DOWN WITH THE SLAVE MASTER’S SCHOOLS!
The next play that I’ll be featured in is called ‘Rumors of War’(at the New Orleans African American Museum, October 13-30th #promotion), a look into the often ignored Louisiana Slave Revolt of 1811 where slaves in the New Orleans area got tired of ‘Massa’s’ sh!t and decided to go Planter’s style nuts on anyone that got in their way. They marched from LaPlace, Louisiana to Kenner with nothing but glory on their minds and the phrase “FREEDOM OR DEATH” on their lips. Now, this post isn’t about that story specifically (That’s what the play is for, at the New Orleans African American Museum, October 13-30th! #promotionTHEsequel), but there’s one main thing that stood out (and one main disgust, that’ll I’ll get to later) to me in my research of the slavery topic. In our history lessons at school all we are normally taught is that Africans were made into slaves, beat down for decades, maybe a revolt or two happened then Uncle Abe freed us and all of us crayola skinned folk should rejoice and slurp the [andrew] Johnson of Abe and the Yankees for doing us this ‘favor.’
Now, of course as you move onto college and get a bit more educated on the matter you learn that Abe really had nothing to do with freeing the slaves, really it wasn’t even his intent, he was just caring about war and money. Hell, even in the “Emancipation Proclamation” there are areas of the country that were EXEMPT from freeing said slaves. Yes, in the actual document where we are normally taught, but never really read ourselves, that Abe ‘emancipated us’ it’s in writing that he really didn’t:
“That on the 1st day of January, A.D. 1863, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State that people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free….(blah blah blah)
….Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (EXCEPT the parishes (counties) of St Bernard, Plaquemnines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terrebonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia (except for the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkely, Accomac, Northhampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which EXCEPTED parts are for the present LEFT PRECISELY AS IF THIS PROCLAMATION WERE NOT ISSUED” — The Emancipation Proclamation
Now, I don’t think it takes the smartest man on earth to see that this cat basically freed no southern slaves and seeing as slavery was the biggest and most profitable IN THE SOUTH, why would he really want to elect to slow his money up like that?
If you read the whole document, you’ll see that Abe gave the southern spots a hundred days to keep their slaves on record and then off record basically sat back while the whole southern hemisphere committed all kinds of atrocities to blacks, the biggest, of course, was not really freeing them. So yeah, add that with the fact that before the ‘Proclamation’, the government would actually pay slave owners money if they had to kill a slave for revolting, yes, just as if blacks were devices with warranties on them the government would PAY for a replacement if the slave master had to kill a “nigger” for being disobedient, toss this all into the gumbo pot and my proclamation is that the whole Emancipation Proclamation was full of “Ze Sheeit From Ze Bull.”
‘Honest’ Abe my black a$$, I don’t care if you’re Obama’s homie, honesty is the antonym to politics….
But back on point, the thing that stood out to me was the curious exclusion of the fact that ever since Africans set foot on American soil we were fighting. Contrary to what many of us were taught, we didn’t just take the shackles, whips and chains and accept them for a few decades like rappers in music videos of today….from the first day of slavery, SLAVES WERE FIGHTING. FIGHTING, FIGHTING and that sh!t was real poignant to me, because for so long it just seemed like our people sold us to the whites (yes, many slaves were captured, but some were traded by our own), we went willingly with no fight and just did what we were told and either ran away or committed suicide when it got too rough. But to research and find out that, NO…we FOUGHT every step of the way, not just in the much publicized Haitian Revolt, not just on the Amistad…but every…damn…day, EVERY DAMN DAY and was fighting to TAKE this country we were building from the ground up and not just hide…yes, learning this really gave me a sense of pride. Our spirit of rebellion was bigger and spanned greater than just MLK, Malcolm X, Harriet Tubman, the Panthers and the same tired old stories we hear every February and only in February. #AintDatSumSh!t
Not to disrespect the civil rights movement, but it was just refreshing to learn more than the obvious, hell, I learn about white folks all day every day from Kindergarten to 12th Grade…can’t hate on a ni@@A for getting a new gallon of 7Up for the brain for a change.
