Home » Black History » Standing on Bones, Part 1

Standing on Bones, Part 1

It’s Me!



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Today, August 20th, 2013 is an Anniversary that we never acknowledge. For the capitalist it could easily be marked, “Reversal of Fortune” Day.  For the humanitarian, however, it is easily marked “The Day the Oracle[1] Bones Spoke.” jamestown slave tradeOn this day the first Africans were kidnapped by British pirates in the Atlantic Ocean, and brought to Jamestown, Virginia—to be enslaved in the Western Hemisphere’s enterprising system of chattel slavery, the system that bound persons in servitude as the property of a slaveholder or household, primarily for economic gain.

Today is for them.  There were 19 in total coming from the Congo and Angola in Africa. We have forgotten them. But we must remember who we are and not the label Europeans used to identify what we were while pursuing their interests.  

Today and forever we stand on their bones, not just their shoulders. We stand in their light, not in their darkness. We are their reflections; and, they are not simply a part of our past.  We are their children, the “posterity” the Preamble refers to—we are their future generations and we have inherited their same resilience, intelligence, and honor. But, we have to remember who we are.

On the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, we will walk the same paths our ancestors walked, molding our feet to match the imprints of their footsteps. And, for the [Community] Organizers of the March on Washington of 1963, they walked the same petrified paths of those that came before them where the footprints are no longer visible, but where bones lie underneath the protected Earth to be returned to a forgiving universe and the comfort of the Almighty’s spirit.

Every question we have about the challenges we face has already been answered by our ancestors if we just remember who we are and acknowledge that we stand on their bones.

Did You Know?

The largest maximum security prison in the United States is called the Louisiana State Penitentiary, formerly known as Angola. Check out this article: http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2013/07/angola_prison_conditions_inhum.html

The African Burial Ground is a great place to visit to learn more about the discovery of a cemetery of enslaved men, women, and children in the Wall Street section of New York City. For more information or to visit, go to www.nps.gov/afbg/.  There is also an African burial ground in Portsmouth, NH that you should check out: http://www.africanburyinggroundnh.org/

You can learn more about the Jamestown, VA slave trade from this 2006 article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/02/AR2006090201097_2.html

[1]  Oracle Bones were used by the Ancient Chinese as a way to communicate with the ancestors. They were inscribed with questions that would later be revealed as answers once the oracle bones were heated and inspected.

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