THE BLACK (NEGRO) WALL STREET
DR. CARTER GOODSON WOODSON
BLACKS IN THE MILITARY
In a review of historical literature, one is appalled by the absence of serious attention given to Black scientists by American historians. Yet, the collective contribution of Black Americans to science is so extensive that it is not possible to live a full day in any part of the United States or the world for that matter, without sharing in the benefits of their contributions in such fields as: biology, chemistry, physics, space and nuclear science.
The first scientific book ever written by an African American is believed to be the Astronomical Almanac published by Benjamin Banneker in 1792; and he continued to publish this almanac for the next ten years. Banneker's almanac sold very well among White farmers and was extremely accurate in predicting: eclipses, high and low tides, positions of planets, times for sunrise and sunset, and many other useful items of information. Thomas Jefferson was so impressed by this self-taught mathematical genius that he sent a copy of Banneker's almanac to the Academy of Sciences in Paris to prove that the color of a person's skin had nothing to do with intelligence. Jefferson also had Benjamin Banneker appointed to the Federal Commission which planned and laid out Washington, D.C. When the head of the commission, Pierre L'Enfant, angrily quit and took all the plans back to France, Banneker was the only one able to reproduce the entire map and layout from memory; thus allowing our nation's capital to be completed.
The first national monument ever erected in honor of an African American was erected for George Washington Carver. A postage stamp was also issued in his honor. George Washington Carver, a former slave, was among the most outstanding agricultural scientists in the world. When the boll weevil completely destroyed the southern cotton industry, Carver saved the southern economy from financial ruin by convincing the farmers to grow peanuts instead. Moreover, his scientific research was able to create more than 300 products from the peanut and its shell. George Washington Carver was also an expert in detecting and treating plant diseases and was a collaborator for the U.S. Bureau of Plant Industry. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford both offered Carver large sums of money to work for them, but he never left his teaching position at Tuskegee Institute.
Percy Lavon Julian was one of America's premier chemists. His scientific work ranged from developing new substances that snuffed out gasoline and oil fires to synthesizing the drug Cortisone, which eases the pain of people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Julian received 105 U.S. patents for chemical products and processes including two patents for his synthesis of male and female sex hormones called testosterone and progesterone. After working 17 years as Director of Research at the Glidden Chemical Company of Chicago, Illinois, he founded the Julian Laboratories Incorporated in 1954, with plants in Chicago, Illinois and Guatemala, Mexico. His plants became immensely successful and in 1961, Julian sold the Guatemala plant to the Upjohn Company, and the Chicago plant to Smith, Kline and French Company. Percy Julian succeeded as a major contributor to science despite the extreme hardships he endured because of his race, including the fact that he had to obtain his Ph.D. from the University of Vienna in Austria because American universities would not accept him.
Other famous African American scientists include Charles R. Drew who made possible the availability of stored blood plasma for blood transfusions. Dr. William Hinton devoted 30 years to research on syphilis. In 1935, the "Hinton Test" for syphilis was adopted by the entire state of Massachusetts, and in 1936 Hinton's book "Syphilis and its Treatment" became the first medical textbook written by an African American ever published.
Famous Black physicists include Dr. Lloyd Quarterman who helped develop the atomic bomb and the first nuclear reactor for atomic powered submarines. Christine Darden was the leading NASA researcher in supersonic aircraft with expertise in the area of reducing sonic boom.
Despite the fact that only about three percent of American scientists have been Black, they have made tremendous contributions for the benefit and betterment of mankind. It is truly a crime that the genius and imagination of the African American scientist is generally unknown to most Americans, both Black and White.
The “Black (Negro) Wall Street” was the name given to Greenwood Avenue of North Tulsa, Oklahoma during the early 1900’s. Because of strict segregation, Blacks were only allowed to shop, spend, and live in a 35 square block area called the Greenwood District. The “circulation of Black dollars” only in the Black community produced a tremendously prosperous Black business district that was admired and envied by the whole country.
Oklahoma’s first African American settlers were Indian slaves of the so-called “Five Civilized Tribes”: Chickasaws, Choctaws, Cherokees, Creeks, and Seminoles. These tribes were forced to leave the Southeastern United States and resettle in Oklahoma in mid-winter over the infamous “Trail of Tears.” After the Civil War, U.S.-Indian treaties provided for slave liberation and land allotments ranging from 40-100 acres, which helps explain why over 6,000 African-Americans lived in the Oklahoma territory by 1870. Oklahoma boasted of more all-Black towns and communities than any other state in the land, and these communities opened their arms to freed slaves from all across the country. Remarkably, at one time, there were over 30 African-American newspapers in Oklahoma.
Tulsa began as an outpost of the Creek Indians and as late as 1910, Walter White of the NAACP, described Tulsa as “the dead and hopeless home of 18,182 souls.” Suddenly, oil was discovered and Tulsa rapidly grew into a thriving, bustling, enormously wealthy town of 73,000 by 1920 with bank deposits totaling over $65 million. However, Tulsa was a “tale of two cities isolated and insular,” one Black and one White. Tulsa was so racist and segregated that it was the only city in America that boasted of segregated telephone booths.
