The Sun At Midnight
Powerful people invariably defend their own interests in the name of the interests of the people they seek to control.
Theodore Cross
Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden

Dr. Edward Wilmot Blyden

A preeminent African American abolitionist, author, public intellectual, physician, the highest ranking black officer during the Civil War, and a notable activist for the emigration of blacks to Africa, Martin Robison Delany has left an enduring legacy in his writings, the power of his ideas, and his political activism. So influential was he during the nineteenth century that a number of people now refer to him as the “Father of Black Nationalism.” He spent most of his career working toward the goal of seeking black emancipation through practical projects aimed toward returning African Americans to Africa, where he hoped his people would make a new beginning within the context of political freedom and a society devoid of racism. Two of his most influential works on black nationalism are presented in this volume.The Condition, Elevation, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States (1852) presents Delany’s separatist views. To many scholars of African American political thought, this book marks the origin of black nationalism in print. However, its scope is much broader than this single focus might suggest. It is the first book-length study to present an account of the economic and political status of blacks in the United States. Because of the intractable nature of U.S. racism and the deplorable living conditions of most African Americans, Delany concluded by recommending emigration of African Americans to Central America.Some years later Delany turned to Africa as the better choice for relocation of black Americans. Based on an exploratory journey he took to West Africa in 1859, he wrote Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party. The report provides clear information on the conditions in West Africa of that time to give immigrants an idea of what they would encounter. He also provides an impressive amount of data on how to improve agriculture, land, ventilation, and housing to promote better living standards.With an introduction by Toyin Falola, the Frances Higginbothom Nalle Centennial Professor in History at the University of Texas at Austin, this new edition of these two provocative and intriguing nineteenth-century documents sheds much light on the black nationalism movement in the context of African American history.

A preeminent African American abolitionist, author, public intellectual, physician, the highest ranking black officer during the Civil War, and a notable activist for the emigration of blacks to Africa, Martin Robison Delany has left an enduring legacy in his writings, the power of his ideas, and his political activism. So influential was he during the nineteenth century that a number of people now refer to him as the “Father of Black Nationalism.” He spent most of his career working toward the goal of seeking black emancipation through practical projects aimed toward returning African Americans to Africa, where he hoped his people would make a new beginning within the context of political freedom and a society devoid of racism. Two of his most influential works on black nationalism are presented in this volume.

The Condition, Elevation, and Destiny of the Colored People of the United States (1852) presents Delany’s separatist views. To many scholars of African American political thought, this book marks the origin of black nationalism in print. However, its scope is much broader than this single focus might suggest. It is the first book-length study to present an account of the economic and political status of blacks in the United States. Because of the intractable nature of U.S. racism and the deplorable living conditions of most African Americans, Delany concluded by recommending emigration of African Americans to Central America.

Some years later Delany turned to Africa as the better choice for relocation of black Americans. Based on an exploratory journey he took to West Africa in 1859, he wrote Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party. The report provides clear information on the conditions in West Africa of that time to give immigrants an idea of what they would encounter. He also provides an impressive amount of data on how to improve agriculture, land, ventilation, and housing to promote better living standards.

With an introduction by Toyin Falola, the Frances Higginbothom Nalle Centennial Professor in History at the University of Texas at Austin, this new edition of these two provocative and intriguing nineteenth-century documents sheds much light on the black nationalism movement in the context of African American history.

Using archival material and other existing sources, this book graphically documents the sexual exploitation of female slaves in holding pens on the West Coast of Africa, on slave ships during the Trans-Atlantic crossing, and on plantations in the Danish West Indies, now known as the United States Virgin Islands. In this book, Donoghue successfully demonstrates how under the Danish Slave Codes it was impossible to rape a slave. He notes that if a female slave died during her resistance to the sexual advances of any master, her owner was entitled to com-pensation by law. The author further notes that the diminishing slave population near the end of the eighteenth century triggered the development of a comprehensive plan for the breeding of slaves in the Danish West Indian colony. The blueprints included the granting of generous loans to planters to import female slaves of childbearing age. The book also provides compelling evidence that many females resisted exploitation by resorting to abortion, infanticide, poisoning, marronage and suicide.` “The theme is somewhat current, but Dr. Donoghue is on relatively new ground in his extensive exploration of the exploitation of slave women”Sir Howard Fergus, University of the West Indies “Donoghue breaks new ground with this deeply analytical and illuminating exploration of the exploitation of black women,” The Daily Observer. “Donoghue shows the reader the true depths of the sexual exploitation of female slaves,” The Avis. The Book received the highest rating of five stars by reader-reviewers of Blackwell’s Online Bookshop. Eddie Donoghue was born on the small island of Montserrat in the Caribbean and lived for almost twenty years in Sweden. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and is currently a Researcher for the Legislature in the United States Virgin Islands.

Using archival material and other existing sources, this book graphically documents the sexual exploitation of female slaves in holding pens on the West Coast of Africa, on slave ships during the Trans-Atlantic crossing, and on plantations in the Danish West Indies, now known as the United States Virgin Islands. In this book, Donoghue successfully demonstrates how under the Danish Slave Codes it was impossible to rape a slave. He notes that if a female slave died during her resistance to the sexual advances of any master, her owner was entitled to com-pensation by law. The author further notes that the diminishing slave population near the end of the eighteenth century triggered the development of a comprehensive plan for the breeding of slaves in the Danish West Indian colony. The blueprints included the granting of generous loans to planters to import female slaves of childbearing age. The book also provides compelling evidence that many females resisted exploitation by resorting to abortion, infanticide, poisoning, marronage and suicide.` “The theme is somewhat current, but Dr. Donoghue is on relatively new ground in his extensive exploration of the exploitation of slave women”Sir Howard Fergus, University of the West Indies “Donoghue breaks new ground with this deeply analytical and illuminating exploration of the exploitation of black women,” The Daily Observer. “Donoghue shows the reader the true depths of the sexual exploitation of female slaves,” The Avis. The Book received the highest rating of five stars by reader-reviewers of Blackwell’s Online Bookshop. Eddie Donoghue was born on the small island of Montserrat in the Caribbean and lived for almost twenty years in Sweden. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and is currently a Researcher for the Legislature in the United States Virgin Islands.

