Jamaica’s Christmas Rebellion

In late December 1831, white Jamaican planters slept restlessly in their beds. Rumors had long been circulating of disquiet among the enslaved Africans residing in plantations across the island. Before they knew it, the island would be set ablaze as tens of thousands armed themselves to fight for their freedom.

As it became known, the Christmas Rebellion (or Baptist War, named so after the faith of many of its key conspirators) was the largest uprising of enslaved Africans in the history of the British West Indies, and directly influenced the abolition of slavery in 1833 and full emancipation in 1838.

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Where Flowers Find No Peace Enough To Grow

On 13 July 2021, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a landmark resolution on the prevalence of racism and for the creation of an independent mechanism made up of three experts to investigate the root cause of deeply embedded racism and intolerance. The Group of African States pushed for this resolution, which had emerged out of global anger over the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police on 25 May 2020. The discussions in the UNHRC considered the problems of police brutality and went back to the formation of our modern system in the crucible of slavery and colonialism. A number of Western countries – such as the United States and the United Kingdom – hesitated over both the assessment of the past and the question of reparations; these governments were able to remove the requirement to investigate systematic racism in US law enforcement.

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Descendants Sue County To Stop The Human Trafficking Of Black Bodies

The unthinkable, unconscionable, immoral, racist, and illegal is occurring in Bethesda, Maryland located in Montgomery County. For those who thought the buying and selling of Black bodies was made illegal by the 13th amendment, Montgomery County, Maryland is challenging that notion. To paraphrase Frederick Douglas, the 21st century selling and buying of Black flesh in Montgomery County, Maryland should “disgrace a nation of savages.”

For more than 350 years, Montgomery County has displayed a history of kidnapping, raping, and murdering of Africans. The County, in collusion with a private investor, has placed Black people back on the auction block and plans to sell over 500 Black remains along with a high-rise building to Charger Ventures.

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Protesters Demand Wealthy MP Pays Up For Family’s Slave Trade Past

Protesters demanded yesterday that a Conservative MP should hand over his 621-acre sugar plantation to the people of Barbados as compensation for his family’s 200 years of slave owning and trading on the island. Richard Drax, the MP for Dorset South, has said the role of his ancestors was “deeply, deeply regrettable” but resists demands for reparations.

As part of this year’s Tolpuddle Festival, a rally organised by Stand Up to Racism, Dorset, at the gates of the Drax family estate highlighted the family’s historic role in slavery. The festival celebrates the Tolpuddle Martyrs, poorly paid farm workers, who were transported in 1834 for organising trade union activities.

This is the first time the festival has worked with reparation activists.

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What Really Happened On Juneteenth

If you saw my column about Juneteenth posted here over the last few days, or a previous version on the website of Be’chol Lashon several years ago, or a video version currently presented by Be’chol Lashon, you would know I had bittersweet feelings about the history of the day.

I no longer do. I am outraged by it.

My change in emotion comes after learning from historian friends that the oft-repeated tale of Union soldiers arriving in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865 to inform enslaved African Americans that they were free is pure fiction. Not because they weren’t legally freed 2-½ months earlier when Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Or technically freed 2-1/2 years before when President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, declaring slavery null and void in areas under rebellion, very much including Texas.

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Boycott Juneteenth 2022

I believe the reason there’s more disdain than pride is because it feels like we’re honoring a crime – a day commemorating the end of a 2 ½ year hostage negotiation where the captors were not punished yet instead compensated for the inconvenience of slavery ending.

Our collective cases of injustice and reparations have been made with overwhelming evidence. Unfortunately, our moral victories aren’t moving the needle enough to ensure that our lives matter. It might be time to reject these trophies of courage and resilience while perpetrators of violence against us get slapped with feathers. No more ceremonies acknowledging injustices if it’s not accompanied by legislation that prevents it. As we have these national “enlightenment” moments of events like Tulsa, where are the laws that protect Black people from the impulses of that white rage repeating?

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How Not To Celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth was largely a regional holiday celebrated by Black people in Texas and other southern states. It commemorates the events of June 19, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston and announced that slavery ended as per General Order Number 3. “The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.” It is an important event that ought to be remembered, but its true significance has been lost. Juneteenth has become the latest iteration of liberal capture of Black politics, opportunistic virtue signaling, and the intentional misrepresentation of America’s history.

Corrupt and avaricious corporations honor Juneteenth and cynical politicians give it great attention.