Since African Americans could neither live among Whites as equals nor patronize White businesses in Tulsa, Blacks had to develop a completely separate business district and community, which soon became prosperous and legendary. Black dollars invested in the Black community also produced self-pride, self-sufficiency, and self-determination. The business district, beginning at the intersection of Greenwood Avenue and Archer Street, became so successful and vibrant that Booker T. Washington during his visit bestowed the moniker: “Negro Wall Street.” By 1921, Tulsa’s African-American population of 11,000 had its own bus line, two high schools, one hospital, two newspapers, two theaters, three drug stores, four hotels, a public library, and thirteen churches. In addition, there were over 150 two and three story brick commercial buildings that housed clothing and grocery stores, cafes, rooming houses, nightclubs, and a large number of professional offices including doctors, lawyers, and dentists. Tulsa’s progressive African American community boasted some of the city’s most elegant brick homes, well furnished with china, fine linens, beautiful furniture, and grand pianos. Mary Elizabeth Parrish from Rochester, New York wrote: “In the residential section there were homes of beauty and splendor which would please the most critical eye.” Well known African American personalities often visited the Greenwood district including: educators Mary McCloud Bethune and W.E.B. DuBois, scientist George Washington Carver, opera singer Marian Anderson, blues singer Dinah Washington, and noted Chicago chemist Percy Julian.
T.P. Scott wrote in “Negro City Directory”: “Early African American business leaders in Tulsa patterned the development of Tulsa’s thriving Greenwood district after the successful African American entrepreneurial activity in Durham, North Carolina.” After the Civil War, former slaves moved to Durham from the neighboring farmlands and found employment in tobacco processing plants. By 1900, a large Black middle class had developed which began businesses that soon grew into phenomenally successful corporations, especially North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company. Charles Clinton Spaulding was so successful with the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company that he was able to create a real estate company, a textile and hosiery mill, and the “Durham Negro Observer” newspaper. Durham Blacks also created a hospital, Mechanics and Farmers Bank (1908), North Carolina Training College (1910), Banker’s Fire Insurance Company (1920), and the National Negro Finance Company (1922). However, living conditions in Durham were so substandard and working conditions so poor that the 1920 mortality rate among Blacks in Durham was three times higher than the White rate. As of 1926, 64% of all African Americans in Durham died before the age of 40. These perilous working and living conditions were not present in Tulsa.
On May 31, 1921, the successful Black Greenwood district was completely destroyed by one of the worse race riots in U.S. history. A 19 year old Black male accidentally stumbled on a jerky elevator and bumped the 17-year-old White elevator operator who screamed. The frightened young fellow was seen running from the elevator by a group of Whites and by late afternoon the “Tulsa Tribune” reported that the girl had been raped. Despite the girl’s denial of any wrongdoing, the boy was arrested and a large mob of 2,000 White men came to the jail to lynch the prisoner. About seventy five armed African Americans came to the jail to offer assistance to the sheriff to protect the prisoner. The sheriff not only refused the assistance but also deputized the White mob to disarm the Blacks. With a defenseless Black community before them, the White mob advanced to the Greenwood district where they first looted and then burned all Black businesses, homes, and churches.
Any Black resisters were shot and thrown into the fires. When the National Guard arrived, they assisted the others by arresting all Black men, women, and children, and herding them into detention centers at the Baseball Park and Convention Hall. As many as 4,000 Blacks were held under armed guard in detention. Dr. Arthur C. Jackson, a nationally renowned surgeon and called by the Mayo brothers (of Mayo Clinic fame) “the most able Negro surgeon in America,” was shot at the Convention Hall and allowed to bleed to death. The “Chicago Tribute” Newspaper reported that Whites also used private airplanes to drop kerosene and dynamite on Black homes. By the next morning the entire Greenwood district was reduced to ashes and not one White was even accused of any wrongdoing, much less arrested.
The race riot of Tulsa, Oklahoma was not an isolated event in American history. On May 28, 1917, a White mob of over 3,000 in East St. Louis, Illinois ravaged African American stores, homes, and churches. Eyewitnesses reported that over one hundred Blacks were gunned down as they left their burning homes including a small Black child who was shot and thrown back into the burning building to die. Seven White police officers charged with murder by the Illinois Attorney General were collectively fined $150. During the “Red Summer” of 1919, over twenty-five race riots, where White mobs attacked black neighborhoods. were recorded. In the 1919 race riot at Elaine, Arkansas, White mobs killed over 200 African Americans and burned their homes and businesses. Federal troops arrested hundreds of Blacks trying to protect their possessions and forcibly held them in basements of the city’s public schools. Twelve Blacks were indicted (no Whites) and convicted of inciting violence and sentenced to die. The NAACP persuaded the U.S. Supreme Count for the first time in history to reverse a racially biased Southern court.
Director John Singleton exposed the horror of the Rosewood, Florida massacre of 1922 in his film entitled “Rosewood.” A White mob burned down the entire town and tried to kill all of its Black inhabitants. In April 1994, the Florida legislature passed the “Rosewood Bill,” which awarded $150,000 to each of the riot’s nine eligible Black survivors.
After the Tulsa riot, the White inhabitants tried to buy the Black property and force Black people out of town. No Tulsa bank or lending institution would make loans in the riot-marred Greenwood district, and the city refused all outside assistance. However, racial pride and self-determination would not permit the Greenwood owners to sell, and they doggedly spend the entire winter in tents donated by the American Red Cross.
Rebuilding was a testament to the courage and stamina of Tulsa’s pioneers in their struggle for freedom. Most of the buildings along the first block of Greenwood Avenue were rebuilt within one year. Henry Whitlow wrote: “A little over a decade after the riot, everything was more prosperous than before.” In 1926, W.E.B. DuBois visited Tulsa and wrote: “Black Tulsa is a happy city. It has new clothes. It is young and gay and strong. Five little years ago, fire and blood and robbery leveled it to the ground. Scars are there, but the city is impudent and noisy. It believes in itself. Thank God for the grit of Black Tulsa.” Like Black Tulsa, African Americans can continue to survive by self-pride, self-help, and self-determination
MARCUS MOSIAH GARVEY
Marcus Mosiah Garvey (1887-1940) arrived in the United States from Jamaica almost penniless in 1916, but within six years he boasted of an organization with branches worldwide that had over six million registered members. He was almost worshipped by the Black masses throughout the world for his vision to organize the Black race through race pride, education, self-reliance, economic development, and the desire to build a strong African motherland controlled by Africans. Garvey wrote: “I read Booker T. Washington’s ‘Up From Slavery’ and then my doom - if I may so call it - of being a race leader dawned upon me. I asked, Where is the Black man’s government? Where is his king and kingdom? Where is his president, his country, his ambassadors, his army, his navy, and his men of big affairs? I could not find them. I decided, I will help to make them.”