The Breeding of American Slaves. True Stories of American Slave Breeding and Slave Babies. Recollections of American ex-slaves and their memories of breeding and babies. Slave breeding in the United States were those practices of slave ownership that aimed to influence the reproduction of slaves in order to increase the wealth of slaveholders. Slave breeding included coerced sexual relations between male and female slaves, promoting pregnancies of slaves, sexual relations between master and slave with the aim of producing slave children, and favoring female slaves who produced a relatively large number of children. The purpose of slave breeding was to produce new slaves without incurring the cost of purchase, to fill labor shortages caused by the termination of the Atlantic slave trade, and to attempt to improve the health and productivity of slaves. Slave breeding was condoned in the South because slaves were considered to be subhuman chattel, and were not entitled to the same rights accorded to free persons. “My grandfather on my father’s side, Luke Blackshear, was a ‘stock’ Negro. “Isom Blackshear, his son, was a great talker. He said Luke was six feet four inches tall and near two hundred fifty pounds in weight. He was what they called a double-jointed man. He was a mechanic,—built houses, made keys, and did all other blacksmith work and shoemaking. He did anything in iron, wood or leather. Really he was an architect as well. He could take raw cowhide and make leather out of it and then make shoes out of the leather. “Luke was the father of fifty-six children and was known as the GIANT BREEDER. He was bought and given to his young mistress in the same way you would give a mule or colt to a child. “Although he was a stock Negro, he was whipped and drove just like the other Negroes. All of the other Negroes were driven on the farm. He had to labor but he didn’t have to work with the other slaves on the farm unless there was no mechanical work to do. He was given better work because he was a skilled mechanic. He taught Isom blacksmithing, brickmaking and bricklaying, shoemaking, carpentry, and other things. The ordinary blacksmith has to order plow points and put than on, but Luke made the points themselves, and he taught Isom to do it. And he taught him to make mats, chairs, and other weaving work. He died sometime before the War.” Ida Blackshear Hutchinson, 2620 Orange Street, North Little Rock, Arkansas Age: 73 at time of interview

The Breeding of American Slaves. True Stories of American Slave Breeding and Slave Babies. Recollections of American ex-slaves and their memories of breeding and babies. Slave breeding in the United States were those practices of slave ownership that aimed to influence the reproduction of slaves in order to increase the wealth of slaveholders. Slave breeding included coerced sexual relations between male and female slaves, promoting pregnancies of slaves, sexual relations between master and slave with the aim of producing slave children, and favoring female slaves who produced a relatively large number of children. The purpose of slave breeding was to produce new slaves without incurring the cost of purchase, to fill labor shortages caused by the termination of the Atlantic slave trade, and to attempt to improve the health and productivity of slaves. Slave breeding was condoned in the South because slaves were considered to be subhuman chattel, and were not entitled to the same rights accorded to free persons. “My grandfather on my father’s side, Luke Blackshear, was a ‘stock’ Negro. “Isom Blackshear, his son, was a great talker. He said Luke was six feet four inches tall and near two hundred fifty pounds in weight. He was what they called a double-jointed man. He was a mechanic,—built houses, made keys, and did all other blacksmith work and shoemaking. He did anything in iron, wood or leather. Really he was an architect as well. He could take raw cowhide and make leather out of it and then make shoes out of the leather. “Luke was the father of fifty-six children and was known as the GIANT BREEDER. He was bought and given to his young mistress in the same way you would give a mule or colt to a child. “Although he was a stock Negro, he was whipped and drove just like the other Negroes. All of the other Negroes were driven on the farm. He had to labor but he didn’t have to work with the other slaves on the farm unless there was no mechanical work to do. He was given better work because he was a skilled mechanic. He taught Isom blacksmithing, brickmaking and bricklaying, shoemaking, carpentry, and other things. The ordinary blacksmith has to order plow points and put than on, but Luke made the points themselves, and he taught Isom to do it. And he taught him to make mats, chairs, and other weaving work. He died sometime before the War.” Ida Blackshear Hutchinson, 2620 Orange Street, North Little Rock, Arkansas Age: 73 at time of interview

Chapter One
The Ideology of Trans-Atlantic Slavery

The history of humankind has hitherto not been marked by periods when slavery in one form or another was in abeyance. From the ancient variants of slavery to its contemporary versions, an ideology or a set of beliefs has been used by the dominant group to explain and justify slavery. Thus, in the ancient world the ruling class employed an ideology based on the right of conquest to enslave their captives. Within trans-Atlantic Slavery there was an amalgam of justifications ranging from the right of conquest, the racial and sub-human characteristics of the enslaved, Ancient Law, cultural superiority and the civilizing mission of the European colonialists. Each of these minor ideologies coalesced into a major ideology, which I have termed “The Ideology of trans-Atlantic Slavery”.
To make use of the Marxian analogy: the economic base that gave rise to the ideological superstructure within trans-Atlantic slave society was indeed historically unique for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that for the first time, the group enslaved was distinguishable as a separate race on the basis of skin color. It was not long after the institution of trans-Atlantic Slavery that a lexicon of negative stereotypical terms evolved to describe enslaved Negroes. Separately or in configurations, the stereotypical qualities attributed to the Negro by the loaded terms, “defined the situation” and resulted in the “self fulfilling prophecy” so well defined by Aristotle and later by W.H. Thomas and others. These are some of the ingredients that contributed to the extreme polarities and contradictions of the master/slave dialectic of trans-Atlantic Slavery.
Now to approach the subject matter more closely: In this chapter we will examine in separate sections the ideologies employed to justify and explain trans-Atlantic slavery, with emphasis on the concretization of the various basic assumptions on which they were based.
In approaching the subject, I have tried to adhere to the descriptive method rather than the analytical in order to bring forth in an unfiltered manner the relevant ideologies. On the issue of the negative stereotyping of the Negro, which was so vital to slavery in the Americas, analysis of the emotive effect of the terms employed and the resulting self-fulfilling prophecy was, however, necessitated. One final introductory comment: Below, in order to highlight the uniqueness of Negro slavery, comparison is made to significant aspects of servitude in ancient Rome.

