Slaves Had More Dignity Than Blacks Today
On July 4, 2014, I was a guest speaker at the Racial Reconciliation and Healing event hosted by Rev. James David Manning of ATLAH Ministries held at Gettysburg Battlefield, in Gettysburg, PA. In the course of my speech, which I gave from the same place President Abraham Lincoln gave his Gettysburg Address, I quoted Booker T. Washington saying: “We went into slavery a piece of property; we came out American citizens. We went into slavery pagans; we came out Christians. We went into slavery without a language; we came out speaking the proud Anglo-Saxon tongue. We went into slavery with slave chains clanking about our wrists; we came out with the American ballot in our hands.” (Address to Hamilton Club, Chicago, 1895)
Are we to believe that blacks today have it harder than those Booker T. Washington referenced or are we supposed to believe he didn’t understand the true nature of his situation? My point being, considering the unlimited opportunity blacks have in America today how can anyone ascribe to the debilitating heterodoxy that the white man is impeding black progress.
The transplendent truth encapsulated in those historic words from Booker T. Washington speaks for itself. In the course of my speech, I, like Washington, reminded the attendees gathered on that hallow site, which included persons from India and Great Britain, that if there is to be healing, blacks must realize what they have and what the hand of “Providence” did for them. I know that it is more popular to wallow in apathy and self-victimization, but that is the very antithesis of what “Providence” has provided.
What I had in my speech but did not share, having made the point differently, were the following words from the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Lincoln January 1, 1863: “And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages.”
The point here should be obvious: blacks were not freed to become dependents on the government plantation. Quite the opposite.
It is not the white man who has prevented blacks from seizing upon the opportunity available to all. It is the debilitating animus, blame, self-segregation, and self-victimization they wallow in. Those are without question harsh words, but they are not untrue. Booker T. Washington understood the need for blacks to be self-determinative and he understood that the way same was accomplished was by learning a trade and embracing the “God of Providence” for the blessings “He” had bestowed upon them.
But instead, blacks cursed the “God of Providence” as a white man’s God and wholistically bought into the message of immiseration.
Lincoln implored blacks in the Emancipation Proclamation that they “abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense.” But instead, blacks have elevated the killing of one another to pandemic levels. In Chicago over the same July 4th weekend that I gave my speech, 80 people were shot resulting in 12 fatalities, nearly all of whom were black.
It gets even worse. According to Rich Lowry writing for National Review: “Overall, according to Chicago magazine, the rate of nonfatal gunshot injury in Chicago was 46.5 per 100,000 from 2006 to 2012. But it was only 1.62 per 100,000 for whites. For blacks, it was 112.83 per 100,000. For black males, 239.77, and for black males aged 18–34, 599.65, or ‘a staggering one in 200.’” That’s one in every 200 black males between the ages of 18-24 being shot. Blacks can hate whites and blame former President George W. Bush, but neither George W. Bush nor white people are roaming the streets and mini-marts murdering black teenagers. It’s not whites selling the drugs that are destroying black families and black neighborhoods. It is not whites who are pimping black women drug addicts. It is not whites breaking into black homes. It is their black neighbors and the black hoodlums who look exactly just like them and who live next door to them.
At the time the slaves were set free, Lincoln said in the Emancipation Proclamation: “that in all cases where allowed, [blacks should] labor fruitfully for reasonable wages.” The operative words were then and are now “labor fruitfully for reasonable wages.” They did not mean then nor do they mean now blacks should become government dependents. Nowhere in the Emancipation Proclamation was it suggested in any way that the government would provide special dispensation based on the skin color of the slaves.
I also said in my speech that day that it was time for whites to get over guilt for that which they are not guilty nor had any part in. I also proffered the question of where anger and resentment of whites has gotten blacks? I asked blacks if they were better off harboring such emotions?
Neither July 4, 1776 nor January 1, 1863 nor June 19, 1865, was Independence Day for the slaves. Independence Day for the Africans brought here as salves was the day they were captured by the Ashanti and Dahomi African tribes (of modern day Benin and Ghana) and sold to Muslims slave traders, who in turn sold them to slave traders doing business in America. Because as I reminded a young man who argued with me pursuant to the importance of racial assignations (for blacks at any rate) based on Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa movement – the legacy of Garvey is Liberia, i.e., economic despair, unimaginable poverty, brutality, disease, ad nauseum.
It is a certainty that blacks, have as did the Irish and others coming to America suffered. But it is equally as true, if not more so for blacks, that they were brought here many long years ago “with the chains clanking about [their] wrists; but [they] came out with the American ballot in [their] hands.” Would Oprah Winfrey be a billionaire if her ancestors had stayed in Africa? Who would Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton be shaking down for money if their ancestors had not come here? How many of the inventions and innovations directly attributable to blacks would America and the world enjoy today if African ancestors had not been brought here?
As I closed my speech at Gettysburg on July 4th, I called those in attendance to remembrance that the very grass their feet were standing upon had been grown in the blood-soaked soil of freedom. Something race-mongers would have us forget.
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About the Author
Mychal S. Massie is an ordained minister who spent 13 years in full-time Christian Ministry. Today he serves as founder and Chairman of the Racial Policy Center (RPC), a think tank he officially founded in September 2015. RPC advocates for a colorblind society. He was founder and president of the non-profit “In His Name Ministries.” He is the former National Chairman of a conservative Capitol Hill think tank; and a former member of the think tank National Center for Public Policy Research. Read entire bio here