Marcus Garvey founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Harlem in 1918. By 1924, there were over 700 branches in 38 states and over 200 branches throughout the world, as far away as South Africa at a time when there was no E-mail, television, or even radio to advertise. Those who could not hear Garvey directly received his views through his newspaper called the “Negro World”, which boasted a circulation as high as 200,000 by 1924. The most recent speeches of Marcus Garvey were published in addition to articles on race pride, self-reliance, and anti-colonialism. In 1919, the UNIA and “Negro World” were blamed for the numerous violent colonial uprisings in Jamaica, Grenada, Belize, Trinidad, and Tobago. British and French authorities deported all UNIA organizers and banned the “Negro World” from all their colonies, but seamen continued to smuggle the paper throughout the world. In 1921, the U.S. Marines invaded a UNIA meeting in the Dominican Republic and arrested every man, woman, and child in attendance. In Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), in 1927, an African was given life imprisonment for smuggling in only three copies of the newspaper. Although the “Negro World” was banned in Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, the first president of independent Kenya, told how “someone who could understand English would read Garvey’s ‘Negro World’ message to a group of Africans until they were able to memorize it. They would then spread the message far and wide throughout the countryside.”
“Race first” was the first major theme of Garvey in his attempt to restore race pride and to destroy the inferiority complex of Black people. Garvey demanded that Black people have Black heroes: “Take down the pictures of White men and women from your walls and elevate your own men and women to that place of honor. Mothers! Give your children dolls that look like them to play with and cuddle.” He demanded that his followers abandon skin lighteners and hair straighteners. Garvey said: “God made no mistake when he made us Black with kinky hair…take the kinks out of your minds instead of your hair.” In religion, Garvey insisted that Black people should worship images of God and angels that look like them. Marcus Garvey also thought history was extremely important and told his audiences: “We have a beautiful history, and we shall create another one in the future. When savages, heathens, and pagans inhabited Europe, Africa was peopled with a race of cultured Black men, who were masters in art, science, and literature. Whatsoever a Black man has done, a Black man can do.”
“Self-reliance and economic development” was Garvey’s second major theme. He founded the “Negro Factories Corporation” in 1919, with the ultimate objective of “manufacturing every marketable commodity” and establishing factories throughout the world, which could also employ and train thousands of Black workers. Garvey was proud that his corporate stock was only available to Black people. Yet, he still raised enough money in New York City alone to operate three grocery stores, two restaurants, a printing plant, a steam laundry, and a men’s and women’s manufacturing department that made uniforms, hats, and shirts for such groups as his Black Cross Nurses. Similar enterprises occurred throughout the United States, Central America, and the West Indies. In order to distribute these products worldwide, Marcus Garvey’s organization raised enough money within one year (1919) in $5 stock certificates to purchase three ships, which he called the “Black Star Line.” Hugh Mulzac, a black ship’s officer, said that hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Western Hemisphere welcomed them as conquering heroes wherever they docked. He wrote: “Thousands of peasants came down from the hills on horses, donkeys, and in makeshift carts, showering us with flowers, fruits, and gifts…we had the first ship they had ever seen entirely owned and operated by colored men.”
“Africa for Africans at home and abroad” was another very strong message from Marcus Garvey. He believed that if Black people could not develop a strong country in Africa as a protective base, then White people would eventually destroy all Blacks especially African Americans; just as they had done to the Tasmanians, native Australians, and native Americans. Garvey partitioned the League of Nations, after World War I, to give the African colonies of Germany back to native Africans and to allow the UNIA to serve as custodian. He also negotiated with Liberia for land that could serve as a beachhead for trained African Americans to spread modern technology and scientific skills throughout Africa. Garvey sent thousands of dollars of equipment to Liberia in preparation of transferring his headquarters to Monrovia, but was blocked at the last minute by extreme pressure from the neighboring British and French colonies. Garvey never gave up his dream of an independent African continent and even created the red, black, and green flag in addition to a national anthem for his future African Republic.
The UNIA held a total of eight international conventions but none was more spectacular than the first, which was held from August 1-31, 1920. Over 25,000 Black delegates from around the world packed Madison Square Garden, and the surrounding New York streets. Delegates reported to the convention on the problems of their native country and many of their grievances were contained in the “Declaration of Rights of the Negro People of the World.” The major demands included: “All persons of African descent anywhere in the world should be accepted as free citizens of Africa; Africans must set out to win justice by whatsoever means possible; Blacks must not be tried by all-White judges and juries; Use of the word ‘nigger’ must cease; Black history must be taught to Black children; and there must be no taxation without representation.”
Black intellectuals, especially W.E.B. DuBois, joined the NAACP and other Garvey haters and demanded that the U.S. Attorney General have Garvey arrested and deported back to Jamaica. They were exceptionally jealous of Garvey’s ability to amass millions of Black supporters and raise millions of dollars while refusing to accept any money from Whites. In 1922, Garvey was arrested and charged with mail fraud while promoting stock for the Black Star Line. The trial was a complete mockery of justice. Even the judge, Julian Mack, was a member of the NAACP, which instigated Garvey’s deportation. Garvey was given the maximum five-year prison sentence, but worldwide protests forced President Calvin Coolidge to commute his sentence after two years and have him deported. Marcus Garvey moved from Jamaica to London in 1935 and died of a stroke on June 10, 1940.
