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RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery

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RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery

RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery

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  • 1. RBG COMMUNIVERSITY RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery Compiled and edited by RBG Street Scholar 6/23/2012Contents: 1. Education for a New Reality in the African World by John Henrik Clarke Part 3 of 10 The African Holocaust—The Slave Trade 2. The Ideology of Racial Hierarchy and the Construction of the European Slave Trade 3. On Slavery by Femi Akomolafe 1994 4. Christianity, Islam and Slavery by Kwaku Person-Lynn, Ph.D. 5. Afrikan Involvement In Atlantic Slave Trade, by Kwaku Person-Lynn, Ph.D. 6. Did We Sell Each Other Into Slavery? A Commentary by Oscar L. Beard, Consultant in African StudiesAlso Visit:RBG Worldwide 1 Nation Maafa & Reparations Video Conference ClassroomRBG-The Maafa (European Holocaust of Afrikan Enslavement) and Reparations Collection
  • 2. RBG Communiversity Page 1 of 22 Education for a New Reality in the African World by John Henrik Clarke Part 3 of 10 The African Holocaust—The Slave Trade There is a need to look holistically at African history, good and bad. If African people are to be educated to face a new reality on the eve of the twenty first century, we must know about the good times as well as the bad times. We must also know that history has not made Africa and Africans an exceptional case. In the great unfolding of history, Africans have played every role from saint to buffoon and we need to learn how to live with the good as well as the bad. We need to understand the triumphs as well as the tragedies in our history. At the end of what I have been alluding to as the last of the three golden ages in Africa, we entered a period of internal and external tragedy, partly of our making, but mainly imposed on us by foreigners in search of new land, new energy and new resources. We made the terrible mistake of thinking some foreigners could settle our internal "family" disputes. Instead of settling our family disputes, the foreigner turned us, one against the other, and conquered both. This is the great mistake we made in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries at the end of Africas third golden age. It is the greatest mistake we are making right now. This mistake grows out of our misinterpretation of our greatest As a people we have always been hospitable to strangers. The weakness in this noble gesture is that we have not been alert enough and suspicious enough to examine the intentions of the stranger that we have invited into our homes. All too often in our history strangers come in as guests and stay as conquerors. This is, at least in part, how and why the slave trade started. You cannot explain the slave trade and vindicate or rationalize the European participation in the slave trade by saying some Africans were in the slave trade and sold slaves to the Europeans. In some instances and in some regions, this was basically true. You cannot excuse the European slave trade by saying that slavery was practiced among the Africans before the Europeans came. In some instances and in some regions, this is also basically true. But the system of internal servitude in Africa that existed in some parts of Africa before the coming of he Europeans and the chattel slavery imposed upon Africa by the Europeans had no direct relationship, one to the other. In the African system of servitude which deserves critical analysis, families were broken up but not a single African was shipped out of Africa. In no way am I trying to say or imply that this system was good. My main point is that it was not the same as the European system. The European slave trade was a three continent industry that brought about a revolution in maritime science, international trade and a system of mercantilism that had not previously existed in world history. No Africans had this kind of international contact or were in a position to establish it at this juncture in history. RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 3. RBG Communiversity Page 2 of 22 For more enlightenment on this subject, I invite you to read the following books, Black Mother, The Years of Our African Slave Trade: Precolonial History, 1450–1850, by Basil Davidson, Forced Migration, by Joseph E. Inikore, Christopher Columbus and The African Holocaust, by John Henrik Clarke and How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, by Walter Rodney. Like most world tragedies the Atlantic slave trade, or the European slave trade, started slowly, almost accidentally. At first the Europeans did not visit the coast of West Africa looking for slaves; they were searching for a route to Asia for the spices and the sweets they had heard about because they needed something to supplement the dull European food of that day. In general they needed new energy, new land and new resources. Plagues, famines and internal wars had left Europe partly exhausted and partly under-populated. In the years between the first European entry into West Africa from about 1438 to the year of Christopher Columbus alleged discovery of America in 1492, there were no slaves of consequence taken out of Africa because there was no special work outside of Africa for slaves to do. The creation of the plantation system in the Americas and the Caribbean Islands set in motion a way of life for Europeans that they had not previously enjoyed. This way of life and the exploitation of the resources of the Americas and the Caribbean Islands, after the destruction of the nations and civilizations of the people referred to as "Indians," renewed the economic energy of Europe and gave Europeans the ability to move to the center stage of what they refer to as world progress. This was done mainly at the expense of African people who are still not thoroughly aware of their impact on every aspect of world history. Education for a new reality in the African world, must train African people to understand the nature of their contribution to the different aspects of world history, past and present, and the possibilities of their future contribution. If slavery was the African peoples holocaust, we should not be ashamed of saying so. We should have no hesitation in using the word "holocaust" because no one people has a monopoly on the word and I know of no law that gives a people the right to copyright a word as though it is their exclusive ownership. In relationship to this subject I have previously said that slavery was already an old institution before the European slave trade. However, the European slave trade in Africa is the best known and best recorded in the history of the world and also, in my opinion, the most tragic. The neglected tragedy of this system is that it did not have to occur at all. Had the European entered into a genuine partnership with the Africans instead of reducing them to slaves there would have been more goods and services to be had, both for the Europeans and the Africans, through contract labor. The European slave trade in Africa was started and reached its crescendo between 1400 to 1600. This was also a turning point in the history of the world. Europe was emerging from the lethargy of the Middle Ages. Europeans were regaining their confidence, manifesting a new form of nationalism and extending that nationalism into racism. The African had goods and services that the European needed, and the European had the basic technology that the African needed. Had the African needs and the European needs been considered on an equal basis, there could have been an honest exchange between African and European and the European could still have had RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 4. RBG Communiversity Page 3 of 22 labor in large numbers without the slave trade and the massive murder that occurred in the slave trade. This idea, only a dream in the minds of a few men, could have changed the world for the better had it been seriously considered. Slavery is taught as though it is something that victimized only African people. Slavery is an old institution. It is as old as human need and greed. It grew out of a weakness in the human