“Then Moses said to the people: Remember this day in which you came out of the house of slavery, because the Lord brought you out with his mighty hand.” — Exodus 13:3
Over the last 32 years, I’ve recognized the anniversary of Juneteenth as a golden opportunity to reflect on the past with the hope that some progress in racial equality has been made. But, in the sprit of reflection a more accurate view of history is necessary.
Most students of history will remember that America’s original sin was born on August 14, 1619, when Capt. John Jope docked the White Lion, a slave ship, on the shores of Jamestown, Virginia, and immediately sold 20 starving, naked, and in chains Africans stolen from Angola to John Rolfe for food.
Slavery dates back to ancient times. The Sumerian, Greeks, Romans and Egyptians practiced slavery. But, there was a major difference between the structural aspects of ancient slavery and American slavery.
In ancient times, slaves were white. They were acquired as war captives, were treated as human beings and were provided an education. Slavery wasn’t a permanent condition and no Civil War had to be fought to preserve slavery during ancient times.
In America, slaves had to be a member of the black race. They weren’t considered to be human beings. They were things to be used and not people to be respected. They were kidnapped from Africa and transplanted in America for the expansion of capitalism. Slavery was a permanent condition. Slavery was America’s Achilles’ heel and directly responsible for a bloody Civil War.
Now, I must return to the selling of 20 black people for groceries.
That devilish deal between Jope and Rolfe simultaneously marks a beginning of 250 years of racial slavery and cemented the edifice for racial segregation over the next 150 years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery.
For the first time in 32 years, I cannot justify recognizing any gains African Americans have made in racial equality because of the senseless killings of black men, women and children at the hands of police officers who are charged with protecting us.
As a former police officer and a longtime recruiter of young minorities to choose careers in law enforcement, it made me sick to the stomach to watch a racist cop (Derek Chauvin) with a soulless look on his face, kill George Floyd, a defenseless black man crying out to him over and over again “I can’t breathe, sir.”
There’s no place in law enforcement for 400-year-old relics of the slave patrol that hunted down black people as a sadistic hobby. This type of quasi-executive and quasi-judicial power of rouge police officers can only be stopped by a police officer with a guardian mentality.
I sincerely hope the young men and women I’ve recruited will have the moral courage to bring down that blue wall of racial discrimination.
Juneteenth is the celebration of the day that the Lord brought African Americans out of the house of slavery — and we’re not going back into that house ever again.