African American Experience and Lessons for Africans Caribbean Immigrants

by Paul I. Adujie

Lessons in Perseverance tenacity persistence; Whites won’t let Scott Joplin do his ragtime Maple Leaf/Elizabethan ragtime; Whites won’t let Marian Anderson sing He got the whole world in his hands. Whites won’t let Paul Robeson the lawyer sing practice law or sing his songs, travel and speak against injustice. Whites won’t let Jackie Robinson and others play baseball until much later. Whites won’t let Dr. Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X speak about race brutality oppression. Multitudes and countless African Americans have been superb innovators in science, medicine and the arts. We should proclaim acclaimed African Americans, from the real McCoy of brakes to modern day marvel of medicine, the neurosurgeon Ben Carson MD so many others. We should never allow others to say we made no contribution to build this nation and the world!

As a general statement African Americans are the unsung heroes of America and in fact, the unsung heroes of the world, think of their peculiarly checkered slave history, then segregation and racism and then their triumph in the face of insurmountable odds!

Imagine the rejected and despised denigrated stone becomes the cornerstone of the American super structure! Think of remarkable creations by African Americans which have enriched America and the world, even as I imagine you the reader is read my thought here while you quite likely listening to your favorite Jazz or Rhythm and Blues or Hip-Hop tunes.

Unfortunately, and contrary to what proponents of post-racial America would have you believe, there remains, a profound and boundless contempt for African Americans. And sadly enough, this phenomenon is no longer limited to hatreds espoused by some White Americans and recent immigrants from all continents are liable to espouse preconceived notions and stereotypes about African Americans. In places where I have lived and worked, it occurs without fail and inexplicably so, that it comes to a point in which some person would pull me aside and tell me “nicely” to be wary of African Americans and why not to bandy together with “them” And these are usually couched as if said for my best interest! Usually for my ears only! My feeling about such persons “advising” me is usually that they do not mean well, if they are working so hard to divide us. They also leave me to wonder what exactly they say in my absence!

How was it ever possible, to have been a slave-holder and terrorist, with all brutalities it required to brand a human being as if farm animal? How was it possible to burn slaves at public burn fires to thunderous applauses? Why would such criminality engender applauses? Why would anyone engage in such criminally inhuman spectacle and then say he is a gentleman? How can you be any sorts of gentleman when your inhuman nonhuman debased perverse ways are so warped and twisted? You are “owner” holder of another human being? That was then, how about now? We are all post racial now? Not so fast, I say!

America is deeply driven in many ways, racially, but over several hundreds of years, America has managed to project and present herself to the whole world as the bastion of equality liberty and freedom! All you need to do to understand this is to think of such terms as the so-called Christian Gentleman Slave-owner! Of the bible belt USA! Is this not the point where you were supposed to beg someone for the spelling of oxymoron? How does anyone combine in the same sentence, a Christian, a gentleman and a slave-owner with a straight-face? I guess it is the same ingenuity which gave gumption to some to erect a church atop of a slave dungeon?

We have also witnessed the exposure of the charade and façade assumed as basic American ideals or tenets of justice. Which too frequently, is replete with permanence of double standards, with negative and impact and sordid consequences for African Americans? Everyone is familiar with the disproportionate presence of peoples of African descent among the more than one million prisoners in America. Prison and incarceration is actually a growth industry; it rapidly being privatized as well. And for anyone who is conversant with the comparisons between advantages of nurture over nature, it is easy to see the implications inherent in money being poured into the criminal justice system, not for rehabilitations, but for warehousing our people. Money better spent on funding of schools or educational institutions. Most college students do not go robbing banks or picking other peoples’ pockets!

African Americans should be seen as super citizens of America and the world. African Americans stand out as role models for Nigerians and other Africans. And many have modeled struggles as such worldwide. People around the world have used methods of political struggle for civil rights employed by African Americans since abolition through Jim Crow and now, against institutional racism. Nothing has ever been handed or given to African Americans, they have had to struggle for economic, political and civil rights some of which are now reality enjoyed by me and others.

Despite an exceedingly painful experience in America, surprisingly, African Americans remain loyal, steadfast and patriotic to America, despite the hell catching experience which African Americans have had, since arriving, the shores of America. Conversely, I could not say that a majority of Nigerians are loyal, steadfast and patriotic about matters Nigerian! This despite the fact that many Nigerians in the Diaspora, most probably received free or subsidized college and professional education in Nigeria, for which they would have owed upwards of a $100,000.00 had they had identical training or education, say, in America. Therefore, as bad or unproductive as some Nigerians may think Nigeria have been, such Nigerians actually benefited something of value anyhow. But these Nigerians are not comparatively fierce about Nigeria as African Americans are about America, despite their past and continuing ordeals! As an aside; must we measure our affections through only what we receive or personally benefit?

