Rahim Islam is a National Speaker and Writer, Convener of Philadelphia Community of Leaders, and President/CEO of Universal Companies, a community development and education management company headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Follow Rahim Islam on FaceBook(Rahim Islam) & Twitter (@RahimIslamUC)
On behalf our ancestors, who are voiceless, I will represent them until I join them, and will never let their suffering, pain, and indignities go in vain – we pledge to make Black history a key and significant part of America history. Rahim Islam
I say that Black History is American History because Black History predominantly speaks to what was done to Black people by White people in all aspects of the birth and growth of America. It was how Black people struggled under severe oppression to win their freedom and continue the fight for full citizenship and freedom, justice and equality. This is extremely important because the scale was so pervasive and extraordinary involving nearly 100 million Africans that didn’t choose to participate.
Millions of Africans were physically and brutally kidnapped and force into slavery under the most inhumane and treacherous conditions which lasted several centuries a sentence that not only impacted them but their offspring as well – their ancestry would be part of the sentence representing untold millions. It is impossible to tell the American story without telling the story of Black Americans. Is this not a great human story of victory; is this not a story worth telling; is this not a story that needs to be included in American history; is this not a story that needs to be told truthfully? Black History is American History
Carter G. Woodson, who founded Black History Month once said about Black history and Black culture “the celebration tends not to promote propaganda, but to counteract it by popularizing the truth. It is not interested so much in Negro history as it is in history influenced by the Negro; for what the world needs is not a history of selected races or nations but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.
There has been, therefore, no tendency to neither eulogize the Negro nor abuse his enemies. The aim has been to emphasize the facts in the belief that facts properly set forth will speak for themselves….”
The facts and the truth of the matter is the history of Black people in America is the history of American – this is the first truth that we must articulate and defend. It must be defended by every facet of our country (i.e. government, religious, educational, cultural, etc.).
While I understand the need to have a Black History Month, this should only be the beginning of the journey towards telling the TRUTH ABOUT AMERICA AND AMERICAN HISTORY.
Having a Black History Month puts us on the right road that should increase the potential for America to own up to what they’ve done to Black people and how the growth of America is intrinsically inter-connected with the Black people – you can’t have one without the other – they go hand-and-hand.
In addition, not only should Black people’s contributions to America be documented, archived, and celebrated, but the children of the slaves is due a real and tangible compensation reflected of this great contribution that our ancestors made.
The Black man in America is a unique group and should have a unique and special treatment. We are neither Native Americans nor are we immigrants even though our blood has been mixed with every other group.
The Black man in America was kidnapped from Africa and brought against his will – we were neither casualties of war nor were we incarcerated and imprisoned for some criminal behavior.
Our people were innocent victims of the worst kidnapping in the history of mankind that had both devastating effects on the country of Africa and its people our ancestors. Black History is American History
Under White supremacy rule and the enslavement of Black people, nearly everything our people had was stolen to fuel the America we now know of today.
Our blood, our minds, our souls, our culture, our intellect, our humanity, our dignity, our spirituality, our families, our communities, our precious lives were deeply deposited and outright stolen reside in the foundation of every aspect of America – this has to represent the biggest theft in the history of all mankind. Millions of our ancestors were born and died in slavery with never a day of freedom.
Just on the surface, this is absolutely troubling. It’s very easy for us to go deeper if we just think for minute and imagine the state of life for those who suffered under this type of oppression. For what? What did the Black man do to deserve this treatment – NOTHING!!! NO ONE, NO HUMAN BEING DESERVES TO BE TREATED LIKE OUR ANCESTORS WERE TREATED. The theft is just so breathtaking and shocking – one must asked what is the value of such a heist – what is the human value? At what cost did this have on the victim? These and other reasons, I believe, why America has acted like slavery wasn’t an institution and try to minimize the magnitude of the American Institution of Slavery. Black History is American History.