Upon his death, the man who had led the largest, most widespread, most powerful, and most influential movement among people of African descent in world history was completely ignored by our textbooks. Fortunately, his spirit lives through the millions of people he has uplifted. For example, Elijah Muhammad was a former UNIA member and while creating the “Nation of Islam,” he adopted many of Garvey’s ideas like race first, self-reliance, and a separate Black nation. Ho Chi Minh of Vietnam in his youth was a seaman and once spent several months in New York regularly attending UNIA meetings. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana, attended many UNIA meetings as a student in New York and so admired Garvey that he named Ghana’s shipping company the “Black Star Line” after Garvey’s line. Tony Martin says: “No power could prevent the influence which Marcus Garvey has continued to exert on organizations and individuals since his death. As he himself was so fond of saying, ‘Truth crushed to earth shall rise again’ and ‘Up you mighty race you can accomplish what you will.’”
ARTHUR ALFONSO SCHOMBURG
When Arthur Schomburg was a child, his peers frequently teased him about having no history. White classmates told him that Black people had never accomplished anything of note and never would. The young Schomburg asked his teacher where he might find books on Black history and was told there is no such thing. As an extended rebuttal to this teacher, he dedicated his entire life to collecting everything he possibly could that was written by people of African descent. Today the “Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture” located at 135th Street and Lenox Avenue in Harlem (New York City) has over 150,000 volumes of Black history and nearly five million artifacts, photographs, magazines, and manuscripts from throughout the world and has become the mecca for anyone needing to document or research Black history.
Arthur Alfonso Schomburg (1874-1938) has been called the “Sherlock Holmes of Negro History” because of his uncanny ability to locate extremely rare or “presumed lost” material written by people of African decent. Russell L. Adams states that “ at the Schomburg Center, a reader may see copies of the 1792-93 almanacs of Benjamin Banneker; ‘Clotel’, the first novel published by an African American; early editions of the poems of Phyllis Wheatley; the addresses and broadsides of free men of color in their conventions of protest; and many other extremely rare Black publications, such as sermons on slavery by ex-slaves.” John W. Cromwell, while president of the American Negro Academy, wrote Schomburg on June 17, 1928 highly praising and complimenting him: “You possess some magnetic influence drawing you to these treasures that elude the eager quest of others. How can I adequately express to you my indebtedness for your rescue of Banneker from the seclusion in which he has been for 120 years and the many other valuable manuscripts you have located.”
Unlike most of his American bibliophile colleagues, Schomburg wanted to collect material from all great men of color worldwide. At his own expense, he often took extended vacations to Europe, Africa, and South America in search of books, pamphlets, manuscripts, and etchings. In Seville, Spain, he dug into the original records of the West Indies, which were loosely collected there since Western slavery had originated on the Iberian Peninsula. While in Spain, he also definitely established the fact that two of Spain’s noted painters, Juan Pareja and Sebastian Gomez, were men of color. Similarly important discoveries were made in France, Germany, and England. In Africa, he found such things as Zulu nursery rhymes printed in the Bantu language, and books on anthropology, folklore, sociology, and customs of the Congo, Guinea, and Ashanti.
In 1925, Schomburg wrote an essay which was published in “The New Negro” by Alain Locke explaining why he made such tremendous personal sacrifices in time and money: “History must restore what slavery took away…History must become less a matter of argument and more a matter of record. There is the definite desire and determination to have a history: well documented, widely known (at least within race circles), and administered as a stimulating and inspiring tradition for the coming generations.”The “coming generations” to significantly benefit from Schomburg’s repository of information include such leaders as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Nnamdi Azikiwe of Nigeria, and Tom Mboya of Kenya which indicates the importance of Schomburg’s collection in the African decolonization process that began in the 1950s. In the United States the collection was a prominent anchor for the black intellectual and cultural ferment of the 1960s. John Henrik Clarke, one of our foremost historians, says he provided Malcolm X with research material from the Schomburg collection in his numerous televised debates with Ivy League professors. Dr. Clarke also says he met Schomburg at the age of 18 and credits him with providing the written material that enabled his self-education. More recently, Kareem Abdul Jabbar says it took months of research at the Schomburg Center to permit him to complete his recently published book entitled: Black Profiles in Courage.
Arthur Alfonso Schomburg was born on January 24, 1874 in San Juan, Puerto Rico to a Black mother and White father, who abandoned the household. Schomburg was primarily self-taught but attended public school in Puerto Rico and attended St. Thomas College in the Virgin Islands. He arrived in New York in April 1891 as a black militant fighting for the independence of Cuba and Puerto Rico, but never stopped collecting books and other materials on African history. In 1911, Schomburg and John Bruce founded the influential “Negro Society for Historical Research” and in 1922 he was elected president of the “American Negro Academy”, the first major organization of the black intelligentsia. J.A. Rogers says, “Schomburg was a walking encyclopedia. Ask him almost any fact about the Negro, and he would be almost sure to know something about it offhand.” In 1926 he received the “Harmon Award” for his work on Negro education.
Schomburg also wrote extensively for magazines and newspapers. His most popular articles include “The Collected Poems of Phyllis Wheatley”; “The Life of Placido”; “Racial Identity -Help to the Study of Negro History”; “Spanish Painters of the School of Seville”; and “Notes on Panama”. He was also one of the writers included in an anthology of Negro literature by V.F. Calverton in 1929.
