The Hero Lit The Match Starting America’s Civil War: JOHN BROWN

To the slave owners, he was a terrorist.  To his friends such as Harriett Tubman, he was a brave man.  History has both considered him a martyr and insane.  Daring men and women who put their lives on the line to change the course of the river of history need to be a bit mentally disturbed.  His life has been written about extensively, including books by the great African American scholar W.E. Du Bois.

Had not Brown taken up weapons and attempted to start a violent overthrow of slavery, one can only speculate how much longer slavery would existed.  Obviously enslaved Africans were not going to go on in that condition forever, so no doubt eventually, with or without the help of abolitionists, they would have risen up to slay all the white slave owners and plantation overseers, and their families.  So the days of the old South were numbered, if only God knew the last days.

In 1859 John Brown had gathered men to his cause, and they attacked the armory at Harper’s Ferry.  While he succeeded, in the end he lost this battle, as he was captured along with a number of his men.  Tried and convicted, he and the men were hung.

john_brown_standard

But John won the Civil War to which he helped give the incipient momentum.

Vitor Hugo wrote, before the execution:

Politically speaking, the murder of John Brown would be an uncorrectable sin. It would create in the Union a latent fissure that would in the long run dislocate it. Brown’s agony might perhaps consolidate slavery in Virginia, but it would certainly shake the whole American democracy. You save your shame, but you kill your glory. Morally speaking, it seems a part of the human light would put itself out, that the very notion of justice and injustice would hide itself in darkness, on that day where one would see the assassination of Emancipation by Liberty itself. …

Let America know and ponder on this: there is something more frightening than Cain killing Abel, and that is Washington killing Spartacus

The Racial Miseducation of America’s Children

It seems like eons since I sat in my high school American history class.  At the time, history and government were by far and away my two most un-favorite subjects.  Had I only had wonderful teachers – as I had in my two favorite sujects – math and science – that might have been different, but I did not.  Today I would place the importance of those two right next to the advanced math and physics courses in importance:  the latter two helped me into an engineering career of 50 years.  The first two would have helped me be a better citizen over those years.  I haven’t been in a high school classroom since I graduated, but I have a hunch that what “kids” are being taught today is not far from what I may have been presented with, especially on the subject of the Civil War and slavery, and of course, the well-concealed subject of “whiteness,” and white people’s privileges.

More than half of teachers across America say they are comfortable talking about slavery as a condition, within their classrooms.  But no matter how good the teachers are, or how “open” they are to discussing these difficult subjects, they are challenged and controlled by the laws of their states and local school boards, and totally hamstrung with having to use text books and materials that generally fail grossly to present slavery and its full history and context, especially from the viewpoint of those enslaved.

This study pulls back the covers on the sorry state of what and how America teaches its progeny about these subjects that today continue to divide us at our dinner tables and within our places of worship as well:

https://www.splcenter.org/20180131/teaching-hard-history#summary

I live in Texas, and am a 6th generation version.  Some of my ancestors who moved to Texas before the end of the Civil War, apparently “had” slaves.  One of my G-g-g-grandfathers was a Mississippi plantation owner during the War and had slaves.  After the war he moved to Dallas, and is buried there.  I would love to have seen his eyes when I married my black Queen in Dallas, some 50 years ago.  Only last year did the Texas school book “approvers” vote to give slavery equal footing with “states’ rights” in our new textbooks.  I am happy, but sad and mad about this situation.

The problem across the US is that education is as politicized as any other “social” matter.  When you live in a society that has kept the realities of these subjects and topics essentially under lock and key, and in many states so-called “conservatives” having swallowed the keys, obviously we are years and years from resolving this educational matter.  By not resolving it, we are just renewing the policies of segregation, discrimination, hate and violence and domestic terrorism that are today the hallmarks of America core.

I have faith, though, that one day, the Truths will set America free.  Until that day, let us keep doing what each of us can to make it happen!

 

Newt Gingrich (Citizens Council emeritus) says NY Times 1619 Project is All a Big Lie

When I first saw this news yesterday on Yahoo News (not my only source of information mind you), I was less concerned with his LIES, but rather interested in the Comments to that news story.  Leave it to Yahoo News postings on such subjects to draw out all the older white “conservatives.”  (I have been trying to figure out why there are so many of these “misinformed” Caucasians on Yahoo, and I conjecture it has to do with Yahoo being around for a long time now, but all the youngsters, who would mostly be much more liberal in views, have long ago migrated to other news platforms.)

