The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations. It sets out, for the first time, fundamental human rights to be universally protected and it has been translated into over 500 languages.
Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,
Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,
Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,
Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,
Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.
All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.
Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
(2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.
No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
The Struggle is For Land PT II – HAKI KWELI SHAKUR
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
(2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.
(3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.
(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
(2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives.
(2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country.
(3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
(2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit.
(2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
(3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.
(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible.
(2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
(3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.
H Rap Brown Locked 🔒Up in The Richmond Virginia City Jail 1967
Write Jamil Today! 👇🏾👇🏾👇🏾📝
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin#99974-555 USP Tucson P.O. Box 24550 Tucson, AZ 85734 United States
Here are ten powerful quotes by him:
“When you understand your obligations to the creator then you can understand your obligations to society.”
“Violence is a part of America’s culture. It is as American as cherry pie.”
“Being a man is the continuing battle for one’s life. One loses a bit of manhood with every stale compromise to the authority of any power in which one does not believe.”
“Individuals do not create rebellions; conditions do.”
“The long-simmering anger at racism and economic injustice of alienated black youth in the ghettoes [always erupts] into violent and destructive urban insurrections. In every case these “riots” were triggered by police brutality or misconduct, most usually the killing or brutalizing of an unarmed black man.
“Attack those concepts such as ‘third world.’ Think about it. If we look at it in terms of numbers, then people of color are the majority in this world. We should be the ‘first world.’”
“See, justice is a joke in this country, and it stinks of its hypocrisy.”
“Black people must address itself to the causes of poverty. That’s oppression in this country.”
“An old African leader says that leadership should never be shared; it should always remain in the hands of the dispossessed people. We will lead the revolution.”
“Everybody in the black community must organize, and then we decide whether we will have alliance with other people or not, but not until we are organized.”
Original Black Panther Party – Haki Kweli Shakur
COINTELPRO strategy designed to cripple radical organizations by misusing the courts. First, arrests of targeted activists on serious charges carrying potentially long sentences. It was of little importance to the government whether or not they had a legitimate case strong enough to secure a conviction. The point was to silence and immobilize leadership while forcing groups to redirect energy and resources into raising funds, organizing legal defenses, and publicizing these cases. It was a government subversion of the American justice system resulting in drawn-out Soviet-style political show trials that became commonplace in the America of the 1970s: the Chicago Seven, the Panther Twenty-One, etc., etc. Although the overwhelming majority of these cases did not result in convictions,3 government documents show that they were considered great tactical successes. They kept the movements off the streets and in the courts.
In terms of the revolution, I believe that the revolution will be a revolution of dispossessed people in this country: that’s the Mexican American, the Puerto Rican American, the American Indian, and black people
But black people fall for that same argument, and they go around talking about law breakers. We did not make the laws in this country. We are neither morally nor legally confined to those laws. Those laws that keep them up, keep us down
This is a very unforgiving country when you show this country its warts, when you hold the mirror up. If you happen not to share their beliefs, they’ll kill you.
See, it’s no in between: you’re either free or you’re a slave.
There’s no such thing as second class citizenship. That’s like telling me you can be a little bit pregnant.
The poverty program was not designed to eliminate poverty.
The first responsibility of the Muslim is as teacher. That is his job, to teach. His first school, his first classroom is within the household. His first student is himself. He masters himself and then he begins to convey the knowledge that he has acquired to the family. The people who are closest to him.
I consider myself neither legally nor morally bound to obey the laws made by a body in which I have no representation.
Imam Jamil Abdullah Al Amin / H Rap Brown Richmond Virginia Interview 1989
If America don’t come around, we’re gonna’ burn it down.
There has to be a social commitment, a social consciousness that joins men together. On the basis of their coming together, they do not transgress against themselves and they do not transgress against others.
You must begin to define yourself. You must begin to define your Black heritage.
We talking about revolution because that’s the era that you’re caught in.
Black people must address itself to the causes of poverty. That’s oppression in this country.
You cannot legislate an attitude.
They cannot divide us by saying that you’re middle class or you’re lower class.
The man does not beat your head because you got a Cadillac or because you got a Ford; he beats you because you’re black!
One of the lies that we tell ourselves is that we’re making progress; but Huey’s chair’s empty.
seek truth over a lie; I seek justice over injustice; I seek righteousness over the rewards of evildoers, and I love Allah more than I love the state.
