroad_, and not here which furnishes the ratio. Nothing is more fluctuating than the value of slaves. A late law of Louisiana reduced their value twenty-five percent in two hours after its passage was known.

From the port of Baltimore alone, over a two year period, 1,033 slaves were shipped to the southern market, based on the report of the custom house officer.

It is also common for neoconfederates to insist that the trials of slavery are overstated.   However, regarding the death by overwork in the slave population:

The Agricultural Society of Baton Rouge, LA in a report published in 1829 suggest that included in the costs of managing a ‘well-regulated’ sugar estate the annual net loss of slaves above the supply by propagation is 2.5 percent. Mr. Samuel Blackwell, American owner of a sugar refinery in England often visited the plantations that supplied him. He stated often that the planters told him that during the sugar working season the slaves worked so hard that it used them up in seven or eight years. Mr. Dickinson, in company with numerous plantation owners, stated that the sugar planters in La felt it was so expensive to maintain enough slaves all year long to accomplish the labor during the sugar season that it was more profitable to use fewer hands and sacrifice the occasional pair of hands. Professor Ingraham’s Travels in the Southwest documented the labour of slaves on sugar plantations. They worked, he said, from 18-20 hours, for three months, without breaks for the Sabbath or consideration for whether it was day or night.

Slave Breeding State of Virginia & Sexual Terrorism ( New Afrikan Nation  – Haki Kweli Shakur

This “situation” was only resolved through importation of new slaves from the slave breeding states, so the breeding of slaves by the states of the upper south was beneficial to the slave holding states of the lower south.

American Slavery as it is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses
By American Anti-Slavery Society, Theodore Dwight Weld

This is online at Googlebooks. American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses is also available for Kindle, but not currently free:

Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stow. She wrote this to share the sources she used as the basis for many of the events and situations in Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin and The Key to Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (Halcyon Classics)is available for Kindle, but not free.

In a book “Caucuses of 1860: A History of the National Political Conventions of the Current Presidential Campaign…” I found an interesting example:

“Mr. Gaulden of Georgia made his Charleston slave-trade and slave-breeding speech again. He announced himself a slave-breeder. (…)
He spoke of the slave-trading and slave-breeding State of Virginia, when a delegate of Virginia called him to order for casting an imputation upon the State of Virginia. Gaulden thought he had been paying Virginia a high compliment. He said: Well, I will said the slave-breeding State of Georgia, then. I glory in being a slave-breeder myself. I will face the music myself, and I have got as many negroes as any man from the State of Virginia. And as I invited the gentlemen of this Convention at Charleston to visit my plantation, I will say again that if they will come to see me, I will show them as fine a lot of negroes, and a pure African too, as they can find anywhere. And I will show them as handsome a set of little children there as can be seen, and any quantity of them, too. And I wish that Virginia may be as good a slave-trading and slave-breeding as Georgia

Richmond Virginia Selling Wheat, Tobacco , and Slaves
Like cattle, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children were herded from the bustling slave auctions of nearby Shockoe — the center of Virginia’s lucrative slave export market — and loaded onto boats for the long passage south. At one time, more than 10,000 souls passed through this port each month on their way to the misery of Deep South plantation slavery. And it wasn’t until today that he knew its significance: As many as 10,000 men, women and children a month, up to 100,000 a year.

Most Richmonders think they know their city’s slavery history: that this was the capital of the Confederacy, a city built on the forced labor of slaves imported from Africa. Few know that Richmond once was also a major center of the nation’s domestic slave trade, the industry that replaced the infamous middle passage from Africa after the abolition of the international trade in 1807. Few realize that the slave trade in Richmond, some believe, was the city’s biggest industry. Its tentacles ran throughout the local economy from 1807 to 1865.

At the close of the 18th century, Virginia politicians lobbied alongside international abolitionists to ban the taking of slaves from Africa. But their motives clearly were not closely tied to deep Christian values or justice. It wasn’t long after the 1807 ban that Virginia took its unholy place as the nation’s clearinghouse for souls. First, this trade flowed through Virginia’s northern port of Alexandria on the Potomac River. The city was convenient to Maryland, another big supplier of bodies to the massive plantation states of the Deep South.

The economic motives behind Virginia’s push to ban African slave imports were clear: The state’s plantations were no longer profitable against the corporate-sized plantation industry farther south: “Virginia grew wheat and slaves in the 19th century,” says Christy Coleman, president of the American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar.

Many Virginia planters had transitioned to less labor-intensive farming of crops like wheat, leaving an idle slave population — essentially now surplus farm equipment that was of immense value to their Deep South peers who could no longer count on endless labor supply from overseas.

Richmond, with its central spot and favorable access to rivers, canals and railroads snaking all through state and to the coast, overtook Alexandria as the state’s leading slave market. Estimates of 10,000 people monthly moving through Richmond are high. Other historical sources place the number during the 1840s between 1,000 and 8,000. They were sold at the dozens of slave auctions that made up Shockoe’s business district from14th to 21st streets and Dock to Broad streets.

The Civil War ended the trade, but even up to the fall of the city in April 1865 — occupied first by a black Union infantry outfit symbolically sent into the city following a path up from Rocketts Landing — the trade continued unabated. Records of the time show individual slaves, healthy field hands, selling for upwards of $2,000. Women described in newspaper advertisements as being healthy and of childbearing age were priced above all but skilled tradesmen.

At the height of the nation’s domestic slave trade in the 1830s until the eve of the Civil War, Richmond was the center of that trade. Some modern historical sources from the 1830s to1865, more than 3.5 million slaves who were bred as part of a statewide industry were sold through Richmond and shipped out of its port and into perpetual misery.

For lack of broad public support, those efforts have gone only as far as saving the occasional structure, overseeing some minor excavation work and establishing a living history walk — Richmond’s “Slave Trail.” But, says Herring, that’s hardly proper acknowledgment for a city that “is the Ellis Island for America’s African-Americans.”

Indeed, the trail even runs backward from the way it should. Today, it leads from the docks into the city as it would have for newly arrived Africans who survived capture and transport across the Atlantic Ocean.

The majority of blacks who passed through Rocketts came at it from the other direction, beginning their lives on Virginia farms. Many were the product of purposeful breeding efforts by masters whose only intent was to take them from their families and sell them South.

Records? Oh, there’s plenty,” she says, pointing to records from some Virginia plantations now archived with the state. “And there are slave narratives. The documents are there and have been there for a very long time.”

At the trade’s epicenter, Lumpkin’s Jail, only one ledger survives showing just a few short pages of names and accounting data. The rest of the jail’s records, according to tradition, were destroyed by a flood of Shockoe Creek, which now runs underground. Modern historians are as divided as slavery supporters and abolitionists were 150 years ago on whether slave breeding was widespread or institutionalized.

But a perceived lack of such records kept by individual property owners doesn’t mask the facts that can be observed in macrocosm, Ruggles says.

“The Southern owners may have found ways to justify slavery, but they weren’t really boasting about it,” says Ruggles, who suggests census data from Virginia at the time might help illuminate the numbers somewhat, as it could be compared to the numbers of people later brought to market elsewhere. “There’s no question that Virginia was an exporter of slaves at some point. As far as statistics on that, I think some people are doing some research right now to get some actual numbers.”

Until then, the true tally remains illusive.

The official James River Park System estimate places the number as high as 10,000 slaves a month moving through Richmond. Reports contemporary to the time when slave exports from Virginia were at their height put the yearly total closer to 20,000 for the entire state. That would drop the total number possibly passing through Richmond from 3 million over 30 years to closer to 600,000, assuming that all slaves sold out of Virginia departed from Richmond.

American Slavery As It Is” was published in 1839 by abolitionist Theodore Dwight Weld. In the book, published as evidence against slavery, Weld uses the speeches and writings of well-placed Virginians of the era as proof of the horrors of breeding, including an 1832 speech by former Virginia Governor Thomas Mann Randolph to the General Assembly.

“It is a practice and an increasing practice in parts of Virginia to rear slaves for market,” Weld quotes Randolph as saying, showing the governor to be sympathetic to the plight of blacks. “How can an honorable mind, a patriot and a lover of his country, bear to see this ancient dominion converted into one grand menagerie, where men are to be reared for market, like oxen for the shambles.”

Weld also preserved the writings of the editor of the Virginia Times in Wheeling (West Virginia was then still a part of Virginia) in 1836: “We have heard intelligent men estimate the number of slaves exported from Virginia within the last twelve months at 120,000 — each slave averaging at least $600, making an aggregate at $72,000,000.”

In Richmond, one historical account documents local Richmond auctioneers Dickinson and Hill logging total sales in the year before the Civil War of $2 million, or a least $45 million in today’s dollars.

At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Charles C. Pinckney explained that Virginia “will gain by stopping importation [from Africa]. Her slaves will rise in value and she has more than she wants.”

Source:
 https://m.styleweekly.com/richmond/look-away-look-away/Content?oid=1370255
Source:
 http://spartacus-educational.com/USASbreeding.htm
Source:
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Geronimo Pratt JiJaga Source Magazine 1997 Interview Excerpts

 

Remembering Geronimo JiJaga By Bakari Kitwana

Political activists around the country are still absorbing the news of Geronimo ji Jaga’s death. For those of us who came of age in the 80s and 90s, the struggles of the late 1960s and early 1970s were in many ways a gateway for our examination of the history of Black political resistance in the US. Geronimo ji Jaga (formerly Geronimo Pratt) and his personal struggle, as well as his contributions to the fight for social justice were impossible to ignore. His commitment, humility, clear thinking as well as his sense of both the longevity and continuity of the Black Freedom Movement in the US all stood out to those who knew him.

I interviewed him for The Source magazine in early September 1997 about three months after he was released from prison, having served 27 years of a life sentence for a murder he didn’t commit. Three things stood out from the interview, all of which have been missed by recent commentary celebrating his life and impact.

First that famed attorney Johnnie Cochran was not only his lawyer when ji Jaga gained his freedom, but also represented him in his original trial. They were from the same hometown and, according to ji Jaga, Cochran’s conscious over the years was dogged by the injustice of the US criminal system that resulted in the 1970 sentence. Second, according to ji Jaga, he never formally joined the Black Panther Party. As he remembered it, he worked with several Black activist organizations and was captured by the police while working with the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. And finally, his analysis of the UCLA 1969 shoot-out between Black Panthers and US Organization members that led to the death of his best friend Bunchy Carter and John Huggins is not a simple tale of Black in-fighting. Now is a good time to revisit all three.

Geronimo JiJaga 1997 New Afrikan Identity

Misinformation is so much part of our current political moment, particularly as the 24-hour news cycle converges with the ascendance of Fox News. In this climate, the conservative analysis of race has been normalized in mainstream discourse. This understanding of racial politics, along with the election of Barack Obama and a first term marked by little for Blacks to celebrate, makes it a particularly challenging time to be politically Black in the United States. Ask Jeremiah Wright, Shirley Sherrod, and Van Jones—all three serious advocates for the rights and humanity of everyday people whose critiques of politics and race made them far too easily demonized as anti-American. If we have entered the era where the range of Black political thought beyond the mainstream liberal-conservative purview is delegitimized, Geronimo ji Jaga’s life and death is a reminder of our need to resist it.

EXCERPTS FROM THE 1997 INTERVIEW:

How did you get involved with the Black Panther Party?

Technically I never joined the Black Panther Party. After Martin Luther King’s death, an elder of mine who was related to Bunchy Carter’s elder and Johnnie Cochran’s elder requested that those of us in the South that had military training render some sort of discipline to brothers in urban areas who were running amuck getting shot right and left, running down the street shooting guns with bullets half filled which they were buying at the local hardware store. When I arrived at UCLA, Bunchy was just getting out of prison and needed college to help with his parole. We stayed together in the dorm room on campus. But we were mainly working to build the infrastructure of the Party.

You ended up as the Deputy Minister of Defense. How did that come about?

They did not have a Ministry of Defense when I came on the scene. There was one office in Oakland and a half an office in San Francisco. I helped build the San Francisco branch and all of the chapters throughout the South—New Orleans, Dallas, Atlanta, Memphis, Winston-Salem, North Carolina and other places. We did it under the banner of the Panthers because that’s what was feasible at the time. Because of shoot-outs and all that stuff, the work I did with the Panthers, overshadowed the stuff that I did with the Republic of New Afrika, the Mau Mau, the Black Liberation Army, the Brown Berets, the Black Berets, even the Fruit of Islam—but I saw my work with the Panthers as temporary. When Bunchy was killed, the Panthers wanted me to fill his position [as leader of the Southern California chapter]. I didn’t want to do it because I was already overloaded with other stuff. But it was just so hard to find someone who could handle LA given the problems with the police. So I ended up doing it, reluctantly. And this is how I ended up on the central committee of the Black Panther Party. I never took an oath and never joined the Party.

What was your role as Deputy Minister of Defense?

The Ministry of Defense was largely based on infrastructure: cell systems in the cities; creating an underground for situations when you need to get individuals out of the city or country. When you get shot by the police, you can’t be taken to no hospital. You gotta have medical underground as well. That’s where the preachers, bible school teachers and a lot of others behind the scenes got involved. When Huey got out of prison in 1970, this stuff blew his mind.

What were the strengths and weaknesses of the Party?

The main strength was the discipline which allowed for a brother or sister to feed children early in the morning, go to school and P.E. classes during the day, go to work and selling papers in the afternoon, and patrol the police at night. The weak points were our naiveté, our youth, and the lack of experience. But even at that I really salute the resistance of the generation! I have a problem saying it was just the Panthers `cause that’s not right. When you do that you x-out so much. There was more collective work going on than the popular written history of the period suggests. And when you talk about SNCC you are talking about a whole broader light than the Panther struggle. So you have to talk about that separate—that’s a bigger thing. They gave rise to the intelligence of a whole bunch of Panthers.

What was Bunchy Carter like?

He was a giant, a shining prince. He had been the head of the Slausons gang. He was transforming the gangbangers in Los Angeles into that revolutionary arm. He was my mentor. Such a warm and lovable, brainy brother. At the same time he was such a fierce brother. He was very dynamic—he was an ex-boxer, and he was even on The Little Rascals probably back in the fifties. His main claim to fame was what he did with the gangs in the city. And that was a monumental thing. All that was before Bunchy became a Panther.

Because of the death of Bunchy Carter as a result of the Panthers’ clash with Maulana Karenga’s US organization, even today rumors persists that Dr. Karenga was an informant. . .

Not true. Definitely not true.

What was the Panther clash with US all about?

We considered Karenga’s US organization to be a cultural-nationalist organization. We were considered revolutionary nationalist. So, we have a common denominator. We both are nationalist. We never had antagonistic contradictions, just ideological contradictions. The pig manipulated those contradictions to the extent that warfare jumped off. Truth is the first casualty in war. It began to be said that Karenga was rat, but that wasn’t true. The death of Bunchy and John Huggins on UCLA campus was caused by an agent creating a disturbance which caused a Panther to pull out a gun and which subsequently caused US members to pull out their guns to defend themselves. In the ensuing gun battle Bunchy Carter and John Huggins lay dead.

What’s your worst memory of the 27 years you spent in prison?

I accepted the fact that when I joined the movement I was gonna be killed. When we were sent off to these urban areas we were actually told, “Look, you’re either gonna get killed, put in prison, or if you’re lucky we can get you out the country before they do that. Those are the three options. To survive is only a dream.” So when I was captured, I began to disconnect. So it’s hard to say good or bad moments because this is a whole different reality that had a life of its own.

Many people would say that during those twenty-seven years that you lost something. How would you describe it?

I considered myself chopped off the game plan when I was arrested. But it was incumbent upon me to free myself and continue to struggle again. You can’t look back twenty-seven years and say it was a lost. I’m still living. I run about five miles every morning, and I can still bench press 300 pounds ten times. I can give you ten reps (laughter). Also I hope I’m a little more intelligent and I’m not crazy. It’s a hell of a gain that I survived.

What music most influenced you during that time?

In 1975 I heard some music on a prison radio. I hadn’t seen a television in six years until about 1976, and it was at the end of the tier. I couldn’t see it unless I stood up sideways against the bars. When I really got to see a television again was in 1977. So, I was basically without music and television for the first eight years when I was in the hole. When I was able to get on the main line and listen to music and see T.V., of course the things I wanted to hear were the things I heard when I was on the street. But by then those songs had to be at least nine years old. So, I would listen to oldies. And the new music it was hard to get into, but I slowly began to get into that. But when hip-hop began to come around, it caught on like wildfire. It reminds me how the Panthers and other groups started to catch on like wildfire. It reminded me of Gil Scott-Heron. He would spit that knowledge so clearly and that was the first thing that came to mind when I heard Grandmaster Flash, KRS-One, Paris, Public Enemy and Sista Soldier—the militancy.
What type of books were you reading?

We maintained study groups throughout when I was on main line. Much of the focus was on Cheik Anta Diop—He was considered by us to be the last Pharaoh. We also read the works compiled by Ivan Van Sertima. Of course, there were others.

In terms of a spiritual center, what helped you to get through?

Well the ancestors guided me back to the oldest religion known to man—Maat. We also studied those meditations that were developed by all of our ancestors—the Natives, the Hispanics, the Irish—not just the ones that were strictly African.

The youngest of seven children, Ji Jaga was born Elmer Pratt, in Morgan City, a port city in southwestern Louisiana, two hours south of New Orleans, on September 13 1947. 120 years earlier marked the death of Jean Lafitte, the so-called “gentleman’s pirate” of French ancestry who settled in Haiti in the early 1800s until he was run out with most other Europeans during the Haitian revolution. Lafitte’s claim to fame was smuggling enslaved Africans from the Caribbean to Louisiana during the Spanish embargo of the late 17th & early 18th centuries, often taking refuge in the same bayous that were Pratt’s childhood home. Pratt was dubbed Geronimo by Bunchy Carter and assumed the name ji Jaga in 1968.

The Jaga were a West African clan of Angolan warriors who Geronimo says he descends from. Many of the Jaga came to Brazil with the Portuguese as free men and women and some were later found among maroon societies in Brazil. How Jaga descendants could have ended up in Louisiana is open to historical interpretation, as most Angolans who ended up in Louisiana and Mississippi and neighboring states entered the US via South Carolina. Some Jaga were possibly among the maroon communities in the Louisiana swamplands as well. According to the Pratt, the Jaga refused to accept slavery—hence his strong identification with the name.

What were some of your earliest early childhood memories?

Well, joyous times mostly. Morgan City was a very rural setting and very nationalistic, self-reliant, and self-determining. It was a very close-knit community. Until I was a ripe old age, I thought that I belonged to a nation that was run by Blacks. And across the street was another nation, a white nation. Segregation across the tracks. We had our own national anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” our own police, and everything. We didn’t call on the man across the street for nothing and it was very good that I grew up that way. The worst memories were those of when the Klan would ride. During one of those rides, I lost a close friend at an early age named Clayborne Brown who was hit in the head by the Klan and drowned. They found his body three days later in the Chaparral River. And, we all went to the River and saw them pull him in. Clayborne was real dark-skinned and when they pulled him out of the river, his body was like translucent blue. Then a few years later, one Halloween night, the Klan jumped on my brother. So there are bad memories like that.

Does your mother still live there?

She’s gone off into senility, but she’s still living—94 years old this year. [She died in 2003 at 98 years-old] And every time I’ve left home, when I come back the first person I go to see is my mama. So, that’s what I did when I got out of prison. Mama has always stood by me. And, I understood why. She was a very brainy person. Our foreparents, her mother was the first to bring education into that part of the swampland and set up the first school. When I was growing up, Mama used to rock us in her chair on the front porch. We grew up in a shack and we were all born in that house, about what you would call a block from the Chaparral River. She would recite Shakespeare and Longfellow to us. All kind of stuff like that at an early age we were hearing from Mama—this Gumbo Creole woman (laughs). And she was very beautiful. Kept us in church, instilled all kinds of interests in us, morals and respect for the elders, respect for the young.

What about your father?

My father was very hard working. He wouldn’t work for no white man so he was what you could call a junk man. On the way home from school in Daddy’s old pick-up truck we would have to go to the dump and get all the metal that we could find as well as rope, rags, anything. When we got home, we unloaded the truck and separated the brass, copper, the aluminum, so we could sell it separate. That’s how he raised an entire family of seven and he did a damn good job. But he worked himself to death. He died from a stroke in 1956.

With an upbringing so nationalistic, what made you join the US military?

I considered myself a hell of an athlete. We had just started a Black football league. A few years earlier, Grambling came through and checked one of the guys out. So initially my ambition was to go to Grambling or Southern University and play ball. Because of the way the community was organized, the elders called the shots over a lot of the youngsters. They had a network that went all the way back to Marcus Garvey and the days when the United Negro Improvement Association (U.N.I.A.) was organizing throughout the South in the 1920s. My uncle was a member of the legionnaires, the military arm of the U.N.I.A. Of the seventeen people in my graduating class, six of us were selected by the elders to go into the armed forces, the United States Air Force. The older generation was getting older and was concerned about who would protect the community.

Many of the brothers that went to Vietnam have never gotten past it. You seemed to have made a progressive transition. How have you done that?

I’ve never suffered the illusion that I was aligned to anything other than my elders. And my going to Vietnam was out on a sense of duty to them. When I learned how to deal with explosives, I’m listening at that training in terms of defending my community. Most of the brothers that I ran into in the service really bought into being Americans and “pow” when they were hit with the reality of all the racism and disrespect, they just couldn’t handle it.

What was it like to be a Black soldier in the US military in 1965?

This was my first experience with integration. But I was never was a victim of any racial attack or anything. During the whole first time I was in Vietnam—throughout 1966—I never heard the “N” word. And all of my officers were white. When I went back in 1968 that’s when you would see more manifestations of racial hatred, especially racial skirmishes between the soldiers. But first off there were so many battles and we were getting ambushed so much. Partners were dying. We were getting over run. I mean it was just madness. If you were shooting in the same direction, cool.

You were very successful in the military. Why did you get out?

On April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. I was due to terminate my service a month later. I wasn’t gonna do it. I was gonna re-up ‘cause I had made Sergeant at a very early age, in two tours of combat, so I could have been sitting pretty for the rest of my life in the military. I was loyal and patriotic to the African nation I grew up in who sent me into the service. And after Martin Luther King was killed, my elders ordered me to come on out of the service. King was the eldest Messiah. Malcolm was our generation’s Messiah. And now that their King was dead, it was like there’s no hope. So they actually unleashed us to do what we did. This is why when Newsweek took their survey in 1969, it was over 92% of the Black people in this country supported the Black Panther Party as their legitimate political arm. It blew the United States’ mind.

 

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Africa: 3000 Ethnic Groups 2100 Languages 54 Countries, 371 Tribes in Nigeria Alone! You are not indigenous to The America’s!

Nigeria is made up of several ethnic groups, majority of which are the Igbo, Hausa and the Yoruba. Within these ethnic groups are several incorrectly called tribes ( They Are Nations ) numbering 371.

However, the multi-tribal nature of Nigeria may put someone at a loss, especially when such tribes begin to display their unique culture, dialect, etc.

Our New Afrikan Reality in America, Biafra, Neocolonialism – Haki Kweli Shakur

1 Abayon -Cross River

2 Abua (Odual) -Rivers

3 Achipa (Achipawa) -Kebbi

4 Adim -Cross River

5 Adun -Cross River

6 Affade -Yobe

7 Afizere -Plateau

8 Afo -Plateau

9 Agbo -Cross River

10 Akaju-Ndem (Akajuk) -Cross River

11 Akweya-Yachi -Benue

12 Alago (Arago) -Piateau

13 Amo -Plateau

14 Anaguta -Plateau

15 Anang -Akwa lbom

16 Andoni -Akwa lbom, Rivers

17 Angas -Bauchi, Jigawa, Plateau

18 Ankwei -Plateau

19 Anyima -Cross River

20 Attakar (ataka) -Kaduna

21 Auyoka (Auyokawa) -Jigawa

22 Awori -Lagos, Ogun

23 Ayu -Kaduna

24 Babur -Adamawa, Bomo, Taraba, Yobe

25 Bachama -Adamawa

26 Bachere -Cross River

27 Bada -Plateau

28 Bade -Yobe

29 Bahumono -Cross River

30 Bakulung -Taraba

31 Bali -Taraba

32 Bambora (Bambarawa) -Bauchi

33 Bambuko -Taraba

34 Banda (Bandawa) -Taraba

35 Banka (Bankalawa) -Bauchi

36 Banso (Panso) -Adamawa

37 Bara (Barawa) -Bauchi

38 Barke -Bauchi

39 Baruba (Barba) -Niger

40 Bashiri (Bashirawa) -Plateau

41 Bassa -Kaduna, Kogi, Niger, Plateau

42 Batta -Adamawa

43 Baushi -Niger

44 Baya -Adamawa

45 Bekwarra -Cross River

46 Bele (Buli, Belewa) -Bauchi

47 Betso (Bete) -Taraba

48 Bette -Cross River

49 Bilei -Adamawa

50 Bille -Adamawa

51 Bina (Binawa) -Kaduna

52 Bini -Edo

53 Birom -Plateau

54 Bobua -Taraba

55 Boki (Nki) -Cross River

56 Bkkos -Plateau

57 Boko (Bussawa, Bargawa) -Niger

58 Bole (Bolewa) -Bauchi, Yobe

59 Botlere -Adamawa

60 Boma (Bomawa, Burmano) -Bauchi

61 Bomboro -Bauchi

62 Buduma -Borno, Niger

63 Buji -Plateau

64 Buli -Bauchi

65 Bunu -Kogi

66 Bura -Adamawa

67 Burak -Bauchi

68 Burma (Burmawa) -Plateau

69 Buru -Yobe

70 Buta (Butawa) -Bauchi

71 Bwall -Plateau

72 Bwatiye -Adamawa

73 Bwazza -Adamawa

74 Challa -Plateau

75 Chama (Chamawa Fitilai) -Bauchi

76 Chamba -Taraba

77 Chamo -Bauchi

78 Chibok (Chibbak) -Yobe

79 Chinine -Borno

80 Chip -Plateau

81 Chokobo -Plateau

82 Chukkol -Taraba

83 Daba -Adamawa

84 Dadiya -Bauchi

85 Daka -Adamawa

86 Dakarkari -Niger, Kebbi

87 Danda (Dandawa) -Kebbi

88 Dangsa -Taraba

89 Daza (Dere, Derewa) -Bauchi

90 Degema -Rivers

91 Deno (Denawa) -Bauchi

92 Dghwede -Bomo

93 Diba -Taraba

94 Doemak (Dumuk) -Plateau

95 Ouguri -Bauchi

96 Duka (Dukawa) -Kebbi

97 Duma (Dumawa) -Bauchi

98 Ebana (Ebani) -Rivers

99 Ebirra (lgbirra) -Edo, Kogi, Ondo

100 Ebu -Edo, Kogi

101 Efik -Cross River

102 Egbema -Rivers

103 Egede (lgedde) -Benue

104 Eggon -Plateau

105 Egun (Gu) -Lagos,Ogun

106 Ejagham -Cross River

107 Ekajuk -Cross River

108 Eket -Akwa Ibom

109 Ekoi -Cross River

110 Engenni (Ngene) -Rivers

111 Epie -Rivers

112 Esan (Ishan) -Edo

113 Etche -Rivers

114 Etolu (Etilo) -Benue

115 Etsako -Edo

116 Etung -Cross River

117 Etuno -Edo

118 Palli -Adamawa

119 Pulani (Pulbe) -Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa , Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi , Niger, Sokoto, Taraba, Yobe, etc.

