“I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.” Mother Harriet Tubman
I am dedicating all of my remaining posts this year to Black African American females because a race can rise no higher than its’ females. As in all of my posts, underlined words are links.
Mother Ida Bell Wells-Barnett was born into slavery in Holy Springs, Mississippi on July 16, 1862 and she died as a mentally free Black African American Warrior Queen on March 25, 1931 at the age of sixty-eight. Both of her parents were also born into slavery and they all received “quasi-freedom” with the issuance of the “Emancipation Proclamation.”
Her father was a “master carpenter” and very active in the elevation of our race. He was vigorously involved in supporting Black African American political candidates although he had no political ambitions. Mother Ida’s mother was very religious and a strict disciplinarian, raising seven children.
Yellow Fever killed both of her parents as well as one of her brothers, leaving her an orphan at the age of 16. Rather than allow her five siblings to be separated and placed in different orphanages, Mother Ida became a single parent and raised them herself, with help from her paternal grandmother and other relatives.
After a confrontation with the University president, she was expelled from Shaw University because she was considered too confrontational. Mother Ida refused to accept racism passively and she was very angry towards the racist policies of the Mississippi school system that paid her $30.00 per month while paying the White teachers $80.00 per month for doing the same job.
In 1883, she moved herself and three siblings to Memphis, Tennessee, where she worked as a schoolteacher, earning significantly more money than she earned in Mississippi. She became a very strong-willed advocate for the rights of our people and resentful of passive and weak-minded Black African American males. So much so, that at 24, she wrote the following: “I will not begin at this late day by doing what my soul abhors; sugaring men, weak deceitful creatures, with flattery to retain them as escorts or to gratify a revenge.”
A White American train conductor demanded that she relinquish her seat in the first-class ladies car and relocate to the crowded smoking car on May 4, 1884 (nearly 70 years before Mrs. Rosa Parks). When she refused, the conductor, with the help of two other White American men forcefully dragged her from the train, as she was kicking and fighting all the way.
Immediately upon her return to Memphis, she hired a Black African American attorney to sue the railroad on her behalf. This attorney sold her out and allowed the railroad to pay him off. This only infuriated her even more, so she hired a White American attorney and won a $500.00 judgment on December 24, 1884.
The railroad appealed the ruling and of course, the Tennessee Supreme Court reversed the lower court’s ruling, saying, “”We think it is evident that the purpose of the defendant in error was to harass with a view to this suit, and that her persistence was not in good faith to obtain a comfortable seat for the short ride.” She was ordered to pay the court costs.
Her friend, Thomas Moss opened the “People’s Grocery” in the Black African American part of Memphis and began doing a thriving business in 1889. A White American man also had a grocery store in this Black African American neighborhood, directly across the street from Baba (Father) Thomas. As his business began to suffer, this White American man and several of his White American friends went into Baba Thomas’ store, intending to do mayhem and destruction. To their dismay, Baba Thomas and two other Black African American MEN sent three of them to the hospital with gunshot wounds.
White males being themselves, gathered a mob and lynched Baba Thomas and his two friends Baba McDowell and Baba Stewart. Afterwards, Mother Ida wrote the following article in the Free Speech and Headlight, “There is, therefore, only one thing left to do; save our money and leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murders us in cold blood when accused by white persons.”
Because of her urging, more than 6,000 Black African Americans left Memphis, with many of those remaining, boycotting White American businesses. Mother Ida initiated an “anti-lynching” campaign and became the first Black African American female “Investigative Journalist” in America and the first Black African American female to write for a “mainstream White newspaper, the Daily Inter-Ocean in 1894.
Of course, this did not set well with many cowardly White American men, so while Mother Ida was speaking in Philadelphia, Pa. on May 27, 1892, a gutless White American mob destroyed the offices of the “Free Speech and Headlight.” With threats on her life, Mother Ida left Memphis and moved to Chicago where she continued documenting the lynching of Black African Americans.
Mother Ida collaborated with Baba Fredrick Douglass and other Black African American leaders in successfully boycotting the World’s Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 because Black African Americans were denied exhibits highlighting Black African American progress. This resulted in the managers of the Exposition designating Friday, August 25, as, “Colored American Day.”
Mother Ida toured Europe twice, lecturing on the genocidal treatment of Black African Americans, which many White Europeans listened to in horror and disbelief. They just could not fathom such ferocious and barbaric treatment of human beings at the hands of their White American cousins.
“Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases” was published by Mother Ida in 1892, where she concluded most claims alleging the rape of White American women never occurred. The charge of rape was used as a ruse by White folks, masking their real reasons, which was normally jealousy.
