Before the United States declared its independence from Great Britain in 1783, the Spanish, British, and French had colonies and slaves within what is now the United States. Since most of African-American acculturation is from the English, this will focus on the English colony of Jamestown.
By 1619 there were thirty-two Africans living in Jamestown. They were not considered enslaved because the English didn’t have a law for slavery; but they were indentured servants – they would work for a number of years and after the those years were up, they would gain their freedom. During this time, black and white servant worked together harvesting tobacco and they even slept in the same headquarters. However by 1640 race was starting to become a major factor in the English colonies.
Here are the reasons why:
- The African population largely increased in the Virginia colony because the English maintained control of the Atlantic slave trade.
- White indentured servants had become very expensive. The reason being, white indentured servants had more opportunities outside of Virginia and less and less European men and women would sell their freedom.
- The English had always separated themselves from people different from them. Therefore, Africans were an extreme physical difference. Although black and white servant possessed many commonalities, their masters divided them by race.
- The masters begun to separated white from black in the tobacco fields – white women only did domestic work and black women would do the agriculture.
- Africans could not become Christians (although Christianity along with Islam were huge religions in Africa and therefore many of the Africans were probably Christians).
- By 1662 it became law that white people could not have intimate relationships with black people.
The laws regarding African servitude became more strict and harsh and eventually lifetime enslavement became the norm for Africans. They were no longer considered indentured servants – they couldn’t gain freedom after a number of years. Instead they were enslaved for life.
When I am observing the state of African-Americans, identity is an issue that continue to arise. In the black community, lighter skinned African-Americans are preferred and deemed as more beautiful than darker skinned African-Americans. Internal racism is very prevalent in the black community.
It is no secret why blacks have identity problems. Throughout our history in this country, we have been told that our skin color is a curse, we have been depicted as caricatures and buffoons, and when Madame CJ Walker created the first hair relaxer, black people would never wholly embrace their natural curls. Essentially everything associated with African-Americans was undesirable and unattractive.
Black people continue to perpetuate this idea, especially the entertainers. Entertainers have a great deal of influence amongst the masses and blacks especially look up to African-American entertainers more greatly because their skin color represent us. When rappers are constantly gloating that they have a “redbone” (light skin black woman), it reveals the reality that light is better and dark is undesirable. They continue with this message by almost always featuring light-skinned African-American models in their music videos. No one wants to be dark skin because even black entertainers thinks it’s unattractive.
Equally as important, when a black man makes it to the top, he very often neglects his African-American woman for a non-black woman. This is the case with many entertainers such as Kobe Bryant, who left his girlfriend in Philadelphia for Vanessa. Kevin Hart makes this clear also in a YouTube video. He made the comment that now that he has a better career he has to get him a white girl. Although I’m pretty sure he said this jokingly, his current girlfriend is a light-skinned African-American woman and his wife was a dark skin African-American woman.
In addition, the most flamboyant represent of this assertion is Lil Kim. She began as this beautiful brown skin African-American woman and with the aid of plastic surgery, she morphed into this Asian woman ( trying to look white); unrecognizable.
I take issue with these behaviors. Little black girls suffer from identity problems at such high rates. My seven year-old cousin cried her eyes out to me saying that she think she’s ugly and wish that she could have long blond hair and green eyes. It broke my heart but our young girls are dealing with this everyday. There is nothing to represent them. No one tells them that their skin color and the texture of their hair is definitive beauty. When they turn on the television there aren’t any black girls to represent and be the symbol of them. So when they look at music videos and people such as Lil Kim, their image is even more convoluted and dreaded. The most popular African-American singers are light-skinned, many with surgically enhanced European features. A prime example is Nicki Minaj. She began as this beautiful woman from Queens and now her nose is European. Our kids have to continue to look at figures that don’t even feel secure in themselves.
These people don’t appreciate the blessing of possessing African lineage and traits. While they are so busy transforming themselves to fit the image of a white person, the white people are transforming themselves to look more like us – tanning, lip injections, butt implants, etc. White people know that dark skin and African features is beautiful.
