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Two of the best sources on the origin and impact of African enslavement

are Capitalism and Slavery by the former Prime Minister of Trinidad, Sir Eric

Williams and the classic work How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

by the brilliant Guyanese scholar/activist Walter Rodney.

 

 

Books on Reparations

Belinda's Petition: A Concise History of Reparations For The Transatlantic Slave Trade  / Race, Racism & Reparations

Should America Pay?: Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations / Race and Reparations: A Black Perspective for the 21st Century   (1996)

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Repudiating an Apologist

Skip Gates’ "End the Slavery Blame-Game" Nonsense

By Dr. Ron Daniels

 

Renowned Harvard Professor Henry "Skip" Gates recently wrote an Editorial Opinion piece entitled "Ending the Slavery Black-Game" which was prominently featured in the New York Times. Professor Gates argues that certain African nations and leaders played major roles in capturing Africans and selling them to European slave traffickers. Therefore, from his perspective, Africans were equally complicit in the holocaust of enslavement, thereby nullifying any claim for reparations for the cultural, mental, spiritual and physical damages inflicted on Africans in America. It appears the point of Professor Gates' Op-Ed piece is to silence the demand for reparations once and for all by shifting the burden for enslavement and the subsequent centuries of enforced labor, colonialism and apartheid on to the shoulders of Africans. In short, if Africans had not captured and sold their own people, the trans-Atlantic slave trade and development of the "peculiar institution" would not have transpired.

I'm sure Professor Gates' position provides relief and comfort to some in White America who are tired of hearing African Americans "complain" about the adverse effects of enslavement on the evolution of the Black community in the U.S. and the demand for reparations. After all, if an African American of such prestige and prominence can say that there is no need for reparations, then it must be so.

Of course this is not the first time Professor Gates has fancied himself standing up against "misguided" claims and positions by his own people. It was not so long ago that he emerged as the self-appointed hit man on a mission to discredit Afro-centricity and African-centered education as "pseudo" disciplines. When leading scholars like Dr. John Henrik Clarke, Dr. Leonard Jeffries, Dr. Charshee McIntyre, Dr. James Turner, Sonia Sanchez, Dr. Molefe Asante, Dr. Maulana Karenga and a host of others were contending that the goal of Black Studies/Africana Studies must be "education for liberation," it was Professor Gates who sided with the academic establishment in castigating this approach.

Indeed, he became the "darling" of conservative White academia by denouncing African-centered Black Studies programs as "separatist" enterprises, lacking in scholastic rigor and objectivity. It was also from this perspective that he advanced the notion of African culpability for enslavement in a television documentary.

The New York Times Op-Ed piece is simply the most recent effort by Gates to assure the world that Africans did it to themselves and therefore are at least as complicit in the horrors of the African Holocaust as Europeans. Despite his highly controversial arrest at his home in Cambridge in an obvious case of racial profiling, perhaps, Professor Gates is attempting to demonstrate that we really do live in a "post-racial" America by relieving a Black President of the burden of dealing with the "divisive issue of slavery reparations."

Unfortunately, wittingly or unwittingly, he has allowed himself to become an apologist for peoples and nations who do not want to accept responsibility for the greatest transgression against human rights in history, the holocaust of enslavement. This dangerous posture must be repudiated.

No reasonable scholar would dispute that some African nations played a role in the slave trade. First and foremost it is important to remember that the institution of slavery is as old as humankind and Africans were not immune to engaging in it. Though slavery in any form is never to be condoned, there was no comparison between the kind of involuntary servitude evident among some nations in Africa and the British American form of chattel slavery. Indeed, the latter form of servitude was the most dehumanizing and brutal the world has ever known. Moreover, slave trafficking never evolved as the principal means of economy for African nations. In fact the holocaust of enslavement seriously disrupted the development of the continent.

But, that's not the major point. Two of the best sources on the origin and impact of African enslavement are Capitalism and Slavery by the former Prime Minister of Trinidad, Sir Eric Williams and the classic work How Europe Underdeveloped Africa by the brilliant Guyanese scholar/activist Walter Rodney. The major point is that Africans did not initiate the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which was the impetus for enslavement, nor were Africans the primary beneficiaries of this system of exploitation/oppression.

The demand for huge numbers of human beings to be utilized as free labor in the western hemisphere was not a function of developments in Africa. Rather it was a direct consequence of the ruthless subjection, domination and colonization of regions in what came to be named the "Americas." It was the insatiable need/demand for free labor to make the colonies of the Americas profitable which triggered the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the horrific enslavement of Africans by Europeans - in some instances with the forced or voluntary collaboration of African leaders and nations.

Similar to the drug traffic which plagues many urban Black communities, this destructive enterprise was not initiated by Black people and Black communities are certainly not the primary beneficiaries. The drug dealers and so called "kingpins" of the drug traffic in the Black community may live relatively large in comparison to others in the hood, but their take is a mere pittance compared to the huge profits reaped by the global drug cartels. And, while it is legitimate to condemn the drug dealer as a "menace to society," it is clear that dealers are bit players in the broader and more lucrative drug traffic controlled by forces external to the Black community.

