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.
AN HONOR FOR ME TO JOIN THE DAYTONA BEACH-VOLUSIA COUNTY NAACP AS THE KEYNOTE SPEAKER FOR THEIR INAUGURAL EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION DAY COMMEMORATION. Thank you again, NAACP President Cynthia Slater.
FROM THE DAYTONA TIMES...
Civil rights activist Rodney Hurst fired up the crowd with his speech on history and racism.
The Daytona Beach-Volusia County NAACP hosted “An Emancipation Day in Florida 2022 Celebration” at the Museum of Arts & Sciences on May 21.
The event honored eight individuals and organizations as frontline heroes for their work in the local community during the pandemic. They were presented by Daisy Grimes, executive board member of the Daytona Beach-Volusia County NAACP.
“We thought it was important to recognize these heroes who were on the frontline and worked tirelessly from the offset of the pandemic. This is just a few,” said NAACP President Cynthia Slater.
Honorees included Halifax Health, Volusia County Health Department, Islamic Center of Daytona Beach, Kim-Brown Crawford, City of Daytona Beach, County of Volusia, Rev. Victor Miles and The Mind of Christ Ministries, and the Daytona Beach Black Clergy Alliance.
“I am honored to be here on behalf of Halifax Health. We have here employees from all over Halifax Health. Through the pandemic, our doors never closed. We were always there. The hospital stayed open. We were there in the trenches. We still had to serve patients,” said Sharon James, an RN for Halifax Health.
Islamic Center of Daytona Beach President Mohammad Mounir Khabazeh stated, “This is a great honor. Truth is, it was the work of everyone in the community, a collective effort. We want to thank everyone involved in fighting the pandemic .”
“The challenges didn’t stop with the pandemic. The biggest challenge was financial challenges that people in the community faced. We were able to help with vaccines, food drives, etc.,’’ he added.
Author, historian and civil rights activist Rodney Hurst was the keynote speaker. Hurst gave a brief but blunt and fiery speech on history, Black history and racism.
“Talking about racism is uncomfortable. Racism represents a cultural clash in this country. American history is incomplete, dishonest and racist. American history is romanticized. We regurgitate that history every generation,” expressed Hurst.
“White people don’t like to be told how they have taken advantage of Black folk for social, political and economic gain since the founding of this country. Black folk don’t like to talk about how they were taken advantage of by those means.”
Hurst also addressed laws being made to prohibit race and history in education and other parts of society as well as critical race theory (CRT) itself.
“White folks don’t want to talk about how their ancestors held our ancestors in slavery to make their ancestors extremely wealthy. We don’t want our feelings hurt. We don’t want to be uncomfortable learning the truth about slavery. Now we pass laws that say don’t tell the truth. It’s racist,” Hurst said.
“What white elected officials call critical race theory is nothing but the truth. Most of them don’t know what critical race theory is. They don’t know how it was used in the legal profession.”
Hurst also says the contributions of Black folks to America can’t be ignored.
He stated, “Africans didn’t just pick cotton and tobacco. Many who came to this country were artisans and craftsman. They built homes, buildings, bridges, roads, irrigation systems, inventions, entire cities and more.”
Civil rights activists say the fight continues. Slater emphasized, “The NAACP is the only organization that tries to put ourselves out of business. We fight to stop racism, bigotry and racial injustice. We want equality and justice. Until that happens, we will continue to fight.”
Emancipation Day in Florida was May 20. It commemorates May 20, 1865 when slaves in Florida learned of their freedom after hearing the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation at the Knox building in Tallahassee.
Emancipation Day and Juneteenth are celebrated as the end of slavery across the nation.
“Some people say that we are celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation. We can’t talk about emancipation without talking about how we got to it. We are not celebrating you releasing us from slavery. We are commemorating it as an historic event,” said Hurst.
Sponsors included the City of Daytona Beach, Halifax Health, Brown & Brown Insurance, Volusia County, Medallion Health Care, Daytona Beach Police Department and Volusia County Sheriff ’s Office and others.
A GREAT AND MEANINGFUL FRIDAY WAS EXTENDED INTO A GREAT AND MEANINGFUL WEEKEND.
After spending Friday at the groundbreaking of the New Rutledge Pearson Elementary School with a veritable Who’s Who of political and community guests and the Pearson Family, and the Emancipation Proclamation in Lonnie Miller Park sponsored by a host of matchless Community-Based Organizations, I was off to Daytona Beach on Saturday to speak Saturday night at the Emancipation Day program sponsored by the Daytona Beach Volusia County NAACP at the invitation of their inimitable and incomparable President, Cynthia Slater.
This morning, Sunday, May 22, 2022, I spoke to the Youth Day Service at Allen Chapel AME Church, President Slater's church, and pastored by the Rev. Dr. Nathan Mugala. It is always an honor for me to speak to young people and take the time to tell those things that they will not ordinarily hear, even though they should hear. Once again, Unless WE Tell Them...They Won't Get Told!
Incredible warmth and reception by Allen Chapel with a true Family Spirit. Thank you, Allen Chapel AME and Pastor Mugala. Thank you, President Slater, for the fantastic job last night and my introduction this morning. Thank you, Daisy Grimes and Judge Grimes. Thank you to the wealth of persons I met last night and this morning in Daytona Beach.
Thank you, President Gillis. Thank you, Alex. Thank you, Gary. Thank you, L. J. Holloway. Thank you, Elnora. Thank you, Sandra. Thank you to everybody associated with the groundbreaking at Lonnie Miller Park.
Thank you, School Board Superintendent Diana Greene. Thank you, Rutledge Henry Pearson Principal and Florida Principal of 2022, Carolyn Davis. Thank you talented Rutledge H. Pearson Elementary School students. Thank you, School Board members Jones, Willie, and Coker. Thank you, City Council members Jackson (my niece) and Dennis. Thank you, State Representatives Davis, Nixon, and State Senator Gibson. Thank you to Mr. Lloyd Pearson and the Revered Pearson Family, especially Mr. Rutledge Pearson's offspring, Pat, "Bud," and Roderick. Thanks to everyone involved with this outstanding "groundbreaking."
I was Surrounded by Black and Brilliant young people and Black and Brilliant not-so-young people on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. THANK YOU, GOD. IT WAS A GREAT BLACK AND BRILLIANT WEEKEND.
Rodney. L. Hurst, Sr.