character and the need to cover-up that weakness by dominating other people. In teaching about slavery, the one thing African people seem not to know is that for most of their existence on this earth they have been a sovereign people, free of slavery. The period of their enslavement is the best known and the best documented in history in comparison to other slave periods in history. When other people were the victims it was comparatively short. Feudalism in Europe, a form of European enslavement of Europeans, no matter what you call it, lasted much longer. This is why a holistic view of history is needed in order to understand this particular part of history that relates to a single people. This is where so-called Black Studies Programs missed both the objective and the subject in the study of slavery. In evaluating the African slave trade, there was another "Middle Passage" often neglected by most scholars—the Arab slave trade. It is often forgotten that the Arab slave trade in East Africa and the slave trade from North Africa into Inner West Africa was protracted and ruthless. Sometimes the Arabs from the north who were Moslem enslaved Africans in the south who were also Moslems, thereby violating one of the most basic customs of their faith—that no Moslem should enslave another Moslem. There is a small library of books on this subject that most scholars have chosen not to read, thereby making the Arab slave trade the best kept secret in history—although it is not a secret at all. Of the many books and documents that I have read on the subject, Slavery in the Arab World by Murray Gordon, 1987, and The African Slave Trade From the 15th to the 19th Century, in The General History of Africa: Studies and Documents 2, UNESCO,1979. I find the most informative the UNESCO book, especially the chapter, "The Slave Trade in the Indian Ocean." Like most strangers to Africa the Arabs entered Africa, allegedly, as friends. The Africans who are curious and uncritical about new people, new religions and cultures treated the Arabs as well as they treated other strangers. The Arabs were not always kind in their spread of Islam in Africa. In fact, they were usually ruthless and often disrespectful of societies and cultures that existed in Africa before they arrived. In North Africa the two wars of Arab conquest that came in the seventh and tenth centuries, the first being religious and military, broke the back of Roman influence in the area and replaced the corrupt Roman regimes. At first the Arabs were welcomed in North Africa as a replacement for the ruthless Romans. When the North Africans and Berbers discovered that the Arabs were also ruthless, although in a different way, it was too late because the Arabs now had the military upper hand. Another aspect of Arab conquest, generally neglected, is the spread of Arab influence in East Africa through accommodation and sexual conquest. Many times the Arabs moved down the RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 5. RBG Communiversity Page 4 of 22 coast of East Africa rendering the service of the much needed East African coastal trade. Soon after this, Arabs began to marry or cohabit with African women. This in turn resulted in a generation of African-looking Arabs. These Arab half-breeds facilitated the spread of the trade inland at a time when the Arab face was held in suspicion in this part of Africa. In the fierce competition in the West African slave trade, the Portuguese were driven from West Africa around to East Africa. The Arab slave trade, moving from north to east met the Portuguese slave trade moving up from the south. These two slave trades complemented each other and culminated with the establishment of one of the largest slave trading forts, in the history of the world, on the Island of Zanzibar. This event is well documented in any good history of East Africa, including the Cambridge History of East Africa, and The Cambridge History of Africa. Basil Davidsons A History of East and Central Africa to the late 19th Century, and certain chapters on East Africa in his Lost Cities of Africa is a popularization of the subject. There are two old but valuable books on the subject, East Africa and Its Invaders by Reginald Coupland, and the chapters on East Africa in the book, The Colonization of Africa by Alien Races, by Sir Harry Johnston. While the East African drama of slavery was unfolding with the Arabs and later with the Portuguese as the protagonists, the larger drama in West Africa was changing the course of history. The Africans, all along the coast of West Africa were being subjected to a form of humiliation never before known, in quite the same way, in their history or human history. The collecting of Africans, sometimes prisoners of war from other Africans, the movement of Africans from the hinterlands to the coast, where very often seven out of ten lost their lives, were forms of unrecorded genocide. This is one of the numerous missing statistics in the attempt to estimate the number of Africans who died in the slave trade within Africa, the number of those who died in the slave dungeons waiting for shipment to the Americas, and the number of those who died on the journey to the Americas. The precise figures will never be known. Good estimations in this case are the best that we have. There are a number of books describing the tragic living conditions in the slave forts and dungeons along the coast of West Africa. Books written by Europeans tend to tone down the tragedy. Books written by African scholars tend to be academic and objective to the point of being noncommittal to the tragedy of slavery. The following is a brief description of some of the conditions in these slave dungeons. In the early slave trade the forts sometimes contained between three hundred to five hundred captives. During the eighteenth century most forts had been adapted to the larger scale slave trade and they held many hundreds more. There were sections for the female captives and sections for the male captives. There were smaller and more tortuous dungeons for the rebellious and unruly captives. The conditions within and around these slave holding castles were great tragic horror stories. Within the castles there were no beds, no drinking water, no installed toilet facilities, and no means of day by day sanitary maintenance. The apartments of the slave traders and captains were directly above the main holding dungeons. And they lived there in luxury and were unmindful of the misery and degradation one or two floors below. RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 6. RBG Communiversity Page 5 of 22 The Ideology of Racial Hierarchy and the Construction of the European Slave Trade "THE ROUTE OF THE SLAVES" Sponsored by UNESCO, LISBON, PORTUGAL DECEMBER 9-12 1998 An International Conference Mr. President MBow, Dr. Doudou Diene, Madame Coordinator Henriques, permit me in the name of my ancestors and by the spirit of their legacies to simply say that it is not racial difference that has been a problem in discovering the ideological basis of the enslavement of Africans, but rather the idea of racial hierarchy, developed, refined and disseminated by Europeans who prosecuted the slave trade for three centuries. All of us here are aware that the magnitude of the European forced migration of enslaved Africans has no peer in history (Haywood, l985). In its extraordinary reach into another continent and its equally overcoming of horrendous obstacles on land and the high seas, the European enterprise dwarfed all other examples of similar social and economic constructions. The sea, more daunting in ways, than the desert, made the journey far more perilous than any other forced migration of peoples. Yet it is also true that the magnitude of the so-called "trade" must be measured in terms of the multiplicity of legacies, historical and contemporary, that it created. In the wake of the most mammoth forced movement of people over a period of centuries we see the very beginnings of the modern world, and indeed, the post modern world, is in effect, a creation of the same legacies (Tracy, l990). In one instance the spread of Africans and Europeans to continents other than Europe and Africa helped to produce a world order that has reigned supreme in technology, science, economics, law, and sociology for five hundred years. It