As I expected, the cheese the ex-Speaker through on the floor brought out all the rats.  I did not spend any time at all reading the Comments, as they all fell into categories that I expected, all revealing, as we who seek love and peace know, the level of emotionally charged ignorance typifying BMT’s (Bottomless Moral Turpitude……that which occupies the Oval Office) baseless base.  I can summarize their common retorts here, along with the truths:

  • The NYT is out to get Trump:  “WE are out to get Trump, indeed, as citizens concerned about any common criminal should be.”
  • Slavery has been around throughout world history, so let’s keep slavery in America in its proper context:  “Slavery in America was on par or worse than any in world history.  The effects of slavery are embedded in American society, and have for decades given Whites the privileges born from the worst kinds of cruelties inflicted on African-Americans.  The shadows of slavery are alive everywhere in this country today, and without Light being Shone on that Vile Darkness, this Nation will fail, meaning everyone in this Nation will fail.  A song by Curtis Mayfield from ‘back in the day,’…..<If there’s a Heaven or Hell, We’re ALL gonna go!>”
  • We need to just move on, as all this discussion about slavery and race relations is holding back progress for the US:  “Ain’t gonna happen my friends.  We are going to keep this in your face till you amend or are 6-ft under.  There can be no Peace when there is no Justice! Do not tell Blacks that they must be satisfied to “move ahead” being trillions of dollars behind Whites and others, when the foundation of this Nation was built on their backs.”
  • But Whites contributed to the building of this Nation, not just Blacks:  “Now how f’ing selfish is that statement!  No one is trying to demean the contribution of Whites that was morally righteous then, or now.  But any attempt at equivalency is an old and fallacious argument, because of the relative price Blacks paid versus Whites.”

The photograph above is of KKK in Dallas, Texas back in the 1920’s.  I have lived in Dallas most of my adult life, and as I discovered just recently, when I began my career my first “boss” was the son of Dallas’ District Attorney during the years that the KKK ran this city.  So we are well aware that many of the son’s, grandsons and granddaughters of such men are alive today, wearing those RED CAPS.  Keep wearing them, we like knowing who you are, for there is nothing worse than a racist with a smile.

 

 

1619- 2019 400 Years and Counting

Angela was her name, an African woman, who might very well have been of royalty back in her home region, we don’t know.  Regardless, we can assume rightly that she lived in a well-ordered society, one full of the sounds of life, of domestic animals, of toddlers and small children playing around villages, while older girls worked with their mothers, contributing and learning the skills from a timeless past, such as pounding yam and braiding and adorning their hair.  Older boys were learning the skills of manhood, including hunting, wrestling,  and becoming warriors.  Angela’s people were colorful, were light on their feet, and the sounds of drumming and the sounds of dancing often filled the air.  When anyone of Angela’s people fell ill, there were potions and wetted plants placed topically, and the incantations of the priest to relieve the pain and illness, often as effectively as any Western treatment today.  The priest was also readily available, for the price of a chicken or yams, to perform a divination reading for those with a question about their lives (which was at least as effective as any psychologist or spiritual advisor today).  Life was good for Angela.

We will never know how she came to be ripped from the Motherland, how she survived the Passage, how she was treated by the pirate sailors who took her and others, and in 1619 sold her and some 20-30 other Africans to European American planters in Jamestown, Virginia.  We do know that Angela and the hundreds of thousands of other African peoples brought to this land and placed in involuntary servitude and treated worse than any animal for hundreds of years, retained the strength and vibrancy of their ancestry, and without their magic –  America would have been, period.

The history of early Jamestown is readily available on the web, but in the last few days the New York Times has published what will become a publishing legacy to be read by generations to come.  Here is the link:

 

Just double click the above image, and just fyi you will have to at least enter your email and go through a few commercial “ads” to get to the article, but it is well worth it.  There are multiple essays, each quite lengthy, so be prepared to spend some time – quality time.

It should be apparent to anyone who is not themselves still shackled with the collar of racism, slaves to their emotional, primeval ignorance, that any claims of America being now in a post-racial society since President Obama was elected, are patently false.  Today we see the greatest rise of racism since the lynching days of Jim Crow.  America, the very foundation of this great experiment in humanity is now at risk.  Wake up!

A Boy’s Blood

I went to bed last night trying to get the true story of Emmett Till out of my mind.  I awoke this morning with that boy still on my mind.

I wonder what he would have grown up to be?  A young teenage black boy in 1955, apparently outgoing, smart, with a good sense of humor. Murdered in the most atrocious way by two grown white men, possibly with others, possibly with even one or two black hired “assistants”, for Emmett having had the “audacity” to allegedly “come on” to a young white woman – a Mississippi “lily” and wife of one of the murderers – Emmett, his short life and his horrible death, became the major inflection  point in the civil rights movement ensuing from that point to this moment.  While we will never know for sure all of the details and participants in his murder, it is unimportant at this point.  What is important is that we NEVER forget what happened to him.

Of course I have known a little of the story for many decades, but only just recently have I sought out more information.  What prompted me was viewing an interview on one of the major news tv channels of Timothy B. Tyson, about his latest book “The Blood of Emmett Till.”  I haven’t even finished reading it, a thoroughly researched and investigated history book, scholarly written to capture the full context of Emmett’s murder in the days of Jim Crow, and what the event, “witnessed” around the world, meant to the civil rights movement.  Mr. Tyson actually sat down and interviewed the Mississippi “lily.”