The majority of Africans captured into slavery were a result of wars happening in Central and West Africa. The Europeans were around to provide firearms for the warring and they greatly benefited from these nations being at war. Individuals and families towns and villages were raided and captured into slavery. They were bound together by rope and wooden yoke around their necks. Many people died and were even murdered on the journey to the trading stations or factories. These factories were holding cells where the captured Africans were separated from families and ethnic groups (to prevent rebellion), subjected to dehumanizing body inspections, and were branded with the logo of the traders company. They were left in these trading stations for weeks and even months. Most if not all of the Africans had never seen white people and thought the Europeans were witches and cannibals.
On the journey to the West Indies, many Africans would jump out of the boats, trying to escape capture, and all of whom died. Others would band together and start a rebellion. The ships that transported slaves were called Slavers. The trip from West Africa to the West Indies, depending on the size of the ship, took anywhere from 40 days to six months. As the demand for slaves increased, their was an increasing amount of piracy and sea wars for slaves.
On the slavers, captured Africans were boarded and tightly packed. The reason being, the captains would have one-hundred or two-hundred more slaves than the ship could manage. The Africans were planked on shelves with very little body and head space. Male slaves were chained together with the woman and children on separate decks. The conditions on the slavers were disgusting and deadly. The ship crew barely fed the slaves, they didn’t clean the feces, the slaves were not allowed to exercise, and they would have to remain with dead bodies and the dangerously sick. Many Africans died on the journey to the West Indies. Malaria, yellow fever, measles, dysentery and other diseases were rampant and killed lots of people. The floor was covered with blood and mucus; it was awful. Along with the wrath of disease, African women were subjected to sexual abuse by the crew members. It is noted that the sexual abuse has influenced African women attitudes about sexuality and as a result, when the slaves reached the Caribbean and Latin America, they didn’t reproduce.
I realized that not too many people are knowledgeable of African-American history. It is important that we know and understand history so that we can lead better futures. If more black people knew the history of their ancestors they would appreciate free education, they wouldn’t embrace each other as “nigga”, and most importantly they would value their lives.
My junior year I decided to minor in Africana Studies and as I result I feel liberated. The elementary and high school history books doesn’t present accurate information and they fail to give a true detailing of African-American history in the Americas. Therefore, I will assume that responsibility. I am the African-American history teacher and my lessons begins now!
First and foremost slavery is not an American entity. It was custom of ancient civilizations, including Africa, to possess slaves. The people who were forced into slavery were often prisoners of wars and captured women and children whose statesmen had lost a war. But most importantly race or skin color had no meaning and influence on the enslavement of people. There were European slaves in Africa.
The first Western European contact for expansion in West Africa began with the Portuguese in the early 1400s. The Portuguese arrived at the Guinea Cost where they traded for gold, ivory, and pepper, but they also wanted slaves. The Portuguese were granted permission by the kings of the countries, such as Benin, to trade for slaves. A big misconception about the slave trade is that the Europeans themselves captured Africans into slavery. However, it was the African traders who would capture individuals and sell them into slavery.
Initially, the slave trade was not in demand because many European Countries had a large enough labor force. But with Christopher Columbus’s discovery of the Americas – North America, South America, and the Caribbean, European settlement and domination began. They exploited the Native Americans and committed mass genocide ( the majority of the Native Americans died out from diseases). As a result the European colonies did not have a big enough workforce and that increased the demand for slaves and fueled the Atlantic slave trade.
The major players in the Atlantic slave trade were the Portuguese, Spanish, English, and French. They had colonies in Mexico, Central and South American, North America, and the Caribbean. With the discovery of gold and silver mines in the Spanish colonies of Peru and Mexico and the sugar plantations in Portuguese controlled Brazil, the demand for slave increased dramatically. Equally, the cultivation of rice, indigo, tobacco increased the demand for slaves.
During the 16th century, Portugal and Spain were the main players in the atlantic slave trade. Most of the slaves were routed to Brazil. In the end Brazil received the most African slaves; an estimated four million. By the 17th century the Dutch seized control of the Atlantic slave trade that was once dominated by Spain and Portugal. Eventually, after a few wars with the French, Spanish, and Dutch, England gained control of the slave trade in 1713.
By 1790 the English slave ships called slavers, were transporting 50,000 captured African slaves annually.
Stay tuned for more….