was, however, a racist construction created out of stolen land, broken treaties, stolen labor and broken backs. Any interpretation of the post modern views of the present world has to take into consideration that the entire discourse on the fluidity of cultures, the notion of subjective identities, the instability of social and cultural space, and the interaction and interpenetration of peoples is a direct result of the most massive forced movement of people the world has ever known (Cohen, l982). It becomes impossible to speak of the Americas or Caribbean without Africans or indeed Europe without Africa. One cannot speak intelligently about Portugal and its history without Brazil or without Angola and Mozambique; this is an incredibly interconnected historical moment. I am struck by two phenomena of the late twentieth century: the survival of the African in the West and the decline of the doctrine of white racial supremacy, neither is yet a complete victory RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 7. RBG Communiversity Page 6 of 22 because Africans have not survived equally well in all places, as this UNESCO project "The Route of the Slaves" has shown, and the doctrine of white supremacy is expressed everyday on the Internet and in private circles of Europe and America. But the ultimate success of the African as African in the West and the decline and elimination of any hint of racial hierarchy will be one of the great achievements of contemporary humanity. It is, of course, one of the fundamental thrusts of the Afrocentric movement with which I am identified. The Afrocentrist, in positioning agency for African people, reasserts African humanity against all objectifications. We are not on Europes periphery; we are ourselves historical beings and our engagement with Europe or Europes encounter with us must be seen in the light of Africa before Europe (Asante, l990). This is why we cannot have a fruitful discussion until we understand that no African slaves were removed from Africa, only African people were removed. They were blacksmiths, farmers, fishers, priests, members of royal families, musicians, soldiers, and traders. They were captured against their wills and then enslaved in the Caribbean and Americas. There remains, however, one nagging question, why were Africans the victims of the most massive enslavement in history? It is a question not to be taken lightly when one views the history of humanity. It was on the African continent that humans originated and on the same continent that the most majestic civilizations of antiquity arose in the Nile Valley (Diop, l991). It was also in Africa that the first flourishing of religion occurred and even the naming of the Gods was said to be an African event (Herodotus, Book II). The mighty kingdoms of the West and South developed and maintained themselves for centuries without the presence of either Arabs or Europeans. So the question to be asked is, why did Africans become the subjects of the European Slave Trade? When this question is asked a variety of answers are given and each answer has a host of defenders. In effect the answer to the question has been hopelessly problematized to the extent that it will be difficult to arrive at an answer satisfactory to everyone. Indeed a prominent answer with a vocal cadre in America places the burden entirely on the victims themselves, that is, that it was Africans who created the conditions of enslavement. This falls into the category of blaming the victim much like the person who beats a spouse and then claims that the spouse caused the violence. Of course, some spouses may not be blameless, as all Africans may not be, in the long engagement with the European Slave Trade. Yet it is not correct to blame the actions of the oppressor on the oppressed. No where in African history do I find any example where slavery was the principal mode of production of an African society. No such slave societies were created on the continent and certainly no such societies where foreign labor was imported for the purpose of enslavement and hence, production. Africans had no global interest in the movement of African people and saw in the "trade" no advantage of a strategic nature. I believe that it is more beneficial to seek the answers to the ideological foundations of slavery in Europe itself. At least, it is in Europe where we discover the first initiatives for the capture and use of Africans in the Americas and the Caribbean. And here in Portugal we are near the RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 8. RBG Communiversity Page 7 of 22 beginning of the puzzle itself. In an attempt to explain the relationship of racism and economics to the motivation behind the enslavement of Africans, scholars writing in English have concentrated on two arguments and these arguments might be expanded as we continue to see the unfolding of the "The Route of the Slaves Project." I suspect that the documents in Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch would extend our reach into the history of the phenomenon of slavery. ________________________________________ A First Thesis Eric Williams, whose book, Capitalism and Slavery, written in l944, argued that slavery was not caused by racism but that racism was the consequence of African slavery. This line of thinking has become one of the leading explanations for the cause of slavery. It is fraught with many problems but I believe it is necessary for me to explain the principal characteristics of this argument before I offer my criticisms. For Williams, the answer to the question of why the enslavement of Africans must be found in economic rather than racial conditions. Starting from the premise that the color of unfree labor had been consecutively brown, white, and then black in the Caribbean, the economic argument, as I am calling it, says that the first instance of slave trading and slave labor involved the Indian, that is, the Native American. According to this idea the Indians, that is, Native Americans quickly succumbed to the excessive labor demanded of them, an insufficient diet, the white mans diseases, and an inability to adjust to the white mans way of life. This idea was buttressed by the often repeated position of the priest Bartholomes de Las Casas l518 petition from Hispaniola that permission be granted to bring Africans, "a race robust for labor, instead of natives, so weak that they can only be employed in tasks requiring little endurance, such as taking care of maize fields or farms." While Spain attempted to restrict the enslavement of Indians to those who rejected Christianity or to the Caribs who were considered cannibals, in the end Spain found that one African was worth four Indians. It is Williams opinion that the New World, as he calls it—but we know that such designation is a misnomer since it was neither new nor were the ideas carried to the Americas new—demanded robust laborers who could work in the cotton, tobacco and sugar fields. The economic argument contends that the immediate successors to the Indians as slaves were the whites as indentured servants, at least in the Caribbean. He cites considerable evidence to suggest that white servants, who signed contracts prior to departure to the Americas, were indentured by law, binding them to service for a stipulated time often in return for their passage to the Caribbean or Americas. Since this thesis is based on an economic understanding of history, that is, as a mercantilist endeavor in which the leading economists were seeking to lower the number of poor in Europe by emigration while at the same time supplying labor for the new colonies. Between l654 and 1685 ten thousand indentured servants sailed just from Bristol in England to the West Indies and Virginia. It is argued that one sixth of the population of Virginia in l683 were white indentured servants. Furthermore, during the 18th century two-thirds of the RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 9. RBG Communiversity Page 8 of 22 immigrants to Pennsylvania were white servants and in one period of four years 25,000 white indentured servants came to Philadelphia from England. It is estimated that at the height of the North American colonial period nearly a quarter of a million whites were of the servant class and half of the English immigrants were of this class (Williams, l944). In pressing the case for the economic basis of the enslavement of Africans, the economic proponents show how the white servant class was augmented by criminals and the poor. To supply the growing demand for labor in the Caribbean and the Americas kidnapping was resorted to on the streets of Bristol and London. The poor adults would be given whiskey and children given sweets to entice them on board ships bound for the new colonies. Many criminals found the transport ships refuges from the arm of the law and thus safer than the streets of England or Ireland. Convicts proved to be a steady source of white labor for the colonies and the harsh capital laws of England drove many criminals who had violated one of the three hundred capital offenses to take a trip to the new lands. One could be hanged or transported for picking a pocket of more than a shilling, for taking commercial goods more than five shillings, for stealing a horse or a sheep, or for burning stacks of corn. Indeed by l664 a proposal was made to banish to the colonies all rogues, thieves, Roma, and vagrants. By l745 transportation was the penalty for the theft of a silver spoon and a gold watch. There was, at least, in England a proclivity for transportation whenever the society wanted to rid itself of convicts and criminals. Without such characters neither Australia nor North America would have received such regular infusion of whites, and without such characters maybe our own history as Africans would have been different. However, one cannot speculate on what would have happened since the ones who sent the convicts were the same ones who started the African trade. Nevertheless, Eric Williams believed that the transportation of these white convicts and criminals and servants showed the process to be neither especially cruel nor inhuman but a part of the age. In effect, everyone was doing it and everyone thought it something to do. Of course the emigrants were packed into ships like herrings, given about a meter and a half in width and five meters in length for a bed, and treated like common criminals during the crossing which was long, often turbulent, with little good food, and lots of diseases. By l639 a Parliamentary petition described how seventy two servants had been kept below deck of a ship for five and a half weeks among horses. You can imagine the condition of the servants and the horses after such a journey. Although Williams sets up the scenario that leads to an economic basis of the enslavement of Africans he is not willing to go as far as some other writers in drawing the parallel between the white servants and the enslaved Africans. Indeed one could reasonably claim that in some American colonies like Maryland and Pennsylvania the white servants were said to be nearly chattel. But nearly chattel is not chattel. The fact that their conditions were often horrible, even unspeakable, does not lead to the conclusion that the white servants were chattel. The white servants spent their time on the islands and in North Americas grinding at the mills and attending RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 10. RBG Communiversity Page 9 of 22 to furnaces or digging the earth with little food that they were used to and being bought, sold, and traded among white planters, whipped at will, and sleeping in places worse than hogs. Yet they were not slaves and their conditions never approached dehumanization, that is, the idea that they were not humans. Williams concluded that the white servant laid the basis for black enslavement because the planters learned with the white servants what to do with the Africans. According to this theory had it not been for the economic downturn involved with the transportation of the white servants this process would have continued indefinitely. It was only because the white servants cost more than Africans, particularly since the white servants could work only until their contracts were completed and Africans could work a lifetime. Buying an African for life cost the same as buying a white servant for ten years. This thesis holds that the Africans were latecomers into a system already established (See Manning, l990). ________________________________________ A Second Thesis Now let me place beside this thesis another that has been advanced as an alternative argument. Its principal proponent writing in English may have been Winthrop Jordan whose book, White Over Black, was a thorough expression of the dual generation explanation for the enslavement of Africans. I shall refer to it as the Social-Economic thesis because it contends that there was an economic idea involved in the ideology behind slavery but the societies from which the impetus for the enslavement of Africans derived already had in them certain racist ideas that could be developed into full blown ideological foundations by the practice of slavery. The point to the Social-Economic thesis, as a way of escaping the issue of which came first, the hen or the egg, is that racism and slavery generated each other. While Williams maintained that slavery was not born of racism but that racism was the consequence of slavery, Jordan contends that one should not argue whether slavery caused racism or vice versa but rather that they seem to have generated each other, hustling the African toward complete degradation. In defending his simultaneous invention of slavery and racism Jordan, like Williams, concentrates on the English, establishing that they did not arrive on Africas west coast until nearly a century after the Portuguese. While the Portuguese seemed to have come early to the twin sins of enslavement and Christian conversion, Jordan argues that the English were adventurous traders in the l550s with nothing more on their minds than normal commerce. It would be the seventeenth century when English sailors would seriously join in the slave trade. The first permanent English settlement was at Kormantin in l631, but the first Royal African Company would not be chartered until l670. Consequently, it is Jordans belief that Englishmen initially met Africans as another sort of men, not as men to be enslaved. It was true that Africans were black, African religion was not Christian, and the African lifestyle was different from that of England, but they were still human. Indeed the idea that Africans were Moors was common in RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 11. RBG Communiversity Page 10 of 22 English literature. To separate the non-Muslim Moors from other Moors the term BlackMoors was often used to describe Africans of West Africa, but there was nothing particularly strange in this form of contact with Africans. Nevertheless the word "black" did hold special negative properties in the English language as an opposition to the word "white" and latent within the English was a cluster of perceptions about black and blackness that must have colored their attitudes toward Africans (Hakluyt, l928). Another factor that Jordan sees as having an impact upon the interaction of Englishmen and Africans was the Christian religion and while the English did not seem to have the same zeal as the Portuguese and Spaniards in converting the Africans to Christianity the religion played a part in their eighteenth century reaction to Africans. They were conflicted, according to Jordan, by the Christian idea of the oneness of mankind, yet the English believed that Africans were different, heathen, savage, and suffered from a fundamental defect which could not be overcome. The English observers found the African so different in habit, manners, dress, religion, and color that it became increasingly possible for them to consider the African as a different species of human, indeed, sub-human. Jordan contends that the English did not know what to make of the African in the sense that sometimes they felt that the African was absurd in dress and personal etiquette but quite capable in terms of government with kings, counselors, generals, and other functionaries of government just like the English. Jordan writes: They knew perfectly well that Negroes were men, yet they frequently described the Africans as "brutish" or "bestial" or "beastly." The hideous tortures, the cannibalism, the rapacious warfare, the revolting diet seemed somehow to place the Negro among the beasts. The circumstances of the Englishmans