Black Skin Color
There was recognition of skin color in the ancient world. However, this awareness does not appear to have resulted in prejudice, stereotyping and negative discrimination. In fact, in a number of cases, the philosophers of the period viewed black skin as an attribute of beauty. For example, Herodotus alluded to Ethiopians as ‘the tallest and handsomest men in the world’. Moreover, in Greek mythology, the irresistible beauty, Andromeda, was the black daughter of an Ethiopian king and queen of Joppa. Also Ovid in book II of The Amore spoke openly of his love for a black slave girl. He implored her to pay him ‘the sweet price’ of her caress. These are not isolated illustrations, for we find within classical poetry, the expressed yearnings of the ancients for black women.
The diligent reader may have noted that the Graeco-Roman conception of black as beautiful, exclusively alluded to the admiration and yearning of white males for black females. Although some degree of miscegenation between white women and black men took place in ancient society this type of relationship was extremely rare. Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks offers an explanation:
Since he is the master and more simply the male, the white man can allow himself the luxury of sleeping with many women. This is true in every country and especially in the colonies. But when the white woman accepts a black man there is automatically a romantic aspect. It is a giving, not a seizing. In the colonies, in fact, even though there is little marriage or actual sustained cohabitation between white and blacks, the number of hybrids is amazing. This is because the white men often sleep with black servants.

Interestingly, the ancient Greeks and Romans were acutely aware of differences in skin color. However, the characteristic of been “Black” did not lead to negative stereotyping. In fact, the reverse was the case. As Fernando Henriques, for example, has observed, among the Greeks and Romans it was the qualities of the individual rather than presuppositions of a particular race which governed the evaluation of a particular person and in a number of cases “Blackness” was judged as a positive attribute. The poet Asclepiades expressed his choice of mate in unmistakable terms: “if she is black, what’s that to me? This charcoal too is black, but yet/no rose more red can ever be/when once alight tis set.”
That Blacks were found sexually attractive in the ancient world is indicated by the prevalence of sex between Black and White. Museum pieces in present day Naples show Black men and White women engaged in copulation in classical Pompeii. During the period under review “Black” women were also in demand as mates. It was not only Asclepiades who yearned for an Ethiopian female, there was also Dan��s with his fifty children, seven of them born to his Ethiopian lover.
In order to summarize the attitude of the ancient Greeks and Romans on the issue, these words of Menander may be instructive:
… Mother, if a man has a noble character which prompts him to a good life, then he’s of noble birth, even if he’s Black African …

To all appearances, the early Christian Church was not prejudiced on the basis of skin color. Henriques tells us that within Egypt, Ethiopians and Europeans lived and worked side by side for the glory of God. Moses, who was one of the many black fathers, was highly esteemed for his teachings. It was said of him by an anonymous memorialist: ‘This man whose body was black, had a soul more radiantly bright than the splendour of the sun.’
Albeit, by the middle of the fifteenth century and roughly coinciding with the Portuguese penetration of West Africa, the term “Black” began to be associated with negative stereotypes, especially in mainland Portugal. We must keep in mind that on the island of S��o Tome in the Gulf of Guinea as well as at Elmina in Ghana where the Portuguese first settled during it’s colonization of Africa, the Portuguese had, for all intents and purposes, “gone native”. They had not only discarded their European fashions and clad themselves in native garb, but they favored the African women and lived with many of them in concubinage. While the close proximity and interaction with Blacks on a personal level helped Portuguese residing in West Africa to develop a non-stereotypical attitude towards Blacks, this was not true of their counterpart on the Portuguese mainland.
With regard to skin color, A.C. de C.M. Saunders has argued that the terms of Black and Negro used to describe those of African descent were loaded with negative connotations: “Traditionally, Black, and especially the word Negro, which was used to describe the people, signified misfortune and sadness. In fact, it was held to be the skin color of the devils in hell. Furthermore, by European standards, the Blacks’ facial features were unattractive.” Zurara described Blacks, as deformed in their features so much so they almost appeared to be ‘images from the lowest hemisphere’. The playwrights of the period also helped to concretize the collary of Blackness and inferiority. For example, in his Fragoa d’Amor of 1524, Gil Vicente set up a confrontation between the goddess Venus and the Black Furunando who had fallen madly in love with her and off ered to take her home with him to Alfama in Lisbon. However, Furunando was cognizant of the barriers created by the color of his skin and the Playwright has him expressing a desire to be given a white skin and European features. Despite the fact that his wish was granted, another impediment stood in the path of a successful relationship between the Black Furunando and the white Venus: His accent disclosed his African “inferior” roots and he was consequently, stereotyped as being worthy of ridicule because of his country of origin.
According to Saunders, the Furunando character contained many of the stereotypes of Blacks. First, the dislike shown by Furunando for his own color not only confirmed the general image of Blacks as been ethnophoebic, but at one and the same time, implicitly affirmed the superiority of those with the white skin so much desired by the Black protagonist. Second, within the drama, the bungling and fumbling of Furunando helped to anchor the stereotype of Blacks as not been very intelligent.
When we turn our attention to the Anglo-Saxon perspective, we find much of the stereotypes about Black people extant in medieval England embodied in William Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venise. Significantly, Shakespeare sketched the Black Othello as a member of the upper class of Venice Society of the period and in addition endowed the character with a greatly admired military genius so much so that ambitious men, such as Iago, were anxious to fight under him. During the first scene of the drama, we learn that Iago harbored a strong resentment for Othello after having been passed over for the position of Lieutenant under the Moor, in favor of a Florentine, whom he claimed never set foot in a squadron in the field. What we at first thought was a reaction to the snub, later turns out to be a full-blown hatred by Iago based upon Othello’s skin-color. The matter is further complicated by the dislike of miscegenation by Iago and his compatriots, as the relationship between the white Desdemona and the Black Othello evolved. Determined to sabotage the subsequent marriage of the mixed-race couple, the whites concocted an elaborate scheme that culminates in the murder by Othello of his wife. In some respects, the process of the self-filling prophecy may be said to have played a significant role in the disintegration of the marriage and death of Desdemona at the hands of her spouse, because it was the evidenced racist ideology, which led to its own stereotypical image and finally to its own fulfillment. But let us now return to the central matter at hand.
After hurriedly awakening Senator Brabanito from his slumber to inform him of the miscegenation that was ensuing between the Black Othello and his lily-white daughter, Desdemona, Iago declared:
Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul; Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe….

