October 27th, 2017 Fear is a powerful emotion! I wrote this short piece in 2017 (Posted on Facebook) to address this issue of fear in the Black Community. It’s a serious matter and it’s a weed that needs to be pulled out by the roots. History can teach us and free us all.
The Answer about Law Enforcement and the African American Community.
This is a sad commentary and a find that made my heart sad for our country and for both black and white folks. The roots of tensions with law enforcement go back to a time before any of us today were born. After the Civil War, the period of Emancipation and “Reconstruction” began. (When I start blogging (pre-book), I’ll fill in a lot of the gaps and provide a lot more detail. But for Facebook and as I work thorough these issues and concepts, I’ll keep it short.)
As the government sponsored period of Reconstruction came to an end in the mid-1870’s (1865-1877), the “Lost Cause” began to take hold and several very evil social maneuvers took place, primarily in the American South. Alabama was pretty much a central point of focus, but sharecropping and mining were taking place all over the Southern United States. While the North looked the other way and in some cases participated, a movement steeped by Darwin’s Theory of Evolution began to rise. White Superiority (as it was called then) began to rise in the culture of the South.
The country was tired from war, and the North gave in to complacency. The South launched a campaign of ideology called the “Lost Cause,” and other “programs” to justify keeping millions of African American’s either under control or locked into a form of slavery that would evolve (pun intended, calling out Darwin and his Theory of Evolution) from a deliberate effort to target and incarcerate able-bodied black men.
It wasn’t limited to men though. Women were also captured and used in various forms of servitude, to include the beginnings of the sex-trafficking movement in the U.S. Many Sheriff’s and Constables were bought off by Southern land owners and business tycoons. Black men were arrested and then blackmailed into service in the mines and fields across the south. By the turn of the century (1900), the trade had become so profitable across the South that the North just looked the other way. It was forced labor and slavery all over again.
The nation looked the other way, while the black man and his kin were captured and then forced into hard labor. Many died and many suffered. The way it worked was something like this: local businesses would identify local black men that appeared to be healthy and able to work. They would pay the local sheriff or constable and then arrest the individual(s) on trumped up charges. Most of the black men at that time were unable to read. They were told they could work off their sentence if they would sign a contract releasing them or “leasing” them from the prison to the business or land-owner. The issue was that the contract provided so many loop holes for violation, that the arrested and leased worker would really never see the end of the contract or their freedom. Many thousands of black workers suffered slavery under just another banner or title. But, at the end, it was still slavery, craftily woven into the rhetoric and agenda of the Lost Cause Doctrine, designed to paint over the nation’s past sins.
So, when you think about Kaepernick taking a knee or any other generalized “resistance” to law enforcement, you might consider that those who struggle with this struggle today, do so through the very DNA and emotional history of their ancestors. It does not justify much of what happens today, and I will share why this hatred is nothing but a toxin in our present time. But, maybe if we try to understand more of the truth and the origins of the sinful nature of men, we might together also find a path to real freedom together.
It wasn’t until 1903-1904 when Teddy Roosevelt became the President of the United States, that things began to change. But even Teddy wasn’t free of motives! It was the U.S. Secret Service that broke this “new slavery” open in the early 1900’s. It is a heroic story and much credit should be given as white and black men began to fight this fight together.
I am proposing we begin a coalition to study and sincerely and aggressively dig into this history and that together we work toward healing this land. I haven’t mentioned a fraction of the issues, but thought it might be interesting to at least provide a frame of reference regarding law enforcement. It was also in the 1870’s that Darwin moved the nation into its small and evil thinking regarding Native Americans. All cops and law enforcement aren’t great folks today (I get it!), but the vast majority are good people, doing good things, and for the right reasons. I really hope and pray that some of the folks we are talking to can pull this together and begin a new healing process! I’ll share the Blog location later if you are interested in any of these issues. I think I will dedicate the rest of my life in some way to them. How bout you?