Our Sacred Mission
By Dr. Leonard Jeffries
The following is the text of a speech at the Empire State Black Arts and Cultural Festival in Albany, New York, July 20, 1991
Last year I was here, and it was very good. I appreciated the opportunity to come because the storm around the curriculum was hot then. This has been going on now for almost two years, and it continues—and continues because the existing educational system is not isolated from the existing cultural-social-political-economic system of the United States. It is part and parcel. If the social, economic, political and cultural system of the United States is racist, there’s no way you can insulate and isolate the educational system. So racism in the educational system has to be dealt with. That’s the number-one item that has to be removed before we can have true education.
So I think that if we see this enormous struggle against us, it is just another manifestation of racism and white supremacy, and we have to deal with it as that. It seems more vicious because you would think these are not Ku Klux Klan—because they’ve got PhD’s or other things behind their name. But they operate in much the same way, and as far as I’m concerned they have the same VIP: values, interests and principles of white supremacy.
So, I will proceed forthwith with the presentation. For those who are up here and over there—are going to be at a disadvantage because if I do—one of my favorite things is to say, “Let’s go to the videotape.” And that might mean I might try to show something, you know, like this Newsweek article; and if you’re way up in the boondocks or over there, you won’t be able to see it. Or if I might want to show you an image of the black Statue of Liberty, you know, you would not be able to see it.
But I think we have to understand that although we like to think of education as race-neutral and politically neutral, education is a part of racism, and the fact that some of its worst manifestations—and it’s a part of politics. So I think that what we’re doing must be correct because of the storm that we’ve raised and created. I’m surprised, however, at the reaction, because when I was asked to evaluate the curriculum of the state of New York two years ago— and I was virtually begged to help bail out the state and the commissioner and the task force that had been put in place to work with the Curriculum—they really needed our help. And they asked me to suspend what I’m doing —and no one is busier than I at City College, and Vivian [Gordon, a professor of African American Studies at the State University at New York (SUNY), Albany] knows that. But I virtually suspended my activities we had—to set aside this work. They asked of four us to evaluate the curriculum of the state of New York. [See Dr. Jeffries contribution to the report.]
The way the misinformation campaign—the defamation of my character—has gone, it’s as if only one person was involved in evaluating the curriculum or the state of New York. There were four of us—four scholars. We looked at over one hundred documents from the state of New York Department of Education. There may have been a hundred and fifty documents, covering every area of education. And I thought this could be done, you know, communally, cooperatively and collectively. That’s the African value system—the three Cs, I call it: communal, cooperative and collective—working together in a spiritual dimension. So I pulled together a team of people—other PhDs—Dr. Charchee McIntyre, Professor Edward Scobie, Dr. Douglas Davis, Dr. Kumti Kiteme from Kenya—to help me in this endeavor.
But when I realized how serious this thing was—and you had to actually go line by line through these documents—I said I’d better take firm control of this thing to make sure that the importance of it is fully realized. I spent six months reviewing documents. Some documents I had to read over ten times because I could not believe what it was I was seeing. Ten times.
The social studies document which dealt with Africa I had to read over and over again because I said this is not happening in 1987, ’89. I can’t believe that this curriculum was revised in ’87 and this is what they have. The social studies document actually took Egypt out of Africa. Now, of course, they explained it in European-American—very common rational terms. They were going to deal with it in another part of the world. You know? You can always look for it—you know? They were gonna deal with the Nile Valley in another part of the world. So that was supposed to be the Near East, Middle East or whatever other part of the world they like to call that. And in that area they were going to deal with Mesopotamia, Tigris, Euphrates, the ancient Hebrews and the Nile Valley, Egypt.
And I read this over and over again. I could not believe my eyes. There was no content to the Nile Valley unit. No content! No mentioning of the literature of the ancients of Africa. No mention of the science of the Africans of the Nile. No people have built more in a more dynamic fashion—a more meaningful and technological fashion—than Africans of the Nile. No mention of the philosophy and the ethos and ethics, the morality that’s carved in their tombs and temples, built into the designs of their cities, even how they structured their society. One side of the river being the place of the living, the other side being the preserve of the dead. And the two are opposites that are complementary. That the living and the dead beget each other and there is life after death. No concept that the Africans had put in place the concept of the oneness of God before the ancient Hebrews. There was no content!
And I had to say to myself after reading it ten times, unbelieving what I was reading, that this was not an accident. This was by design, by people who knew what they were doing: Stripping Africa of its significance in its place in the world. And the people who are doing it are very nice, friendly white folks and some of their achieving Negro partners. That’s the tragedy. These are not Ku Klux Klan people. These are some very nice white folks, your neighbors, your colleagues, the people that you work with. They go to church and the synagogue, think highly of themselves; but they didn’t hesitate at all to distort history in what I call “Racial Pathology.”
They say they were upset with me with terms like that. “Ohhh. Jeffries, the tone! You know…” Racial Pathology. Well, how else do you describe something as diabolical as that? How else do you describe the attack on me, as if I was the lone person reviewing the curriculum?
And there were four of us. Dr. [Shirley] Hune, an Asian scholar from Hunter University, reviewed—and our task force was not to look at white history; our task force was to look at the—we had a charge; it was written down. It was to look at the hundred and fifty volumes to see which of those volumes effectively dealt with people of color and which did not; and which were strong and which needed revision. We weren’t asked to look at what Thomas Jefferson was doing; I brought that in as a—part of my own understanding of what was happening. They said we weren’t positive about white folks. That’s not what the charge was. We were to look to see what white folk had done about Black folks. And they had done nothing about Black folk in any significant way. And they had done nothing about Asian-Americans or Asians, and Dr. Hune said that in her report. And Dr. [Carlos Rodriguez]-Fraticelli, who handled the Puerto Rican-Latino part, said they had done nothing in reference to the Latino and Puerto Rican. And the person who—Professor [Lincoln C.] White, who handled Native Americans—said they had done nothing in reference to the Native Americans.
In fact, the three special volumes on our particular groups—one on the Black experience, one on the Puerto Rican experience and one on the Native American experience—were inadequate. The volume—the only volume on Blacks in the state of New York—was done by a schoolteacher and her students. That’s what was submitted. It wasn’t good enough. The volume on the Puerto Ricans focused mainly on mainland Puerto Rico and not the enormous migrant community of Puerto Ricans along the East Coast of the United States. The volume on the Native American dealt with the one tradition—the long house tradition—not the other traditions. It wasn’t good enough. And we mentioned that.
