Part 1: We Came Before Columbus – Evidence of Africans in the Americas before Europeans.
Part 2: Slavery – What were the economic benefits to Europeans for owning African-Americans as chattel property? Slavery as Big Business.
Part 3: Slave Labor Supports the U.S. Economy.
Part 4: Enslaved African Revolts-Civil Rights and Black Militancy
(From Part 4)
Civil Rights and Black Militancy
Over the decades, African-Americans lived and traded among themselves, building communities and recovering strength. Gradually, national organizations were created from the ground up. Remembered names from the 60’s were the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Congress of Racial Equality (with James Farmer) and the Mississippi delegation, to name a few. There were the Black Panthers and the US organization. There was Fannie Lou Hamer, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. There were many more with creative energy pushing battles on many fronts. This civil rights era achieved integration and the right to vote. Former Professor Clarke says, “I’m one of the people who believes that our losses were greater than our gains. Before the civil rights movement, we had entrepreneurship in the black community. Right now, in Harlem, if I wanted to get a shoe repaired I would have a hard time finding a black shoe repairman …. We lost a sense of just basic communityness”. But the right to vote was achieved, and there was a quickening sense of impatience at the white supremacist culture of the United States.
The anger began to erupt in the street rebellions of the 60’s. These were first met with troops and tanks and then with a counterintelligence program. Known as COINTELPRO, this operation combined city, state and federal law enforcement agencies in a joint effort to destroy the increasingly militant activism of the African-American community. Groups like the Black Panther Party were infiltrated and destroyed. Misinformation was sown and African-American dissenters were treated by law enforcement agencies in the same way as dissenters are in any lawless country. They were murdered in their beds, shot down in the streets and jailed on false charges. This history continues to live in prisons where many are held today.
The COINTELPRO had to use these gross methods of control until a more elegant form could be brought to bear. And it was during the Sixties that highly addictive and debilitating compounds, heroin and cocaine, became readily available in African-American communities across the country.
The CIA and Drugs in African-American Communities
If you want to know where in the world the drugs (at the corner) were coming from, look to where in the world the CIA was active at the time. In the Sixties, the heroin epidemic came in from CIA cohorts in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. This is extensively documented in Al McCoy’s book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia.
Going into minute detail, McCoy shows how the CIA’s connection with its covert allies led directly to the heroin epidemic of the 1960’s.
The crack explosion coincided with the CIA’s work on behalf of the Reagan Administration in support of the Nicaraguan Contras in the mid-Eighties. In Dark Alliance, investigative reporter Gary Webb reveals the connections between the Contras, the CIA and the crack epidemic of the 1980’s. In one instance, Danilo Blandon, a CIA “asset”, was reported to have brought in “easily” 55 tons of cocaine between 1980 and 1991. This is only one of the people controlling deliveries destined for African-American communities. As one convicted deputy put it in Dark Alliance, “I didn’t pump 500 tons of cocaine into the ghetto, the United States Government can’t say that.”
These amounts are not carried in purses or swallowed in condoms. They are packed in crates and stuffed in duffel bags. These chemicals were targeted at African communities.
There is a dismissive attitude in the major media that whatever CIA involvement there was, was by “rogue officers”. But that’s not the case at all. Recently convicted traitors Aldrich Aimes and Harold Nicholson were rogue officers. We know this because they were investigated, captured and imprisoned. Manuel Noriega was a CIA asset, now he’s in jail. The “rogue” officers and assets who conducted, condoned, protected or supplied the drug running into the African-American communities of the United States were either paid government salaries for their work, or were allowed to profit from their drug dealing in return for doing national security favors for the CIA. These people live as though nothing happened at all. It is not difficult to believe that one of those favors was to keep the African-American communities drugged, disrupted and demoralized. As a result of this activity, people speak in terms of lost generations.
Post-traumatic Slave Syndrome
In June, July and August of 1999, Our Time Press brought you the work of researchers Joy DeGruy and Professor Amos Wilson. They say there has been something that has weighed on Black folks’ mind, and it has been used by others to manipulate and maintain control. DeGruy and Wilson say the trauma of the slave experience has stayed with us, has not been dealt with, and must be dealt with now if we are to rise and compete as equals in the world.
