Black Folks, Learn Some History!

Someone recently said this about members of the black race:

WE KNOW OUR HISTORY

I would beg to differ. The ignorance of history within the ranks of the black race is staggering. When it comes to black history, most of us can recognize the different personalities that are prevalent throughout the aforementioned history: Martin Luther King, Jr, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Thurgood Marshall, yada, yada, yada. However, most of us are ignorant about the impact these historical figures have had on history, although we know certain things about them. For example, we all know that Martin Luther King, Jr led the way for civil rights in the 50s and 60s; we know about his “I Have a Dream” speech and his march on Selma, AL. Sadly, we also know about how his life came to an abrupt end at the age of thirty-nine in Memphis, TN due to an assassin’s bullet. Reveal the fact, however, that MLK was a Republican and you are sure to get weird stares and raised eyebrows.

Very few of us in the black race realize that the first blacks to serve in Congress did so in the 1800s, that those blacks were Republicans, and that it wasn’t until the 1930s when the first black Democrat was elected to Congress. Ask your average black person about Richard Allen, Henry Garnet, Hiram Revels, Joseph Rainey, Jefferson Long, John Rock, or John Lynch and you will get more stares (Answer: They were the first black people elected to Congress and they were Republican). Ask them about who made the following quotes and you are sure to get a chorus of “I dunnos”:

I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress.

 or…

I recognize the Republican Party as the sheet anchor of the colored man’s political hopes and the ark of his safety.

 Answer: Frederick Douglass.

Now, I’m not saying we should know everything off the tops of our heads but we should know how to find the information and be willing to accept it as truth.

Now, I know there are some who will see this and say “If you didn’t know that, you didn’t pay attention in history class!”, but that is the problem: Most history classes don’t teach this. I know it wasn’t taught in my school; one would have to study history on his own to obtain this information because it’s just not being taught.

“It’s the white conservatives who have kept our history from us!” you may say. However, a lot of this information is being held back by liberal black teachers. Why? Because most of us in the black community are holding to the erroneous notion that the Democrat Party led the way for civil rights and that they are the party of the black man. We don’t want to realize that there were black people who were quite prominent in the party a lot of us have grown to hate so much and because of pride, we would rather cover up the truth instead of admitting we were wrong.

We can state the fact that the Republican Party was formed to end slavery, the KKK was started by the Democrats, civil rights laws were started in the 1800s, and so on and so forth, but in the eyes of many blacks, the Republicans are the evil ones who want to bring back Jim Crow laws (started by Democrats) and take away our civil rights (something the Democrats stood against in the 50s and 60s). Moreover, to avoid any admission of wrong, they make some off the cuff remark like “Yesterdays Democrats are today’s Republicans.” I can go on and on and my fellow black peers will continue to dance their way around the truth; and they say I’m putting on the minstrel show. Sigh!

When many of us learn the truth about our history, we tend to abandon the philosophies that had been drilled into our heads for so many years. That is the main reason why the liberals like to cover up the truth because if the black race were to leave their ranks, they would lose their control. So, they come up with the tactic to tell us the truth is nothing but a bunch of lies conjured up by white conservatives to keep us in line. Those of us who refuse to believe this are referred to as traitors, sell-outs, house niggers, and “Uncle Toms”; we’re “trying to be white” and are “lickin’ the massa’s boots”.

In my opinion, our aggressive adherence to “black history” has done more harm than good because we tend to lose focus on all history. Moreover, we develop an “us against them” mentality which further holds us from advancing to something better. We don’t want to receive information from the white man because it comes from, well, a white man. We want to circle the wagons and talk about how bad white folks are and fail to realize the whole world is passing us by and then we want to blame white people for our shortcomings when we need to take responsibility for our own actions.

My message to my fellow black folks: Stop viewing the world with a closed mind and realize that what is going on in the world isn’t all about us. Have an open mind towards all points of view, whether you agree with them or not, because it is only then when we can advance to something better. Finally, tell Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and their ilk to shut-up because they don’t speak for all black people.

Have a good day and I’ll see you on the rebound.

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Author: V. E. Brown

I was born in Roanoke, VA on October 16, 1968. A few years later, my family settled in the Washington, DC area where I grew up. I graduated from Friendly Senior High School in 1986. I attended North Carolina Central University in Durham, NC as a geography major. Looking for a change of environment, I made Durham my permanent home in 1988. In October of 1986, I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and began attending Mt Zion Christian Church. In 2003, I met a lovely young lady from Liberia named Autherine and we were married a year later. I believe in the deity of Jesus Christ and the inerrancy of God's Holy Word, the Bible. I follow a Christian/conservative worldview. I enjoy reading, writing, movies, badminton, football (Dolphins, baby!!!), bowling, board, video, and computer games, and traveling.

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