All of us never had met—we never met. To this day I have not seen Professor Hune. Dr. Fraticelli I met one time, after all of this occurred. Professor White I never met; we never even communicated on the telephone. I received their reports and synthesized them, pulled out what we had collectively stated and sent them as part of the general report—but their complete reports went as the appendices. And then the task force, which included white folks, Native Americans, Asians, Blacks, et cetera, African peoples—took our recommendation, took our reports, and they put their analysis to it and presented it.
It’s as if one person took over the state of New York educational system, Len Jeffries, controlled the commissioner and beat up this committee and imposed himself upon—for his own reasons. The little bit of money that they paid me to do it, I get in some speaking engagements in an hour. I don’t have to spend six months out of my life for a couple of thousand dollars.
But once I said what the problem was and what the test was, I realized it was part of the sacred mission that we as Black folk have: To try to right things that are wrong. And those of us who have carved out education as our area realize that we have to do a major job; major surgery has to take place in the educational arena because the educational arena was designed to support the system of white supremacy that was institutionalized in this nation. That’s what education was for.
The legal system was designed to support the system of white supremacy in this nation. The economic system was the heart of this system of white supremacy in this nation. And the cultural system went along with that—movies, all the rest of it. For years—and I grew up as a youngster just like you did, going to movies where the African peoples were completely denigrated. That was a conspiracy, planned and plotted and programmed out of Hollywood, where people called Greenberg and Weisberg and Trigliani and whatnot—it’s not anti-Semitic to mention who developed Hollywood. Their names are there—MGM: Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer, Adolph Zukor, Fox. Russian Jewry had a particular control over the movies, and their financial partners, the Mafia, put together a system of destruction for Black people. Talk about self-image and self-esteem? This was an important part of the cultural development of any youth. We went to the movies every Saturday and saw the Native Americans being wiped out and Africans being denigrated: Sambo images, Beaulah, Stepin Fetchit. That’s what they put out there. It was by design. It was calculated.
So we have to see that there is a war against the African. Now, I knew it before, but I didn’t know how devilish it was gonna be or could be. They’re nice white people. You don’t feel so bad if you got to go up against someone who is really down-and-out devilish and doggish. But if you get the smiling people like Diane Ravitch—”I’m trying to do the right thing”—deedeedee—”and I have don’t the right thing all these years.” Read Diane Ravitch’s record; look at her track record. This is the ultimate, supreme, sophisticated, debonair racist—pure and simple. And when they say “Hey, you and the others called her Miss Daisey”—they did fit right. And Asa said: “We’re gonna let Miss Daisy drive her own damn car from now on.” [Laughter and applause from the audience.]
And Miss Daisy and her several partners. Albert Shanker has been holding her hand for some time, and now he’s at the door of the governor, beating him up, saying you’ve got to go against this latest report. They went against our report, using me as a scapegoat—that some nasty person has gotten control of the educational system. So then they put in place a sanitized committee; they check these people out on the computers. Ran the computer. “Good, sound, qualified achieving Negro. No problem.” “Good, sound Native American. No problem.” And they used their computers.
But, see, they don’t know—and don’t you tell them—the power of the African Holy Ghost. See, once that African Holy Ghost starts moving around, whatever their calculations were are thrown off. And that African Holy Ghost started working and that committee with only a few Blacks, which was supposed to be not only sanitized but it was supposed to be dominated and led by rich white men with property and power—Arthur Schlesinger, distinguished professor at City University, and had been at Harvard. And then the melting pot man—what was his name—Glazer. Nathan Glazer. Dr. Nathan Glazer. Melting pot Glazer. And then Dr. Kenneth Jackson. Now these three were supposed to dominate the other twenty. But, see, they underestimated the African Holy Ghost. And once Dr. Elleni Tedla felt that Holy Ghost—because she’s from Ethiopia—now you know the Holy Ghost has been roaming around Ethiopia for a long time. Ethiopia’s the oldest Christian nation; that Holy Ghost is there. And Lalibela built the new Jerusalem in the 12th Century—12 stone churches—not from the ground up: wonders of the world. Lalibela in Ethiopia. From the Ground down: to protect them from the Muslim invasions. Holy Ghost in Ethiopia.
So Elleni Tedla got herself together and brought it to the table. And then little Diane Glover—she’s just a school teacher. But she found the strength—talking to the African Holy Ghost—that she was a dynamite—looked Glazer and Schlesinger in the eye and said “You’re not correct. I do not agree, Doctor Glazer.” Here’s a little schoolteacher out in Long Island looking these big white men with property, power and prestige—they knew they had met their match.
So Schlesinger, being a weakling and not prepared to learn and grow, stepped off of the committee. This is how slick and devilish they are. He refused to be in the committee because he saw the learning process that these sisters and brothers bring the material to the table—that they all had to digest—was changing the committee. The truth was manifesting itself. So he said: “I’m going to step off, but not really step off.” That’s how slick and devilish and dirty and dastardly they are. He said, “I just want to be a consultant.” Be a consultant: So he’s privy to all the material and what they’re doing but not a part of what it is, so that he could go out and contact Federal Express and produce a devilish volume such as this, called the Disuniting of America—a political trap passing off as a scholarly document [published by Whittle Publishing Co.].
This is why the unconscionable—he refused to sit down with any of us and discuss any of these matters. They let the newspaper people jump up with these articles. Here’s a book, that’s supposed to be the definitive book on the reflections on a multicultural society. And it’s really reflections on the African. Nobody else is mentioned in this book except African people. No Asians are mentioned; they’re not attacked. Not Native American, no Latinos are attacked. The Africans are attacked, and our pictures are put in here—pictures of Asa Hilliard, pictures of [others]—in the margin. And I’ve never seen a book like this. How could they put this out? Between every chapter there’s an advertisement for Federal Express—an advertisement for Federal Express.
And this is the book that’s going to be talked about—The Disuniting of America. You talk about primps and pimps and prostitutes parading. I mean, I hate to be —I mean, you see my reaction. I’m trying to be very cool, calm and collected. And he even had to put one of us—”Provides immediate relief from stress and anxiety” Federal Express advertisement, in between the chapter on “The New Race”—this is a chapter on “New Race”—and then they have this Black fella there.
History the weapon—and then they have some of our pictures. But you know, “Battle for the Schools”…what this reveals is that what we’re—and then they have—look, Diane Ravitch. They just gave her a little picture in the corner: Miss Daisy. Adjunct professor at City College—I mean at Columbia. Not a professor. Miss Daisy has not passed muster to be a professor. Dr. Gordon and I have passed muster to be a professor. Miss Daisy was there as an adjunct because she brought in a grant. She’s hooked up with the grants—with the Heritage Foundation and these other conservative foundations—because she’s doing the work of the devilish folks.
