Read about another outrageous and heinous "Black Wall Street" act against us that has been hidden until now.  It, too, is just as evil as was the first racist means to remove Blacks from power, authority, and self-determination.  This information makes President Trump's H.R. 1242 African-American History Commission Act more of a joke than ever.

Black History Month: Recognising black contributions and atoning for our past

Feb 06,2018 - Last updated at Feb 06,2018

This is Black History Month, an important time to reflect on the contributions African Americans have made to the history of the United States of America. It is important because, as we have discovered, in too many instances these contributions have been either deliberately ignored or are just not known or recognised. More than that, however, this month should provide us also with an opportunity to learn more about the shameful legacy of white America's treatment of black Americans. By this, I mean, not just the major crimes — slavery, mass lynchings, Jim Crow, and segregation — that have defined our history. I also mean the countless lesser known but still devastating "little crimes" that have been inflicted on the black community.

I recently became aware of one of these crimes. It took place a century ago, literally, in my own back yard.

For the past four decades, I have lived in Northwest Washington. When we bought our home, we noted that in the deed’s historical record there was a "covenant" stipulating that the property could not be sold to “coloured people”. That covenant had been overturned in the 1960’s by national civil rights legislation, but it remained in the deed as an uncomfortable reminder of my city’s racist history.

What I did not know then, and only discovered this month, was that Washington's past was marked by other troubling instances of racism. A neighbour sent me a copy of a fascinating piece of academic research titled “Free Black People of Washington County”. It tells the story of the forced evacuation and destruction of two settlements of hundreds of free black families that had lived just blocks from my home.

These settlements had been founded in the mid-19th century by the descendants of former slaves who had been residents of Washington for generations. They had built businesses, started schools for their children, and, during the civil war, many had served, with distinction, in the Union Army defending the Capital from the Confederacy. Back then, the areas where these settlements had been established were somewhat rural and so, in isolation from white Washington, these black American families prospered. All of that was to change in the early 20th century.

With the advent of the streetcar, and the extension of telephone and electricity services, this once “far reaches” of Washington became more accessible and, therefore, more attractive to whites wanting to move out of the crowded downtown area of the Capital city.

During the first two decades of the 20th century, the areas surrounding the black settlements were developed into white-only subdivisions that included the "whites-only” provision I had found in my deed.

As more white families moved into the area they demanded that schools be built for their children. A combination of this need and the discomfort that many whites felt at their proximity to the black settlements, led the District of Columbia to take a fateful decision.

In 1928, the government used “eminent domain” and authorised the “purchase” of the black-owned properties in both of the black settlements and the eviction of the African American community from these areas of Northwest Washington. In the place where these black settlements had existed, the city built two all-white schools and parks for the children of new residents of the area.

As profoundly disturbing as this history is, even more troubling is that it is largely unknown. One of my children went to Lafayette School, and one of my grandchildren is currently enrolled at Alice Deal School — both of which were built on the ruins of those once-vibrant black communities. Not only have they been erased, but our memory of them has, as well. As the author of the article I read noted, a 1938 Washington Post article included this sentence: “Lafayette School which stands on the site of once barren ground is the hub of a thriving community life.”  

So America needs Black History Month, not only to teach us about African American scientists, inventors, political leaders and scholars who have made significant, though all too often unacknowledged, contributions to our collective history. We also need it to remind us of our forgotten crimes, born of our nation’s original sins of slavery and racism and the price African Americans have paid for our behaviour. We can not, as a nation, atone for our past when we remain unaware of the horrible crimes that defined it.

Tziona Yisrael


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  • Thank you so much for sharing this.  I had no idea this had happened.  I wonder if you are aware of the work of Ida B. Wells.  Because of the strength of her influence, hundreds, maybe thousands, of Black families left the South and moved to Western territories.  This enabled them to escape lynching and other forms of racist, white supremacist violence.  Check out my blog post: 

    Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice

    Go here for more Black history blog posts

    It's up to us, modern griots, to uncover our history and share it with our communities.  As part of our healing process, it is essential that we undertake this work.  Well done. 

  • Shalom Wes,

    You are absolutely correct.  The GOD of Israel is awakening the "Dry Bones" (Ezekiel 37th Chapter) every day to our true identity, to our inheritance, and to our very own Hebrew WAY of Life that the Holy ONE wrote in stone. 

    Of all the curses upon us, the one that bothers me most is Christianity, the religion of the ENSLAVERS.  They wanted to keep us in darkness and believing in a god that is just as racist as they are.  They knew that Our GOD scattered us from the Land of Israel for worshipping false gods, so they, therefore, gave us a false god to worship so that the GOD of Israel would not hear our prayers.  But that has all changed.  To date, it is remarkable how many Blacks have abandoned the "New Testament" for GOD's Book of the Law and HIS WORD to HIS Prophets, which, by the way cannot be found in the "New Testament".  Ezekiel 37th Chapter also reveals GOD's HAND to GATHER us out of this House of Bondage, as well, just as HE Delivered our forefathers out of Ancient Egypt.

    The following link is replete with information on our forefathers, "Thus Saith the LORD", and HIS interaction with them.  Our Merciful GOD has left  for us HIS requirements for the Nation of Israel and even the Stranger to follow for as long as we live on HIS Earth (Deut.12:1).  When we return back to Our GOD and are obedient to HIM, HE returns back to us (Deut. 30:1-5).

  • Caricom

    Enjoyed this piece about portions of black history that are never revealed during Black History Month or in the public educational systems controlled by this government. These events are ignored because those who control the educational systems are the same people who enslaved our ancestors. They do not want to be reminded of their sins.

    However, there is an even more important aspect of black history that is recently becoming more and more disseminated across the planet - the true identity of those kidnapped and brought to these shores. 

    Have you ever wondered why black people in America have no history PRIOR to the Transatlantic Slave Trade era? What are our true origins? What was our original language? What was our original culture, traditions, worship, etc?

    Recently, proof of our true identity was exposed to me from the Bible. Yes, that much maligned book has been relegated to the dust bin - at least in the minds of many. Yet, the challenge being offered is one of self-analysis and reflection.

    Read carefully Deuteronomy 28:15-68 and take note of the "curses" of enslavement that was foretold to befall Israel if they disobeyed their God. Think about the detailed, graphic description of the kind of slavery Israel would endure.

    Then ask yourself: "What people on earth has experienced ALL of these "curses"? If you are Israel, your journey of self-discovery has now begun.


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