Class structures are a luxury that we cannot afford.
Sekou Toure, also known as the ”Grand Syli” (big elephant), was a larger than life personality. He ruled with an iron fist for 26 years, crushing all opposition. His successor may find it difficult to assert the same authority or to control demands for greater democracy.
Could you pass a US citizenship test?
At time of writing, the political succession was still unclear, although under the Constitution the successor should be decided within 45 days. One of the main contenders is Lansana Beavogui, prime minister since 1972 and Sekou Toure’s most faithful follower. But Beavogui, in his 60s, has been in bad health.
Other contenders are the late President’s half-brother, Mining Minister Ismael Toure, and his nephew Siaka Toure, transport minister and head of the secret service.
For many Africans, Sekou Toure was a symbol of black African independence and dignity – the man who in 1958 rejected General de Gaulle’s proposal for a Franco-African community.
”We prefer freedom in poverty to slavery in riches,” he told de Gaulle.
The French departed, stripping the country of most of its assets. Spurned by the West, Sekou Toure then looked to the East bloc for support in implementing his brand of revolutionary socialism.
Touré served for some time as a representative of African groups in France, where he worked to negotiate for the independence of France’s African colonies. In September 1958, Guinea participated in the referendum on the new French constitution. On acceptance of the new constitution, French overseas territories had the option of choosing to continue their existing status, to move toward full integration into metropolitan France, or to acquire the status of an autonomous republic in the new quasi-federal French Community. If, however, they rejected the new constitution, they would become independent forthwith. French President Charles de Gaulle made it clear that a country pursuing the independent course would no longer receive French economic and financial aid or retain French technical and administrative officers.
Scientific Socialism – Haki Kweli Shakur
In 1958 Touré’s Parti démocratique de Guinée, the RDA section in Guinea, pushed for a “No” in the French Union referendum sponsored by the French government. Guinea was the only one of France’s African colonies to vote for immediate independence rather than continued association with France. Guinea became the only French colony to refuse to become part of the new French Community when it became independent in 1958. The electorate of Guinea rejected the new constitution overwhelmingly, and Guinea accordingly became an independent state on 2 October 1958, with Touré, leader of Guinea’s strongest labor union, as president. In the event, the rest of Francophone Africa gained independence two years later in 1960.
During this time, Touré labour activities were also ongoing, and in January 1957, his leadership had gone continental when he and likeminded colleagues met in Cotonou, Dahomey (present-day Benin), to found the Union Générale des Travailleurs d’Afrique Noire (UGTAN). This organisation, which encompassed labour movements from across France’s West and Central African colonies, was created with a view to developing a truly African labour movement free from French control, and Touré was elected to be its first president. To add to his run of electoral victories in 1957, Touré also became Mayor of Conakry, meaning that by the year’s end, the school dropout was concurrently mayor of the capital, president of UGTAN, vice-president of the Government Council of French Guinea, deputy to the French National Assembly, member of the AOF Grand Conseil (French West Africa’s legislative body based in Dakar, Senegal), secretary-general of the PDG, and a member of the RDA leadership. Although this particular proliferation of titles was relatively short-lived, some see this period as having been instrumental in the making of a future president with little inclination for the democratic sharing of power.
Sékou Touré forcefully forged his place in world history between 25 August and 2 October, 1958. On 25 August, he told General Charles de Gaulle that the African people will never, under any circumstances, renounce their natural rights to freedom and liberty. He added that Africans are not French and that Africa cannot be reduced to French territories, before announcing famously: “We prefer poverty in liberty to riches in slavery.” Then, on 28 September, Guinea stood alone amongst its fellow African counterparts in responding with a resounding “no” to de Gaulle’s proposal that instead of full independence, France’s African territories become part of a semi-colonial French-African Community. As a result of this position, Guinea proclaimed its independence on 2 October, 1958, with Sékou Touré as its head of state.
His early actions to reject the French and then to appropriate wealth and farmland from traditional landlords angered many powerful forces, but the increasing failure of his government to provide either economic opportunities or democratic rights angered more. While he is still revered in much of Africa and in the Pan-African movement, many Guineans, and activists in Europe, have become critical of Touré’s failure to institute meaningful democracy or free media.