120 Fyam (Fyem) -Plateau

121 Fyer(Fer) -Plateau

122 Ga’anda -Adamawa

123 Gade -Niger

124 Galambi -Bauchi

125 Gamergu-Mulgwa -Borno

126 Qanawuri -Plateau

127 Gavako -Borno

128 Gbedde -Kogi

129 Gengle -Taraba

130 Geji -Bauchi

131 Gera (Gere, Gerawa) -Bauchi

132 Geruma (Gerumawa) -Plateau

133 Geruma (Gerumawa) -Bauchi

134 Gingwak -Bauchi

135 Gira -Adamawa

136 Gizigz -Adamawa

137 Goernai -Plateau

138 Gokana (Kana) -Rivers

139 Gombi -Adamawa

140 Gornun (Gmun) -Taraba

141 Gonia -Taraba

142 Gubi (Gubawa) -Bauchi

143 Gude -Adamawa

144 Gudu -Adamawa

145 Gure -Kaduna

146 Gurmana -Niger

147 Gururntum -Bauchi

148 Gusu -Plateau

149 Gwa (Gurawa) -Adamawa

150 Gwamba Adamawa

151 Gwandara -Kaduna, Niger, Plateau

152 Gwari (Gbari) -Kaduna, Niger, Abuja, Plateau

153 Gwom -Taraba

154 Gwoza (Waha) -Borno

155 Gyem -Bauchi

156 Hausa: -Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kaduna,Kano, Kastina, Kebbi, Niger,Taraba, Sokoto, Zamfara etc

157 Higi (Hig) -Borno, Adamawa

158 Holma -Adamawa

159 Hona -Adamawa

160 Ibeno -Akwa lbom

161 Ibibio -Akwa lbom

162 Ichen -Adamawa

163 Idoma -Benue, Taraba

164 Igalla -Kogi

165 lgbo: -Abia, Anambra, Benue, Delta, Ebonyi,Enugu, Imo, Rivers

166 ljumu -Kogi

167 Ikorn -Cross River

168 Irigwe -Plateau

169 Isoko -Delta

170 lsekiri (Itsekiri) -Delta

171 lyala (lyalla) -Cross River

172 lzondjo -Bayelsa, Delta, Ondo, Rivers

173 Jaba -Kaduna

174 Jahuna (Jahunawa) -Taraba

175 Jaku -Bauchi

176 Jara (Jaar Jarawa Jarawa-Dutse) -Bauchi

177 Jere (Jare, Jera, Jera, Jerawa) -Bauchi, Plateau

178 Jero -Taraba

179 Jibu -Adamawa

180 Jidda-Abu -Plateau

181 Jimbin (Jimbinawa) -Bauchi

182 Jirai -Adamawa

183 Jonjo (Jenjo) -Taraba

184 Jukun -Bauchi, Benue,Taraba, Plateau

185 Kaba(Kabawa) -Taraba

186 Kadara -Taraba

187 Kafanchan -Kaduna

188 Kagoro -Kaduna

189 Kaje (Kache) -Kaduna

190 Kajuru (Kajurawa) -Kaduna

191 Kaka -Adamawa

192 Kamaku (Karnukawa) -Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger

193 Kambari -Kebbi, Niger

194 Kambu -Adamawa

195 Kamo -Bauchi

196 Kanakuru (Dera) -Adamawa, Borno

197 Kanembu -Borno

198 Kanikon -Kaduna

199 Kantana -Plateau

200 Kanuri -Kaduna, Adamawa, Borno, Kano,Niger, Jigawa, Plateau, Taraba, Yobe

201 Karekare (Karaikarai) -Bauchi, Yobe

202 Karimjo -Taraba

203 Kariya -Bauchi

204 Katab (Kataf) -Kaduna

205 Kenern (Koenoem) -Plateau

206 Kenton -Taraba

207 Kiballo (Kiwollo) -Kaduna

208 Kilba -Adamawa

209 Kirfi (Kirfawa) -Bauchi

210 Koma -Taraba

211 Kona -Taraba

212 Koro (Kwaro) -Kaduna, Niger

213 Kubi (Kubawa) -Bauchi

214 Kudachano (Kudawa) -Bauchi

215 Kugama -Taraba

216 Kulere (Kaler) -Plateau

217 Kunini -Taraba

218 Kurama -Jigawa, Kaduna, Niger, Plateau

219 Kurdul -Adamawa

220 Kushi -Bauchi

221 Kuteb -Taraba

222 Kutin -Taraba

223 Kwalla -Plateau

224 Kwami (Kwom) -Bauchi

225 Kwanchi -Taraba

226 Kwanka (Kwankwa) -Bauchi, Plateau

227 Kwaro -Plateau

228 Kwato -Plateau

229 Kyenga (Kengawa) -Sokoto

230 Laaru (Larawa) -Niger

231 Lakka -Adamawa

232 Lala -Adamawa

233 Lama -Taraba

234 Lamja -Taraba

235 Lau -Taraba

236 Ubbo -Adamawa

237 Limono -Bauchi, Plateau

238 Lopa (Lupa, Lopawa) -Niger

239 Longuda (Lunguda) -Adamawa, Bauchi

240 Mabo -Plateau

241 Mada -Kaduna, Plateau

242 Mama -Plateau

243 Mambilla -Adamawa

244 Manchok -Kaduna

245 Mandara (Wandala) -Borno

246 Manga (Mangawa) -Yobe

247 Margi (Marghi) -Adamawa, Borno

248 Matakarn -Adamawa

249 Mbembe -Cross River, Enugu

250 Mbol -Adamawa

251 Mbube -Cross River

252 Mbula -Adamawa

253 Mbum -Taraba

254 Memyang (Meryan) -Plateau

255 Miango -Plateau

256 Miligili (Migili) -Plateau

257 Miya (Miyawa) -Bauchi

258 Mobber -Borno

259 Montol -Plateau

260 Moruwa (Moro’a, Morwa) -Kaduna

261 Muchaila -Adamawa

262 Mumuye -Taraba

263 Mundang -Adamawa

264 Munga (Mupang) -Plateau

265 Mushere -Plateau

266 Mwahavul (Mwaghavul) -Plateau

267 Ndoro -Taraba

268 Ngamo -Bauchi, Yobe

269 Ngizim -Yobe

270 Ngweshe (Ndhang.Ngoshe-Ndhang) -Adamawa, Borno

271 Ningi (Ningawa) -Bauchi

272 Ninzam (Ninzo) -Kaduna, Plateau

273 Njayi -Adamawa

274 Nkim -Cross River

275 Nkum -Cross River

276 Nokere (Nakere) -Plateau

277 Nunku -Kaduna, Plateau

278 Nupe -Niger

279 Nyandang -Taraba

280 Ododop Cross River

281 Ogori -Kwara

282 Okobo (Okkobor) -Akwa lbom

283 Okpamheri -Edo

284 Olulumo -Cross River

285 Oron -Akwa lbom

286 Owan -Edo

287 Owe -Kwara

288 Oworo -Kwara

289 Pa’a (Pa’awa Afawa) -Bauchi

290 Pai -Plateau

291 Panyam -Taraba

292 Pero -Bauchi

293 Pire -Adamawa

294 Pkanzom -Taraba

295 Poll -Taraba

296 Polchi Habe -Bauchi

297 Pongo (Pongu) -Niger

298 Potopo -Taraba

299 Pyapun (Piapung) -Plateau

300 Qua -Cross River

301 Rebina (Rebinawa) -Bauchi

302 Reshe -Kebbi, Niger

303 Rindire (Rendre) -Plateau

304 Rishuwa -Kaduna

305 Ron -Plateau

306 Rubu -Niger

307 Rukuba -Plateau

308 Rumada -Kaduna

309 Rumaya -Kaduna

310 Sakbe -Taraba

311 Sanga -Bauchi

312 Sate -Taraba

313 Saya (Sayawa Za’ar) -Bauchi

314 Segidi (Sigidawa) -Bauchi

315 Shanga (Shangawa) -Sokoto

316 Shangawa (Shangau) -Plateau

317 Shan-Shan -Plateau

318 Shira (Shirawa) -Kano

319 Shomo -Taraba

320 Shuwa -Adamawa, Borno

321 Sikdi -Plateau

322 Siri (Sirawa) -Bauchi

323 Srubu (Surubu) -Kaduna

324 Sukur -Adamawa

325 Sura -Plateau

326 Tangale -Bauchi

327 Tarok -Plateau, Taraba

328 Teme -Adamawa

329 Tera (Terawa) -Bauchi, Bomo

330 Teshena (Teshenawa) -Kano

331 Tigon -Adamawa

332 Tikar -Taraba

333 Tiv -Benue, Plateau, Taraba and Nasarawa

334 Tula -Bauchi

335 Tur -Adamawa

336 Ufia -Benue

337 Ukelle -Cross River

338 Ukwani (Kwale) -Delta

339 Uncinda -Kaduna, Kebbi, Niger, Sokoto

340 Uneme (Ineme) -Edo

341 Ura (Ula) -Niger

342 Urhobo -Delta

343 Utonkong -Benue

344 Uyanga -Cross River

345 Vemgo -Adamawa

346 Verre -Adamawa

347 Vommi -Taraba

348 Wagga -Adamawa

349 Waja -Bauchi

350 Waka -Taraba

351 Warja (Warja) -Jigawa

352 Warji -Bauchi

353 Wula -Adamawa

354 Wurbo -Adamawa

355 Wurkun -Taraba

356 Yache -Cross River

357 Yagba -Kwara

358 Yakurr (Yako) -Cross River

359 Yalla -Benue

360 Yandang -Taraba

361 Yergan (Yergum) -Plateau

362 Yoruba -(Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Kogi)

363 Yott -Taraba

364 Yumu -Niger

365 Yungur -Adamawa

366 Yuom -Plateau

367 Zabara -Niger

368 Zaranda -Bauchi

369 Zarma (Zarmawa) -Kebbi

370 Zayam (Zeam) -Bauchi

371 Zul (Zulawa) –Bauchi

By Zents Kunle Sowunmi

Source:

https://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/05/full-list-of-all-371-tribes-in-nigeria-states-where-they-originate/

Revolutionary Nationalism/Descendants of Different Tribes/NATIONS – Haki Kweli Shakur

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4000 Years of New Afrikan History, West Afrika to New Afrika Complete Chronology!!!!! Our-Story!!!!!

4,000 Years of  New Afrikan incorrectly called African American History in One Post

4,000 Years, Not 400!

Most New Afrikans incorrectly called African Americans descend from the half million Africans who landed on the shores of North America as captives during the trans-Atlantic slave trade. The vast majority came from Western Africa (shaded area below) whose history is a story of the rise and fall of many kingdoms and empires. In this one post we will journey through a largely untold history of New Afrikans/African Americans from 2000 BC to 2000 AD.

PART 1
2000 BC to 500 AD
Ancient Africa

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The shaded area of Western Africa where most African American ancestors came from shows evidence of civilizations that go back to at least 2000 BC.

The descriptions in the parentheses (0)match the images on the map.

(1) Ancient Ghana Empire
In West Africa hundreds of abandoned stone settlements dating back to 2000 BC have been found near Tichitt and Walata (2000 BC-500 BC)  in an area that later became part of the Ancient Ghana Empire (300 AD – 1200 AD) in present day southern Mauritania and western Mali which ruled for 900 years from the capital city of Koumbi Selah(pictured above).

(2) Ancient Nok Civilization
The Nok Civilization (1000 BC – 300 AD) in present day Nigeria is believed to have started around 1000 BC. Excavations have found close to one hundred Nok settlements revealing terracotta sculptures from 500 BC (pictured above), pottery, and evidence of large iron furnaces also dating back to at least 500 BC.

(3) Ancient Sao Civilization
Evidence of the Sao Civilization (500 BC-1500 AD) in present day eastern Nigeria, southern Chad, and northern Cameroon, near Lake Chad has traced its history to around 300 BC based on the discovery of pottery and terracotta sculptures (pictured above) at several sites in the area. Some burial grounds show people buried in the fetal position inside large jars (pictured above) similar to some burial sites in Egypt. New excavations from the region of the Sao have revealed evidence of an even earlier civilization referred to by archaeologists as the Gajiganna – Zilum Complexdating back to  at least 1800 BC.

(4) Ancient Kingdom of Nubia
In northeastern Africa the ancient African Kingdom of Nubia (present day Sudan) actually goes back before 2000 BC. Nubia, also known as Cush, built more – albeit smaller – pyramids (pictured above) than Egypt, and eventually conquered and ruled Egypt during its 25th Dynasty (760 BC–656 BC). Although this area is not located in western Africa, some suggest archaeological evidence and written Egyptian records could prove that ties existed between Ancient Egypt, Nubia, and the Sao/Gajiganna – Zilum Civilizations.

In Summary
The Western African civilizations of Tichitt and Walata, Nok, Sao,  Gajiganna – Zilum, and the Ghana Empire were all located in the section of Africa where most African Americans would eventually come from (shaded area of map).

PART 2:
500 AD to 1500 AD
The Golden Age of West Africa

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While Europe descended into its “Dark Age” after the fall of the Roman Empire, West Africa was ascending into what many consider to be its Golden Age. The following are a few highlights about this period.

The descriptions in the parentheses (0)match the images on the map.

(5) Mali Empire
Mansa Musa was the 10th king of the Mali Empire (1200-1670) and has been named the richest person ever in the world by Time Magazine (July 30, 2015). He was mostly remembered for his wealth in gold made famous by his pilgrimage to Mecca. While travelling through Egypt on the way to Mecca his caravan spent so much gold it deflated gold prices in Egypt for the next 10 years.

Mansa Musa appears on a Spanish map (above) made in the year 1325 holding a large gold nugget. This is believed to be why European interest in the rich African continent grew. It would be another 100 years before European ships arrived on the West African coast. The Mali empire consisted of the former Ghana Empire and westward including present day Senegal and Gambia.

(6) Songhay Empire
Sunni Ali Ber was the first King of the Songhay Empire (1375 – 1591 AD) as he seized control of former Mali strongholds using his powerful military. Songhay eventually became the largest empire in pre-colonial West Africa encompassing most of the former Ghana and Mali Empires and eastward including present day western Niger.

(7) City of Timbuktu
The city of Timbuktu was an important center of commerce and education during the Mali and Songhay Empires. Timbuktu was the location of the University of Sankore founded in 988 AD (pictured above) which was famous throughout the Muslim world. National Geographic estimates that 700,000 manuscripts which are hundreds of years old have survived in present day private libraries in Timbuktu calling them “significant repositories of scholarly production in West Africa and the Sahara”.

(8) The Oyo Empire
The Oyo Empire (1400 – 1895 AD) was formed by the ethnic Yoruba population in current day southwestern Nigeria. Oyo was one of the more urbanized Empires in Western Africa. Many residents lived in cities and towns that had between 10,000 and 60,000 residents. The king’s palace (pictured above) was in the city of Oyo-Ife in the center of the empire and like other cities in Oyo was completely surrounded with a tall earthen wall with 17 gates.

(9) Benin Kingdom
Benin city (pictured above), the capital of Benin Kingdom (1180 – 1897 AD) in present day southern Nigeria was described by a Portuguese ship captain as: “Great Benin, where the king resides, is larger than Lisbon (Portugal’s capital); all the streets run straight and as far as the eye can see. The houses are large, especially that of the king, which is richly decorated and has fine columns. The city is wealthy and industrious. It is so well governed that theft is unknown and the people live in such security that they have no doors to their houses.”

Nri Kingdom
Just east of Benin was the Nri Kingdom of the Igbo people (948 – 1911 AD)(present day southeastern Nigeria) that ruled its people solely by political and spiritual influence absent any military. This type of rule by influence was very rare in the history of the world. Slavery was outlawed in Nri which became a place of refuge for people rejected from other societies.

(10) The Kongo Kingdom
The Kongo Kingdom (1400 – 1838 AD) in present day northern Angola and far western Democratic Republic of Congo established a diplomatic relationship with the Portuguese in 1485, a commercial partnership that lasted more than 200 years. The king of Kongo voluntarily converted to Christianity and encouraged conversion among its people.

There were many more kingdoms in this region including Kanem-Bornu, Jolof/Wolof, Sine, Mossi States, Borno State and others not included on the map.

PART 3:
1500 AD to 1820 AD
African Kingdoms Before Colonialism

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After the demise of the golden age empires, the western African landscape became dominated by the rise of smaller ethnic independent states some of which created their own empires. By this time Europeans had established trading relationships with many western African kingdoms and empires. Some Europeans were given permission to set up trading posts and forts on the coast while others were refused land and required approval by local kings to travel inland to trade.

The descriptions in the parentheses (00)match the images on the map.

(11) Bambara Empire
The Bambara Empire (1712 – 1861 AD)grew as a result of the fall of the Songhay Empire. The people established a capital at Segou (pictured above) and fought many wars against their surrounding neighbors including the the Mossi States to gain territory from nearby kingdoms. Although engaged in constant warfare, the central part of the empire enjoyed relative stability and prosperity as noted by first time Scottish Explorer Mongo Park. When traveling through Segou he wrote “The view of this extensive city, the numerous canoes on the river, the crowded population, and the cultivated state of the surrounding countryside, formed altogether a prospect of civilization and magnificence that I little expected to find in the bosom of Africa.”

(12) The Kong Empire
The Kong Empire (1710 – 1894) was one of the states that also rose amidst the declining Songhay Empire. Kong fought many wars conquering its neighbors and taking control of the very lucrative trade economy that existed in the area. The capital city of Kong (pictured above) later became a commercial center and known for Islamic studies.

(13) Asante Empire
The Asante State was one of the states of the Akan ethnic group that rose to prominence by conquering nearby Akan states creating the Asante Empire (1701 – 1894) in present day Ghana. This empire was run by a strict adherence to a hierarchical structure and grew rich by controlling the gold trade and improving mining techniques at its secret gold fields. The Asante divided its empire into districts run from its palace (pictured above) in the capital city of Kumasi. They fought many wars against the Kong Empire, and other Akan states (Fente, Bono, and Akym).

(14) City of Kano
The city of Kano (pictured above) was originally established as a city-state in 999 AD. Kano became part of the Songhay Empire sometime after 1450 AD transforming it into more Islamic society.

(15) Kingdoms of N’Dongo and Matamba
In the 1600s the kingdoms of N’Dongo and Matamba were ruled by Queen Nzinga (pictured above) who took over after the death of her brother. For 30 years she fought the Portuguese who conquered land in nearby N’gola (Angola) and were attempting to increase their territory for the slave trade. She was still personally leading her troops in battle against the Portuguese while in her 60s.

Although there were many, some of the other empires, kingdoms, and states during this time period were Mandinka, Fulo, Jolof/Wolof, Sine, Mossi States, Fente, Dahomey, Aro Confederacy, and Loango.

Slave Trade

Europeans initially purchased slaves from the existing slave markets within these African kingdoms which were traditionally supplied by prisoners of war and locals convicted of crimes. Continued contact with European slave and gun traders helped to influence an increase of conflicts between several West African states leading them into a perpetual state of war which consequently committed a growing number of prisoners-of-war to the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

As the European demand for slave labor began to outstrip supply, slave raids became a more common practice across Western Africa. Raids were carried out by; groups of African and European slavers supplied with Europeans weapons; some African states who raided enemies; as well as Europeans who led their own slave raids. These practices began to depopulate the kingdoms, states, and empires of western Africa destabilizing the entire region.

PART 4
1500 to 1820 AD:
Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Era

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Between the years 1500 and 1820 more than 12.5 million African men, women, and children were loaded onto slave ships heading to the Americas. Approximately 2.5 million died along the way. Fewer than 500,000 were brought to North America (probably 410,000 and another 40,000 African born captives from the Caribbean) The bulk of the African captives came from just six regions highlighted on the above map of Africa (right).



The descriptions in the parentheses (00)match the images on the map.

FROM AFRICA TO NORTH AMERICA

(16) Senegambia
(green) an estimated 61,500 or 15% of the total (present day coast between Senegal and Gambia) – Included the empires of Jolof/Wolof, Fulu, Kaabu, kingdoms of Sine, Saloum, Cayor, Mossi, and Baol. They are also descendants of the Ancient Tichitt-Walata Civilization, Ghana, Mali, and Songhay Empires

(17) Windward Coast
(gray) 65,600 or 16% (most of present day Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast)
– Included the Mandinka/Mandingo Kingdom and other smaller kingdoms.

(18) Gold Coast
(yellow) 53,300 or 13%(most of present day Ghana)
– Included the Akan States of Asante, Fente, Bono, and Akym, the Kong Empire and others.

(19) Bight of Benin
(red) 20,500 or 5% (present day Togo, Benin, and southwestern Nigeria)
– Included the Oyo Empire and the kingdoms of Benin and Dahomey and others who are descendants of the ancient Nok Civilization

(20) Bight of Biafra
(blue) 98,400 or 24% (most of present day Nigeria and Cameroon)
– Included the Kingdom of Nri, the Aro Confederacy, Kanem-Bornu Empires, and others who are likely partially descended from the Sao Civilization

(21) Congo/ Angola
(brown) 106,600 or 26% (present day Congo, Zaire, Angola, Namibia)
– Included the Kingdom of Kongo, Ndongo, Loango, Matamba, and several other nearby kingdoms

ARRIVAL IN NORTH AMERICA

African captives landed at just three regions in North America indicated on the above map of the United States (left).

(22) Georgia/ South Carolina

Over half – 234,000 or 52% – landed in Charleston, South Carolina which was the largest slave port on the North American shore. About 45% of the African captives who landed at this port were from the Congo/Angola region which were widely available in the Americas. About 20% came from the Senegambia region where many were originally rice farmers and therefore sought after for rice plantations eventuality becoming the Gullah people of the Georgia/ South Carolina coast.

Generally plantation owners from Georgiaand South Carolina refused African captives from the Bight of Biafra who were largely from the Igbo ethnic group and descendants of the Nri Kingdom. It was believed that Igbos were more likely to revolt and commit suicide rather than be slaves because they had a tradition that valued freedom. Estimates of captives brought to Georgia/ South Carolina from each region:

  • 45% from Congo/ Angola
  • 20% Senegambia
  • 18% Windward Coast
  • 15% Gold Coast
  • 2% Bight of Biafra

(23) Virginia/ Maryland

In direct contrast to Georgia and South Carolina, ships that supplied captives to Virginia and Maryland got the largest percentage (36%) of African captives from the Bight of Biafra. Estimates of captives brought to Virginia/ Maryland from each region:

  • 36% Bight of Biafra
  • 17% Congo/ Angola
  • 15% from Senegambia
  • 12% Windward Coast
  • 16% Gold Coast
  • 5% Bight of Benin

Biafra: The Richmond Virginia Slave Trail/ Slave Trade Hub of America Virginia Igbo Connection – Haki Kweli shakur

(24) Southern Louisiana

The French who controlled Louisianaimported a higher percent from Senegambia and Bight of Benin before the the United States obtained the land via the Louisiana purchase in 1803. Black New Orleans reflects some of the culture of the Yoruba ethnic group who are decedents of the Oyo Empire and Dahomey Kingdom near the Bight of Benin. Estimates into Louisiana from each region:

  • 35% from Congo/ Angola
  • 20% Senegambia
  • 20% Bight of Benin
  • 10% Windward Coast
  • 10% Bight of Biafra
  • 5% Gold Coast

African captives from the Gold Coastwho were largely ethnic Akan people from the Asante Empire and nearby Akan states were preferred by all slave holders. However they were not as available as Congo/ Angola captives. Akan people came from societies who practiced a strict adherence to a hierarchical power structure. Many plantation owners believed this made them less likely to revolt.

The Trans-Atlantic Slave trade was officially outlawed in 1807 although some ships sailed illegally for many years after. In the year 1700 more than half (58%) of North America slaves were born in Africa but by 1820 more than 88% of slaves had been born in America. Slaves were forcibly encouraged not to pass on their African culture and identity which helped to solidify the notion of New Afrikans/African Americans as a slave class. The New Afrikan/ African American population in 1820 was 1.7 million, 1.5 million of which were slaves.

PART 5:
1820 to 1860
U.S. Domestic Slave Trade Era

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The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade ended in 1807 which meant it was no longer legal to buy and sell slaves across the ocean or internationally. However slavery within the United States remained legal and even experienced a huge expansion during this time. In 1820 there were 1.7 million New Afrikans/African Americans in the country and 1.5 million of them were slaves mainly concentrated in the Atlantic states and southern Louisiana.

Between 1800 and 1820 two events occurred changing the geography of slavery in America: the invention of the cotton gin and that Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas joined the union as slave-holding states. This lead to a surge in the domestic slave trade resulting in an increase of slaves from VA, MD, GA, SC, and Southern Louisiana being sold to MS, AL, TX, AR, and northern Louisiana.

During the length of the entire slave trade approximately 835,000 slaves were sold between plantations within the United States. A failed attempt by slave-holding states to preserve slavery by seceding from the United States resulted in the Civil War and the final abolition of slavery in America in 1865.

The descriptions in the parentheses (00)match the images on the map.

(25) Results from six different DNA studies show evidence that African Americans are on average 21% European. The widespread sexual exploitation of Mew Afrikan/African American women during slavery is cited as a major reason for this as female slaves were considered property allowing for atrocities such as widespread rape to go unpunished.

Contrary to popular belief, so far DNA evidence reveals that New Afrikans/ African Americans are only 2% Native American. This contradicts what many New Afrikans/African Americans have been told by older generations as an explanation for fair skin within most Black families. The stories of Native American Ancestry were very common and may have been an attempt to conceal the shame of the widescale rape of their ancestors.

The 1860 US Census, in its last official Census count before emancipationcounted just under 4.5 million New Afrikans/African Americans in which 4 million were slaves.

PART 6:
1865 to 1940
Black Settlements/ First Great Migration

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Black Settlements
After emancipation a large percentage of newly freed New Afrikans/African Americans remained on plantations as sharecroppers. However thousands of New Afrikan/African American men and women opted, instead, to flee from their former plantations and created, occupied, and governed hundreds of new independent Black towns and settlements. Most Black settlements were unincorporated communities but about 80 Black towns were officially incorporated during this time.

A group of Black Settlements were located in Maryland and others were scattered throughout the deep south such as Grambling Louisiana, Tuskegee Alabama, and Mound Bayou Mississippi. But Oklahoma and Texaswere home to a concentration of more than 70 Black settlements and towns. There was even a Black town as far west as California. In 1910, 89% of all New Afrikans/ African Americans still lived in the South, and 80% of them in rural areas.

The descriptions in the parentheses (00)match the images on the map.

(26) Mound Bayou, Mississippi
Mound Bayou, Mississippi
exemplified the will and determination of formerly enslaved men and women who built these towns. In 1887 ex-slave Isaiah T Montgomery and his cousin Benjamin T. Green purchased undeveloped land on a rail line in the Mississippi Delta. With the help of twelve other freed slaves they cleared the land and erected the town of Mound Bayou. Like other Black towns Mound Bayou had grown into a self-sufficient city in the early 1900s with its own businesses including a cotton mill, four cotton gins, a bank, a public school system, a private school system, and a technical college. The State of Mississippi and the surrounding White residents resisted by bending laws to close down the Bank and trying to force Mound Bayou farmers to buy supplies from White suppliers. In response Mound Bayou businessmen went to court to reopen the bank and local farmers created a cooperative business for their supplies.

(27) Oklahoma Black towns and settlements

In Oklahoma from 1865 to 1920 more than 50 independent towns and settlements were created mostly on former Native American land opened up for settlement by the federal government. More Black towns and settlements were created in Oklahoma than any other state, thirteen of which still exist today. Boley, Oklahoma (pictured above) was the largest of these towns with over 4,000 residents in 1911. Boley had a nationally chartered bank, its own electric company, public and private schools, and two colleges. Just as he did with Mound Bayou Mississippi, Booker T. Washington visited, wrote, and talked about Boley in his speeches.

By 1910 New Afrikans/African Americans who stayed behind on the old plantations began to grow frustrated with the system of sharecropping which had become in many cases, just another form of slavery. Also new Jim Crow legislation was being passed in the South further restricting many of the civil rights enjoyed briefly after emancipation. Rather than move into Black towns, a larger number of New Afrikans/African Americans began moving North in what is now known as the First Great Migrationinto cities such as Chicago, Detroit, St Louis, and New York. There they created flourishing Black communities. Between 1910 and 1930 more than 1.5 million New Afrikans/African Americans made this journey.

(28) Harlem, New York
Harlem, New York
was an example of progress in the urban Black communities in northern cities. In 1904 real estate investor and savvy businessman Philip A. Payton, Jr. created the New Afrikan/Afro-American Real Estate Company. With the help of Black investors from the National Negro Business League, he purchased two apartment buildings in Harlem and evicted its White tenets replacing them with Black tenants. This forced White owners to sell nearby buildings to Payton at much lower prices than they were originally worth. He continued to move Black renters into the buildings he owned and into others that he later leased, making Central Harem onto the Black community that later would be the home of the Harlem Renaissance. This is why Payton is sometimes acknowledged as the father of Harlem. Similar communities sprung up in cities of all sizes across the country in places such as Chicago, Cleveland, and Philadelphia and even in southern cities like Atlanta, Memphis, Birmingham, and Raleigh North Carolina.

Between emancipation and World War II, Black communities around the country were often plagued with Jim Crow legislation and race riots from neighboring White communities. In the South this occurred frequently when tensions between the races boiled over and often resulted in White mobs indiscriminately lynching New Afrikans/African Americans, and in many cases, burning down and destroyed Black communities. In the North tensions often flared because of job competition and housing but had similar results.

(29) Black immigrants
Between 1899 and 1937 more than 140,000 Black immigrants came through United States ports mostly from the Caribbean or West Indian islands of the Bahamas, Jamaica, Barbados, Saint Vincent, Saint Lucia, Grenada, and Dominica. Popular destinations were New York, Boston, and Florida. At one point close to one third of Black Central Harlem was from the Caribbean. Black Caribbeans tended to be overrepresented as Black business owners and members of the middle class. At times, this caused tension between them and the New Afrikan/ African American population. Another wave of about 40,000 Black immigrants entered the United States from the Caribbean during World War II as laborers working wherever they were needed for the war effort. Second and third generation Black Caribbeans usually integrated with New Afrikans/African Americans but also identified strongly with their Caribbean or West Indian heritage.

The Great Depression of the 1930s sealed the fate of many Black settlements that were unable to survive economically. Residents abandoned many of these communities to find work, food, and shelter elsewhere. Few settlements survived on their own and others were annexed by nearby cities. The depression also slowed down the migration from the South. Despite these setbacks the New Afrikan/African American population of the United States in 1940 had grown to12.9 million.

Oklahoma Towns Video: http://www.okhistory.org/historycenter/blacktowns/ssjones.mp4

PART 7:
1941 to 1970
The Second Great Migration

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After the Great Depression, millions of New Afrikans/African Americans began escaping the Jim Crow South again. More than 5 million African Americans moved to cities in the North and on the West Coast in what is known as the Second Great Migration. This migration tended to follow the pattern of the First Great Migration along the rail lines; therefore, one may find that certain cities in the North have Black populations that come from the same areas in the South. This is why so many New Afrikans/ African Americans in New York have family in Virginia, Georgia, North and South Carolina while many others from Detroit have family in Alabama, and those in Chicago tend to have roots in Mississippi.  For most, the South was considered their homeland because they could no longer trace their African identity; it had long been erased during the institution of American slavery.

The descriptions in the parentheses (00)match the images on the map.

(30) The 1950s marked the beginning of the Civil Rights era. New Afrikan/African American life in Montgomery, Alabama had become typical of the Jim Crow South. However, in 1955 a woman named Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a White man as required by Montgomery city ordinance. This sparked the famous Montgomery bus boycott headed by Rev Martin Luther King Jr. where 40,000 Black bus patrons in an economic protest, refused to ride the bus for 381 days until the system was integrated after a Supreme Court decision. Despite the hard fought gains in civil justice, New Afrikans/African Americans were still leaving the South in large numbers.

(31) Migrating North: Detroit

As New Afrikans/African Americans moved north, the Black population in many northern cities like Detroit exploded during and after World War II due to available industrial jobs. Between 1940 and 1950, more than 66% of the Black population in Detroit was born outside of the area, with most born in the South. Although there were no Jim Crow laws in Detroit, from 1950 to 1970 racial segregation in the metro area increased as the White population moved to suburbs. It was during this time period that Detroit was said to have one of the largest Black middle-class communities in the nation and Motown Recordsbrought Detroit international fame.

(32) Moving West: Los Angeles

In 1940, Los Angeles had a black population of 63,774; more than all other western cities combined. During the 1940s about 140,000 New Afrikans/African Americans began arriving from the South and Midwest to fill jobs in the newly opened factories. By 1960, Los Angeles had the fifth largest black population in the US, larger than any city in the South. This also had an affect on Hollywood which began producing more well-meaning Black films like ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ and television shows like I, Spy, Julia, and The Bill Cosby Show which offered a more three-dimensional portrayal of New Afrikans/African Americans in entertainment than in previous decades.

The industrial North and West Coastalso provided union jobs for laborers and brought many New Afrikan/African American families into the middle class became able to afford to send their children to college. By 1960, 40 percent of all African Americans lived outside the South, and 75% lived in cities.

The Civil Rights Era

lasted from the 1950s through the 1960s. During this period, millions of African Americans from Montgomery, Alabama to Chicago fought for civil rights to gain the privilege to vote, desegregate the schools, end housing and job discrimination, and end the policy of “separate but equal” public and private services. The success of the protests and the new legislation was almost overshadowed by widespread rioting that occurred in dozens of cities in the North and on the West Coast. The effect of the Civil Rights era would lead to dramatic changes for Black America in the coming decades.  By 1970,  47 percent of all New Afrikans/African Americans lived outside the South and more than 80 percent lived in urban areas. In 1970 the African American population was 22.6 million.

PART 8:
1970 to 2000
The NEW Great Migration

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After the civil rights era the New Afrikan/African American population began a noticeable split. Black consumers started spending more of their money at White owned businesses resulting in the demise of many Black owned businesses. Also, many Middle class and upwardly mobile New Afrikans/African Americans who would have opened businesses were, instead, taking advantage of newly available education and employment opportunities within corporate America and the government. These combined factors added to the lack of business and job creation from within the Black community because getting a good job was viewed as more attainable and financially stable than creating a business.

With the end of housing discrimination policies White suburbs all across America began to experience an increase of New Afrikan/2African Americans. Most suburbs remained overwhelmingly White while some in large cities became majority Black middle class neighborhoods.

(33) For example during this suburbanization period (1970-2000) many middle class African Americans left the city limits of Detroit. By 2000 New Afrikans/African Americans made up almost half of the total population growth in the Detroit suburbs. From 1990 to 2000 the Black population in the city of Detroit decreased for the first time in history. Poverty in the city increased and became more concentrated. The city lost much of its tax base and more than half of its total population and today it is widely used as the prime example of urban decay. This same pattern was repeated all across America. As of 2002, ninety percent of the Black population in metropolitan Detroit resided in either Detroit or four of its suburbs.

(32) Growing Black Middle – Class

During the 1980s the southern half of Suburban Atlanta became a big destination for African Americans from across the country who were looking for a good neighborhoods near the fast growing city of Atlanta. Suburban Black middle-class neighborhoods began filling undeveloped land all throughout the southern half of Metro Atlanta in DeKalb, South Fulton, and Clayton Counties. Because of the lack of job development in the southern suburbs most still had to commute downtown or to job centers on the opposite side of Atlanta (north).