The success of Black African Americans create a psychological condition known as cognitive dissonance (your thoughts conflicts with your behaviors) for many White Americans because it shattered their delusional thinking that all Black African Americans are inferior to all White Americans. In spite of Jim Crow and racism, Black African Americans not only pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, they often had to make both the boots and the straps.
Mother Ida wrote in “Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phase;” “The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great a risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life. The more the Afro-American yields and cringes and begs, the more he has to do so, the more he is insulted, outraged and lynched.”
I recently had a conversation with a White American male who told me that my blog-posts made him feel uncomfortable. My immediate thoughts were, “GOOD, a hit dog will holler.” Put another way, “If the shoe fits, wear it.” Yet I decided to be more tactful and asked him why. He replied, “Because they are so negative. I don’t want to be reading about all of that negativity all of the time.”
I thanked him for his honest feedback and followed with a question – How do you think me and all other Black Africans in general and Black African Americans in particular feel having to endure these negative experiences daily, just because of the color of our skin?
I told him that during the 1930s, White Americans consciously began writing sanitized versions of American History and current events, which was designed to show their barbaric and inhumane behaviors in a favorable and positive light. It was also intended to shield their barbaric and megalomaniacal behaviors from themselves and the rest of the world, which is why the truth is so painful to you.
His eyes appeared watery, as he said, “Wow! You made your point. What you write about is not supposed to make us feel good, because there is nothing good about racism and discrimination. Thanks-I will continue reading your posts, regardless of how bad they make me feel.” In parting, I told him that sometimes, the truth hurts and this pain may compel us to get out of our comfort zone and do something that will make a positive difference.
This past Friday I went to the post office and met a Brother there who I have not seen in over a decade. After excitedly greeting each other, we attempted to play “catch-up” on each other’s lives. I gave him my card and told him about my blog. He began talking about how bad our Black African American children are today, compared to when we were children.
I shared with him that the fault was not in the children, it was in their parents-our generation. I talked about how our generation (I am 63) replaced love and discipline with $tuff and the child’s need for privacy and free expression. A Black African American female postal customer immediately admonished me by saying, “Don’t say that. These kids have their own minds. We can raise them, but when they get grown, they make their own choices and it is not the parents’ fault.”
I asked her whose fault was it when the child is three or four, eleven or thirteen years old and out of control. She immediately said, “At that age it is the parents fault.” I informed her that from my experiences, children’s formative years are from birth to five or six years old and by the time they reach their teen years, their mindset for the most part have been developed.
Furthermore, I said, discipline begins within the first six months of the child’s life and you should spank children for every negative and inappropriate thing they do, every time, and explain your actions. By the time, they are five or six years old, you will be spanking them less and less, because they have learned to fear the consequences for their negative behaviors.
In addition, I shared with her that someone was going to discipline our children, who would you rather it be. After all, society’s method of disciplining Black African American children is by sentencing them to decades in America’s Prison Industrial Complex or by doling out death sentences on the spot resulting in them sprawled out on the streets with multiple gunshots from White American cops.
I then said, “I apologize for stepping on your toes” and bid her and the rest of the postal patrons a happy day and left.
According to recent statistics, single Black African American mothers are raising 70% of our Black African American children. This does not seem fair, yet life is not fair. The truth is that Single Mothers are not alone. There are untold numbers of Black African American mothers who have raised and are raising children successfully. Yet, they are not doing it alone. They are reaching out to other strong, positive Black African American mothers, past or present for guidance.
This is what we all must do-reach back to our ancestors and find the tools and strength to counter this systematic and premeditated assault on Black Africans throughout the Diaspora. For this very reason, did our ancestors live and strive amidst this racist and inhumane social structure known as White Supremacy/Racism, so that they could pass their wisdom and strengths to us.
As Mother Ida said, get your Winchester and to this I add, along with your camera. The next time you see White racists cops wrongfully beating, maiming or killing Black African Americans, ensure that they never get another chance to harm another Black African American mother, father, brother or sister and place the outcome on YouTube for other racists to see and learn.
It does not take long for cowards and bullies to get the message that if they take a life, they will lose their own life. There is absolutely no reason for these murderers of Black African Americans to continue living. This includes other Black African Americans who murder Black African Americans without good cause or justification.
The question is not what you are willing to live for. No, the question is, what are you willing to die for? After all, we all are going to die anyway, so we might as well make it worthwhile.
Oh what a blessing it is that my people do not read, think, or use common sense says the Pastors, Pimps, and Politicians.