confrontation with the Negro served to strengthen this feeling. Slave traders in Africa handled Negroes the same way men in England handled beasts, herding and examining and buying (Jordan, l968). RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 12. RBG Communiversity Page 11 of 22 On Slavery by Femi Akomolafe 1994 Very often, the embalmers of Western history have tried to gloss over the sordid trade in African slaves by Europeans, for over four centuries, by putting up the argument that lot of Africans also made a fortune in the dealings. From these mythorians we often hear the stories that slavery was rampant in Africa before the Europeans came along. Not only is slavery been argued away, the colonial oppression of Africa is also been massaged to make it appear less cruel. We are told that the colonies also enjoyed the fruits of colonization. Christianity and Western-styled education are often cited as the benefits Africans derived from colonialism. These apologists then asked why must it be that all the opprobrium are directed against Europeans alone?" Even more unfortunate is the fact that some Africans, especially those in the diaspora, have bought into these pseudo-arguments. In this essay I shall try to put slavery in proper historical perspectives, and show how the chattel slavery introduced by capitalism differs from all other forms of slavery. To those who said Africans benefited from slavery and colonialism, one can argue, with the same [twisted] logic, that the countries conquered by Nazis also enjoyed the fruits of Nazism. We can say that Holland, which was conquered and oppressed by German Nazis, also benefited from their forced oppression. We can argue that the French, the Belgian, and the Dutch people who were forced into labor camps also benefited! This manner of thinking is, of course, simply outrageous. As any student of history knows, it was not only in Africa that slavery was rampant in ancient times. The Hebrew, Greek, Roman history tells of slavery. Watching slaves butchered each other was a game enjoyed by the decadent rulers of the Roman Empire. The institution of slavery got mentioned several times in the Christian Bible: Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. (Leviticus, 25, 44-46). If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh year he shall go out free for nothing. If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him. If his master have given him a wife, and she have born him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her masters, and he shall go out by himself. And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever. (Exodus XXI, 2-6). These are just two of the examples of the Hebrew gods opinion of slavery. The quotations are from the Christian bible. RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 13. RBG Communiversity Page 12 of 22 The Jews, like many other people, have been enslaved several times. But does the fact that they have been oppressed several times in the past lessen the enormity of the holocaust? We should be careful. In middle-age Europe almost everyone was a serf. And it is often conveniently forgotten, by Western mythorians, that two out of every three Europeans that migrated to the New World was a serf - until Africans were introduced as slaves. The Atlantic slave-trade was different from all these earlier slavery in several respects. Most enormously important is that it was the first form of slavery that was solely motivated by commercial incentives. In earlier times slaves were used as domestic workers and soldiers, since there were no plantations or industrial factories where millions of slave-labor was needed. The African slave-trade was a capitalist invention. Readers are directed to Slavery and Capitalism by Eric Williams. It was the large-scale capitalist mode of production which required cheap labors that induced the slave trade. It was the Industrial Revolution in Europe that made it necessary to traffic in human lives on a colossal scale. Slaves in earlier times enjoyed social and individual rights - like marriage, freedom to raise a family, speak their language and worship their gods, rights which were denied the African slaves exported to the Americas. Africans captured and taken into the new world were stripped of all their personality and humanity - they could not even bear their own names. It was capitalism that introduced chattel-slavery. "In the welter of philosophical arguments for and against the slave trade, the one cogent and inescapable argument in favor of it is easily hidden: in spite of its risks, illegality, and blighted social status, slave trading was enormously profitable. Despite the popular assertion that free labor was cheaper, the price of slaves continued to go up and to compensate for the risks of the trade." - The Slavers Log Book, original manuscript by Captain Theophilus Conneau, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1976, p. iv. In older times, slaves were not regarded as properties of their masters, manumission was possible and occurred frequently. Since slaves in those days were generally captured soldiers, theyre treated humanely, because the possibility always existed that a military or spiritual giant could arise from their tribe and turn the tide in their favor. Moses was such a figure. We read about the account of his leading the Hebrews out of Egypt in the Christian Bible. These are some of the qualitative differences, between the Atlantic slavery and earlier forms of slavery. They are important differences which the ideologists, masquerading as scientists and historians, want to gloss over. "Slaves became profitable after the discovery of the New World had established a seemingly insatiable demand for workers on the plantations. Slavery was not new to Africa, but it had existed primarily in its domestic form-involving rights as well as duties. In Bornu the kings sent slaves to govern their provinces and Hausa kings also often ruled through slaves. In Yorubaland, slaves of the ALAFIN often attain great power. It was the Europeans who turned slavery into an RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 14. RBG Communiversity Page 13 of 22 industry and introduced such well-documented barbarities as the rigors of the middle passage (across the Atlantic)." Walter Schwarz, Nigeria, Pall Mall Press. p.69). People have asked why Africans themselves engaged in the slave trade. Given the function of slavery in African societies, the origin of their participation is not too difficult to understand. First and foremost, slavery was not confused with the notion of superiority and inferiority, a notion later invoked as justification for black slavery in America. On the contrary, it was not at all uncommon for African owners to adopt slave children or to marry slave women, who then became full members of the family. Slaves of talent accumulated property and in some instances reached the status of kings; Jaja of Opobo (in Nigeria) is a case in point. Lacking contact with American slavery, African traders could be expected to assume that the lives of slaves overseas would be as much as they were in Africa; they had no way of knowing that whites in America associated dark colors with sub-human qualities and status, or that they would treat slaves as chattels generation after generation. When Nigerias Madame Tinubu, herself a slave-trader, discovered the difference between domestic and non-African slavery, she became an abolitionist, actively rejecting what she saw as the corruption of African slavery by the unjust and inhumane habits of its foreign practitioners and by the motivation to make war for profit on the sale of captives. What these imperialist mythorians are striving to achieve is a situation whereby Black people will continue to blame themselves for all the enormous crimes visited on them by the white people. While African chiefs who got corrupted and sold their folks are bandied about with glee, no mention is made of many great African Kings and Queens who died fighting the slave-raids. Mani-Congo, the ruler of a Congo state wrote king John III of Portugal entreating that, "... we need from your kingdom no other than priests and people to teach in schools, and no other goods but wine and flour for the holy sacrament: that is why we beg of Your Highness to help and assist us in this