Despite this many have considered the Atlanta Metro to be the New Black Mecca, allegedly replacing Harlem as the New Afrikan/African American center of business and culture and beginning to eclipse Los Angeles and New York as the center of African American entertainment. The Atlanta metropolitan Black population would become the second largest in the nation by 2010 with 1.8 million African Americans surpassing Chicago and coming in second to New York.

Majority Black middle-class suburbs also sprung up outside of other major cities including Washington DC (Prince George’s County, Maryland), Dallas (DeSoto, Cedar Hill), Chicago (Hazel Crest), Charlotte, and St Louis (Black Jack). Despite having large concentrations of Black middle-class residents, these communities still lacked an economic base of business development to help support infrastructure, job growth, health and community services, as well as other basic forms of commercial development. They were often located too far from areas with job and infrastructure growth and required lengthy commutes.

(34) For example while the Black Suburbs of DeSoto and Cedar Hill were growing south of Dallas, corporations were busy creating jobs and expanding infrastructure north of Dallas. (33) The Black suburbs of Prince George’s County MD was expanding east and further southeast of Washington DC, while most corporate business development was growing north of DC and west of DC in Virginia. The same pattern exists in Chicago, Houston, St Louis, and other cities which placed the biggest corporate investment on the opposite side of the metropolitan areas from the Black middle class.

As the Rust Belt cities of the old industrial age such as Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Pittsburgh, etc. continued to decline during the 80s and 90s, middle-class New Afrikan/African Americans who did not move to local suburbs began migrating to suburbs of sunbelt cities like Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston and Phoenix which offered more job opportunities and a better quality of life.

Black Poverty

The flight of the Black middle class left behind even poorer more isolated and less educated Black communities in traditionally Black neighborhoods with crumbling infrastructures in cities and towns all across America. By 2014 23% percent of Black families and 37% of single-parent Black families lived below the poverty level. They were vulnerable to a growing drug epidemic and the so-called “War on Drugs” which lead to a wave of mass incarceration policies including “tough on crime” legislation passed on every level of government. The result was an increased use of heavy handed policing particularly focused on Black men.

As a result an alarming number of Black men have been removed from the workforce and deemed unemployable because of drug related non-violent felony crime records. Before 1960 New Afrikans/African Americans were more likely to be married than Whites but by 2010 only 32% of African Americans were married compared to 52% of all Americans. This greatly affected the extremely poor and a large number of now single income middle-class Black families who actually had been surviving only a pay period away from the poverty line.

For many New Afrikans/African Americans the era between 1970 and 2000 will be seen as a time of advancement and prosperity; for many others it will be viewed as a time of cyclical poverty and mass incarceration of Black men who, as a result, were less able to help lead their poorer communities. At the same time they became less of a factor in the future of middle class Black families. From 1970 to 2000 the Black population grew from 22.6 million to 36.4 million.

Density of the Black Population in 2000

After 2000
(36) Between 2000 and 2014 more than 1 million immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa came to the United States mainly from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. This was the largest number of Africans coming to the U.S. since the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Most have settled in metropolitan areas of New York, Washington DC, Atlanta, Houston, Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and Dallas where they tend to be dispersed in non-Black neighborhoods. African immigrants tend to have a higher than average socioeconomic status and are literally the most educated of all immigrants to the United States from anywhere else in the world. In 2013 an estimated 3.8 million or 8.7% of the Black population were foreign born from Africa and the Caribbean. This number is expected to rise to 16% by 2060.

The Great Recession
The economic recession of 2008 set New Afrikan/African American families back more and longer than others. Some of the highest home foreclosure rates happened in the majority Black middle-class suburbs. New Afrikan/African Americans are the only group that has not recovered fully from the recession.

Recent Rise in Activism

With the help of mobile phone videos, social media, and nationwide protests, a resurgence of a 1960s style civil rights movement began in 2015. This movement is mainly focused on ending police brutality, discrimination, and mass incarceration. A much smaller lesser-known economic movement of Black business ownership, support, and job creation is also underway. So far, this initiative has failed to gain steam and yield community-impacting results with the majority of the New Afrikan/African American community.

Conclusion
New Afrikans incorrectly called African Americans have a history that goes back four thousand years, not “four hundred years” – which is a frequently used phrase when discussing Black history. That means for at least 3,600 years our ancestors controlled the societies, governments, militaries, and economies, of Western Africa. All of this took place before 400 years of being sold across the ocean, enduring slavery, mass rape, racial oppression. The last 400 years have forcibly merged the Black population into one people whose knowledge of its own history had been lost and forgotten.

Since the end of slavery New Afrikans/African Americans have gone to great lengths to become a part of the American Dream – with many successes as well as many failures. Today African Americans have failed to fully integrate as a whole into American society and have yet to create an economic job creation engine that will sustain Black communities. Despite the growth of the Black middle-class Black wealth remains very low ($5,600) compared to that of White Americans($113,000). Today New Afrikan/ African American families are more fragile than ever because they are more reliant on single parental incomes, have few investments, and own few assets.

New Afrikan/African America – A Powerful New Afrikan Nation
Despite all of this the New Afrikan/African American population boasts a spending power of more than 1 trillion dollars annually. If Black America were its own nation it would be a nation of 45 million and would rank 31st in size on earth with a life expectancy higher than 103 other countries. Substituting income for GDP, it would have a GDP higher than all South American countries, all African countries, and higher than most Asian countries. The chart below created using GapMinder’s Socio-Economic World Map shows you what that would look like.

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Therefore the New Afrikan incorrectly called African American community is positioned above most other populations in the world with a unique opportunity to gather its strengths and build a stronger community with not only a great history but also a greater future.

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Source:  http://blackdemographics.com/4000-years-of-african-american-history-2/for

 

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Amilcar Cabral Day Sept 12, Imperialism & Neocolonialism, #Cabralista

Chimusoro Kenneth Tafira

Jan 22, 2014

To Cabral, the liberation struggle was a revolution to overthrow the oppressive system of domination and exploitation of one human being by another. This has not been fully achieved in Africa, despite the end of formal colonialism. The liberation movements and current regimes lack an astute ideology grounded in the history and aspirations of their own people

Cabral’s perception about the end of colonial rule remains outstanding, if not prophetic. His analyses of the African liberation struggle, with which he closely associated, was borne out of his active involvement in the armed revolution in his native Guinea-Bissau and other colonised African societies. Cabral was an outstanding student of colonial and postcolonial politics. He indicted both European colonialism and the incipient neo-colonialism where there was perpetuation of the colonial matrix of power despite the change of guard.

The Black Bourgeoisie Exploitation of The New Afrikan Proletariat Class – Haki Kweli Shakur

In the aftermath of colonial armed conquest there was complete destruction of the economic and social structure of African societies. These developments were tied to racial discrimination and contempt of Africans, who were forced to labour for little or nothing and treated like chattel (Cabral 1969, 1980). Colonialism usurps fundamental rights, essential freedoms and human dignity and leads to other social malaise. Internal conditions and daily realities of people’s lives are enough to cause them to aspire for national liberation and to seek liquidation of colonialism. However that struggle is both part of a larger undertaking whose teleology is the abolition of colonial rule in the whole of Africa and dismantling of capitalist colonialism and imperialism. The fight for liberation has in the end positive results as it raises political awareness, national consciousness, political thought and action of the masses. It also intensifies a sense of unity of all Africans thereby erasing differences fostered and cultivated by colonialists.

Scientific Socialism is The Combatant to Eliminate Captalism – Haki Kweli Shakur

The principle of the struggle is of and for the people themselves who must wage and own it and reap its rewards. The basis of the struggle is the realisation of their dreams, aspirations, and of justice and progress as a whole, not just a few groups and individuals. Ultimately the liberation struggle enables sub-human beings engendered by colonialism to be fully human. This was the promise of the liberation struggle. However, much to the chagrin of Cabral and other committed Third World revolutionaries, hopes of full humanity were betrayed by the African elite who had led the struggle. An egalitarian society where oppression and exploitation of man by another is abolished would not be realised. Cabral realised through his erudite analyses that whatever vice and ill that has fallen the postcolony are steeped in the paucity of an astute ideological, theoretical and political clarity and coherence. Nyerere (1968), Cabral (1979) and Fanon (1961) all argue that this stems from a lack of ideological content during the liberation struggles. Ideological deficiency and total lack of ideology in the national liberation movements which is explained by ignorance of historical reality which these movements aspire to transform constitute the greatest weakness in the struggle against imperialism and ‘nobody has yet successfully practised revolution without revolutionary theory’ (Cabral 1979: 123).

The lack of ideological thrust by liberation movements meant they could not marry theory and practice in envisioning the kind of post-colonial society that they desired. Former liberation leaders, become, at the end of colonial rule, trapped in venality and rapacious extraction of their countries’ resources. This they do in cahoots with former colonisers. The African comprador bourgeoisie becomes pre-occupied with making their pockets fatter and the majority of the masses remain inured in penury, need and want. Thus the postcolony is a refraction of the system it purportedly replaced. This redolent arrangement means political power is in the hands of the African elite, while economic power is interlocked with the global financial systems – a curse of agreements hammered out through negotiated settlements even in societies where colonialism faced the prospect of outright military defeat. This elite is pacifist-apologetic, who at the decisive moment could not defeat imperialism. Instead they become junior partners with imperialist forces in a neo-colonial arrangement. The understanding liberation leaders made with colonialism would have deeper and far-reaching implications; the consequences are reduction of Africans to sub-human existence; corruption by the elite; dictatorships which are propped by western imperialism and other social malaise. The negation of the teleology of the liberation struggle is disheartening.

Cabral writes:

‘Obviously a peoples’ struggle is effectively theirs if the reason for that struggle is based on the aspirations, the dreams, the desire for justice and progress of the people themselves and not on the aspirations, dreams or ambitions of a half a dozen persons, or a group of persons who are in contradiction with the actual interests of their people’ (Cabral 1979: 75).

National liberation of a people is the regaining of their historical personality; a return to history through destruction of the imperialist domination which they were subjected to. In a postcolonial Africa this is yet to be, or not realised and fulfilled at all. National liberation exists only when the national productive forces are completely freed from all and any kind of domination (Cabral 1979). Since imperialism usurps the historical development of the people through violence, national liberation has to grant the right of the people to have their own history. Any liberation movement that doesn’t consider this is certainly not struggling for national liberation because the principal aspect of national liberation is the struggle against neo-colonialism. If this involves freeing of productive forces, then national liberation necessarily corresponds to a revolution and ‘national liberation struggle is a revolution’ (Cabral 1979: 134). Fanon (1961: 39) believes that the settler never ceases to be ‘the enemy, opponent, the foe that must be overthrown’ because he has always been part of a process of domination and exploitation. If the revolution is not realised the national liberation continues because it ‘is not over at the moment when the flag is hoisted and the national anthem is played…’ (Cabral 1979: 134)

The postcolony is an illusion, reinforced and spurred by native elements controlling political or state power. The postcolony is an illusion because this class is subjected to the whims and impulse of imperialists (Fanon 1961; Cabral 1979). This pseudo bourgeoisie, however, strongly nationalist, cannot fulfil a historical function; ‘it cannot freely guide the development of productive forces, and in short cannot be a national bourgeoisie’. (Cabral 1979:129).

Cabral’s analyses remain true. Although he died on the eve of his country’s independence and would not live to see its political and economic direction, he had seen the fate of other African countries newly ‘independent’ from colonial rule. His treatise on the postcolony is always a template for a new generation of pan-African revolutionaries who would at some good time build on the foundations of Cabral’s revolutionary theory and take the struggle against imperialism to its logical conclusion.

* Chimusoro Kenneth Tafira is a post-doctoral fellow at Archie Mafeje Research Institute, University of South Africa. He holds a doctorate in Anthropology from the University of the Witwatersrand.

REFERENCES

Cabral, Amilcar 1979. Unity and Struggle: Speeches and Writings. London: Heinemann.
______1973 Return to Source: Selected Speeches of Amilcar Cabral. Africa Information Service, ed. New York: Monthly Review Press.
______1969 Revolution in Guinea: An African People’s Struggle. London: Stage 1.

Fanon, Frantz 1961. The Wretched of the Earth, trans Constance Farrington. London: Penguin Books.
Nyerere, Julius Kambarage. 1968 Freedom and Socialism. Uhuru na Ujamaa. Selection from Writings and Speeches 1965 – 1967. Nairobi: Oxford University Press.

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Sept. 9, 2018 Update from Jalil Muntaqim Regarding Parole Hearing

Sept. 9, 2018 Update from Jalil Regarding Parole Hearing

When Jalil spoke with Commissioner Alexander on June 12th, she told Jalil that he could request an earlier date than December when he was ready to go to the Board.

On August 2, Jalil requested that ORC Aldano, his counselor, put him on the September list for the Board.

On August 10, Jalil wrote a letter to Tina Stanford requesting that she check to see he was on the list for September.

On Sept 5, Mr. Justiniano, Deputy Supervisor of Programs at Sullivan, informed Jalil he was not on the schedule for September Board hearings.

Jalil spoke with Superintendent Keyser on Sept. 6, but did not receive any response as to why he was not scheduled for September. Also, Jalil’s mother spoke with Ms. Villa, one of Tina Stanford’s assistants, on that same day, and she was told there was no reason Ms. Villa could see as to why Jalil was not scheduled.

Jalil spoke with Mr. Justiniano on Sept. 7, and asked him why he was not scheduled to go to the Board. Mr. Justiniano stated three times: “I cannot say.” Jalil asked him, “You can’t say, or you won’t say?” and received the same response. (This would seem to indicate that Mr. Justiniano has orders not to tell Jalil why he was not scheduled.)

Jalil would like to go to the Board in October, not December, and is requesting that he be put on the October calendar. He does not want to wait until December, as he has read a report stating that Senator Gallivan has scheduled hearings to try to rollback all the hard-won gains that have been won regarding parole in New York State.

Love and Rage,
Anne
NYC Jericho Movement

If you need info on the Nelson Mandela Campaign, please go to jerichony.org.

Write to Jalil:
Anthony J. Bottom #77A4283
Sullivan C.F.
P.O. Box 116
Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116

Chairman Mao Zedong (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976) on the Black ( New Afrikan ) National Question

Oppose Racial Discrimmination By U.S. Imperialism

[“Statement Supporting the Afro-Americans in Their Just Struggle Against Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism” (August 8, 1963)

An American Negro leader now taking refuge in Cuba, Mr. Robert Williams, the former President of the Monroe, North Carolina, Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, has twice this year asked me for a statement in support of the American Negroes’ struggle against racial discrimmination. I wish to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Chinese people, to express our resolute support for the American Negroes in their struggle against racial discrimmination and for freedom and equal rights.

There are more than nineteen million Negroes in the United States, or about eleven per cent of the total population. Their position in society is one of enslavement, oppression and discrimmination. The overwhelming majority of the Negroes are deprived of their right to vote. On the whole it is only the most back-breaking and most despised jobs that are open to them. Their average wages are only from a third to a half of those of the white people. The ratio of unemployment among them is the highest. In many states they cannot go to the same school, eat at the same table, or travel in the same section of a bus or train with the white people. Negroes are frequently and arbitrarily arrested, beaten up and murdered by U.S. authorities at various levels and members of the Ku Klux Klan and other racists. About half of the American Negroes are concentrated in eleven states in the south of the United States. There, the discrimmination and prosecution they suffer are especially startling.

Our New Afrikan Reality in The U.S., Biafra, Neo Colonialism & Black Puppet Leaders – Haki Kweli Shakur

The Black Belt agricultural region, the historical national territory of the African American Nation

The American Negroes are awakening, and their resistance is growing ever stronger. In recent years the mass struggle of the American Negroes against racial discrimmination and for freedom and equal rights has been constantly developing.

In 1957 the Negro people in Little Rock, Arkansas, waged a fierce struggle against the barring of their children from public schools. The authorities used armed force against them, and there resulted the Little Rock incident which shocked the world.

In 1960 Negroes in more than twenty states held ‘sit in’ demonstrations in protest against racial segregation in local restaurants, shops and other public places.

In 1961 the Negroes launched a campaign of ‘freedom riders’ to oppose racial segregation in transport, a campaign which rapidly extended to many states.

In 1962 the Negroes in Mississippi fought for the equal right to enrol in colleges and were greeted by the authorities with repression which culminated in a blood bath.

This year, the struggle of the American Negroes started in early April in Birmingham, Alabama. Unarmed, bare-handed Negro masses were subjected to wholesale arrests and the most barbarous repression merely because they were holding meetings and parades against racial discrimmination. On 12 June, an extreme was reached with the cruel murder of Mr. Medgar Evers, a leader of the Negro people in Mississippi. These Negro masses, aroused to indignation and undaunted by ruthless violence, carried on their struggles even more courageously and quickly won the support of Negroes and all strata of the people throughout the United States. A gigantic and vigorous nationwide struggle is going on in nearly every state and city in the United States, and the struggle keeps mounting. American Negro organizations have decided to start a ‘freedom march’ on Washington on 28 August, in which 250,000 people will take part.

The speedy development of the struggle of the American Negroes is a manifestation of the constant sharpening of class struggle and national struggle within the United States; it has been causing increasingly grave anxiety to the U.S. ruling clique. The Kennedy Administration has resorted to cunning two-faced tactics. On the one hand, it continues to connive at and take part in the discrimmination against and persecution of Negroes; it even sends troops to repress them. On the other hand, it is parading as an advocate the ‘defence of human rights’ and the ‘protection of the civil rights of Negroes’, is calling upon the Negro people to exercise ‘restraint’, and is proposing to Congress so-called ‘civil rights legislation’ in an attempt to numb the fighting will of the Negro people and deceive the masses throughout the country. However, these tactics of the Kennedy Administration are being seen through by more and more of the Negroes. The fascist atrocities committed by the U.S. imperialists against the Negro people have laid bare the true nature of the so-called democracy and freedom in the United States and revealed the inner link between the reactionary polices pursued by the U.S. Government at home and its policies of aggression abroad.

I call upon the workers, peasants, revolutionary intellectuals, enlightened elements of the bourgeoisie, and other enlightened personages of all colours in the world, white, black, yellow, brown, etc., to unite to oppose the racial discrimmination practiced by U.S. imperialism and to support the American Negroes in their struggle against racial discrimmination. In the final analysis, a national struggle is a question of class struggle. In the United States, it is only the reactionary ruling clique among the whites which is oppressing the Negro people. They can in no way represent the workers, farmers, revolutionary intellectuals, and other enlightened persons who comprise the overwhelming majority of the white people. At present, it is the handful of imperialists, headed by the United States, and their supporters, the reactionaries in different countries, who are carrying out oppression, aggression and intimidation against the overwhelming majority of the nations and peoples of the world. They are the minority, and we are the majority. At most they make up less than ten percent of the 3,000 million people of the world. I am deeply convinced that, with the support of more than ninety per cent of the people of the world, the just struggle of the American Negroes will certainly be victorious. The evil system of colonialism and imperialism grew on along with the enslavement of the Negroes and the trade in Negroes; it will surely come to its end with the thorough emancipation of the black people.

A New Storm Against Imperialism

[“Statement by Comrade Mao Tse-tung, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, in Support of the Afro-American Struggle Against Violent Repression” (April 16, 1968)

Some days ago, Martin Luther King, the Afro-American clergyman, was suddenly assassinated by the U.S. imperialists. Martin Luther King was an exponent of nonviolence. Nevertheless, the U.S. imperialists did not on that account show any tolerance toward him, but used counter-revolutionary violence and killed him in cold blood. This has taught the broad masses of the Black people in the United States a profound lesson. It has touched off a new storm in their struggle against violent repression sweeping well over a hundred cities in the United States, a storm such as has never taken place before in the history of that country. It shows that an extremely powerful revolutionary force is latent in the more than twenty million Black Americans.

The storm of Afro-American struggle taking place within the United States is a striking manifestation of the comprehensive political and economic crisis now gripping U.S. imperialism. It is dealing a telling blow to U.S. imperialism, which is beset with difficulties at home and abroad.

The Afro-American struggle is not only a struggle waged by the exploited and oppressed Black people for freedom and emancipation, it is also a new clarion call to all the exploited and oppressed people of the United States to fight against the barbarous rule of the monopoly capitalist class. It is a tremendous aid and inspiration to the struggle of the people throughout the world against U.S. imperialism and to the struggle of the Vietnamese people against U.S. imperialism. On behalf of the Chinese people, I hereby express resolute support for the just struggle of the Black people in the United States.

Racial discrimination in the United States is a product of the colonialist and imperialist system. The contradiction between the Black masses in the United States and the U.S. ruling circles is a class contradiction. Only by overthrowing the reactionary rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class and destroying the colonialist and imperialist system can the Black people in the United States win complete emancipation. The Black masses and the masses of white working people in the United States have common interests and common objectives to struggle for. Therefore, the Afro-American struggle is winning sympathy and support from increasing numbers of white working people and progessives in the United States. The struggle of the Black people in the United States is bound to merge with the American workers’ movement, and this will eventually end the criminal rule of the U.S. monopoly capitalist class.

In 1963, in the “Statement Supporting the Afro-Americans in Their Just Struggle Against Racial Discrimination by U.S. Imperialism,” I said that the “the evil system of colonialism and imperialism arose and throve with the enslavement of Negroes and the trade in Negroes, and it will surely come to its end with the complete emancipation of the Black people.” I still maintain this view.

At present, the world revolution has entered a great new era. The struggle of the Black people in the United States for emancipation is a component part of the general struggle of al the people of the world against U.S. imperialism, a component part of the contemporary world revolution. I call on the workers, peasants, and revolutionary intellectuals of all countries and all who are willing to fight against U.S. imperialism to take action and extend strong support to the struggle of the Black people in the United States! People of the whole world, unite still more closely and launch a sustained and vigorous offensive against our common enemy, U.S. imperialism, and its accomplices! It can be said with certainty that the complete collapse of colonialism, imperialism, and all systems of exploitation, and the complete emancipation of all the oppressed peoples and nations of the world are not far off.

For more on the African American national question see:

adapted from my Marxist-Leninist study guide

THE 1928 and 1930 COMINTERN
RESOLUTIONS ON THE
BLACK NATIONAL QUESTION
IN THE UNITED STATES

With an Introduction by
Lowell Young

© REVOLUTIONARY REVIEW PRESS
Washington, D.C.
1975


Prepared © for the Internet by David J. Romagnolo, djr@cruzio.com (March 1998)


Contained herein are the complete, unaltered texts of the 1928 and 1930 Communist International Resolutions on the Negro Question in the United States. The 1928 Resolution initially appeared in The Daily Worker, the newspaper of the Workers (Communist) Party of America, on February 12, 1929. The 1930 Resolution was first published in Volume VIII, Num-
ber 2 (February 1st, 1931) of The Communist International, a semi-
monthly journal defunct since 1940.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION 1
THE 1928 COMINTERN RESOLUTION ON THE NEGRO QUESTION IN THE UNITED STATES 13
THE 1930 COMINTERN RESOLUTION ON THE NEGRO QUESTION IN THE UNITED STATES 22
NOTES 39

page 1

INTRODUCTION

Do Black people in the United States constitute a nation, a national minority, or a nation in the “Black Belt” South and a national minority in all other regions?
Such was the essence of one of the burning issues within the American left and the movement for Black liberation from the mid-1920s to the mid-1930s. And, after a more than three decade hiatus, on the heels of the simultaneous and overlapping Black cultural revolution and the political movement for Black liberation in the 1960s and the resurgence of Marxism-Leninism within both the White and Black lefts in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the question of a Black nation has become a burning issue once again.
Prior to the 1920s, the “Negro” question in the United States had not been considered a special problem by the American left. The various left parties active in the United States prior to the twentieth century and the Socialist Party, the organizational embodiment of the radical movement in the United States from the turn of the twentieth century to the outbreak of World War I, all shared the same view. They believed that Black people in the United States were a component part of the American working class — admittedly the most exploited sector, but nothing more.
The Communist movement in the United States began to take on organizational form following the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917. Initially, the Communists’ view of Black people did not fundamentally differ from that of the Socialist Party or its various nineteenth century predecessors. Though the most exploited sector of the working class due to the added oppression arising out of being of a different color than the majority, the Negro minority’s struggle for liberation was, according to the Communists, inexorably bound up with the struggle for proletarian revolution in the United States. In other words, since social equality for Black people in the most complete sense could never be a reality under bourgeois democracy, Negroes should link their struggle for complete social equality with the struggle to establish a proletarian dictatorship in the United States, the only circumstance in which complete social equality for Black people is possible.
However similar their lines may have been in relation to the struggles of Black people, much separated the practice of the Communist movement from that of the Socialist Party (or what might more correctly be referred to as the Social-Democratic movement in the United States). For example, though calling for complete equality for Black people in its party program, the Socialist Party established dual chapters (one White, one Black) in the Southern states, and for the most part remained aloof from the Black people’s day to day struggles for survival.

page 2

On the other hand, the various Communist organizations, and eventually the united Party [the Workers (Communist) Party of America — resulting from the merger of the Communist Party and the Workers Party in 1923, which ultimately became the Communist Party U.S.A. in 1930] actively recruited Blacks on the basis of complete equality and militantly involved themselves in (and, indeed, often led) a number of Black struggles. But, while large numbers of Black people respected Communists for defending Negro rights, Blacks did not join the Party in large numbers for the following reasons: I) its line on matters relating to religion placed the Party in direct opposition to the Church, the single most influential institution in the Black community; 2) instances of White chauvinism periodically occurred within the Party itself; and 3) the Party had done little organizing in the “Black Belt” South, the area in which the majority of Blacks living in the United States were then concentrated. Thus, according to a report presented to the Sixth Congress of the Communist International in 1928 by a Black American delegate, the Party in the United States had fewer than fifty Negro members and had yet to organize even one Negro labor union.

Scientific Socialism is The Combatant to Eliminate Capitalism – Haki Kweli Shakur

In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of newly-arrived Black residents in the industrial centers of the North, as well as many of their brothers and sisters in the South, had come under the partial influence of the Nationalist and Pan-Africanist ideology of Marcus Garvey. A native of Jamaica, and a printer and editor by trade, Garvey had relocated to New York City in 1917 and there founded the first American section of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), an organization initiated by him in the West Indies in 1914.

Appealing to the masses over the heads of their conservative leaders, and basing his appeals upon a glorification of everything Black, Carvey enjoyed wide support among lower middle-class Blacks and Black workers. It has been variously estimated that his movement was composed of somewhere between one million and four million activists and supporters during its peak years in the mid-1920s. Better than any other individual or group, Garvey spoke to the post-World War I disenchantment of the newly-arrived Black masses in the North, who, contrary to expectations, continued to face discrimination in employment and housing. However, Garvey did not confine his work to the North, with the result being that his movement was strong in the South as well.
Initially, Garvey’s movement had a working class orientation. At the UNIA’s first national convention in 1920, Garvey attacked differential wage scales for White and Black workers, Black exclusion from unions, the taxing of unrepresented Blacks, the drafting of Black men into America’s armed services, and the continuance of Jim Crow and Iynching. Also, Garvey spoke highly of the Soviet Union and declared himself in support of self-determination of all peoples. At the heart of Garvey’s philosophy, however, was his belief that Black people could not attain true equality and freedom wherever they constituted a minority. Thus, “Back to Africa”

page 3

ultimately became his movement’s principal slogan, and, as a means of stimulating financial support for his program among (White) American capitalists, Garvey reduced himself to cautioning his followers not to align with the American labor movement, but to instead cooperate with White employers by working for lower wages than White workers.
Since, historically, the overwhelming majority of Black people in the United States have viewed (and continue to view) America as their liberation struggle’s principal battleground, Garvey’s goal of transporting multitudes of Black Americans to Africa was never realized. Imprisoned and later deported as an undesirable alien, Garvey eventually died in lonely exile. However, he succeeded in instilling a deep sense of pride among the Black masses, both as individuals and as a people, a legacy for which he will long be remembered.

Garvey’s success in arousing a significant portion of the masses of Black people in the United States — and the failure of the Workers (Communist) Party of America to do likewise — did not go unnoticed by the Third Communist International, at that time the international Communist movement’s leading body. Founded in March of 1919 for the purpose of giving direction to the various Communist Parties and groups comprising the international Communist movement, the Third Communist International — the Comintern — was made up of representatives from most of the countries in which Communist Parties and movements then existed. Though it is true that policies of the Comintern were arrived at through a process of open, and often intense, debate, it is also true that, by virtue of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union being the only Communist Party then in state power, many of the other Parties from around the world tended to defer to the judgment of the Soviet Party and thus accepted strategies and tactics for revolution in a particular country that did not necessarily correspond to that country’s objective conditions. While the Chinese Communist Party was a notable exception to such tailism, the Communist movement in the United States was one of the worst offenders.
Not long after its inception, the Comintern began addressing itself to national and colonial matters. The Second Congress of the Comintern, held in July of 1920, adopted Lenin’s “Thesis on the National and Colonial Questions“, which served to link up the working class struggles in the imperialist countries with the national liberation movements then beginning to unfold in the colonies, thus, making the latter movements a component part of the world-wide Socialist revolution. The Fourth (1922) and Sixth (1928) Comintern Congresses both thoroughly analyzed the state of the various national liberation movements in the colonial and semi-colonial countries. The Fourth Congress primarily confined itself to a discussion of the revolutionary movements in the East, and made only token reference to the danger of the working class in certain imperialist countries dividing along racial lines. On the other hand, the Sixth Congress, which dealt with the various liberation movements in every region of the world, included in its exhaustive theses a section on the “Negro Question.”

page 4

“39.   In connection with the colonial question the Sixth Congress draws close attention of the Communist parties to the negro question. The posltion of the negroes varies in different countries . . .
In the United States are to be found 12 million negroes. The majority of them are tenants, paying rent in kind and living under semifeudal and semislave conditions The positlon of these negro tenant-farmers is exactly the same as that of agricultural labourers, being only formally distinguisable from the slavery that the Constitution is supposed to have abolished. The white landowner, uniting in one person the landlord, merchant and usurer, employs the Iynching of negroes, segregation and other methods of American bourgeois de mocracy, reproducing the worst forms of exploitation of the slavery period. Owing to the industrialization of the South, a negro proletariat is coming into existence. At the same time, the emigration of the negroes to the North continues at an ever-increasing rate, where the huge majority of the negroes become unskilled labourers. The growth of the negro pro letariat is the most important phenomenon of recent years. At the same time, there arises in the negro quuters — the negro ghetto — a petty bourgeoisie, from which is derived a stratum of intellectuals and a thin stratum of bourgeoisie, the latter acting as the agent of imperialism.
One of the most important tasks of the Communist Party consists in the struggle for a complete and real equality of the negroes, for the abolition of all kinds of racial, social and political inequalities . . . In those regions of the South in which compact negro masses are living, it is essential to put forward the slogan of the ‘Right of self-determination for negroes!’ A radical transformation of the agrarian structure of the Southern states is one of the basic tasks of the revolution. . . . Only the victorious proletarian revolution will completely and permanently solve the agrarian and national questions of the Southern United States in the interests of the overwhelm ing majority of the negro population of the country.”[1]

It is clear from the above that the Communist view of Black people in the United States, while in the process of changing, had not yet undergone a thorough break with the past. For example, while calling for the “right of self-determination for negroes” in the South the Sixth Comintern Congress did not explicitly refer to Negroes in the South as a nation.
At the urging of several Black American delegates to the Sixth Congress, who had earlier pointed out that the Party in the United States had less than fifty Negro members while Garvey could claim the allegiance of more than one million supporters, a subcommittee on the Negro Question was established. The subcommittee subsequently submitted a resolution to the Political Secretariat of the Comintern, which endorsed the resolution and published it on October 26, 1928.
The resolution set forth the following conditions as the basis for a

page 5

national revolutionary movement in the “Black Belt” South:

“The bulk of the Negro population (86%) live in the Southern states; of this number 74 per cent live in the rural districts and are dependant almost exclusively upon agriculture for a livelihood. Approximately one-half of these rural dwellers live in the so-called ‘Black Belt’, in which they constitute more than 50 per cent of the entire population. The great mass of the Negro agrarian population are subject to the most ruthless exploitation and persecution of a semi-slave character. In addition to the ordinary forms of capitalist exploitation, American imperialism utilizes every possible form of slave exploitation (peonage, share-cropping, landlord supervision of crops and marketing, etc.) for the purpose of extracting super-profits. On the basis of these slave remnants, there has grown up a superstructure of social and political inequality that expresses itself in Iynching, segregation, Jim Crowism, etc.”

