celebrated Juneteenth. Here comes America's Independence Day. There's
no better time to put July 4 in historical perspective. We must
connect it with the racist redefining of critical race theory.
Smith isn't the first to talk about the centrality of African
enslavement to U.S. History. However, the time of his most recent
book is undeniably relevant. How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America
comes a time when white America is being pummeled with the
consequences of the brutal and humane system of slavery and its
Smith, “The history of slavery is a history of the United
States. It was not peripheral to our founding; it was central to it.
is not irrelevant to our contemporary society; it created it.”
series of events has intensified the pain and trauma of a system
whose tentacles still have a hold on all of us in this country,
especially those of us of African descent.
have The 1619 Project which some Black scholars argue didn't go far
enough. Apparently, it went too far for many white conservatives. The
New York Times ' ongoing project attempts to reframe the narrative of
Black people and our history with this country. With prompting from
the GOP, white communities are fighting back to preserve their white
privilege. The attack on the so-called race theory is the latest
battlefront. White parents are rising up to oppose anything "Black"
being taught to their children, often referencing The 1619 Project.
there was the public murder of George Floyd, an agonizing reminder of
the lynching of Black people at the hand of white people always
acting in the interest of white supremacy. The history of the origins
of police has its roots in slave catching dating back to the 1700s.
It was given legal cover with the passage of the Fugitive Slave Act
of 1850, a Congressional deal cut between the Southern slave states
and complicity with Northern Free-Soilers. Let's be clear: all
captured Black folks were not enslaved, many were free. 12
Years a Slave
dramatized this frequent injustice on the big screen for us back in
the country was forced to come face to face with the horrific 1921
massacre in Tulsa Oklahoma. Like many similar atrocities through the
ages, these incidents have been suppressed –even in the very
communities where it happened.
of us with political consciousness, along with those of us who are
committed to truth, have a responsibility to interrupt the racist
narrative that has under-developed our humanity as a nation and
demonized Blacks as a people.
Smith's voice is part of a chorus that emphatically asserts that this
country will never get through the darkness of slavery until it is
fully acknowledged, dissected and rectified. The demand for Black
reparations must be loud and bold.
history is now our present and will be our future as long as the
system of chattel slavery is suppressed, romanticized and
reckoning of slave history is inevitable. There is no easy, quick or
comfortable way to address it. What we must end is the continued
devastating impact already done on generations who have gone before
us. The past damage is real, measurable and irreparable. Our destiny
includes creating not just a different narrative but a different
society for those of African descent to live and prosper. To do so
averts a violent reckoning that looms ahead.