Opposition to single-party rule grew slowly, and by the late 1960s those who opposed his government faced the risk of detention camps and night visits by the secret police. His opponents often had two choices: say nothing or go abroad. From 1965 to 1975 Touré ended all his government’s relations with France, the former colonial power.
Touré argued that Africa had lost much during colonization, and that Africa ought to retaliate by cutting off ties to former colonial nations. However, in 1978 Guinea’s ties with the Soviet Union soured, and, as a sign of reconciliation, President of France Valéry Giscard d’Estaing visited Guinea, the first state visit by a French president. Throughout Touré’s dispute with France, he maintained good relations with several socialist countries. However, Touré’s attitude toward France was not generally well received, and some African countries ended diplomatic relations with Guinea over his actions. Despite this, Touré’s position won the support of many anti-colonialist and Pan-African groups and leaders.
Touré’s primary allies in the region were presidents Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Modibo Keita of Mali. Nkrumah when Toure and Guinea chose No to Neocolonialism and French Dependencey Nkrumah and Ghana loaned Toure 10 million British Pounds to help out their economy that was a lot for that time period, After Nkrumah was overthrown in a 1966 coup, Touré offered him asylum in Guinea and gave him the honorary title of co-president. As a leader of the Pan-Africanist movement, Toure consistently spoke out against colonial powers, and befriended African American activists such as Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael, to whom he offered asylum. The latter took the two leaders’ names, as Kwame Ture.
With Nkrumah, Toure helped in the formation of the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, and aided the PAIGC guerrillas in their fight against Portuguese colonialism in neighboring Portuguese Guinea. The Portuguese launched an attack upon Conakry in 1970 in order to rescue Portuguese prisoners of war, overthrow Touré’s regime, and destroy PAIGC bases. They succeeded in the rescue but failed to dislodge Touré’s regime. Relations with the United States fluctuated during the course of Touré’s reign. While Touré was not impressed with the Eisenhower administration’s approach to Africa, he came to consider President John F. Kennedy a friend and an ally. He said that Kennedy was his “only true friend in the outside world”. He was impressed by Kennedy’s interest in African development and commitment to civil rights in the United States. Touré blamed Guinean labor unrest in 1962 on Soviet interference and turned to the United States as an ally.
His relations with Washington soured, however, after Kennedy’s death. When a Guinean delegation was imprisoned in Ghana, after the overthrowal of Nkrumah, Touré blamed Washington. He feared that the Central Intelligence Agency was plotting against his own regime. During its first three decades of independence, Guinea developed into a militantly socialist state, which merged the functions and membership of the Parti Démocratique de Guinée (PDG) with the various institutions of government, including the public state bureaucracy. This unified party-state had nearly complete control over the country’s economic and political life. Guinea expelled the US Peace Corps in 1966 because of their alleged involvement in a plot to overthrow President Touré. Similar charges were directed against France; diplomatic relations were severed in 1965 and Touré did not renew them until 1975. An ongoing source of contention between Guinea and its French-speaking neighbors was the estimated half-million expatriates in Senegal and Ivory Coast; some were active dissidents who, in 1966, formed the National Liberation Front of Guinea (Front de Libération Nationale de Guinée, or FLNG)
Touré died on 26 March 1984 while undergoing cardiac treatment at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio; he had been rushed to the United States after being stricken in Saudi Arabia the previous day. Touré’s tomb is at the Camayanne Mausoleum, situated within the gardens of the Conakry Grand Mosque.
Sékou Touré led his country to vote against the neo-colonial arrangement known as the “French Community”. It was the only one of many former French African colonies to vote against. This was a heroic act for which Sékou Touré has never been forgotten, or in the case of the French imperialists, forgiven. Later, Sékou Touré became well-known as one of the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement. In spite of the celebrity he enjoyed in his lifetime, there is surprisingly little of Sékou Touré’s legacy visible on the current literature. Even in hard copy, his output has been difficult to find.
Touré’s politics are ad hoc and appear personal, but are actually made up of the platitudes that capitalism holds out in front of itself to cover itself. Like a typical reformist trade unionist, Sékou Touré rejected the wickedness of capitalism but takes all of capitalism’s lip-service to morality at face value. He never escaped from the ideology of the bourgeois ruling class. Sékou Touré never mentioned any other politician, contemporary or historical. It is not lack of knowledge or mental capacity that rendered his work unscholarly, but the absence of any correspondence with other thinkers.
