Over the history of this country, so many people have flocked to America looking for some freaking “pie in the sky.” The choice to come here is very very different for those who were kidnapped and forced to…..come here. Those who in turn built this country from the ground up, via 400 years of free slave labor. Those who when resisted ended up dead. Those who when sought education, ended up with tongues or hands being cut off. Those who when taking a stand against the separation of families received scars from the lashing of whippings. Those who ran were in turn punished with branding or a cut off foot. Not to forget the women who were raped and impregnated by Master and master’s sons, cousins and brothers. This, my friend, is just a smidgen of FACTS that have left Black folks disgruntled and disillusioned by the possibility of opportunities or what DREAMS can even be made of.
All the while, the emboldened spirit of “Make America Great Again” has taken this country back to a time where blatant racism was a matter of law. Robbing us of our culture, language, religion, history, and identity; the ripping apart of family structures, royal bloodlines and torment of the Black father figure is the culmination of destruction, conditioning, displacement and death of Africans and their descendants scattered throughout the world. This destruction left the diaspora dehumanized and constantly seeking the concept of FREEDOM, a concept HUMANITY was supposed to provide. And at the very bottom of America’s hierarchy sits the Black woman, a jewel smashed like coal; the most prized possession of what HUMANITY really tells.
We are not our grandparents, who sometimes responded to terror by being docile, complacent and submissive, with bowed heads to this systemic ill-treatment. Their matter of survival is not our tool of living…..we live in the spirit of RESISTANCE and remember that they did resist too. There is redemption and righteousness in the fact that we are still here to this day. We are the exemplification of courage and determination; the epitome of the human spirit which is rooted in all that AFRICA and her children offer to the world. Not only did we single handily build this shit, but we did so with grace.
CREATED WORLD LEADERS
THROUGH PERSISTENT RESISTANCE
THIS STRUGGLE ENDOWED AS A MODEL
BLACK RESISTANCE IS WHAT HAS DRIVEN ALL OF HUMANITY FORWARD…..PERSISTENCE!!!
Starting this year like any other year, we are forced to reflect on the possibility of FREEDOM for Black folks in the Americas, still to this very day (let the background speak for itself)…..
In 1526 at the settlement of San Miguel de Guadalupe, this Spanish settlement immediately felt the refusal of enslavement as they fought back, escaped and absorbed into local native populations.
The Gaspar Yanga Rebellion of 1609 was a revolt that took place in the mountains of Veracruz, Mexico during Spanish rule. They successfully fought and maintained their freedom for over 40 years by using guerilla warfare. Yanga was said to have been a native of the West African country of Gabon.
The Ganga Zumba Slave Rebellion of Brazil, started when an escaped slave named Ganga organized a runaway slave rebellion that fled into the mountains. Ganga was a prince from the Congo Empire and he knew who he was and the strengths of his tribe. He formed bans of free Maroon slave communities in Brazil. By 1670, he had a palace, 3 wives with guards and loyal subjects. He mocked his royal lineage and lived in royalty in Brazil.
The first Maroon War took place in 1728 on the island of Jamaica. The Maroons were African who had escaped into the mountains when the Spanish lost Jamaica to the British. The Maroons were determined to gain control over the entire island and this was the beginning of many battles for FREEDOM. They were led by Queen Nanny (also known as the Obia Woman) and she was of the West African Ashanti people. The Maroons fought many years, long and hard against the British; and this war led to sovereignty for Jamaica.
In 1733 the St John insurrection effectively conquered the Danish. Akon tribesmen plotted and fought the Danish for their freedom…..it was one of the longest rebellions with the goal of taking control of the island.
The Stono Rebellion took place on September 9, 1739…..where 20 slaves, gathered at the Stono River Store, where they executed the owner and his family, leaving their dead bodies on the store’s front steps as a clear message and warning they sought FREEDOM. They headed towards Florida, where they would be free…..they shouted “Lu Congo” in their native Angolan language.
The New York City Conspiracy of 1741, known as the Negro Plot…..an insurrection of slaves and poor whites, where they set fires throughout the city, in attempts to gain their freedom.
The Haitian Revolution was the greatest slave uprising and was won on January 1, 1804. It led to the creation of an entire state and it inspired many other rebellions. They forced the French to leave and shook America’s history to its core. The Haitians also got rid of fearful slaves who sided with the French.
