GEORGE WASHINGTON, AMERICA'S SO-CALLED "FATHER OF OUR COUNTRY" WAS NOTHING MORE THAN ONE OF THE MANY IMMORAL AND INTEGRITY-CHALLENGED COMMON SLAVE OWNERS IN VIRGINIA. NOTHING MORE!
PRESIDENT GEORGE WASHINGTON OFFERS A REWARD FOR THE CAPTURE OF A BLACK WOMAN FLEEING ENSLAVEMENT.
On May 23, 1796, a newspaper ad was placed seeking the return of Ona “Oney” Judge, an enslaved Black woman who had “absconded from the household of the President of the United States,” George Washington. Ms. Judge had successfully escaped enslavement two days earlier, fleeing Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and settling in freedom in New Hampshire.
Known to the Washingtons as “Oney,” Ms. Judge was "given" to Martha Washington by her father and had been held enslaved as part of the Washington estate since she was 10 years old. As George Washington gained political clout, Ms. Judge traveled with the family to states with varying laws regarding slavery—including a lengthy residence in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s Gradual Abolition Act of 1780 declared that Black people enslaved by non-residents of the state were legally freed after living in Pennsylvania for six continuous months. To avoid enforcement of the law and prevent the men and women they enslaved from being legally freed, the Washingtons regularly sent Ms. Judge and others in the household out of state for brief periods, to restart the six-month residency requirement.
When her eldest granddaughter, Eliza Custis, married, Martha Washington promised to leave Ms. Judge to the new couple as a "gift" in her will. Distressed that she would be doomed to enslavement even after Martha Washington died, Ms. Judge resolved to run in 1796. On the night of May 21, while the Washingtons were packing to return to Mt. Vernon, Ms. Judge made her escape from Philadelphia on a ship destined for Portsmouth, New Hampshire. She had befriended many enslaved people in Philadelphia, and they helped her to send her belongings to New Hampshire before her escape.
The Washingtons tried several times to apprehend Ms. Judge, hiring head-hunters and issuing runaway advertisements like the one submitted on May 23. In the ad, she is described as “a light mulatto girl, much freckled, with very Black eyes and bushy Black hair. She is of middle stature, slender, and delicately formed, about 20 years of age.” The Washingtons offered a $10 reward for Ms. Judge's return to bondage—but she evaded capture, married, had several children and lived for more than 50 years as a free woman in New Hampshire. She died there, still free, on February 25, 1848.
MEMO TO SOME IN JACKSONVILLE'S BLACK COMMUNITY:
Jacksonville's Black community was insulted and disrespected by not being included in the one-year planning for the city's history. That Racist disrespect, a cornerstone of Christian White American Racism, led many in the Black community, myself included, to disassociate ourselves from Jacksonville's 200th commemoration.
Others in the Black community are participating, which is their right. The Black community is not monolithic. It was not monolithic during the Civil Rights Movement of the '50s and the '60s when we boycotted downtown in 1960. Yet, some of us still will not understand there is much more strength in collective togetherness than with a few individuals.
As a result of the insults, disrespect, and racism of downtown stores, the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP in 1960 conducted sit-ins which predictably led to White Racist violence and Ax Handle Saturday. We were mainly teenagers.
The following week after Ax Handle Saturday, the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP and the Jacksonville Branch NAACP boycotted downtown stores. A few months later, after several months of acrimonious and many culture clashing meetings, an agreement to integrate White lunch counters was agreed upon in March of 1961.
Marjorie Meeks (Brown), the secretary of the Youth Council, and I, now students at Edward Waters College, ate at Woolworth's White lunch counters for a week so that Whites would become accustomed to seeing Blacks eating at White lunch counters. The following week saw ALL lunch counters in downtown Jacksonville integrated. Strength in numbers and the Black community using the boycott as a "tool" to fight Jacksonville's racism and bigotry.
Just because Whites pat you on the back a few times and tell you, "You are different," does not make it so. You are still subject to being called a NIGGER at any time. Do you think you are more respected by "going along to get along?"
The City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Historical Society, and the City's Bicentennial Commission knew they would have to deal with Jacksonville's racist past and include the great legacy of Jacksonville's Black History if they were genuinely inclusive. However, by excluding the Black community-surprise surprise-irrespective of the degree they protested that exclusion, and by including a few Blacks after the fact, they figured that they would AGAIN appeal to Black egos and not have to worry about Black integrity.
Mr. Rutledge Henry Pearson: my 8th-grade American history teacher; my 9th-grade Civics teacher; the adviser to the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP during the 1960 sit-ins and Ax Handle Saturday; and my mentor, would say to his students and Youth Council members, "If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem."
For those Blacks who feel it is beneficial to "go along to get along" and who do not understand there is a Black face looking back at you in the mirror, which are you, THE SOLUTION OR THE PROBLEM?
Never mind, I know.
RACISTS ARE QUICK TO LABEL information "divisive" when that information tells the truth about slavery, the violence exacted upon Blacks since the founding of this country, and the evil disrespect afforded those with a Black hue of skin, since the founding of racist Christian White America.
Rest assured when the governor of Florida and his fellow travelers go to extraordinary --but not surprising--lengths to keep you from reading the award-winning "2016 Project" and literary classics, especially those written by Blacks, from classrooms throughout the state of Florida, because Nikole Hannah Jones and Black authors wrote the truth about Racism and America's Incomplete, Dishonest and Racist History, you know they struck the proverbial racist nerve. Did I say Nikole Hannah Jones's words won the Esteemed Pulitzer Prize? Banning books that tell the truth about an America founded on White Supremacy because you do not want the truth to hurt White folks' feelings?