matter, commanding the factors that they should send here neither mercenaries nor wares, because it is our will that in these kingdoms, there should not be any trade in slaves or markets for slaves." Slavery in Africa was punishment; as even a barbarian like Conneau recognized, ". . .it was meted out to violators of serious taboos, to criminals, and especially to enemies captured in war. Muslims in particular used slavery in lieu of death sentence. Bondage instead of death was the punishment for truly heinous offenses, as well as a solution to the problem of getting rid of ones captured enemies. . ." Conneau, op. cit. p.viii. Language, they say, defines those that uses it. The fact that slavery in Africa does not have all the negative connotations and brutalities associated with the chattel slavery, could be seen from the Yorubas who have the same word ERU for both slaves and prisoners of war. To them both are unfortunate victims of wars. They are kept to serve terms and there are strict rules on how RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 15. RBG Communiversity Page 14 of 22 they should be treated. They are never engaged in plantations (there were none) with their mouths padlocked, they are not chained like cattle in pens. And whereas Africans who participated in slavery had been well-documented, those who fought tenaciously against it remain unsung. Lets contrast this with the interpretation given to Europeans slave-drivers. Every West African student knows the name of William Wilberforce - the Great Abolitionist, the role of Queen Victoria and other European Royalties and Noblemen who built their wealth on African slaves remain relatively unknown. How many Americans would like to know that the Great Libertarian, Thomas Jefferson, was a slave-owner? It is natural for the guilty to look for parallels, so as to diminish the enormity of his crime, so it is with the Europeans. They are busy collecting bogus anthropological findings and presenting same as historical fact to lessen their culpability in the greatest crime ever committed against a people, in the history of the world. Their assault on history should not be allowed to go unanswered. I do not write this to exonerate the African chiefs who sold slaves to the Europeans. The fact we all have to bear in mind is that the Europeans never launched a direct, frontal attack on Africa. In all the places they conquered, they first divided the people by looking for a Judas among them. With the promise of material benefits, such Judas are always the instrument used to destroy their own societies. For those who would like to know more about this, I strongly recommend The destruction of Black Civilization, by Chancellor Williams - published by Third World Press. We can see this trend continuing today in Angola, where Savimbi is serving the purpose of destroying his fatherland, in the interests of those who make their living from the misfortunes of other people. We should excuse our fathers if they appeared to have been swindled by the Europeans. Many of us, especially the immigrants from Africa, are also victims of Euro-American propaganda. We were swayed by the images of a paradisiacal Europe where streets are paved with gold and every white man is a god. We believed the smiling missionaries who told us tales about European hearts being filled with brotherly love and compassion. How many of us would have believed that we are going to a society where human beings are only as important as their bank accounts? How many of us would have believed that in the European paradise, there are jobless, homeless, copeless and hopeless people? How many of us would have believed that Cecil Rhodes was not a philanthropist but a pirate? How many of us would have believed that in Euro-America exist homophobes, parading the streets with lynching intentions? How many of us would have believed that Europeans, after all, are capable of lying? I shall end this piece with the following quotation: "When someone removes the cataracts of whiteness from our eyes, and when we look with unclouded vision on the bloody shadows of the American past, we will recognize for the first time that the Afro-American, who was so often second in freedom, was also second in slavery. RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 16. RBG Communiversity Page 15 of 22 Indeed, it will be revealed that the Afro-American was third in slavery. For he inherited his chains, in a manner of speaking, from the pioneer bondsmen, who were red and white. The story of this succession, of how the red bondsmen and of how white men created a system of white servitude which lasted in America for more than two hundred years, the story of how this system was created and why, of how white men and white women and white children were brought and sold like cattle and transported across the seas in foul slave ships, the story of how all this happened, of how the white planter reduced white people to temporary and lifetime servitude before stretching out his hands to Ethiopia, has never been told before in all its dimensions. As a matter of fact, the traditional embalmers of American experience seem to find servitude enormously embarrassing, and prefer to dwell at length on black bondage in America. But this maneuver distorts both black bondage and the American experience. ...In the first place, white bondage lasted for more than two centuries and involved a majority of the white immigrants to the American colonies. It has been estimated that at least two out of every three white colonists worked for a term of years in the fields or kitchens as semi-slaves. A second point of immense importance in this whole equation is the fact that white servitude was the historical foundation upon which the system of black slavery was conducted. In other words, white servitude was the historic proving ground for the mechanisms of control and subordination used in Afro-American slavery. The plantation pass, the fugitive slave law, the use of the overseer and the house servant and the Uncle Tom, the forced separation of parents and children on the auction block and the sexual exploitation of servant women, the whipping post, the slave chains, the branding iron; all these mechanism were tried out and perfected first on white men and white women. Masters also developed a theory of internal white racism and used the traditional Sambo and minstrel stereotypes to characterize white servants who were said to be good natured and faithful but biologically inferior and subject to laziness, immorality, and crime. And all of this would seem to suggest that nothing substantial can be said about the mechanisms of black bondage in America except against the background and within the perspective of the system of white bondage in America." - Lerone Bennet, quoted by John Henrik Clarke in Introduction to Worlds Great Men of Color, Collier Books. Massive greetings, Femi Akomolafe RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 17. RBG Communiversity Page 16 of 22 Christianity, Islam and Slavery by Kwaku Person-Lynn, Ph.D. The most difficult subject to write about is when you are dealing with someone’s spiritual belief system. Something someone grew up with since the day of reasoning. On the other hand, being a historian, I am obligated to bring forth the whole truth, no matter how devastating it may be. In the 1960s, it was almost sacrilege to talk about certain things Black people did. Two things come to mind, though not always honored: the woman of Afrikan descent, and the Afrikan involvement in the slave trade. Back when I was a graduate student at UCLA, studying Afrikan world history and music, I wrote an article for the Afrikan student newspaper, NOMMO. It was entitled, "Can Afrikans Be Forgiven?" meaning ourselves. It focused on the Afrikan complicity in assisting Europeans in the Afrikan Holocaust, which today we commonly label as the Atlantic Slave Trade. Many people of Afrikan descent stopped talking to me and looked at me funny out of the corner of their eyes. That’s when my greatest scholastic influence at that time, the late Dr. Boniface I. Obichere, stepped in and told me, "Kwaku, you don’t worry about what others are saying. You keep writing about the truth. That’s what history is supposed to do." There was slavery in Afrika prior to the Arab and European incursions. In