It’s bad enough that us as blacks are taught that we were slaves before we’re ever taught about our ancestry as royalty, which if you look at history, blacks were kings and queens much longer than we were slaves to America. Why not teach us that we were up first, down for a little while, then up again? Instead of teaching us that we were down and got lucky to get up. It sets a different tone in a kid. This inferiority complex that is built even from the smallest lie of a lesson like being taught that the white man ‘granted’ us with freedom for a time and then the civil rights movement came damn near a century later to finally give us a small taste of “Equality”, is criminal for a black child to have to grow up with and accept.
Oh and F**K Columbus Day, why does he get a day again? For slaughtering a bunch of Native Americans that helped keep him alive on their soil, then claiming he ‘discovered’ this land that was already inhabited? #RandomDailyEffYou
But for me, the hugest practical joke of penis to anus proportions comes in the sick irony that a majority of our black schools are named after the very slave masters that fought so hard to keep us as their property. THIS piece of information bothered me more than learning that slaves only got two sets of clothes for the entire year (one for summer, one for winter), more than learning that the average slave that cut sugar cane (the OIL of the food market at the time #mostprofitable) only lived 7-9 years because of the strenuous non stop labor of it, more than learning that pregnant slaves had their bellies buried in holes so they could take “Massas” lashings without killing his future property, and even more than the fact that slave rebels’ heads were cut off and put on pikes/pipes which were then lined up across levees and outside of towns (not only to scare slaves from revolting but also because old African beliefs were that there was no “heaven” for anyone with a severed limb, so slave master’s were in turn damning these souls to “hell” in the eyes of Africans)
….but to really let it set in that that same McDonogh #35 High School band member playing and that same John McDonogh majorette twirling her batons marching proud and strong in the parades, repped out for his/her school is really repping the sh!t out of the name of his/her ancestor’s oppressor trips my head out. Our children wear the names of our worst enemies across their chests EVERY DAY.
Yah John McDonogh, the biggest land owner in Louisiana whose slave money funded schools for white children only…one of the most notorious slave masters (yet many apologists like to rewrite history painting him as a hero that liked his slaves, but just wanted them to earn their freedom so they could appreciate it…so, you enslave a nation and tell them they have to ‘earn’ the freedom you took? seriously? #WhoTheF*CKRU?)…yet we memorialize this f*cker, regarding him as the “founding father of New Orleans Public Schools”…#SMHnation
Us as blacks, we rep our own, but unfortunately not enough of us are informed enough of the time to know when we’re celebrating the wrong thing. I’ve always wondered why gang members KILLED for their “turf” and hood cats down here KILL for their “wards” which many times are on streets that are named after slave masters (Claiborne, Robert E. Lee, Danneel, Kenner, etc) or still owned by some rich white folk that don’t care about these “G’s” romantic obsession with this sidewalk they were randomly born to grow up on and never own. But it just SUCKS to know that these same slave masters are probably in heaven, hell, hades, purgatory, Santa’s workshop, or reincarnated as the same tree that they hung ‘niggers’ on, laughing at not just US killing US in their name, but US wearing their names on our chests, smiling, dancing and celebrating THEIR NAMES honoring the same facilities named to honor them, these same facilities where we learn f*cked up falsified information about OUR history. It’s all pretty sickening.
I was reading a news article that was posted in 1997 about this civil rights veteran named Carl Galmon who was one of the main people fighting in New Orleans to get these school’s names changed. He said a lot the policies set in place by the school board at the time made it hard as hell to get these school’s names changed, and even that some fellow blacks, African Americans, Negros, niggAs or whatever you want to call yourselves, were either against the name change or not really interested in it.