The holocaust of enslavement may have provided a pittance of benefits for African collaborators, but it led to the amassing of obscene fortunes for the initiators of this vast global system of exploitation. As Walter Rodney documents, the commercial and industrial revolutions in Britain, France and other European nations was fueled by the capital extracted from the trans-Atlantic slave trade.  The Triangular Trade produced a similar effect in terms of dramatically accelerating the commercial and industrial revolutions in North America.

However, as referenced above, while Europe and America thrived/developed from the holocaust of enslavement, Africa and African people were devastated by the horrendous loss of millions of lives, the displacement of millions more, the destruction of community and the underdevelopment and stagnation of the continent.

In the United States the capital extracted from enslaved Africans, with the complicity of the government and active involvement of numerous financial institutions and corporations, bolstered the expansion of the economy and benefiting Whites at all levels of society directly or indirectly. Meanwhile, enslaved Africans were considered less than human beings under a system of chattel slavery that defined them as property by law. Africans in the U.S. suffered generations of cultural aggression, separation of families and brutal treatment while their free labor enriched the slave masters and the nation.

Apparently Professor Gates does not believe these factors are of consequence when attempting to apportion blame for the holocaust of enslavement. In this regard his gravest mistake is to suggest that the perpetrator/initiator/principal beneficiary and victim of a crime are equally guilty because some within the victimized community collaborated with the victimizer. This is utter nonsense and must be rejected for what it is, a crude attempt to relieve the perpetrator from the burden of responsibility for the crime.

Hence, Professor Gates is an apologist for the system of oppression that enslaved our forebears and invented theories of white supremacy that are so deeply ingrained in the fabric of American culture that he could be arrested by a White police officer for attempting to enter his own home in the first decade of the 21st Century.

Africans in America are due reparations, and the process must begin with an acknowledgement of the horrific wrongs committed against our people. Rather than apologists, whose mission is to confuse the issue, we need an appropriate apology from the U.S. government and all private and public institutions which were complicit in perpetuating and profiting from the peculiar institution.

And, to be meaningful, ultimately the apologies must be backed by significant initiatives to repair the damage inflicted on Africans in America as a collective whole, a corporate body that was underdeveloped by centuries of enslavement. Then and only then, can we achieve the reconciliation that apparently Professor Gates' Op-Ed piece superficially and prematurely seeks to attain.

Dr. Ron Daniels is President of the Institute of the Black World 21st Century and Founder of the Haiti Support Project. He is a Distinguished Lecturer at York College City University of New York. His articles and essays also appear on the IBW website www.ibw21.org and www.northstarnews.com. To send a message, arrange media interviews or speaking engagements, Dr. Daniels can be reached via email at info@ibw21.org.

Source: BlackAgendaReport

posted 7 May 2010

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Response

In-Defense of Privilege
"Smirched with compromise, rotted with Opportunism"

We should not be surprised that in a period of growing economic disparitiesin the US and globally, at a time when progressives in society have failed to find viable solutions to the essential question of the day, that THROWBACKS will quickly move in to fill that void.

I think Vladimir Bilenkinperhaps quoting Marx--expressed such a social order in society, this way:

"When the contradictions accumulated in society cannot be resolved by its progressive classes this task is accomplished by its reactionary forces."

So, unfortunately the discussed case here of Skip "the jip" Gates, show that the previligentsia is now rising to its historic task, in defense of their interests. Without the assertive intervention of progressive intellectuals such as Daniels, Ransby and progressive political forces HISTORY COULD WELL DEVELOP ON ITS BAD SIDE.

As an example, in the last century, we see that the retreat of German Progressives in support of German Nationalism, was part of the process that enabled the rise of Hitler. Peace and Blessings, Yao Lloyd D. McCarthy

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The Essence of Reparations (Baraka) /  Race, Racism & Reparations (Cortlett)

Obama's America and the New Jim Crow (Alexander) / Michelle_Alexander Part II Democracy Now (Video)

 

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Remarks by the President and the First Lady at Presentation of the National Medal of the Arts and the National Humanities medal.—November 5, 1998—THE PRESIDENT: Near the beginning of this century, W. E. B. Du Bois predicted a "black tomorrow" of African American achievement. Thanks in large measure to Henry Louis Gates, that tomorrow has turned into today. For 20 years he has revitalized African American studies. In his writing and teaching, through his leadership of the Dream Team of African American scholars he brought together at Harvard, Gates has shed brilliant light on authors and traditions kept in the shadows for too long. From "signifying monkeys" to small-town West Virginia, from ancient Africa to the new New York, Skip Gates has described the American experience with force, with dignity and, most of all, with color. Ladies and gentlemen, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Applause.) The Medal is presented.)—clinton6