By 1926 Schomburg had collected over 5,000 items including books, documents, and manuscripts which were purchased for $10,000 by the Carnegie Corporation and donated to the public library in Harlem that was renamed the “Department of Negro Literature and History.” In 1932, the Carnegie Corporation provided a grant to the New York Public Library to hire Schomburg as curator of the materials he had collected. He remained curator until his death on June 10, 1938.
The collection of Arthur Schomburg is now housed in the “Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture” which serves as a monument to his influence on the Black experience in American and throughout the world. Schomburg’s obsession with making black history “less a matter of argument and more a matter of record” and to “restore what slavery took away” makes this self-taught lonely visionary of indomitable spirit one whom the world of black scholarship will forever be immensely indebte
DR. CARTER GOODWIN WOODSON
Carter Goodwin Woodson (1875-1950) wrote: “If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.” Woodson saw the educational system of his generation as solely dedicated to the glorification of Europeans and their achievements. Consequently, he dedicated his entire life to informing the masses, both black and white, about the magnificent history and “worthwhile traditions” of people of African descent.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson has been called the “Father of Negro History” because of his pioneering efforts to systematically and continuously have the accomplishments of Black people taught in our school systems. In 1915, he organized the “Association for the Study of Negro Life and History” and in 1916 started the “Journal of Negro History.” In 1926, he initiated the observance of “Negro History Week” which was later expanded to “Black History Month”. Dr. Woodson felt that any African American only exposed to the white educational system without any exposure to positive black achievements was “miss-educated and completely useless to his race.”
The founding of the “Association for the Study of Negro Life and History” in 1915 was one of Woodson’s most important accomplishments. Centered in Washington D.C., this association gathered as many books on black history and achievements as possible and many of these books were later used as textbooks in all grades of schools from elementary to the university. Dr. Woodson also published voluminously to help fill the initial textbook void. His most popular books include: “A Century of Negro Education,” “History of the Negro Church,” “The Rural Negro,” “Education of the Negro Prior to 1861,” “Miss-Education of the Negro,” “African Backgrounds Outlined,” “African Heroes and Heroines,” and “The Negro in Our History.” Dr. Woodson also collected vast quantities of original documents by people of African descent, which might otherwise have been lost.
Dr. Woodson’s “Journal of Negro History” which soon became established as one of the most scholarly and authoritative journals in America. The journal received contributions from some of America’s foremost scholars, both Black and White, with many of its articles widely quoted in the leading educational centers of Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the United States. Woodson hoped that articles from his journal would help black students develop a more self-respecting view of themselves. J.A. Rogers says: “Woodson’s outspokenness at the manner in which Negroes were being taught to despise themselves by their teachers brought him several powerful enemies among leading Negro educators; but undaunted, he attacked them fearlessly until they were forced to his point of view.”
“Negro History Week” was initiated in 1926 with Carter G. Woodson as the principal founder. “Negro History Week” forced both Black and White schools and colleges throughout the nation to gather and present information on “Negro” history and achievements, which they had never done before. Woodson once said at the annual meeting of the Georgia Teachers’ and Educational Association: “I lament the teachers’ ignorance of their rich heritage…Few of our college presidents could make more than 10% on an examination in Negro history.”
Dr. Woodson was extremely critical of the so-called “highly educated”; that is, “the Negroes who have put on the finishing touches of our best colleges.” He wrote: “The same educational process which inspires and stimulates the oppressor with the thought that he is everything and has accomplished everything worthwhile, depresses and crushes at the same time the spark of genius in the Negro by making him feel that his race does not amount to much and never will measure up to the standards of other peoples. The Negro thus educated is a hopeless liability of the race.” Woodson frequently told his audiences that it took him over 20 years to “get over” his Harvard education. He felt “modern education” meant bringing a person’s mind under the control of his oppressor. He wrote that once a black person’s mind is controlled, you won’t have to tell him to go to the back door because he will already know his “proper place.” He continued: “ In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one out for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.”
Dr. Woodson had even less respect for the black professional class, believing it to be more culturally backward and less race conscious than the masses. In 1930, he analyzed 25,000 Black professionals including doctors, dentists, and lawyers and concluded that they were more interested in making money than contributing to the advancement of their professions or to their race. He wrote that Black professionals were less likely than their White counterparts to keep up with the professional literature in their fields and that Black professional associations tended to emphasize social rather than professional advancement. Although Black professionals were dependent upon the Black working class to earn a living, Woodson saw the Black professional as “just as much class prejudice against the poor Negro as his White professional counterpart” and the least socially responsible among all Black people. Woodson viewed the Black physician as the worst. He wrote that Black physicians, when attending meetings of the National Medical Association were more interested in discussing the merits or demerits of the latest Cadillac than discussing the proper treatment for Tuberculosis or Typhoid Fever.” He said that most successful Black physicians “frittered away much of their energy in quest of material things like fine cars, fine homes, and a fine time.” Woodson once told a group of professionals: “You spend millions yearly to straighten your hair and bleach your skin and some of you go so far as to have your noses lifted in the hope of looking like the White man. Well, monkeys too have straight hair and thin lips.”
Dr. Carter Goodwin Woodson was born on December 19, 1875 in New Canton, Virginia to parents who were former slaves. Woodson was the eldest of nine children and was forced to work in the coal mines of West Virginia at an early age to help his parents make ends meet. This precluded his attending school until he was twenty years old. However, his love of knowledge was so great that despite the hard work he studied by himself at night and was especially fond of Greek and Latin classics. When he finally was able to go to school, he scored so high on the high school entrance examination that he was given an advanced standing and thus earned a diploma in only 18 months. Woodson then went on to obtain his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree at the University of Chicago. He completed studies for his Ph.D. at Harvard University in 1912, and then went to Sorbonne, Paris where he was one of the most brilliant students in “French languages and literature” for that year. After teaching several years in West Virginia, he went to the Philippines as a teacher and five months later was promoted to “Supervisor of Education” where he served for three years. He subsequently returned to the United States to become dean of the School of Liberal Arts at Howard University and later, dean of the West Virginia Collegiate Institute.