African Americans Are Africa Responsibility Twice.

Our defeat our weakness our default in defense of our homeland made it possible or permitted or facilitated the snatching, kidnapping and the enslavement of our kits and kin Peoples of African descent who are now scattered outside African continent. There is abundant evidence of the fierce resistances mounted by continental Africans against slavery and colonialism. In the end, we could not withstand or outduel, the invaders. Nonetheless, it is the case that Africans were not docile as revisionist would have gullible persons believe. So it is, Africa failed in her guard of her perimeters. And Africans did not subsequently invade America or any country in Europe in search and rescue of our snatched cousins. The least we can do now, is to create a conducive environment in Africa, for peoples of African descent in forced Diaspora during these several hundred years. That sadly has not happened. Some Africans now voluntarily live in the Diaspora as well, and anyone would have thought we would be closer to our Diaspora cousins more than anyone else? We ought to manage to reconnect, after these hundred years. And yes, I know there are economic and all types of pressures on recent immigrants from the continent and survival is the first and immediate concern of all immigrants. Our people need to connect and reconnect. Certainly not display disdain, distrust and contempt for ourselves. We are one.

Peoples of African descent, are scattered all over the world today, not as willing immigrants. But rather, as those who were bundled, hurled and made cargos to various destinations outside of Africa. These are non-immigrant Africans who left African involuntarily but under compulsion and extreme brutality and under horrendous conditions and worse, were some Africans who acted collusively aiding and abetting or collaborated with the invaders; Bad as it is, collaboration should only be

seen as a subset and not the main event or factor in was slave trade. No African sent memos emails or twitters demanding that slave traders from America and Europe sail hundreds of miles for slaves, as revisionist are now harping happily insisting to the applause of even some unthinking Africans. Americans and Europeans were fine Christian fellows, until they receive emails from Africans who were interested in slave trade?

It must be restated here that too many Africans taken into slavery. And those Africans are the bulk of what is now the more 500 years Diaspora Africans. Our weaknesses, our lack of killer-instincts, let the enslavement of Africans be a growth industry and profitable industry for the benefit and enrichment of others. Africans did not defend the homeland then and in every sense, it is doubtful that there is that defense now in view of our leadership quandary.

Continental Africans in the Diaspora should, if anything, aspire to make whole, all peoples of African descent who are in fact our people. We should begin by showing them respect. Then form synergies, for our collective improvements in the Diaspora and on the continent of Africa. Our presence in the Diaspora should and must be valued added to our descendants who were compelled into the Diaspora before, we the recent immigrants willingly, in search of greener pastures, joined them. Value added to our descendants’ economic, political and cultural clout. We will do better, on both sides, to dump and jettison condescension.

When will Africans defend Africa and Africans in the Diaspora?

I am in complete agreement Bolaji Akinyemi’s publicly stated idea of creating stability, development and advancement in Africa, but in Nigeria in particular; which in turn will be a bedrock for continental and Diaspora Africans; I once wrote an article in which I wondered aloud as I asked why Africans are not angry with raving umbrage with Africa’s historical lot! What with slavery and then colonialism or persisting disparities and injustices?

Why is it that Africans then and now, seem not to be sufficiently outraged? Why is it that African never mounted invasions against other countries over the twin-evils that were slavery and colonialism? And why were African never sufficiently angry over the impact of Apartheid on Africans? Apartheid of which Ronald Reagan’s America demanded constructive engagement? Why were Africans not the Kamikazees or the suicide bombers of the world before anyone else among oppressed and conquered peoples thought of it?

In amazement, I often marvel at the persistence and tenacity of African Americans, and peoples of African descent in the Diaspora. These are people who have been stripped of their African names, stripped of their languages, stripped of their culture, religion and their dignity and much more, even still, the persevered and they are still here, striving and making quantum progress. The least that we can do is respect, enable and support them, but certainly, not to mock them. And factually, our best interests lay in corralling our energies with theirs, for uplifting all of us across the spectrum and across the literal and metaphorical oceans. Our redemption, our collective salvations depend on this global unity of continental Africans and all peoples of African descent.

We all ought to be keenly aware that there is a sort of family conflict and an existing schema of mutual suspicion. We all ought to honestly debate and address these.

These multifaceted chasms and schisms, between African Americans, continental Africans and other peoples of African descent who interact these days in America and Europe surely need to be eliminated; these are mostly misconceptions and based on misperceptions. Home grown compelled to stay in desperate bottom, perceives the new imported desperate bottom, as clueless usurpers, who are willing to ignore ground rules and the high price already paid for minimum progress, while the transplant is busily taking full advantage and benefit of outcomes of the struggles. And halting condescension is perceived by the aloofness, nonchalance, and tone deafness of it is not my fight attitude of some newcomers.

