The Role of the Slave Jail in American History

To put slave jails in perspective, there are a few other terms I’ll need to explain; breeding farms, Partus Sequitur Ventrem, coffles, Lumpkin’s Alley, the African burial ground, and slave rings. I’ll provide an example to put it all in context. Robert Lumpkin bought three lots in Richmond, VA in 1844 that would become America’s most infamous slave jail, nicknamed “The Devil’s Half-Acre.” It was already a holding facility for slaves but Lumpkin took it to a brand new level.

Richmond was at one the second largest center in America for the sale of slaves, trailing only New Orleans. Virginia had a surplus of slaves due to a decline in tobacco production and the practice of slave breeding. Unlike Charleston, SC which was the largest center for receiving African slaves. Virginia (along with Maryland) was dedicated to the breeding of slaves. The forced, continual mating of slaves for the purpose of bearing children that could later be sold.

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Many of these children were America’s attempt at eugenics, an attempt it rarely talks about. If it comes up at all in history books, it describes laws preventing the “enfeebled” from marrying and sterilization of the poor, immoral, and disabled. They don’t mention the breeding of the biggest, strongest black “bucks” with the perceived best breeders. Colonial Americans broke with the British tradition where children followed the father’s heritage. They instead implemented, Partus Sequitur Ventrem under which children born to slaves would be what the mother was; ensuring that children of slaves would also be slaves. Not gaining their freedom as in other forms of servitude and slavery in most parts of the world. The same law established that white men could not be found to have raped their slaves.

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Virginia slaveowners would bring their excess slaves to the Richmond slave markets for sale to Southern plantations. At the same time, agents of the largest traders would solicit individual farms and plantations; offering to sell their slaves for them. Farmers that had failed to properly rotate their crops were experiencing low yields and the sale of their often inherited slaves was like found money. After their purchase at the slave market, they were housed in slave jails. Although Lumpkin was the largest of the jailers in Richmond, there were multiple slave jails in the same area; similar to seeing multiple bail-bondsmen in the same neighborhood, close to a nearby jail. In what was called, “Lumpkin’s Alley,” multiple slave jails were located. All just a few blocks from the present-day capitol building. Multiple slave jails were often located near the large slave markets with Lumpkin’s Alley being an example.

Today, Richmond has multiple train lines running through it but they didn’t exist in the early days of organized slave trading. Slaves headed to Florida, or New Orleans might be sent by boat. Slaves headed West or Southwest had to walk. Some to what is now West Virginia where they could catch a boat. Others to points as far away as Georgia and Alabama. Slaves were paired together with iron rings around their necks, fastened with an iron or wooden bar, then chained to the other slaves in what was called a “coffle.” The jails would hold the slaves until there were enough to make the trip worthwhile. Coffles were herded by men on horseback with whips, guns… and dogs. After a time, railroads were built (primarily by slaves) and coffles diminished, not to to the humanity of the slaveowners but because a more productive method was found.

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Back to Robert Lumpkin’s jail, and how it earned its nickname; the Devil’s Half-Acre. It wasn’t because Lumpkin was the largest slave trader in the area for over twenty years, although he was. It was because of the harsh conditions and Lumpkin’s cruelty. You may have seen images of how slaves were packed into slave ships for the Middle Passage. Lumpkin did something similar but on dry land. Slaves were packed sometimes literally atop one another in a cramped space with no toilets and almost no access to the outside. Many slaves died of sickness and starvation; others from beatings and torture. The dead were cast into mass graves and barely covered. This area was called the African burial ground and can be found today by those knowing to look. Lumpkin’s Jail reeked of dead bodies, human excrement, sweat, and smoke; its nickname, the Devil’s Half-Acre is well deserved.

Modern-day Richmond (like many Southern cities) is struggling with how to commemorate its history. Corporate and government leaders are trying to preserve the past while keeping it from sounding harsh. Some of the same people are struggling with their Confederate statues. There had been some talk of “not using Lumpkin’s name and making him famous again.” No such concern exists for the Confederate Generals who still line Richmond streets. Robert E. Lee, J.E.B. Stuart, and Stonewall Jackson have permanent places on Richmond’s Monument Avenue, forbidden by a new law from being removed.

Lumpkin bought a light-skinned slave girl named Mary at age twelve. She bore five children by him and at some time they married. He sent his even lighter-skinned daughters to fine schools; ensuring they got the best education available. All while he maintained a “whipping room” where slaves laid on the floor, bound at their ankles and wrists, and were beaten; sometimes until dead. I give Lumpkin no credit for his slave wife. He ran with a crew of other slavers who also married their slaves who bore them children. Before the Civil War ended, Lumpkin sent Mary and their children to Pennsylvania where they couldn’t be sold back into slavery to pay his debts. When Lumpkin died, she inherited his land which she ultimately sold to a Baptist minister, Nathaniel Colver, looking to establish an all-Black seminary. That site later became Virginia Union University.