Later upon been asked to make his meaning clearer, Iago tells Brabanito exactly what his purpose is: “I am one, sir, that comes to tell you, your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.” The Venetian, gentleman “Roderigo”, joins the conversation and inserts the stereotypical image of the libidinous black male. He informs Brabanito that in the company of only a common hired gondolier, Desdemona had been spirited away in the middle of the night and was certainly now in “the gross clasp of a lascivious Moor”. Given the racial prejudice then extant against Blacks, Brabanito cannot contemplate that the absconding of his daughter with Othello was a voluntary act. He misthinks that some form of sorcery or black magic is at work:
O thou foul thief, where has thou stow’d my daughter? Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enhanced her; for I’ll refer me to all things of sense, if she in chains of magic were not bound, whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy, so opposite to marriage that she shunn’d the wealthy curled darlings of our nation, would ever have, to incur a general mock, run from her guardage to the sooty bosom of such a thing as thou, - to fear, not to delight. Judge me the world, if ‘tis not gross in sense that thou hast practis’d on her with foul charms; Abus’d her delicate youth with drugs or minerals that weaken motion: - I’ll have’t disputed on.

Later, despondently Brabanito informs the Duke of Venice that Desdemona had been abused, corrupted and stolen from him as a result of the spells and medicines brought from the banks of mountains by the Black Othello. It is incomprehensible, stated Branbanito, that knowing the stigmatization that such Black Man/White Woman sexual relationships incurred that his daughter would embark upon such conduct were she in her right mind. He pledged to conduct research in an effort to discover the magic “wrought upon her” with mixtures, which were apparently more powerful than blood, since she has now fallen “in love with what she fear’d to look on.” Trying to console the wounded father, the Duke of Venice trumpets the view that virtue rather than color of skin should be the overriding factor in evaluating the relationship between Desdemona and Othello: “If virtue no delighted beauty lack/your son-in-law is far more fair than black.”
Upon the death of Desdemona, Othello is confronted by Emilia, the wife of Iago. The ensuing dialogue encapsulated the basic assumptions that, on the one hand, a white skin-color is virtuous, good and angelic, and on the other, that Black pigment symbolizes a lack of virtue, and is evil and devilishness. The exchange takes place in the chamber where in a fit of rage, Othello had just killed his wife:
Othello. She’s like a liar, gone to burning hell: T’was I that killed her.
Emilia. O, the more angel she and you the blacker devil!
Othello. She turn’d to folly, and she was a whore.
Emilia. Thou dost belie her, and thou art a devil.

Henriques has brought forward an observation, which is not without interest in the present context. According to Henriques, within Elizabethan literary sources, “White” Moors were described as “white” or “tawny” in contrast to “Black” Moors who were depicted as evil. To a large extent, “White” Moors were attributed some of the positive characteristics of Europeans.
The general image of Blacks prevalent during the Elizabethan era was also reflected in Lust’s Dominion, a play published anonymously in 1657. In the drama, a Black Moor, Eleazer, becomes the lover of the Queen of Spain’s mother. The Moor is, however, fully cognizant of the jealousy and hatred generated by his sexual twist with such a prestigious, rich and powerful individual. He expresses his feelings on the issue to the father of his wife in the following manner: ‘The Queen with me, with me, a Moor, a devil, a slave of Barbary, a dog; for so/Your silken courtiers christen me’.
Significantly, with the increasing expansion of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to fuel the colonization of the Americas, the conceptualization of the Negro’s skin color as a negation of the affirmation of the desirable and perfect color of the true humankind, increased dramatically. The perfect skin was often spelt-out as being the “White of Lilies” or “Lily White”. The positive correlation between the attractive “Lily White” skin color and roses was sometimes made by writers and dramatists during the period, many of whom took issue with the devilish Black skin of the Negroes.
Given the growing antipathy toward Blacks which evolved in England during the seventeenth century, it was no surprise that Elizabeth I acquiesced to the public outcry that the large number of Blacks in London would lead to the contamination of the white race and she consequently issued a proclamation ordering all Blacks to be shipped out of England.
Interestingly, surgeon John Atkins of the Royal Navy expressed fascination upon encountering Africans with black skin and wooly hair during his travels in Guinea in 1720: “The black colour and wooly tegument of these Guineans, is what firft obtrudes it felf on our obfervaton, and dflinguifhes them from the reft of mankind, who no where elfe in the warmeft latitudes, are feen thus totally changed.” The observation convinced Atkins that the “Black and White Races” sprung from different first parents. Although he himself welcomed the diversity in color, language and manners among humankind, Atkins took particular note during his sojourn in Madeira that the Portuguese on the island did not mix with the Blacks.
Color prejudice also loomed large in the racist ideology of Danish colonists. Planter Reimert Haagensen, who operated on the Danish West Indian possession of St. Croix from 1739 to 1751, expressed the view that Blacks are all evil by nature. “I really do believe that their black skin gives proof of their wickedness and that they are destined to slavery, to the extent that they should not have freedom.” The Dane surmised that in a country where blacks are free, Whites cannot progress economically and are disliked. To exemplify the proposition, Haagensen pointed to the revolt of 1733 on the Danish West Indian colony of St. John, when several Whites were killed by Blacks, including an “innocent infant in the cradle.” The murderous nature of those with black skin can be seen by these type of events, “along with their will to struggle for freedom when an opportunity appears,” according to Haagensen.

