history-of-slavery

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Sgt. Thomas McVicar of the Jersey City Police Department shot 22 year old Kwadir Felton, leaving him blind, after Kwadir pulled a gun on him, he claims. Kwadir Felton denied the accusation, stating that he doesn’t even carry guns.

“I don’t understand!” Felton yelled at a police officer before his mother was removed from the courtroom. “You didn’t have to shoot me in the head for no reason! You trying to charge me with something I didn’t do!”

i want u to look at this Black man’s face in his response to the verdict. that is the pain of all Black people who are enslaved by this corrupt racist system.

That is the face of more than 500 years of racist and capitalist oppression against Black people. the face of all Black people who have been shut out from this unjust system and either imprisoned, tortured, killed, or all three.

that is the face Trayvon would have had if he were here to see that Zimmerman was found not guilty. shit, if Trayvon were alive HE’d be the one charged guilty.

Sign the Change.org petition and get this story out there.

So, I just wrote that big thing on ‘progressive’ white America’s modern view of the chattel slavery of African Americans, and I have deiced, on behalf of all white people, we need to stop lying to each other. Teachers, tour guides, even just random people, when they get asked “Was Master X nice to his slaves” or “But most slaves were treated well, right?” Need to uniformly answer “No.” 

No owner ever treated a slave well. Not George Washington, Not Thomas Jefferson, not your potential ancestors, not the nice family you heard about on vacation last year. To own another human being is to not treat them well.

We have to stop lying to kids (and each other) and saying that there is a humane way to strip another human being of there right to self, to take a person and create a marketable commodity . 

White Americans still benefit from the legacy of slavery, and Black American’s still suffer from it. We need to stop teaching it as an ancient quirk that left few scars because everyone was more or less happy. 

It wasn’t symbiotic, it was parasitic, and we need to stop saying otherwise. 

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“The first chapter opens up with Michael Brown and Ferguson,” says the textbook’s co-author, Macalester College Professor Duchess Harris. “And then we backtrack to do a historical overview of interactions that African Americans have had with police encounters, historically. Then we return to Trayvon Martin and go all the way up to Baltimore.”

This is what we did. We fought for our voices to be heard and this is what we got, I am so proud. #Love it!

Beyoncé’s “Love Drought” Video, Slavery and the Story of Igbo Landing

[image description: Beyoncé in the music video for “Love Drought” marching into the water followed by a procession of black women]

Beyoncé’s LEMONADE is filled with incredible artistry and stunning imagery. One of the most striking images for me on the visual album, though, occurs in the video for “Love Drought”. Much has been said about how LEMONADE draws influence from Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, but less has been said in these same conversations about how the story of Igbo Landing is central to Daughters of the Dust and how the story of Igbo Landing- an act of mass resistance against slavery-also shows up in a really pronounced manner in the “Love Drought” Video.

[Image description: Donovan Nelson’s artistic depiction of Igbo Landing in charcoal. It shows the Igbo slaves marching into a body of water with the water already up to their necks and their eyes closed. Image via Valentine Museum of Art]

For those who don’t know, Igbo Landing is the location of a mass suicide of Igbo slaves that occurred in 1803 on St. Simons Island, Georgia. As the story goes, a group of Igbo slaves revolted and took control of their slave ship, grounded it on an island, and rather than submit to slavery, proceeded to march into the water while singing in Igbo, drowning themselves in turn. They all chose death over slavery. It was an act of mass resistance against the horrors of slavery and became a legend, particularly amongst the Gullah people living near the site of Igbo Landing. 

Not only is the story of Igbo Landing one of the key themes of Julie Dash’s Daughters of the Dust, which influenced LEMONADE, but its imagery also appears to be central to the “Love Drought” video. In the video, Beyoncé marches into the water followed by a group of black women all in white with black fabric in the shape of a cross across the front of their bodies. They march progressively deeper into the water before pausing and raising all of their hands toward the sunset.

[Image description: Beyoncé marching into a large body of water by a beach followed by other black women]

This scene and the video as a whole also occurs in a marshy, swampy landscape, matching African-American folklore descriptions of the location of Igbo Landing. In addition, this is all mixed in with imagery of Beyoncé physically bound in ropes and resisting their pull, which directly evokes slavery, resistance and the events at Igbo Landing for me.

[Image description: Beyoncé on a beach leaning backward as she appears to be resisting the pull of a taught rope]

Lastly, I would like to note how Beyoncé and the group of black women she is with very deliberately rose their hands while in the water toward the sunset. For me this recalled how the act of mass resistance at Igbo Landing was mythologized in many African-American communities as either the myth of the “water walking” or “flying” Africans. In the latter legend, the Igbo slaves walked into the water and then flew back to Africa, saving themselves in turn. 

Below is the myth of the “flying Africans” at Igbo Landing as told by Wallace Quarterman, an African-American man born in 1844 who was interviewed by members of the Federal Writers Project in 1930 (via wiki):

Ain’t you heard about them? Well, at that time Mr. Blue he was the overseer and … Mr. Blue he go down one morning with a long whip for to whip them good… . Anyway, he whipped them good and they got together and stuck that hoe in the field and then rose up in the sky and turned themselves into buzzards and flew right back to Africa… . Everybody knows about them.

[Image description: Beyoncé and several black women partially submerged in water by a beach and raising their arms toward the setting sun]

Seeing Beyoncé and a group of black women marching into the water and raising their hands collectively toward the sunset reminded me specifically of this last interpretation of the story of Igbo Landing where the slaves flew to their freedom.

There are lots of potential interpretations for this video and the visual album as a whole but the core imagery of the “Love Drought” video - marshy landscape matching folklore descriptions of the location of “Igbo Landing,” images of Beyoncé bound in ropes and resisting their pull, a collective march into the water and holding their hands out toward the sky as if they were about to fly away together-basically screamed out to me as the story of Igbo Landing as I watched the video. It’s such a powerful act of mass resistance against slavery and as an Igbo person living today in America, it was moving to see imagery which reminded me strongly of it in LEMONADE as well.

Learn more about the story of Igbo Landing: Here

Most of my future children tag is cute brown children being fabulous and clearly belonging to me in spirit, but I’m making an exception for this tweet because if I don’t raise my kids to give that exact same response, then I have failed as a parent.

Who is this woman and can I send her a thank-you gift basket and a Black Parenting Award?  This is why it is imperative that we teach our children real history outside of textbooks constructed by, written for, and approved by white men whose re-telling of history conveniently glosses over atrocities and minimizes suffering.

“bold new idea”

I want to go to that school and set fire to every history book in the building.

KNOW YOUR HISTORY: Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.

Thanks to Abstrakt Goldsmith for this nugget of history that most of us never learned in school.

Via The Blue Street Journal