In 1926, when Carter G. Woodson introduced “Negro History Week,” it was designed to focus on the achievements of Negroes and inform others that we were scientist, as well as singers, engineers as well as entertainers, and discoverers as well as dancers.
Blacks in America are as African as the Jews are Jewish, the Italians are Italian, the Poles are Polish, and the Germans are German. When others got here, they never ceased to be who they were. When then did we cease to be Africans? Africa is our hermitage and America is our experience. Therefore, we are African-Americans, the product of both Africa and America,
People who have the power to define you, have the power to confine you. We were Africans when we were captured and brought to these shores. We were defined as “slaves,” and confined to the cotton fields of Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and to the tobacco plantations of the Carolinas, and controlled for the next 247 years.
With the Emancipation Proclamation we were re-defined as “Colored People,” and confined to “Colored restrooms,” Colored water Fountains,” “Colored Hospital Wards,” Colored Neighborhoods,” “Colored Schools,” and “Colored churches.”
With the dawn of the civil rights movement, we were re-defined as “Negroes.” “Ne” means never, “gro” means to grow. Those who defined us as Negroes never intended for us to grow politically, socially, educationally, or economically.
In the old history books, Indians were described as “American Indians” and blacks were described as “American Negroes.” So, if I say, Rick’s barber Shop,” I mean that Rick owns the barber shop. Other ethic groups were referred to as” Italian Americans” “German Americans,” Irish Americans,” and “German Americans,”. It means that they owned America, but America owned us.
The purpose for which we were brought here was set forth in the 1638 document called the “Maryland Doctrine of Exclusion.” It states, “Neither the existing black population, their descendants, nor any other blacks shall be permitted to enjoy the fruits of white society.”
We were to remain a noncompetitive, labor force for the personal wealth and comfort of white society. This document became a blueprint for the systematic discrimination of blacks during slavery and beyond.
In 1859, 221 years later, a slave named Dred Scott, left his plantation in Missouri and went to Illinois, a free state. Satisfied with his new found freedom, he sued.However, the Supreme Court ruled in a 9-1 decision that ‘No black man had any rights that any white man was bound to respect.”
In its February 7, 2016 edition, The Valdosta Daily Times, “Point of View,” the editors were right: “Only the uninformed will ignorantly complain that there is no white history month. In fact, every month is white history month in every American school.”
That is true for all children, whatever their color.
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