Chapter One

The Ideology of Trans-Atlantic Slavery

The history of humankind has hitherto not been marked by periods when slavery in one form or another was in abeyance. From the ancient variants of slavery to its contemporary versions, an ideology or a set of beliefs has been used by the dominant group to explain and justify slavery. Thus, in the ancient world the ruling class employed an ideology based on the right of conquest to enslave their captives. Within trans-Atlantic Slavery there was an amalgam of justifications ranging from the right of conquest, the racial and sub-human characteristics of the enslaved, Ancient Law, cultural superiority and the civilizing mission of the European colonialists. Each of these minor ideologies coalesced into a major ideology, which I have termed “The Ideology of trans-Atlantic Slavery”.

To make use of the Marxian analogy: the economic base that gave rise to the ideological superstructure within trans-Atlantic slave society was indeed historically unique for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that for the first time, the group enslaved was distinguishable as a separate race on the basis of skin color. It was not long after the institution of trans-Atlantic Slavery that a lexicon of negative stereotypical terms evolved to describe enslaved Negroes. Separately or in configurations, the stereotypical qualities attributed to the Negro by the loaded terms, “defined the situation” and resulted in the “self fulfilling prophecy” so well defined by Aristotle and later by W.H. Thomas and others. These are some of the ingredients that contributed to the extreme polarities and contradictions of the master/slave dialectic of trans-Atlantic Slavery.

Now to approach the subject matter more closely: In this chapter we will examine in separate sections the ideologies employed to justify and explain trans-Atlantic slavery, with emphasis on the concretization of the various basic assumptions on which they were based.

In approaching the subject, I have tried to adhere to the descriptive method rather than the analytical in order to bring forth in an unfiltered manner the relevant ideologies. On the issue of the negative stereotyping of the Negro, which was so vital to slavery in the Americas, analysis of the emotive effect of the terms employed and the resulting self-fulfilling prophecy was, however, necessitated. One final introductory comment: Below, in order to highlight the uniqueness of Negro slavery, comparison is made to significant aspects of servitude in ancient Rome.

Black Skin Color

There was recognition of skin color in the ancient world. However, this awareness does not appear to have resulted in prejudice, stereotyping and negative discrimination. In fact, in a number of cases, the philosophers of the period viewed black skin as an attribute of beauty. For example, Herodotus alluded to Ethiopians as ‘the tallest and handsomest men in the world’. Moreover, in Greek mythology, the irresistible beauty, Andromeda, was the black daughter of an Ethiopian king and queen of Joppa. Also Ovid in book II of The Amore spoke openly of his love for a black slave girl. He implored her to pay him ‘the sweet price’ of her caress. These are not isolated illustrations, for we find within classical poetry, the expressed yearnings of the ancients for black women.

The diligent reader may have noted that the Graeco-Roman conception of black as beautiful, exclusively alluded to the admiration and yearning of white males for black females. Although some degree of miscegenation between white women and black men took place in ancient society this type of relationship was extremely rare. Frantz Fanon in Black Skin, White Masks offers an explanation:

Since he is the master and more simply the male, the white man can allow himself the luxury of sleeping with many women. This is true in every country and especially in the colonies. But when the white woman accepts a black man there is automatically a romantic aspect. It is a giving, not a seizing. In the colonies, in fact, even though there is little marriage or actual sustained cohabitation between white and blacks, the number of hybrids is amazing. This is because the white men often sleep with black servants.

Interestingly, the ancient Greeks and Romans were acutely aware of differences in skin color. However, the characteristic of been “Black” did not lead to negative stereotyping. In fact, the reverse was the case. As Fernando Henriques, for example, has observed, among the Greeks and Romans it was the qualities of the individual rather than presuppositions of a particular race which governed the evaluation of a particular person and in a number of cases “Blackness” was judged as a positive attribute. The poet Asclepiades expressed his choice of mate in unmistakable terms: “if she is black, what’s that to me? This charcoal too is black, but yet/no rose more red can ever be/when once alight tis set.”

That Blacks were found sexually attractive in the ancient world is indicated by the prevalence of sex between Black and White. Museum pieces in present day Naples show Black men and White women engaged in copulation in classical Pompeii. During the period under review “Black” women were also in demand as mates. It was not only Asclepiades who yearned for an Ethiopian female, there was also Dan��s with his fifty children, seven of them born to his Ethiopian lover.

In order to summarize the attitude of the ancient Greeks and Romans on the issue, these words of Menander may be instructive:

… Mother, if a man has a noble character which prompts him to a good life, then he’s of noble birth, even if he’s Black African …

To all appearances, the early Christian Church was not prejudiced on the basis of skin color. Henriques tells us that within Egypt, Ethiopians and Europeans lived and worked side by side for the glory of God. Moses, who was one of the many black fathers, was highly esteemed for his teachings. It was said of him by an anonymous memorialist: ‘This man whose body was black, had a soul more radiantly bright than the splendour of the sun.’