Carter Goodwin Woodson would be proud to know that black history is now a well-established, legitimate, and respected subject of study, and that historians are finally acknowledging his pioneering contributions. Dr. Woodson was tremendously effective in helping to improve the self-respect of Black people and giving them a brighter, more optimistic outlook. As he so eloquently said: “If you read the history of Africa, the history of your ancestors - people of whom you should feel proud - you will realize that they have a history that is worthwhile. They have traditions that have value of which you can boast and upon which you can base a claim for the right to share in the blessings of democracy.”
BLACKS IN THE MILITARY
Television images of General Colin Powell in specific and Black, well trained, energetic soldiers in general are a great source of pride for most African Americans. These television images represent the fruits of over two hundred years of struggle by African Americans for equality, integration, and respect in the military service. There is probably no irony in American history more pointed than the American Black soldier fighting and dying for basic American democracy and freedom, while being denied most of those same freedoms at home and in the military since the founding of this country.
Until recently African Americans begged for the privilege to fight and die for this country in hopes that a more equitable society would await them at the end of the war. However, Black soldiers and sailors were strictly prohibited from participation in virtually every American war until a severe manpower shortage made this country desperate. In 1792, laws were passed by Congress to exclude Blacks from the Army and Marines. The Marine Corp did not accept an African American for its first 150 years of existence, up to and including World War II, when White politicians and generals finally became desperate enough to encourage Black military participation. Black soldiers were frequently poorly trained, unequally paid and equipped, and forced to participate in all Black regiments with White southern officers in charge.
When Blacks were allowed to participate in American wars, they invariably performed exceptionally well. Over 5,000 African Americans, both slave and free, served in the army during the Revolutionary War, and almost all of them received their freedom in appreciation after the war. In fact, most northern states abolished slavery because of their contribution. The outstanding contributions of over 200,000 African American soldiers and sailors during the Civil War led to the 13th Amendment freeing all slaves.
Between 1869 and 1890 Black soldiers in the West, nicknamed the Buffalo Soldiers, won 14 Congressional Metals of Honor, 9 Certificates of Merit and 29 Orders of Honorable Mention while fighting Native Americans. President Theodore Roosevelt credits these same Buffalo Soldiers for saving his famous "Rough Riders" from extermination in Cuba during the Spanish American War of 1898.
About 160,000 of the 200,000 African Americans sent to Europe during World War I were forced to work as laborers in unloading ships and building roads. The remaining soldiers were not even allowed to fight along side White American soldiers but rather were assigned by General Pershing to French Divisions. These Black soldiers had to fight in French uniforms with French weapons and French leadership until the end of World War I. Over 3,000 casualties were sustained by these Black soldiers, who subsequently were awarded over 540 metals by the French government including the Legion of Honor - for gallantry in action.
The plight of Blacks in the military did not improve significantly until President Franklin Roosevelt and President Harry Truman made concessions to Black leaders in exchange for Black votes. On October 15, 1940, Roosevelt announced that Blacks would be trained as pilots, that Black reserve officers would be called to active duty, and that Colonel Benjamin Davis would be named the first Black brigadier general.
In 1948, Truman was even more desperate for Black votes and issued Executive Order 9981, ending military segregation and demanding "equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the Armed Services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin." After two hundred years of struggle, African Americans can now look upon Black military men and officers with a great since of pride and accomplishment.
AND BLACK SERVICEMEN
Most Americans would never believe that the United States government was involved in atrocities. After all, doesn’t the U.S. currency have “IN GOD WE TRUST” written all over it. Moreover, most Americans still don't believe that the U.S. government funded a “NO TREATMENT” syphilis study in Tuskegee, Alabama for 40 years or that hundreds of Vietnamese were massacred at "My Lai." Authors Carroll Case, "The Slaughter," and Robert Allen, "The Port Chicago Mutiny," have written even less believable stories about the U.S. Military’s treatment towards Blacks.
Black servicemen found life exceptionally difficult during World War II. Racism was rampant, segregation made everything separate and extremely unequal, and opportunities for advancement for Blacks were non-existent. In fact, Black servicemen were considered "inferior and ill qualified" according to an Army War College committee study in 1940, which also concluded that Blacks were "far below the Whites in capacity to absorb instruction." Initially, the Army assigned Black soldiers to labor and support units, and the Navy made Black sailors either messman (waiting tables) or ammunition loaders. African American servicemen were not allowed into combat until manpower shortages became severe. In fact, General Patton vehemently refused to allow any Blacks to serve under his command under any circumstances. Despite legendary acts of heroism which often cost their lives, not a single Black person received the Metal of Honor during World War II and Lieutenant General (retired) William McCaffrey says the reason was simple: “Everyone in the Army then was a racist.” Fifty years later the Department of Defense decided that seven Black soldiers deserved the Metal of Honor. On January 13, 1997, President Clinton presented the Metal of Honor to the only survivor, Vernon Baker, and to the families of the others stating: “They were denied their nation’s highest honor, but their deeds could not be denied.”