In fact, she is the new standard. The old standard was a Bible Belt Texas rural family. That’s the standard for the textbooks that went into the schools for generations. Now the new standard is not a Bible Belt Texas family but a sophisticated Texas Jew. And that standard is not good enough either—because many people, such as the Ravitches, who happen to be Jewish, have blinded us on the attack coming from the Jewish community—systematic, unrelenting. And until we can look at it and deal with it there’s no efforts we can make that are going to be successful. Not anti-Semetic to raise the issue—but if you do not deal with it, you’re fooling yourself.
There’s an orchestrated attack by the Schlesingers and the Shankers, working with the white conservatives (the George Wills, the Heritage Foundation)—we’re pinpointing their relationship; we’re putting it to our African computer: the document is being prepared.
And they know who to point to: so the largest photo in the darned book is Len Jeffries. He doesn’t get in the margin. He’s got a whole big thing there. And so the people around me say “Len, they’re targeting you for death.” I said “That’s cool. That means I must be doing something right.” I live forty-five, forty-four years on this planet, and if I hadn’t done what I should do by then, then, you know, there’s not much more I’m, going to do. Malcolm only had thirty-nine. Martin only that thirty-nine. So death is not a thing. I’m not gonna back down, no matter what. They just—they picked on the right person at the right time, and they’re not going to win this one.
And, in fact, I called the New York Times after they attacked me last year, and I told them: “Thank you for making me a folk hero among my people wherever I go. And thank you for introducing me to scholars around the world.”
Most of you don’t realize that when The New York Times put in the paper that Jeffries and rich Jews were involved in the enslavement process, they put that in there to paint me as an anti-Semitic. An anti-Semitic does not stay at City College for twenty years as chairman of a department and have friends (even those who do not like him) and his enemies respect him at City College. And the head Jew at City College, Dr. Bernard Somer, saw me after the article in the Times, said: “Len, everybody knows rich Jews helped financed the slave trade.” If everybody know it, then let’s put it in the classroom.
Miss Ravitch says that Black people sold Black people into slavery. She doesn’t hesitate to say that. Schlesinger says Black people sold Black people into slavery.
Let’s talk about who financed, planned, operated, maintained the slave system. Let’s talk about every slave ship being blessed by a Protestant minister or Catholic priest. Let’s talk about the Catholic Church initiating this. Let’s talk about the Danes, the Dutch, the Portuguese, the French, the Scots, the Swedes, The Brandenberg Germans that were involved in the slavery for hundreds of years—Jews and Gentiles, Arabs and Christians. Let’s deal with the whole ball of wax. Let’s not just say that Africans sold Africans into slavery.
But I don’t do anything unless I’m backed up with documentation. So—the Ravitches and whatnot don’t have documentation—they don’t want to come by me.
They sent their leading emissary, Edward I. Koch—and Eddie called me up, wrote me a letter: “Dr. Jeffries, I’d like you to come down to my office so we can discuss your documentation and what these things are you’re dealing with.” I thought he wasn’t serious. But I realized he had been on TV the week before and said “Jeffries is wrong because he’s teaching racism in his class. [Professor Michael] Levin is right because he’s not teaching it in his class.” This is the convoluted logic and rationality of white folk who are pathological —affected by racism.
So most people tell me: “Don’t be bothered with him.” Dr. Adelaide Sanford said: “You can’t deal with him. The man will distort anything you say.” Dr. Clarke said: “Don’t worry about him.”
But the African Holy Ghost said: When you’re with you truth, you can go anywhere and deal with anybody. And since he is the biggest and the baddest that they got, you got to take on their best so you don’t have to worry about the rest.
And so Dr. J called them up and said “I’m interested in your proposition, but I have a condition: I’m not coming ; I want you to come up to my office.”
“Oh, no, no. I couldn’t do that because that would cause—you know, be too much publicity.”
So I said: “well, I’ll come down to your office but first you’ve got to give up my pyramid.” I said, “We have a picture of you riding on a camel around the pyramids several years ago talking about your ancestors built them thousands of years ago. We got another picture of Menachem Begin dancing in front of the pyramids that his ancestors built thousands of years ago. We want our pyramids back, and there’s no need to even dialogue unless you are prepared to give them up.”
So you have to operate from some strength. If you operate from weakness, doubt, and you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s no need to be in the ballpark. Let the Gordons, Jeffries and others do the shooting, because you all will be shooting the wrong people and using the wrong ammunition. What I’m saying is you’ve got to master the understanding of your own experience and your history and have this knowledge. It’s there; it’s available; it’s in the books.
So once he was prepared to give up my pyramid—and I always carry an image of the pyramids around—once he was prepared to give them up, I said I would come down. And he called in from Hong Kong to tell his people, “Tell Jeffries he can have his pyramids back.”
So my brother said, “Look, I can’t you to go down there by yourself.” This is my little brother; he’s into heavy African martial arts. And that’s why it’s good to have these little brothers. He said, “I’m going down with you because my aura will protect you.”
So the Jeffries boys from Newark, New Jersey, went down to Rockefeller Plaza to meet Edward I. Koch. I rolled down—just as I rolled this stuff here in all these books—you don’t go nowhere without your ammunition. There’s no need to begin a war and you ain’t armed, you’re just mouthin’ and wolfin’. Take your ammunition. And so we rolled into Koch’s office with all this stuff. First thing I saw—and he wants to know “Where is you documentation?”
I said, “We have it all here.”
Well, before he could say anything, I said, “Look. That thing over there on the cabinet—we’re going to have to deal with—before we do anything.”
He said, “What? What?”
I said, “That. That Statue of Liberty.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, well, uh, uh, you’re not familiar with the Statue of Liberty?”
“Yes. The Statue of Liberty’s in the harbor.”
“No, no. Its background. The reason for it being.” I said, “The Statue of Liberty has not a darned thing to do with your immigrant forebears. It has to do with my forebears fighting for liberty in these United States.”
He tried to act cool, but it was clear he was becoming discombobulated.
When I showed him come of the documentation, he knew he was in a war for control of the mind, and so he left and said, I’ll come back.” And he brought in his Dr. Clarke, attorney [Dan] Wolf, and sat him in the room.
So here was my brother and I—the Jeffries boys—with attorneys Wolf and Koch. We presented the information and Koch, after an hour, got what I called “cognitive dissonance.” That’s what happens when this new information is brought before the folks. Cognitive dissonance is a much nicer term—a psychological term, when imbalanced disharmony occurs when the information is—but I like to call it “racial pathology,” but cognitive dissonance is good enough for those who cannot digest racial pathology. Well, cognitive dissonance started to set in; and after a while he got so uncomfortable, he asked me about—”Well, what is this about you had said something about rich Jews involved in the enslavement of Africans?”