Having established the conditions for a national revolutionary movement in the “Black Belt” South (conditions which have undergone pronounced change during the past half-century), the resolution then identified the motive forces of the movement and the root problem the movement was to resolve:

“The Negro agricultural laborers and the tenant farmers feel most the pressure of white persecution and exploitation. Thus, the agrarian problem lies at the root of the Negro national movement.”

It is the duty of the Negro workers, the resolution went on to state in essence, to organize the struggle of the agricultural laborers and tenant farmers and the duty of the Workers (Communist) Party of America to actively involve White workers in that struggle. And further along, in the last significant reference to the national revolutionary movement in the “Black Belt”, the American Party’s two-fold task in relation to that movement was summed up:

“While continuing and intensifying the struggle under the slogan of full social and political equality for the Negroes which must remain the central slogan of our party for work among the masses, the Party must come out openly and unreservedly for the right of Negroes to national self-determination in the southern states, where the Negroes form a majority of the population.”

Conspicuously absent from the 1928 Comintern resolution — although it was strongly implied in several instances — was the categorical assertion that the Negro inhabitants of the “Black Belt” constituted a nation. Only upon publication of the 1930 resolution would such be stated un equivocably. Before moving to that, however, attention is due the fact tl:at less than one-fifth of the 1928 resolution actually dealt with a possible

page 6

national revolutionary movement in the “Black Belt”. Among the more interesting highlights of the remaining four-fifths of the document was the presentation of the American Negro Question as a part of a world-wide problem:

“The Negro race everywhere is an oppressed race. Whether it is a minority (U.S.A., etc.) majority (South Africa) or inhabits a so-called independent state (Liberia, etc.), the Negroes are oppressed by imperialism. Thus, a common tie of interest is established for the revolutionary struggle of race and national liberation from imperialist domination of the Negroes in various parts of the world.”

A further contention of the 1928 Comintern resolution was that a strong Black revolutionary movement in the United States “. . . will be able to influence and direct the revolutionary movement in all those parts of the world where the Negroes are oppressed by imperialism.” Of course, the proposed introduction of Black American Communists into other countries for the purpose of directing those countries’ revolutionary struggles did not take into account the truth that revolution develops “. . . in different countries in different forms and at different tempos (and it cannot be otherwise).”[2] In other words, due to a particular country’s peculiar economic and political development (along with peculiar historical, cultural and various other traditions) only indigenous people can lead a particular country’s revolutionary struggle. Furthermore, in considering the influence factor by itself, it should be pointed out that very nearly the exact opposite of what the Comintern foresaw happening actually occurred: primarily, the national liberation struggles of the Third World peoples oppressed by imperialism influenced the Black liberation struggle in the United States.
In addition, the 1928 resolution addressed itself to other matters having relevance today, including the importance of engaging in trade union work among the Black proletariat and the necessity of combatting the White chauvinism existing within the ranks of the Party and “. . . especially among the workers of the oppressing nationality.” Also, the importance of bringing Black women into the economic and political struggle was stressed, as was the necessity of exposing the treacherous Negro petty bourgeoisie and the Black preachers and churchmen, “. . . the agents of the oppressors of the Negro race.”
On October 26, 1930, the Executive Committee of the Third Communist International issued a follow-up resolution on the Negro Question in the United States. Unlike the 1928 resolution, the 1930 document clarified beyond any doubt the Communist view of the precise nature of the American Negro Question:

“In the interest of the utmost clarity of ideas on this question the Negro Question in the United States must be viewed from the standpoint of its peculiarity, namely as the question of an oppressed nation, which is in a peculiar and

page 7

extraordinarily distressing situation of national oppression not only in view of the prominent racial distinctions (marked difference in the colour of skin, etc.), but above all because of considerable social antagonism (remnants of slavery) . . . Furthermore, it is necessary to face clearly the inevitable distinction between the position of the Negro in the South and in the North, owing to the fact that at least three-fourths of the entire Negro population of the United States (12 million) live in compact masses in the South, most of them being peasants and agricultural labourers in a state of semi-serfdom, settled in the ‘Black Belt’ and constituting the majority of the population, whereas the Negroes in the Northern States are for the most part industrial workers of the lowest categories who have recently come to the various industrial centres from the South (having often even fled from there).
The struggle of the Communists for the equal rights of the Negroes applies to all Negroes, in the North as well as in the South. The struggle for this slogan embraces all or almost all of the important special interests of the Negroes in the North, but not in the South, where the main Communist slogan must be: The right of self-determination of the Negroes in the Black Belt .”

After addressing itself to various aspects of the struggle for equal rights, the 1930 resolution then turned to the self-determination struggle in the “Black Belt.” In response to the question of whether or not the “Black Belt” should be looked upon as a colony, or as an “integral part of the national economy of the United States,” the Comintern replied thusly:

“It is not correct to consider the Negro zone of the South as a colony of the United States . . . The Black Belt is not in itself, either economically or politically, such a united whole as to warrant its being called a,special colony of the United States, but on the other hand this zone is not, either economically or politically, such an integral Rart of the whole United States as any other part of the country.”

The three basic demands of the strueele in the “Black Belt” were identified as the following:

1) “Confiscation of the landed property of the White landowners and capitalists for the benefit of the Negro farmers.”
2) “Establishment of the State Unity of the Black Belt.”
3) “Right of Self-Determination”

In relation to the latter demand, contemporary forces should ponder well the essence of what the 1930 resolution had to say regarding the various positions the Communist Party should take at different points of the self-determination struggle:

page 8

“If the proletariat has come into power in the United States, the Communist Negroes will not come out for but against separation of the Negro Republic federation with the United States. But the right of the Negroes to governmental separation will be unconditionally realized by the Communist Party, it will unconditionally give the Negro population of the Black Belt freedom of choice even on this question. . . . But the question at the present time is not this. As long capitalism rules in the United States the Communists cannot come out against governmental separation of the Negro zone from the United States.”

Further along, the resolution dealt with the special task of Black Communists:

“Negro Communists must carry on among the Negro masses an energetic struggle against nationalist moods directed indiscriminately against all whites, workers as well as capitalists, Communists as well as imperialists. Their constant call to the Negro masses must be: revolutionary struggle against the ruling white bourgeoisie, through a fghting alliance with the revolutionary white proletariat!

In concluding, the 1930 resolution did not attempt to prophesy the exact manner in which the Black liberation struggle would unfold and did not cover up or minimize the chauvinism existing within the ranks of the White working class:

“Whether the rebellion of the Negroes is to be the outcome of a general revolutionary situation in the United States, whether it is to originate in the whirlpool of decisive fights for power by the working-class, for proletarian dictatorship, or whether on the contrary, the Negro rebellion will be the prelude of gigantic struggles for power by the American proletariat, cannot be foretold now. But in either contingency, it is essential for the Communist Party to make an energetic beginning already now with organization of joint mass struggles of white and black workers against Negro oppression. This alone will enable us to get rid of the bourgeois white chauvinism which is polluting the ranks of the white workers of America, to overcome the distrust of the Negro masses . . . and to win over to our side these millions of Negroes as active fellow fighters in the struggle for the overthrow of bourgeois power throughout America.”

The seven-year period between 1928 and 1935 was one in which “self-determination for the ‘Black Belt'” constituted one of the C.P.U.S.A.’s principal slogans — and the prirnary slogan propagated among Blacks, North and South alike. A great deal of intense organizational work was carried out in connection with the slogan, including the establishment in 1931 of the overwhelmingly Black Sharecroppers Union in the rural areas of the South and the attempted unionization of Black steelworkers and longshoremen in Birmingham, Alabama, and other southern cities.

page 9

Also, beginning in 1931, the Party led the mass movement to free the Scottsboro Boys, nine Black youths falsely accused of raping two White women. Without a doubt, the C.P.’s influence among Blacks throughout the entire country spread; however, though 200 Black members were reported to be in the Party by March of 1929, and more than 1500 Blacks were claimed to be Party members the following year, even the most liberal estimates for the years between 1928 and 1935 do not credit the Party with ever having more than 2,500 Black members (out of a peak membership of 24,500 for that period).
Thus, having not been grasped by a meaningful minority of the Black masses, the self-determination theory did not become a material force between the years 1928 and 1935. The United Front period introduced by the Comintern in 1935 (in response to the threat posed to the Soviet Union by the rise of Facism in Japan, Italy and Germany) brought about the indefinite postponement of further mobilization of Black people around the self-determination slogan. Instead, all effort was directed toward bringing all classes of Black people in the United States into the international United Front of Liberals, Social-Democrats and Communists opposing the Facist menace. Clearest of all possible evidence of this change was the program of the National Negro Congress — a broad coalition of Blacks of all classes and political pursuasions (including Communists) founded in 1936 — which made no mention of Black people in the South constituting a nation (or of the self-determination slogan). Though reintroducing it for two years immediately prior to World War II, and during the late 1940’s and. early 1950’s as well, the C.P.U.S.A. was never again to attempt to engage in mass work around the self-determination slogan with the same degree of militancy and intensity displayed between 1928 and 1935.

As a matter of fact, despite the development of profound national consciousness on the part of all classes of Black people in the United States during the Civil Rights and Black liberation struggles of the past two decades, for the better part of the past twenty years the C.P.U.S.A. has gone to great lengths to discredit the concept of self-determination for Black Americans — be they in the “Black Belt” or in any other part of the country. This action on the part of the C.P.U.S.A. coincides with the betrayal of the Socialist revolution in Russia by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (which, despite the Comintern’s dissolution in 1943, the American Party continues to tail behind) and the establishment of a not-too-thinly veiled form of State Capitalism in that country. But the Chinese Communist Party, under the leadership of Chairman Mao Tsetung, exposed the revisionist and social-imperialist nature of the Soviet Union, and at the same time prevented the restoration of capitalism in China itself through the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. These actions on the part of the Chinese gave rise to “New Communist” Movements in a significant number of countries throughout the world.

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Basing themselves on the ideology of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tsetung Thought, the movements in the various countries have developed unevenly, with parties of varying strength having been created in some places, but not yet in others.
In the United States, the “New Communist” Movement has so far resulted in the founding of one “Party,” — the Communist Labor Party of the United States of North America (CLP) — and a number of pre-party groups, including the Revolutionary Union (RU), the Black Workers Congress (BWC), the October League (OL), the Puerto Rican Revolutionary Workers Organization (PRRWO), the August Twenty-Ninth Movement (ATM), and the Congress of Afrikan People (CAP). Their many differences notwithstanding, most of the above groups have revived the Black national question in the United States, and have staked out various lines in relation to it.

The CLP, in admitting differences with certain aspects of the Comintern resolutions, puts forth the position that a “Negro” Nation currently exists in the “Black Belt” South, with this “nation” consisting of all of the Black and White inhabitants therein — all of whom are “Negroes.” The CLP’s slogan in relation to the question is “independence for the Negro Nation!” The RU, on the other hand, states that the Comintern resolutions were essentially correct at the time they were written, but that certain changes in the economic conditions and the demography of the “Black Belt” render certain aspects of the Comintern documents obsolete. Accordingly, the RU asserts that the “Black Belt” nation no longer exists, but that Black people in the United States nonetheless constitute a nation, “a nation of a new type,” existing wherever Black people reside. The RU professes to extend the right of self-determination to this “nation of a new type,” but goes on to state in essence that in the event of proletarian revolution in the United States the actual exercising of the right of self-determination would be a step backwards and should thus be avoided. Other groups, especially the BWC and the OL, give what amounts to blanket support for all the principal tenents of the Comintern resolutions. Thus, in the opinion of these groups, the same nation the Comintern said existed in the “Black Belt” in 1930 still exists today, and that this nation is entitled to the right of self-determination. CAP, unique in that it works simultaneously within the “New Communist” Movement and the movement for Black liberation (though the two movements have yet to merge), has thus far failed to present a position on the national question. However, the matter is presently under study within the group, as it is within the Black liberation movement generally.
[While it is the contention of Revolutionary Review Press that the various lines of the “New Communist” groups that have thus far taken a position on the Black National Question are incorrect, insufficient research on its part prevents Revolutionary Review Press from coherently expounding a well-thought-out position at this time. Revolutionary

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Review Press’s line on the Black National Question is currently being developed and will be presented in a future Revolutionary Review Press publication.]
In the course of the contemporary struggle surrounding the Black National Question in the United States, most of the above groups have issued theoretical arguments of varying length and quality.[3] Though constant reference is made to the Comintern Resolutions, and numerous quotes are extracted from them, none of the published material direct the reader to sources containing complete texts of the resolutions and, with one exception, none include the resolutions in their entirety. And there are problems with the exception. Without citing its source, the CLP includes the 1928 and 1930 Comintern Resolutions in the publication Negro National Colonial Question. However, several major differences and several dozen minor discrepencies exist between the version of the resolutions published by the CLP and the final texts of the resolutions as confirmed at the time of their publication by the Political Secretariat of the Executive Committee of the Communist International. Thus, for a variety of reasons, including in order that the description of conditions prevailing more than forty-five years ago may be compared with the conditions prevailing today, and that the practical manifestations of policies, slogans and predictions put forth more than forty-five years ago may be determined correctly, complete, unedited versions of the original texts of the Comintern documents are needed. With that in mind, and as a means of furthering the people’s revolutionary struggle in the United States, Revolutionary Review Press hereby presents to all those searching for answers to an as yet unresolved historical question the 1928 and 1930 Comintern Resolutions on the Black National Question in the United States.

Lowell Young

Washington, D.C., April, 1975


 

 

 

page 13

I. THE 1928 COMINTERN RESOLUTION ON THE NEGRO
QUESTION IN THE UNITED STATES.
    1. The industrialization of the South, the concentration of a new Negro working class population in the big cities of the East and North and the entrance of the Negroes into the basic industries on a mass scale, create the possibility for the Negro workers, under the leadership of the Communist Party, to assume the hegemony of all Negro liberation movements, and to increase their importance and role in the revolutionary struggle of the American proletariat.
The Negro working class has reached a stage of develop ment which enables it, if properly organized and well led, to fulfill successfully its double historical mission:
(a) To play a considerable role in the class struggle against American imperialism as an important part of the American working class; and
(b) To lead the movement of the oppressed masses of the Negro population.

2. The bulk of the Negro population (86%) live in the southern states; of this number 74 per cent live in the rural districts and are dependent almost exclusively upon agriculture for a livelihood. Approximately one-half of these rural dwellers live in the so-called “Black Belt,” in which area they constitute more than 50 per cent of the entire population. The great mass of the Negro agrarian population are subject to the most ruthless exploitation and persecution of a semi-slave character. In addition to the ordinary forms of capitalist exploitation, American imperialism utilizes every possible form of slave exploitation (peonage, share-cropping, landlord supervision of crops and marketing, etc.) for the purpose of extracting super-profits. On the basis of these slave remnants, there has grown up a super-structure of social and political inequality that expresses itself in Iynching, segregation, Jim Crowism, etc.

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Necessary Conditions for National Revolutionary Movement.    3. The various forms of oppression of the Negro masses, who are concentrated mainly in the so-called “Black Belt,” provide the necessary conditions for a national revolutionary movement among the Negroes. The Negro agricultural laborers and the tenant farmers feel most the pressure of white persecution and exploitation. Thus, the agrarian problem lies at the root of the Negro national movement. The great majority of Negroes in the rural districts of the south are not “reserves of capitalist reaction,” but potential allies of the revolutionary proletariat. Their objective position facilitates their transforma tion into a revolutionary force, which, under the leadership of the proletariat, will be able to participate in the joint struggle with all other workers against capitalist exploitation.

4. It is the duty of the Negro workers to organize through the mobilization of the broad masses of the Negro population the struggle of the agricultural laborers and tenant farmers against all forms of semi-feudal oppression. On the other hand, it is the duty of the Communist Party of the U.S.A. to mobilize and rally the broad masses of the white workers for active participation in this struggle. For that reason the Party must consider the beginning of systematic work in the south as one of its main tasks, having regard for the fact that the bringing together of the workers and toiling masses of all nationalities for a joint struggle against the landowners and the bourgeoisie is one of the most important aims of the Communist International, as laid down in the resolutions on the national and colonial question of the Second and Sixth Congresses of the Comintern.

For Complete Emancipation of Oppressed Negro Race.     5. To accomplish this task, the Communist Party must come out as the champion of the right of the oppressed Negro race for full emancipation. While continuing and intensifying the struggle under the slogan of full social and political equality for the Negroes, which must remain the central slogan of our Party for work among the masses, the Party must come out openly and unreservedly for the right of the Negroes to national self-determination in the southern states, where the Negroes form a majority of the population. The struggle for equal rights and the propaganda for the slogan of self-determination must be linked up with the economic demands of the Negro masses, especially those directed against the slave remnants and all

page 15

forms of national and racial oppression. Special stress must be laid upon organizing active resistance against Iynching, Jim Crowism, segregation and all other forms of oppression of the Negro population.

6. All work among the Negroes, as well as the struggle for the Negro cause among the whites, must be used, based upon the changes which have taken place in the relationship of classes among the Negro population. The existence of a Negro industrial proletariat of almost two million workers makes it imperative that the main emphasis should be placed on these new proletarian forces. The Negro workers must be organized under the leadership of the Communist Party, and thrown into joint struggle together with the white workers. The Party must learn to combine all demands of the Negroes with the economic and political struggle of the workers and the poor farmers.

American Negro Question Part of World Problem.    7. The Negro question in the United States must be treated in its relation to the Negro questions and struggles in other parts of the world. The Negro race everywhere is an oppressed race. Whether it is a minority (U.S.A., etc.), majority (South Africa) or inhabits a so-called independent state (Liberia, etc.), the Negroes are oppressed by imperialism. Thus, a common tie of interest is established for the revolutionary struggle of race and national liberation from imperialist domination of the Negroes in various parts of the world. A strong Negro revolutionary movement in the U.S.A. will be able to influence and direct the revolutionary movement in all those parts of the world where the Negroes are oppressed by imperialism.

8. The proletarianization of the Negro masses makes the trade unions the principal form of mass organization. It is the primary task of the Party to play an active part and lead in the work of organizing the Negro workers and agricultural laborers in trade unions. Owing to the refusal of the majority of the white unions in the U.S.A., led by the reactionary leaders, to admit Negroes to membership, steps must be immediately taken to set up special unions for those Negro workers who are not allowed to join the white unions. At the same time, however, the struggles for the inclusion of Negro workers in the existing unions must be intensified and concentrated upon, special attention must be given to those unions in which the statutes and rules set up special limitations against the admission of

page 16

Negro workers. Primary duty of Communist Party in this connection is to wage a merciless struggle against the A. F. of L. bureaucracy, which prevents the Negro workers from joining the white workers’ unions. The organization of special trade unions for the Negro masses must be carried out as part and parcel of the struggle against the restrictions imposed upon the Negro workers and for their admission to the white workers’ unions. The creation of separate Negro unions should in no way weaken the struggle in the old unions for the admission of Negroes on equal terms. Every effort must be made to see that all the new unions organized by the Left wing and by the Communist Party should embrace the workers of all nation alities and of all races. The principle of one union for all workers in each industry, white and black, should cease to be a mere slogan of propaganda, and must become a slogan of action.

Party Trade Union Work Among Negroes.    9. While organizing the Negroes into unions and conducting an aggressive struggle against the anti-Negro trade union policy of the A. F. of L., the Party must pay more attention than it has hitherto done to the work in the Negro workers’ organizations, such as the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Chicago Asphalt Workers’ Union, and so on. The existence of two million Negro workers and the further industrialization of the Negroes demand a radical change in the work of the Party among the Negroes. The creation of working class organizations and the extension of our influence in the existing working class Negro organizations, are of much greater importance than the work in bourgeois and petty-bourgeois organizations, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Pan-African Congress, etc.

    10. The American Negro Labor Congress[4] continues to exist only nominally. Every effort should be made to strengthen this organization as a medium through which we can extend the work of the Party among the Negro masses and mobilize the Negro workers under our leadership. After careful preparatory work, which must be started at once, another convention of the American Negro Labor Congress should be held. A concrete plan must also be presented to the Congress for an intensified struggle for the economic, social, political and national demands of the Negro masses. The program of the American Negro Labor Congress must deal specially with the agrarian demands of the

page 17

Negro farmers and tenants in the south.

    11. The importance of trade union work imposes special tasks upon the Trade Union Educational League.[5] The T.U.E.L. has completely neglected the work among the Negro workers, notwithstanding the fact that these workers are objectively in a position to play a very great part in carrying through the program of organizing the unorganized. The closest contact must be established between the T.U.E.L. and the Negro masses. The T.U.E.L. must become the champion in the struggle for the rights of the Negroes in the old unions, and in the organizing of new unions for both Negroes and whites, as well as separate Negro unions.

White Chauvinism Evidenced in the American Party.     The C.E.C. of the American Communist Party itself stated in its resolution of April 30, 1928, that “the Party as a whole has not sufficiently realized the significance of work among the Negroes.” Such an attitude toward the Party work among the Negroes is, however, not satisfactory. The time is ripe to begin within the Party a courageous campaign of self-criticism concerning the work among the Negroes. Penetrating self-criticism is the necessary preliminary condition for directing the Negro work along new lines.

13. The Party must bear in mind that white chauvinism, which is the expression of the ideological influence of American imperialism among the workers, not only prevails among different strata of the white workers in the U.S.A., but is even reflected in various forms in the Party itself. White chauvinism has manifested itself even in open antagonism of some comrades to the Negro comrades. In some instances where Communists were called upon to champion and to lead in the most vigorous manner the fight against white chauvinism, they instead yielded to it. In Gary, white members of the Workers Party protested against Negroes eating in the restaurant controlled by the Party. In Detroit, Party members, yielding to pressure, drove out Negro comrades from a social given in aid of the miners on strike. Whilst the Party has taken certain measures against these manifestations of white chauvinism, nevertheless those manifestations must be regarded as indications of race prejudice even in the ranks of the Party, which must be fought with the utmost energy.

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14. An aggressive fight against all forms of white chauvinism must be accompanied by a widespread and thorough educational campaign in the spirit of internationalism within the Party, utilizing for this purpose to the fullest possible extent the Party schools, the Party press and the public platform, to stamp out all forms of antagonism, or even indifference among our white comrades toward the Negro work. This educational work should be conducted simultaneously with a campaign to draw the white workers and the poor farmers into the struggle for the support of the demands of the Negro workers.

Tasks of Party in Relation to Negro Work.    15. The Communist Party of the U.S.A. in its treatment of the Negro question must all the time bear in mind this twofold task:
(a) To fight for the full rights of the oppressed Negroes and for their right to self-determination and against all forms of chauvinism, especially among the workers of the oppressing nationality.
(b) The propaganda and the day-to-day practice of international class solidarity must be considered as one of the basic tasks of the American Communist Party. The fight — by propaganda and by deeds — should be directed first and foremost against the chauvinism of the workers of the oppressing nationality as well as against bourgeois segregation tendencies of the oppressed nationality. The propaganda of international class solidarity is the necessary prerequisite for the unity of the working class in the struggle.

“The center of gravity in educating the workers of the oppressing countries in the principles of internationalism must inevitably consist in the propaganda and defense by these workers of the right of segregation by the oppressed countries. We have the right and duty to treat every socialist of an oppressing nation, who does not conduct such propaganda, as an imperialist and as a scoundrel.” (Lenin, selected articles on the national question.)

16. The Party must seriously take up the task of training a cadre of Negro comrades as leaders, bring them into the Party schools in the U.S.A. and abroad, and make every effort to draw Negro proletarians into active and leading work in the Party, not confining the activities of the Negro comrades

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exclusively to the work among Negroes. Simultaneously, white workers must specially be trained for work among tne Negroes.

    17. Efforts must be made to transform the “Negro Champion”[6] into a weekly mass organ of the Negro proletariat and tenant farmers. Every encouragement and inducement must be given to the Negro comrades to utilize the Party press generally.

Negro Work Part of General Work of Party.    18. The Party must link up the struggle on behalf of the Negroes with the general campaigns of the Party. The Negro problem must be part and parcel of all and every campaign conducted by the Party. In the election campaigns, trade union work, the campaigns for the organization of the unorganized, anti-imperialist work, labor party campaign, International Labor Defense, etc.,[7] the Central Executive Committee must work out plans designed to draw the Negroes into active participation in all these campaigns, and at the same time to bring the white workers into the struggle on behalf of the Negroes’ demands. It must be borne in mind that the Negro masses will not be won for the revolutionary struggles until such time as the most conscious section of the white workers show, by action, that they are fighting with the Negroes against all racial discrimination and persecution. Every member of the Party must bear in mind that “the age-long oppression of the colonial and weak nationalities by the imperialist powers, has given rise to a feeling of bitterness among the masses of the enslaved countries as well as a feeling of distrust toward the oppressing nations in general and toward the proletariat of those nations.” (See resolution on Colonial and National Question of Second Congress.)

19. The Negro women in industry and on the farms constitute a powerful potential force in the struggle for Negro emancipation. By reason of being unorganized to an even greater extent than male Negro workers, they are the most exploited section. The A. F. of L. bureaucracy naturally exercises toward them a double hostility, by reason of both their color and sex. It therefore becomes an important task of the Party to bring the Negro women into the economic and political struggle.

20. Only by an active and strenuous fight on the part of the white workers against all forms of oppression directed

page 20

against the Negroes, will the Party be able to draw into its ranks the most active and conscious Negro workers — men and women — and to increase its influence in those intermediary organizations which are necessary for the mobilization of the Negro masses in the struggle against segregation, Iynching, Jim Crowism, etc.

21. In the present struggle in the mining industry, the Negro workers participate actively and in large numbers. The leading role the Party played in this struggle has helped greatly to increase its prestige. Nevertheless, the special efforts being made by the Party in the work among the Negro strikers cannot be considered as adequate. The Party did not send enough Negro organizers into the coalfields, and it did not sufficiently attempt, in the first stages of the fight, to develop the most able Negro strikers and to place them in leading positions. The Party must be especially criticized for its failure to put Negro workers on the Presidium of the Pittsburgh Miners’ Conference, doing so only after such representation was demanded by the Negroes themselves.

22. In the work among the Negroes, special attention should be paid to the role played by the churches and preachers who are acting on behalf of American imperialism. The Party must conduct a continuous and carefully worked out campaign among the Negro masses, sharpened primarily against the preachers and the churchmen, who are the agents of the oppressors of the Negro race.

Party Work Among Negro Proletariat and Peasantry.    23. The Party must apply united front tactics for specific demands to the existing Negro petty bourgeois organizations. The purpose of these united front tactics should be the mobilizing of the Negro masses under the leadership of the Party, and to expose the treacherous petty bourgeois leadership of those organizations.

24. The Negro Miners Relief Committee and the Harlem Tenants League are examples of joint organizations of action which may serve as a means of drawing the Negro masses into struggle. In every case the utmost effort must be made to combine the struggle of the Negro workers with the struggle of the white workers, and to draw the white workers’ organizations into such joint campaigns.

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    25. In order to reach the bulk of the Negro masses, special attention should be paid to the work among the Negroes in the South. For that purpose, the Party should establish a district organization in the most suitable locality in the South. Whilst continuing trade union work among the Negro workers and the agricultural laborers, special organizations of tenant farmers must be set up. Special efforts must also be made to secure the support of the share croppers in the creation of such organizations. The Party must undertake the task of working out a definite program of immediate demands, directed against all slave remnants, which will serve as the rallying slogans for the formation of such peasant organizations.
Henceforth the Workers (Communist) Party must consider the struggle on behalf of the Negro masses, the task of organizing the Negro workers and peasants and the drawing of these oppressed masses into the proletarian revolutionary struggle, as one of its major tasks, remembering, in the words of the Second Congress resolution, that “the victory over capitalism cannot be fully achieved and carried to its ultimate goal unless the proletariat and the toiling masses of all nations of the world rally of their own accord in a concordant and close union. (Political Secretariat, Communist International, Moscow, U.S.S.R., Oct. 26, 1928.)


 

 

 

page 22

II. THE 1930 COMINTERN RESOLUTION ON THE NEGRO
QUESTION IN THE UNITED STATES

(Final Text, confirmed by the Political Secretariat of the
E.C.C.I.
, October 26, 1930 )

The C.P. of the United States has always acted openly and energetically against negro oppression, and has thereby won increasing sympathy among the Negro population. In its own ranks, too, the Party has relentlessly fought the slightest evidences of white chauvinism, and has purged itself of the gross opportunism of the Lovestoneites. According to the assertions of these people, the “industrial revolution” will sweep away the remnants of slavery in the agricultural South, and will proletarianise the Negro peasantry, so that the Negro question, as a special national question, would thereby be presumably solved, or could be put off until the time of the socialist revolution in America. But the Party has not yet succeeded in overcoming in its own ranks all under-estimation of the struggle for the slogan of the right of self-determination, and still less succeeded in doing away with all lack of clarity on the Negro question. I n the Party discussion the question was often wrongly put and much erroneous counter-poising of phases of the question occurred, thus, for instance, should the slogan of social equality or the slogan of the right of self-determination of the Negroes be emphasised. Should only propaganda for the Negroes’ right to self-determination be carried on, or should this slogan be considered as a slogan of action; should separatist tendencies among the Negroes be supported or opposed; is the Southern region, thickly populated by Negroes, to be looked upon as a colony, or as an “integral part of the national economy of the United States,” where presumably a revolutionary situation cannot arise independent of the general revolutionary development in the United States?

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    In the interest of the utmost clarity of ideas on th is question the Negro question in the United States must be viewed from the standpoint of its peculiarity, namely as the question of an oppressed nation, which is in a peculiar and extraordinarily distressing situation of national oppression not only in view of the prominent racial distinctions(marked difference in the colour of skin, etc.), but above all because of considerable social antagonism (remnants of slavery). This introduces into the American Negro question an important, peculiar trait which is absent from the national question of other oppressed peoples. Furthermore, it is necessary to face clearly the inevitable distinction between the position of the Negro in the South and in the North, owing to the fact that at least three-fourths of the entire Negro population of the United States (12 million) live in compact masses in the South, most of them being peasants and agricultural labourers in a state of semi-serfdom, settled in the “Black Belt” and constituting the majority of the population, whereas the Negroes in the Northern States are for the most part industrial workers of the lowest categories who have recently come to the various industrial centres from the South (having often even fled from there).
The struggle of the Communists for the equal rights of the Negroes applies to all Negroes, in the North as well as in the South. The struggle for this slogan embraces all or almost all of the important special interests of the Negroes in the North, but not in the South, where the main Communist slogan must be: The right of self-determination of the Negroes in the Black Belt. These two slogans, however, are most closely connected. The Negroes in the North are very much interested in winning the right of self-determination for the Negro population of the Black Belt and can thereby hope for strong support for the establishment of true equality of the Negroes in the North. In the South the Negroes are suffering no less but still more than in the North from the glaring lack of all equality; for the most part the struggle for their most urgent partial demands in the Black Belt is nothing more than the struggle for their equal rights, and only the fulfilment of their main slogan, the right of self-determination in the Black Belt, can assure them of true equality.