Though Lumpkin’s jail was the largest in Virginia. One company, Franklin & Armfield, applied modern business practices to slave trading. They had multiple slave-depots (jails) along their various routes. If you pictured these jails as regional warehouses from which they shipped their goods across the South; you’d be on the right track, They utilized all manner of transportation, although the unlucky slaves headed to Atlanta, walked the whole way. Coffles followed the Cumberland Road to Wheeling, VA (now West Virginia) and the Ohio River where they boarded steamboats. On other routes, they might reach a train station and be packed in cars until they reached their destination. After Isaac Franklin and John Armfield got rich dealing in human misery, they retired and became socially prominent members of their prospective societies.

Temporary slave jails were also a fixture of the slave markets. Filled to the brim at the beginning of the day of each sale. Gradually emptied until all the slaves had been sold. The evidence of the largest slave markets in Richmond, VA, New Orleans, LA, and Natchez, MS has all but been erased. Efforts to memorialize those sites have mostly failed or been sanitized so as not to expose current visitors to a “better forgotten” past. From my home in Orlando, the nearest large slave market I could discover is in Saint Augustine, two hours away. Though its existence was well documented, some chose to deny it was used for that purpose. Even in 1914, embarrassed locals refuted their history.

“I have seen the legend of the old slave market. I want to state that this is a fabrication, to pander to the morbid tastes of a certain class that come or came down to our section with the hope and desire to see only the revolting and objectional side of the picture. This market when I knew it stood near the plaza if my memory serves me, and only fish meats and vegetables were sold there.” — J. Gardner

If you live in the South, you’ll likely be more successful tracing slave markets. Once you locate those, rest assured there was an accompanying slave jail, even if temporary. American history can only be learned from if all of its aspects are fully and accurately represented with slave jails being a part of the story.

Michael Bloomberg’s Insincere Apology That Everybody Hated

“The murder rate in New York City went from 650 a year to 300 a year when I left. Most police departments do the same thing, they just don’t report it or use the terminology.” -Michael Bloomberg- January 2019

Michael Bloomberg, the multi-billionaire former Mayor of New York City is considering running for President in 2020. Rumor has it he’s dissatisfied with the current batch of Democrat candidates and feels none of them have caught fire. The fact is, he can’t win without getting the black vote behind him which makes up a significant portion of the Democrat base. The chances black voters will overlook his role in implementing the Stop & Frisk Policy that targeted minority neighborhoods in his city are non-existent. Bloomberg tried to get ahead of the problem by going to a black church and making an apology.

Bloomberg followed the apologies to black people playbook and lined up his black supporters to cape for him. Former New York Governor David Paterson conveniently revealed that Bloomberg expressed his regret for the policy back in 2012 after learning searches had risen 800% over those conducted under the previous Mayor, Rudy Guiliani. This alleged regret was expressed before a judge ruled the policy illegal; setting Bloomberg off in his disapproval.

“This is a very dangerous decision made by a judge that I think just does not understand how policing works and what is compliant with the US Constitution as determined by the Supreme Court.”

The Rev. Al Sharpton of the National Action Network; thanked Michael Bloomberg for his newfound contrition but highlighted that one apology won’t make up for the damage done by his policy.

“As one who helped lead countless demonstrations, marches, and rallies to amplify the racial impact that was had on the Black and Brown community from stop-and-frisk policing, I am glad to see Mr. Bloomberg now admit that the policy was wrong. It will take more than one speech for people to forgive and forget a policy that so negatively impacted entire communities.” — Al Sharpton

Other black voices were less forgiving and flat out rejected the Bloomberg apology.

“It is convenient that Bloomberg suddenly apologizes but has done nothing to undo the immense damage he has caused on countless lives. His apology is not accepted.” — DeRay McKesson

“Under Bloomberg, NYPD increased stop and frisk from 100,000 stops to nearly 700,000 stops per year. 90% of those impacted were people of color — overwhelmingly black and brown men. Bloomberg personally has the money to begin paying reparations for this harm. ‘Sorry’ isn’t enough.” — Samuel Sinyangwe

Not only did the apology have little immediate impact among black voters. White voters (many of whom never would have voted for Bloomberg anyway) were distraught the Bloomberg voiced his displeasure with a policy that suited them just fine. Former NYC Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik says Bloomberg has forgotten just how effective the policy was.

