The price for freedom, justice, liberation, advocacy of human rights in an effort to raise a peaceful society over the last 401 years of black people sharpening America’s democracy.
On the morning of 30 July 2020 while watching the remembrance ceremony of the great Civil Right’s Congressman, John Robert Lewis i was taken in by all the liturgy of all the honorable guests who were there highlighting his life. This was truly a gift to witness this moment of history as a middle aged African born citizen living in North America in the 21st century.
I asked myself why this man, John Robert Lewis, had to sacrifice all his life with so much painful struggle for social justice for all until the day he died. I then quickly realized if he wanted to see change he didn’t have much choice as a African as this is a principal act and service for humanity we all inherited no matter where we are as world citizens doing what’s necessary to improve life and circumstance for our fellow man and citizens.
John Lewis chose to stand for fairness, equality, freedom of civil right’s; not to get wealthy as most would choose to do, but to be kind, mindful and brave. Civil service is a fundamental engine oil to smooth our democratic society as we all must act and serve and benefit from our freedom and peaceful society globally.
Lewis, even on his death bed said in his last words as he whispered to a friend the former Mayor was “everyone must vote”. A crucial presidential election of 2020 and the most critical in the 21st century of USA politics that will turn the world into the direction when democracy and freedom will be more than ever before comprehended.
We are globally enjoying the few freedoms in our nations today because of the sacrifice of those who stood up against injustice over the past 401 years.
The whole idea of doing business with fairness, communicate openly and trust worthily is the foundation of successful results and building cohesive and prosperous communities that flourish society.
As we have recently witnessed how crucial governments and citizens must continuously advocate against corruption and labour abuse now and forever globally to enable citizens access to true justice for all citizens.
The beginning of the erroneous trade relationship started as a nightmare for the African person back in the 1400’s.
In 1440, West Africa Coastline Business and Trade Centre – Guinea, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast , Ghana, Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Congo and Angola, these regions were well organized and governed democratically and constitutionally by some of the most powerful Kingdoms like Songhai, Ghana, Mali, with Tekrur, Hausa, Mossi, Seghu Duala, Ashanti, Dahome, Oyo, Benin, Yoruba, Ibo etc…
Elmina Castle : Today’s Ghana Republic Central Region : Described as the first known European structure of fortification in Ghana. Built by the Portuguese in 1482 , A trade centre for Ivory, Gold, Salt, Iron, Copper, Diamond, Later turned to Slaves . It was captured by the Dutch in 1637 later purchased by the English in 1872 .
Fort Saint Jago – Elmina : The Dutch built this castle in 1637 after capturing the Elmina castle . It primarily served as a military protection for the Elmina Castle and unlike other castles not used in Slave trading .
As any business is always started with a good intention and objective of growth and prosperity,
The Europeans were surprised to see and witness the wealth and the intellectual property the Africans had developed on the continent so magnificently is when they made their first contact.
A most crucial example is the University of Timbuktu. The early African artwork and living standard of the people and just imagine the tropical forests and the beaches and sea of the West Coast in 1460 with very clear blue water much fish, abundant wealth of agriculture, fruit, vegetables, exotic animals, timbers, gold, copper, diamond, salt and happy people dancing celebrating freely everyday.
Yes, the early European immigrants who stepped foot on the continent were very surprised and quickly released how much wealth they can build for themselves and family and empire compared to the life and standard in Europe and control of oppression.
We all have ambition as human nature when we see something wonderful and magnificent when we travel to a new place; just ask any new immigrant who arrived in New York, Paris, Vancouver, Beijing, London, Berlin, São Paulo, Tokyo, Seoul, etc.. The hunger for quick integration and build prosperous life is believed achievable as this is the motto of the self made improvement to build life status for you and your community.
This exact hunger is what took the early European to the African continent and corrupted the trade relationship.
Let us not forget Europe, life in the 14th Century was poor and being a peasant was the normalcy of life. Only a few had the wealth, the social class and there was no middle class. The Royal families or the Member of a Religions Society with its aristocratic society controlled all the wealth among themselves; they were the core entrepreneurs to architect the slave trades after many business trade contracts were breached with the African Kingdom.
Africa’s agriculture intellectual property and labour force was needed to build the new world of America. The farming industry after the backlash of greed corruption and dishonesty in trade relationship, illegal immigration slave trade was engineered to kidnap African people to America to force labour. This marks the beginning of a long walk to imperfect freedom over the last 401 years.
Black people lived through the harsh and humiliating dehumanizing situations, the experience has been fervent force of rebuilding and reshaping the American democracy that is a model of the modern world government.
