Black Veterans: The Epitome of American Patriotism

I want to give a big thank you this Veterans Day to every Black man and woman that served in the United States military. It is ironic that patriotism and racism go together like baseball and hot dogs in the good old USA, as those who scream the loudest saying, “Support our troops!”, often care little about the domestic polices and de facto racism that keeps their “heroes” from living the very American dream that they are told to fight for and export to nations around the world.

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The Black soldier lined up to fight the British in 1775, even while they were being enslaved! To add insult to injury, many of the Black soldiers fought in the so-called Revolutionary War “in place of their masters, fighting for a freedom they would never see for themselves. (In many cases, their enlistment bonuses or even their pay went straight to their masters.)

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At the time of the Civil War, Fredrick Douglass argued that the Black soldier could help the North win the war, but Abraham Lincoln did not want armed Black slaves (and you were taught in school that he wanted to free the slaves right?). He later gave in, but imagine the horrific torture that awaited a Black Union soldier that was captured by the Confederate army? The Black soldier did not receive equal pay for his fighting, and heroes like Robert Smalls proved that the Black soldier really was as smart as the White soldier, which was a common stereotype of the time as well as today (e.g. “IQ tests”). These Black soldiers would soon be placed back into second-class citizenship in the U.S., as the Union and Confederate states sought reconciliation with one another, not the men and women that it had enslaved for over 250 years. Those same Black soldiers, like other formerly enslaved Black Americans, didn’t receive their ”40 acres and a mule”. That land was given back to the very people they had just fought against just years prior.

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Fast forward to WWI, right in the midst of the Nadir period for civil rights, as Black Americans were “free” but certainly not equal, so many Black men enlisted to fight, “the War Department had to stop accepting black volunteers because the quotas for African Americans were filled.” “African American men who owned their own farms and had families were often drafted before single white employees of large planters. Although comprising just ten percent of the entire United States population, blacks supplied thirteen percent of inductees.”  They returned to a nation who’s cities erupted with race riots that stole black wealth (Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921) and lynchings and sundown towns.

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By WWII, Black Americans still enlisted and desired to fight so-call fascism with pride. However, how embarrassing was it for the USA to be called out on its hypocrisy by none other than…Hitler. He noted that the USA’s treatment of the Negro set an example for how Germany must deal with “foreign Jews”. They returned home after WWII still subjected to Jim Crow segregation, more race riots, and once again, unequal pay, as 1.2 million soldiers were not able to take advantage of their GI Bill and be free to move into the newly formed suburbs which would soon create an even wider wealth gap through housing that remains firmly entrenched into the 21st century. The result, the Black soldier’s family could not benefit from sacrifice that he made for his country not just with housing, but because they were also unable to use the money for college tuitions or business loans. To add insult to atrocity, many were attacked by Whites as they were on their way home from the war.

 

How much changed by the Vietnam War for the Black soldier? I think you know the answer, as the 1960s are the one period of time most American’s did learn about in school as the “Civil Rights Era”, due to the assignation of Dr. Martin Luther King. Black Vietnam veterans, as after every other war, returned to segregated communities and “their place” in society. However, this time, the situation was in the process of changing. Some of these veterans returned home determined to now make this country live up to the promise it had been making to prior Black veterans for generations.

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How will we look at the time of service for those who served in Desert Storm or the so-called Iraqi War and years of fighting the “War on Terror”? Fifty years from now, will we look back and note their time of service at the time when Black men and women were being shot and killed by police officers and the officers continuously get found “not guilty”? Will we see that they served at a time when “White Extremists” in their own country, are considered more dangerous than the terrorist they were fighting in the Middle East?

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In my opinion, the Black veteran is the epitome of an American patriot. Perhaps they have never fought for what America actually was to them, but for what America always promised it would be to them and their offspring for their service.

For that, I sincerely say, thank you for your service.

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Blaming The Victim: Why It May Be Time To Stop Calling People An “Uncle Tom” And Give Them A New Name

Recently, I’ve been reading The Revolt Of The Black Athlete, by Dr. Harry Edwards. Early

in the first chapter, the term “Uncle Tom” was used often, which got me thinking. Do

people know the history of the term “Uncle Tom” and do they know why it should not be

used in the first place? So, in the following, I will be answering these questions and be

replacing “Uncle Tom” with another term that I suggest should be used.