“I think it is the apology tour. When you run for president these days, that’s what you do. And that’s what he’s doing. I think it’s disturbing.” — Bernie Kerik

Outgoing NYC Police Commissioner James O’Neill defended the tactic after Michael Bloomberg repudiated its’ use:

“It helps us get weapons off the street, it helps keep the city safe. But it has to be used correctly, and obviously it has to be used constitutionally. It’s something that we still employ. We are concentrating on the people driving the crime. It’s a constitutionally-tested tool that has to be used, needs to be used.”

The National Review wrote:

“As Bloomberg fills in political potholes on the left-hand side of his road to the nomination, he should remember that his repairs may come at the expense of his reputation as that rare officeholder who did what he thought was right and defended the results.”

Truth be told, very few not on the Bloomberg payroll think this apology was sincere and credible. Even if he told Gov. Paterson his regrets privately seven years ago. He publicly defended the policy until last week. Those who flank him to give him believability are doing more to harm their own reputations than to help Bloomberg. Progressive Democrats don’t believe him and the Right will use the opportunity to attack him. Bloomberg would have had to address Stop & Frisk at some point in his proposed campaign. Whether there was a better way to address it may never be known but the consensus is; his apology didn’t do the job.

The War on HBCUs (Their inconvenient continued existence)

Historically Black Colleges and Universities; they only ever existed because America didn’t want black men and women to attend colleges (or any schools) with their children. Well before the end of slavery, the Institute for Colored Youth was founded in Cheney, PA in 1837. It later became the Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, recognized as the nation’s first HBCU. It was a Quaker philanthropist, Richard Humphreys, who bequeathed $10,000 to found the school to educate those of African descent. Specifically preparing them to carry the torch and become teachers. Lincoln University of Pennsylvania came along in 1854 and was the first degree-granting HBCU. Wilberforce in Ohio joined them in 1856 and was the first college run by African-Americans. Wilberforce, Ohio was a stop along the underground railroad. Its goal was to be an intellectual mecca and a refuge from ignorance.

The first wave of HBCU’s was founded by black churches along with the American Missionary Association (AMA). AMA spending during and after the Civil War far exceeded that of the government’s Freedmen’s Bureau who they worked with sometimes. Among the schools founded between 1865–1867, were Atlanta University, Fisk University, Hampton University, Dillard University, and Howard University. The 2nd Morill Act of 1890 forced states (mostly Southern) to provide land grants for black schools when admission was not allowed otherwise. In other words, states that refused to de-segregate had so set aside some space to educate black students and at least pretend they cared about black kids too. That Act is how we got Tuskeegee University, Alabama A&M Univerity, Florida A&M, Fort Valley State, Kentucky State University, Maryland Eastern-Shore, Alcorn State, North Carolina A&T, and Langston University among others. You could make the case that the purpose of the 2nd Morill Act was as much to preserve segregation as educate black students, there’s no question it did both.

With the exception of those who didn’t want black people to exist at all in this country, perhaps anywhere. Most white people didn’t mind the existence of HBCUs. Though there was that time that Wilberforce was destroyed by arson in 1865 (they rebuilt). There was also the time police shot and killed two student demonstrators at South Carolina State in February 1968. Say the names of Samuel Ephesians Hammond, Jr., Delano Herman Middleton, and Henry Ezekial Smith. The white students killed at Kent State are in the history books, the black students at Jackson State not so much. For the most part, however, black colleges tended to be left alone as long as they didn’t make too many waves. The power structure had another way to keep HBCUs in check… money.

Of the ten largest HBCUs by enrollment; nine are state schools including North Carolina A&T, Texas Southern, Florida A&M, Prarie View A&M, and Jackson State. These schools are generally dependant on their state legislatures to dole out funds. Always to a lesser degree than their white counterparts. Some are under pressure to merge with other state schools. Tennessee State University was forced by a judge into a shotgun wedding with another Nashville school; UT-Nashville, in 1979. Albany State University merged with Darton State College in 2017. Each case saw an HBCU merge with a predominantly white institution (PWI) with the thought the HBCU would maintain its name and identity. A new proposal would see Albany State, Savannah State, and Fort Valley State, all merged into one institution to be called Georgia A&M and run apart from the University of Georgia system. It sounds like… exactly like separate but equal and we all know how well that one worked.

Private schools have their own pressures, always seeking to raise the funds to stay in operation. Chief among their pressures is the need to stay accredited and thus able to receive federal and state funds and the students/parents eligible for Pell grants and student loans. As most HBCUs are located in the South. The vast majority are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; one of six groups approved by the Dept. of Education (Betsy DeVos). One can only imagine what pressures the US Government might exert on its standards for accreditation.