Nat Turner’s Rebellion of 1831 was one of the most written about, it included about 70 armed slaves and freedmen and their mission was clear…..to SLAUGHTER the white slave masters who had tortured them for years. Nat Turner used the white master’s own religion against them.
Gabriel’s Conspiracy of 1831 was a radical plan orchestrated by slaves in Richmond, Virginia with the sole goal of destroying the institution of slavery in Virginia.
In 1842, the Cherokee nation, who had immolated the red man by buying African slaves…..yes, native tribes, also dabbled in the slave trade too. This Oklahoma rebellion was a ban of 20 slaves headed towards Mexico where slavery had been abolished in 1836. They were joined by 15 additional slaves escaping from a Creek tribe. They raided stores for ammunition, weapons, food, and horses.
The German Coast Uprising took place off of the coast of New Orleans, Louisiana on the Whitney Sugar Cane Plantation. In 1811, over 500+ slaves armed themselves to raid the master’s home. As they marched toward New Orleans, slaves from other plantations joined the rebellion. You could hear them coming as they shouted “FREEDOM OR DEATH.” Their leader was of Haitian descendant, sent to Louisiana as part of the deal to end the Haitian Revolution. He was taken from his Haitian slave mother by his slave master father to be the top slave driver in Louisiana. He resented his father for separating him from his mother and was determined to REBEL. Had this revolt lasted a little longer, it would have crippled the institution of slavery in Louisiana and throughout the entire South. This rebellion could have stopped the Civil War from ever happening, and there would have been no banning together of Southern states or a NEED for a Confederate flag……I will come back to the issue of the Confederate Flag later in this piece.
The rebellions and revolts didn’t stop after the Civil War or Emancipation in 1865, our ancestors RESISTED through sharecropping and Jim Crow; the fear of lynching led to resistance; as they created Black only safe havens that too was a matter of resistance; upon Civil Rights, Freedom Rides and Black Panthers we RESISTED. They RESISTED persistently, so those who came after them would persistently RESIST. Africans and their descendants have always reminded the world of what it truly means to be human and RESIST.....and that my friend is the foundation of HUMANITY.
The ideas of Freedom, Justice, and Liberty have seldom been associated with the African slave in the Americas; nor for their descendants. But ironically and still to this very day, it is the descendants of said slaves who actually uphold the ideas of FREEDOM, LIBERTY, AND JUSTICE. Yes, I am saying, if it were NOT for Black folks bucking against the system, we’d still be living under the guise of slavery…..oh but WAIT, we collectively are still living under the umbrella of slave mentalities (and it's one and the same).
SO WE FIGHT!!!
You might be asking why is she giving us a history lesson on slave revolts…..the better question is why does America choose to erase slave revolts out of its history??? When you look at America’s power and wealth, have you ever wondered how it became a world leader with long resources? Well, DUH…..on the backs of African slaves, that's how. It can legitimately be said that America cheated its way into world domination. Had America not had the benefit of FREE slave labor, it wouldn’t be what it is today. PERIOD. With that being said, America will always attempt to write those slaves who refused to be slaves out of history to maintain control over Black bodies. I personally have come to the conclusion that America partly wants us to be slaves again…..hence the fire behind the “Make America Great Again” sentiment, efforts to build walls, lessen one's ability to afford healthcare, the growth of the school-to-prison pipeline and disenfranchise people from shit-hole countries.
So for all of those who think our ancestors sat back and just took slavery with a grain of salt, you are so wrong. Don’t ever come this way and speak of fallacies like American Dreams, because for the most part, the concept of DREAMS has completely missed the masses of Black folks in this country. We have as a collective been relegated to the bottom of the barrel (ie. slave quarters, projects and ghettos or prison cells), forced like crabs to scratch and claw our way out, sometimes at the expense of our fellow brethren. This NIGHTMARE is evident in the very historic fiber of who America is……and let’s be honest America is a bastard, step-child who stole its daddy’s pearls and sold it to the highest bidder on the black market…..AFRICA.
There are far too many who have come before the Black Lives Matter movement, whose lives are also proof that there is a concerted effort to silence and erase resisters. I am serious when I say, YOU CANNOT ERASE US. WE WILL FIGHT YOU TOE TO TOE IF YOU TRY TO ERASE US. And don’t manipulate these words to insinuate we are about violence…..let’s be clear, self-preservation clearly means self-defense. We will not be punked by people or systems that have historically and inherently denied our brilliance. So in the spirit of Marcus Garvey, we are moving a LIBERATION agenda. And in the process, we are creating sacred spaces for those who have been stolen at the hands of state-sanctioned intercommunal violence and state-sponsored police terrorism. Yes, it all falls back on the very STATE, who pigeonholes our existence; ask for decorum and sanctions only civil behavior. America is certainly guilty of falsifying with fake narratives the truth, deeds, and plans of groups like Black Lives Matter.