The Signifying Monkey: Towards a Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism (1989)
Colored People: A Memoir (1994, memoir)

Audio: My Story, My Song (Featuring blues guitarist Walter Wolfman Washington)

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created

By Charles C. Mann

I’m a big fan of Charles Mann’s previous book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, in which he provides a sweeping and provocative examination of North and South America prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus. It’s exhaustively researched but so wonderfully written that it’s anything but exhausting to read. With his follow-up, 1493, Mann has taken it to a new, truly global level. Building on the groundbreaking work of Alfred Crosby (author of The Columbian Exchange and, I’m proud to say, a fellow Nantucketer), Mann has written nothing less than the story of our world: how a planet of what were once several autonomous continents is quickly becoming a single, “globalized” entity.

Mann not only talked to countless scientists and researchers; he visited the places he writes about, and as a consequence, the book has a marvelously wide-ranging yet personal feel as we follow Mann from one far-flung corner of the world to the next. And always, the prose is masterful. In telling the improbable story of how Spanish and Chinese cultures collided in the Philippines in the sixteenth century, he takes us to the island of Mindoro whose “southern coast consists of a number of small bays, one next to another like tooth marks in an apple.”

We learn how the spread of malaria, the potato, tobacco, guano, rubber plants, and sugar cane have disrupted and convulsed the planet and will continue to do so until we are finally living on one integrated or at least close-to-integrated Earth. Whether or not the human instigators of all this remarkable change will survive the process they helped to initiate more than five hundred years ago remains, Mann suggests in this monumental and revelatory book, an open question.

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The Persistence of the Color Line

Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency

By Randall Kennedy

Among the best things about The Persistence of the Color Line is watching Mr. Kennedy hash through the positions about Mr. Obama staked out by black commentators on the left and right, from Stanley Crouch and Cornel West to Juan Williams and Tavis Smiley. He can be pointed. Noting the way Mr. Smiley consistently “voiced skepticism regarding whether blacks should back Obama” . . .

The finest chapter in The Persistence of the Color Line is so resonant, and so personal, it could nearly be the basis for a book of its own. That chapter is titled “Reverend Wright and My Father: Reflections on Blacks and Patriotism.”  Recalling some of the criticisms of America’s past made by Mr. Obama’s former pastor, Mr. Kennedy writes with feeling about his own father, who put each of his three of his children through Princeton but who “never forgave American society for its racist mistreatment of him and those whom he most loved.” 

His father distrusted the police, who had frequently called him “boy,” and rejected patriotism. Mr. Kennedy’s father “relished Muhammad Ali’s quip that the Vietcong had never called him ‘nigger.’ ” The author places his father, and Mr. Wright, in sympathetic historical light.

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Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement

 A Radical Democratic Vision

By Barbara Ransby

One of the most important African American leaders of the twentieth century and perhaps the most influential woman in the civil rights movement, Ella Baker (1903-1986) was an activist whose remarkable career spanned fifty years and touched thousands of lives. A gifted grassroots organizer, Baker shunned the spotlight in favor of vital behind-the-scenes work that helped power the black freedom struggle.  She was a national officer and key figure in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, one of the founders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and a prime mover in the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

 Baker made a place for herself in predominantly male political circles that included W. E. B. Du Bois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King Jr., all the while maintaining relationships with a vibrant group of women, students, and activists both black and white.

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 Alexander Crummell

A Study of Civilization and Discontent

By Wilson Jeremiah Moses

The third, and most egregiously neglected Pan African intellectual black nationalist is Alexander Crummell (1819-1898).  Born in New York, brought up as an Episcopalian, as a youth he was introduced to Greek, Latin, and biblical languages thanks to the support of his father, who was born in Africa, a member of the Temne ethnic group. 

 He received his bachelors degree, and passed his examination in classical Greek at the University of Cambridge in England.  In 1853, he took up missionary work in Liberia.  His sermons and addresses are classic illustrations of the Christian Afrocentrism that later characterized the Garvey Movement.   He was a solid advocate of African American political rights.  Gravitating towards high church ritual, he anticipated Elijah Muhammad’s hostility to grass roots black religion, which he viewed as a plantation survival and part of a slaveholder’s conspiracy to undermine the moral and intellectual development of African Americans.

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African or American?

Black Identity and Political Activism in New York City, 1784-1861

By Leslie Alexander

 Focusing on the meaning of African heritage, Black Nationalism, community, and African emigration in New York City during the antebellum period, Alexander provides a compelling argument for the emergence of African heritage and identity and charts the waxing and waning of its meaning in the black community.Leslie M. Harris, author of In the Shadow of Slavery: African Americans in New York City, 1626-1863

“Alexander brilliantly examines this topic for black people in antebellum New York City. . . . An important contribution. Highly recommended.”—Choice

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 5 March 2012

 

 

 

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Related files:  Henry Louis Gates' Dangerously Wrong Slave History   Reparations Check