The month of April: Jackie Robinson, born;Paul Robeson, born; Maya Angelou, born; Coretta Scott King, born’ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Murdered!
The month of April is very significant to the discussion of the brutal economic servitude and so-called emancipation of black people in America. For centuries, whites had indulged in directing and controlling the fate of the masses of blacks from birth to death. Then one fateful day, April 11th, 1861, a triggering mechanism was fired that would ultimately prove to be the beginning of the end for America's inhuman practice of enslaving black men, women and children.
The Civil War began. And on April 9th, 1865 – almost four years to the date it began – the "War Between the States ended.
Numerous organized efforts by enslaved blacks and pro emancipation whites (John Brown, etc.) had failed to overcome the tyrannical rule and mass repression of the helpless people. Many of the organized efforts to free themselves failed due to frightened and insecure blacks. Hoping to gain favor with their master, they often revealed the plans.
Of course, those who dared to organize these revolts suffered the most extreme measures of punishment and suffering, including hangings. The betrayals are just one example of the effectiveness of the powerful, overwhelming social engineering done to the minds of enslaved black people. Today, many of their descendants still exhibit evidence of the effectiveness of that social engineering.
Some 200,000 African-American men fought for their freedom in America's bloodiest war. Initially denied a chance to fight, these men demonstrated outstanding enthusiasm, courage and bravery. Over 37,000 lost their lives.
Often overlooked are the many African-American women who also sacrificed and made significant contributions in the struggle. They served as spies, cooks, nurses and servants mostly. However, there were a few documented cases where African-American women disguised themselves and joined the men in battle.
Most of us remember being taught from standard textbooks that the purpose of the war was to end the brutal and shameful practice of slavery. In reality it began as an economic and political war. The initial struggle represented the industrial north versus the mostly agricultural south and its increasing wealth due to hundreds of years of free forced slave labor.
One conflict was the effort by the southern states to increase their political strength in Congress. Frustrated southerners, weary of what they saw as the north meddling in their affairs, began to call for secession. South Carolina seceded in December of 1860. And on April 12th, 1861 they fired on Fort Sumter in what is considered the first shots that began the Civil War.
Ending slavery became a by-product of the deadly conflict caused by a strong and consistent campaign by black leaders and white abolitionists in the north. The bloody 4-year conflict left over 600,000 dead on the battlefield.
Many of those fighting on the side of the north were no different from those who fought to preserve slavery. Investments and the purchase of goods and products produced by slaves were very lucrative for businesses in northern states. Hence, there was considerable support for slavery by the industrial north. And although blacks were technically free, there was widespread discrimination and segregation in the north before and after the war.
One can understand the omission of certain information while trying to keep the union together in an atmosphere of extreme bitterness and hate. But when the blanks are filled in and the myths are debunked a different picture is exposed of some of the people we have been exalted and revered for so long; in particular, President Abraham Lincoln.
The most pressing issue for President Lincoln was always to keep the union together. He never wavered from his goal to do whatever was necessary to accomplish that objective. This thesis is clearly delineated by the distinguished author and former Ebony Magazine senior editor Lerone Bennett Jr. After reading this book you may have a totally different perspective of Lincoln, taught as the liberal "great emancipator" in standard American history textbooks.
The title of the book is very revealing, "Forced Into Glory/Abraham Lincoln's White Dream." Bennett exposes the atrocious politics of the Civil War in which enslaved black people became human pawns in a deadly game for wealth and power. The book reveals Lincoln as a staunch white supremacist who often used the N word; and emancipation was not on his radar. Bennett says if Lincoln had his way millions of whites in the twentieth century would have been in "Gone With the Wind" instead of watching it.
From his inauguration in 1860 Lincoln labored over what to do with black people. One of his earlier ideas was to send them out of the country. One of his most preposterous ideas was gradual emancipation that would be done over 100 years, and slave owners would be compensated for their "property." His schedule would have resulted in people such as Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah Winfrey, Jesse Jackson, Muhammad Ali and countless other outstanding black people being born into slavery.
"Forced Into Glory" is a must read for history buffs. No, a must read for everyone! It created enormous controversy when it was released. And it still does.
I'm not writing this as a message to foster division or hate. But I do believe we are all better served when we personally explore the truth and facts about people and events that helped shape our lives. After all, despite his true feelings about enslaved black people, the grueling war and continued pressure from both black and white people, President Lincoln did make compelling and necessary decisions to end the war.
Let's never forget, there were many white Americans who were on the front line, and many paid with their lives in the struggle to rid this nation of the brutal slave industry. And many good people remain committed to help force America to ensure life, liberty and equal opportunity for all people regardless of race, creed, religion, personal belief or lifestyle.
The present day fight for freedom and equality is ongoing. Without struggle the system has shown little evidence of significant change. Therefore, we must all join and support the movement for control and direction of our fate....just saying....
(Robin Brown is a veteran, award-winning journalist, who also has experience in public relations, marketing and advertising and government relations. He has served as media director for several political campaigns. An actor/playwright, can be contacted at 901-728-4768.)