This is exactly what I was talking about. Bad stuff happens on Rosa Parks Boulevard. Black people are eliminating themselves. Where I am from people don’t know much about Rosa Parks, the woman, innovator, nor her legacy. Where I am from people know that Rosa Parks is a place where people are murdered. Yesterday, September 19th, a man dedicated to serving his country and family, was gunned down by a bunch of low life goons. According to NJ.com:
A widow returned on Monday night to the spot where her husband was gunned down a day earlier to grieve with about 75 of his friends and relatives during a candlelight vigil Monday night..“Oh God,” Jamie Hughes said as she buried her face in the shoulder of a friend who was trying to console her. “He’s got a family! He’s got two babies!”
Paterson police said Adrian Hughes, 26, died after being shot several times by more than one gunman around 9:40 p.m. on Rosa Parks Boulevard near Lawrence Street. Chief Assistant Passaic County Prosecutor John F. Latoracca said Hughes was shot three times.
Investigators do not have any motive or suspects, and are unclear as to what led to the shooting, according to Lt. Richard Reyes of the Paterson police.
Hughes’ brother, Tyshoun Hughes, who on Monday morning was at the spot where his brother was shot, said he last saw him just 10 minutes before the slaying. Adrian Hughes was walking to his North York Street home when he was shot, his brother said.
Adrian Hughes was married with two daughters, Courtney, 2, and Kennedy, 4, said his father, Roger Hall. The older girl had just celebrated her birthday, Hall said.
Hall said Adrian Hughes had been serving with the U.S. Army in Texas until a year ago, when he tore his shoulder in an accident involving a grenade launcher, the father said.
After that, he returned to Paterson, where he supported his family by working in the shipping and receiving department of a company that supplies lug nuts to the military, Hall said. Jamie Hughes teaches preschool in Passaic, her father-in-law said.
Hall had just returned from dropping his daughter off at college Sunday night when he heard that his son had been shot. He rushed to St. Joseph’s Medical Center where he learned that Hughes had been pronounced dead shortly after arrival.
“Everyone used to say I was so hard on my kids,” Hall said, standing at the edge of the crowd at the vigil. “I was hard on them for a reason. It was so they wouldn’t be subjected to this.”
“This is random,” he added. “I always expected for my kids to bury me, not to bury one of them.”
Earlier in the day, Tyshoun Hughes and his fiancée, Tiffany Crawford, arranged candles and hung a white T-shirt from a fence near spray-painted police markings at the crime scene.
The shirt read, “Adrian (Mozus) Hughes. Gone but never forgotten. We love you. 9-18-11.”
“He was a regular family guy with a sense of humor,” Tyshoun Hughes said. “A lot of people respected him. He was just one of the coolest guys to hang around with.”
Around 6 p.m., Jamie Hughes came to the scene and left a message on a sheet spread across the fence.
“To my beloved husband,” she wrote. “Life won’t be the same without your laughter or your smile.”
“Remember that me and your kids will always love you,” she added.
The shooting was the city’s 13th homicide this year, Reyes said. Anyone with information may call Paterson detectives at 973-321-1120.
The reason for his murder is not known or clearly stated but I assume that it was senseless. It’s crazy that an individual can’t walk leisurely to their home or enjoy their life. People are constantly having to be careful where they walk or the words they speak. Whether you are involved in bad behavior or not, you will be a victim of senseless crime. People have to tread lightly. It’s totally unfair to people like me that live straight lives. But this is the reality on Rosa Parks Boulevard.
[Single victim/single offender]
|Race of victim||Total||Race of offender||Sex of offender|
|Other race victims||181||50||26||104||1||162||18||1|
Over the weekend the news of 1-year-old Samyah Bailey getting shot in the eye has been everywhere. A young boy had beef with the toddler’s uncle and instead of going after the uncle he nearly murdered a baby. Thankfully the child is still alive but she lost an eye.
Then 18-year-old Tayshana Murphy was shot dead in the head in the hallway of her housing building. These cowards continue to take our future away. She had ambition and drive and they stole her life away.
This reality frustrates the heck out of me. Another young black male has thrown his life a way and taken the innocence of childhood away. This homicidal behavior continues to perpetuate the myth of the violent black male. Whites will continue to harbor fears of black people.
It’s insane that you can’t even sit outside of your home, allow your babies to play in the park, and walk the hallways of your own building without being the victim of senseless crime. It’s time for parents to take control of their children and for everyone to take control of their communities. This craziness needs to end.