So I said, “Where do you want us to start? What period of history? You want us to start in the Spanish-Portuguese period of the starting of the slave trade in the 1400’s and 1500’s? Do you want us to move it from Seville and Lisbon on the Amsterdam and Hamburg, where the new Jewish community in those areas continued the slave trade for the Dutch, the Germans and English? Or do you want us to move it to Brazil and the Caribbean and Curacao, which became a new Amsterdam, the new center of the slave trade in the western world centered around the Jewish immigrants that moved into Curacao? Or do you want us to move to New York and Newport, Rhode Island? Where do you want us to start?”
“Where do you want to start, man?”
“Well, uh, babababbababba. Well, what books do you have?”
“Well, we have a book here, Aaron Lopez, ‘Lopez of Newport’.”
In the 1750s and ’60s: one of the largest slavers out of Newport, Rhode Island, a community that had a number of outstanding wealthy Jews who not only controlled a couple of hundred of slave ships—and Lopez himself controlling a couple dozen—but they controlled most, it not all, of the thirty distilleries that processed molasses from the Caribbean into rum, to be sold to the native Americans as “fire water” and to be sold to Africa, for enslaved Africans.
“Where do you want to start? You want to go back into the Spanish Sephardic Jewish community? Then get Stephen Birmingham’s The Grandees.”
The Grandees: the Jewish rich that supported the Spanish throne and helped lay the foundation for the enslavement in the 1400’s and 1500’s. Even after the Jewish community was persecuted in Spain with the Inquisition in 1492, many of them that converted to Christianity stayed in Spain and helped the Spanish king and queen, who was anti-Semitic (Queen Isabella)—helped her maintain the slave system against the Africans and native Americans.
“Where do you want to start? Do you want to go to Amsterdam? Then get a book by Jonathan Israel on European Jewry in the Age of Mercantilism, 1550–1750.”
And there’s a picture of the Amsterdam synagogue, which was the center of slave trading for the Dutch. Amsterdam became a leading port in this period of time for slaving. And it was around this synagogue that the slaving system was established.
Now, we’re not talking about most Jews. Most Jews were being beat—up and down Europe—persecuted for being Jewish. We’re talking about rich Jews, and we specifically make that distinction. We’re not talking about white folks in general when we talk about oppression; we’re talking about the wealthy white folks, the powerful white folks that make the decisions.
So let’s make some decisions, some clarity, when we talk about these things. But the documentation is there. We are now preparing the ten volumes dealing with the Jewish relationship with the Black community in reference to slavery, so we can put it in ht school system, so there’ll be no question about Miss Daisy, Arthur Schlesinger—Schlesinger in his book said, “Dr. Jeffries said something about the Jews involved in enslavement”—and then just leaves it there.
I had to ask this man who called me from California, I said, “What is the reference that he cites?”
“The New York Times.”
I said, “That’s not a reference to cite.”
“Well, they quote you being quoted from some other newspaper.”
I said, “That original quote was not correct, and so anything else after that is not correct. Why didn’t he contact me and find out what it is that we’re saying? Everybody was involved in the enslavement of Africans.”
But if you want to deal with slavery, let’s deal with it. And I’m going to lay this down. That’s why we’re being attacked. You see, if they had just let us put a few Black folks in the curriculum and been satisfied with that, then there would be no problem, and we would have been satisfied. But they didn’t want us to do that. So our intellectual abilities and capacities and Our Sacred Mission has pushed us into serious study and analysis. No one has studied more than myself in the last couple of years and the people around me.
Producing documents, position papers—Dr. Carruthers, Dr. Asante, Dr. Hilliard, Dr. Charshee McIntyre, my wife—we have been in a heavy study, and what has been revealed is a mind-boggling process. We’ll have the ten major books relating to the Jewish community (the wealthy Jewish community) and enslavement.
In Spain there were the Grandees, managing the money of the Spanish throne. In Germany, in the 16 and 1700’s there were the court Jews, managing the political and economic apparatus of Europe, the Hapsburg Empire, the German states, et cetera. We have the names. We know who they were, what they were, what they controlled. We know when they set up the Dutch East Indian Co., Dutch West Indian Co., the Portuguese company, the Brazilian Company. We know who and what documents. We know the family connections. We know that even when they converted to Christianity, they maintained the links with their Jewish community brothers who had not converted; and that’s why they had a network around the world.
But even more than that, if you keep digging on and —as quiet as it’s kept, a number of Jewish scholars from around the country sent me documentation on the Jews’ involvement in slave trade. Not one wrote to me contesting what they thought I had said. A dozen sent me information, including a SUNY professor.
And then we discovered—in my copy room—I don’t know. The African Holy Ghost works in wondrous ways. The African Holy Ghost put a book in my copy room called The Jews of Germany by [Marvin] Lowenthal. And it details the movement of the Jewish community into Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, along with the Syrians and Lebanese; and they became the life-line of the fallen Roman Empire in the 15 and 1600’s. And they began to institutionalize a trade link with the Middle East. A trade link dealt with:
And Number One: It dealt with humans, the humans that it dealt with for hundreds of years, with the Slavic peoples of central, eastern, and southern Europe, the Czechs, the Poles, the Yugoslavs, the Russians—an alliance between the Catholic Church and rich Jews selling white central, eastern, and southern Europeans into Arab slavery.
Did you hear what I said? The white slave trade in Europe—because the central and eastern Europeans were pagans; they were not Christians. Catholic Church had no allegiance to them. And the Jewish community didn’t care either which way. So rich Jews and the Catholic Church had an alliance for hundreds of years, selling white folks from central, eastern, and southern Europe into slavery in the Arab world—the white slave trade, which is the precursor of enslavement later.
In fact, the term “slavery” is rooted in the word “Slav.” You see why we’re in trouble?
If they had just let us alone and let us put Lewis Latimer, Granville Woods and [names unclear]—if they just let us alone, we would have been so worried about putting these people in the curriculum that we wouldn’t have to dig up these truths. But we might as well go for the whole ball of wax, getting ourselves prepared for the 21st Century. It’s in the works; it’s in the material. You just have to grab hold of it.