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I. The Struggle for the Equal Rights of the Negroes.    2.[*] The basis for the demand of equality of the Negroes is provided by the special yoke to which the Negroes in the United States are subjected by the ruling classes. In comparison with the situation of the other various nationalities and faces oppressed by American imperialism, the yoke of the Negroes in the United States is of a peculiar nature and particularly oppressive. This is partly due to the historical past of the American Negroes as imported slaves, but is much more due to the still existing slavery of the American Negro which is immediately apparent, for example, in comparing their situation even with the situation of the Chinese and Japanese workers in the West of the United States, or with the lot of the Philippinos (Malay race) who are under colonial repression.

It is only a Yankee bourgeois lie to say that the yoke of Negro slavery has been lifted in the United States. Formally it has been abolished, but in practice the great majority of the Negro masses in the South are living in slavery in the literal sense of the word. Formally, they are “free” as “tenant farmers” or “contract labourers” on the big plantations of the white landowners, but actually, they are completely in the power of their exploiters; they are not permitted, or else it is made impossible for them to leave their exploiters; if they do leave the plantations, they are brought back and in many cases whipped; many of them are simply taken prisoner under various pretexts and, bound together with long chains, they have to do compulsory labour on the roads. All through the South, the Negroes are not only deprived of all rights, and subjected to the arbitrary will of the white exploiters, but they are also socially ostracised, that is, they are treated in general not as human beings, but as cattle. But this ostracism regarding Negroes is not limited to the South. Not only in the South but throughout the United States, the Iynching of Negroes is permitted to go unpunished. Everywhere the American bourgeoisie surrounds the Negroes with an atmosphere of social ostracism.
The 100 per cent Yankee arrogance divides the American population into a series of castes, among which the Negroes constitute, so to speak, the caste of the “untouchables,” who are in a still lower category than the lowest categories of human society, the immigrant labourers, the yellow immigrants and the Indians. In all big cities the Negroes have to live in special segregated ghettoes (and, of course, have to pay extremely high


    * [Transcriber’s Note: There is no item “1.” preceeding this. Presumably, it was in the previous section, but mistakenly omited. — DJR]

page 25

rent). In practice, marriage between Negroes and whites is prohibited, and in the South this is even forbidden by law. In various other ways, the Negroes are segregated, and if they overstep the bounds ot the segregation they immediately run the risk of being ill-treated by the 100 per cent bandits. As wage-earners, the Negroes are forced to perform the lowest and most difficult work; they generally receive lower wages than the white workers and don’t always get the same wages as white workers doing similar work, and their treatment is the very worst. Many A. F. of L. trade unions do not adrnit Negro workers in their ranks, and a number have organised special trade unions for Negroes so that they will not have to let them into their “good white society.”
This whole system of “segregation” and “Jim Crowism” is a special form of national and social oppression under which the American Negroes have much to suffer. The origin cf all this is not difficult to find: this Yankee arrogance towards tbe Negroes stinks of the disgusting atmosphere of the old slave market. This is downright robbery and slave-whipping barbarism at the peak of capitalist”culture.”

3. The demand for equal rights in our sense of the word means not only demanding the same rights for the Negroes as the whites have in the United States at the present time but also demanding that the Negroes should be granted all rights and other advantages which we demand for the corresponding oppressed classes of whites (workers and other toilers). Thus in our sense of the word, the demand for equal rights means a continuous work of abolishment of all forms of ecanomic and political oppression of the Negroes, as well as 1heir social exclusion, the insults perpetrated against them and their segregation. This is to be obtained by constant stru~gle by the white and black workers for effective legal protection for the Negroes in all fields, as well as actual enforcement of their equality and combating of every expression of Negrophobia. One of the first Communist slogans is: Death for Negro Iynching!
The struggle for the equal rights of the Negroes does not in any way exclude recognition and support for the Negroes’ rights to their own special schools, government organs, etc., wherever the Negro masses put forward such national demands of their own accord. This will, however, in all probability occur to any great extent only in the Black Belt In other parts of the country, the Negroes suffer above all from being shut out from

page 26

the general social institutions and not from being prohibited to set up their own national institutions. With the development of the Negro intellectuals (principally in the “free” professions) and of a thin layer of small capitalist business people, there have appeared lately, not only definite efforts for developing a purely national Negro culture but also outspoken bourgeois tendencies towards Negro nationalism. The broad masses of the Negro population in the big industrial centres of the North are, however, making no efforts whatsoever to maintain and cultivate a national aloofness, they are, on the contrary, working for assimilation. This effort of the Negro masses can do much in the future to facilitate the progressive process of amalgamating the whites and Negroes into one nation, and it is under no circumstances the task of the Communists to give support to bourgeois nationalism in its fight with the progressive assimilation tendencies of the Negro working masses.

4. The slogan of equal rights of the Negroes without a relentless struggle in practice against all manifestations of Negrophobia on the part of the American bourgeoisie can be nothing but a deceptive liberal gesture of a sly slave-owner or his agent. This slogan is in fact repeated by “socialist” and many other bourgeois politicians and philanthropists who want to get publicity for themselves by appealing to the “sense of justice” of the American bourgeoisie in the individual treatment of the Negroes, and thereby side-track attention from the one effective struggle against the shameful system of “white superiority”: from the class struggle against the American bourgeoisie. The struggle for equal rights for the Negroes is in fact, one of the most important parts of the proletarian class struggle of the United States.
The struggle for the equal rights for the Negroes must certainly take the form of common struggle by the white and black workers. The increasing unity of the various working-class elements provokes constant attempts on the part of the American bourgeoisie to play one group against another, particularly the white workers against the black and the black workers against the immigrant workers and vice versa, and thus to promote divisions within the working-class, which contributes to the bolstering up of American capitalist rule. The Party must carry on a ruthless struggle against all these attempts of the bourgeoi sie and do everything to strengthen the bonds of class solidarity of the working-class upon a lasting basis.

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    In the struggle for equal rights for the Negroes, however, it is the duty of the whiteworkers to march at the head on this struggle. They must everywhere make a breach in the walls of segregation and “Jim Crowism” which have been set up by bourgeois slave-market morality. They must most ruthlessly unmask and condemn the hypocritical reformists and bourgeois “friends of Negroes” who, in reality, are only interested in strengthening the power of the enemies of the Negroes. They, the white workers, must boldly jump at the throat of the 100 per cent bandits who strike a Negro in the face. This struggle will be the test of the real international solidarity of the American white workers.

It is the special duty of the revolutionary Negro workers to carry on tireless activity among the Negro working masses to free them of their distrust of the white proletariat and draw them into the common front of the revolutionary class struggle against the bourgeoisie. They must emphasise with all force that the first rule of proletarian morality is that no worker who wants to be an equal member of his class must ever serve as a strike-breaker or a supporter of bourgeois politics. They must ruthlessly unmask all Negro politicians corrupted or directly bribed by American bourgeois ideology, who systematically interfere with the real proletarian struggle for the equal rights for the Negroes.

Furthermore, the Communist Party must resist all tendencies within its own ranks to ignore the Negro question as a national question in the United States, not only in the South, but also in the North. It is advisable for the Communist Party in the North to abstain from the establishment of any special Negro organisations, and in place of this to bring the black and white workers together in common organisations of struggle and joint action. Effective steps must be taken for the organisation of Negro workers in the T.U.U.L.[8] and revolutionary trade unions. Under-estimation of this work takes various forms: lack of energy in recruiting Negro workers, in keeping them in our ranks and in drawing them into the full life of the trade unions, in selecting, educating and promoting Negro forces to leading functions in the organisation. The Party must make itself entirely responsible for the carrying through of this very important work. It is most urgently necessary to publish a popular mass paper dealing with the Negro question, edited by white and black comrades, and to have all active followers of this paper grouped organisationally.

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2. The Struggle for the Right of Self-determination of the
Negroes in the Black Belt.
    5. It is not correct to consider the Negro zone of the South as a colony of the United States. Such a characterisation of the Black Belt could be based in some respects only upon artificially construed analogies, and would create superfluous difficulties for the clarification of ideas. In rejecting this estimation, however, it should not be overlooked that it would be none the less false to try to make a fundamental distinction between the character of national oppression to which the colonial peoples are subjected and the yoke of other oppressed nations. Fundamentally, national oppression in both cases is of the same character, and is in the Black Belt in many respects worse than in a number of actual colonies. On the one hand the Black Belt is not in itself, either economically or politically, such a united whole as to warrant its being called a special colony of the United States, but on the other hand this zone is not, either economically or politically, such an, integral part of the whole United States as any other part of the country. Industrialisation in the Black Belt is not, as is generally the case in colonies properly speaking, in contradiction with the ruling interests of the imperialist bourgeoisie, which has in its hands the monopoly of the entire industry, but in so far as industry is developed here, it will in no way bring a solution to the question of living conditions of the oppressed Negro majority, or to the agrarian question, which lies at the basis of the national question. On the contrary, this question is still further aggravated as a result of the increase of the contradictions arising from the pre-capitalist forms of exploitation of the Negro peasantry and of a considerable portion of the Negro proletariat (miners, forestry workers, etc.) in the Black Belt, and at the same time owing to the industrial development here, the growth of the most important driving force of the national revolution, the black working-class, is especially strengthened. Thus, the prospect for the future is not an inevitable dying away of the national revolutionary Negro movement in the South, as Lovestone prophesied, but on the contrary, a great advance of this movement and the rapid approach of a revolutionary crisis in the Black Belt.

6. Owing to the peculiar situation in the Black Belt (the fact that the majority of the resident Negro population are

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farmers and agricultural labourers and that the capitalist economic system as well as political class rule there is not only of a special kind, but to a great extent still has pre-capitalist and semi-colonial features), the right of self-determination of the Negroes as the main slogan of the Communist Party in the Black Belt is appropriate. This, however, does not in any way mean that the struggle for equal rights of the Negroes in the Black Belt is less necessary or less well founded than it is in the North. On the contrary, here, owing to the whole situation, this struggle is even better founded, but the form of this slogan does not sufficiently correspond with the concrete requirements of the liberation struggle of the Negro population. Anyway, it is clear that in most cases it is a question of the daily conflicts of interest between the Negroes and the white rulers in the Black Belt on the subject of infringement of the most elementary equality rights of the Negroes by the whites. Daily events of the kind are: all Negro persecutions, all arbitrary economic acts of robbery by the white exploiters (“Black Man’s Burden”) and the whole system of so-called “Jim Crowism.” Here, however, it is very important in connection with all these concrete cases of conflict to concentrate the attention of the Negro masses not so much to the general demands of mere equality, but much more to some of the revolutionary basic demands arising from the concrete situation.

The slogan of the right of self-determination occupies the central place in the liberation struggle of the Negro population in the Black Belt against the yoke of American imperialism, but this slogan, as we see it, must be carried out only in connection with two other basic demands. Thus, there are three basic demands to be kept in mind in the Black Belt, namely, the following:

(1) Confiscation of the landed property of the white landowners and capitalists for the benefit of the Negro farmers. The landed property in the hands of the white American exploiters constitutes the most important material basis of the entire system of national oppression and serfdom of the Negroes in the Black Belt. More than three-quarters of all Negro farmers here are bound in actual serfdom to the farms and plantations of the white exploiters by the feudal system of “share cropping.” Only on paper and not in practice are they freed from the yoke of their former slavery. The same holds completely true for the great mass of black contract labourers;

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here the contract is only the capitalist expression of the chains of the old slavery, which even to-day are not infrequently applied in their natural iron form on the roads of the Black Belt (chain-gang work). These are the main forms of present Negro slavery in the Black Belt and no breaking of the chains of this slavery is possible without confiscating all the landed property of the white masters. Without this revolutionary measure, without the agrarian revolution, the right of self-determination of the Negro population would be only a Utopia, or at best would remain only on paper without changing in any way the actual enslavement.

(2) Establishment of the State Unity of the Black Belt. At the present time this Negro zone — precisely for the purpose of facilitating national oppression — is artificially split up and divided into a number of various states which include distant localities having a majority of white population. If the right of self-determination of the Negroes is to be put into force, it is necessary wherever possible to bring together into one governmental unit all districts of the South where the majority of the settled population consists of Negroes. Within the limits of this state there will of course remain a fairly significant white minority which must submit to the right of self-determination of the Negro majority. There is no other possible way of carrying out in a democratic manner the right of self-determination of the Negroes. Every plan regarding the establishment of the Negro State with an exclusively Negro population in America (and, of course, still more exporting it to Africa) is nothing but an unreal and reactionary caricature of the fulfilment of the right of self-determination of the Negroes and every attempt to isolate and transport the Negroes would have the most damaging effect upon their interests; above all, it would violate the right of the Negro farmers in the Black Belt not only to their present residences and their land but also to the land owned by the white landlords and cultivated by Negro labour.

(3) Right of Self-Determination. This means complete and unlimited right of the Negro majority to exercise governmental authority in the entire territory of the Black Belt, as well as to decide upon the relations between their territory and other nations, particularly the United States. It would not be right of self-determination in our sense of the word if the Negroes in the Black Belt had the right of determination only in cases which

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concerned exculsively the Negroes and did not affect the whites, because the most important cases arising here are bound to affect the Negroes as well as the whites. First of all, true right to self-determination means that the Negro majority and not the white minority in the entire territory of the administratively united Black Belt exercises the right of administrating governmental, legislative and judicial authority. At the present time all this power here is concentrated in the hands of the white bourgeoisie and landlords. It is they who appoint all officials, it is they who dis pose of public property, it is they who determine the taxes, it is they who govern and make the laws. Therefore, the overthrow of this class rule in the Black Belt is unconditionally necessary in the struggle for the Negroes’ right to self-determination. This, however, means at the same time the overthrow of the yoke of American imperialism in the Black Belt on which the forces of the local white bourgeoisie depend. Only in this way, only if the Negro population of the Black Belt wins its freedom from American imperialism even to the point of deciding itself the relations between its country and other governments, especially the United States, will it win real and complete self-determination. One should demand from the beginning that no armed forces of American imperialism should remain on the territory of the Black Belt.

7. As stated in the letter of the Polit. Secretariat of the E.C.C.I. of March 16th, 1930, the Communists must “unreservedly carry on a struggle” for the self-determination of the Negro population in the Black Belt in accordance with what has been set forth above. It is incorrect and harmful to interpret the Communist standpoint to mean that the Communists stand for the right of self-determination of the Negroes only up to a certain point, but not beyond this, for example, to the right of separation. It is also incorrect to say that the Communists are so far only to carry on propaganda or agitation for the right of self-determination, but not to develop any activity to bring this about. No, it is of the utmost importance for the Communist Party to reject any such limitation of its struggle for this slogan. Even if the situation does not yet warrant the raising of the question of uprising, one should not limit oneself at present to propaganda for the demand: “Right to self-determination,” but should organise mass actions, such as demonstrations, strikes, tax-boycott-movements, etc.
Moreover, the Party cannot make its stand for this slogan

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dependent upon any conditions, even the condition that the proletariat has the hegemony in the national revolutionary Negro movement or that the majority of the Negroes in the Black Belt adopts the Soviet form (as Pepper demanded), etc. It goes without saying that the Communists in the Black Belt will and must try to win over all working elements of the Negroes, that is, the majority of the population, to their side and to convince them not only that they must win the right of self-determination, but also that they must make use of this right in accordance with the Communist programme. But this cannot be made a condition for the stand of the Communists in favour of the right of self-determination of the Negro population; if, or so long as the majority of this population wishes to handle the situation in the Black Belt in a different manner from that which we Communists would like, its complete right to self-determination must be recognised. This right we must defend as a free democratic right.

8. In general, the C.P. of the United States has kept to this correct line recently in its struggle for the right of self-determination of the Negroes even though this line — in some cases — has been unclearly or erroneously expressed. In particular some misunderstanding has arisen from the failure to make a clear distinction between the demand for “right of self-determination” and the demand for governmental separation, simply treating these two demands in the same way. However, these two demands are not identical. Complete right to self-determination includes also the right to governmental separation, but does not necessarily imply that the Negro population should make use of this right under all circumstances, that is, that it must actually separate or attempt to separate the Black Belt from the existing governmental federation with the United States. If it desires to separate it must be free to do so; but if it prefers to remain federated with the United States it must also be free to do that. This is the correct meaning of the idea of self-determination and it must be recognised quite independently of whether the United States are still a capitalist state or if a proletarian dictatorship has already been established there.

It is, however, another matter if it is not a case of the right of the oppressed nation concerned to separate or to maintain governmental contact, but if the question is treated on its merits; whether it is to work for state separation, whether it is to struggle for thisor not. This is another question, on which the stand of the Communists must vary according to the

page 33

concrete conditions. If the proletariat has come into power in the United States, the Communist Negroes will not come out for but against separation of the Negro Republic federation with the United States. But the right of the Negroes to governmental separation will be unconditionally realised by the Communist Party, it will unconditionally give the Negro population of the Black Belt freedom of choice even on this question. Only when the proletariat has come into power in the United States the Communists will carry on propaganda among the working masses of the Negro population against separation, in order to convince them that it is much better and in the interest of the Negro nation for the Black Belt to be a free republic, where the Negro majority has complete right of self-determination but remains governmentally federated with the great proletarian republic of the United States. The bourgeois counterrevolutionists on the other hand will then be interested in boosting the separation tendencies in the ranks of the various nationalities in order to utilise separatist nationalism as a barrier for the bourgeois counter-revolution against the consolidation of the proletarian dictatorship.

But the question at the present time is not this. As long as capitalism rules in the United States the Communists cannot come out against governmental separation of the Negro zone from the United States. They recognise that this separation from the imperialist United States would be preferable from the standpoint of the national interests of the Negro population, to their present oppressed state, and therefore, the Communists are ready at any time to offer all their support if only the working masses of the Negro population are ready to take up the struggle for governmental independence of the Black Belt. At the present time, however, the situation in the national struggle in the South is not such as to win mass support of the working Negroes for this separatist struggle; and it is not the task of the Communists to call upon them to separate without taking into consideration the existing situation and the desires of the Negro masses. The situation in the Negro question of the United States, however, may undergo a radical change. It is even probable that the separatist efforts to obtain complete State independence of the Black Belt will gain ground among the Negro masses of the South in the near future. This is connected with the prospective sharpening of the national conflicts in the South, with the advance of the national revolutionary Negro movement and with

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the exceptionally brutal fascists aggressiveness of the white exploiters of the South, as well as with the support of this aggressiveness by the central government authority of the United States. In this sharpening of the situation in the South, Negro separatism will presumably increase, and the question of the independence of the Black Belt will become the question of the day. Then the Communist Party must also face this question and, if the circumstances seem favourable, must stand up with all strength and courage for the struggle to win independence and for the establishment of a Negro republic in the Black Belt.

9. The general relation of Communists to separatist tendencies among the Negroes, described above, cannot mean that Communists associate themselves at present, or generally speaking, during capitalism, indiscriminately and without criticism with all the separatist currents of the various bourgeois or petty-bourgeois Negro groups. For there is not only a national revolutionary, but also a reactionary Negro separatism, for instance, that represented by Garvey; his Utopia of an isolated Negro State (regardless if in Africa or America, if it is supposed to consist of Negroes only) pursues the only political aim of diverting the Negro masses from the real liberation struggle against American imperialism.
It would be a mistake to imagine that the right of self-determination slogan is a truly revolutionary slogan only in connection with the demand for complete separation. The question of power is decided not only through the demand of separation, but just as much through the demand of the right to decidethe separation question and self-determination in general. A direct question of power is also the demand of confiscation of the land of the white exploiters in the South, as well as the demand of the Negroes that the entire Black Belt be amalga mated into a State unit.
Hereby, every single fundamental demand of the liberation struggle of the Negroes in the Black Belt is such that — if once thoroughly understood by the Negro masses and adopted as their slogan — it will lead them into the struggle for the overthrow of the power of the ruling bourgeoisie, which is impossible without such revolutionary struggle. One cannot deny that it is just possible for the Negro population of the Black Belt to win the right to self-determination already during capitalism; but it is perfectly clear and indubitable that this is possible only through successful revolutionary struggle for

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power against the American bourgeoisie, through wresting the Negroes’ right to self-determination from the American imperialism. Thus, the slogan of right to self-determination is a real slogan of national rebellion which, to be considered as such, need not be supplemented by proclaiming struggle for the complete separation of the Negro zone, at least not at present. But it must be made perfectly clear to the Negro masses that the slogan “right to self-determination” includes the demand of full freedom for them to decide even the question of complete separation. “We demand freedom of separation, real right to self-determination” — wrote Lenin: “certainly not in order to ‘recommend’ separation, but on the contrary, in order to facilitate and accelerate the democratic rapprochement and unification of nations.” For the same purpose, Lenin’s Party, the C.P. of the Soviet Union, bestowed after its seizure of power on all the peoples hitherto oppressed by Russian Tsarism the full right to self-determination, including the right of complete separation, and achieved thereby its enormous successes with regard to the democratic rapprochement and voluntary unification of nations.

10. The slogan for the self-determination right and the other fundamental slogans of the Negro question in the Black Belt does not exclude but rather pre-supposes an energetic development of the struggle for concrete partial demands linked up with the daily needs and afflictions of wide masses of working Negroes. In order to avoid, in this connection, the danger of opportunist back-slidings, Communists must above all remember this:

(a) The direct aims and partial demands around which a partial struggle develops are to be linked up in the course of the struggle with the revolutionary fundamental slogans brought up by the question of power, in a popular manner corresponding to the mood of the masses. (Confiscation of the big land-holdings, establishment of governmental unity of the Black Belt, right of self-determination of the Negro population in the Black Belt.) Bourgeois-socialist tendencies to oppose such a revolutionary widening and deepening of the fighting demands must be fought.

(b) One should not venture to draw up a complete programme of some kind or a system of “positive” partial demands. Such programmes on the part of petty-bourgeois politicians should be exposed as attempts to divert the masses from the necessary hard struggles by fostering reformist and

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democratic illusions among them. Every positive partial demand which might crop up is to be considered from the viewpoint of whether it is in keeping with our revolutionary fundamental slogans, or whether it is of a reformist or reactionary tendency. Every kind of national oppression which arouses the indignation of the Negro masses can be used as a suitable point of departure for the development of partial struggles, during which the abolition of such oppression, as well as their prevention through revolutionary struggle against the ruling exploiting dictatorship must be demanded.

(c) Everything should be done to bring wide masses of Negroes into these partial struggles — this is important — and not to carry the various partial demands to such an ultra-radical point, that the mass of working Negroes are no longer able to recognise them as their own. Without a real mobilisation of the mass-movements — in spite of the sabotage of the bourgeois reformist Negro politicians — even the best Communist partial demands get hung up. On the other hand, even some relatively insignificant acts of the Ku-Klux-Klan bandits in the Black Belt can become the occasion of important political movements, provided the Communists are able to organise the resistance of the indignant Negro masses. In such cases, mass movements of this kind can easily develop into real rebellion. This rests on the fact that — as Lenin said — “Every act of national oppression calls forth resistance on the part of the masses of the population, and the tendency of every act of resistance on the part of oppressed peoples is the national uprising.”

d) Communists must fight in the forefront of the national-liberation movement and must do their utmost for the progress of this mass movement and its revolutionisation. Negro Communists must clearly dissociate themselves from all bourgeois currents in the Negro movement, must indefatigably oppose the spread of the influence of the bourgeois groups on the working Negroes, and in dealing with them must apply the Communist tactic laid down by the Sixth C.I. Congress with regard to the colonial question, in order to guarantee the hegemony of the Negro proletariat in the national liberation movement of the Negro population, and to co-ordinate wide masses of the Negro peasantry in a steady fighting alliance with the proletariat.

e) One must work with the utmost energy for the establishment and consolidation of Communist Party organisations and revolutionary trade unions in the South. Furthermore, immediate measures must be taken for the organisation of proletarian and peasant self-defence of whites and blacks against the Ku-Klux-Klan; for this purpose, the C.P. is to give further instructions.

11. It is particularly incumbent on Negro Communists to criticise consistently the half-heartedness and hesitations of the petty-bourgeois national-revolutionary Negro leaders in the liberation struggle of the Black Belt, exposing them before the masses. All national reformist currents as, for instance, Garveyism, which are an obstacle to the revolutionisation of the Negro masses, must be fought systematically and with the utmost energy. Simultaneously, Negro Communists must carry on among the Negro masses an energetic struggle against nationalist moods directed indiscriminately against all whites, workers as well as capitalists, Communists, as well as imperialists. Their constant call to the Negro masses must be: revolutionary struggle against the ruling white bourgeoisie, through a fighting alliance with the revolutionary white proletariat! Negro Communists must indefatigably explain to the mass of the Negro population that even if many white workers in America are still infected with Negrophobia, the American proletariat, as a class, which owing to its struggle against the American bourgeoisie represents the only truly revolutionary class, will be the only real mainstay of Negro liberation. In as far as successes in the national-revolutionary struggle of the Negro population of the South for its right to self-determination are already possible under capitalism, they can be achieved only if this struggle is effectively supported by proletarian mass actions on a large scale in the other parts of the United States. But it is also clear that “only a victorious proletarian revolution will finally decide the agrarian question and the national question in the South of the United States, in the interest of the predominating mass of the Negro population of the country.” (Colonial Theses of the Sixth World Congress.)

12. The struggle regarding the Negro question in the North must be linked up with the liberation struggle in the South, in order to endow the Negro movement throughout the United States with the necessary effective strength. After all, in the North as well as in the South, it is a question of the real emancipation of the American Negroes which has in fact never taken place before. The Communist Party of the United States must bring into play its entire revolutionary energy in order to

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mobilise the widest possible masses of the white and black proletariat of the United States, not by words, but by deeds, for real effective support of the struggle for the liberation of the Negroes. Enslavement of the Negroes is one of the most important foundations of the imperialist dictatorship of U.S.A. capitalism. The more American imperialism fastens its yoke on the millions strong negro masses, the more must the Communist Party develop the mass struggle for Negro emancipation, and the better use it must make of all conflicts which arise out of national differences, as an incentive for revolutionary mass actions against the bourgeoisie. This is as much in the direct interest of the proletarian revolution in America. Whether the rebellion of the Negroes is to be the outcome of a general revolutionary situation in the United States, whether it is to originate in the whirlpool of decisive fights for power by the working-class, for proletarian dictatorship, or whether on the contrary, the Negro rebellion will be the prelude of gigantic struggles for power by the American proletariat, cannot be foretold now. But in either contingency, it is essential for the Communist Party to make an energetic beginning already now with the organisation of joint mass struggles of white and black workers against Negro oppression. This alone will enable us to get rid of the bourgeois white chauvinism which is polluting the ranks of the white workers of America, to overcome the distrust of the Negro masses caused by the inhuman barbarous Negro slave traffic still carried on by the American bourgeoisie — in as far as it is directed even against all white workers — and to win over to our side these millions of Negroes as active fellow fighters in the struggle for the overthrow of bourgeois power throughout America.



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NOTES

  [1] Comintern and National and Colonial Questions, Communist Party of India Publication No. 9 (March 1973), P. 116-117.    [p.4]

[2] V. I. Lenin, “A Letter To American Workers”, (Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1952), P. 27.    [p.6]

[3] See especially Negro National Colonial Question by the Communist League (CLP’s name prior to becoming a “Party”), The Black Liberation Struggle, The Black Workers Congress and Proletarian Revolution and The Struggle Against Revisionism and Opportunism: Against the Communist Leaaue and the Revolutionary Union both by the Black Workers Congress, and Red Papers 5 (National Liberation and Proletarian Revolution in the U.S. ) and Red Papers 6 (Build the Leadership of the Proletariat and its Party ) by the Revolutionary Union.    [p.11]

[4] The American Negro Labor Congress was founded in Chicago in October, 1925. The Workers (Communist) Party of America, the dominant force within the Congress, intended the Congress to be a vehicle for uniting all of the organizations of Black workers and farmers then existing. The stated two-fold task of the Congress was to agitate for the admission of Black workers into heretofore White unions and to struggle against the Garvey-inspired Black ambivalence toward the American trade union movement. The Congress, however, with very few exceptions, was unsuccessful in establishing proposed local branches and in reality amounted to little more than a paper organization. It remained in existence until 1930, when what was left of it served as the foundation for the League of Struggle for Negro Rights, a no longer existing mass organization of similar character, through which the Communist Party U.S.A. unsuccessfully attempted to extend its influence among Black people generally and in particular among Black workers.    [p.16]

[5] The Trade Union Educational League (TUEL) was founded in Chicago in November, 1920 by William Z. Foster for the purpose of organizing the “militant minority” in the trade unions. At its founding, the TUEL was an independent united front organization and nominally remained such throughout its nine year existence. In reality, however, from the time Foster joined the Workers (Communist) Party of America in 1921, the TUEL functioned as the Party’s principal vehicle for work within the trade union movement.    [p.17]

[6] The Negro Champion was the organ of the American Negro Labor Congress. The journal ceased to exist upon the Congress’s demise in 1930.    [p.19]

[7] The International Labor Defense (ILD), an affiliate of the Comintern’s legal defense mechanism (the Red International of Class War Prisoners Aid), was founded in 1925. Its purpose was to provide legal defense for radical and Communist activists and non-political victims of the American judicial system. The ILD often employed mass campaigns as a means of bringing about the acquittal and release of those on whose behalf it was acting. A good deal of the ILD’s activity was devoted to defending the legal rights of Black people, with its most prominent undertaking being the defense (and rescue from the electric chair) of the nine Scottsboro Boys, the last of whom was finally released from prison in 1950. The ILD was dissolved in 1941.    [p.19]

[8] The Trade Union Unity League (TUUL), the successor to the TUEL, was founded in Cleveland on September 1, 1929. The organization was disbanded in July, 1935, in order to clear the path for affiliation by the various unions comprising the TUUL with the A. F. of L.    [p.27]

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AFRICAN EXPLORERS AND SETTLERS OF THE NEW WORLD

AFRICAN EXPLORERS AND SETTLERS OF THE NEW WORLD BEFORE COLUMBUS AND AFTER

 

THE USE OF ANCIENT AFRICAN SHIPS AND BOATS TO TRADE WITH THE AMERICAS

Protohistoric, prehistoric and ancient Negritic Africans were masters of the lands as well as the oceans. They were the first shipbuilders on earth and had to have used watercraft to cross from South East Asia to Australia about 60,000 years ago and from the West Africa/Sahara inland seas region to the Americas. The fact of the northern portion of Africa now known as a vast desert wasteland being a place of large lakes, rivers and fertile regions with the most ancient of civilizations is a fact that has been verified, (see African Presence in Early America, edt. Ivan Van Sertima and Runoko Rashidi, Transaction Publishers, New Bruinswick, NJ “The Principle of Polarity,” by Wayne Chandler: 1994.)