 

The Origins of Uncle Tom

The origins of “Uncle Tom” comes from the anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life

Among the Lowly (usually shortened to Uncle Tom’s Cabin). The novel is about Uncle Tom

and the characters around him, starting with Uncle Tom, a Black man enslaved on a farm

owned Arthur Shelby. Author faced the threat of losing his farm, so he and his wife,

Emily, decided to sell Tom and another slave, Harry, to a slave trader. Harry’s mother,

Eliza, who was Emily’s maid, overheard Arthur and Emily talking about selling Harry

and Tom. So she escaped with Harry before they could sell her son. Tom on the other

hand, was sold to the slave trader, much to the dislike of Arthur’s son, George, who will

show up in the

story later on. Tom is put on a riverboat and is traveling down the Mississippi River

when he saves a little white girl from drowning. The little girl, Evangeline St. Clare, who,

in my opinion, is the white savior in the story, convinces her father, Augustine, to buy

Tom from the slave trader. After two years with the St. Clares, Evangeline (or Eva) dies

from an illness, and her father vows to free Tom. Instead, he ends up being sold by

Augustine’s wife after he was stabbed outside a tavern. Tom is sold to a man named

Simon Legree, the main antagonist in the story. Simon Legree begins to hate Tom when

he refuses to whip his fellow slave. Legree beats Tom and sets his goal on crushing Tom’s

faith in God, but Tom keeps reading the Bible and comforting the other slaves. But after a

while on the plantation, Tom begins to question his faith in God, until he has two visions,

one of Jesus and the other of Evangeline, which resolves his faith in God. After this, he

encourages two slaves to escape, in which they do. Legree demands Tom tells him where

they went, but Tom doesn’t say anything. Therefore, Legree orders that his overseers,

Quimbo and Sambo, who went from slaves to overseers by betraying other slaves,

whip Tom to death. They both repent after seeing Tom’s character while he was dying.

Shortly before Tom dies, George Shelby, the son of Arthur Shelby earlier in the story,

comes to the plantation to free Tom but finds out it’s too late.

Why Shouldn’t the term “Uncle Tom” Be Used Anymore?

 

The characteristics of a so-called “Uncle Tom” does not match up with the one in the

story. Uncle Tom did not betray his race, instead, he did two main things that are against

what a so-called “Uncle Tom” would do. One: he refused to denounce something he

believed in, which was God, even while the white man was beating him, Second, he

unlike Quimbo and Sambo, refused to snitch on runaway slaves. So instead of using the

term “Uncle Tom” to describe someone who may be so-called “selling out their race”,

Sambo is a more accurate term. Sambo, like his counterpart, Quimbo, went from being a

slave to a Black overseer by betraying slaves. The term “Sambo” originally was used

for people that were mixed with Black and Native American ancestry, but then became a

term used for anyone that has Black and white ancestry. In the story Sambo was a part of

the wrongdoing committed by Legree. So when a Black person defends the wrongdoing of

a white person, the person is not an Uncle Tom, but actually a Sambo.

 

In my opinion, the term “Uncle Tom” should not be used any longer, and perhaps Dr.

Harry Edwards, and many other writers, use the term to convey the message

about someone who betrays or speaks out against, fellow Black people. I think the term

should be replaced with “Sambo”, a more accurate term. Some, if not most, have been

misinformed about the origins of “Uncle Tom”, and I hope we can be more accurate in our

terminology in the future when we discuss Black people who are considered to be

betrayers of other Black people, or who defend the unjust actions done to Black people by

other so-called racial groups.

Presentation Outline: The Evolution of Blackface

Lexi had the opportunity to present to her college class this week and decided to talk about the Evolution of Blackface. Perfect timing, as we had just watched Spike Lee’s Bamboozled a few weeks prior, but this was going to be a particularly “interesting” topic before a majority white classroom. 

She has allowed me to repost her presentation outline (so it does not read like an essay) here on our site. Actually, that is the whole point that I’m teaching her, it is HER work! We write so many papers and do so much research for teachers or our employers, but it is our work, and something in us that we should share for our own purposes and not the benefit of others. 

I must also say CONGRATULATIONS to my girl. In one month, she graduates with her Associate’s degree right after clocking the odometer over to her 18th birthday.  Since she’s is going to be an English guru, hopefully she can edit dad’s sloppy grammar here on the site (and get him to write more) as well. 