Let me quickly say what I’m trying to say. I had to deal with that because, see, if Schlesinger had let me alone—I had not touched the Jewish question for the past year. I had made an agreement with my Jews at City College that I would not deal with it. Koch, after he’d met me in May, had nothing to say about Dr. Jeffries for a year. He has never said anything about me since that last May. Once he saw the documentation and information, there was nothing to be said. In fact, his —his senior—attorney Wolf—when I called him—because I wanted my [word unclear] documents back, and I called him and I told him I wanted to apologize for being a little rough on attorney Wolf—because he did say something, and I said in the African tradition, you know, we respect elders and, you know, you just got in the way of my bullets for Koch.
Attorney Wolf said he was so glad and delighted to see the encounter. He has known Koch for years, and he has never seen him sit, listen and learn. Even Koch, after the meeting, when he—he got up and said, “I have a meeting to go to.” After an hour he didn’t have a meeting to go—he just couldn’t take it anymore. And I kept going for—for another half an hour. But even he, after the encounter, said that “Uh, uh, you know he’s and interesting chap.” That’s the best he could come up with, but that’s a compliment coming from him. But I had brought two hundred dollars worth of books, these books, for them to purchase. I thought they were seriously interested in what it is that we are saying and what it is we’re basing it upon. But they were not. They wanted to destroy me, to make a spectacle of me, to ridicule me. And I knew they weren’t going to but the books, so I said: “I brought two hundred dollars worth of books but since”—I see Koch had set in—”you’re not prepared to but the books, I’m going to give you one of the key books that I think you should have.” And that was Black Athena by Martin Bernal.
One of you own has written an enormous book on the experience of Africans in relationship to Greece. Now Martin Bernal has come out with a second book, and we’re not raising Martin Bernal up higher than anybody else; but at least he’s an individual who has talked about the falsification of history and how they created a false Greece at the time of the American Revolution to create the Aryan model of white supremacy that has been perpetuated for the last couple of hundred years; that the Greeks worshipped the Africans, went to learn at the foot of the Africans in the greatest buildings of the ancient world, the Luxor university temple. This is where the great Greeks wanted to learn. This is the symbol of the pillared temples everywhere in the world. If there’s a pillared temple on the Acropolis in Greece called the Parthenon. It was inspired by this great pillared temple. If you have a pillared temple in Washington, D.C. called the Lincoln Memorial, it was inspired by this great pillared temple. If you have a pillared temple at Forty-second Street in New York, which is the New York Public Library, and outside of it you have two lions, you’d better believe it has been inspired by the African—because those lions are the sphinx. Wouldn’t you think that they’d put lions outside of the Bronx Zoo and not outside of a library? Except they’re been inspired by the African tradition; the lions are the guardian forces of the temples of learning.
They’ve taken your traditions because you haven’t tapped into them fully enough. You cannot even articulate them because you’re culturally illiterate. So it’s not a question of putting something in school for the 5 and 6 year-olds; it’s putting something in the homes for the parents. It’s putting something in the studies for the teachers who need help, who have to refashion themselves—even those of with these PhDs and BBDs. You need to tap into a whole other level of knowledge that is available to you so that when someone talks about this symbol, and they take you down to Washington, D.C., and you take your little kiddies and say, “Look, Sammy! Look, Mary Jo! Look at the monument they built for George Washington!”—and you don’t have the knowledge, critical understanding or cultural literacy to say, “Look, Sammy!” and “Look, Mary Jo!” at the African monument of resurrection that was refashioned for George Washington the slave master bastard Founding Father.”
But there’s a new ballgame. We have the information on the Statue of Liberty. When it first came out, it was a student who gave it to me—I’m going to run for the next few minutes. There was a student that gave me the information because a Black chemist, Jack Felder, had compiled an information sheet with the date of information, where you could find it. And when we put our information out there, we need to put at the end of it the documentation source, where we can discover this information. And so when he put the documentary data, et cetera, I followed it up, being the consummate scholar. I grabbed some of the sons of Africa. We jumped in a couple cars, went down to the New York City Museum. 106th Street and Fifth Avenue, looking for this Black Statue of Liberty. The first model was of an image of a Black woman holding the broken chains of enslavement, with the broken chains of enslavement, with the broken chains of enslavement at her feet. Nobody there knew anything about it. All the people there were Black. Five or six Blacks—ain’t nobody knew nuthin’. I refused to leave. Black folks got cognitive dissonance they didn’t want to do nothing. But when I refused to leave, then they got—start to thinking. There was a Haitian guard who was there. So they said, “Go get him. Maybe he knows something.” He was there in ’86 when they had the celebrations. So they go get the Haitian guard. And he said, “Of course. The model of the Statue of Liberty is downstairs.”
I said, “Can we see it?”
“No. The director has the key. Locked up. Ain’t nobody can see it.”
So I said, “Well, is there any other information about the Statue of Liberty?”
He went off, came back with a book by Marvin Trachtenberg, called The Statue of Liberty.” And in it—he opened it up and showed the various models of the Statue of Liberty with the chains at the feet.
Then the brother—Felder—said, “You can go down to the French Cultural Center.” That’s further down on Fifth Avenue—Eighty-third Street, Eighty-second Street at Fifth Avenue. I went there, knocked on the door, just got in there just in time. I had called them before and asked them did they have any information on the Statue of Liberty. And they gave me a large magazine called Liberty, the anniversary edition of the magazine France. And that dealt with the founding of the Statue of Liberty. It had a picture of Edouard-Rene [Lefebvre de Laboulaye], the Frenchman who came up with the idea of the Statue of Liberty. He was a political scientist; he was a French leader; he was a French parliamentarian; he wrote a three-volume history of the United States. But more important than that, Edouard Rene Lefebvre de Laboulaye, who came up with the idea of the Statue of Liberty in 1865, was head of the French anti-slave society.
In 1865 people were not interested in immigration into the United States. In fact, the United States in the 1850’s and 1860’s had established a Know-Nothing Party; they did not want immigrants; they were against immigrants; and the immigrants that they were against were Papists, German and Irish Catholics. There was no prospect of bringing in immigrants from central, eastern, and southern Europe; these were the unwashed masses. Eighteen-sixty-five was our period. Eighteen-sixty-five was when half a million Black people, a quarter-million of them official Union army, navy troops—participated in the Civil War. [Word unclear] four million of their—four million of their compatriots—and then saving this nation.
The question of Black folks getting into their history, starting to fight for liberty and struggling for what is right is not the question of disuniting America. It has been our struggle that has kept America united. It has been our struggle that has raised anew the liberties that this nation professes. It has been our struggle that has created the 14th Amendment that became the amendment that the women could use and others could use, when they talk about the expansion of liberty in America.
