AFROPUNK

... the other Black experience

Black History Month--do or Die? Wall Street and American Slavery, Then and Now

Jean  Michel Basquiat  "Slave Auction"

 

A Response to the discussion on the importance(or not) of Black History Month

Let me start by quoting Dr. Carter G Woodson, the founder of Negro History Week, who definitely said it right:

"We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice."

I'm
digging this point of view, and I see that Black History month has become a sorry ass, marginalized month that most schools gloss over if at all.  This is why for the last three years I have gone into schools to teach it by my sorry ass self.  I also champion and support the right to be an American and not defined by race.  For example, the term "Black intellectual" bugs the shit out of me because it makes the distinction that most Black folks ain't intellectual so you have to distinguish those who are, like Brother Cornel West.  That's WEAK.

 

However, as the saying goes, we can't go forward unless we go back, and I see so much of Black History that is more than ever urgent as hell today.  For example, looking at the economic "crisis" coming down from Wall Street(I say "crisis" because that shit could have been prevented if the whole industry wasn't run by criminals and supported by the criminals in Washington who lick their asses):

 

Wall Street is built on slavery: By the mid-1800s, capital investment in slaves was higher than the value of land or any other capital worth. Southern slave labor made New York City the financial capital of the world. Both cotton and enslaved workers treated as “property” were among the first commodities on the stock market.

 

Cotton trading accounted for the country’s expansive growth for an extended historical period. Profits from the slave trade financed the industrial revolution.  The Lehman family members were Alabama cotton brokers. In 1850 they founded Lehman Brothers Investments, acquiring their capital and wealth by investing and trading in cotton. Three sons moved to New York City in 1858, where they later helped to establish the New York Cotton Exchange (1870).  In 1781, Wachovia Bank of North Carolina was founded on the profits of the slave trade. Its predecessors, the Bank of Charleston, S.C., and the Bank of North America, made loans to slave “owners” and accepted slaves as collateral. When the owners defaulted on the loans the banks became the new slave owners.  The Morgan family of Massachusetts was a major stock broker. JP Morgan brokers became JP Morgan/Chase. Their predecessor banks also made loans to slave owners and accepted 13,000 enslaved Africans as “collateral.” When owners defaulted, the banks acquired their fortunes by becoming the new owners of 1,250 slaves. Chase Bank is owned by the Rockefeller family.

 

Wall Street and slavery are connected in other ways. Wall Street got its name because of a physical wall built there along the river to protect New York City from invasion. Slave labor built the wall and much of the city. Slave auctions were held at the foot of Wall Street when ships carrying enslaved Africans arrived.  Slavery resulted in these capitalistic enterprises becoming profitable and powerful. The foundation of U.S. capitalism was built on slave labor and racism. After the Civil War, the U.S. went from competitive capitalism to imperialism and became a financial empire.

 

Now the government is bailing out these same companies and the burden again is falling most heavily on the working class, including the descendents of those slaves.  Once a thief, always a thief.  DAMN!  Where's the expose on that history?  Should be on CNN--but it ain't.  Now that's a problem, make your ancestors roll in their graves to know that the land they died to live free in is still controlled by those bastards that profited off of their misery.  They lived, struggled and died for you and me.  if you really want to celebrate Black History Month, take that Chase card dripping with blood and tears out of your wallet and cut that shit up NOW.  The ONLY power we have left is where we spend our hard earned duckets, and that's the damn truth.  Static People out.

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