From that region of Africa as well as East Africa, diffusions of Blacks towards the Americas as early as 30,000 B.C. are believed to have occurred based on findings in a region from Mexico to Brazil which show that American indians in the region include Negritic types (eg. Olmecs, Afro-Darienite, Black Californians, Chuarras, Garifunas and others). Much earlier journeys occurred by land sometime before 75,000 B.C. according to the Gladwin Thesis written by C.S. Gladwin. This migration occurred on the Pacific side of the Americas and was began by Africans with Affinities similar to the people of New Guinea, Tasmania, Solomon Islands and Australia. The earliest migrations of African Blacks through Asia then to the Americas seemed to have occurred exactly during the period that the Australian Aborigines and the proto-African ancestors of the Aborigines, Oceanic Negroids (Fijians, Solomon Islanders, Papua-New Guineans,and so on) and other Blacks spread throughout East Asia and the Pacific Islands about one hundred thousand years ago. The fact that these same Blacks are still among the world’s seafaring cultures and still regard the sea as sacred and as a place of sustinence is evidence of their ancient dependance on the sea for travel and exploration as well as for commerce and trade. Therefore, they would have had to build sea-worthy ships and boats to take them across the vast expanses of ocean, including the Atlantic, Indian Ocean (both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans were called the Ethiopean Sea, in the Middle Ages) and the Pacific Ocean.

During the historic period close to the early bronze or copper using period of world history (6000 B.C. to 4000 B.C. migrations of Africans from the Mende regions of West Africa and the Sahara across the Atlantic to the Americas may have occurred. In fact, the Mende agricultural culture was well established in West Africa and the Sahara during that period. Boats still criss-crossed the Sahara, as they had been doing for over ten thousand years previously. The ancient peoples of the Sahara, as rock paintings clearly show, were using boats and may have sailed from West Africa and the Sahara to the Americas, including the Washitaw territories of the Midwestern and Southern U.S. Moreover, it is believed by the aboriginal Black people of the former Washitaw Empire who still live in the Southern U.S., that about 6000 B.C., there was a great population shift from the region of Africa and the Pacific ocean, which led to the migrations of their ancestors to the Americas to join the Blacks who had been there previously.

As for the use of ships, ancient Negritic peoples and the original Negroid peoples of the earth may have began using boats very early in human history. Moreover, whatever boats were used did not have to be sophisticated or of huge size. In fact, the small, seaworthy “outrigger” canoe may have been spread from East Africa to the Indian Ocean and the Pacific by the earliest African migrants to Asia and the Pacific regions. Boats of papyrus, skin, sewed plank, log and hollowed logs were used by ancient Africans on their trips to various parts of the world.

SUSU ECONOMICS

THE HISTORY OF PAN-AFRICAN TRADE, COMMERE, WEALTH AND MONEY
(A Preview of the Facinating History of the Development of Ancient Black Civilizations Worldwide)

One of the most important aspects of Black history worldwide is the development of Black civilization due to the early and persisten use and application of trade and commerce. Due to such early and well organized trading and commercial systems throughout the prehistoric Black world, Blacks were able to expand throughout the world and establish the world’s first cultures and civilizations. Although it is said that Blacks migrated from the original homeland of mankind in Africa to settle all Asia, Europe, Australia and the Americas (see Scientific American; Sept. 2000, p. 80-87…this is a recent publication), long before the differentiation of the races from the original Negritic to Negriic, Caucasoid, Mongoloid, along with the various mixed races such as Polynesians, Native Americans, Japanese, Malays, Mediterranean whites, East Indians (the mixed Negroid/Caucasian type…not the pure Black pre Aryan Negritic Indians), Arabs, Latinos (Mestizos, Mullatoes, Zambos, Spaniards) and a number of other mixed races and regional types, the purpose of the earlies migrations of Blacks from Africa to the rest of the world was not merely following and hunting wild animals, as some theorists have claimed, but searching for commodities, like red ocre to paint the smooth, dark skin from insects and decoration. Another purpose for the early migrations of Africans to other parts of the world was to establish trading and commercial links to those of their own people, who had left previously. Hence, even if the earliest migrations were after wandering herds of animals, further migrations were in search of links with their kinsmen and women.

The migrations of Africans to all parts of the world within the past hundred thousand years
or more occurred before an other races existed. Thus, Black culture and civilization was being established when no other “races” existed as we know them today. This is a facinating historical even, because having been homosapiens for over one hundred thousand years, it is very possible that Blacks could have gone through many periods of cultural development and civilization before the beginning of the Nile Valley civilization (since about 17,000 B.C.) or the Zingh Civilization of the South-Western Sahara (15,000 B.C.), or even Atlantis (10,000 B.C.), or the building of the Sphinx (7,000 B.C.).
In fact, there is evidence from ancient East Indian chronicles (some of these pictures are on AAWR (African American Web Ring) of the geat scientific advancement of the Black prehistoric inhabitants of the Indus Valley Civilization (6000 b.c. to 1700 b.c), who built flying machines, who had flushing toilets, cities on a gridlike pattern, and many of what we may call “modern” conviniences.

About 20,000 years ago, the present-day dried up and desertified Sahara had an aquatic civilization where the Africans who lived on the edges of the giant inland sea, built large ocean-going ships. Rock paiintings of these ships can still be seen in the Sahara (and some appeared on national geographic magazine about two years ago). (For more on the Aquatic Civilizations of the prehistoric Sahara, see, “African Presence In Early Asia,” by Ivan Van Sertima and Runoko Rashidi, Transaction Publications, New Bruinswick, NJ).

The Africans who used these boats (which are still used today by tribes such as the Baduma of Mali, West Africa) made of papyrus straw. These same type of boats were used to travel to the Americas, the Indian Ocean, the South Pacific, India, East Asia and the Pacific, then to the Americas via the Pacific Ocean. In fact, the Fijians still consider Africa’s East Coast to be their very ancient homeland and Africans in East Africa have oral as well as written histories of ancient journies towards Asia.
In ancient times, trade between Africans in Africa and those in the Indian Ocean, East Asia and the Pacific Ocean, East Asia, the Americas, the Mediterranean, the Black Sea area and all the continents including Australia. In all these areas, evidence of prehistoric African Blacks exist. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT SUCH EVIDENCE WAS AGAIN FOUND IN SOUTH AMERICA, WHERE ABOUT FIFTY SKULLS REPRESENTING NEGROID PEOPLE WERE FOUND IN BRAZIL (see Scientific American, September 2000). However, this is no news to some Blacks, particularly those descended from the ancient prehistoric Blacks of America, such as the Wasitaw of the Louisiana area, the descendants of the Black Californians, the Jamassee and others; the Black Caribs of the Caribbean and Central America, the Choco Region Blacks of Columbia, South America and many others.

This book examines the history of Black trade and commerce. It examines how money was made in ancient times and how this legacy continued well into the colonial era to this very day.

In a time when Blacks worldwide are suffering economically, this book clearly contributes to the knowledge and helps build the confidence needed to initiate a Black world economic renaissance and Black economic, social, numerical and cultural development among Black Americans and Blacks elsewhere.

 

 

Ancient trans-Atlantic similarities in botany, religion and pyramid building constitute but a fraction of the signs of African influence in ancient America. Other indicators include, astronomy, art, writing systems, flora and fauna.

Historically, the African people have been exceptional explorers and purveyors of culture across the world. Throughout all of these travels, African explorers have not had a history of starting devastating wars on the people they met. The greatest threat towards Africa having a glorious future is her people’s ignorance of Africa’s glorious past.

Pre-Columbus civilization in the Americas had its foundation built by Africans and developed by the ingenuity of Native Americans. Sadly, America, in post-Columbus times, was founded on the genocide of the indigenous Americans, built on the backs of African slaves and continues to run on the exploitation of workers at home and abroad.

Clearly, Africans helped civilize America well before Europeans “discovered” America, and well before Europeans claim to have civilized Africa. The growing body of evidence is now becoming simply too loud to ignore. It’s about time education policy makers reexamine their school curriculums to adjust for America’s long pre-Columbus history.

Garikai Chengu is a scholar at Harvard University. Contact him on garikai.chengu@gmail.com

Contrary to popular belief, African American history did not start with slavery in the New World. An overwhelming body of new evidence is emerging which proves that Africans had frequently sailed across the Atlantic to the Americas, thousands of years before Columbus and indeed before Christ. The great ancient civilizations of Egypt and West Africa traveled to the Americas, contributing immensely to early American civilization by importing the art of pyramid building, political systems and religious practices as well as mathematics, writing and a sophisticated calendar.

The strongest evidence of African presence in America before Columbus comes from the pen of Columbus himself. In 1920, a renowned American historian and linguist, Leo Weiner of Harvard University, in his book, Africa and the discovery of America, explained how Columbus noted in his journal that Native Americans had confirmed that “black skinned people had come from the south-east in boats, trading in gold-tipped spears.”

One of the first documented instances of Africans sailing and settling in the Americas were black Egyptians led by King Ramses III, during the 19th dynasty in 1292 BC. In fact, in 445 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs’ great seafaring and navigational skills. Further concrete evidence, noted by Dr. Imhotep and largely ignored by Euro-centric archaeologists, includes “Egyptian artifacts found across North America from the Algonquin writings on the East Coast to the artifacts and Egyptian place names in the Grand Canyon.”

In 1311 AD, another major wave of African exploration to the New World was led by King Abubakari II, the ruler of the fourteenth century Mali Empire, which was larger than the Holy Roman Empire. The king sent out 200 ships of men, and 200 ships of trade material, crops, animals, cloth and crucially African knowledge of astronomy, religion and the arts.

African explorers crossing the vast Atlantic waters in primitive boats may seem unlikely, or perhaps, far fetched to some. Such incredible nautical achievements are not as daunting as they seem, given that

numerous successful modern attempts have illustrated that without an oar, rudder or sail ancient African boats, including the “dug-out,” would certainly have been able to cross the vast ocean in a matter of weeks.

As time allows us to drift further and further away from the “European age of exploration” and we move beyond an age of racial intellectual prejudice, historians are beginning to recognize that Africans were skilled navigators long before Europeans, contrary to popular belief.

Of course, some Western historians continue to refute this fact because, consciously or unconsciously, they are still hanging on to the 19th-century notion that seafaring was a European monopoly.

After all, history will tell you that seafaring is the quintessential European achievement, the single endeavor of which Europeans are awfully proud. Seafaring allowed Europe to conquer the world. The notion that black Africans braved the roaring waters of the Atlantic Ocean and beat Europeans to the New World threatens a historically white sense of ownership over the seas

The earliest people in the Americas were people of the Negritic African race, who entered the Americas perhaps as early as 100,000 years ago, by way of the bering straight and about thirty thousand years ago in a worldwide maritime undertaking that included journeys from the then wet and lake filled Sahara towards the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, and from West Africa across the Atlantic Ocean towards the Americas.
According to the Gladwin Thesis, this ancient journey occurred, particularly about 75,000 years ago and included Black Pygmies, Black Negritic peoples and Black Australoids similar to the Aboriginal Black people of Australia and parts of Asia, including India.

Ancient African terracotta portraits 1000 B.C. to 500 B.C.

African terracottaRecent discoveries in the field of linguistics and other methods have shown without a doubt, that the ancient Olmecs of Mexico, known as the Xi People, came originally from West Africa and were of the Mende African ethnic stock. According to Clyde A. Winters and other writers (see Clyde A. Winters website), the Mende script was discovered on some of the ancient Olmec monuments of Mexico and were found to be identical to the very same script used by the Mende people of West Africa. Although the carbon fourteen testing date for the presence of the Black Olmecs or Xi People is about 1500 B.C., journies to the Mexico and the Southern United States may have come from West Africa much earlier, particularly around five thousand years before Christ. That conclusion is based on the finding of an African native cotton that was discovered in North America. It’s only possible manner of arriving where it was found had to have been through human hands. At that period in West African history and even before, civilization was in full bloom in the Western Sahara in what is today Mauritania. One of Africa’s earliest civilizations, the Zingh Empire, existed and may have lived in what was a lake filled, wet and fertile Sahara, where ships criss-crossed from place to place.

ANCIENT AFRICAN KINGDOMS PRODUCED
OLMEC TYPE CULTURES

The ancient kingdoms of West Africa which occupied the Coastal forest belt from Cameroon to Guinea had trading relationships with other Africans dating back to prehistoric times. However, by 1500 B.C., these ancient kingdoms not only traded along the Ivory Coast, but with the Phoenicians and other peoples. They expanded their trade to the Americas, where the evidence for an ancient African presence is overwhelming. The kingdoms which came to be known by Arabs and Europeans during the Middle Ages were already well established when much of Western Europe was still inhabited by Celtic tribes. By the 5th Century B.C., the Phoenicians were running comercial ships to several West African kingdoms. During that period, iron had been in use for about one thousand years and terracotta art was being produced at a great level of craftsmanship. Stone was also being carved with naturalistic perfection and later, bronze was being used to make various tools and instruments, as well as beautifully naturalistic works of art.

 

The ancient West African coastal and interior Kingdoms occupied an area that is now covered with dense vegetation but may have been cleared about three to four thousand years ago. This includes the regions from the coasts of West Africa to the South, all the way inland to the Sahara. A number of large kingdoms and empires existed in that area. According to Blisshords Communications, one of the oldest empires and civilizions on earth existed just north of the coastal regions into what is today Mauritania. It was called the Zingh Empire and was highly advanced. In fact, they were the first to use the red, black and green African flag and to plant it throughout their territory all over Africa and the world.

The Zingh Empire existed about fifteen thousand years ago. The only other civilizations that may have been in existance at that period in history were the Ta-Seti civilization of what became Nubia-Kush and the mythical Atlantis civilization which may have existed out in the Atlantic, off the coast of West Africa about ten to fifteen thousand years ago. That leaves the question as to whether there was a relationship between the prehistoric Zingh Empire of West Africa and the civilization of Atlantis, whether the Zingh Empire was actually Atlantis, or whether Atlantis if it existed was part of the Zingh empire. Was Atlantis, the highly technologically sophisticated civilization an extension of Black civilization in the Meso-America and other parts of the Americas?

Shaman or priest
Stone carving of a Shaman or priest
from Columbia’s San Agustine Culture

African Oni
An ancient West African Oni or King holding similar artifacts
as the San Agustine culture stone carving of a Shaman

The above ancient stone carvings (500 t0 1000 B.C.) of Shamans of Priest-Kings clearly show distinct similarities in instruments held and purpose. The realistic carving of an African king or Oni and the stone carving of a shaman from Columbia’s San Agustin Culture indicates diffusion of African religious practices to the Americas. In fact, the region of Columbia and Panama were among the first places that Blacks were spotted by the first Spanish explorers to the Americas.

 

From the archeological evidence gathered both in West Africa and Meso-America, there is reason to believe that the African Negritics who founded or influenced the Olmec civilization came from West Africa. Not only do the collosol Olmec stone heads resemble Black Africans from the Ghana area, but the ancient religious practices of the Olmec priests was similar to that of the West Africans, which included shamanism, the study of the Venus complex which was part of the traditions of the Olmecs as well as the Ono and Dogon People of West Africa. The language connection is of significant importance, since it has been found out through decipherment of the Olmec script, that the ancient Olmecs spoke the Mende language and wrote in the Mend script, which is still used in parts of West Africa and the Sahara to this day.

ANCIENT TRADE BETWEEN THE AMERICAS AND AFRICA

The earliest trade and commercial activities between prehistoric and ancient Africa and the Americas may have occurred from West Africa and may have included shipping and travel across the Atlantic. The history of West Africa has never been properly researched. Yet, there is ample evidence to show that West Africa of 1500 B.C. was at a level of civilization approaching that of ancient Egypt and Nubia-Kush. In fact, there were similarities between the cultures of Nubia and West Africa, even to the very similarities between the smaller scaled hard brick clay burial pyramids built for West African Kings at Kukia in
pre Christian Ghana and their counterparts in Nubia, Egypt and Meso-America.

Although West Africa is not commonly known for having a culture of pyramid-building, such a culture existed although pyramids were created for the burial of kings and were made of hardened brick. This style of pyramid building was closer to what was built by the Olmecs in Mexico when the first Olmec pyramids were built. In fact, they were not built of stone, but of hardened clay and compact earth.

Still, even though we don’t see pyramids of stone rising above the ground in West Africa, similar to those of Egypt, Nubia or Mexico, or massive abilisks, collosal monuments and structures of Nubian and Khemitic or Meso-American civilization. The fact remains, they did exist in West Africa on a smaller scale and were transported to the Americas, where conditions
such as an environment more hospitable to building and free of detriments such as malaria and the tsetse fly, made it much easier to build on a grander scale.

Large scale building projects such as monuent and pyramid building was most likely carried to the Americas by the same West Africans who developed the Olmec or Xi civilization in Mexico. Such activities would have occurred particularly if there was not much of a hinderance and obstacle to massive, monumental building and construction as there was in the forest and malaria zones of West Africa. Yet, when the region of ancient Ghana and Mauritania is closely examined, evidence of large prehistoric towns such as Kukia and others as well as various monuments to a great civilization existed and continue to exist at a smaller level than Egypt and Nubia, but significant enough to show a direct connection with Mexico’s Olmec civilization.

The similarities between Olmec and West African civilization includes racial, religious and pyramid bilding similarities, as well as the similarities in their alphabets and scripts as well as both cultures speaking the identical Mende language, which was once widespread in the Sahara and was spread as far East as Dravidian India in prehistoric times as well as the South Pacific.

During the early years of West African trade with the Americas, commercial seafarers made frequent voyages across the Atlantic. In fact, the oral history of a tradition of seafaring between the Americas and Africa is part of the history of the Washitaw People, an aboriginal Black nation who were the original inhabitants of the Mississippi Valley region, the former Louisiana Territories and parts of the Southern United States. According to their oral traditions, their ancient ships criss-crossed the Atlantic Ocean between Africa and the Americas on missions of trade and commerce..

Some of the ships used during the ancient times, perhaps earlier than 7000 B.C. (which is the date given for cave paintings of the drawings and paintings of boats in the now dried up Sahara desert) are similar to ships used in parts of Africa today. These ships were either made of papyrus or planks lashed with rope, or hollowed out tree trunks.

These ancient vessels were loaded with all type of trade goods and not only did they criss-cross the Atlantic but they traded out in the Pacific and settled there as well all the way to California. In
fact, the tradition of Black seafarers crossing the Pacific back and forth to California is much older than the actual divulgance of that fact to the first Spanish explorers who were told by the American Indians that Black men with curly hair made trips from California’s shores to the Pacific on missions of trade.

On the other hand, West African trade with the Americas before Columbus and way back to proto historic times (30,000 B.C. to 10,000 B.C.), is one of the most important chapters in ancient African history. Yet, this era which begun about 30,000 years ago and perhaps earlier (see the Gladwin Thesis, by C.S.Gladwin, Mc Graw Hill Books), has not been part of the History of Blacks in the Americas. Later on in history, particularly during the early Bronze Age.

However, during the latter part of the Bronze Age, particularly between 1500 B.C. to 1000 B.C., when the Olmec civilization began to bloom and flourish, new conditions in the Mediterranean made it more difficult for West Africans to trade by sea with the region, although their land trade accross the Sahara was flourishing. By then, Greeks, Phoenicians, Assyrians, Babylonians and others were trying to gain control of the sea routes and the trading ports of the region. Conflicts in the region may have pushed the West Africans to strengthen their trans-Atlantic trade with the Americas and to explore and settle there.

West African Trade and Settlement in the Americas Increases Due to Conflicts in the Mediterranean

The flowering of the Olmec Civilization occurred between 1500 B.C. to 1000 B.C., when over twenty-two collosal heads of basalt were carved representing the West African Negritic racial type.
This flowering continued with the appearance of “Magicians,” or Shamanistic Africans who observed and charted the Venus planetary complex (see the pre-Christian era statuette of a West African Shaman in the photograph above)
These “Magicians,” are said to have entered Mexico from West Africa between 800 B.C. to 600 B.C. and were speakers of the Mende language as well as writers of the Mende script or the Bambara script, both which are still used in parts of West Africa and the Sahara.

These Shamans who became the priestly class at Monte Alban during the 800’s to 600’s B.C. ( ref. The History of the African-Olmecs and Black Civilization of the Americas From Prehistoric Times to the Present Era), had to have journied across the Atlantic from West Africa, for it is only in West Africa, that the religious practices and astronomical and religious practices and complex (Venus, the Dogon Sirius observation and the Venus worship of the Afro-Olmecs, the use of the ax in the worship of Shango among he Yoruba of West Africa and the use of the ax in Afro-Olmec worship as well as the prominence of the thunder God later known as Tlalock among the Aztecs) are the same as those practiced by the Afro-Olmec Shamans. According to Clyde Ahmed Winters (see “Clyde A. Winters” webpage on “search.”

Thus, it has been proven through linguistic studies, religious similarities, racial similarities between the Afro-Olmecs and West Africans, as well as the use of the same language and writing script, that the Afro-Olmecs came from the Mende-Speaking region of West Africa, which once included the Sahara.

Sailing and shipbuilding in the Sahara is over twenty thousand years old. In fact, cave and wall paintings of ancient ships were displayed in National Geographic Magazine some years ago. Such ships which carried sails and masts, were among the vessels that swept across the water filled Sahara in prehistoric times. It is from that ship-building tradition that the Bambara used their knowledge to build Thor Hayerdhal’s papyrus boat Ra I which made it to the West Indies from Safi in Morroco years ago. The Bambara are also one of the West African nationalities who had and still have a religious and astronomical complex similar to that of the ancient Olmecs, particularly in the area of star gazing.

A journey across the Atlantic to the Americas on a good current during clement weather would have been an easier task to West Africans of the Coastal and riverine regions than it would have been through the use of caravans criss-crossing the hot by day and extremely cold by night Sahara desert. It would have been much easier to take a well made ship, similar to the one shown above and let the currents take it to the West Indies, and may have taken as long as sending goods back and forth from northern and north-eastern Africa to the interior and coasts of West Africa’s ancient kingdoms. Add to that the fact that crossing the Sahara would have been no easy task when obsticales such as the hot and dusty environment, the thousands of miles of dust, sand and high winds existed. The long trek through the southern regions of West Africa through vallies, mountains and down the many rivers to the coast using beasts of burden would have been problematic particularly since malaria mosquitoes harmful to both humans and animals would have made the use of animals to carry loads unreliable.

Journeys by ship along the coast of West Africa toward the North, through the Pillars of Heracles,
eastward on the Mediterran to Ports such as Byblos in Lebanon, Tyre or Sydon would have been two to three times as lengthy as taking a ship from Cape Verde, sailing it across the Atlantic and landing in North-Eastern Brazil fifteen hundred miles away, or Meso America about 2400 miles away. The distance in itself is not what makes the trip easy. It is the fact that currents
which are similar to gigantic rivers in the ocean, carry ships and other vessels from West Africa to the Americas with relative ease.

West Africans during the period of 1500 B.C. to 600 B.C. up to 1492 A.D. may have looked to the Americas as a source of trade, commerce and a place to settle and build new civlilzations. During the period of 1500 B.C. to 600 B.C., there were many conflicts in the Mediterranean involving the Kushites, Egyptians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Sea Peoples, Persians, Jews and others. Any kingdom or nation of that era who wanted to conduct smoothe trade without complications would have tried to find alternative trading partners. In fact, that was the very reason why the Europeans decided to sail westwared in their wearch for India and China in 1492 A.D. They were harrassed by the Arabs in the East and had to pay heavy taxes to pass through the region.

Still, most of the Black empires and kingdoms such as Kush, Mauri, Numidia, Egypt, Ethiopia and others may have had little difficulty conducting trade among their neighbors since they also were among the major powers of the region who were dominant in the Mediterranean.
South of this northern region to the south-west, Mauritania (the site of the prehistoric Zingh Empire) Ghana, and many of the same nationalities who ushered in the West African renaissance of the early Middle Ages were engaged in civilizations and cultures similar to those of Nubia, Egypt and the Empires of the Afro-Olmec or Xi (Shi) People.

 

Nubian-Kushite King and Queen (circa 1000 B.C.)

Nubian-Kushite King and QueenIt is believed that there was a Nubian presence in Mexico and that the West African civilizations were related to that of the Nubians, despite the distance between the two centers of Black civilization in Africa. There is no doubt that in ancient times there were commercial ties between West Africa and Egypt. In fact, about 600 B.C., Nikau, a Pharaoh of Egypt sent ships to circumnavigate Africa and later on about 450 B.C., Phoenicians did the same, landing in West Africa in the nation now called Cameroon. There they witnessed what may have been the celebration of a Kwanza-like harvest festival, where “cymbals, horns,” and other instruments as well as smoke and fire from buring fields could be seen from their ships.

At that period in history, the West African cultures and civilizations, which were offshoots of much earlier southern Saharan cultures, were very old compared to civilizations such as Greece or Babylon. In fact, iron was being used by the ancient West Africans as early as 2600 years B.C. and was so common that there was no “bronze age” in West Africa, although bronze was used for ornaments and instruments or tools.

A combination of Nubians and West Africans engaged in mutual trade and commerce along the coasts of West Africa could have planned many trips to and from the Americas and could have conducted a crossing about 1500 B.C. and afterwards. Massive sculptures of the heads of typical Negritic Africans were carved in the region of South Mexico where the Olmec civilization flourished. Some of these massive heads of basalt contain the cornrow hairstyle common among West African Blacks, as well as the kinky coiled hair common among at least 70 percent of all Negritic people, (the other proportion being the Dravidian Black race of India and the Black Australoids of Australia and South Asia).

 

Descendants of Ancient Africans in Recent America

In many parts of the Americas today, there are still people of African Negritic racial backgrounds who continue to exist either blended into the larger African-Americas population or are parts of separate, indigenous groups living on their own lands with their own unique culture and languages.

One such example is the Washitaw Nation who owned about one million square miles of the former Louisiana Territories, (see www.Hotep.org), but who now own only about 70,000 acres of all their former territory. The regaining of their lands from the U.S. was a long process which concluded partially in 1991, when they won the right to their lands in a U.S. court.

The Black Californian broke up as a nation during the late 1800’s after many years of war with the Spanish invaders of the South West, with Mexico and with the U.S. The blended into the Black population of California and their descendants still exist among the millions of Black Californians of today.

The Black Caribs or Garifunas of the Caribbean Islands and Central America fought with the English and Spanish from the late fifteen hundreds up to 1797, when the British sued for peace. The Garifuna were expelled from their islands but they prospered in Central America where hundreds of thousands live along the coasts today.

The Afro-Darienite is a significant group of pre-historic, pre-columbian Blacks who existed in South America and Central America. These Blacks were the Africans that the Spanish first saw during their exploration of the narrow strip of land between Columbia and Central America and who were described as “slaves of our lord” since the Spaniards and Europeans had the intention of enslaving all Blacks they found in the newly discovered lands.

The above mentioned Blacks of precolumbian origins are not Blacks wo mixed with the Mongoloid Indian population as occurred during the time of slavery. They were Blacks who were in some cases on their lands before the southward migrations of the Mongoloid Native Americans. In many cases, these Blacks had established civilizations in the Americas thousands of years ago.

 

TRADE ROUTES OF THE ANCIENT BLACKS

During the years of migrations of Africans to all parts of the world, those who crossed the Atlantic, Indian Ocean and Pacific also used the seas to make trips to the northern parts of Africa. They may have avoided the northern routes across the deserts at particular times of the year and sailed northward by sailing parallel to the coastslines on their way northward or southward, just as the Phoenicians, Nubians and Egyptians had done.
Boats made of skin, logs, hollowed ttee trunk, lashed canoes and skin could have been used for trading and commerce.

The reed boat is a common type of watercraft used in West Africa and other parts of the world, yet there were other boats and ships to add to those already mentioned above. Boats similar to those of Nubia and Egypt were being used in the Sahara just as long or even longer than they were being used in Egypt. In fact, civilization in the Sahara and Sudan existed before Egypt was settled by Blacks from the South and the Sahara.

The vessels which crossed the Atlantic about 1500 B.C. (during the early Afro-Olmec period) were most likely the same types of ships shown in the sahara cave paintings of ships dating to about 7,000 B.C. or similar ships from Nubian rock carvings of 3000 B.C..

Egyptologists such as Sir Flinders Petrie believed that the ancient African drawings of ships represent papyrus boats similar to the one built by the Bambara People for Thor Hayerdhal on the shores of Lake Chad. This boat made it to Barbadose, however they did not reinforce the hull with rope as the ancient Egyptians and Nubians did with their ancient ships. That lack of reinforcement made the Bambara ship weak, however another papyrus ship built by Ayamara Indians in Lake Titicaca, Bolivia was reinforced and it made it to the West Indies without difficulty.

Naval historian Bjorn Landstrom believes that some of the curved hulls shown on rock art and pottery from the Nubian civilization (circa 3000 B.C.) point to a basic three-plank idea. The planks would have been sewn together with rope. The larer version must have had some interior framing to hold them together. The hulls of some ot these boats show the vertical extension of the bow and stern which may have been to keep them bouyant.

These types of boats are stilll in use in one of the most unlikely places. The Djuka and Saramaka Tribes of Surinam, known also as ‘Bush Negroes,”
build a style of ship and boat similar to that of the Ancient Egyptians and Nubians, with their bows and sterns curving upward and pointing vertically.

This style of boat is also a common design in parts of West Africa, particularly along the Niger River where extensive river trading occurs. They are usually carved from a single tree trunk which is used as the backbone. Planks are then fitted alongside to enlarge them. In all cases, cabins are built on top of the interior out of woven mat or other strong fiberous material. These boats are usually six to eight feet across and about fifty feet long. There is evidence that one African Emperor Abubakari of Mali used these “almadias” or longboats to make a trip to the Americas during the 1300’s.(see, They Came Before Columbus, Ivan Van Sertima; Random House: 1975)

Apart from the vessels used by the West Africans and south western Sahara Black Africans to sail across the Atlantic to the Americas, Nubians, Kushites, Egyptians and Ethiopians were known traders in the Mediterranean. The Canaanites, the Negroid inhabitants of the Levant who later became the Phoenicians also were master seafarers. This has caused some to speculate that the heads of the Afro-Olmecs represent the heads of servants of the Phoenicians, yet no dominant people would build such massive and collosol monuments to their servants and not to themselves.

 

THE STORY OF PEDRO ALONSO NINO (1492 through 1505)

A navigator and explorer of African ancestry, Pedro Alonso Nino traveled with Christopher Columbus’ first expedition to the New World in 1492. He was also known as “El Negro” (The Black). Pedro Nino was the pilot of Columbus’ ship the “Santa Maria.” In 1493, he also accompanied Columbus on the explorer’s second voyage which discovered Trinidad and the mouth of the Orinoco River in South America, piloting one of the 17 ships in the fleet. This voyage also brought the first Africans, who were actually free men, to Hispaniola. Pedro Nino led his own expedition, financed by the Council of Castile, to find gold and pearls in areas not already discovered by Columbus. He returned to Spain very wealthy but did not live up to an agreement he had with the King to turn over 20% of his treasure (known as “The Royal Fifth”). He was arrested and died in prison before his trial.

AFRICANS ASSIST BALBOA IN DICOVERING THE PACIFIC OCEAN (1513)

Vasco Nunez de Balboa founded the first permanent European settlement on mainland American soil in 1510. It was called Santa Maria and was located near today’s Cartagena, Columbia. Balboa brought in enslaved Africans from Hispaniola to help construct the village. Three years later, with 190 Spanish Conquistadores and 30 African auxiliaries, Balboa sailed to the Isthmus of Panama. The expedition headed overland through the dense rainforests. Along the way, his men fought many local Indians, killing hundreds and taking their gold. From a hilltop in modern Panama, Balboa became the first European to see the eastern part of the Pacific Ocean, which he claimed for Spain. The African contingent became the first of their race to see the Pacific as well.