Hardliner hero or visionary villain?
Touré’s political philosophy revolved around a mixture of: Marxist-Leninist-inspired theory of Afro-socialism; a Maoist-inspired conception of populist ideology of single-party rule; a Pan-Africanist doctrine of African emancipation and unity inspired by the political thoughts of Ghanaian leader Kwame Nkrumah; and a philosophy of nonalignment inspired by the thoughts and actions of Tito of Yugoslavia, Sukarno of Indonesia, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, and, again, Nkrumah.
Judging by his policy pronouncements and political actions, Touré was a hardliner when it came to defending the liberty and dignity of Africans from any foreign encroachment. He also adhered to the ideal of African unity and collective self-reliance in the face of what he perceived as Western neo-colonialism. Ultimately, though, the political behaviour of President Touré was heavily influenced by real-life conditions, including but not limited to events such as France’s attempts at isolating and defeating his regime, inadequate aid from the Soviet Union and the Cold-War Socialist Bloc, and the gradual ousting of his closest ideological allies on the continent, from Patrice Lumumba of the Congo (1961), to Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria (1965), to Nkrumah of Ghana (1966), to Modibo Kéita of Mali (1968).
Despite these challenges, Touré nevertheless managed to maintain a decent presence on the African stage by actively supporting (militarily and otherwise) national liberation movements on the continent, including in Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde, Angola, Mozambique, and South Africa. Moreover, under his leadership, Guinea was actively involved in the founding of regional and continental organisations such as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963), the Organisation of Senegal River States (OERS, 1968), and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS, 1975). Touré had teamed up with his Ghanaian counterpart to create the Ghana-Guinea Union in 1958; it was renamed the Union of African States in 1959 and expanded in 1961 when the newly-proclaimed Republic of Mali joined what was intended to serve as a nucleus for the United States of Africa. Although that dream never materialised, President Touré warmly welcomed former President Nkrumah following the latter’s abrupt ousting in a military coup in February 1966, and proclaimed him co-president of the Republic of Guinea.
On the domestic front, Touré’s regime made some remarkable strides in the areas of women’s rights, youth empowerment, the cultural valorisation of African heritage, and education. On the other hand, he equated Guinea’s attainment of independence with a movement known as the Révolution Démocratique Africaine (RDA) [not to be confused with Houphouët-Boigny’s RDA party] and in 1968 officially launched a questionable national cultural revolution. Under the apparent ideals of the RDA, Touré developed a theory and practice of single-party rule grounded on the utopian idea that a party-state system of government would, ultimately, foster a people-state in which the political maturity of the Guinean populace would enable them to self-govern without the need for a coercive state. This worldview excluded any form of political pluralism and, by the same token, alienated a large number of Guineans interested in multiparty democracy.
Faced with a growing underground opposition both inside Guinea and abroad, exacerbated by a lack of economic development in spite of Guinea’s abundant natural resources, Touré and the PDG leadership radicalised their system of government and proclaimed the existence of a perennial plot against the Guinean state. This was especially the case after a Portuguese and Guinean dissident invasion of the country was defeated in 1970. With this approach, which soon became the hallmark of the Touré regime, dissent was dealt with harshly, making political purges of real and imagined traitors a routine occurrence.
As many of today’s African Presidents, Sékou Touré only relinquished office with his death on 26 March, 1984, at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in the US. At the age of 62, his tendency to amass titles and additional responsibilities still hadn’t worn off, and he died whilst serving as the second vice-president of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), president of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Al-Quds Mosque, and was preparing to become the executive chairman of the OAU. He left behind a mixed legacy.
The following is an essay prepared by The Lincoln Detox Acupuncture Program and distributed by The Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of North America, Inc. (directed by Dr. Mutulu Shakur), prior to the National Hearings on The Heroin Epidemic Washington, D.C. on June 29, 1976
A heroin epidemic is ravaging the American people. According to law enforcement officials and community drug abuse workers, the epidemic is growing rapidly. Heroin use is approaching the levels of 1969-70, which were the most desperate years in the history of drug abuse in America. Street sales of other dangerous drugs, such as cocaine, barbiturates and methadone are also at a maximum.
