Freedom has been hard-fought in these United States, and never more so than for those who differ from a pale complexion. This simple drawing commemorates three honored African-Americans.
Left–Crispus Attucks, a free man, freed by his own hand, is considered the first man killed in the American Revolution, when he died at the hands of British soldiers in the Boston massacre.
The Boston Massacre, chromolithograph by William L. Champney, dated March 5, 1770, depicting Crispus Attucks prominently at the head of its victims.
Center–Phillis Wheatley, the first published African-American poet, indeed the first African poet in young America. It was a fact she was forced to attest to in court. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious & Moral was published in London in 1773 because Boston refused to do so. Her poem “To His Excellency, George Washington” earned her a meeting with the future President in March 1776, three months before the Declaration of Independence.
Right–Frederick Douglass, the greatest orator of the 19th Century and a fierce abolitionist. The first of five biographies, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, was published in 1850.
To all those who stared at their chains and said “No.” For all those who said, “no, I am NOT property, I am NOT your plaything. I am free and I will be respected.”
I have not thought about Sudan in a long time. I’m sorry. I’d hoped with the ‘end of hostilities’ between the Northern government in Khartoum & the South would be a new beginning. Never mind why the Bush Administration did it, for Billy Graham’s fundamentalist gang or what, it still stopped the war and I was thankful for that. At least I was.
As of 2013 a new civil war has broken out. Over 300,000 more people have died. That’s not to mention the ongoing scorched earth policy in Southern Kordofan. Don’t expect much U.N. help, the Russians & Chinese will see to it that no aid comes forth.
I still haven’t forgiven any of you in positions of power for doing nothing about Darfur. You gave the token condemnation & left it at that. You learned nothing from Rwanda, except to wash it off your conscience as 2.7 million people were driven from their homes. An article in the Lancet in 2010 puts the reliable estimated death toll between 178,258 & 461, 520.
Where is Donald Trump in all this? Well, he might be making some positive moves for once, by imposing an arms embargo on South Sudan. Withdrawing U.S. aid to the country, in the middle of the worst refugee crisis in Africa, less so.
I’m not sure if I believe in a heaven or hell. But if there is a hell, Omer Bashir & all the rapist soldiers on both sides have earned a special place in it.
Ethiopia has seen its hard times in recent decades. However it remains the one land never to be conquered by foreigners. It also boasts magnificent rock-hewn churches, dating from the 13th Century. The name is apt; these holy sites had been literally carved from the hills of Ethiopia, centuries before the Renaissance began to turn back a thousand years of ignorance in Europe, before there was even a notion of such a place as ‘America’.
All the African American heroes in the Marvel Universe have had their face-time on screen. My family went to see Black Panther the day it came out and were blown away. My wife even had a friendly discussion with the cinema goers in the seats behind us after the movie.
I was at a lucky time growing up, getting in on the ground floor for Luke Cage and Blade’s first appearances in comics. Lucky for me Marvel was reprinting Black Panther’s first adventures with the Fantastic Four at the time too, in Marvel’s Greatest Comics, one of the reprint titles current during the ’70’s. To say nothing of Sam Wilson, the Falcon, Captain America’s partner and War Machine, also proud members of the MCU.
That said, I was blessed to be on the ground floor, yes. So that means Marvel was ahead of the game on race, si?
Well, not exactly…
Here I’d be referring to my reading’s of their long-running Conan the Barbarian. Perhaps it’s because the source material was a 1930’s pulp fiction series, but it seems, looking back now, that all the black characters in Conan’s world were either natives or sorcerors. I mean the entire black race in Robert E. Howard’s universe were confined to a swampy, serpent-addled land called Stygia. And the ‘natives’ embodied all the traits white people associated with Africans in their worst black-&-white Tarzan movies. ‘Good’ black people? Nope. There was only one ‘good’ black sorceror, and all the rest were on the Tigress, a pirate ship run by Conan’s fiery love Belite.
Give the MCU props for all the modern twists on their heroes, ’cause they have indeed taken a long walk getting here.