(NNPA)—Our past was certainly all about the money. As soon as the Europeans discovered the Americas and determined that Native Americans weren’t going to submit to slavery, they went to Africa for their slaves. The first slave ship was directed to the Pope (Vatican) in 1516 A.D. for his blessing. He loved the idea and so it began—349 years of pure hell (longer for our South American brothers). Slaves work as drones and require little food. They are expendable and can be replaced on a continuing basis. It wasn’t cheap labor, it was free labor that was forced on us. It was all about the money as farmers and every phase of the economy were enhanced through this travesty to fellow man.

At the end of slavery in the United States, most slaves became sharecroppers, a little step up from slavery. It, too, was all about the money. Some found a way out by applying for a Homestead grant. The Homestead Act of 1862 was a system of granting plots of land, usually 160 acres to applicants willing to settle in new territories.  Blanch Bruce of Mississippi, the first Black U.S. senator, would encourage free Blacks to take advantage of this. My grandfather, Tom Harry Alford, received his 160 acres in 1916. Prior to that, his father received his160 acre land grant in 1901. They lived off that land—farming, hunting, fishing and selling what they didn’t use for themselves.

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