More Americans are destroying themselves with alcohol than ever before. There are a half a million heroin addicts, nine million alcoholics, millions of people who suffer because of the economic crimes associated with heroin sales, and millions more who are injured or killed by traffic accidents due to alcoholism, robberies, street fights and other drug-related incidents. The very survival of the American people depends on finding solutions to the epidemic of drug abuse.
Dr Mutulu Shakur Full Interview New Afrikan Political Prisoners/Prisoners of War
I The heroin epidemic depends upon the existence of two fundamental realities:
(1) Deteriorating social conditions, and
(2) Easy supply of drugs. Most solutions to the Heroin epidemic have failed to take both of these realities into account.
Desperate Social Conditions
Drug addicts are victims of the society in which they became addicted. The people most likely to turn to drugs are the people at the bottom of the ladder — who live in the worst housing, who attend the worst schools, and who get the worst jobs (if any at all). They seek some pleasure, a kick, a high, anything that will make them oblivious in a world of too much pain.
Drugs cause poor people to destroy each other. Heroin is so expensive that victims of the drug degrade their families and friends to almost any degree to get money. Most heroin addicts are basically low paid thieves for organized crime. Most of the people he or she robs are from their own poor neighborhood. Drugs are one of the main reasons women and young boys sell themselves into prostitution.
Many jobs encourage people to use heroin. In many work places…whether in a large automobile factory in Detroit or a small factory in the South Bronx…heroin is sold on the plant floor by workers and supervisory personnel. The more harsh and degrading the job is, the more workers use drugs and the more disturbed their lives become. Many unemployed workers are heavy users of narcotics or alcohol.
In periods of high unemployment, such as the 1870’s in California, the 1910’s in New York, the 1930’s and today’s depression times, narcotic and alcohol use dramatically increased. The heroin epidemic is one of the major unpublicized results of poverty and joblessness.
Many professional experts have put forth theories that heroin addiction is caused by a chemical disease or character disorder that each individual addict has acquired. No proof is given for these claims. Addiction rates have been highest in poor Black and Latin communities and among GIs in Vietnam—because of the desperate social conditions a person faces in these settings. As John Maher testified in the Winter Soldier Hearings on drugs and the military, “They told me I had a character disorder, O.K. I went for it. But now that I think about it—this is just GI’s now, how can 700,000 GI’s have character disorders all of a sudden? That seems insane to me and kind of stupid.” 
Similar theories of psychological and genetic imbalance have been used by American intellectuals for generations to justify racist social policies. Blaming the victims of poverty and discrimination has only increased the toll of suffering of Black people in America. Blaming the victims of the heroin epidemic only increases the virulence of the plague.
Who is the Pusherman?
The pusherman is not a drug user from Harlem who makes it big for a few months before he falls back into slavery. The pusherman stays on top all the time. The pusherman does not wear “superfly” clothes; he wears a business suit. Many billions of dollars worth of heroin are imported into U.S. every year. The heroin business has the highest rate of profit of any enterprise in human history. Those foreign countries with the highest rates of addiction are Hong Kong, Thailand, Iran–which all have unusually close ties to the American business community. Heroin businesses were the first multi-national corporations and they still are the most successful ones.
Dr Mutulu Shakur Interview on Revolutionary Health Work, Drug Addicts/Addiction, Acupuncturist, Acupuncture, Healing Bringing The Dead Back to Life
It is completely absurd to believe that the billion-dollar heroin industry can be affected significantly by the actions of poor farmers in Turkey, Southeast Asia or Mexico. The laws of these countries are undoubtedly just as susceptible to influence peddling by wealthy persons as the laws are in this country. Bribery has always been the keynote of success in the heroin industry. You cannot blame the heroin epidemic on anyone who isn’t a millionaire.
Research about the heroin industry in Southeast Asia has revealed heavy and prolonged involvement of U.S. diplomatic, military and intelligence officials in narcotics trafficking. Nationalist Chinese, Laotians and South Vietnamese generals were leading heroin dealers. A Pepsi Cola bottling plant in Vientiane, Laos, which Richard Nixon helped set up while a private lawyer, was used exclusively to import chemical supplies for the manufacture of heroin. The major allies of the CIA—the Meo tribesmen and the Nationalist Chinese troops—were the leading growers and transporters of opium in Asia. Therefore, it is not surprising that the CIA’s private airline, Air America, regularly shipped opium on its flights out of Laos. The U.S. government has supported the heroin business in Southeast Asia just as it has supported other powerful U.S. owned enterprises in Chile and the Middle East.