Albeit, by the middle of the fifteenth century and roughly coinciding with the Portuguese penetration of West Africa, the term “Black” began to be associated with negative stereotypes, especially in mainland Portugal. We must keep in mind that on the island of S��o Tome in the Gulf of Guinea as well as at Elmina in Ghana where the Portuguese first settled during it’s colonization of Africa, the Portuguese had, for all intents and purposes, “gone native”. They had not only discarded their European fashions and clad themselves in native garb, but they favored the African women and lived with many of them in concubinage. While the close proximity and interaction with Blacks on a personal level helped Portuguese residing in West Africa to develop a non-stereotypical attitude towards Blacks, this was not true of their counterpart on the Portuguese mainland.

With regard to skin color, A.C. de C.M. Saunders has argued that the terms of Black and Negro used to describe those of African descent were loaded with negative connotations: “Traditionally, Black, and especially the word Negro, which was used to describe the people, signified misfortune and sadness. In fact, it was held to be the skin color of the devils in hell. Furthermore, by European standards, the Blacks’ facial features were unattractive.” Zurara described Blacks, as deformed in their features so much so they almost appeared to be ‘images from the lowest hemisphere’. The playwrights of the period also helped to concretize the collary of Blackness and inferiority. For example, in his Fragoa d’Amor of 1524, Gil Vicente set up a confrontation between the goddess Venus and the Black Furunando who had fallen madly in love with her and off ered to take her home with him to Alfama in Lisbon. However, Furunando was cognizant of the barriers created by the color of his skin and the Playwright has him expressing a desire to be given a white skin and European features. Despite the fact that his wish was granted, another impediment stood in the path of a successful relationship between the Black Furunando and the white Venus: His accent disclosed his African “inferior” roots and he was consequently, stereotyped as being worthy of ridicule because of his country of origin.

According to Saunders, the Furunando character contained many of the stereotypes of Blacks. First, the dislike shown by Furunando for his own color not only confirmed the general image of Blacks as been ethnophoebic, but at one and the same time, implicitly affirmed the superiority of those with the white skin so much desired by the Black protagonist. Second, within the drama, the bungling and fumbling of Furunando helped to anchor the stereotype of Blacks as not been very intelligent.

When we turn our attention to the Anglo-Saxon perspective, we find much of the stereotypes about Black people extant in medieval England embodied in William Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venise. Significantly, Shakespeare sketched the Black Othello as a member of the upper class of Venice Society of the period and in addition endowed the character with a greatly admired military genius so much so that ambitious men, such as Iago, were anxious to fight under him. During the first scene of the drama, we learn that Iago harbored a strong resentment for Othello after having been passed over for the position of Lieutenant under the Moor, in favor of a Florentine, whom he claimed never set foot in a squadron in the field. What we at first thought was a reaction to the snub, later turns out to be a full-blown hatred by Iago based upon Othello’s skin-color. The matter is further complicated by the dislike of miscegenation by Iago and his compatriots, as the relationship between the white Desdemona and the Black Othello evolved. Determined to sabotage the subsequent marriage of the mixed-race couple, the whites concocted an elaborate scheme that culminates in the murder by Othello of his wife. In some respects, the process of the self-filling prophecy may be said to have played a significant role in the disintegration of the marriage and death of Desdemona at the hands of her spouse, because it was the evidenced racist ideology, which led to its own stereotypical image and finally to its own fulfillment. But let us now return to the central matter at hand.

After hurriedly awakening Senator Brabanito from his slumber to inform him of the miscegenation that was ensuing between the Black Othello and his lily-white daughter, Desdemona, Iago declared:

Your heart is burst, you have lost half your soul; Even now, now, very now, an old black ram is tupping your white ewe….

Later upon been asked to make his meaning clearer, Iago tells Brabanito exactly what his purpose is: “I am one, sir, that comes to tell you, your daughter and the Moor are now making the beast with two backs.” The Venetian, gentleman “Roderigo”, joins the conversation and inserts the stereotypical image of the libidinous black male. He informs Brabanito that in the company of only a common hired gondolier, Desdemona had been spirited away in the middle of the night and was certainly now in “the gross clasp of a lascivious Moor”. Given the racial prejudice then extant against Blacks, Brabanito cannot contemplate that the absconding of his daughter with Othello was a voluntary act. He misthinks that some form of sorcery or black magic is at work:

O thou foul thief, where has thou stow’d my daughter? Damn’d as thou art, thou hast enhanced her; for I’ll refer me to all things of sense, if she in chains of magic were not bound, whether a maid so tender, fair, and happy, so opposite to marriage that she shunn’d the wealthy curled darlings of our nation, would ever have, to incur a general mock, run from her guardage to the sooty bosom of such a thing as thou, - to fear, not to delight. Judge me the world, if ‘tis not gross in sense that thou hast practis’d on her with foul charms; Abus’d her delicate youth with drugs or minerals that weaken motion: - I’ll have’t disputed on.

Later, despondently Brabanito informs the Duke of Venice that Desdemona had been abused, corrupted and stolen from him as a result of the spells and medicines brought from the banks of mountains by the Black Othello. It is incomprehensible, stated Branbanito, that knowing the stigmatization that such Black Man/White Woman sexual relationships incurred that his daughter would embark upon such conduct were she in her right mind. He pledged to conduct research in an effort to discover the magic “wrought upon her” with mixtures, which were apparently more powerful than blood, since she has now fallen “in love with what she fear’d to look on.” Trying to console the wounded father, the Duke of Venice trumpets the view that virtue rather than color of skin should be the overriding factor in evaluating the relationship between Desdemona and Othello: “If virtue no delighted beauty lack/your son-in-law is far more fair than black.”