 

Topic: The Evolution of Blackface

Specific Purpose: To Inform my COM 206 class on the evaluation of blackface.

Central Idea: Everyone believes that blackface ended in the 1980’s, but there are still many examples of its presence online and in the news. From its racial beginning, controversial middle, and still foreseeable future.

INTRODUCTION

Attention-getter: Lisa R. Pruitt looked at her 1985 yearbook she edited when she was an undergraduate at the University of Arkansas. She was looking to see if any of the students appeared in blackface. After everything that has been starting to surface from other people’s college years, Pruitt believed she would find some photos depicting the same thing. After some searching, she was surprised to see that there weren’t any, but wouldn’t be surprised if she would have some.

Relevance to audience: The controversy about blackface has been spreading in the news lately, and this issue is one that is important to understand. Not only to judge future politicians and clothing, but to understand history as a whole.

Preview of speech: So, I will give a quick overview of how blackface came to be, what was happening with college students in the 80s, and how it’s being used in the 21st century.

(Let’s first start with the quick history.)

BODY

  1. The history of blackface is a very controversial and hidden history.
    1. According to Eric Lott from the book Love & Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class writes that the minstrel show is a, “transparently racial curiosity, a form of leisure that, in inventing and ridiculing the slow-witted but irrepressible ‘plantation darky’”.
      1. Eric Lott continues to say that this was a way of conveniently rationalizing the oppression of black people.
      2. Movies like The Birth of a Nation is an example of blackface. In which white people put on blackface and then made black people look savage and animal like.
    2. The use of blackface dates back to minstrel shows in the mid-19th century
      1. Minstrel shows were the biggest form of entertainment in America before TV shows and movies. These shows often depicted falsehoods about black people to make them seem idiotic and stupid.
    3. After the 1980’s, blackface started to lose its value and instead was being ridiculed. Attitudes started to change about how African Americans are being depicted and whether or not it was right.

(Now that we know some history, let’s jump to the 80s. Where blackface flared until it died, our so we thought.)

  1. For blackface, the 1980’s had many white college students taking part in the practice. This is referred to as the “Great College-Yearbook Reckoning”, stated by Zipporah Osei in “The ‘Great College-Yearbook Reckoning’: Scholars Say Blackface Images Aren’t Outliers”.
    1. Lisa Pruitt also said, “that back then, she and her white classmates weren’t sensitized to the overt racism of blackface”.
    2. This article continues to explain how politicians wore blackface to parties and events during their college years.
      1. Hafsa Quraishi for NPR writes, “both the (Virginia) governor and the attorney general admitted to instances of dressing in blackface for parties in the 1980s”.
      2. Zipporah Osei continues to say that, “Mark Herring, Virginia’s Democratic attorney general, admitted that he too had donned blackface in the 1980s”.

(Now after this time period of college rebellion, we enter the 21st century. This is when we start to see another rise of blackface, but in a different form.)

  • There are still images of blackface being created today in the 21st century. What’s to say that it will end any time soon.
    1. The NPR article says that, “Back in 2000, when comedian Jimmy Kimmel was the host of The Man Show, he had a recurring skit in which he wore blackface to impersonate former Utah Jazz basketball player Karl Malone”.
      1. In this skit, he would mock Malone’s speech and intelligence while wearing full-body blackface.
        1. Jimmy Fallon also wore black face while portraying comedian Chris Rock in an episode of Saturday Night Live in 2000.
      2. This was being talked about so much that Spike Lee, a famous black director, made a movie called Bamboozled that was released in 2000.
        1. This movie touched on the reality of what would happen if minstrel shows were brought back today in the form of a television show. Not only did it talk about blackface, but it also touched on how black people can sell each the out.
      3. The Italian brand Gucci just got ridiculed for selling a black turtle necked sweater that included a red-lined cut out for costumers’ mouth.
        1. Other brands that had similar racist moments include Burberry with a hoodie that had a noose around it, and H&M with its ad controversy of a black boy wear a shirt that said, “coolest monkey in the jungle”.

CONCLUSION

Summary Statement: To conclude, blackface is still very much alive and well. Even though we think that no one uses blackface anymore; brands still release clothing that are blatantly racist. Famous comedians today also have put on blackface, yet they seem to be surprisingly quite during this blackface controversy toward the Virginia governor.

