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THE REAWAKENING

BLACK ORDEAL 

The British Government and business speculators would not sit idly by and let the Portuguese and the Spanish reap all the rewards of the trade in African humans to the new world. The Brits had a problem of Conscience. How could a supposedly civilized people trade in human cargo? Their rationalization was to transform African humans into chattels, as you consider real estate, or commodities. This satisfied the Christian sensitivities and opened the British slave trade into Barbados, St. Kitts and Jamaica in the seventeenth century.

From their foothold and experience in the West Indies, the British brought the slave trade into South Carolina. African slaves were not introduced into what would become the United States of America as humans. Thy were brought as chattels and treated as such. i.e. as units of labor on which owners could borrow, rent, sell, and see their value increase through age, training, and experience. The wealth of the nation was built up on the free labor of these slaves, (chattels), who were not considered as fully human, in most cases no more or less important than a mule or other worthwhile labor input.

Blacks fought in The Revolutionary War in the hopes of gaining their freedom, but when the war was won by the American Colonies, and the Constitution establishing the United States of America was written, Blacks made the stupendous jump to 3/5 of a human, by law.

Blacks again fought in the Great American Civil War in the hope of gaining their freedom, and did succeed in seeing slavery abolished and a period of Reconstruction established, but they were thrown out into ostensible freedom with no jobs, no training, no land and no prospects, not even the protection of the government. The Party of Lincoln which had done so much to stand for freedom of the slaves turned its back on them during the Reconstruction Period, and the Southern White Land Owners established a Share Cropper System which was almost as crippling as slavery, while the Democratic Party presided over the destruction of every iota of political freedom that the new order envisaged.

The Jim Crow System then emerged. No longer was there a need for subtlety. For the slightest reason and sometimes for no reason at all, Blacks were abducted and executed by various inhuman methods. The white man was the State, answerable to no one. He made it impossible for Blacks to exercise any Human Rights. He instituted a series of humanly degrading laws. He made the point quite clear. Blacks are not human and can only exist in his land as a species below Whites. Take it or leave it. If you object, we will kill you, burn you or hang you.

Blacks have fought in all the succeeding American wars. The Indian Wars, WWI, WWII, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The First Iraqi War, The War in Afghanistan, The Second Iraqi War and in all the unheralded skirmishes, sometimes with the hope of earning a place of recognition at home and more often without premeditated expectations. Just pure patriotism, or a place for training and apprenticeship.

Despite their commitment to America, the problem of full equality of Blacks as Americans still exists. There are still many White people in America who do not consider Blacks as full human beings. The Police killings of Blacks are in this vein. Certainly, the recent chokings could be considered this way. We see the police taking down the fully grown specimens among us and in the latest cases posing with their prey as hunters do with trophies. Will they hang our taxidermic heads on the walls of their man caves like primitives have from time immemorial?

Appealing for compassion, crying out for change will not help very much. The capitalist form of society is extremely competitive. It has little intentional consideration for the underdog. We must develop institutions to hold society’s feet to the fire. The society reacts to and respects strength. America is the arch exponent of capitalism. We do not expect it to change. Begging for recognition will not work. You must come strong enough to fight.

The strength of the underdog is in what he brings to the table constructively. He must bring his trades and his professions, his teacher skills and his schools; his small shops, his construction and his engineering skills, his professorial and managerial skills, his music and his art, his landscaping and gardening skills, his medical and nursing skills, his skill in Refrigeration Technology, and in Building Management, in short all the skills needed in modern society.

When Blacks prepare themselves to offer needed skills to the society in numbers and consistently, the society will respect t hem if for no other reason than fear of withdrawal of services. And paramount will be increased spending power. At this point Blacks only have disposable income, but when they start having discretionary income also, they will not have to be begging for acceptance, they will be begged to come into the tent.

It will take at least a generation for Blacks to prepare themselves, but if they dedicate themselves to helping one another and reducing their dependence on politics, the political leaders will come bearing gifts. The schools and technical institutions are begging Blacks to come and prepare themselves. If Black leaders seek ways to help their people over the psychological barriers and show them how to postpone gratification and save significant portions of their new earnings, they will soon build up significant property. In protecting the rights of property owners, the police will find themselves protecting Blacks also.

Irvine Weekes.

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