Even when schools meet accreditation standards. There’s always the chance the government will fail to fund them anyway. Funding for HBCUs expired on October 1, 2019, and Congress appears to be in no hurry to restore it. Democrats want to go with a two-year fix while working on a comprehensive review while Republicans want to offer permanent funding as long as multiple measures affecting higher education are adopted. Both parties are playing chicken with HBCUs in the middle.

HBCUs have always been under attack whether physical or financial. More people are questioning the need for their continued existence, given we’ve overcome the racism of the past. A closer look would reveal that the racism of the past hasn’t disappeared, the names simply change. Slavery became the Black Codes, which became Jim Crow, which splintered off into multiple other forms of oppression with the one constant throughout being voter suppression. HBCUs have been affected by this with some campuses being split into different districts in order to dilute their voting strength.

HBCUs have always done more with less. In addition to their output measured in doctors, lawyers, teachers, and scientists. Black colleges produce black leaders. We just lost Elijah Cummings (Morgan State), Kamala Harris (Howard) is running for President, John Lewis (Fisk) is the conscience of the House of Representatives. For all I could name, there are hundreds more coming to take their place. Much more than flashy bands, athletic teams, and drum lines. HBCUs hone the minds of those that attend, graduating critical thinkers who know their own worth. The war will continue, but HBCUs are up to the battle. No weapon formed against them will prosper. And mostly, the graduates of HBCUs give back and come back. Never forgetting from whence they came and not forgetting those who come after.

America Has a Big Race Problem: It Can’t Acknowledge It Has One

Not only is America incapable of admitting to its race problems. It has developed a whole new language of discussing race in a kindler gentler way so as not to offend those who would prefer not to think of themselves as racist. America used to at least recognize it had a horrible history regarding race. That too is changing as history books in some cases refer to “immigrant labor” as opposed to slavery. Bill O’Reilly, a self-proclaimed historian, refers to how “well-fed” the slaves were that built the White House. Slavery itself is being rewritten as a mere labor arrangement where the “workers” were provided free housing, food, and health-care. America is finding it harder to admit it even had a race problem.

For those willing to concede America once “had” a race problem. They consider it a thing of the past. Solved by the Emancipation Proclamation, or Brown vs The Board of Education, or this Civil Rights Act or that Voting Rights Bill. America has never solved its race problem or rids itself of systemic racism. It has only given it different names. Slavery was replaced by “The Black Codes”, which was replaced by “Jim Crow” which was replaced by redistricting and gerrymandering and voter suppression.

History meanwhile has ignored or forgotten the most heinous acts committed against people of color. We all know about “Custer’s Last Stand”.How many know about the “Devil’s Punch Bowl” in Natchez, MS where 20,000 Black men, women, and children died. Imprisoned by Union troops in a concentration camp after the Civil War ended. History doesn’t mention “Black Wall Street” in Tulsa, Oklahoma where a thriving community was attacked on the ground and from the air. Over 35 blocks of property were burned and destroyed. Over 300 Black citizens killed and 800 hospitalized. 10,000 Black people were left homeless. Over 6,000 were arrested for up to 8 days. Despite the carnage, the official death toll was listed as “39” by the Oklahoma Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Orange County, Florida including Orlando, was claimed to have suffered the “largest mass shooting in American history” at the Pulse Nightclub shooting with 49 innocent people killed. As horrible as that was, it wasn’t even the worst mass shooting in the County as hundreds of Black people were killed and the rest of the Black population driven out of Ocoee, FL when some tried to vote in the 1920 Presidential Election. Ocoee stayed all-white for over 40 years afterward. America omits the inconvenient mass shootings in Elaine, Arkansas or E. St. Louis, Missouri or Mountain Meadows, Utah where Mormons dressed as Indians and killed 140 unarmed men and women. This is the history America doesn’t teach you when the victims are of color. It has redefined mass shootings to exclude more than a couple of shooters or apparently, race-motivated murder. It allows them to forget it had a race problem.

The problem that continues today stems from demographics. Those that wish to, “Make America Great Again” really mean to re-establish White control which is quickly fading. The reason they forcefully claimed “Barack Obama is the worst President in history” is not based on empirical data. They ignored the fact he saved an economy that was hemorrhaging jobs when he took office. He saved the auto industry. He served in grace despite the hate leveled against him. He established health care benefits for over 20 Million additional Americans. They conspired against him on his first day in office. For those who hate him, he has one inherent flaw. He is Black.

