Black History is Virginia History

Black history in America began in Virginia in 1619. It's impossible to separate Virginia and Black history. Likewise, Black history for the future should be written in Virginia - if we Virginians, choose the right path forward and upward. The next era of Black history can be the greatest chapter ever. The past three era's provide a platform for race-based history. The next era should be one of a race-irrelevant future.

1619-1865. Slavery Times - 246 years. Sad times with terrible choices made by the ruling majority over and over. A history of tragedy, trial, testing, tribulation and transformation. Yet, this was the time when Blacks became Americans. Whether other Americans liked it or not, Blacks lost almost everything that was of Africa and participated in almost everything that made America become America.

The black strand was tied with the white strands in the strong rope of three strands. American history became inseparable from Black history - or, more accurately, Americans who are Black.

Blacks didn't become African-Americans. Very little, and nothing that matters, of African culture and the civilizations (tribes) that produced African slaves survived the total institution that was slavery.  What can be attributed to a uniquely Black sub-culture is what developed in resistance, accommodation and survival to slavery. Like the role the Black church has in public affairs and community meetings - that distinguish itself from the white sub-culture around the block. A Black sub-culture became part of the American quilt.

But, the Black sub-culture was a parallel to the White sub-culture where most Blacks lived - as part of the Southern culture. Read Dr. Thomas Sowell. In fact, Black sub-culture is more the dominant culture of the South, Scot-Irish Frontier, than it's African. The ideas that matter in the Black sub-culture can be traced back to Northern Ireland far more than Nigeria.

Most of all, Jesus Christ came to Blacks in America. The Christian experience is fundamental to Black sub-culture. Christian thinking and behavior is essential to the best, possible future for the Black sub-culture.

1865-1965. Segregation Times - 100 years. Tragedies continued, but victory triumphed. No group, sub-culture or culture, in the history of the world came as far, as fast, as high, as well, as widely, over such hurdles with such respect and honor as Blacks did from freedom to the final victory of the Civil Rights era with the Voting Rights Act, 1965. (I'd give the lowland Scots 1700-1760 the second place silver).

The parallel structure of white and black sub-cultures in the South solidified. The black migration up North from WWI to near the end of the 20th Century changed the North.

The American Creed - the foundational ideas that make America = America - was opened to Blacks. Expanding the concept of fully 'American' to foundational Americans was justice delayed, but justice that served the best interests of all Americans.  Civil Rights victories were wins for all Americans - and, obviously, all Virginians.

1965-2009 Racist Times - 44 years. Triumph followed victory for more and more Blacks - culminating in the historic election of a half-Black man as President of the United States. Yet, tragedy took a different turn with the destruction of the family in the Black sub-culture. This tragedy began with good-hearted, empty-headed government policies on welfare. The destruction comes from the illegitimacy rate of black children and the mass murder through abortion.

Black families without fathers suffer every social pathology. The few who succeed are the exceptions that truly prove the rule. The results are multi-generational pain and scars more searing than slavery and segregation. Yet, like slavery and segregation the Black Christians can come up - as Booker T. Washington - and overcome - as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Racism has always been an issue. But racism changed. The racism of this time was enabled and encouraged by people who make their living based on the color of their skin and the politicians who demagogue to keep the power base of the Democrat political plantation. Affirmative action became race-based identity politics, special interest scams, that enrich a few, impoverish political discourse, and defeat too many hard fought wins from the long climb up the American ladder.

2009 - ? Future Times. In 2042 Blacks will be about 15 percent of the population (up from 13 percent today).  Hispanics, Blacks and Asians will be over 50 percent of the American Nation.

Virginia needs to lead the way.

Drop the fiction of African-Americans. We're all Virginians - or not. Live up to Thurgood Marshall's argument: "Classifications and distinctions based on race or color have no moral or legal validity in our society."  End programs, preferences, set asides and government jobs that are based on the color of skin. Make Black History Month as time-stamped a curiosity as Confederate History Month. (Yet, for my readers - an integral part of every future Southern History Month!)

Fix Black families with fathers. "If black people continue to accept the corrupt blame game agenda of liberal whites, black politicians and assorted hustlers, as opposed to accepting personal responsibility, the future for many black Americans will remain bleak." -- Economist Walter E. Williams, PhD.

3 Responses »

  1. Mr. Bowdon,

    Your article on Black Virginians had some very interesting observations and suggestions. Oh if we could live a perfect world where a person's skin color was inconsequential! I have a couple of additional comments.

    1. Black sub-culture was strongly influenced by the advanced Native American societies of the Lower South. The Colony of Virginia contracted with the Rickohocken Indians (later known as Cherokees) to enslave over 600,000 Native Americans - abducted from the indigenous agricultural communities in the South that blocked expansion of plantation economies. There was much intermarrying between Indian and black slaves in Virginia. Most foods on the Soul Food menu are actually traditional Creek dishes (with the exception of okra and turnip/collard greens.) The Creeks deep fat fried with zero cholesterol hickory nut oil, however. The Uncle Remus Tales were originally Creek children stories that later passed into the slave quarters.

    My Creek ancestry began with the slave girl Mary in Fredericksburg, VA, who was freed by an edict from King George I in 1752 that banned Native American slavery. She married a recently arrived Scotsman named William Bone, and they returned back to her people in South Carolina. The descendants generally married Creeks for the next 150 years.

    After King George's Edict, many colonies passed laws that if a Native American slave was as little as 1/64 African, they could not be freed. These laws were hard to enforce on Indians with a trace of African and some European ancestry. Physically, they looked identical to the many frontiersmen with some Native American heritage.

    2. Come on now . . . I live in Georgia. Both parties paid the race card to the hilt. The Democrats "farmed" the black communities, while the Republicans here rose to power here absolutely on the race issue. No one dared mention it, but everyone knows that Billy Joe Redneck switched parties because the Democrats were equated with integration.

    The same thing goes for the Southern Baptist Church. It was founded on the slavery issue. The Methodist Church was the largest denomination in the Southeast until segregation days. It opened its doors to black members. The Southern Baptist Church initially fought segregation. The situation quickly resulted in the Methodists losing a third of their members in the South, while the Southern Baptists doubled in size.

    Richard Thornton

  2. When I look at Mt. Rushmore I am supposed to gaze on the nobility of our founding fathers. That's really nice. The reality is that they were slave owning, Indian murdering, misogynists. Mr Bowden, I have read your columns on this site for years and those that appear on The Va. News source. I am aware of your agenda and what you believe. Your world view is just that. Yours. This is America afterall. If it bothers you that others see wrongs that should be redressed and are willing to do so how does that break your leg or empty your purse? This country was built on the backs of people that had no voice and the subsidy they gave is your legacy as a superior white male. Why are you constantly agitating in coded words? What makes you so nervous? As an American and a Virginian I want to know the truth of our history. This helps me to understand the mean spiritedness that still exists. I'm still trying to understand why it is necessary today.

  3. Frances, I couldn't have said it better. Bravo!

    It is true. This is America why are we covering the truth. Without our history how can we ever begin to understand the present.