America was founded by rich white men with property and power. It was founded on an affirmative-action program for rich white men with property and power. From the very beginning of the founding of these colonies, rich white men with property and power were given affirmative action and set-asides—whole land set aside for them to develop and whole people set aside to work it for free, including white folks who came as virtual slaves under indentured servitude. There was a set-aside and affirmative action for rich white folks with property and power in the beginning of this nation, and that tradition under the British under the Dutch was maintained. And when independence was established, the independence was established, and the Constitution put in place in 1787 is a document of affirmative action for rich white folks with property and power.
Because we do not have the critical analysis we need—and that’s why we need study groups, serious study groups for the adults and for the teachers—we continue to go around talking about there was a three-fifths clause put in the Constitution and we have three-fifths the rights of white folks. You have no rights in the American constitutional frame of reference. Women have no significant rights. The Constitution does not speak to them and poor whites, men, did not have any significant rights in the Constitution. The Constitution speaks to rich white men with property and power. It is there for you to read with your eyes open and put on to it.
Three-fifths clause and affirmative action are set aside for the slave owners. A slave owner who had 200 of our people enslaved, had three-fifths more votes, voting power for them, than a normal rich white man. That’s democracy? That’s oligarchy. But we still posture our position of democracy as part of the founding process. Democracy came as we struggled to widen the American process to include the most deprived and dispossessed of the people in the system. Our struggle has been the heroic struggle. It’s an enormous struggle and you can only tap into it, if you only knew it. This struggle of our people collectively, for freedom, justice. We have been the liberating people force in this nation. From day one when we arrived.
And that Constitution: Read it again, two places where it mentions Black folks is the three-fifths clause. And then you’ve got this question of 1808. Eighteen-hundred-eight is the set-aside for rich white men of property and power, the Jeffersons, the Washingtons and the Monroes. A set aside, instead of ending slavery in 1787, which they could have done, if they were lovers of freedom, justice, and equality. Instead of ending the slave trade in 1787, which they could have done, if the Declaration of Independence meant anything to them, we are all men created, endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among these rights, liberty, pursuit of happiness. If they really believed that they could have instituted a constitution that destroyed these things as the French did. But they did not believe that, because the nation was founded by rich white men of property and power. They put the Constitution and Bill of Rights and everything together, so they set aside 20 years so they continued the slave trade, up until 1808, Set aside so rich white men with property and power to become what has been the basis of this nation. And then they beat up on us about affirmative action and set-asides for what we contribute to America.
So you’ve got to have an analysis. That’s what we’re saying. Just let me give you this one frame of reference to show how this enormity of material can be processed in a way to make it work for you. And then we’ll have the question-answer period.
I’ve come up with a formulation which I call “pyramid analysis.” And I put this available to the committee, the committee wanted it and that pyramid analysis, that you’ve got to be able to process the enormity of information about human experience. Using a pyramid as a model. It allows us to deal with the basic rule and understanding of human life and life on the planet and life in the universe and that’s duality. Duality and polarity is a basic concept that has to be understood. The pyramidal framework gives us a chance to deal with that. One polarity is what I call the thesis, the other polarity is what I call the antithesis. Between the polarities you have search for truth and knowledge which relates to duality and polarity. As you deal with the knowledge, breaking it down and analyzing between the polarities, then you synthesize it and you come up with critical thinking. You put a circle around it, it represents systems, external system. You put a circle inside the pyramid, you deal with internal system.
Dealing with biology, basic simple biology, basic simple life. You have the female principle, the male principle. Interaction between the male principle and the female principle and this is what? The child. The synthesis becomes the child. In the human development, of the human process, you have the duality. Two hemispheres of the brain, two eyes, two nostrils, two lips, two lungs, two arms, two ova, two testes and so that question of duality is in our own existence. Then the question of the brain and the synthesis becomes thinking. So the basic understanding of duality— polarity, is what we are talking about.
When we see the human family and you don’t have the worry about the information base. We stand on science and history, science and history is on our side. Our secret weapon has arrived. And the secret weapon is “books” such as this: Civilization or Barbarism. Everybody should have that. It’s a must. This was a book of a scholar, dealing with scholarship. Taking on the whole tradition of western European scholarship and he won the battle. Establishing what?
- Number one, the African origin of humanity millions of years ago. In fact Dr. [Cheikh] Diop says there is only one human race and it’s the African race. Everything else is a mutation off African genes. That’s the scientific and historical data. That’s what we stand on.
- Number two, you have the African evolution of science. A hundred thousand years ago when humankind wanted to disrupt the evolutionary process, developing fire, settling communities, learning to use tools, domesticating plants. And it is that evolution that took place largely in the Sun Belt that produces:
- Number three, the cradle of civilization in the Nile River Valley and the other river valleys of the world. When the ecology of the sun produces the ingredients for positive development.
And so [Dr. Diop] has a concept which he has in his book, called the The Cultural Unity of Black Africa, that you have a southern cradle, around what we can call “sun people,” and you have the northern cradle, around what we can call “ice people.” And the people [word unclear] around the world. People are terribly upset. Dr. Jeffries has his theory of “ice people,” “sun people.” People call me from all around the world, Scotland, Australia. Dr. Jeffries can we have some material on your “ice people, sun people?” Some woman called me from Kentucky or Tennessee, obviously a white Southerner. “Dr. Jeffries, I heard about your ‘ice people, sun people,’ and I think it’s an interesting theory. In fact, I believe it. Can I get a copy of your work?”
Now, there’s no “ice people, sun people” theory. What we had was a framework of analysis. We had a paradigm to organizing information. The white boy has given us a paradigm. Haves and have-nots. The haves are white folks. The have-nots are anybody that’s not white. And that’s ironic. Because even if the Africans have the gold, the diamonds, uranium, the platinum, the plutonium, the oil, they are considered the have-nots. Even if the white folks ain’t got a pot to pee in they are considered the haves. So, I mean, that paradigm doesn’t hold water.
We have another paradigm, which is okay, nobody’s criticizing it: “First World” and “Third World.” We don’t even know what the World is. You know that the First World, the First World is white folks. And everything else comes after that. The first people, the First World were African people, people of color, sun peoples and we stand on that. Everybody else comes after that. And we are the haves. We have had the beginning of the march of humankind. We are the mothers and fathers of civilization. We developed science, mathematics, and philosophy. And we stand on that. All of that is in the work of Dr. Diop, Dr. Chancellor Williams, John Jackson’s book. And this particular book.
So these are the things that you need to tap into. Now don’t think you are going to get it and read it on a weekend. I’m telling you, you have to have some special processes to take place. This is a scientific document. This was designed to view with all of the B.S. that white folks have put up, the falsifications that they have put up. So you’ve got to take this slowly but surely. And over the years it may make sense to you.