Afrika, one could become a slave in virtually one of three ways: prisoner of war; to pay off a debt; as a criminal. But a slave in Afrika rarely ever lost his/her humanity and could rise very high in particular societies. When Arabs invaded Northeastern Afrika in the 7th century A.D., in the name of Islam, this brought about a whole new relationship to the institution of slavery. Afrikans were captured, treated brutally and inhumanely, then shipped off to other Arab countries in Asia, or other parts of Afrika that they controlled. This happened approximately 600 years before the European Christians got involved. The saddest and most painful reality of this situation is, that same slave trading is occurring today, still in the name of Islam. It is primarily happening in the countries of Mauritania, located in northwest Afrika, and Sudan, in northeast Afrika. There is a lot of denial about this from various corners, but as a scientist, the body of available evidence can only determine proof. In my case, I will sight three sources. For the past fifteen years, every Arab I have asked about this subject has openly admitted that it exists. Not some mind you, but each and every one. I have read various articles of eyewitness accounts that seemed believable. But the most prevailing evidence that I have seen comes to us by a scholar named Samuel Cotton, a documentary filmmaker, an investigative journalist, and a brother. He presents us with his book, SILENT TERROR – A Journey Into Contemporary African Slavery. This book was published in 1998, which records his undercover journey into Mauritania, at extreme danger to his life, and actually witnessed, and interviewed present and former Afrikan slaves there, gives the best analyses of RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 18. RBG Communiversity Page 17 of 22 the present situation, and shows how it is all cloaked under the auspices of Islam. For a Muslim, this is horrifying, but then again, if those Arab Muslims were truly Muslims, practicing the religion of peace, they would not continue to be in the business of the slave trade, contributing to the Afrikan Holocaust. If we assess what we have before us, this only leaves us to conclude that this is a horrendous misuse of Islam. Brother Cotton states in his vitally important book, "It is especially important for me to see that those who worship Islam, whether they are white or black, say or do something about the abuse and enslavement of their black spiritual brothers and sisters." Of course, this could be continued, but I don’t want to leave out the Christians. The reason people of Afrikan descent are in the Americas today can be attributed to the massive slave trading business of the European Christians. The reason Afrika is in the state that it is in today can basically be attributed to the European Christians. The reason most people of Afrikan descent do not know who they are and may frown when someone accidentally calls them an Afrikan, can also be attributed to the European Christians. This whole process began with Pope Julius II who signed a document entitled the "Papal Bull," dividing the world amongst his two most powerful Christian countries, Portugal and Spain. Prior to the 16th century, Spain signed a contract with the Portuguese called "Asiento," allowing them a monopoly in the carrying and selling of Afrikans across the Atlantic, until the English, who were the most aggressive, along with the French, Dutch, and later the rest of Europe joined in. Slavery in the United States, by the European Christians, in the name of Christianity, was the development of the worst form of slavery in world history; "chattel slavery." In other words, Afrikans were not considered human but property or animals, with absolutely no type of human rights at all. This was justified through the misinterpretation of Bible stories, particularly about Afrikan people being cursed and turned black. I say in my classes all the time, I will give any student $100 if they can prove that Afrikan people were cursed and turned black in the Bible. After a number of years, I still have the $100. Lastly, let me briefly mention those Europeans who converted to the ancient Hebrew Afrikan religion called Judaism. Though they were not involved to the extent of the Christians, their basic contribution to the Afrikan Holocaust was turning the slave trade into a business, and running it very effectively in Europe and Central and South America. I approach this subject with much trepidation. When one believes in a particular spiritual belief system, generally referred to as organized religions, it can be very hurtful to hear what has happened in the past in the name of their religion. But as I have attempted to show, if a person is a true Christian, Muslim or Jew, there is no way that this tragic event in world history, and presently, could possibly occur. That being the case, looking at all that is happening in the world today, under the guise of a particular religion, one has to wonder, is God heading these religions, or is Satan? Published: June 7, 1999 RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 19. RBG Communiversity Page 18 of 22 Afrikan Involvement In Atlantic Slave Trade, by Kwaku Person-Lynn, Ph.D. Facing the truth about the past is not always a pleasant adventure. In fact, it is extremely painful dealing with why Black people are in the United States, after the 16th century. In no way is this an attempt to belittle the great and amazing history of Afrika, but simply to look at a portion of the past that does not merit a positive spot light, but is part of the Afrikan story nonetheless. An authentic way to attack this problem is to look at a passage from Adu Boahen, a noted Afrikan historian, author and former chair of the History Department at the University of Ghana. He approaches this issue with a pure honesty: "How were all these numerous unfortunate Africans enslaved and purchased? African scholars and politicians today must be honest and admit that the enslavement and sale of Africans from the seventeenth century onwards was done by the Africans themselves, especially the coastal kings and their elders, and that very few Europeans actually ever marched inland and captured slaves themselves. Africans became enslaved mainly through four ways: first, criminals sold by the chiefs as punishment; secondly, free Africans obtained from raids by African and a few European gangs, thirdly, domestic slaves resold, and fourthly, prisoners of war," (Adu Boahen, Topics In West African History p. 110). There is adequate evidence citing case after case of Afrikan control of segments of the trade. Several Afrikan nations such as the Ashanti of Ghana and the Yoruba of Nigeria had economies depended solely on the trade. Afrikan peoples such as the Imbangala of Angola and the Nyamwezi of Tanzania would serve as middlemen or roving bands warring with other Afrikan nations to capture Afrikans for Europeans. Extenuating circumstances demanding exploration are the tremendous efforts European officials in Afrika used to install rulers agreeable to their interests. They would actively favor one Afrikan group against another to deliberately ignite chaos and continue their slaving activities. I. A. Akinjogbin, noted Afrikan historian, in his article, The Expansion of Oyo And The Rise Of Dahomey 1600-1800," gives an example in the Aja Kingdom of Dahomey (now Benin): "The principal European traders took active part in installing kings who they judged would favor their activities, irrespective of whether such kings were acceptable to their subjects, or were the right candidates according to Aja traditions," (History of West Africa, J. F. A. Ajayi and Michael Crowder, eds., p. 389). This is the exact same system used today, whereby certain American Afrikans are put in positions to divide people of Afrikan descent through radio programs, editorials, books, chairs of academic departments, so-called fabricated leaders, executive directors of white supremacists organizations, and so forth. RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 20. RBG Communiversity Page 19 of 22 A couple of additional points to be addressed are the Arab slave trade in Afrika, occurring almost 1,000 years prior to the European slave trade, and continues even today, and continental Afrikan slavery, which was part of the