At a presentation at St. Paul’s Community Baptist Church Joy DeGruy explains, “Now we get very directly into what is Post-traumatic Slave Syndrome. How many are familiar with Post- traumatic Stress Disorder? That’s a disorder that came about as a result of some of the work looking at shell shock. These were war veterans who would have certain behaviors after having been involved in war. The symptoms had to do with certain kinds of injuries, certain kinds of traumas that people would experience. Now let me tell you who has been identified as
having Post-traumatic Stress Disorder… ‘Victims of rape. War veterans, victims of incest. Heart attack victims. Victims of natural disasters, victims of severe accidents. ‘ Now, … consider slaves. They didn’t put slaves on the list. I thought that was odd. I’m going to put a mark down for every one of these particular predictors that actually creates this illness. ‘Reaction to a distressing event which may have occurred months or years before.’ Well, we know that. ‘The most common trauma involves a serious threat of harm to one’s life or physical integrity.’ Got that one. ‘A threat to one’s children, spouse or close relative. Sudden destruction of one’s home or community. Seeing another person injured or killed as a result of accident or violence. Learning about a serious threat to a close friend or relative.’ In other words, someone kidnapped, tortured or killed. Stressors experienced with intense fear, terror and helplessness. Disorders considered to be more severe and will last longer when the stressor is of human design. The slaves had all of them. They had all of them”.
We have to ask ourselves now, “What are some of the symptoms of this? Now listen to this: ‘Feeling of detachment or estrangement from others. Restricted range of affection. Unable to have loving relationships. Sense of a foreshortened future.
Child does not expect to have a career, marriage, children or a long life. Irritability or outburst of anger. Unpredictable explosions of aggressive behavior. Hypervigilance. Exaggerated startle responses.’ These are the symptoms of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. We know the slaves had all the trauma. We know they had them for close to three hundred years. Do we know they had Post-traumatic Stress Disorder? Yes, we do. Now here’s a question: After slavery ended, did white folks do that group therapy thing? Did they say, ‘Okay, now that you’re free, just sign up for the clinic. We’re going to help you heal.’ Did that happen? Of course it didn’t
happen”. Ms. DeGruy contends that the symptoms of these traumas have been passed down generation to generation and remains with us to this day.
Professor Amos Wilson explains another aspect of the continuation of slave vibrations into the twenty-first century.
Professor Wilson: “We still share the slave consciousness of our great-great-grandparents… We have not advanced beyond these people…. You say that slavery has nothing to do with you and that slavery was back there. I ask you what language do you speak? When did you learn that language? Was that the language African people were speaking when we were taken into slavery in America? In other words, the language we speak at this moment is a slave language. The language that our slave ancestors were forced to learn. … What kind of food do you eat? You say ‘soul food’? Was that the food of African people? Slave food …. A food that we learned to eat in the quarters. And yet we dare say that we have escaped slavery …. What kind of clothes are we wearing? Were these the clothes of African people? … What kind of names do we respond to? What kind of names do we identify with? Why is it that African names sound strange to us now as a people? And yet we dare say we have a different consciousness from our great-grandparents…. We are still in the same consciousness and we are still in the same position. Because we are still servants of the white man, and our reason for being in America is to serve white folks and to generate wealth for them. And there has been no change (at all) in terms of our relationship to these people….
The social relations that we create and interact with were built and developed during the period of slavery. We have not escaped it at all…. When we claim that we have escaped slavery and that slavery was something back there, which has nothing to do with us today, and then I ask you the question, ‘What kind of God do you worship?’ What’s the name of Him? Who taught you to praise Him? Was this the God you were praying to before you were brought to these shores? Is this the religion you had before you were brought to these shores? Can you name one African God? How can you then define yourself, the very essence of yourself and the very essence of your soul and organize the very nature of your life here on earth based on a God handed to us by our slave masters and claim that you have no slave consciousness and are not related to slavery? In other words then ladies and gentlemen, we are not Africans. We are possessed by spirits and demons. We have let another people’s spirit take possession of our bodies and take possession of our minds.”
It is a state of mind that must be thrown off quickly because others, instead of paying reparations, are taking Africa a piece at a time and planning to own all of it.
(The Never Forget series is derived from articles which have appeared in Our Time Press and that were reprinted in the writing of the December 1999 issue, A Millennial Look at African-America.)
Parts 1-4 are available at www.ourtimepress.com.
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