Even though there are no perfect solutions in our human society the effort made over the last 401 years bring us closer to much better respect and dignity in humanity globally. We must continue to remind the young and future generation that there is responsibility and a role in our democratic society toward our humanity, dignity and living peaceful in world.
We owe much gratitude to the sacrifices of our heritage in the work and labour of our ancestors who all laid their life and built the foundation of advocating for good government as they never gave up to stand for what they believed of fairness and respect for humanity.Today, because of their marching we also must continue marching demanding a better humanity and peaceful society now into the future generations.
The chronology of date and events research that shape the relationship between Africa, Europe and America in the wake of the new world in 401 years.
Researched by Marquise D.B. with a compilation of Africa dates Honore Gbedze
Late August 1619 Jamestown Virginia –First Slaves Africans Recorded from Angola brought to Jamestown .Well documented it’s believed the first Africans brought to the colony of Virginia, 401 years ago, were Kimbundu-Speaking Peoples from the kingdom of Ndongo, located in part of present-day Angola. Slave traders forced the captives to march several hundred miles to the coast to board the San Juan Bautista, one of at least 36 transatlantic Portuguese and Spanish slave ships embarked with over 350 Africans slaves as the face on board with hungers and diseases who took a big toll 150 died on the road
Approaching the coast of what is now Mexico coast of Veracruz the chips account ” White Lion” two English private ships who stormed the slaves chip San Juan Baustista and captured 50 to 60 slaves after sailing to Virginia.
1662 Virginia : passes the ” Hereditary Slave Law “Children will have the same status as their mother – Slavery become generational and white owners are not legally responsible for the children with slaves.
1705 Virginia :” Slave Codes ” Define slaves as property and real estate – This simple translate slave are not human.
1740 South Carolina : Passes the ” Negro act ” Making it illegal for slaves to raise food ,earn money, and learn english.
1775 Revolutionary War Begins : Salves Populations Grow from 20 to 37.0000
Colonist VS British Looking for extra help ,the British declare any slaves fighting for them will be freed.
1776 Declaration of Independence Signed : All Men are not created equal ,life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness is not for everyone ( Poor whites and women also included in the ” Not created equal ” section.
1777 Vermont State : First to abolish slavery
10 year later 44 Year old US Ambassador to France ,Thomas Jefferson , begin his relationship with Sally Hemings ,His 14 Year old slave the have 6 kids together .
1790 1ST US Census : out of 3.9 Million , 700,000 are slaves , 300.000 live in the Maryland -Virginia . Some of which are brought to D.C. to build the White House – Completed in 1800. Benjamin Banneker, a free Black Man ,Helps with architecture plans.
1791 – Slave Revolt Erupted on The French Colony : Toussaint-Louverture, a former slave, took control of the rebels. Two months after his defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte’s colonial forces, Jean-Jacques Dessalines proclaimed the independence of Saint-Domingue, renaming it Haiti after its original Arawak name.
1794 Eli Whitney Invents The Cotton Gin : a machine which separates cotton from its seed , cotton production and salve boom expands (before 1 slave took 10 hours for 1 lb of cotton , Now 3 slaves can handle 50 lbs in one day).
1796 George and Martha Washington’s : favorite slave Oney Judge , Escapes , George uses his powers and posts newspaper ads with a $10 reward ( $250 today) to find her .He never does , she lives in hiding for the rest of her life.
1821 The American Colonization Society of Quakers : Slaveholders and politicians send free Blacks to Liberia in Africa . The belief was that Blacks and Whites could never live together equally and the few free Black Men around would undermine the institution of slavery.
1860 Slavery makes the South one the Wealthiest Place in the world and valued at over $4Billions Dollars. 75% of the world’s cotton comes from the south as is guaranteed the wealth in more than 70 years
Abe Lincoln wins Presidency . States secede from the US and form the “Confederate States of America “Article1 ,Section9 of the CSA Constitution reads ‘ No bill of attainder ,ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of property in negro slaves shall be passed”
Translation: Slavery will never be illegal and we are willing to fight and die for it.
1861 1865 Civil War for Slavery : Between 620.000 – 850.000 Fight and die in a civil war for slavery, Not States “Rights” . Confederacy lasts 5 years .
1863 Abraham Lincoln Signs Emancipation Proclamation : Slavery ends (on paper) in the Confederate rebel states and frees
( on paper ) 3.5million slaves However, slavery still exist ( in real life ) in Texas , Kentucky , Maryland,Delaware, and Missouri.
1865 Juneteenth : Officially free 250.000 slaves in Texas. 13th Amendment abolished slavery “Officially ” Fine print allows slavery to continue for prisoners: ” Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude , Except as a punishment for crime Whereof the party shall have been duly convicted..”