The secret to maintaining White control, even as White’s will soon be a minority in this country, is to control the vote. The tactics now closely resemble those used after reconstruction. Impose voter restrictions, enact poll taxes (although we now give them another name). Position polling places where it will be harder for some to vote than others. Provide limited access to minority voters hoping to dissuade them with long lines. America can deny the inherent racism in policies designed to disparately affect minorities; as long as we can claim it’s for another reason. We all know the almost non-existent voter fraud isn’t the real reason for these laws. What America can’t acknowledge is, that it’s all about race.

America has long not wanted to appear racist. Now I find that it no longer cares about keeping up the facade. Putting aside for a moment the racist background of President Donald J Trump, and his father Fred who was once arrested at a Klan rally. His Campaign CEO was Steve Bannon, former head of Breitbart News, who proved that racism has gone mainstream. That he is racist is beyond dispute. His personal comments and those he approved of in the media outlet he controlled; showed his hatred of Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Catholics, Women and more. When Hillary Clinton discussed the specifics in a nationally televised speech, surely America would say this was too much. A man with his background cannot stand. After a couple of days of being a story, the storm faded as the media preferred to chase Trump’s evolving immigration policy and Hillary’s Emails. One Trump campaign manager was lambasted for an assault on a woman, another ousted because of his close ties to Putin. These apparently were terrible offenses. A racist heading up the Trump campaign, not a problem.

The list of things America won’t address because it can’t acknowledge its race problem is long. Unequal funding for schools. Disproportionate suspensions and expulsions of minority students. Voter suppression. Mass incarceration. Inequitable policing. The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one. America, you have a race problem and it’s time you acknowledge it.

Partus Sequitur Ventrem — The Rule That Perpetrated Slavery And Legalized Rape

“That which is brought forth follows the belly (womb)”

This was the legal doctrine that made any child of an American female slave a slave as well. It meant any white fathers had no financial responsibility for their progeny. They were free to rape their slaves at will as there were no laws against that either. With no concern for any children that might come from the forced union. In fact, there was a market for mulatto and octaroon children who would be purchased to work as domestics. Some owners (Thomas Jefferson) used their half-white slaves as their concubines, finding them more attractive the closer they were to white. Sally Hemings was Jefferson’s wife’s half-sister, the product of her father raping a slave. Then again the master might sell their offspring to keep the peace with their wives who might be annoyed at little slave children running around who favor their husbands.

English common law held that a child’s legal status followed the father. Men could be forced to provide at least nominal support for even their illegitimate children. English courts preferred for the fathers to take responsibility, sometimes providing apprenticeships, so the community didn’t have to care for the child. Those laws no longer applied across the ocean. The colonies went rogue and adopted new laws in 1662, freeing them of any responsibility for the tan slave children they were creating. It also kept the number of free black children low as any child born to a female slave was also a slave.

Not talked about in proper society were the children of free white women and black slaves. White women who weren’t sure what color the child might be could get a legal abortion those days. “Cottonwood” was a remedy known to slaves who sometimes refused to have children after being raped or as often as the masters would like. Some women would be forced to have over a dozen children if they survived as death during childbirth was relatively common. The rare slave would be offered their freedom if they produced enough children. Sometimes the dark child of a white woman was abandoned or given away. Usually just sold off although technically they were legally free.

There was a growing population of free blacks in America. By the year 1810, over 10% of blacks in the upper Northern states were free. In Virginia at the same time, just over 7% of blacks were free; mostly through manumission but a few being born to white women. Then cotton increased the need throughout the south for labor and suddenly slaves weren’t being freed so much but sold. The price of domestic slaves had gone up because America had made importation of slaves illegal. That move, spearheaded by our old friend Jefferson but envisioned in the Constitution (Article One: Section Nine) was about protectionism and making Virginia slaveholders who had excess slaves rich but harming South Carolina slave owners who had been importing cheaper slaves from Africa.

Partus Sequitur Ventrem is a Latin term but its application was uniquely American. The Founders codified into law a means to further dehumanize those who they enslaved, walking away from all responsibility. Another lesson in American history.

I’m Trying To Write Fiction But History Keeps Coming Out.

I’m working on a novel, it’s at least historical fiction although it straddles a couple of other genres including sci/fi fantasy. It covers a period of time between the early 1800s and the present so it required a lot of research. It also takes place in four continents of which I’ve only been to two of them so, “a lot of research” is a bit of an understatement. My plan is to be traditionally published which means getting representation by a literary agent, finding a publisher, editing, editing, and more editing. The bottom line is the novel might not see the light of day for two years or more if ever. I’ve found I can’t keep the history I’ve uncovered inside me that long. It’s like the song lyric, “I’ve got a praise and I’ve gotta let it out!”