African American servicemen were severely punished for military and civil crimes and rarely received a fair trial under military justice. All but three of the twenty one American soldiers executed for capital crimes during World War II were Black. The Army hung six African Americans after a hastily conducted military police investigation accused them of raping a White nurse in New Guinea. The soldiers went to their deaths proclaiming their innocence. Brigadier General Benjamin Davis made an inspection tour of army camps throughout the United States in 1943 and concluded: “There is still great dissatisfaction on the part of the Colored soldier. The War Department offers him nothing but humiliation and mistreatment and has even introduced Jim Crow practices in areas, both at home and abroad, where they have not hitherto been practiced.” African American anger and frustration with lack of opportunity and discrimination resulted in numerous work stoppages and riots. For example, in 1944 Black sailors rioted after racial harassment from White Marines on the island of Guam turned violent, and Black soldiers of the 364th infantry also rioted in Phoenix, Arizona for alleged mistreatment. In March 1945, members of a Black construction battalion at Port Hueneme, California protested nonviolently against their White commander’s racism by refusing to eat for two days.
Carroll Case in “The Slaughter” claims the worse military atrocity occurred at Camp Van Dorn in southern Mississippi in 1943, where over 1,200 Black soldiers of the 364th infantry were murdered with machine guns by White military police. Although the Army has no record of this incident, Case says he has thousands of sworn affidavits from eyewitnesses including one of the military police involved in the shooting. The fate of the 364th was sealed after racial violence erupted in Phoenix, Arizona on Thanksgiving night in 1942 according to Carroll Case. Approximately one hundred men took part in a shootout with a detachment of White military police resulting in fifteen casualties. Inspector General Peterson labeled this incident as “having all the earmarks of a mutiny.” Sixteen men of the 364th were tried by general court martial and sentenced to fifty years hard labor. As punishment, the remaining members of the 364th were sent to an extremely racist base called Fort Van Dorn near Centerville, Mississippi.
Even the sidewalks were segregated in Centerville, Mississippi and the “uppity” 364th outraged the citizens by demanding equal treatment. On Sunday May 30, 1944, an MP stopped a soldier and ordered him back to base because a button on his uniform was missing. When the soldier objected, the local sheriff shot and killed the soldier and asked the MP if “any other Nigger needed killing.” After word of the soldier’s death reached the base, riots ensued which resulted in the death of twenty five additional Black soldiers. There is no official documentation of either incident according to Case, but several soldiers wrote letters detailing the events. Another major disturbance occurred one month later involving three thousand soldiers and the 99th infantry division had to be called to stop the violence. Carroll Case says the Army then ordered the 364th quarantined to their barracks where later that night, they were slaughtered by White MPs with machine guns. The bodies were loaded in boxcars and taken to the south gate of the base where they were dumped into a large bulldozed trench. Case says all records after this blood bath were destroyed but that he has even interviewed men in the laundry room who remembered receiving the blood soaked linen from the barracks.
Port Chicago was a naval ammunition base located about 30 miles from San Francisco on the Sacramento River. The ammunition depot at Port Chicago was one of the main sources of supply for the Pacific fleet because the dock facilities could handle the largest ammunition carriers in the Navy. All the men who actually handled the ammunition and bombs were Black, and all commissioned officers were White. Explosives were transferred from boxcars to ship holds 24 hours a day, and the work was hard and dangerous. Some ships received over 8,500 tons of ammunition and bombs.
Black sailors complained that neither they nor their officers had received any training in handling the explosives. They felt the explosives were dangerous and needed better supervision. When the Coast Guard inspected the port and complained about unsafe practices, they were asked to leave. The naval officers told the Black sailors that the bombs could never explode because the firing pins and fuses had been removed. On July 17, 1944, a gigantic explosion estimated equivalent to a five-kiloton atomic bomb, instantly killed 202 Black ammunition loaders and destroyed two cargo ships. The small town of Port Chicago and the base itself, both over a mile away, were severely damaged. This was by far the worst home-front disaster of World War II. A subsequent naval investigation held the Black sailors 100% responsible for the explosion citing rough ammunition handling.
When Port Chicago was rebuilt, fifty sailors refused to return to ammunition loading, because of inadequate training and a lack of safety provisions for hazardous duty. The fifty sailors were convicted of mutiny and sentenced to hard labor for fifteen years with dishonorable discharges. Not until after the war, January 1946, was future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall able to appeal the verdict and influence the Navy to return the men to active duty. However, the mutiny convictions were never removed from their records. In May 1998, several Black Congressmen made a written appeal to President Clinton to reverse the mutiny convictions and clear the names of these courageous men.
Even more intriguing is the current belief that the Port Chicago explosion was not an accident at all. Many claim to have irrefutable evidence that the U.S. military used Port Chicago to evaluate the damage of an atomic bomb delivered by ship and concluded that air explosions would produce far more destruction. The atomic bombs under consideration were called Mark I (little boy), Mark II, and Mark III (fat boy). Mark II was allegedly tested on the hapless souls at Port Chicago and abandoned because the damage radius was inadequate. Subsequently, the two atomic bombs destined for Japan (Mark I and Mark III) were delivered to an island near Port Chicago and loaded onto B-29 bombers for aerial delivery.
In 1948, President Truman needed the Black vote and consequently decided to “do the right thing” and conclude his presidency in an “honorable way”. On July 26, 1948, Truman issued executive order 9981 which declared: “…there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.” Perhaps the American government should also “do the right thing” and acknowledge and apologize for the numerous atrocities during World War II involving Black servicemen.
Black Nationalism is defined as “a complex set of beliefs emphasizing the need for the cultural, political, and economic separation of African Americans from White society.” The philosophy of Black Nationalism is a direct response to racial discrimination and the overt hostility of White society toward anyone of African descent. Black Nationalist beliefs were strongest during slavery and again with Marcus Garvey at the beginning of the 20th century. Since most Black Nationalists believed that White society would never treat African Americans fairly, they demanded a territorial base either in Africa or in America, completely governed by Black men.