In addition to the ranks of organized crime, international speculators, war profiteers, and various government and law enforcement officials all share involvement and control of the heroin industry. The heroin industry has no “code of ethics.” Heroin will inevitably be used to destroy those people and groups in American society that the leaders of the heroin industry perceive as their enemies. Clearly, political repression and social control are important factors in determining where and when heroin is made available.
In the last 7 years, as heroin addiction and drug related robberies became widespread in middle income white communities, the drug abuse treatment industry has grown enormously. Most of the billions of dollars of federal and local support have gone to methadone maintenance treatment programs.
Methadone is an addictive narcotic that is administered in daily high doses in an attempt to prevent heroin use. Kicking a methadone habit takes 2 to 3 months. No other drug has withdrawal symptoms that are in any way as prolonged or severe as methadone. In a recent Bronx research study involving 187 pregnant methadone maintenance clients, 22% of the babies born to methadone-addicted mothers had seizures and brainwave changes. Eight of the methadone babies died of “crib-death”– this is 17 times the normal incidence of crib death.
Yet the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continues to approve of methadone usage, even for pregnant women. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, in New York City in early 1975, methadone overdose deaths outnumbered heroin overdose deaths by five-to-one. Would the FDA be so careless if methadone were used in primarily white middle class communities?
Over 100,000 people are in methadone maintenance programs that are almost totally financed by federal grants and Medicaid payments. An equal number of people buy methadone illegally on the street. Law enforcement agencies have been advised by the Presidential Special Advisor on Drug Law Enforcement not to crack down hard on illegal methadone sales. When the large pharmaceutical company, Eli Lilly, claimed that it had “lost” 12,000 methadone pills on the streets of New York, no penalties were assessed. Apparently agencies of the federal government are passively encouraging illegal methadone sales.
The point of methadone maintenance is to control people. In the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration’s Methadone Treatment Manual, Dr. Peter Bourne states, “The fact that methadone is addictive is essential to allow this (relationship which can evolve into one of trust and intimacy with considerable therapeutic potential) to occur.” Many people with radical political views, feminists, and gay people have been routinely harassed in maintenance programs. A few programs even have dress codes and regulate the length of their clients’ hair. Since the methadone clients are addicted to the therapeutic situation as Bourne points out, a considerable amount of coercion–in the name of medical treatment–can occur. No safeguards exist to protect clients against these types of situations.
Judges, parole boards, and welfare departments encourage clients to enter methadone programs in general preference to drug-free programs. These actions are taken even for many clients who are not presently addicted to heroin. Virtually the only treatment offered by the Veterans’ Administration is methadone maintenance. The overwhelming net effect of this public policy is to channel heroin addicts into treatment programs that presume that each of them has a chemical and psychological disease of a more-or-less permanent nature. The reality of deteriorating social conditions as a fundamental cause of the heroin epidemic is completely ignored by methadone maintenance programs. Therefore, it is not surprising that so many methadone clients abuse barbiturates and alcohol, and that recent reports show a 41% yearly dropout rate from maintenance programs.
Community groups in all parts of New York City have protested against methadone maintenance clinics. As a consequence, no new clinics have opened there in the last two years. Dole and Nyswander, the founders of methadone maintenance, recently admitted, “(there was) a nearly universal reaction against the concept of substituting one drug for another.” Federal and local drug abuse treatment agencies have ignored these popular concerns. They continue to funnel virtually all their money into methadone maintenance.
Where the Drug Treatment Money Goes
Methadone maintenance has always been an extremely profitable and steady business. The average private clinic in Manhattan reports a gross income of half a million dollars per year. Each of these clinics has a doctor as a front man, but the real owners include construction contractors, wholesale jewelers, real estate agents—businessmen who are often known in the community to have connections to organized crime.
Eli Lilly & Co. has always been the major manufacturer of methadone. It also makes Seconals and Tunials – the largest selling barbiturates on the streets of America. Each one of these three drugs has killed or maimed more people than other “legally” produced drug. Lilly is a large Indiana-based corporation with profits of $178 million, which increases 20% each year. The management of Lilly has had close ties with the John Birch Society and the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade. For twenty years, many federal legislators have complained about Lilly’s gross overproduction of deadly barbiturates to the pharmaceutical and medical professions and to public regulatory agencies. The complaints have fallen on deaf ears. Now another of Lilly’s deadly products—Methadone –is being widely sold on the streets. Still no regulatory action has been contemplated. The cozy relationship between public officials and traffickers in deadly addictive drugs remains intact.