I’m telling people, take it and put it on your night table. Either put it on top of your Bible or move the Bible over. Or the Koran. Put it on top of your night table. And then, the knowledge and information we have is such [that] now that you are going to have to deal with the Bible in an African way. Most of you have been reluctant. But we are developing study groups and whatnot all around the country, in the churches.
I came from Ft. Lauderdale, where they have study groups in the churches. And one of the things that, we just had a visitor or house guest this past weekend. This is a brother who has produced this book that you have to get a hold of—I brought a number of them. We have them available for you. And you know, I know you save your money to buy some shirts and some, you know, and some patent leather shoes. But these are some of the things that you need to get.
Now, this is a two-volume study. Expensive, but well worth it: The Black Presence in the Bible, by Rev. Walter McCray. The brother’s very beautiful. A member of an organization, based in Chicago. Put a lot of work into putting the truth of the people of the Bible. The people of the Bible were not European. They were African or people of mixed African blood. And you have to begin to deal with that. In our lessons we will put the ten major historical figures in the Bible and all of their 10 African wives. Each of them had an African wife. Now it’s ironic that in Jewish tradition, in the orthodoxy that if you are an orthodox Jew, you cannot be a true Jew unless you pass through the woman’s line. But isn’t it ironic that in the Biblical text most of the great historic Jewish figures had African wives? So we’ve got to know that. And know what the implications are. And know it critically. So we’re talking about recapturing the truth of people. And it’s not a question of a negative self-esteem.
Isn’t it ironic that Miss Daisy and her people are running around talking about that “this is just self-esteem and feel good curriculum?” What the hell do they have in place for white people now? And it’s ironic because if you read the documents of the State of New York, and we have some of the documents for you and a sister has had, Jackie, has some of the documents coming from the state that you need to write to the state, the department of education, and get these documents and if you live in this area, you can walk right across the street and get them. They have these documents. In the Board of Regents, it says that there is, one of the goals is to develop the self-esteem of each student, so that they can be motivated to be achievers. So how the hell can you be beating on us about our self-esteem? Particularly when in the culture of white racism, there is such a negative image of African people? Feel-good curriculum. What the hell do you think the existing curriculum is? We learn about Washington and the cherry tree. I don’t want to hear nothing about Washington and the cherry tree. I don’t want to feel good or feel bad about Washington. I want to know about Washington and the enslavement process. I don’t want to know about Jefferson and his Declaration of Independence in 1776. Let me know about first draft in 1775 when he compromised and took out the indictment against slavery. And then let me know some more about Jefferson, his character and whatnot. Because when you talk about education you’re talking about, again the dual process.
One, the foundation of education is socializing function. In the socializing function you’re talking about what? Character development. Africans understood that, so the educational process for the African started in the mind of the woman as she was a young girl growing up into womanhood. Being prepared to being the teachers of her, the product of her womb. So from zero to five the first foundations of education are established in the home. And so that’s where character development has to be instilled—the socializing function.
And our value system is centered around what I call the “three C’s.” Communal, cooperative, and collective spiritual development. Seeing a unity spiritual in the universe. That’s the value system of some people. Whether you talk about Native Americans or southern Asian. But next to this polarity, you have the polarity of tooling. The tooling function. So you have the socializing function, character development, in relationship to the tooling function which is skills development. And the tooling function is where you get the knowledge from the mathematics and the techniques, etc. But you need the two of them together in order to have a synthesized true education. What the white boy has said is that the only thing significant is the skills function. So he tests on the skills function and then he decides whether we’ve had an education or not. Based upon tests.
I’m here to tell you that test taking is no more than anything but testing test taking. I was in a Jewish fraternity in college. Most of you may not have known that. I spoke with one of my fraternity brothers Monday, Billy Rothchild, for dinner. I was the president of the Jewish fraternity. One hundred Jews and me and a couple of Christians. And the president of the Jewish fraternity was called “rex.” So I had to go through college as the rex, the King of the Jews. Now I managed it. But the most important thing about the fraternity was they had a system: that they knew how to take tests, they knew how to put a system of support in place. They had the records of all the professors, they had the tests, they analyzed how they changed their questions from year to year to try to fool the students, we left nothing to chance. The Jewish fraternity won the scholarship trophy 14 semesters in a row. The whole average of the fraternity was a Dean’s list average, even dumb Jews made it, because there was a system of support.
My roommate was a Black youngster from the football team, Dan Wooten from Cape May, New Jersey, he was the vice president. So in the 1950’s at Lafayette College, the president of this Jewish fraternity was Black, and vice-president was Black, two boys from New Jersey. Dan Wooten is now a medical doctor surgeon, UCLA Medical School, King Hospital in Los Angeles. And, of course, you know about Dr. J. But people, other people have a system. The important thing I’m saying is that other people have a system. We have to put a system in place. It begins in the home. It should be in our communities, our fraternal orders, in our clubs. But we don’t have to put a system in place. But we don’t have that type of understanding. We are not playing the game of politics and education the way we should.
As you look at this polarity again let me give you three things and I got to step into the wing. The first and foremost principle is economics. Economics is basic, if you don’t have economics you can’t survive. Economics is related to ecology, because your economics is the gear to your ecology. The ecology of the river valleys of the world produced the first economic systems of plenty that allowed for civilizations and culture. The economy of the northern cradle, the economy of ice, could not produce the type of surplus needed to survive. It produced barbarism. That’s why Diop’s book, Civilization or Barbarism, makes some sense. In the river valleys of the world, civilization occurred. In the northern regions and other regions like the desert where the environment was negative and the ecology was difficult, then you had barbarity.
This is a Newsweek article, November 10, 1986. Where you are beating on me about “ice people, sun people,” what do they say here? Our ice age heritage, language, arts, fashion and the family. So we’re trying to say that it’s clear that what we’ve done is to synthesize the information. We have not created any concept of ice and sun. Ice and sun are very real and very scientific. We are sun people, people of color because of the sun. The melanin factor. Europeans have a lack of melanin and have lost a great deal of it because much of the European development has been in the caves of Europe where you do not need melanin. So the factor of the ice is a key factor in the development of the European biologically, culturally, economically, socially. And what we are talking about is the values that are transmitted from ecologies.