Audience Response Statement: Staying on top of this situation is important to understand how your century thinks. Will you still feel the same way you did when you shopped at Gucci before the sweater outrage, or will you know feel disgusted to own their products?

WOW Statement: We can’t get to a world of no racism, it is virtually impossible. But things as blatant as Gucci’s sweater can be resolved with a little common sense and understanding of history.

TTR Lesson of the Day: Analyzing Black TV Fathers

Black TV Dads collage

Today’s Lesson: Tuesday is Black TV Dad Tuesday. So today, the kids take notes comparing episodes of Good Times (James Evans), Bill Cosby Show (Heathcliff Huxtable) Fresh Prince of Bel Air (Uncle Phil), and Everybody Hates Chris (Julius). They are analyzing the role the Black father has inside the home. How is he portrayed? How is he different than Dre on Blackish (one of the few Black dads currently on TV)? What is his role in the family? Does he fit or promote stereotypes the dominant society has about Black men?

I will be sure to share what the young superstars come up with here!

Cool Pappa

The Pharaoh during the time of Moses

Most people, including me, have wondered who the pharaoh of Exodus was, but the book does not mention the Pharaoh whose heart was always hardened. Throughout this post, I want to give more insight on this subject.

In the book of Exodus, God sends Moses to free the Israelites from enslavement in Egypt, and the Israelites had to endure 40 years of wandering in the wilderness before they could enter the Promised Land. First, when was the book of Exodus written? Some people think that the book of Exodus was written in 1446 B.C, while others believe that it was written around the year 1260 BC.

The reason that some people believe that the book of Exodus was written in 1260 B.C, is because they argue that in Exodus 1:11 Israel was working on a city called Rameses, and this points to the Exodus occurring during the reign of Rameses II. This could be true because Rameses II built a temple that was carved out of a hill. He became king of Egypt in 1394 BC and ruled for 66 years. He built the city of Pi-Rameses in the swamplands of the Delta. This city became the new capital of Egypt. In Kush, he built two rock cut temples of Abu Simbel. During his reign he had a problem with the Hittites, this state threatened Egypt’s Asian interests. So a battle took place in 1389 BC in Syria. He could possibly be one of the pharaohs that existed at the time of Moses, but the only evidence I found was the city he built.

There is evidence that Thutmose III (1485-1431) was ruling during the time of Moses because his mummy is the only one to predict plagues that spread through the Egyptian and Hittite empires. Plus his first born son, Amenemhet, died before he could take over for his father. Some people think Amenemhet died because of the tenth plague. So his second son, Amenhotep II, took over the throne. It is also said that his stepmother Hatshepsut was the one that found Moses in the river and that Thutmose II, her husband, was the Pharaoh when Moses fled to Midian for killing an Egyptian.

There is no way of knowing for sure of who was ruling during that time because of limited information, plus we do not know for sure whether the dates for Pharaohs are correct. But I hope this helped you get a better understanding of what pharaohs were around during the time of Moses.

What is so wrong with American slavery when the Hebrews had slaves too?

By Big Homie, age: 12

So, first off, what exactly was American slavery? American slavery was the slavery of Africans and their main oppressors were the Europeans who took them by ship (as you can see by this map) from Africa to the United States and Europe.

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What is so wrong with American slavery when the Hebrews had slaves too? Well from what the bible tells us, we can only presume that the Hebrews had slaves because in the bible God told Moses laws about slaves. In Exodus 21:1-6 God says to Moses: “Now these are the rules that you shall set before them. When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free, for nothing. If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out alone. But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever”.

Now let’s compare American slavery and Hebrew slavery. In Exodus 21:2 God says to Moses: 2 “When you buy a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years, and in the seventh he shall go out free…” Well in America when you are a slave, you are a slave either until you die or the master lets you free but even then, you might have go back if someone catches you. In Exodus 21:3-6 God says to Moses: 3 “If he comes in single, he shall go out single; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out alone. 5” But if the slave plainly says, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,’ then his master shall bring him to God, and he shall bring him to the door or the doorpost. And his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall be his slave forever”. In American slavery, the slaves could marry, but the whole family had to stay slaves.

So, what is wrong with American slavery when the Hebrews had slaves too? What is wrong with American slavery is that the African slaves were treated so bad that were lynched and beaten until they were either almost dead or dead. While the Hebrew slaves were treated nicely had much better clothes, much better living arraignments, and much better lives than slaves in America, which is way American slavery was worse than Hebrew slavery.