Most of what is forcing its way to the surface is American history although from time to time I might let a little European, African, or Central American history slip out. I thought I had a good grasp on American history but I’ve found almost everything I thought I knew was wrong, especially if it had to do with slavery. I’ve taken to asking the question, “How did slavery impact that situation?” The answer almost always turns out to be that slavery had a great impact. An example would be the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. The act provides that US Troops cannot be deployed to enforce domestic policies on American soil. My presumption was that it was to prevent a military coup as happens in other nations. I watched an episode of “West Wing” titled Posse Comitatus in which the fictional President Jed Bartlet had to work around the act to assassinate a despot who had visited the United States. No mention of slavery whatsoever. One day I asked myself what did Posse Comitatus have to do with slavery? The answer was it was implemented to ensure that Federal troops never return to the South where they had protected the freed slaves after the Civil War. Another low spot in history, the Compromise of 1877 allowed for the removal of those troops which ended Reconstruction and ushered in Jim Crow.

American history is like that, what’s taught puts the best spin on things so we can still look to the Founding Fathers as heroes and not see them also as flawed men. George Washington didn’t have wooden teeth buy had dentures made of teeth pulled from slaves among other materials. Thomas Jefferson gave each slave family one blanket every three years (except when he was President when the overseer of Monticello gave them none). The Constitution which established that the International Slave Trade could be ended after twenty years was not setting the stage for ending slavery. It was an allowance that South Carolina could keep importing African slaves before Virginia and Maryland slaveowners could implement protectionist measures to keep the value up of domestic slaves, often forced breeding involving marriages approved of by the masters or flat out rape.

I keep plugging away on my novel. But forgive me if from time to time a little history slips out because I can’t keep it contained.

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What Your History Books Never Told You: Massacres on American Soil

Yesterday marked the 30th anniversary of the massacre of thousands of young people in Tiananmen Square in Bejing, China. The protesters had been gathering daily to voice their disapproval of high inflation and rampant corruption, and for freedom of the press and free speech, among other issues. China eventually declared martial law, positioning tanks and troops throughout the city, eventually marching into Tiananmen Square. Soldiers fired at the students with assault rifles. Killing a still unknown number (estimated between several hundred and several thousand with thousands more injured. On this anniversary, the event is barely spoken of in China with the government accusing the outside press and US government officials of a “violation of International Law” for bringing it up. The US demands that China talk about its darkest moments which is quite hypocritical given the scant mention of numerous events on US soil, almost all perpetrated against minorities.

Here is a list and brief description of a limited number of events either not taught in schools, skimmed over, or totally distorted from their true nature:

  1. The Ocoee Massacre — I always name this first because it happened in the same County as Orlando, FL and 95% of the people that live here know nothing about it. Because two black men had the nerve to try to vote in the 1920 Presidential Election, white people from Orlando (including a former police chief), Winter Garden and surrounding communities, shot and killed random black people and burned out the rest. Ocoee had no black residents for the next 40 years. To their credit, the current leaders now mention it and are organizing a memorial. Depending on who you believe, the death toll for blacks was between 39 and 500. The headline the next day in the major newspaper read, “Two Whites Killed in Race Riot.”
  2. Black Wall Street — It started when a young black shoeshine boy was accused of raping a white elevator operator in a building he had permission to enter to get water and us the bathroom. She didn’t file a complaint and press charges but officials went ahead anyway and arrested Dick Rowland. White people formed a mob and demanded he be lynched. Black men stood outside the courthouse until a white man with a gun approached and confronted an unarmed black man. There was a struggle over the gun and the white man was shot. Black people retreated to the Greenwood District, probably the richest black township in America. Greenwood had black-owned banks, restaurants, hotels, and businesses. They formed a barrier and awaited the assault. White people outnumbered the black people greatly, including members of the National Guard who used planes to drop nitroglycerin bombs on the black citizens. When it was over, 35 blocks and over 600 homes had been destroyed. The official death toll was 26 black victims but estimates range as high as 500. Be on the lookout for the upcoming film, “Tulsa 1921.”
  3. The Colfax Massacre — Another election-related massacre in 1872 where the black citizens of Colfax, LA were under the misconception that Reconstruction was still ongoing and they could vote. Democrats and the Klan which were often one and the same. Using rifles and a cannon, they surrounded the black people in the local courthouse, killing some and taking dozens captive for several hours before ultimately killing them too. A few of the perpetrators were convicted but ultimately freed after the US Supreme Court declared the Fourteenth Amendment only applied to the government and not individuals, nullifying rights previously passed by Congress to protect the Civil Rights of black people.
  4. Opelousas Massacre — In the fall of 1968, several black men from Opelousas, LA attempted to join the local Democrat Party in nearby Washington. They were rejected and the local unit of the Knights of the White Camellia (Klan) gathered to oppose them. An 18-year-old white teacher wrote an article and invited blacks to become Republicans. He was beaten nearly to death and fled to the North. Thinking the teacher had been killed, blacks marched on the courthouse, some armed although they didn’t have the same right as white citizens to bear arms. After a confrontation; 29 black people were taken prisoner and put in jail. 27 of them were killed, touching off weeks of the Klan randomly killing black people in the area. When it was over, Republicans said 200–300 black people had been murdered, Democrats put the number between 25–30, presumably not including the original 27 removed from the jail and then killed.
  5. Hanapepe Massacre — Kaua’i, Hawaii was a paradise in 1924 unless you worked on the sugar plantations. The newest minorities on the block were from the Philippines, having less status than the Chinese and native Hawaiians. By 1922 the Filipinos had begun to organize and in 1924 a strike was called demanding $2 a day and limiting their workday to eight hours. Ultimately, strikers were assaulted by police with clubs and guns (the strikers were unarmed). Fourteen Filipinos and four policemen were killed. It goes without saying that the Courts sided with the companies in denying the workers a living wage. It has always been thus.
  6. Chinese Massacre of 1871 — It struck me as funny strange that this massacre broke out on Calle de los Negros (Street of the Negroes). Black and mulatto had been displaced by the Chinese in what could graciously be called a slum. Chinese residents had little protections from whites as laws had been passed prohibiting them from testifying against white people. An incident occurred and a white policeman was injured, blowing his whistle for reinforcements. When it was over, between 17–20 Chines had been hanged and displayed in multiple locations. They didn’t suffer as they’d been shot and killed first. Ten of the mob of over 500 were arrested and eight were convicted of manslaughter. The convictions were all later thrown out on technicalities. No justice, no justice, never any justice.