So this is the last thing that I want to leave with you: That your economy which is related to your ecology begets your sociology which is related to your politics. Economics is the productive capacity, politics is the management capacity. The ecological systems are related to your sociological systems. This duality of economics and politics, ecology and sociology has to be related and then you synthesize them and you have culture, the psychological dimension. The cement that keeps things together. Economics, politics and culture relate; as ecological and sociological and psychological dimensions relate. It is this relationship that we as African peoples have to work at and make work for us.
They have it all divided up. In fact, they tell us, don’t worry about the economics, we’ll take care of it. In fact, they bring people in our community to take care of it. Arabs, Vietnamese and other people. Don’t worry about the economics, we’ll take care of it. Then the politics. You get involved in politics. But just come at election time. We’ll take care of who you should vote for, give you a little bit of money to work on the polls, but, you know, don’t waste too much time to become involved in politics.
But you can have culture. Become as black as you want. But if you only have culture and you’re not hooked the economics and it’s not related to your politics, then you do not have a system of development. You only have a system of survival. And what our educational omission tells us is, that we have to develop a system of development. And that means that we have to take our schools and make them work for us. But we have to put the educational process in the community, in the homes. We have to tap into this enormity of knowledge and then you have to be prepared to tell the truth. We have to be prepared to say that we are not going to celebrate Columbus. That no African or Native American youngster should celebrate Columbus. You Italians, you Spanish can celebrate it if you will. But we are not prepared to deal with the devilishness of Columbus. And [New York Governor] Mario Cuomo is not going to like it. But you [are] going have the courage to have to tell him the truth.
So that’s what it’s all about. It’s a political struggle; it’s not just a economic struggle; it’s not just economic cultural struggle; it’s not just an educational struggle. It’s economics because they want to keep that money. New York’s budget, New York City’s budget is seven to eight billion dollars. They don’t want Black folks messin’ with that budget. So when they thought we were getting into the curriculum they thought we were also talking about teacher training and other things, which we were. So immediately they said that’s not your realm. And across the country, [President George] Bush wants to put in a new order, a New World order. That means they’ve got to have mind controls in the schools. And here we come with African centered education and that’s blown up their plans for mind control in the schools. Because African-centered education does not allow for the concept of rich white men with property and power dominating the worldview of this planet. So what we have prepared for you and we have it in this packet here, and, unfortunately, I couldn’t bring enough of them, but it includes some of the materials you need in terms of historical mentions of the struggle for an African-centered education.
It includes the report “Curriculum of Inclusion.” It’s the new report. It includes the course outline by Dr. Clarke, dealing with African history. Includes [Wade] Noble’s analysis of African-centered educational practice. It includes the multi-culture of the city of New York. And it includes documents such as the statement by our brother on educating the African child. So, this type of document and the books we do have available for you. What we’re saying is tap into them from the study groups. Start breaking the things down. See the connection between things. This book here by Diop has to be related to the book by Jackson. Do not try to even deal with Diop if you have not related to Jackson. And then you need to see the generations of resistance and struggle in Van Sertima’s book, Egypt Revisited [Edited by Ivan Van Sertima].
It’s the new generation coming up. Dr. Asa Hilliard, and others that are complementing the work of Dr. Diop. We have to see generations of African resistance and scholarship. We stand on scholarship and science, we make no excuses about it. But the beauty of our experience is no matter where you start, your history is like nobody else’s history. If you deal with Africans and science and technology after the slavery period. And that’s what we are trying to say. And just to give it to you in one sentence. This is what we’re trying to say. They’ve B.S.’d up and down the world about what we are saying. What we are saying: Take this system again. The thesis would be in the founding of America. The Anglo-Saxon elite model. The antithesis would the other America, all the rest of us. You have to relate the Anglo-Saxon elite model with the multi-culture pluralistic model to get the synthesis of what truly was America.
And that’s what we’re calling for in the curriculum of inclusion. We also said you can apply it into the science area. For example, at this polarity you might have an elite Anglo-Saxon model: Benjamin Franklin, he was dealing with science, he had an almanac. But over in the pluralistic multi-cultural model, African centered you have: Benjamin Banaker, living at the same time, knowing each other, dealing with inventions and almanacs. And Banaker being part of that contribution of Africa to the unity of this nation which led to the building of Washington, D.C.
When the Frenchmen got disgusted and left they had to tap into Benjamin Banaker. Benjamin Banaker represents more than Franklin. He represents a principal struggle for freedom, justice and equality. And he challenged Thomas Jefferson in his beliefs in the inferiority of African peoples, even though Thomas Jefferson never had a white woman by his side after the white wife died in 1782 and for the next twenty years as he was ambassador to France, secretary of state, president of the United States, Jefferson only had a Black woman by his side, Sally Hemmings. And we need to understand the principle stand that our people represent as opposed to a Thomas Jefferson, because Thomas Jefferson never freed any of the children of Sally Hemmings or Sally Hemmings herself and that’s not a principled liberator or freedom lover in my book.
When a Banaker challenged Jefferson, so that’s what we said, put that in the history books. That’s a fantastic dialogue. Of someone up from an enslaved population, although Banaker’s parents were free, challenging the greatest of American spiritician, etc. But more than that. Put it into the books that the people who really fought for freedom, justice, and equality in the revolutionary war on the principle basis were Black folks. They fought on both sides. They fought on the British side; they fought on the American side. They answered the call for freedom. Washington, Jefferson, and others were writing about it and trying to protect the slave system. Black folks were fighting for freedom.
But then you not only have the Banakers, you have the situation when you have Thomas Edison on the Anglo side. And on the pluralistic side you have Lewis Latimer, who was his partner. And Latimer’s carbon-filament invention helped to make the light bulb functional. Plus they were together for 20 or 30 years. So you have a relationship with Latimer, it’s legitimate, it’s very real. Then you can put Granville Woods, on the Black side and put Alexander Graham Bell on the white side. They were involved with communications. But Granville Woods was a principled Black man who said, “I’m not going to be bought off by a white man,” and he and his brother set up the Woods Electric Co. out in Ohio.
In other words, this is the story. This is post-slavery. The waves of immigrants ain’t come in yet. You ain’t got the waves of Jews, the waves of Italians, the waves of Greeks, waves of Russians. This is us dealing with the Anglos, trying to establish the foundation of America’s technology and it’s industrial development. And here you have an interesting development that is very real. Louis Latimer worked with Edison. Grandville Woods took Edison to court two times for stealing his patents and won. Now that’s got to be in everybody’s history book. That that Black man took the white leader of America industrial development to court and won. And these are the type of things we’re saying you need to put in the history book. That’s what real inclusion is. But for us the real inclusion has to be to put this stuff in our homes, in our communities. And then walk it into the schools. And then we don’t have to worry about Miss Daisy.
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