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Vernellia R. Randall
Professor of Law
The University of Dayton





Gearld A. Foster

from Gearld A Foster, American Slavery: the Complete Story, 2 Cardozo Public Law, Policy and Ethics Journal 401- 420 (May, 2004) (420 Footnotes Omitted)


How incredibly ironic it is that the most popularly advanced topics in social anthropology today are prima facie evidence that the earliest bipedal humanoids physiologically were Negroid in nature and fully capable of intelligent decision making. Intelligence in its most rudimentary form is the ability to solve problems. Many of the daily problems confronted by this seven million year old humanoid were resolved by the invention of fire. Initially warmth against the climatic elements and cooking and preservation of food were key features of the utilizing of fire. However, centuries later the use of fire in the smelting of iron revolutionized tool making, weaponry and early industrialization.

Here and elsewhere, particularly in the Great Congo Valley, the use of iron characterized Africa. As Franz Boas says: It seems likely that at a time when the European was still satisfied with rude stone tools, the African had invented or adopted the art of smelting iron. Consider for a moment what this invention has meant for the advance of the human race. As long as the hammer, knife, saw, drill, the spade and the hoe had to be chipped out of stone, or had to be made of shell or wood, effective industrial work was not impossible but difficult. A great progress was made when copper found in large nuggets was hammered out into tools and later on shaped by melting, and when bronze was introduced; but the true advancement of industrial life did not begin until the hard iron was discovered. It seems not unlikely that the people who made the marvelous discovery of reducing iron ores by smelting were African Negroes.

If we return to the original illusionist theme of this discussion one can only be amazed by the degree of deception that American history has heaped upon an unsuspecting public. Adding yet more incredulity to the equation is the fact that one of the original scientific racist, Charles Darwin acknowledged in his second publication after the Origin of Species (1859), Descent of Men (1871), that Africa was the cradle of modern civilization. John Jackson writes, "In 1871 Darwin's Descent of Man was issued, and in this book the father of Natural Selection produced impressive evidence that man and the anthropoid apes could be traced to a common ancestor. Most of Darwin's contemporaries favored the continent of Asia as the birth place of the human race, but Darwin suggested that Africa was most likely to have been the Cradle of Mankind." Viewing these two early works of Darwin independently suggests the scholarly progression of the leading evolutionist of the era. However, if we examine these works within the context of American slavery, then we see a whole different paradigm emerging.

Earlier in this paper we cited the suspicion raised by Stephen Jay Gould regarding the historical coincidence of emerging race theory advanced by Darwin, Galton, Blumenbach, and the virulence of institutional racism between 1787 and 1877 (end of Reconstruction). Even though slavery may have officially ended with the civil war, racism perpetuated the slave-master mentality for another one hundred years. The scientific and religious conclusion then centered around portraying American blacks and Africans as void of a culture, civilization, civility and intelligence. Accordingly, the scientific conclusion is natural selection, a master white race and manifest destiny were more valuable for the 19th century power brokers than would have been acknowledging African legitimacy as well as African Americans' achievements such as: Oberlin College in Ohio being integrated in 1833 and Blacks constituting one third of the student body at the start of the civil war (1861); or that in 1823 Alexander Twilight became the first black to graduate from an American college (Middleburg); or that in 1850, Lucy Session became the first Black woman to graduate from an American college (Oberlin) or that in 1849, John D. and Thomas T. White became the first Black doctors to graduate from a U.S. Medical school (Bowdoin). Similarly after the civil war in 1874, Edward Bouchette was the first black to be elected to Phi Beta Kappa and in 1876 became the first black to receive a Ph.D. in Physics (Yale). It is easy to see why it was of the utmost importance to continue the lie of black inferiority, infantalism and ignorance. American historians have for well over 150 years deceived a nation by keeping its citizens in Plato's cave wherein they were only able to view reality filtered through the shadows of scientific racism and religious propaganda. It is only now in the year 2004 that we see two of the most highly respected scientific journals not only acknowledging but celebrating Africa as the cradle of civilization and Africans as major contributors to the seven million year existence of mankind on planet earth.

Perhaps Americans should be guardedly optimistic about these new revelations that have been intentionally obscured for far too many generations. We should be able to see why this issue of slavery, 139 years after its official demise, still is fodder for the diehard racists but at the same time fertile ground for life after the illusionists. Little did Jefferson, Adams, Franklin and the other founders know that in spite of their gross constitutional injustice to African American in 1787, these wrongs would at long last be corrected in the twenty-first century.

On July 9, 2003, the 43rd President of the United States of America, George W. Bush stood on Goree Island in Senegal West Africa and declared slavery to be "history's worst crime" and admonished the founding fathers for heaping hypocrisy upon injustice by the manner in which they dealt with slavery.

Eleven years earlier, one of America's most distinguished historic figures, Lawrence Douglas Wilder, the first elected African American governor of a state (Virginia), visited this same tract of land on Goree Island. Wilder, the grandson of slaves, announced in 1993 that a United States National Slavery Museum would be created so that America, and particularly her children, could be educated about the extreme importance slavery played in not only the creation of America but also its centrality to the social, economic, political and psychological character of the nation.

Socially, the institution of slavery established rules both written and unwritten for black/white relations in America. Economically, slavery was the foundation upon which America's international power was developed. Politically, slavery was the bait that helped spark the American Revolutionary War in 1776 as the colonials excoriated King George III for supporting the slave trade worldwide. Yet, in 1788, when the U.S. Constitution was ratified, America permanently rendered African Americans chattel, relegated to a non-entity status with a legal value of three fifths of a white man. Psychologically, due to the human and cultural degradation of blacks, the nation began to institute laws, policies, norms, and daily practices that engendered the deep self hate in blacks that persists to this day. Similarly, the black-white inferiority-superiority dichotomy evolved in the white community. Wilder's dream of an American slavery museum is about to become a reality on the banks of the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, Virginia. It is here that the full story of American slavery will be told.



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