I don’t think all of y’all get it, so let me spell it out:
When the slaves were “freed” it was NOT out of the kindness of slave owners and the government's heart, it was through sheer force.
They didn’t wake up one morning and say “enslaving human beings is wrong, let me fix it” and then let us go.
No, they woke up begrudgingly after a bloody and divisive civil war in which slave owners and the Southern government fought tooth and nail to keep us in bondage FOREVER and were forced to let us go.
That night just like the nights that followed, they went to sleep wishing that we were still being forced to work their land, tend their children, clean their clothes, cook their meals, forcedly bear their children and die under their direction and hand.
So they devised a plan to enslave us again and get free labor because in their minds “that’s what god intended”. Remember, this is the same white god that we have been spoon-fed since the first days of slavery. The same god that they told us said, “you didn’t have a soul therefore you couldn’t go to heaven like them”.
This plan was to create laws so small in offense but so large that the smallest misstep would trap us like the wild animals they thought we were. Once we were caught we could again provide “slave labor” through their prisons.
They didn’t care about age, we could be 80 or 8 as long as we were providing that free labor to build “their” nation, our age wasn’t a problem.
Whenever we got too happy, too comfortable, too prosperous, too “human” they made a concerted effort to put us in our place. That came in the form of riots, lynchings, burnings of whole towns, and once again their favorite pastime the raping of our women.
But we continued on, determined to carve a life for ourselves out a nothing, and we did it. Even under Jim Crow, we did it.
And once again their fury over us not rolling over and dying turned in to redlining, denying us homeownership, segregation of everything, violent and deadly voter suppression. Because lest you not forget, they never EVER wanted us to be free.
So many of us fled in terror, not a happy migration to the North. Where we were met with a different form of hate. But as different as it was, it was still hate, backed with an unending supply of racism.
We were pushed into the ghettos, once again we were met with redlining, denying us homeownership, segregation of everything, violent and deadly voter suppression, and the always present rage when we gained a step in the world.
But we refused to be beaten so we built our communities, created art, made music to move nations and generations. We got college educations in safe spaces. We took care of ourselves and our own. But even in that we still believed in love and forgiveness so we opened our hearts pushing for change and inclusion.
Have we reached the promised land of equality? No, because we forget we were never expected to be free. And that kind of hate doesn’t die so easily, it doesn’t slink away quietly in the night when it thinks it has been beaten. It lays awake listening to our joy our prosperity even in the face of oppression and it waits, it devises new ways to hold us down.
People behave as if what is going on is new, no this is but a drop in the bucket of our history, but we will not let it continue.
This is our time, this is the time for a revolution, this is the time to let the world know that you can not, you will not beat us.
We will fight just as hard for our human right to equity as you have to keep us enslaved.
Your hate may have survived for over 400 hundred years but so did our ability to move mountains.
Our will is stronger than your hate.