culture, but more humane and unlike the chattel slavery of the United States. In Afrika, slaves were still human beings. In the United States, slaves were property. The cold reality, Afrikans controlled the capture of other Afrikans, initiated several wars and raiding parties to secure captives, set prices for buyers and even extended credit to Europeans for the purchase of Afrikans. One prevailing and probably wishful sentiment on the part of many is that Afrikan rulers did not know what type of slavery they were selling Afrikans into. A view dispelled by the fact many rulers knowingly went to war with their neighbors, killing millions and destroying entire communities in order to capture fellow Afrikans for sale. Maintaining power, expanding the economy, greed and expansionist ambitions were the prime motivating factors. There is no way anyone can defend or justify Afrikan involvement in the slave trade, other than acknowledge that it is one of many historical facts that must be faced. It is mandatory to look at the mistakes of the past so as not to duplicate them again. There are several people of Afrikan descent psychologically and culturally involved in the negative, anti- Black philosophy of western culture. They would turn against other Blacks at the drop of a dime, especially if they felt it would curry favor with their European companions, and often add to their pockets. It is essential to examine the slave trade, in order to understand the same behavior operative today.Though this effort concentrated on the Afrikan involvement in the slave trade, by no means does it dismiss the European role in the most traumatic, brutal, oppressive event in human history. Europeans, through the church in Rome, and lessons learned from Arabs, launched the Atlantic slave trade, financing the European and American industrial revolution. Thus, the birth of an economic system we practice today, capitalism. Europeans developed it from a pirating operation into a business, partly the European Jewish contribution to the trade, and supplied favored groups with arms and ammunition, contributing to the deaths of millions. Without the Europeans, there would have never been an Atlantic slave trade. RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 21. RBG Communiversity Page 20 of 22 Did We Sell Each Other Into Slavery? A Commentary by Oscar L. Beard, Consultant in African Studies 24 May 1999 The single most effective White propaganda assertion that continues to make it very difficult for us to reconstruct the African social systems of mutual trust broken down by U.S. Slavery is the statement, unqualified, that, "We sold each other into slavery." Most of us have accepted this statement as true at its face value. It implies that parents sold their children into slavery to Whites, husbands sold their wives, even brothers and sisters selling each other to the Whites. It continues to perpetuate a particularly sinister effluvium of Black character. But deep down in the Black gut, somewhere beneath all the barbecue ribs, gin and whitewashed religions, we know that we are not like this. This singular short tart claim, that "We sold each other into slavery", has maintained in a state of continual flux our historical basis for Black-on-Black self love and mutual cooperation at the level of Class. Even if it is true (without further clarification) that we sold each other into slavery, this should not absolve Whites of their responsibility in our subjugation. We will deal with Africa if need be. The period from the beginning of the TransAtlantic African Slave so-called Trade (1500) to the demarcation of Africa into colonies in the late 1800s is one of the most documented periods in World History. Yet, with the exception of the renegade African slave raider Tippu Tip of the Congo (Muslim name, Hamed bin Muhammad bin Juna al-Marjebi) who was collaborating with the White Arabs (also called Red Arabs) there is little documentation of independent African slave raiding. By independent is meant that there were no credible threats, intoxicants or use of force by Whites to force or deceive the African into slave raiding or slave trading and that the raider himself was not enslaved to Whites at the time of slave raiding or "trading". Trade implies human-to-human mutuality without force. This was certainly not the general scenario for the TransAtlantic so-called Trade in African slaves. Indeed, it was the Portuguese who initiated the European phase of slave raiding in Africa by attacking a sleeping village in 1444 and carting away the survivors to work for free in Europe. Even the case of Tippu Tip may well fall into a category that we might call the consequences of forced cultural assimilation via White (or Red) Arab Conquest over Africa. Tippu Tip s father was a White (or Red) Arab slave raider, his mother an unmixed African slave. Tip was born out RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 22. RBG Communiversity Page 21 of 22 of violence, the rape of an African woman. It is said that Tip, a "mulatto", was merciless to Africans. The first act against Africa by Whites was an unilateral act of war, announced or unannounced. There were no African Kings or Queens in any of the European countries nor in the U.S. when ships set sail for Africa to capture slaves for profit. Whites had already decided to raid for slaves. They didnt need our agreement on that. Hence, there was no mutuality in the original act. The African so-called slave "trade" was a demand-driven market out of Europe and America, not a supply-driven market out of Africa. We did not seek to sell captives to the Whites as an original act. Hollywood s favorite is showing Blacks capturing Blacks into slavery, as if this was the only way capture occurred. There are a number of ways in which capture occurred. Let s dig a little deeper into this issue. Chancellor Williams, in his classic work, The Destruction of Black Civilization, explains that after the over land passage of African trade had been cut off at the Nile Delta by the White Arabs in about 1675 B.C. (the Hyksos), the Egyptian/African economy was thrown into a recession. There is even indication of "pre-historic" aggression upon Africa by White nomadic tribes (the Palermo Stone). As recession set in the African Government began selling African prisoners of war and criminals on death row to the White Arabs. This culminated as an unfortunate trade, in that, when the White Arabs attacked, they had the benefit of the knowledge and strength of Africans on their side, as their slaves. This is a significantly different picture than the propaganda that we sold our immediate family members into slavery to the Whites. In reality, slavery is an human institution. Every ethnic group has sold members of the same ethnic group into slavery. It becomes a kind of racism; that, while all ethnic groups have sold its own ethnic group into slavery, Blacks cant do it. When Eastern Europeans fight each other it is not called tribalism. Ethnic cleansing is intended to make what is happening to sound more sanitary. What it really is, is White Tribalism pure and simple. The fact of African resistance to European Imperialism and Colonialism is not well known, though it is well documented. Read, for instance, Michael Crowder (ed.), West African Resistance, Africana Publishing Corporation, New York, 1971. Europeans entered Africa in the mid 1400 s and early 1500 s during a time of socio-political transition. Europeans chose a favorite side to win between African nations at a war and supplied that side with guns, a superior war instrument. In its victory, the African side with guns rounded up captives of war who were sold to the Europeans in exchange for more guns or other barter. Whites used these captives in their own slave raids. These captives often held pre-existing grudges against groups they were ordered to raid, having formerly been sold into slavery themselves by these same groups as captives in inter-African territorial wars. In investigating our history and capture, a much more completed picture emerges than simply that we sold each other into slavery. RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery
  • 23. RBG Communiversity Page 22 of 22 Guide for study and download RBG Reparations Series: Essays on Topics of Slavery

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