Resolving these conflicts and mutual suspicions is crucial prerequisite for our collective progress. Continental Africans and peoples of African descent have suffered enough atrocities, calamities and catastrophes. We have witnessed enough contemptuous attitudes toward Haitian refugees in sharp contrast with the welcome which have been ever readily offered to refugees from Cuba or Sarajevo. We have been witness to dramatic responses to disasters elsewhere, such as food and aid packages being dropped from 30,000 feet by planes in the air, in the former Yugoslavia, compared with the excuses made in relation to similar human disasters in the Congo, Liberia, Somalia or Sierra Leone or Haiti.

We need to return to the great ideas of our ancestors and forbears, such as Marcus Garvey. Continental Africans and all peoples of African descent need to collectively confront our forced underachievement. There is strength in numbers, united purposeful numbers. Particularly in a globalized world, numbers drive trade, investment, good governance etc.

If for any reason on earth you have not heard or read about the following names, you should do yourself the greatest favor there is, Google, Wikipedia or go to the public library nearest to you. I might add that mentioned names are by no means exhaustive a list of our greats and extraordinary peoples of African descent who serve as our exemplars.

Let the conversation start and let the healing and unity begin in earnest.

Below as accompaniments, brief excerpts culled from web, the reader is encouraged to dig deeper on own accord and beguiling delights for the willing!

Anderson, Marian was an American contralto and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century. she was denied the right to sing, this denial was particularly peculiar, for it came from women, white women, so-called Daughters of the American Revolution! Daughters of the American Revolution who did not believe in Marian Anderson’s constitutional rights!

Albernathy Ralph.was an American civil rights activist and leader and a close associate of Martin Luther King Jr. was one of Martin Luther King’s closest friends during the civil rights movement. His guidance can be seen in the Montgomery bus boycott.

Bethune Mary McCloud was an American educator and civil rights leader best known for starting a school for black students …an African American teacher, was one of the great educators of the United States. She was a leader of women.

Wells, Ida B. .was a fearless anti-lynching crusader, suffragist, women’s rights advocate, journalist, and speaker etc

Garvey, Marcus.”Back-to-Africa” leader, was the most widely known of all the agitators for the rights of the Negro and one of the most phenomenal, in just ten years following his emigration to the United States as a laborer in 1917, Marcus Garvey rose to lead the largest black organization in history.Garvey’s life and role in popular history, as well as African nationalism.

Malcolm X (Little) Fierce and fiery firebrand political activist of the most spectacular kind
If you called him uncompromising in his stances, you would be spot on!

King Jr. Martin Luther.was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the A

frican-American civil rights . was a great man who worked for racial equality in the United States of America

W.E.B DuBois.Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote, “history cannot ignore W.E.B. DuBois because history has to reflect truth and Dr. DuBois was a tireless explorer … was a noted scholar, editor,

Douglass Fredrick.was an American abolitionist, women’s suffragist…was one of the foremost leaders of the abolitionist movement, which fought to end slavery within the United States.galvanized the antislavery movement

Park, Rosa..the “mother of the civil rights movement” was one of the most important citizens of the 20th century seamstress, whose refusal to move to the back of a bus touched off the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.Parks’ refusal to give up her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery (AL) in 1955 sparked the civil rights movement.. .she was described in the corporate media as a simple seamstress” no troublemaker “who was just too tired to give up her sit.Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, changing the course of the struggle for equality in the South.

Farmer, James.was integral in shaping the Civil Rights movement…was a Black civil rights activist who was one of the “Big Four” leaders of the American civil a principal founder of the Congress of Racial Equality and the last survivor of the “Big Four” who shaped the civil-rights struggle

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Paul I. Adujie Esq. April 19, 2019 - 4:08 am

Dear Publisher,

One of your millions of visitors and readers of aricles and materials published by your wonderful website, just pointed out the fact that, some of my articles on your website are missing my name as the author….

I often paste links to your website referring readers to materials published on your website…

It will be nice to have my name on all articles written by me ….as the author.

Thank you so very much, keep up the good work…of making our voices heard.

Most sincerely,
Paul I. Adujie Esq.

Reply July 27, 2009 - 3:00 pm

I am one of your “snatched cousins”, and I thank you for being objective in writing this article. It is imperative that we work together for our collective liberation and also restoring a positive image of our race. The key word you used was respect, which is lacking greatly in the Black diaspora. I appreciate your global perspective and it is refreshing to hear such words as it pertains to understanding one another. Thank you

Bamako July 24, 2009 - 4:55 pm

Good, always nourishing to read your pieces. But now they are becoming long. Anyway I take your point that we should wear our hated black skin with integrity …


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