William Lynch issued a publication titled, “How to make a slave.” The real tragedy is that we as a people too frequently bought into it. He exploited the house ni___er against the field ni___er, the light complexion ni___er against the dark complexion ni___er and the carriage drivers were perceived to be better than coachmen.
Willie Lynch’s philosophy was effective to the extent there were those of us who were forced to ask the question, “When will we learn?” In my generation complexion was still an effective separator, light complexion. Straight hair was considered good hair and these persons very rarely frequented beauty parlors. They had their own social clubs, churches and were able to apply for positions that dark complexion people could not. I remember rental agencies refused to even interview dark complexion persons.
Then came the 1960s and now overwhelmingly we were no longer colored, or Negroes, but Black. We sang brand new songs, “Black is beautiful,” “African is the Mother Land,” spoke phrases of Swahili, dressed in African clothes, referred to each other as brother and sister and gave the Black power salute (Black fist).
Do you remember we marched, picketed, prayed, sang “Free at last,” and not going to take it anymore, were arrested and even jailed. Yes, we cried out, “Free at last, thank God almighty, free at last.”
However, as I reflect in the year 2019 the question being asked frequently is, “How far have we really come?” Have we as Black people become more divided than ever in history? I was in attendance at a meeting and the controversy arose about females taking the lead, then others said the young persons should be in the lead; there was very little mention of the role of Black men. It became rather heated and I was reminded that this kind of division is more detrimental to the growth of Black people than blatant racism. All of those who contribute, stand on someone’s shoulders.
(Louis “Hop” Kendrick is a contributor to the New Pittsburgh Courier.)
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