1865-1965 Jim Crow /Black Codes Era Begins : History books call it the “Reconstruction Era” Schools , Public Facilities, Hospitals, Records, Transportation, Housing,Sports, Life . All segregated Legal barriers enacted to impede upward mobility for Black People. (Relevant for the next 155 years )
1866 The Ku Klux Klan: Is created in stone mountain ,Ga ( Not Indiana as popularity assumed) Lynching ,fear, and murder becomes encouraged in the south . “Black Codes” Legalized by Southern States to keep Blacks working for low wages or in debt. Restricted Blacks from owning property ,conducting business ,buying ,or leasing land . Loophole in the 13th amendment creates Convict Leasing System. This allowed ” Criminals” to go back into slavery which created a system of arresting Black Men for anything. Over 90% of the Southern prison population is Black (Relevant for over 100 years)
1868 – 14th Amendment : “Guaranteed ” all citizens “equal protection of the laws ” this “overturned” The Dred Scott Decision on paper, not in practice. 3 years after freedom, JohnWillis Menard Becomes 1st Black elected to Congress ( Louisiana ) noticing Black political potential ,voter suppression increases.
1869- Howard University : School of Law Becomes 1st Black Law school .1st Black Labor Convention meets in D.C. John W. Menard becomes 1st Black person to give a speech to congress.
1870 15th Amendment : The Right of Citizens of the US to VOTE Shall not be denied or abridged on account of race ..on paper , not shall in practice.
1875 Civil Right Act : Which affirmed the ” Equality of All Men Before The Law “and prohibited racial discrimination in public places is Overturned by 8-1 Supreme court vote as “unconstitutional “.
1881 Spelman becomes 1st college for Black Women : The African Dodger AKA ” Hit the “Nigger Baby” is introduced at carnivals and fairs White customers throw baseballs at live Black Humans .
1860 – 1958 Human Zoos Exhibition : An imaginable dehumanisation of African people in exhibition at Human zoo across cities in Europe, and the United State ( London , Paris , Oslo, Hamburg , New York , Madrid , Lisbon , Vienna , Rome) Africa Village Life and cultures and non white persons. exemple story of young Congolese Ota Benga and 19 year old khoisan Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman orphaned girl from South Africa.
1824 – The Ashanti Empire : defeated the British Empire‘s invasions in the first two of the four Anglo-Ashanti Wars, killing and keeping British army general Sir Charles MacCarthy. Due to British improvements in weapons technology, burning and looting of the capital Kumasi and final defeat at the fifth Anglo-Ashanti War 1874, the Ashanti empire became part of the Gold Coast colony in January 1, 1902.
1890 States Legalize Voter Rights Discrimination : Now you must own property and be able to read to vote .But owning land and reading is illegal (relevant in 100 years and still today) 6 Years later , Supreme Court Affirms Blacks are ( “Separate, But Equal “) in Plessy V. Ferguson
1897 Benin Kingdom : invaded by the British Army today (Southwestern Nigeria ) after brutal repression the destroy and stole over thousands and thousands of priceless artworks precious metals and intellectual properties some today display in at Fine Arts Museums in the United Kingdom , France , Germany , Austria ,United State , without any return benefit of the original owners and country.
1909 The National Association For The Advancement of Colored People ( NAACP) : Is Founded by W.E.B. Du Bois , Ida B. Wells, Mary White Ovington and Moorfield Storey ..because of 30 things listed before this .
1917 – 1919 D.W. Griffith Film : ” Birth of A Nation ” ( Aka “The Clansmen” ) 1st film ever shown at the White House .US enters World War 1 .370.000 Blacks Enlisted Fighting for …Freedom ? After the war, hundreds of Black Men in the South killed by White supremacist . ” Red Summer of 1919″. Racially Restrictive Covenants” Created Property Owners Ban House Sales to Blacks .
1920 Harlem Renaissance : Pushed Black Stories and Culture .Black Wall Street Bombed and Burned in 1921 Great Depression strikes in 1929 ( Relevant for who gets help and who doesn’t)
About the author:
Honore K. M .Gbedze Creative and Energetic entrepreneur managing the successful development and growth of The Afro News, a subsidiary of Privilege Group Holdings. Visionary, and founder of charitable efforts to share resources Sage Foundation a non-profit organization whose purpose is to recognize excellence in community service, leadership or multiculturalism.
Honore says, “I always believed that education was the most critical for building a strong, vibrant and competitive Canada for the next generation to be ready to lead our Nation well in the coming future. Giving talented students an opportunity to excel would result in successive new generations of leaders. We can do it with your support and invite joining us to make a difference.”
Honore received some prestigious Canadian awards he is a recipient of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 and Nesika Business Award Winner in 2011.
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