Then I found this documentary story on You Tube, which is rather long, but thorough, with interviews of his mother many others who were caught up in this sad story.  It is not easy to watch, but we should.

Today, with all the hate we are witnessing, with old “norms” suddenly coming out in the open again, encouraged by BMT (Bottomless Moral Turpitude….that which occupies the Oval Office), and a significant portion of  his base of supporters, we who stand to defeat such hate must not forget the past.  That past is really not distant at all.  Many of the sons and daughters and their children of those who belonged to Citizens Councils, KKK, and many other collections of white people who committed acts of terrorism against blacks and their few white supporters during the 1950’s and later, are still very much alive today.  I would like to believe that most have turned away from such racism, but the fact is that many have not.  The ghosts of the murderers of Emmett Till, and those who murdered so many other black people during those days, walk the Earth.

Be vigilant O Warriors of Truth and Love.

Redtails in the morning, Nazis take warning.

Even though much publicity and media have rightly recognized the valor and accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen, I continue to be in awe of these young black aviators of WW2 who lit up the skies with the flashes of their machine guns and exploding Luftwaffe aircraft, and raked German defense lines on the ground as the Allies drove the Germans northward through Italy to final surrender.

Last evening I watched a film titled “Hart’s War,” which was both unsettling, yet revealing.  I won’t give any spoilers, except to say the setting is a German POW camp, filled with American soldiers, all white –  until two captured Tuskegee aviators are brought in.  The film revealed just how deep the gulf was between whites, especially from the south, and blacks in the military.  The military was just a part of the larger racist society of that time (not to say America is still not racist in so many ways).

I had the pleasure of shaking the hand of one of the last Tuskegee airmen just a few years ago, and tried to tell him in a few seconds that my father was a bomber pilot and that he recalled being escorted by the Tuskegee airmen fighters.  I don’t think the old gentleman really caught what I was trying to say, and other people were waiting to shake his hand, so I couldn’t say also, “Thank you for keeping my father safer.”

The P-51 Mustangs in the caption photo are planes preserved from the WW2 era, painted with red tails that was the “calling card” of the Tuskegee, 332nd Fighter Group, based in the southeastern coastal area of Italy.  From there theses brave fighter jocks flew many missions covering bombers flying out of the “USS Corsica” (the island of Corsica), and later from bases in Italy, as the 12th Air Force plastered the Nazis, cutting supply lines, hitting fuel dumps, taking out major gun emplacement, knocking out flak artillery, and mowing down German troops with frags.

My father flew 70 missions as a B-25 pilot, doing all of the above, and many of his Wing went down, a number captured, a number murdered by Germans shooting them as they dropped in their parachutes after their plane was hit by flak, and some murdered by the Nazi SS.  The Redtails I know were his cover on a number of missions, and were it not for that, I may not myself be here writing this, for he might have also made the ultimate sacrifice.

Now, it must be understood, that these valiant fighter jocks were doing their duty, in spite of the fact that back home in April, 1945, others of the Tuskegee group who were still training for air combat, could not enter and partake at an officers club in the Midwest.  Over 100 of these black officers attempted to enter the club and were ultimately arrested.  Due to outside protest, the Army dropped charges against most, but some were not cleared until the 1990’s!

But, in spite of all this, you can bet that not one Redtail pilot hesitated to push his gun button when he saw an ME-109 sliding in to target one of our bombers full of white men of the same age, many of whom would not even eat at the same table with him.

Think about that.

REPARATIONS.

Harriet Tubman…..never a braver woman, or man.  Time and time again she risked everything, life, the prospect of severe torture, risked it all to lead a few more slaves north.  The sad tale of shiploads of human cargo, hundreds of years of being worked to death as slaves or forced impoverishment post-Civil War.  Thousands of lynchings and more recently atrocities such as the dragging behind a truck and decapitation of James Byrd, Jr., 1998, in my great State of Texas.  Not to mention the murdering by cops, today, of young black boys and men, even being shot in the back or while laying on the pavement.

In the 115th Congress, H.R.40 intended to address and study the effects of these centuries of inhuman treatment of the United States black citizens, and moreover, what can be done by this USA to help “rectify” these wrongs to some extent.  With this new Congress, in spite of all the distractions, I pray this can move forward.

Some of my own ancestors were slave owners, I am sad to say.  Others no doubt were involved in the oppression of blacks in the South in some way, I am sure.  Although my family was not wealthy, they were land owners, and I am sure that to some extent the wealth they had, much of it lost in the Civil War, did in some capacity put them way ahead of any black people from their own time.  That is what is called “white privilege.  But this “privilege” extends across all facets of our society, and has across each generation.  There is no way that black people in this country can ever catch up to we white folk, without some real, meaningful assistance.  The form or substance of that overdue assistance is the only question.  Don’t tell me “Well, my people came after the Civil War so I have no guilt or responsibility to blacks.”  Oh yes you do: everything you enjoy in this land today was by in large, originally built on the sweating, scarred backs of black men and women and children.  So yes, we, all white people, have a debt to pay “them.”

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