I apologize for not providing examples of the massacres of Native Americans. There were so many, Wounded Knee and the Trail of Tears are relatively known. There are so many examples that I got a little depressed trying to pick some and decided to let it go. Let’s just say that every treaty brokered between the US Government and Native Americans ended the way of the land crossed by the Keystone XL Pipeline. When the Government wanted what they’d bartered away, they took it back. In they met resistance, they used violence.

When I say these were limited examples I was underestimating. The history we’re not taught paints a far different picture than what we are. Legislators in Texas are trying to impose yet another history on us in which American Exceptionalism is to be highlighted and slavery was like summer camp. The next time we want to point out other nations failure to honestly discuss its history. We should take a closer look at our own.

The Mulford Act: When Ronald Reagan, Republicans, and Democrats Got Together To Take Black…


The NRA got a piece of this action too! All of them joined forces in California to repeal a law permitting the open carry of loaded firearms. The reason that Ronald Reagan was able to pass bipartisan legislation while Governor of California in 1967 was one of the most unifying concerns of white America. The fear of black men with guns.

It started in Oakland when the Black Panther Party started engaging in what would come to be called, “Copwatching.” Armed Panther members, exercising their legal right to openly carry firearms, began observing the police while they carried out their duties, documenting misconduct and police brutality. One might reasonably ask, “Was there any evidence Oakland police was engaging in any activity worthy of being documented?” There are widely varying versions as to who was doing what during those years. What is not in dispute is that armed Black Panthers routinely followed patrol cars with both loaded weapons and the statute book governing police conduct. Passage of, The Mulford Act, did little to deescalate problems as after it became law, there were multiple shootouts between Oakland Police and Black Panther members leading to deaths on both sides. Each side claimed having been ambushed by the other.

The Mulford Act was authored by Don Mulford (R) from Oakland and cosponsored by Democrats John Knox from Richmond, Walter Karabian from Monterrey Park, Alan Sieroty from Los Angeles, and Republican William Ketchum from Bakersfield. It passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly and the split State Senate. During debate of the Bill, armed Black Panthers legally protested at the Capitol, perhaps guaranteeing the law’s passage. Reagan signed the bill saying, he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons” and that guns were a “ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.” Later he said, “the Mulford Act would work no hardship on the honest citizen.” Can you imagine any Republican saying that today? Among the law’s provisions was that an officer could make an arrest without a warrant if they had good reason to believe the person carrying the gun was violating the statute. In actual use, not only Black Panthers but black people carrying guns were targeted and the law was used in a highly selective manner to target blacks and minorities. This is the same city during the same time period where the Hell’s Angels were taking root and establishing a national presence.

By the 1980s when there was no black menace threatening them, Reagan, the NRA, and the Republican Party all switched their stance on gun control. They all became 2nd Amendment hard-liners, desiring for armed citizens to be a line of defense against a tyrannical government. Today armed militias have the full support of the NRA, many politicians, and Fox News. No need to wonder if they’d feel the same if those militias were black? We’ve already seen what happens then.