Upon the death of Desdemona, Othello is confronted by Emilia, the wife of Iago. The ensuing dialogue encapsulated the basic assumptions that, on the one hand, a white skin-color is virtuous, good and angelic, and on the other, that Black pigment symbolizes a lack of virtue, and is evil and devilishness. The exchange takes place in the chamber where in a fit of rage, Othello had just killed his wife:

Othello. She’s like a liar, gone to burning hell: T’was I that killed her.

Emilia. O, the more angel she and you the blacker devil!

Othello. She turn’d to folly, and she was a whore.

Emilia. Thou dost belie her, and thou art a devil.

Henriques has brought forward an observation, which is not without interest in the present context. According to Henriques, within Elizabethan literary sources, “White” Moors were described as “white” or “tawny” in contrast to “Black” Moors who were depicted as evil. To a large extent, “White” Moors were attributed some of the positive characteristics of Europeans.

The general image of Blacks prevalent during the Elizabethan era was also reflected in Lust’s Dominion, a play published anonymously in 1657. In the drama, a Black Moor, Eleazer, becomes the lover of the Queen of Spain’s mother. The Moor is, however, fully cognizant of the jealousy and hatred generated by his sexual twist with such a prestigious, rich and powerful individual. He expresses his feelings on the issue to the father of his wife in the following manner: ‘The Queen with me, with me, a Moor, a devil, a slave of Barbary, a dog; for so/Your silken courtiers christen me’.

Significantly, with the increasing expansion of the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade to fuel the colonization of the Americas, the conceptualization of the Negro’s skin color as a negation of the affirmation of the desirable and perfect color of the true humankind, increased dramatically. The perfect skin was often spelt-out as being the “White of Lilies” or “Lily White”. The positive correlation between the attractive “Lily White” skin color and roses was sometimes made by writers and dramatists during the period, many of whom took issue with the devilish Black skin of the Negroes.

Given the growing antipathy toward Blacks which evolved in England during the seventeenth century, it was no surprise that Elizabeth I acquiesced to the public outcry that the large number of Blacks in London would lead to the contamination of the white race and she consequently issued a proclamation ordering all Blacks to be shipped out of England.

Interestingly, surgeon John Atkins of the Royal Navy expressed fascination upon encountering Africans with black skin and wooly hair during his travels in Guinea in 1720: “The black colour and wooly tegument of these Guineans, is what firft obtrudes it felf on our obfervaton, and dflinguifhes them from the reft of mankind, who no where elfe in the warmeft latitudes, are feen thus totally changed.” The observation convinced Atkins that the “Black and White Races” sprung from different first parents. Although he himself welcomed the diversity in color, language and manners among humankind, Atkins took particular note during his sojourn in Madeira that the Portuguese on the island did not mix with the Blacks.

Color prejudice also loomed large in the racist ideology of Danish colonists. Planter Reimert Haagensen, who operated on the Danish West Indian possession of St. Croix from 1739 to 1751, expressed the view that Blacks are all evil by nature. “I really do believe that their black skin gives proof of their wickedness and that they are destined to slavery, to the extent that they should not have freedom.” The Dane surmised that in a country where blacks are free, Whites cannot progress economically and are disliked. To exemplify the proposition, Haagensen pointed to the revolt of 1733 on the Danish West Indian colony of St. John, when several Whites were killed by Blacks, including an “innocent infant in the cradle.” The murderous nature of those with black skin can be seen by these type of events, “along with their will to struggle for freedom when an opportunity appears,” according to Haagensen.

Thank our lucky stars for their benevolence….. 

Look at the their track record cause the problem…Form money making racket to fix the problem… Then I do apologize to you Negroes for the pain I caused…. 

From Our Friends Feed A Child…

Nothing…. I mean nothing the Yurugu does surprises me…Their history shows you who they are…. But Ok they said where sorry

Don’t Call Me African…The Cries & Crisis of Lost Africans Continues

As Dr. Kwame Nkrumah said: “I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me.”

When I see articles like “Some blacks insist: ‘I’m not African-American & “Beyoncé L’Oreal ad controversy inspires black community backlashI thank my ancestors & the Almighty- which for me are one in the same- for keeping me from this mental slavery of the confusion of not having a solid foundation in knowing who I am to build from. I am proudly 100% African born in America & to be specific 100% Ghanaian born in New York. A dual citizen by passport & passage of paperwork of two nations, but a human being & a global citizen by mind, soul & freedom in knowing that no matter where I may place my feet or lay my head- there is no confusion in who I am in never denying Africa. I used to be angry at what I saw as the ridiculousness of Black Americans teasing me for being African then years later adopting the title of African-American amongst themselves as some sort of pride in the foundation of their long lost roots, which I was somehow supposed to be ashamed of until it became as fashionable as wearing kente cloth backpacks  & Ankhs. We love to call ourselves the purveyors of style so much so that we even take it down to the point where we play identity politics amongst ourselves to make fashionable or not who we are as people. We sell ourselves at every point as some sort of commodity to the world that can change with the time & color of the hour like a chameleon or the fashion week color of the season; yet we put on our faces of shock & disdain when others treat us just as we sell & project ourselves.

As a young girl who endured the teasing of Black Americans simply for claiming my Africaness proudly, all I could think of when the “African-American” name change came along was being quite annoyed & just thinking to myself…ummm did anyone check with Native Africans to see if they wanted to reclaim you back since all I ever heard was how they sold you into slavery with some even being thankful that they did so to give them a better life than living in the so called backward jungles of Africa. I learned how to laugh through my sadness & anger at the ignorance of those who would never know & often chose not to know their true history or who they really are from soul, root to fruit. I had to humanize those who often chose to dehumanize who I am  as an African– those whom I called lost Africans-in seeing them just simply as children of adoption who held deep seeded anger toward the parents who sold/gave them away because they had no choice but to hold all allegiance to the parents who bought/took them in love or hate, in freedom or enslavement, but nonetheless kept them alive with bountiful or minimal nourishment, while making sure they withheld all the documentation of the traces of their past that would allow them to know if they were sold/given up by choice or by force. The older I get, all I can do is feel sorry for the lost Africans who continue to pledge unwavering allegiance to everywhere else in the world but Africa, possibly the only place on earth that will ever fully accept them as their own in the true foundation of self & freedom.