BUILDING SETTLEMENTS IN HISPANIOLA (1517)

Bishop Bartolome de Las Casas petitions Spain to allow the importation of 12 enslaved Africans for each household immigrating to the colony in Hispaniola. Africans were used to replace the devastated native population as enslaved laborers. Criticisms of Las Casas point to him as responsible for starting the transatlantic slave trade. Yet later in life, he apologized for his earlier views and declared that all forms of slavery were wrong.

THE STORY OF JUAN GARRIDO (1513 through 1538)

He was born in Africa. As a young man he was taken to Seville as a slave. There is no record of his tribal name, but he took the name Juan Garrido meaning “Handsome John” while a servant to the Spaniard Pedro Garrido. About 1502, Juan arrived in Santo Domingo as part of an expedition to the new world. He was among the first Africans to land in the Americas. He was trained in the military arts of the “conquistadors.” Garrido was counted among the men that went with Ponce de Leon on his search for the Fountain of Youth in Florida in 1513.

In 1519, he was a member of the expedition led by Hernan Cortes that invaded Mexico, beginning the conquest of the Aztecs. They laid siege to the city of Tenochtitlan and conquered it. The following year, Juan Garrido built a chapel to honor the many Spanish soldiers killed by the Aztecs. But the Aztecs regrouped and retook the city. In 1521, the Spanish finally defeated the native population and Tenochtitlan was renamed Mexico City.

Garrido settled in Mexico City, married, and raised a family but he was denied land and Spanish citizenship because of his ancestry. After years as a soldier, he had to provide proof of his service. In 1538, he testified, “I, Juan Garrido, black in color, a resident of this city appear before Your Mercy to provide evidence. I served Your Majesty in the conquest and pacification of New Spain, from the time when Hernan Cortes entered it. And in his company, I was present at all the invasions which were carried out. All of which I did at my own expense without being given either salary or allotment of natives. I went to discover and pacify the islands of Puerto Rico, and also I went on the conquest of the island of Cuba with Diego Velazquez. For thirty years I have served Your Majesty.” Juan Garrido received his allowance of land and became a farmer. Later he produces the first commercial wheat crop in the New World.

THE FIRST AFRICANS COME TO PRESENT DAY U.S. TERRITORY (1526)

The Spanish expedition of Lucas Vasquez Allyon planned to establish a European colony on the coast of North Carolina. In late 1526, six hundred settlers landed and laid out the village of San Miguel de Gualdape. Time was running short as winter approached so a group of Africans were brought in to erect the settlement. It was the first instance of African slave labor to be used within the territory of today’s United States. The colony only lasted for six months as the severe winter, hunger, and disease ravaged the population. When disputes arose between groups of Europeans, the slaves took an opportunity to gain their freedom. They fled to the interior and settled among the local Indian populations, or “re-indigenized.” It was the first recorded slave rebellion in North America.

THE STORY OF ESTEBAN (1527 through 1539)

Estevanico, better known to history as Esteban (or “Little Stephen”) is considered the first Black Conquistador. Born in Africa, the ten-year old was brought to Spain in 1513 as a slave. The boy became the personal servant of his master, Andres de Dorantes.

A decade later both Dorantes and Esteban joined the expedition of Narvaez to conquer Florida for Spain. The Spanish King had granted to Narvaez all of what is today the Gulf Coast of the U.S. provided he establish several villages and forts in the region. Six hundred Spanish, Portuguese, and African troops arrived in Santiago, Cuba, in the autumn of 1527. In April of 1528, the expedition entered Tampa Bay and landed near present day St. Petersburg. Narvaez was declared the Royal Governor of La Florida. Not long after, Timucua and Apalachee warriors attacked the expedition using guerrilla tactics.

The Spanish struggled for survival and had to build new boats using tools recast from their iron weapons. Only 242 soldiers remained. Gulf storms then reduced this number to 80. A hurricane washed the last remaining four men ashore near the site of Galveston, Texas. Surviving was Cabeza de Vaca (an explorer), Alonso del Castillo Maldonado, Dorantes, and his servant Estaban. They were the first men from Europe and Africa to enter the southwestern part of the U.S.

Esteban was captured by natives and held as their slave for five years. He finally escaped and rejoined the other three. Esteban was adept at learning native languages and acted as a translator for the group. These four men proceeded to walk from south Texas through New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico all the way to Mexico City. Their journey took four years

In 1536, Estaban accompanied Cabeza de Vaca on explorations in northern Mexico. He served as an interpreter and scout for the de Vaca Expedition; and later took command of the group after natives killed its leader. Three years later, he was part of an expedition led by Friar Marcos de Niza from Mexico City into the far north of New Spain. It was a reconnaissance in force that scouted the terrain for Francisco Coronado’s search for the “Seven Cities of Gold.” Esteban was popular with the native tribes he encountered until reaching northeast New Mexico. There, the Zuni’s saw him as a harbinger of death. He was killed at the Zuni town of Hawikuh, just east of the present day border of Arizona and New Mexico. His reports indicated that he had seen a city “as large as Mexico City” on a hill and that it looked wealthy – but Coronado was never able to find the city that Esteban saw.

THE BLACK CONQUISTODORS (1520 through 1600)

Although most Africans came to America, in the early days, as slaves; records show that many black freedmen from Seville and other Spanish cities found passage to the New World either to settle in the Caribbean region or to follow the conquests of Mexico and Peru. They identified themselves as Catholic subjects to the King with the same privileges as opportunities as white Spaniards.

Many people of African descent used military service as a means to emancipation and inclusion in Spanish society. As the numbers of settlers in Spanish territory increased, the Black Conquistadors acted as pacifiers and security forces. Some of them were awarded land grants and special recognition.

Notable Black Conquistadors included Juan Garrido and Estaban (both mentioned earlier) as well as Sabastian Toral who fought in the conquest of the Yucatan and Juan Valiente who helped pacify Guatemala, Peru, and Chile. Some, like Juan Garcia, fought well then returned to Spain as wealthy men.

Conquistadors of African ancestry accompanied the expedition of Francisco Vasquez de Coronado from Mexico City to what is now central Kansas. Some Africans remained behind in Kansas and New Mexico after Coronado departed, and are believed to have been absorbed into the native tribes.

AFRICAN POPULATION SOARS (1570)

Between 1519 and 1600, about 151,000 “Spanish” Africans arrived in the Americas. The population of colonial Mexico included 20,600 blacks and 2,500 mulattoes. This is more than three decades before the first English colonists arrive in the Virginia.

THE STORY OF ISABEL DE OLVERA (1598)

Isabel de Olvera, a free woman living in Mexico, accompanied the Juan Guerra de Resa Expedition which colonized what is now New Mexico. She is best known for a deposition given before a Spanish court avowing her rights before her journey.

“I am going on the expedition to New Mexico and have some reason to fear that I may be annoyed by some individuals since I am a mulatta, and it is proper to protect my rights in such an eventuality by an affidavit showing that I am a free woman and the legitimate daughter of Hernando, a Negro, and an Indian woman. I therefore request your grace to accept this affidavit which shows that I am free and not bound by marriage or slavery. I request that a properly certified and signed copy be given to me in order to protect my rights, and that carry full legal authority. I demand justice.” Despite her fear, Isabel made the journey.

YANGA LEADS HIS PEOPLE TO INDEPENDENCE (1570 through 1609)

In 1609, the Spanish government decided to end this revolt once and for all. A force of 600 troops moved into the area to face Yanga’s outnumbered and poorly armed colony. At first Yanga offered peace terms similar to those accepted from native tribes. They were refused by the Spanish. Therefore, Yanga decided to use his knowledge of the terrain to resist the invasion

; inflicting enough pain that the Spanish would withdraw. A battle was fought yielding heavy losses on both sides. When the colonial troops could not complete a military victory, they agreed to discuss other options. By 1618, a treaty was consummated which allowed Yanga’s people to remain on their land and were allowed to build a town of their own. The town of “San Lorenzo de los Negros” received a charter from Spanish officials and becomes the first officially recognized free settlement for blacks in the New World. The town, renamed Yanga, remains today.

THE STORY OF ANTONIO THE NEGRO (1619)

One of the few recorded histories, and taken from court records, of an African in America tells the story of “Antonio the negro.” He was brought to the Jamestown colony in 1619. His name is recorded in the 1625 Virginia census. English law does not define racial slavery, so he was called simply an indentured servant. After securing his freedom by paying off his debt, Antonio changed his name to Anthony Johnson, married an African woman, and had four children; and the family was free. They went on to own land, buildings, and livestock. Still, by 1650, the Johnsons were only six of the 400 Africans among the Virginia Colony’s 19,000 settlers.

 

IN THE MIDST OF THE REPARATIONS DEBATE THE ISSUE OF RETURNING THE LANDS OF THESE BLACKS WHO ANCESTORS WERE HERE IN THE U.S. AND AMERICAS BEFORE COLUMBUS HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE WITH ONE BLACK NATION OF THE LOUISIANA TERRITORIES

The experience of the Washitaw Nation (or Ouchita Nation) of the Southern United States is another piece of solid evidence for the fact of pre-Columbian African presence and settlement in the Americas and specifically in the United States. According to an article carried in the magazine, ‘The Freedom Press Newsletter, (Spring, 1996), reprinted from Earthways, The Newsleter of the Sojourner Truth Farm School (August, 1995), the Washitaw were
(and still are) a nation of Africans who existed in the Southern U.S. and Mississippi Valley region long before the 16th century Europeans arrived and even before there were “Native Americans” on the lands the Washitaw once occupied and still occupy today.

According to the article, “the Washitaw Nation “governed three million acres of land in Louisiana,
Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Mississippi. They were ship builders (similar to the Garifuna of the Caribbean, who are also of pre-Columbian West Afrucan Mandinka Muslim origins (according to Harold Lawrence in ‘African Presence in Early America,edt. by Ivan Van Sertima).

What is even more facinating about this aspect of hidden history of Blacks in America before Columbus is that the Washitaw Nation was known and recognized as a separate, independant Black nation by the Spanish and French, who were in the Louisiana Territories and Texas areas. According to the present leader of the Washitaw Nation, “when Spain ceeded the Louisiana Territory to France, they excluded the land belonging to the Washitaw Nation. France did not include it in the “Louisiana Purchase,” and according to the leader, “This land
is not part of the United States of America.” That point was made in the newspaper, “The Capitol Spotlight, June 1992.

In fact, the courts agreed that the land was not part of the U.S. and that in fact the Washitaw (Ouchita) Nation was on the land long before European Colonization: therefore, in legal decisions made, some of the ancient territory was returned. This historical decision was made about 1991.

This is the type of information seldom seen in the majority press, yet, the importance of that event clearly points to the incredible service small papers and magazines such as Ancient American or the Capitol Spotlight and The Freedom Press Newsletter have been making, along iwth internet news and information sites such as this one. So, here we see an example in the continental United States where Africans who came before slavery, before Columbus and thousands of years before Christ (over six thousand years B.C., according to the Washitaw chroniclers), were engaged in boat building, seafaring, trade and commerce in ancient times and who still exist today as a distinct Black Nation who have evidence and proof of their ownership of millions of acres of lands in the Southern U.S. and the Mississippi Valley. The Washitaw Nation held an important convention in June 1992, in Monroe, Louisiana and have held others since. (see www.Hotep.org for the Washitaw’s point of view on their history and culture).

Yet, the Washitaw is merely one nation of the descendants of pre-columbian Blacks from Africa and elsewhere and possibly from right here in the Americas as the very first people to exist here, long before the development of the Mongoloid, American Indians or the Mongoloid( 15,000 B.C.) or even the Caucasian races (30,000 B.C.). Pure Black Homosapiens began to migrate from Africa and populate the entire earth about 200,000 to 150,000 years ago, according to scientists, historians and anthropologists.

Among the other Black nations who existed in the Americas before Columbus and long before Christ were the Jamassee (Yamassee), who had a large kingdom in the South eastern U.S., Their descendants were among the first Blacks of pre-columbian American origins who fell victim to kidnapping for the purpose of enslavement. Blacks of South America, the Caribbean and Central America were also attacked and enslaved based on a Pontifax passed during the mid- 1400’s by the Church hierachy giving the Europeans the go ahead to enslave all “Children of Ham” found in the newly discovered territories. The descendants of the Jamassee are the millions of Blacks who live in Alabama, Gerogia, South Carolina and northern Florida. They of course also have African slave ancestors, but these slaves are the relatives of the same Africans who sailed to America of their own free will, while Europe was in the Dark Ages, and long before Christ, for that matter.

In California, descendnats of the fierce “Black Californians” who were a Negroid people of African racial origins and the original owners of California and the South WEST (BEFORE THE SPANISH INVSION…OR THE CREATION OF THE MIXED RACE “HISPANIC” ETHNIC GROUP. Babe Many African-Americans in California are of Black Californian ancestry and their great grand parents were among the original Black Californians who were victims of Spanish Californio enslavement and Anglo American settler attacks. In fact, the Black Californian fought until the late 1800’s to maintain control of their ancestral lands from the settlers. THAT’S A FACT.

There are aboriginal nations of Blacks in Panama such as the Afro-Darienite and the Choco people. In fact, the Afro-Darienite are the remnants of the aboriginal Black nations of South and Central America who were once hunted down to be made slaves by the Spaniards (in fact Balboa or Peter Matyr chroniclers referred to these Blacks as “slaves of our lord,” ) meaning, like Blacks in Africa, the South Pacific and elsewhere, they were eligible for enslavement, being descended from Ham, the so-called “father of the Black race.”

 

Contrary to popular belief, African American history did not start with slavery in the New World. An overwhelming body of new evidence is emerging which proves that Africans had frequently sailed across the Atlantic to the Americas, thousands of years before Columbus and indeed before the Vikings. The great ancient civilizations of Egypt and West Africa traveled to the Americas, contributing immensely to early American civilization by importing the art of pyramid building, political systems and religious practices as well as mathematics, writing and a sophisticated calendar.

The strongest evidence of African presence in America before Columbus comes from the pen of Columbus himself. In 1920, a renowned American historian and linguist, Leo Weiner of Harvard University, in his book, Africa and the discovery of America, explained how Columbus noted in his journal that Native Americans had confirmed that “black skinned people had come from the south-east in boats, trading in gold-tipped spears.”

Located in the Museum of the Seminary of Sherbrooke in Quebec, Canada there are a set of mysterious stones that, according to many who have researched them, could offer conclusive evidence that neither the Vikings, nor Columbus traveled to America first, but a culture from Northern Africa 2,500 years ago.

The stones have been in the museum since at least 1910, but they were discovered much earlier. The two flat stone pieces of limestone are three feet long and one and a half feet high and weigh around four hundred pounds. They were discovered in a field near the St Francois River by M. Ludger Soucy sometimeearly in this century.

At the time of the discovery the considerably weathered stones were covered with two lines of unknown script.

Professor Thomas Lee, a Laval University archaeologistdeciphered the inscriptions. According to Professor Lee the Egyptian inscriptions were written in a Libyan script. Professor Lee said: “The Libyans would have been operating, in my opinion, out of Carthage, which was a Phoenician city at the time”.

He added saying the inscriptions suggest an ancient expedition reached the area after sailing up the St. Francis River, which flows into the St. Lawrence River, southwest of Trois-Rivieres, Quebec.

The inscriptions are written in a format called Boustrophedon, in which “you read the first line left to right and the next line right to left.”

Professor Howard Fell of the department of comparative zoology at Harvard University believed that the message was in Libyan from North Africa and translates as following: “Thus far, our expedition traveled in the service of Lord Hiram, to conquer land. This is the record of Hanta, attained the great river. And these words cut in stone.”

One inscription on the stone reads –  “Expedition that crossed in the service of Lord Hiram to conquer territory.”

The other of the pair discovered together bears the inscription: “Record by Hata, who attained this limit on the river, moored his ship and engraved this rock.”

Despite the fact that Fell’s primary professional research included starfish and sea urchins, he is best known for his controversial work in New World epigraphy, arguing that various inscriptions in the Americas are best explained by extensive pre-Columbian contact with Old World civilizations.

Professor Fell’s work was—unsurprisingly—rejected by most mainstream scholars who firmly reject the notion that African explorers arrived in the American continent around 2,500 years ago.

Professor Fell also said that he believes that the reference found in ancient African inscriptions, “barabarous lands at the end of the world”, definitely describe the Americas. He said evidence supporting an earlier discovery of the Americas than that of the Vikings has also been found in Spain and North Africa.

In his opinion, the people who left the stones made “at least two” expeditions, including one to the Yucatan area of Mexico. He even said, that one stone found there “gives the area its name.

 

Ancient history of North America is still shrouded in mystery. Historians, archaeologists and other scientists keep debating who really discovered North America and we have many reasons and plenty of evidence to say Christopher Columbus and the Vikings were by no means the first foreigners who discovered the continent.

Some scholars agree that ancient Egyptians and Africans visited America long before Columbus and the Vikings. The controversial Davenport and Pontotoc stele are two artifacts that may prove presence of ancient Egyptians and Africans in America. The Davenport Stele was unearthed in a burial mound in 1877 in Iowa. It contains a carving of “Opening of the Mouth Ceremony” which is of Nubian/Egyptian origin. Dr. Barry Fell, a Harvard scholar with an avocation for ancient writings, said the following: Egyptian and Libyan explorers had sailed up the Mississippi River and left the written stone tablet, the Davenport Stele.

According to Professor Fell, the Davenport Stele contains a “trilingual text” in the Egyptian, Iberian-Punic, and Libyan languages. “This stele, long condemned as a meaningless forgery, is in fact one of the most important steles ever discovered,” wrote Professor Fell in his book America B. C. – Ancient Settlers in the New World.

Professor Fell surmised that the Davenport Stele dates back to the Twenty-second, or Libyan, Dynasty of the Egyptian empire, “a period of overseas exploration.”

On one side of the artifact there are carvings of Egyptian writing and the depiction of an ancient Egyptian festival. On the other side there is a picture of two Egyptian obelisks, a pyramid and African animals.

In the book, The First Americans Were Africans: Documented Evidence, Dr. David Imhotep writes that “the religious similarities here are numerous and sometimes not only similar, but identical to the Djed Festival of ancient Egypt. This ceremony traces back, however, before Egypt to Nubia because the Egyptian God Osiris is part of the ceremony. This means the Djed Festival predates even Egypt.”

The Pontotoc Stele is considered to be the work of an early Iberian colonist in America, as the script is that known otherwise from the Cachao-da-Rapa region in northern Portugal. It depicts the life-giving rays of the sun descending upon the earth beneath.

If we can imagine that Viking visited America in ancient times, why should Phoenicians, Libyans, Egyptians or other sailing cultures do the same?

To the amazement of archeologists and researchers, in 1992, a German researcher who was performing tests on Ancient Egyptian mummies found traces of hashish, tobacco, and cocaine in the hair skin and bones of Ancient Egyptian Mummies. Tobacco and cocaine were plants that only grew in the ‘New World’, at the time of mummification. So just how did these exotic narcotics arrive in ancient Egypt before the ‘New World’ was found? (Source) This crucial piece of evidence proves that not only were ancient civilizations interconnected in the distant past, elaborate trade routes were established thousands of years ago. This is why it isn’t that difficult to believe that there are Ancient Egyptianhieroglyphs in Australia and that people of ancient India knew of modern-day England and called it  “the Island of the White Cliffs”. Their Vishnu Purana describes, to the amazement of many, parts of Europe, the Americas and even the North Polar Zones on our planet.

 

While this is a heavily criticized subject, there is evidence that suggests that in the 1900’s, researchers belonging to the Smithsonian institute stumbled across ancient Egyptian artifacts deep within the Grand Canyon.

According to an article published by the Arizona Gazette, the discovery of a series of mysterious caves and artifacts in the Marble Canyon region of the Gand Canyon would forever change our history. The report claimed that two Smithsonian-funded researchers Prof. S. A. Jordan and G.E. Kinkaid were responsible for the groundbreaking discovery:

The article reads:

(D)iscoveries which almost conclusively prove that the race which inhabited this mysterious cavern, hewn in solid rock by human hands, was of oriental origin, possibly from Egypt, tracing back to Ramses. If their theories are borne out by the translation of the tablets engraved with hieroglyphics, the mystery of the prehistoric people of North America, their ancient arts, who they were and whence they came, will be solved. Egypt and the Nile, and Arizona and the Colorado will be linked by a historical chain running back to ages which staggers the wildest fancy of the fictionist.

But if the ancient Egyptians did, in fact, have the ability to organize large-scale trans-oceanic voyages, would we have found more evidence of their travels?

Well, we have, it’s just that mainstream scholars firmly oppose the discoveries while tagging them as elaborate hoaxes.

According to an intriguing set of glyphs located in Australia, ancient Egyptian Sailors traveled to modern-day Australia thousands of years ago, proving that the ancient Egyptian civilizations had the capability of large-scale trans-oceanic travel.

While the mysterious glyphs, known as the Gosford Glyphs, are considered as a hoax by mainstream scholars, many people believe that the Gosford Glyphs are just one of the many pieces which point towards Ancient Egyptian large-scale oceanic voyages

 

As we have reported in previous articles, the most interesting part about the Gosford Glyphs is their writing style. According to local residents that have had the opportunity to see and study these hieroglyphs, they appear extremely ancient and are written in the archaic style of the early dynasties, a style that has been studied very little and is untranslatable by most Egyptologists.

However, Egyptologists like Mohamed Ibrahim and Khemit School Co-Director Yousef Abd’el Hakim Awyan (who has studied ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs his entire life) (source) were able to decipher the enigma.

Mohamed Ibrahim and Yousef Abd’el Hakim Awyan worked with a group of people in order to translate the mysterious engravings. The result? Well, not only are the mysterious Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs in Australia authentic, the scribes accurately used several ancient hieroglyphs and ‘grammatical’ variations which, crucially, were not even documented in Egyptian hieroglyphic texts until 2012.

As you can see, there are numerous pieces of evidence which support the idea that ancient Egyptians had the ability of trans-oceanic voyages in the distant past, leaving behind clues that researchers today are finally picking up.

 

There have been many instances of archaeologists discovering skulls and skeletons that they

believed clearly belonged to people of African descent. Polish professor Andrzej Wiercinski

revealed the discovery of African skulls at Olmec sites in Tlatilco, Cerro de las Mesas and Monte

Alban. Even more ancient African skeletons that would clearly predate Columbus’ arrival in the

Americas were discovered throughout Central America and South America with some even

being unearthed in what is now California.

Christopher Columbus wasn’t the only European explorer who made note of an African presence in the Americas upon his arrival. Historians revealed that at least a dozen other explorers, including Vasco Nunez de Balboa, also made record of seeing “Negroes” when they reached the New World. The accounts match up with the reports from the natives in Mexico. Nicholas Leon, an eminent Mexican authority, recorded the oral traditions of his people and ultimately kept track of a key piece of evidence that Black people made it to the New World far before their European counterparts. His reports revealed accounts from natives saying “the oldest inhabitants of Mexico

were blacks. [T]he existence of blacks and giants is commonly believed by nearly all the races of our sail and in their various language they had words to designate them.”

Some people insist that Africans couldn’t have made it to the New World first simply because they didn’t have the skill and resources to sail across the Atlantic. As it turns out, that’s completely false. Historians have discovered evidence that suggests Africans were masters at building ships and that it was actually a part of their tradition. Shipbuilding and sailing are over 20,000 years old in the Sahara, and cave wall paintings of ancient ships were displayed

In National Geographic magazine years ago. With those shipbuilding skills and the navigation skills that were noted by other historians of the time, the myth that Africans wouldn’t have been able to sail to the New World becomes officially debunked. As Dr. Julian Whitewright, amaritime archaeologist at the University of Southampton, explained, the voyage from Africa on ancient ships was “quite a plausible undertaking, based on the capabilities of the vessel of the period and historical material stating it took place.”

The Olmec civilization was the first significant civilization in Mesoamerica and deemed “Mother

Culture of Mexico” by some historians. This civilization dominated by Africans is best known

for the colossal carved heads in Central Mexico that serve as even more evidence that Africans

sailed to the New World before Columbus. The heads are clearly crafted in the likeness of

Africans. The same civilization that created these giant heads was also responsible for

introducing written language, arts, sophisticated astronomy and mathematics to Mesoamerican

civilization, ancient African historian Professor Van Sertima explained.

According to Paul Alfred Barton, the author of “A History of the African-

Olmecs: Black

Civilizations of America from Prehistoric Times to the Present Era,” ancient kingdoms in West

Africa have a long history of trade by sail, which made it all the more likely that they eventually

expanded their trade to the Americas. While the Sahara is a dry desert today, its past as a lake-

filled, wet and fertile place has been well-documented. African ships often crossed these large

lakes to get from place to place and traded with other African civilizations along the way. After

expanding their trade to the Americas, they certainly made their mark as things like African

native cotton were soon being discovered all across North America.

One of the first documented instances of Africans sailing and settling in the Americas were black Egyptians led by King Ramses III, during the 19th dynasty in 1292 BC. In fact, in 445 BC, the Greek historian Herodotus wrote of the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs’ great seafaring and navigational skills.

In 1311 AD, another major wave of African exploration to the New World was led by King Abubakari II, the ruler of the fourteenth century Mali Empire, which was larger than the Holy Roman Empire. The king sent out 200 ships of men, and 200 ships of trade material, crops, animals, cloth and crucially African knowledge of astronomy, religion and the arts.

African explorers crossing the vast Atlantic waters in primitive boats may seem unlikely, or perhaps, far fetched to some. Such incredible nautical achievements are not as daunting as they seem, given that
numerous successful modern attempts have illustrated that without an oar, rudder or sail ancient African boats, including the “dug-out,” would certainly have been able to cross the vast ocean in a matter of weeks.

As time allows us to drift further and further away from the “European age of exploration” and we move beyond an age of racial intellectual prejudice, historians are beginning to recognize that Africans were skilled navigators long before Europeans, contrary to popular belief.

Of course, some Western historians continue to refute this fact because, consciously or unconsciously, they are still hanging on to the 19th-century notion that seafaring was a European monopoly.

After all, history will tell you that seafaring is the quintessential European achievement, the single endeavor of which Europeans are awfully proud. Seafaring allowed Europe to conquer the world. The notion that black Africans braved the roaring waters of the Atlantic Ocean and beat Europeans to the New World threatens a historically white sense of ownership over the seas.

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Marxism & Class Some Definitions: Understanding Marx and Marxian Class Theory

MARXISM AND CLASS: SOME DEFINITIONS

A paper from the COMMUNIST LEAGUE (Britain)

The Concept of Social Class
The concept of social class as “a division or order of society according to status (‘The Oxford English Dictionary’, Volume 3; Oxford; 1989; p. 279) is a very ancient one, the English word ‘class’ being derived from the Latin ‘classis’, meaning each of the “… ancient divisions of the Roman people” (Charles T. Onions (Ed.): ‘The Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology’; Oxford; 1985; p. 180). Servius Tullius, king of Rome in the 6th century BC, organised a classification system which divided citizens into five classes according to wealth”. (‘New Encyclopaedia Britannica’, Volume 10; Chicago; 1994; p. 455).

The Marxist Definition of Class
Marxist-Leninists accept the concept of social class put forward above, but hold that a person’s social class is determined not by the amount of his wealth, but by the source of his income as determined by his relation to labour and to the means of production.

“Classes are large groups of people differing from each other by the place they occupy in a historically determined system of social production, by their relation (in most cases fixed and formulated by law) to the means of production, by their role in the social organisation of labour, and, consequently, by the dimensions of the share of social wealth of which they dispose and their mode of acquiring it”. (Vladimir I. Lenin: ‘A Great Beginning: Heroism of the Workers in the Rear: ‘Communist Subbotniks’ in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 29; Moscow; 1965; p. 421).

To Marxist-Leninists, therefore, the class to which a person belongs is determined by objective reality, not by someone’s opinion.

On the basis of the above definition, Marxist-Leninists distinguish three basic classes in 19th century Britain:

“There are three great social groups, whose members… live on wages, profit and ground rent respectively”. (Karl Marx: ‘Capital: A Critique of Political Economy’, Volume 3; Moscow; 1971; p. 886).

These three basis classes are 1) the proletariat or working class, 2) the bourgeoisie or capitalist class and 3) the landlord class, respectively.

The Landlord Class
Marxist-Leninists define the landlord class as that class which owns land and derives its income from ground rent on that land:

“Land becomes… personified and… gets on its hind legs to demand… its share of the product created with its help…: rent (Karl Marx: ‘Capital: A Critique of Political Economy’, Volume 3; Moscow; 1971; p. 824-25).

Scientific Socialism is The Combatant to Eliminate Capitlaism – Haki Kweli Shakur

With the development of capitalist society, however, the landlord class progressively loses its importance and a new class emerges — the petty bourgeoisie. Thus, in a developed capitalist society, there are still three basic classes, but these are now: 1) the capitalist class or bourgeoisie; 2) the petty bourgeoisie; and 3) the working class or proletariat:

“Every capitalist country… is basically divided into three main forces: the bourgeoisie, the petty bourgeoisie and the proletariat”. (Vladimir I. Lenin: ‘Constitutional Illusions’, in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 6; Moscow; 1964; p. 202).

The Bourgeoisie
The English word ‘bourgeoisie’ is derived from the French word ‘bourgeoisie’ meaning “… the trading middle class” (Charles T. Onions (Ed.): op. cit.; p. 110) as distinct from the landlord class.

Marxist-Leninists define the bourgeoisie or capitalist class as

“…the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labour”. (Friedrich Engels: Note to: Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party’ in: Karl Marx: ‘Selected Works’, Volume 1; London; 1943; p. 204).

The capitalist class includes persons whose remuneration may come nominally in the form of a salary, but which is in fact due to their position in the capitalist class (e.g., the directors of large companies). It also includes persons who are not employers, but who serve the capitalist class in high administrative positions:

“The latter group contains sections of the population who belong to the big bourgeoisie: all the rentiers (living on the income from capital and real estate…), then part of the intelligentsia, the high military and civil officials, etc. (Vladimir I. Lenin: ‘The Development of Capitalism in Russia’, in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 3; Moscow; 1960; p. 504).

It also includes the dependents of these persons.

The Proletariat
The English word ‘proletariat’ is derived from the Latin ‘proles’, meaning ‘offspring’, since according to Roman law a proletarian served the state “… not with his property, but only with his offspring (Charles T. Onions (Ed.): ibid.; p. 714).

Marxist-Leninists define the proletariat or working class as

“…that class of modern wage labourers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labour power in order to live (Friedrich Engels: Note to the 1888 English Edition of: Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party’, in: ‘Selected Works’, Volume 1; London; 1943; p. 204).

In modern society, “… the proletariat alone is a really revolutionary class”. (Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party’ in:

Karl Marx: ‘Selected Works’, Volume 1; London; 1943; p. 216) so that, in producing the proletariat, the bourgeoisie produces “… its own gravediggers”. (Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party’ in: Karl Marx: ‘Selected Works’, Volume 1; London; 1943; p. 218).

The ‘Middle Class’
The term ‘middle class’ is used by Marxists — including Marx and Engels themselves — in two different ways:

Firstly, in the historical sense,

“… in the sense of… the French word ‘bourgeoisie that possessing class which is differentiated from the so-called aristocracy (Friedrich Engels: Preface to ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England: From Personal Observation and Authentic Sources’, in: Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 4; Moscow; 1975; p. 304).

secondly, when speaking of modern capitalist society, with the meaning of petty bourgeoisie’, discussed in the next section.