Sorry, not sorry…..but when you experience being WOKE there is very little that snakes can pull over your eyes; it’s very hard for the handcuff to contain the rage, and it’s never cool to try to box this brilliance. BTW, The Root (click the link and read the article)recognized Black Lives Matter Sacramento for outstanding resilience in an effort to challenge the District Attorney office of Sacramento County…..where weekly we are making bold moves that are WINNING. Where we celebrate a fence that DA Schubert thought necessary to keep protesters out and waste taxpayer dollars. Where we BBQ and feed the community while garnering honks from passer-byes. Where our signs have been published in news stories nationally. Where we play loud, beautiful, sometimes ratchet and ghetto music to make business as usual uncomfortable at best for everyone near the building of 901 G Street. Where we get harassed on a regular by SacPD. Where racist trolls speed by and yell expletives out of their windows. Where community members stop by and donate food or money. Where the country is watching…..cause they see us in these streets, making change for these streets. Mobilizing to make Black lives matter in these streets of Sacramento County, throughout the state and around the world.
I said I’d come back to the issue of the Confederate Flag because I love to connect dots…..we live in a county and country where segments of our population pride fully celebrate the Confederate flag. Recently, in the town of Wilton, CA a Republican group called CROW decided to not only wave the Confederate flag off the back of their float at a children’s winter festival while they wore Trump mask and passed out fried chicken wings to the patrons on the scene. Now on most days, we are not concerned about the hicks and bigots tucked away in the nooks and crannies of good old America, hiding in plain sight. But it is when said children come to school and spew the hatred they learn from home. See there has been an influx in racist driven bullying on school campuses in this area…..like but not limited to nooses being hung from trees on school campuses, the N-word being graffitied on bathroom walls of Community College campuses and black students being chased home while being called the n-word or told to go back to Africa because monkeys aren’t welcome here.
I am clearly asserting that America’s history is littered with separatist ideologies that have divided the landscape of this country in which we are attempting to live, breath, survive and DREAM. Dreamers aren’t new to who America pretends to be…..Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. infamously had a DREAM that his children would be allowed to live free. I’m sure Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner had a dream in seeking justice for her father who was choked to death by NYPD. Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown Jr, and Oscar Grant had to have dreamed, as they were mere babies, and I’m sure their parents had dreams for their lives too. It’s amazing how the dreams of Black folks in America fester into nightmares. In many instances, it doesn’t matter how hard we work systems oppress with intention, preventing dreams from flourishing.
Adriene Ludd dreamed with the trees and the other Black men in the Sacramento area like Daizon Flenaugh, Joseph Mann, Jason King, Lorenzo Cruz, Desmond Phillips, Ryan Ellis, dreamed of things too. Fathers like Mikel McIntyre, Stephon Clark, Brandon Smith, and Marshall Miles had to have dreamed of making memories with their babies, left behind to now be fatherless babies. While babies like Darell Richards and his mother had to have simultaneously been dreaming of more time here on earth. To dream the unspeakable dream, the unreachable dream…..hence why we go hard in the face of criticism and being targeted by the likes of a Sheriff Scott Jones and racist trolls. We are not just committed to the proverbial DREAM of LIBERATION, but work to etch the change we want to see.
As we ABOLISH AND REBUILD.
As we RECLAIM.
As we COP WATCH.
As we provide COURT SUPPORT.
As we hold CANDLELIGHT VIGILS.
As we organize PRESS CONFERENCES.
As we MARCH.
As we PROTEST.
As we CHANT.
As we WRITE BLOGS & ARE A SAVVY SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE.
As we fearlessly STAND FACE TO FACE, CHEST TO CHEST WITH COPS determined to control us.
AS WE DREAM and live this nightmare because this is the America Black folks DREAM TO END.
Jan 12th - Abolish & Rebuild - 6 pm at Robbie Waters Library
Jan 21st - 4th Annual RECLAIM MLK Day - 9:30 am at Safeway on Alhambra and J Street
Mar 16th - Open Meeting & Reception - 6 pm at Valley High North Laguna Library
Jul 17th - Let's Recall Scott Jones!! - various locations, virtual event