Why Some People Aren’t Shocked About Manafort’s Light Sentence

Paul Manafort was finally sentenced in a Washington D.C. Federal Court after being found guilty on eight counts of tax fraud, banking fraud and failing to register as a foreign agent. He was originally tried on 18 separate counts, but there was a mistrial on ten of those counts where one juror held out on those charges. Manafort later admitted guilt on those charges in another courtroom. Manafort showed no remorse at his sentencing, which the judge remarked on, yet Judge T.S. Ellis still saw fit to ignore the sentencing guidelines which recommended a sentence of 19–24 years, instead, giving him 47 months, before being credited for time served and the equivalent of good behavior.

When his sentence was announced, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth by people, particularly the media, who expected a much harsher sentence. They were shocked, that a rich white man, who stole tens of millions of dollars from the public in terms of unpaid taxes. Who lied to prosecutors while pretending to cooperate, who tampered with witnesses, gave confidential polling data to a Russian oligarch, and aided dictators and murderers for the last twenty years of his life. Shocked that he got away with what amounts to a slap on the wrist.

For all the dismay of the newscasters across the media. Black people who just watched the police officers that shot an unarmed man in his grandmother’s back yard and never went to trial were not surprised. The rape victims that discovered their rapists were given a sweetheart deal by a U.S. Attorney, illegally without their knowledge while labeling the underage victims as prostitutes were not surprised. Crystal Mason, a black woman who just started serving a five-year sentence for voting, not realizing her voting rights had not been restored after serving time for a felony charge, she’s not surprised. The Ohio State wrestlers who were molested while one of their former coaches knew and said nothing, watch as their story blew over and that coach is a prominent member of Congress; not surprised.

Justice is a wonderful notion, however flexible in its application. The best way to avoid it is to be rich, white and powerful. In the Manafort case, Judge Ellis claimed Manafort had led, “an otherwise blameless life.” This while Manafort was awaiting sentencing for other crimes in a different jurisdiction. Judge Ellis has a reputation for being notoriously soft on “white-collar crime.” Why not be clear, there are whole categories of crime generally associated with rich white people, for whom justice is rarely meted out fairly. The Manafort case was no exception.

Manafort appeared in court in a wheelchair, green jumpsuit, claiming a litany of medical ailments. Were it not for his remaining sentencing next week, he might have hopped out of his chair and thanked his lawyers. He acknowledged being, “embarrassed and sad,” which apparently was penalty enough when you’re white, male, and rich.

Trump: The Second Black President

Donald Trump must be black! That’s the only way I can see the FBI opening a Counter-Intelligence investigation to determine if he was working with or for the Russians. Never before has the FBI conducted such an investigation against a sitting President of the United States. The only way that’s possible, is if Trump were black.

You see, the FBI has never had a problem opening up such an investigation against black leaders. J. Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO program targeted every black leader of every black organization ever. If a black Boy Scout Troop were organized, chances are they were under investigation by the FBI. COINTELPRO wasn’t limited to black groups and individuals. The FBI went after white people as well, ranging from the United Klans of America to Jane Fonda and John Lennon. By and large, the fastest route to being placed under investigation was to be black.

Martin Luther King Jr. now has a national holiday in his honor. That didn’t keep the FBI from having a counter-intelligence investigation targeting him. Same with Rep. John Lewis who currently represents a Georgia district in the House of Representatives. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Remember the Freedom Riders? That was them.

The usual suspects were investigated as well, the Black Panther Party, Nation of Islam, Huey P. Newton, and Malcolm X. Another American hero, Muhammad Ali made the list, along with stripper Tabitha Fringe Chase who disrobed to protest a “baggy pants” ban in Atlanta. COINTELPRO ran from 1956–1971 but don’t think things ended there. The FBI created a whole new category called “Black Identity Extremists” which became public soon into the Trump administration. This allows them to target groups like Black Lives Matter and anyone else who dares to seek justice where law enforcement is concerned. A black person in charge of a Rotary Club had a better chance of finding themselves the target of an FBI Investigation than a sitting President, until now.

If Donald Trump is actually black, as his targeting suggests. Maybe somebody can tell him while he’s still President so he can consider reversing some of the things he’s done to harm black people since taking office. He and his favorite whipping boy Jeff Sessions did more to free local police departments from Federal supervisions than anyone ever. He’s advocated voter suppression and divided the American people with a little help from his friends. The true test as to whether he’s black will happen if he’s found guilty and forced out of office. If he’s white, he’ll get a full pardon and spend the rest of his days golfing. If he’s black? He’ll be locked up!

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