It seems every year particularly around Black History Month, which is supposed to celebrate our history as global Africans, we find a way to end up desecrating it. As John Henrik Clarke said “Black tells you what you look like , It doesn’t tell you who you are” & clearly many Black people still are having issues figuring out & defining who they are. It often feels like many Black journalistic outlets own some sort of stock in constantly talking about how this or that institution is racist or biased against Black people & that stock may fall if they go a day without buying or selling that verbal & written stock for their consumers. Every fashion weekevery Oscar show, every damn awards show period- given by institutions that were not built for nor by Black people, we talk about the lack of inclusion as we fight for & await inclusion while celebrating some sort of validation every time one of us makes it thru the coveted White promise land palace of glory, such as in the case of Red Tails & George Lucas getting the honored Vanguard award from the NAACP this year, which goes to a person whose groundbreaking work increases understanding & awareness of racial and social issues. This man did one movie & brought up a topic about Hollywood not running to green light any films with predominately Black casts or Black based strory lines, which was nothing new to anyone who has eyes & ears; yet he was able to use this well known fact to get Black folks hyped to go & see a mediocre film with the threat of no Black based & casted films ever being made again by anyone in the Hollywood establishment if we didn’t all run to go see it in order to make sure he turned a profit for throwing us this bone. As much as I think George Lucas had good intentions- the entire PR machine & holding the Hollywood nonsense over the heads of Black people was just too over the top for me because a good film is a good film & should be able to sell itself, but as usual Black people bought the hype & threat of never again hook line & sinker to a point where even though Ava Duvernay became the first Black woman to win a best director honor at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival & prior to that her establishing the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement in efforts for greater focus on the writing, producing, directing & distribution of Black Films in setting the foundation to bypass the nonsense that George Lucas used to get Black folks to go & see his film; she seemed to have been not only completely overlooked for her individual efforts by the NAACP, but also by her own community in not recognizing that she has done more for the future of the collective of Black films & Black filmmakers than George Lucas’s 58 million dollar investment in Red Tails can ever do. Somehow in our praise for our “White Jesus” who gave us poor Black folks long overlooked by Hollywood a glimpse into the promise land of big budget mediocre filmmaking to bring us one step further to reaching that mountaintop, which we couldn’t possibly get there on our own because Dr. King’s time in taking us there had already come & gone; we completely looked over someone in our own community who represents our future in the excellence & self determination it has & will always take to get us anywhere, something that seems to be greatly missing in our constant dialogue of what “the white man or hollywood ” won’t or does not do for us.

Everyone speaks of how George Lucas spent his own money to make a Black film that he didn’t have to do- well that Black woman that loves & supports him didn’t have to choose him either & all those Black people that campaigned for him & got their Black booties in those theater seats so he could make a profit didn’t have to do that that either, so I would call us all even with a win/win situation except a better movie had already been made on the Tuskeegee airmen , so if Red Tails was the best we could do to honor the stories of our national heroes on a big budget platform then I won’t be shocked if Hollywood continues to not come calling.

This cycle of woe is me, the White man never gives us opportunities & goes out of his way to exclude Black people from every industry is like the screeching sound of nails on a chalkboard freezing you into a stagnation that never ends until someone goes over the deep end enough to push the screecher down from creating the useless insensitive noise that serves no purpose, but to rile up the mind & soul to agitation without much change. We are our own worst enemy in the profiteering off of our pain & woes which we seem to want to keep going in order for intellectuals & writers to keep writing books & articles, to keep having televised & un-televised conferences & platforms of debate, to keep NGO’s afloat to help us poor folks who can’t do it without them & worst of all to give us excuses for lack of self determination in getting over the hump that many before us refused to let be a deterrent in their personal achievements & achievements as a collective community. All of this talk generation after generation is nothing new, but we keep thinking we are reinventing the wheel or discovering a dialogue that has never been had before, instead of just merely going around in circles constantly missing the point to jump off the fast moving amusement park circular ride in order to be able to move forward. It often seems as if we would rather hold on to dear life to the ultimate go to crutch generation after generation, either out of plain insanity or fear of what will happen on the other side of emancipation from letting go of that mental enslavement which we seem to be so attached to as Blacks/Global Africans. We are the ones that keep the so called debate about colorism going amongst ourselves because frankly most White people in the world could careless about light or dark amongst us because for them Black is Black no matter your hue when it comes to whether they will hire, fire or give you acceptance or not & often the main factor of acceptance has more to do with the social class & wealth that one brings to the table or one can potentially bring to the table in order to be allowed a seat at the table.

Those whom came before our generation already found that out, yet we sit around kidding ourselves to think anyone with prejudices or race issues cares or will give preferential treatment if your coloring is closer to White than not, or whether you have any admixture of White or not. Anywhere in the world you go, you are still Black & for most people educated or not that means you are of African decent- they don’t care if you are from America, Jamaica, Colombia, Brazil, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, Trinidad, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Seychelles, Libya, Nigeria or wherever –you are Black of African descent period- so you can’t run away from yourself no matter how hard you try. At some point in life global Africans will have to come to accept who they are on a global scale or continue to be at the bottom to perish in denial & disunity just as it was planned & written first by our slave masters & colonizers then by us for us!

- See more at: http://globalfusionproductions.com/global-sound-system/dont-call-me-african-the-cries-crisis-of-lost-africans-continues/#sthash.ufK1o5hD.dpuf