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The Revolutionary Promise Of New Year’s Day

The celebration of New Year’s Day as a moment to contemplate renewal, usually personal renewal, follows the calendar adopted by Julius Caesar in 46BC. Designed by Greek mathematicians and astrologers, its sole purpose was to attain greater mathematical accuracy in the alignment of dates to the solar year.

In recent years, Antonio Gramsci’s column that was published on 1 January 1916 in the Turin issue of Avanti! has been circulated in progressive circles on New Year’s Day. In the column, Gramsci rejected the idea that New Year’s Day should be an annual day of renewal and insisted that “I want every morning to be a New Year’s for me. Every day I want to reckon with myself, and every day I want to renew myself.”

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The Long Shadow Of Racial Fascism

In the wake of the 2016 election, public intellectuals latched onto the new administration’s organic and ideological links with the alt- and far right. But a mass civic insurgency against racial terror—and the federal government’s authoritarian response —has pushed hitherto cloistered academic debates about fascism into the mainstream, with Peter E. Gordon , Samuel Moyn , and Sarah Churchwell  taking to the pages of the New York Review of Books to hash out whether it is historically apt or politically useful to call Trump a fascist.

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Sweet (And Sticky) Redemption

There is no U.S. agricultural history without the expertise and labor of African people who were enslaved across the South, including the Gullah/Geechee people of the lower Atlantic Coast. But the violence of slavery and white supremacy is tied up with the crops that grew the global economy, embedding sugarcane, cotton, rice, and other historic commercial crops with a traumatic legacy.

For the Sapelo Island community—which includes the largest and most intact population of Gullah/Geechee descendants left in the U.S.

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On Contact: Origin Of White Supremacy

On the show this week, Chris Hedges discusses the origin of white supremacy and how it plays out in contemporary society with historian Gerald Horne. Horne is the John J. and Rebecca Moores Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, Texas. Horne’s new book is ‘The Dawning of the Apocalypse: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, Settler Colonialism, and Capitalism in the Long Sixteenth Century’.

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Enslaved People’s Health Was Ignored From The Country’s Beginning

Some critics of Black Lives Matter say the movement itself is racist. Their frequent counterargument: All lives matter. Lost in that view, however, is a historical perspective. Look back to the late 18th century, to the very beginnings of the U.S., and you will see Black lives in this country did not seem to matter at all.

Foremost among the unrelenting cruelties heaped upon enslaved people was the lack of health care for them. Infants and children fared especially poorly. After childbirth, mothers were forced to return to the fields as soon as possible, often having to leave their infants without care or food.

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Land Loss Has Plagued Black America Since Emancipation

Underlying the recent unrest sweeping U.S. cities over police brutality is a fundamental inequity in wealth, land, and power that has circumscribed black lives since the end of slavery in the U.S.

The “40 acres and a mule” promised to formerly enslaved Africans never came to pass. There was no redistribution of land, no reparations for the wealth extracted from stolen land by stolen labor.

June 19 is celebrated by black Americans as Juneteenth, marking the date in 1865 that former slaves were informed of their freedom, albeit two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Coming this year at a time of protest over the continued police killing of black people, it provides an opportunity to look back at how black Americans were deprived of land ownership and the economic power that it brings. An expanded concept of the “black commons” – based on shared economic, cultural and digital resources as well as land – could act as one means of redress.

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Asheville Approves Reparations For Black Residents

Asheville, NC – In an extraordinary move, the City Council has apologized for the city’s historic role in slavery, discrimination and denial of basic liberties to Black residents and voted to provide reparations to them and their descendants.

The 7-0 vote came the night of July 14.

“Hundreds of years of black blood spilled that basically fills the cup we drink from today,” said Councilman Keith Young, one of two African American members of the body and the measure’s chief proponent.

“It is simply not enough to remove statues. Black people in this country are dealing with issues that are systemic in nature,” Young said.

The unanimously passed resolution does not mandate direct payments. Instead it will make investments in areas where Black residents face disparities.

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Toppling Statues As An Act Of Historical Redemption

The brutal murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police set off an unprecedented wave of protests. In a highly publicized, graphic execution, Floyd was killed in broad daylight for possession of an alleged counterfeit bill. The ensuing rebellion of global dimensions is undoubtedly fueled by the exposure to uncertainty, stress and anxiety that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated. In the United States and beyond, frustration and anger at unprepared and incompetent governments overlap with the pressures of systemic racism, seen in sheer wealth gaps and repressive state practices.

Across the pond, protests have also erupted in Britain. In a context of recession and repression, it is common for widespread rebellions to flare up at instances of injustice.

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