When We Ruled by Robin Walker – Part Two

In part one, I shared our 2016-2017 world history textbook is Robin Walker’s When We Ruled and a little about why I made the decision to use this text. Today, I’d like to share a bit more on why and how we are using his amazing work.

Why We Are Using: Is Black History Slave History?

This photo summarizes how history is taught to African-Americans:

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Now, it is bad enough that this is the opening act in U.S. History, but World History? So many questions remain like:

  • What were “slaves” doing in Africa before slavery?
  • If they were in Africa, were they really slaves?
  • If they were not slaves, what were they doing?
  • If Africa had so many people with dark skin in the country, how did they become slaves and why are “white” people there now?
  • When did people with lighter skin come to Africa?
  • If darker skin people were in Africa and the bible we read seemed to take place just “above Africa”, how did Jesus and the others become “white”?
  • Were people in Egypt “white” or “black”?
  • If “white”, how did they get that way, evolution?
  • What did that make Moses?
  • What color were the people when the Hebrews, Joseph, Jacob, and Abraham went to Egypt?
  • What happened and who built those pyramids?

As you could see, working backward from where we are today generates many questions that need to be answered. Just working from slavery in America to today only provides one narrative, and that’s HIS-story. Needless-to-say, HIS-story usually goes like this:

  • African’s were savage people that were running around uncivilized in Africa, so Europeans started off with good intentions by giving them Christianity and brought them here to America like immigrants.
  • The early immigration plan went too far, and some evil people misused and mistreated those Africans, and made them slaves and treated them really bad.
  • Remember, they were savages. Therefore, the “bad treatment” they received in the “New World” was still probably better than their lives in Africa because after all, their own African people sold them to the Europeans anyway.
  • It was all God’s plan for without slavery, Black people would not know Christ.
  • Overall, without coming to America, African’s would still be running through the jungle with spears and no clothes because they never advanced to be civilized like other “races”.
  • Glory, Glory, Halleluiah, his untruth keeps marching on…school year after school year.
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Looks like culture theft was going on long before jazz, rock and roll and hip-hop!

How We Are Using

As I stated previously,  we are using the study guide as to set the pace for our lessons. Each day, my 15 and 12-year-olds have a portion to read and in some cases, write an essay on. As a matter of fact, I’m not going to go too deep into this as we will soon be giving an example! As their midterm final, they are to:

  • Choose any book in the bible.
  • Find a bible map that (if accurate and true) shows who inhabited that region when the book was written.
  • What nation was in charge?
  • How did they get there?
  • Based on what has been found and what Robin Walker states about that area, describe the people and their culture?

Now previously, one of the more interesting books in our library was written in 1881. What do you think that book said and what was the prevailing thought of “the negro” in 1881? Well, take a look:

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Now to have in the library, fine, as it’s an interesting piece of work. But to teach, no thanks (at least not for the purposes generally recommended).

Robin Walker opens up When We Ruled by asking in chapter one, “What is Black History?” He goes on to quote the aforementioned Professor William Hansberry along with Professor Cheikh Anta Diop, the great Senegalese scholar to narrow our focus and begin to break of the hardened ground in our minds. Then the chapter flies over North Africa, West Africa, Ethiopia, Southern Africa and the East African Coast, proving that pyramids, royal palaces, and many other great massive structures were built on the continent that remain to this day but is rarely seen. Why are they not seen and why are they not tourists attractions like the structures in Rome, Paris, and Greece?

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I learned that the Sudan has more pyramids than any other country on earth – even more than Egypt!

Photo Source: By Wufei07 – Own work, Public Domain,

https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=742032

When We Ruled is filled with many different diagrams, maps and photos throughout the 700+pages. So can find many various avenues to turn down to begin exploration on other historical events and places.

Now the next semester is soon upon us in a couple of weeks. If you do not have your copy (feel free to order from our affiliate link below) and want to join us on this journey, now is the time! But more importantly, now is the time to for us to know the truth about our past than we know about European history. After all, the knowledge contained in When We Ruled will do me and my children far more benefit, than knowing all about Zeus, Aphrodite, and Medusa, to name just a few myths that are forever etched in my brain taking up space.

Cool Pappa

Click below to order When We Ruled:

When We Ruled: The Ancient and Mediaeval History of Black Civilisations