“My take is, certainly there is some symbolic importance attached to this. But in the quest for justice and equality, as African Americans, we have to also be sensitive to other people. I’m not sure if that sensitivity is being demonstrated in the quest to rename schools” —– Joe Louis, Caldwell, chairman of the history department at the University of New Orleans (1997)
Before I could even fix my lips to call this dude a pu$$y and a myriad of other curse words, Galmon retorted:
“Would a Jewish parent allow their child to attend a school named after Adolf Hitler…?? A lot of black folks are afraid of discussing slavery, a lot are ignorant of it …but it’s a true saying that one who forgets his history is doomed to repeat it”—- Carl Galmon, Civil Rights Vet.
Without getting into the long examinations of the economic, power and social structures of America being unbalanced, tilting in favor of our fairer skinned counterparts, I will say that a good portion of blacks blame “the white man” for everything. They make excuses for their own ignorance, misgivings and misfortunes and just blatantly hate white people for reasons that don’t even apply to all whites. Many of us are born into this screwed up mindset and even more of us end up using this hatred as a means to cope, a means to inspire ourselves to rise up, as a means to justify our own cow manure and much more. But it doesn’t take Martin Luther King Jr’s pillow talk to see that using hatred as power isn’t the most constructive use of our energy. It really starts at the source, the child, whether black or white and teaching him/her the truth, the ABSOLUTE TRUTH. No, I’m not in favor of making white people feel guilty every turn of their life, but their children need to thoroughly learn about their heroes, the good and the bad…the same goes for our black kids. Inferiority, as well as superiority, complexes start in the subconscious…teach these kids about their history, show them more heroes than just the usual suspects, explain that our darkest periods don’t supersede our triumphs and lets push to STOP HONORING those that don’t deserve to be HONORED!
In this play, I’m playing a hero by the name of Charles Deslondes, a maroon in New Orleans that was the brains to the 1811 revolt. Contrary to being called ‘dumb savages’, their revolt was organized, strategic and focused, in the name of Deslondes…let us be the same in raising our youth, our futures….when the rebels yelled out FREEDOM OR DEATH, they meant it and it’s notion shouldn’t die with them, it can’t…our own mental shackles have got to come off or else our future generations will be zombies and not even know it.
To quote Galmon once again
“Would Jewish parents let their children go to a school named after Adolph Hitler?”
Write into the school board, inform your kids, support any ballots you get from organizations aligning with this cause…..FREEDOM OR DEATH!
SCHOOLS THAT HAVE GONE THROUGH THE NAME CHANGE PROCESS IN NEW ORLEANS
McDonogh 36 to Mahalia Jackson
Jefferson Davis to Ernes Morial
Beauregard to Thurgood Marshall
Couvent to A.P. Tureaud
Lee to Ronald McNair
McDonough 31 to Morris. F. X. Jeff
Benjamin to Mary McLeod Bethune
McDonough 19 to Louis D. Armstrong
Peters to Israel M. Augustine
Nicholls to Frederick Douglass
McDonogh 38 to Myrtle Rosebella Banks
Gayaree to Oretha Castle Haley
Phillips Elementary to Vorice Jackson Waters
White Elementary to Langston Hughes
Claiborne Elementary to Parkview Fundamental Magnet
Meyer to Harriet Ross Tubman
Palmer to Lorraine Hansberry
Denneel Pre-Vocational to Arthur Ashe
McDonough No. 40 to Barbara Jordan
Danneel Elementary to Mary Church Terrell
Bore to Village de l’Est
Washington Elementary to Dr. Charles Richard Drew
Fortier to Luscher
SCHOOLS THAT ARE STILL NAMED AFTER SLAVE MASTERS
JOHN MCDONOGH (aka John Mac)
Henry W. Allen
Judah P. Benjamin
William C.C. Clairborne
Rudolph T. Danneel
Robert E. Lee
Francis T. Nicholls
Oh and check out this book, ON TO NEW ORLEANS: Louisiana’s Heroic 1811 Slave Revolt by Albert Thrasher, the source for much of what I discussed in this blog regarding our history. No, I’m not making any of this sh!t up, though I wish I were….
FREEDOM OR DEATH!!!!!!!