I am waiting on the outrage about the lack of "fairness and educational independence" from White academia and the White Ivory towers called TWI-Traditional White Institutions. Yeah...Uh Huh.
Of course, unless racists are able to spout forth a racist American History, crafted the way THEY want it to read, EVERYTHING else is divisive. THE TRUTH, IS MUCH TOO DIVISIVE FOR COWARDLY WHITE FRAGILE EGO RACISTS.
FOR MORE THAN TWO HUNDRED YEARS NOW, White historians, archaeologists, and scholars removed Black people from Egypt, took Egypt out of Africa, and made Africa disappear from world history as a cultural force. These same scholars taught that Egypt is in the Near East, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and Fertile Crescent.
They have never informed the world that Egypt is and always has been on the Continent of Africa. Have you asked, “Why the geographical term the Middle East?” The term Middle East-when examined in cultural, anthropological, and cultural terms, makes little sense. The Middle East is a political term. The fact is, most people cannot find the geographical location of the Middle East on the map. If news organizations did not have the option to say the Middle East, they would have to say “in and around the continent of Africa.”
Aside from its spiritual impact on Christians worldwide, the Bible is also a historical book. The Bible does not mention the Middle East, but that is an aside. Think how convenient it is to say “the Middle East” and ignore the FACT the Bible takes place in and around Africa; which also means the HOLY LAND is located in and around Africa; and for Christians, Jesus Christ walked on this earth in and around the Continent of Africa. Of course, Jesus was Black, but that is also another story.
White publishers have controlled everything written and taught about Africa and often published books stating that the Ancient Egyptians were White. White Republicants are also having a field day suppressing the truth about history and religion. Yet, no one, except Black people, complained about the revisionist history of the world, Africa, and those of African descent. And now, since Black people finally began publishing their works, and started using the internet to tell OUR story, suddenly everyone is interested in “setting Black people straight.”
But in the words of the great Dr. John Henri Clarke, “Powerful people cannot afford to educate the people they oppress, because once you are truly educated, you will not ask for power. You will take it.”
WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, YOU KNOW BETTER.
I first heard Mr. Pearson repeat those words when I was eleven*.
I transferred from segregated and Black James Weldon Johnson Junior High School, here in Jacksonville, to segregated and Black Isaiah Blocker Junior High School, where I enrolled in Mr. Pearson's 8th-grade American History class. Those words resonated with me 67 years ago, and they still resonate with me today.
He also invited students in his classes to join the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP, which I did at age 11. Mr. Pearson was the Youth Council Advisor. He would become my mentor.
This picture was taken in City Hall, where the ceremony was held to rename the Kings Road Post Office to the Rutledge H. Pearson Post Office. The federal legislation to rename the post office was introduced by Congressman Al Lawson.
(*I started school when I was 5 and "got skipped," so I was 11 years old in the 8th grade.)
INDIANAPOLIS — The Children's Museum of Indianapolis issued an apology Saturday after it was met with widespread criticism for selling a Juneteenth-themed watermelon salad.
Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce the freedom of Black slaves. It was two months after the Confederacy had surrendered and about 2 1/2 years after Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. It was established as an official federal holiday last year.
The museum was selling a watermelon salad in its cafeteria to honor Juneteenth. Critics called the museum's effort to honor the holiday a clear example of racial stereotyping.
In its statement, the museum apologized for the negative impact the salad had and said the salad has been removed from the cafeteria's menu.
The statement also said the museum is looking at how they can best convey stories and traditions during the celebration and make changes to how future food selections are made.
The full statement, which can be read below, concluded with the museum resolving to do better.
"As a museum, we apologize and acknowledge the negative impact that stereotypes have on communities of color. The salad has been removed from the menu. We are currently reviewing how we may best convey these stories and traditions during this year’s Juneteenth celebration as well as making changes around how future food selections are made by our food service provider.
Our food service provider uses the food and beverage menu to commemorate and raise awareness of holidays like Juneteenth. The team that made this selection included their staff members who based this choice of food on their own family traditions.
As we work to create a culture of empowerment and inclusivity, we know there will be stumbles along the way. As a museum, we have put a significant effort behind sharing the critical and diverse stories of a wide range of individuals. We also have placed a strong emphasis on expanding DEAI initiatives throughout the museum. We resolve to do better, and continue bringing all voices forward in our work."
"Watermelon as a favorite food among Black people became a racist stereotype from the Jim Crow era, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture. The racist trope was among several that reduced Black Americans to caricatures," the Indy Star explained.
WHITE AMERICA SAYS TEACHING BLACK HISTORY and the truth about their racism and the founding of America makes them uncomfortable.
Their uncomfortableness begins with their not wanting the truth told about how their White ancestors kidnapped and enslaved my African ancestors while using them to make many in White America, and American institutions obscenely wealthy.
Did I say the Racist Christian American Holocaust called slavery built American capitalism and Wall Street?
It is the truth about White America's Christian racist ethics and attitudes that White America finds uncomfortable, and is the truth White America never wants to be discussed and taught.
WE did not kidnap ourselves.
WE did not enslave ourselves.
WE did not put chains on ourselves.
WE did not auction, trade, and sell ourselves.
WE did not fight a war to keep ourselves enslaved.
WE did not impose Jim Crow laws, develop Black Codes, and pass segregation laws to shackle and disrespect ourselves.
Just as American History is Incomplete, Dishonest, and Racist, White America's diatribe about what they THINK is CRT, and their uncomfortability with the truth is also Incomplete, Dishonest, and Racist.
White America continuously "moans and complains" about our calling out their Racism, yet the hypocrisy, the insidiousness, and their Racism are on display EVERY DAY.
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.