The Petty Bourgeoisie
Between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, stands the petty bourgeoisie:

“In countries where modern civilisation has become fully developed, a new class of petty bourgeois has been formed” (Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party’ in: Karl Marx: ‘Selected Works’, Volume 1; London,’ 1943; p. 231).

The English term ‘petty bourgeoisie’ is an anglicisation of the French term ‘petite bourgeoisie’, meaning ‘little bourgeoisie’. Marxist-Leninists define the petty bourgeoisie as a class which owns or rents small means of production which it operates largely without employing wage labour, but often with the assistance of members of their families: “A petty bourgeois is the owner of small property”, (Vladimir I. Lenin: Note to: ‘To the Rural Poor’, in: ‘Selected Works’, Volume 2; London; 1944; p. 254).

As a worker, the petty bourgeois has interests in common with the proletariat; as owner of means of production, however, he has interests in common with the bourgeoisie. In other words, the petty bourgeoisie has a divided allegiance towards the two decisive classes in capitalist society.

Thus, the ‘independent’ petty bourgeois producer

“… is cut up into two persons. As owner of the means of production he is a capitalist; as a labourer he is his own wage- labourer”. (Karl Marx: ‘Theories of Surplus Value’, Part 1; Moscow; undated; p. 395).

and consequently petty bourgeois “…are for ever vacillating between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie”. (Joseph V. Stalin: ‘The Logic of Facts’, in: ‘Works’, Volume 4; Moscow; 1953; p. 143).

This divided allegiance between the two decisive classes in modern capitalist society applies also to a section of employed persons — those who are involved in superintendence and the lower levels of management — e.g., foremen, charge-hands, departmental managers, etc. These employees have a supervisory function, a function is to ensure that the workers produce a maximum of surplus value for the employer. On the one hand, such persons are exploited workers, with interests in common with the proletariat (from which they largely spring); on the other hand, their position as agents of the management in supervising the efficient exploitation of their fellow employees gives them interests in common with the bourgeoisie:

“An industrial army of workmen, under the command of a capitalist, requires, like a real army, officers (managers) and sergeants (foremen, overlookers) who, while the work is being done, command in the name of the capitalist”, (Karl Marx: ‘Capital: An Analysis of Capitalist Production’, Volume 1; Moscow; 1959; p. 332).

“The labour of supervision and management… has a double nature. On the one hand, all labour in which many individuals cooperate necessarily requires a commanding will to coordinate and unify the process…. This is a productive job…. On the other hand, this supervision work necessarily arises in all modes of production based on the antithesis between the labourer, as the direct producer, and the owner of the means of production. The greater this antagonism, the greater the role played by supervision”. (Karl Marx: ‘Capital: A Critique of Political Economy’, Volume 3; Moscow; 1971; p. 383-84).

Because of this divided allegiance, which corresponds to that of the petty bourgeoisie proper, Marxist-Leninists place such employees (and their dependents) in the petty bourgeoisie. For the same reason, Marxist-Leninists also place persons in the middle and lower ranks of the coercive forces of the capitalist state — the army and police — (and their dependents) in the petty bourgeoisie.

The Polarisation of Capitalist Society
Because of the small size of their means of production, petty-bourgeois are in constant danger of sinking into the proletariat:

“The lower strata of the middle class… sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital… is swamped in the competition with the large capitalists, partly their specialised skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production”. (Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party’ in: Karl Marx: ‘Selected Works’, Volume 1; London; 1943; p. 213).

“The working class gains recruits from the higher strata of society… A mass of petty industrialists and small rentiers are hurled down into its ranks”. (Karl Marx: ‘Wage-Labour and Capital’, in: ‘Selected Works’, Volume 1; London; 1943′ p. 280).

and even the old, once highly respected petty bourgeois professions become proletarianised:

“The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage-labourers”. (Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party’, in: Karl Marx: ‘Selected Works’, Volume 1; London; 1943; p. 208).

Thus, as capitalist society develops, it becomes increasingly polarised into two basic classes — wealthy bourgeois and poor proletarians:

“Society as a whole is more and more splitting up… into two great classes facing each other — bourgeoisie and proletariat”. (Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels: ‘Manifesto of the Communist Party’, in: Karl Marx: ‘Selected Works’, Volume 1; London; 1943; p. 205-06).

“Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, moral degradation, at the opposite pole”. (Karl Marx: ‘Capital: A Critique of Political Economy’. Volume 1; Moscow; 1959; p. 645).

The Peasantry
The English word ‘peasant is derived from the Latin ‘pagus’, meaning a “… country district”. (Charles T. Onions (Ed.): op. cit.; p. 660) and is defined as “… one who lives in the country and works on the land”. (The Oxford English Dictionary’, Volume 11; Oxford; 1989; p.402).

The above definition excludes the landlord class from the peasantry since, even if a landlord ‘lives in the country’ he does not work on the land’, but derives his income from ground rent.

The peasantry do not form a class of society, but consist of a number of different classes which live in the country and work on the land:

“It is best to distinguish the rich, the middle and the poor peasants” (Vladimir I. Lenin: ‘To the Rural Poor: An Explanation for the Peasants of what the Social-Democrats want’ (hereafter listed as ‘Vladimir I. Lenin (1903’), in ‘Selected Works’, Volume 2; London; 1944; p. 261).

The peasantry is composed of:

Firstly, rich peasants, or rural capitalists, who employ labour, that is, who exploit poorer peasants:

“One of the main features of the rich peasants is that they hire farmhands and day labourers. Like the landlords, the rich peasants also live by the labour of others…. They try to squeeze as much work as they can out of their farmhands, and pay them as little as possible”. (Vladimir I. Lenin (1903: ibid.; p. 265).

Sometimes rich peasants are called ‘kulaks’, a word derived from the Russian ‘kulak’, originally meaning a “… tight-fisted person”. (‘The Oxford English Dictionary’, Volume 8; Oxford; 1989; p. 543).

Secondly, the middle peasants or the rural petty bourgeoisie, who own or rent land but who do not employ labour. Speaking of the middle peasantry, Lenin says:

“Only in good years and under particularly favourable conditions is the independent husbandry of this type of peasant sufficient to maintain him and for that reason his position is a very unstable one. In the majority of cases the middle peasant cannot make ends meet without resorting to loans to be repaid by labour, etc., without seeking subsidiary’ earnings on the side”. (Vladimir I. Lenin: ‘The Development of Capitalism in Russia’, in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 1; p. 235).

Thirdly, the poor peasants or rural proletariat. The poor peasant lives

“… not by the land, not by his farm, but by working for wages…. He… has ceased to be an independent farmer and has become a hireling, a proletarian”. (Vladimir I. Lenin (1900): op. cit.; p. 265-67).

Sometimes Marxist-Leninists describe poor peasants as “… semi-proletarians”, (Vladimir I. Lenin (1900): ibid.; p. 267) to distinguish them from urban proletarians, regarded as ‘full’ proletarians.

‘Neo-Marxism’
‘Revisionism’ is “… a trend hostile to Marxism. within Marxism itself”. (Vladimir I. Lenin: ‘Marxism and Revisionism’, in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 15; Moscow; 1963; p. 32). In other words, a revisionist poses as a Marxist but in fact puts forward a programme which objectively serves the interests of a bourgeoisie:

“The revisionists spearheaded their struggle mainly against Marxism-Leninism… and replaced this theory with an opportunist, counterrevolutionary theory in the service of the bourgeoisie and imperialism (Enver Hoxha: Report to the 5th Congress of the Party of Labour of Albania, in: ‘Selected Works’, Volume 4; Tirana; 1982; p. 190).

Despite all the torrents of propaganda levelled against it, Marxism- Leninism still retains enormous prestige among working people all over the world. It is for this reason that many modern revisionists call themselves ‘Neo-Marxists’ or ‘Western Marxists’ — claiming that they are not revising Marxism, but merely bringing it up to date, bringing into the age of the electronic computer which Marx and Engels never knew.

In general, ‘neo-Marxists’ pay their loudest tributes to Marx ‘s early writings, before he became a Marxist. ‘Neo-Marxism’ is essentially a product not merely of universities, but of the worst kind of university lecturer who equates obscurantism with intellectualism. One sees admiring students staggering from his lectures muttering ‘What a brilliant man! I couldn’t understand a word!’.

Even sociologists sympathetic to ‘neo-Marxism’ speak of “… the extreme difficulty of language characteristic of much of Western Marxism in the twentieth century”. (Perry Anderson: ‘Considerations of Western Marxism’; London; 1970; p. 54).

But, of course, this obscure language has a great advantage for those who use it, making it easy to claim, when challenged, that the challenger has misunderstood what one was saying.

Much ‘Neo-Marxism’ is an eclectic hotchpotch of Marxism with idealist philosophy — giving it, it is claimed, a ‘spiritual aspect’ lacking in the original. A typical example is the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre who writes: “I believe in the general schema provided by Marx”, (Jean-Paul Sartre: ‘Between Existentialism and Marxism’; London; 1974;

p. 53), but — and it is a big ‘but’ — it must be a ‘Marxism’ liberated from “… the old guard of mummified Stalinists”. (Jean-Paul Sartre: ibid.; p. 53). And how, according to Sartre, is this ‘liberation’ to be effected? By merging it with the existentialism of the Danish idealist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard! “Kierkegaard and Marx… institute themselves… as our future”. (Jean-Paul Sartre: ibid.; p. 169).

However, this paper is concerned only with revisionist theories which are based on distortions of the Marxist-Leninist definition of class.

In particular, it will be concerned with ‘neo-Marxist’ definitions of the proletariat which narrow and restrict it as a class. While to these ‘neo-Marxists’ the proletariat may still be, in words, ‘the gravedigger of capitalism’, they portray it as a gravedigger equipped with a teaspoon instead of a spade.

The Unemployed
Some ‘neo-Marxists’ exclude the unemployed from the proletariat on the grounds that someone who is not working cannot be regarded as a member of the working class!

But Marx explicitly characterises the unemployed, the “… industrial reserve army”, (Karl Marx: ‘Capital: A Critical Analysis of Capitalist Production Volume 1; Moscow; 1959; p. 628) as part of the working class, as “… a relative surplus population among the working class”, (Karl Marx: ‘Capital: A Critique of Political Economy’, Volume 2; Moscow; 1974; p. 518) and speaks of “… the working class (now actively reinforced by its entire reserve army)”. (Karl Marx: ‘Capital: A Critique of Political Economy’, Volume 2; Moscow; 1974; p. 414).

Clearly, therefore, the founders of Marxism did not exclude the unemployed from the working class.

Non-Productive Labour
Other ‘neo-Marxists’ exclude all workers engaged in non-productive labour from the working class.

Certainly, for the purpose of analysing the complexities of capitalist society, Marx differentiated labour into productive and unproductive labour. According to Marx, “… only that labour is productive which creates a surplus value”. (Karl Marx: ‘Theories of Surplus Value’, Part 1; Moscow; n.d.; p 45).

It is on this basis that the Greek revisionist Nicos Poulantzas excludes non-productive workers from the working class:

“I have a rather limited and restricted definition of the working class. The criterion of productive and unproductive labour is sufficient to exclude unproductive workers from the working class”. (Nicos Poulantzas: ‘Classes in Contemporary Capitalism’; London; 1975; p 119, 121).

Poulantzas therefore assigns non-productive workers to the “… new petty bourgeoisie” (Nicos Poulantzas: ibid.; p. 117) asserting that “… the new petty bourgeoisie constitutes a separate class” (Nicos Poulantzas: ibid.; p. 115).

But

“… the distinction between productive and unproductive labour has nothing to do… with the particular speciality of the labour (Karl Marx: ‘Theories of Surplus Value’, Part 1; Moscow; n.d.; p 186).

The same kind of labour may be productive or unproductive:

“The same labour can be productive when I buy it as a capitalist, and unproductive when I buy it as a consumer”. (Karl Marx: ‘Theories of Surplus Value’, Part 1; Moscow; n.d.; p. 186).

For example, a teacher in a private school is engaged in productive labour (in the Marxist sense of the term), because his labour produces surplus value for the proprietors of the school. But a teacher in a state school, working under identical conditions, is engaged in unproductive labour, because his labour does not create surplus value.

Furthermore, many kinds of unproductive labour, such as the labour of clerical workers in a capitalist production firm,

“… while it does not create surplus value, enables him (the employer — Ed.) to appropriate surplus value which, in effect, amounts to the same thing with respect to his capital. It is, therefore, a source of profit for him”. (Karl Marx: ‘Capital: A Critique of Political Economy’, Volume 3; Moscow; 1971; p. 294).

Thus the question of whether an employee is engaged in productive or unproductive labour has no relevance to the question of whether he belongs to the proletariat.

The ‘Labour Aristocracy’
In developed capitalist states,

“… the bourgeoisie, by plundering the colonial and weak nations, has been able to bribe the upper stratum of the proletariat with crumbs from the superprofits”. (Vladimir I. Lenin: Draft Programme of the RCP (B), in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 29; Moscow; 1965; p. 104).

Superprofits are profits

“… obtained over and above the profits which capitalists squeeze out of the workers of their ‘own’ country”. (Vladimir I. Lenin: Preface to the French and German Editions of ‘Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism’, in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 22; Moscow; 1964; p. 193).

Marxist-Leninists call employees in receipt of a share in such super profits “… the labour aristocracy”. (Vladimir I. Lenin: ibid.; p. 194).

Some ‘neo-Marxists’ exclude employees who share in superprofits from the proletariat. Thus, according to the London-based ‘Finsbury Communist Association’, in Britain “… the proletariat consists of the workers on subsistence wages or below” (Finsbury Communist Association: ‘Class and Party in Britain’; London; 1966; p. 4).

However, Lenin defines the labour aristocracy as a part of the proletariat, as a “… privileged upper stratum of the proletariat”, (Vladimir I. Lenin: ‘Imperialism and the Split in Socialism’, in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 23; Moscow; 1965; p. 110) as “… the upper stratum of the proletariat”, (Vladimir I. Lenin: Draft Programme of the RCP (B), in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 29; Moscow; 1965; p. 104) as “… the top strata of the working class”. (Vladimir I. Lenin: ‘How the Bourgeoisie utilises Renegades”, in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 30; Moscow; 1965; p. 34).

Furthermore, while Lenin characterises the ‘labour aristocracy’ as “… an insignificant minority of the working class”, (Vladimir I. Lenin: ‘Under a False Flag’, in: ‘Collected Works’, Volume 21; Moscow; 1964; p. 152) the ‘Finsbury Communist Association’ presents it as “… the overwhelming majority of Britain’s workers” (Finsbury Communist Association: ‘Class and Party in Britain’; London; 1966; p. 5).

Thus, according to the ‘Finsbury Communist Association’, the British imperialists pay the overwhelming majority of Britain’s workers’ above the value of their labour power. Since there is not even a Marxist-Leninist party, much less a revolutionary situation, in Britain at present, this can only be out of the sheer goodness of their hearts!

Clearly the ‘neo-Marxist’ picture of imperialism bears no relation to reality. It merely lends spurious support to the false thesis that, since the workers in developed capitalist countries are ‘exploiters’, the future for socialism lies only in the less developed countries in the East!

Conclusion
The most urgent task facing Marxist-Leninists today is to rebuild unified Marxist-Leninist parties in each country, united in a Marxist-Leninist International.

But such parties, and such an international, can be built only on the basis of agreement on Marxist-Leninist principles.

Perhaps agreement to accept a few simple definitions put forward long ago by the founders of Marxism-Leninism, and to reject their revisionist distortions, might constitute a small step in that direction.

Understanding Marx and Marxian Class Theory

We present a simple guide to Marx, Marxian class theory, Marx’s theory of history, and Marx’s economic theories to help Westerners understand what Marx was all about.

Keep in mind this page is about Marxian class theory and what Marx and Engels thought, this page is not about me-as-a-person calling for Communism, or a workers’ revolution, or whatever conclusion one might jump to without reading the page carefully (just in case that isn’t obvious).

TIP: Marx’s class theory is partly a reaction to thinkers like Hegel, Mill, Locke, Smith, and Ricardo, but more-so a direct reaction to advents of the times like the “Condition of the Working Class in England.”

“A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism.” The Communist Manifesto

FACT: The above quote is explaining that the Communist Manifesto was giving a movement already well underway a platform. Here we should note that Marxism is the philosophy of Marx as a whole, the Communist Manifesto is Marx and Engels giving workers’ movements a philosophical backbone, and Communism in practice is meanwhile its own spectre (existing outside of Marx, but influenced by him without a doubt). Interestingly, the famous Marx quote above is playing off Edmund Burke’s own spectre quote pertaining to the French Revolution which reads “. . . out of the tomb of the murdered monarchy in France has arisen a vast, tremendous, unformed spectre, in a far more terrific guise than any which ever yet have overpowered the imagination, and subdued the fortitude of man. Going straight forward to its end, unappalled by peril, unchecked by remorse, despising all common maxims and all common means, that hideous phantom overpowered those who could not believe it was possible she could at all exist.” Burke and Rousseau are no more responsible for the French revolution than Marx was for the Russian revolution… that is to say, a little bit, but indirectly to be fair. Anyway, the concept is the same in all cases, it is philosophers noticing a spectre arising out of the ashes of a monarchical force and writing about it.

An Introduction to Marx, the Bourgeoisie, and the Proletariat

Before getting started, here is the basic “Marxian Class Fork” in the terms of the Communist Manifesto itself:

By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labour. CAPITAL.
By proletariat, the class of modern wage labourers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labour power in order to live. LABOR.
In other words, Marx’s class theory is about the dynamics between labor and capital in the capitalist mode of production of the 1840’s – 1860’s (when he wrote his early work The Communist Manifesto and later work The Capital), and how the dynamics would lead to a revolution.

The problem, to not make you wait, is twofold: 1. that Communism never took off in industrialized societies and instead became favored by developing pre-industrial (at the time) countries like Russia and China, and 2. Marx forget to finish the part where he explained what exactly the angry workers were supposed to do after the revolution. Inevitably, this led to despots like Stalin (who used Communism as an excuse for tyranny).

This is to say, Marx’s theory had holes in it and unfortunate effects. Holes aside, Marx got a ton right. Below we look at the good and bad of Marx by focusing on his class theory (and its related economics). In doing this, we will cover the basics of everything Marx.

POLITICAL THEORY – Karl Marx.
“What the bourgeoisie [the upper-class capitalists of the third estate] therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers.” – The Communist Manifesto explaining the idea that the capitalists breed the inequality that leads to their own downfall (as wealth is concentrated in few-and-fewer hands, it creates a giant angry mob of alienated workers who itch for a revolution). In this sense, it isn’t the workers who bring the end to Capitalism for Marx, but the Capitalists themselves who usher in the end of the Capitalist mode of production. The context of this theory, and the terms used, are explained below.

TIP: This page explains Marx’s theory, it doesn’t advocate it. If I were to advocate theories I would suggest pairing the theories of figures like Novak, Friedman, Keynes, and Piketty, and then from there comparing them to figures like Smith, Marx, Mises, and Ricardo. One can also look to Locke and Mill. There is no one correct theory, instead each “sage of economics” offers their own insight in their own times (from their own nationalist, globalist, or left-right perspective). In Marx’s time, industrial capitalism was a bit of a terror and the workers were suffering under an oligarchy of sorts, much has changed since then in terms of technology and laws. See Capital in the Twenty-First Century By Thomas Piketty Explained.

Marxian Class Theory

Marxian class theory (Marx’s class theory) is at the core of everything Marx. If you get his class theory, the centerpiece of his and Engels’ historic materialism and scientific socialism, you’ll understand “Marx” and why people do and don’t like him.

In words, Marxian class theory is the main thing one has to understand to comprehend Marx the philosopher, Marx the Historian, Marx the Economist, Engels, Communism, Scientific Socialism, and “Marx” the dirty word in Western capitalist society.

So lets start there.

First, a quick reading list of key works, that is the Communist Manifesto, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific, and The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State (which are all primarily Engels explaining Marx in simple terms; Marx himself is rarely simple), and a brief video form introduction to the basics of Marxism.

A Brief Introduction to Marxism. Marxism on-paper is pretty interesting and admirable, but the devil is in the details (its excess of equality and call for revolution is ripe fruit for despots in-action; just like the other evolution of socialism Fascism  falters in its excessive inequality, communism falters in its excessive equality; one might say they both “miss the mark“).

TIP: The first thing to know about Marx, as you may have already guessed, is: Most of what we attribute to Marx casually is generally the shared theory of both Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. In a most cases Engels work is simpler to understand (and in is in some cases more compelling), but judgements aside, Engels contributed to much of “Marx’s” theory and Engels actually founded Marxist theory together with Karl Marx.

A Quick Introduction to Marxian Terms

Marx “gave names to things” calling his concepts by names like:

  • Historical materialism“: the naturally occurring Darwinianevolution of governments based on the physical materials, i.e. capital, labor, and exchange AKA the factors of production, and the ensuing class struggle between the capitalist class (bourgeoisie) and the workers (proletariat) as an empirical science.[1]
  • Scientific socialism“: treating the natural class struggle noted by historic materialism and its factors of production and exchange as an empirical science, by which the next cycle can be deduced using dialects.[2]
  • Dialectic (the dialectic method)“:the art of abstraction as noted by the Greeks and as applied by Hegelto the metaphysic, but is applied by Marx and Engels to explain how the antitheses of labor and capital create a synthesis of Communism via a class struggle (i.e. they use the dialectic method to consider only the physical and empirical, while scoffing at the metaphysic, to create a theory of economics at the center of the different systems of government). They, in a sense, turn Plato’s forms on their head (or “turn Hegel’s theory on its head) to treat the evolution of governments as a purely empirical thing (and not a thing of moral virtues).[3]

These concepts, and a few other important terms from Marxian economics and a few other related terms like “alienation” (the existential lack of meaning inherent in trading labor for capital that drives an agitator to agitate; for example, that which drives a worker to revolt), are all you really need to know to “get” Marx.[4]

The terms aren’t simple, but the concepts are fairly easy to get with a little bit of time and effort (just like it is with Kant’s names for things like his “A priori and a posteriori,” no it isn’t that simple, but yes it is worth taking the time to understand).

Still, Marx’s whole theory fits together, so once you get it, you get Marx, the history of the west, and the forces of revolutionary times in history like the late 1700’s, mid 1800’s, the World Wars, and… the current rise of right-wing populism responding to global inequality.

With all the above in mind, Marx was more a historian and economist than a Revolutionary, we make a grave mistake as liberals (the general ideology of the west) by ignoring the historical, social, and economic theory underlying Marxian theories.

It is much better to “get” Marx, so we can get a better sense of the many different forms of socialism and how they relate or don’t relate to Marx, and so we can see where the theory went wrong in action under figures like Mao and Stalin.

Marxian Class Theory and The Class Struggle Between the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat

With that introduction covered, lets get to the essence at the heart of Marx, “the Class Struggle” denoted by Marxian Class Theory.

The Marxian Class Theory is the idea there are two main (not only, but main) social classes in capitalist society (in the capitalist “mode of production“):

  1. There are upper-class bourgeoisie capitalists who own the means of production and control labor. Owners. In modern terms, “The Establishment.” Capital.
  2. There are lower-class proletariatworkers who sell their labor. Wage Earners. In modern terms, “The Common People.” Labor.

Or, in the terms of the Communist Manifesto itself (as noted above):

  1. By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labour. CAPITAL.
  2. By proletariat, the class of modern wage labourers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labour power in order to live. LABOR.

NOTES: In other words, the bourgeoise and the proletariat are the bourgeoise employers (capital) and proletariat workers (labor) of all the various social classes. Here the Bourgeoisie gives birth to its antithesis, the Proletariat, by exploiting labor for capital. For more see the Manifesto itself, Marx and Engels’ other work, or our page on class systems. There are other classes, like the lower-middle class and peasant class, but for the main idea we just need to focus on the two general groups; labor and capital).

 

Karl Marx: Bourgeois and Proletarians.

TIP: One can translate the term “bourgeoisie” to the middle class… but in modern America, this is arguably a bad translation. America and the modern West has really accomplished a lot of what Marx thought would need to be done by revolution via democratic means (hinting that liberalism is perhaps less an old cycle meant to become history, but rather a solid foundation for a more just system). Today there is a lot of flexibility between classes, and “middle class” hardly implies a capitalist Baron who owns the means of production and profits off the exploiting of the working class (it can, but generally doesn’t). The bourgeoisie includes the investor class and business owners, but it really describes a oligarchical and Baron class above that who participate in things like Crony-capitalism. It describes the top of the modern third estate and generally parts of the second estate (here noting that America has no “first estate” in the classical sense). I would say in each “cycle” the bourgeoisie and proletariat are going to look different, and in each nation they will as well, so try not to get sidetracked here.

Alienation: Alienation is what one feels when they are disconnected from the fruits of their labor or otherwise… alienated. The concept is at the root of existentialism. And of course there was nothing more existential than being in the trenches of WWI, so the irony here is pretty thick. Still, you’ll need to understand this term.

Dialectics: Why two classes? First off, Marx is playing off of Hegel’s Dialectics, a theory that says every concept can be considered as an abstraction (every thesis can be considered with its antithesis). From this abstraction a “third way” is born (a new concept that can itself be considered as a duality). From the class struggle of the feudalists and their oppressed, capitalism was born. From the class struggle between the workers and bourgeoisie of the capitalist system, the next phase is born. This theory was then paired with the history of actual revolutions (which tended to occur between economic classes and generally the oppressed and oppressors; as one can see with the French Revolution and its estates in the image below). If you just ignore the part about Marx calling for a revolution (something he later back-tracks on while turning to Democracy; although he does so too late as the World War Despots used the Doctrine of a Younger Marx), then you are in for volumes of insanely smart and insight into our real world woes.

Marxism and social classes.

READ: Karl Marx Capital A Critique of Political Economy. This is the book Das Kapital translated from German and the Manifesto of the Communist Party by Karl Marx and Frederick Engels February 1848.

TIP: In economics, especially Marxian economics, the factors of production are capital and labor, and the means of production is another word for capital. In this, the concept of capital includes all non-human assets (commodities). Labor includes all human assets. The capitalists in the capitalist mode of production control the factors of production and own the means of production since they direct the capital. The wage earners supply all the labor as they do the work, but don’t control the factors of production or own the means of production. We could be more nuanced and talk about entrepreneurial work, but that is not at the core of Marx.

TIP: In general, Marx’s materialism is the empirical concept that all reality can be found in matter and energy (the “material” world) not ideas (pure reason). Thus, like Locke, Marx is an empiricist and, like Mises, Marx thought “all action is human action.” This was an eccentric opinion for a collectivist to have. He was one of the first utopian philosophers to take a purely empirical and historic approach to an egalitarian social theory. Marx was influenced by Hegel, who also had a materialist theory, although Hegel, like Plato is to Aristotle, or Kant to Hume, favored the world of ideas.

Marx’s Theory of History

As touched on above, the other part of Marx’s theory to get, aside from the classes, is his theory of history. It is the idea that economics forms the foundation of government and this creates different stages of government.

Marx’s theory of history presents the idea that that capitalism is a stepping stone on the path to the final economic system.

Marx asserts that economic systems are naturally occurring and that capitalism is just an extension of feudalism, which arose from tribalism, which, in turn, developed from the state of nature. He saw Communism is a final, enlightened step.

Specifically, the theory of history divides governments developed from economics and technology into five historical social stagesPrimitive communism or tribal society (a prehistoric stage), ancient society, feudalismcapitalism, and, lastly, Marx and Engel’s utopian Communism.

Marxist View of History.

FACT OR MYTH? Marx is reported to have said, “I am not a Marxist.” Although this may or may not be true, it shines a light on the difference between our intellectual ancestors and their detractors. The names you hear like Locke, Rousseau, Hobbes, Smith, Marx, Keynes, Mill, etc. are masters. These are thinkers who stood so high above others intellectually that we still know their names today. Marx was far too multi-faceted and intelligent to fit into the tiny box that was Marxism then or is Marxism today.

12. Marx’s Theory of History.

Marx’s Revolution

Marx’s idea is that the proletariat or working class, who in the mid-1800’s England and Germany seemed as though they had nothing left to lose. They felt “alienated” in the sense that they didn’t own or control the factors of production. Marx felt their hope was in rising against the bourgeois in an attempt to propel society from its historical capitalism into its final stage of communism.

The revolution wasn’t just about revenge on the bourgeois who profited off the labor of the workers; it was more practical. The bourgeoisie class wasn’t going to give up the current cycle by choice, by so the working class would need to do it.

TIP: See my theory of the separation of powers and element theory. It touches on how the classes can balance each other without eliminating or dominating each other. I see this, with a market-based system and a social safety-net as the best way forward.

TIP: Marx wasn’t born with the idea of a worker’s revolution. Instead, many of his other ideas came first. Marx embraced the idea of a workers revolution after meeting Engels. Likewise, early in his career, Marx had no economic theory. He focused on other aspects of society like alienation; he would later connect the idea of this existential alienation to the proletariat.

TIP: When people say “Marxism,” they may mean “Marx’s and Engels’ ideas.” They often mean the combined and cherry picked theories of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, and others after both Marx and Engels had died post-October Revolution and Red Scare, although, Marx was very unpopular with the bourgeoisie capitalists in his lifetime too.

Source http://factmyth.com/understanding-marx-and-marxian-class-theory/

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New Afrikan Frederick Douglass escapes Slavery in Maryland September 3 1838

Today is when New Afrikan Frederick Douglass got it cracking and said im out! escapes slavery September 3rd 1838 #DMV

On this date in 1838, Frederick Douglass boarded a train to escape from slavery. In The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881), he wrote, “On Monday, the third day of September, 1838, in accordance with my resolution, I bade farewell to the city of Baltimore, and to that slavery which had been my abhorrence from childhood.”

He had been born Frederick Bailey to a slave woman on a plantation in Tuckahoe, Maryland, about 1817. He never knew when his actual birthday was, but he always celebrated it on Valentine’s Day, because his mother had given him a heart-shaped cake the last time he ever saw her. She died when he was very young; when he was eight years old, he was sent to Baltimore to work in the home of the Auld family. Mrs. Auld taught him to read, in defiance of Maryland law. He spent the rest of his childhood picking up an education any way he could. One bit of knowledge ended up being crucial to the sailor’s disguise he adopted in his escape: “My knowledge of ships and sailor’s talk came much to my assistance, for I knew a ship from stem to stern, and from keelson to cross-trees, and could talk sailor like an ‘old salt,’” he wrote. Dressed in a red shirt, a tarpaulin hat, and a black scarf, and carrying forged documents, he boarded a train bound for Philadelphia.

Franklin & Armfield Slave Trading Firm Northern Virginia – Haki Kweli Shakur

Eventually, he settled in Massachusetts and changed his name. He let a friend named Mr. Johnson choose his new last name, stating only that he wished to keep “Frederick” as a link to his previous identity. Johnson, who had been reading Sir Walter Scott’s narrative poem The Lady of the Lake, chose “Douglass” after characters in the poem.

Frederick Douglass went on to campaign tirelessly for the abolition of slavery. He was also an advocate of women’s suffrage, and was one of the original signers of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s “Declaration of Rights and Sentiments” in 1848. #FredrickDouglass
#RunawaySlave
#Baltimore
#Maryland

 

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