As the philosophy of Black Nationalism expanded, Black pride, solidarity, and self-reliance became issues just as important as the demand for a territorial base. For example, in the 18th century, Boston’s free Blacks demanded that Crispus Attucks, the first to die in the American Revolution, become a symbol of African American contributions to the Revolutionary War. Crispus Attucks Day (March 5) was celebrated for decades before it was replaced by July 4th. During the 19th century, Paul Cuffe, the richest Black man in America, employed only African Americans to demonstrate their ability to the skeptical White world. In the 1920s, Marcus Garvey demanded distinctly Black standards of beauty and refused any advertisements in his newspaper “The Negro World” for hair straighteners or skin whiteners. He insisted on highlighting the accomplishments of Blacks throughout the world and that Black people chose Black heroes. He even demanded that Black churches depict all religious figures as Black, including Jesus Christ.
During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, many young Blacks became impatient with its slow progress and passive non-violent philosophy and again embraced Black Nationalism. Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) soon had most Black youths proclaiming the slogans “Black is Beautiful” and “Black Power.” Bobby Seale and Huey Newton founded the “Black Panther Party” in 1966 and advocated militant self defense in addition to Black Nationalism. Elijah Muhammad (a former Garveyite) and Malcolm X emphasized religious justification for racially separate enterprises, especially in business. When the young Black leaders of the Civil Rights Movement looked for the “Father of Black Nationalism”, they chose a name that history had almost forgotten: Martin Robison Delany.
Martin Robison Delany (1812-1885) was a highly intelligent, well-educated Black Nationalist with an immense and outspoken love for his people. Delany strenuously rejected the notion of Black inferiority and proposed emigration rather than the continuous submission to racial humiliation by White society. Although his father, Samuel Delany, was a slave, Martin was born free because his mother, Pati Peace Delany, was free. The Delany children mastered reading and education so quickly that West Virginian Whites became threatened and forced them to move to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1822. In 1831, Martin completed the Reverend Lewis Woodson School for Negroes and later completed enough medical study in the offices of abolitionist medical doctors to make a comfortable living as a medical practitioner. In 1850 he became the first Black admitted to Harvard Medical School but was asked to leave after one year because Dean Oliver Holmes considered him a “distraction to education”.
Martin Delany hated slavery and while still practicing medicine, he published the “Mystery”, the first Black-owned newspaper “West of the Alleghenies”. He published his abolitionist newspaper from 1843-47 and when finances forced him to close, he joined Frederick Douglass as coeditor of the newly founded “North Star”. Delany demanded liberty for Blacks as a human right. He also exhorted Blacks to elevate themselves by becoming skilled workers and landowning farmers. Martin Delany emphasized Black self-reliance through education, independent thought, and self respect. He felt that Blacks would only gain “the world’s applause” by obtaining wealth through successful businesses.
When Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, Delany gave up all hope that this country would ever ameliorate the condition of his people. He moved his family to Canada and became a full time advocate for emigration to Africa. Delany organized three emigration conventions (in 1854, 1856, and 1858). In July 1859, Martin Delany sailed to Western Africa and on December 27, 1859, he signed a treaty with the king of Abeokuta (Nigeria). The treaty “permitted African Americans associated with Delany to settle in unused tribal lands in exchange for sharing their skills and education with the Yoruba people.” Happy with his African treaty, Delany then sailed for Britain to obtain financial support.
In London, Martin Delany was able to convince cotton dealers and philanthropists that Christian colonies in Africa could easily compete with slave cotton from the South. Delany helped found the “African Aid Society,” which agreed to lend two thirds of the money needed by the first group of settlers who were expected to leave the U.S. in June 1861. Unfortunately, before the first settlers could leave, the Civil War began, and Delany decided to cancel the first group’s departure.
After four years of bloodshed, Martin Delany was able to convince President Lincoln to allow him to recruit an all Black army with Black officers, which would terrorize the South by arming all slaves and encouraging them to fight for their own emancipation. Delany was commissioned as a Major in the Union Army, the first Black field officer, but the war ended before he could implement his plan to arm all slaves. After the war, Delany was labeled as a “race agitator” for telling freed slaves to “trust only Blacks” and “to break the peace of society and force their way by insurrection to a position he is ambitious they should attain to.”
African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) Bishop Daniel Payne wrote that “Delany was too intensely African to be popular…had his love for humanity been as great as his love for his race, his influence might have equaled that of Fredrick Douglass.” Martin Delany’s emphasis on race pride and self-reliance and his stressing of the importance of “elevating the race” clearly makes him the “Father of Black Nationalism.”
KAYEREKELA URANIUM MINES/OIL/OR ANY NATURAL EXTRACTION
THE BASE, TRUE GOVT SHARE = 40% non negotiable. It has to be paid Without discussion.
FANTASY, IMAGINARY GOVT = 15% of the share (Negotiator -Govt).
THE COMPANY HIRED = 45% the share (Accepted Party).
This should be applied to any company owned by non native companies. We have to calculate the how much share the companies owe the BASE TRUE GOVT ever since they were established in this country and else where. This issue is of national importance to avoid massive exploitation taking place. This is part of our third liberations .The 40% non negotiable share can be traced .It is coming back to us in form of Loans using International Financing Institutions. It’s our own money. Now we are making the same mistakes submitting to third colonialism. Look at what is happening in Middle East, Libya, Ivory Cost, Somalia, Falklands, and Far East. South Sudan. What are these Military Bases about? Wake up .Muziona patali.We have to put in place a contingency plan to liberate ourselves. The destiny of our children is in our hands. Dont slamber. Things are not ok like Black Jesus said when he was about to be arrested in Gardens of Gesteman. Note Blacks have suffered a lot and Black Jesus is one of the symbols of black resistance to white, barbaric oppression. Correct Historical past is our survival.
COMPILED BY TITLE : BISHOP G. MLALAZI.
NAME ; GIDION CK MILAZI
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