Just the other day I heard how appalled someone was with Donald Trump because he refuses to verbalize the word “Jew” when referring to the Holocaust – and the person went on and on how this was devastating and should never be done by a sitting president. The person wasn’t even Jewish, but was truly dismayed that this could happened – he basically stated that Trump was anti-Semite. He laid out his argument that the Holocaust was a “stain” on the whole humanity and that we should use this opportunity to show the inhumanity of man’s wicked potential and to always keep this “evil” in check.
First and foremost, I agree with the person and I agree with the premise, but I thought for a minute “what about the Black Holocaust” – how hypocritical is America and its White leadership when it comes to what they have done and continue to do to Black people in America – it’s easy to point the fingers at others and not look into your own backyard. Yes, I believe that the Jewish Holocaust was an absolute deplorable and sad page of human history and should never ever be forgotten and the Jewish community continues to keep this flag raised high and for very good reason.
So why is there at least an equal mention or reference of the pain and hurt of the Black Holocaust by these same “do good” people? Is not the torture of nearly 100 million Black people over a period of 300 years equal to the genocide of nearly 6 million Jews and the unfair and racist disruptions of the Jewish people which lasted approximately 15-20 years?
In addition, there was an attempt to “fixed” the damage both structural and financial in the form of reparations for the tens of thousands of Jews impacted by the Jewish Holocaust – while there is probably no equitable compensation, the effort was there and “something” was done to try and repair and to right wrong.
I have no intention of minimizing the Jewish Holocaust because I stand with the Jewish people to not only never see this again but fight against the evil mind that lingers around that with the right conditions could manifest itself again with the power and authority to reset itself.
Where is the Jewish community when it comes to the Black Holocaust? If anyone should be standing side-by-side with the Black community – it’s the Jewish community.
America, and many other European countries profited from the suffering of our people. The whole world stays silent – it’s a damn shame.
Trillions of dollars were generated, new industries, were developed, transportation and many other sectors were advanced. In fact, it’s impossible to imagine what the world would look like to day, but for the uncompensated contributions of the Black man in America.
The enslavement of our people has to be viewed as one of the biggest crimes in human history. Yet, not person or entity has ever been held accountable and the mere mention of reparations raises the hairs of White people to deny and demine the victim – it’s a laughable argument that is made. Unfortunately, it’s no laughing matter, it’s part of the pathology of White supremacy. Black History is American History
Most people know about slavery in America but have been conditioned to treat it as something that “just” happened and get over it. There are no living victims today; and the culprits were long, long ago and therefore irrelevant for any discussion today.
This is preposterous, insane and part of an American pathology of White supremacy and denial. By taking this position, they continue to uphold the legitimacy of this act and the legitimacy of their superiority – there is no recompense, there is no attrition, there is no forgiveness, there is no correction, there is no reparation.
We have a court system, civil and criminal, that seeks to protect the victim. In a criminal case, even when the one who actually perpetrated the crime is unable to be held accountable, the person who benefits from the crime can be charged or at least the benefit can be forfeited. Example: If I stole something of value and died but left the value to my children – that value, could not only be taken, the one who actually receives the value could be charged with being in “receipt of stolen goods” especially if they knew the goods were stolen and they accepted them. Black History is American History
We wouldn’t even be having this conversation if, like the Jewish Holocaust, there was some acknowledgement of the wrong and effort to try to repair – Black people got nothing. In fact a civil war erupted that centered on maintain slavery. To add insult to injury, Blacks were freed in 1863 with absolutely nothing but the shirts on their backs, and would endure the next 100 years of open racism, vicious and terroristic hostilities and extreme levels of hate and discrimination.
President L.B. Johnson – “You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: ‘now, you are free to go where you want, do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.’ You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying, ‘you are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe you have been completely fair . . . This is the next and more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity—not just legal equity but human ability—not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.”
The enslavement and overall treatment of Black people in America is not a bad dream, it’s not a fixture of my imagination, it did happen and the legacy of slavery is as alive today as slavery was yesterday. Unfortunately, the legacy of slavery, like a human cancer will continue to grow because America fails to not only acknowledge and own what it has done, but lacks the capacity and ability to try to figure out how to correct what now impacts nearly 50 million Black people. Black History is American History.