Aside from claiming a sizable share of the profits from methadone maintenance programs, the medical profession has shown very little interest in treating victims of the heroin epidemic. Many doctors help spread the epidemic by writing countless unnecessary prescriptions for narcotics, tranquilizers, pep pills and the like. Only rarely will physicians provide supportive healthcare for heroin victims and refer them to appropriate detoxification facilities.
There is a popular misconception that large amounts of money have been spent on drug-free drug abuse treatment programs and that these programs have “tried and failed.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Virtually no money has ever been spent on drugs abuse treatment programs that recognize the fundamental importance of deteriorating social conditions as a primary cause of addiction. Limited funding is available for those drug-free programs that emphasize individual psychotherapy, but no support is offered for job training or community improvement programs. In a similar vein, community-based programs received much less support than hospital or institution-based programs.
Drug abuse treatment agencies seem to be afraid of social change. The roots of the heroin epidemic extend throughout American society. Only widespread social change can eradicate those roots and give all of the American people a good chance for survival and growth.
Non-Western systems of health care, such as acupuncture and herbology, offer great promise in the treatment of the physical manifestations of heroin addiction and narcotic withdrawal. The record of methadone and other pharmacological agents is quite bleak and self-limited. Acupuncture stimulates the body’s natural healing processes. In two years of research at Lincoln Detox, it has proven to be an excellent means for detoxifying victims and a promising method for reducing narcotic craving. The possibility of a safe alternative to methadone, a non-chemical treatment for drug abuse, should encourage everyone who is seeking constructive answers to the heroin epidemic.
Lincoln Detox is a People’s Program. We began on November 10, 1970 when a group of drug victims in the South Bronx took over space in Lincoln Hospital. At that time there were almost no drug abuse treatment programs in the South Bronx, which had the highest rate of addiction in the country. Ninety percent of our staff are ex-drug victims themselves. More than 40,000 people have been served by our program. We understand why sisters and brothers turn to drugs as an alternative to the stench and decrepitude of their lives. We understand how drugs are killing our people. The program aims at the exposure, explanation, and creation of alternatives to this deadly plague. We have challenged all traditional therapies offered drug victims. Lincoln Detox is the only program in New York where brothers and sisters addicted to methadone can be detoxed whenever they want to be. To us any therapy not aimed at the root causes of addiction perpetuates the problem rather than solves it. We have grown to be scientists of the street in relation to drug addiction.
We know that doctors and other professionals do not understand the problems of our communities and cannot develop solutions to those problems. Despite opposition from organized medicine and pharmaceutical interests, we have developed methods of acupuncture to detoxify and physically rehabilitate drug victims. Lincoln Detox has been recognized by several large national drug abuse organizations and international acupuncture societies as being the best and largest acupuncture program in the country. Even though we have never received any funds for the treatment phase of our acupuncture program, we have helped more than 1000 people become drug-free and have taught a dozen community people the basic understanding of acupuncture. Acupuncture can only relieve the physical tensions that cause drug use. The basic social and political realities must be dealt with by other means.
We at Lincoln Detox strongly believe that we as Black and Puerto Rican people are involved in very serious chemical warfare. We are sure that this chemical warfare is premeditated. A great deal of material is presented in this paper and elsewhere to prove this assertion. The fact that heroin is the number one killer in San Francisco at the same time methadone is the number one killer in New York makes some people doubt that the overall chemical warfare is premeditated. The use of different drugs at different times and places is an important and consistent tactic in the chemical war. Our responsibility is to gather information, prepare documents, and be sure that people understand what chemical warfare is all about.
We are not saying that lower level people who are involved in methadone maintenance necessarily have negative intentions. We’re not here to make you our enemies or to label you whatever. We ask you to take our information and evaluate it seriously. Don’t allow the poverty pimps and the like to pit us against each other if both of our intentions are sincere.
In the nineteenth century Britain and France insisted on selling opium in China, while at the same time they refused to sell opium in their own lands. When Commissioner Lin attempted to prevent the killing and maiming of the Chinese people by burning several tons of opium, the Opium War resulted. In Europe it was called “The war of free trade.” The colonists gained huge profits from opium sales and, in the process, pacified the Chinese people for generations. At the same time, parallel events occurred in the United States. The Indians were moved on with alcohol for the purpose of obtaining land and weakening the spirit of the soldiers of those people. These historical analyses have never been put together as part of the effort to understand the nature of drugs in U.S. society.
Chiang Kai-shek allied himself with Chinese opium dealers, the Green Gang, in order to gain control of China in 1925. In 1927, he legalized opium to gain tax revenues. In 1934 he began an “Opium Suppression Campaign” in order to defeat certain warlords. The results were that the government sold 500 million dollars worth of opium; addiction and starvation were worst than ever, and the Green Gang continued to flourish. In the United States, similar maneuvers have occurred. Morphine was promoted to cure opium addiction. Heroin clinics were legalized to cure morphine addiction. A prolonged heroin suppression campaign has only resulted in increased addiction and increased drug revenues being channeled into the pockets of government officials. Methadone clinics were legalized to cure heroin addiction. And now, in a recent interview in US News & World Report, top government officials are proposing worldwide legalization of heroin once again.
Legalization of drugs only means that drug moneys are being channeled differently for political purposes.
It took 27 years for heroin to be declared dangerous. In that 27 years how many lives were ruined? Twenty-seven years after federal researchers at Lexington declared methadone to be an addictive and dangerous drug, methadone overdose deaths became the biggest U.S. drug problem. Methadone is still supported by billions of tax dollars. How many lives have been lost?
What kind of information went out on methadone to allow it to hit the streets? Compare that information with the same information and the style and tactics used to put Darvon N on the streets. Darvon N, which is chemically very similar to methadone, was said to be non-addicting and called “The hottest drug of the century” by one doctor. Darvon maintenance is already partially discredited; but how much money has gone into LAAM—long acting methadone? The alternating cycle of poisons continues.
The Black and Puerto Rican community has been critically affected by these “scientific” trials and errors. It is something that will stick with our heritage and our children for many many years to come. Look at the chemical warfare that has been waged upon us. The international transportation of heroin is an international crime by the Geneva Convention. We claim genocide.
There is no scientific human being that can rationalize the use of methadone based on the information available. No concerned human being would allow legal methadone or heroin to hit the streets even if it was to save dollars and stop crime. Because one crime is replaced by another crime. Petty crime is replaced by genocide.
1. Helmer, John & Thomas Zietorisz, Drug Use: The Labor Market & Class Conflict Drug Abuse Council, May 1974.
2. Winter Soldier Hearings on Drugs in the Military, sponsored by Vietnam Veterans Against the War, held at Baruch College, New York City, August 1972
3. McCoy, Alfred, Politics of Heron in Southeast Asia, Harper Row, 1973
4. Abstract and Presentation by Dr. Raje Gowda. Lincoln Hospital & Dr. Stephen Kandall, Jacobi Hospital — at National Drug abuse Conference, New Orleans. April 1975
5. Drug Enforcement Administration Statistics obtained from telephone interview and printed report
6. Myles Ambrose cited in Andy Tully, “Methadone: Maintaining a Bad Habit” Crawdaddy, April 1973 and in many other articles
7. Bazell, Bob, New Work Posts, March 6, 1976
8. Dole, Vincent & Marie Nyswander, “Methadone Maintenance Treatment: A Ten Year Perspective,” Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 235: 19, May 10, 1976
9. Village Voice, April 18, 1974
10. Drug Enforcement Administration Statistics
11. Nielsen, Waldemar, Big Foundations, Columbia Press, 1972
12. Further information on request write: Lincoln Detox Acupuncture Program
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.
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
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.”
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.
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.
2000 BC to 500 AD
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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 – ZilumComplexdating 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.
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).
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.”
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.
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) inpresent 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.
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.
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
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% 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 than88% 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.
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)OklahomaBlack 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 GDPhigher 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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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.
‘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.
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.
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,
NYC Jericho Movement
If you need info on the Nelson Mandela Campaign, please go to jerichony.org.
Write to Jalil:
Anthony J. Bottom #77A4283
P.O. Box 116
Fallsburg, NY 12733-0116