“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.

Tarris L. Woods is a former city of Galveston councilman for District 1.


Recommended for you

(2) comments

Charles Douglas

Mr. Woods said, ( "This type of quasi-executive and quasi-judicial power of rogue police officers can only be stopped by a police officer with a guardian mentality." ) People can say what they will, or say what they may, about the training, and all the different things which needs to take place to ensure what happened in Minneapolis and in Atlanta does not happen again, and to be sure, I'm not disagreeing with much of what has been said, but in the end it will be more about what Mr. Woods stated which I referenced above! Other officers who take their profession, calling, and oath serious,.. will have to step up and intervene in a situation gone bad like what happened in Atlanta, and Minnesota! In Minnesota, if one officer, ONE, ..had possessed the professional wherewithal to get that rogue cop off Mr. FLOYD, who was subdued and in custody, ....just look at the money, heartbreaks, anxiety, and lives which would have been protected, and un-altered. Let's list some, Want to? First, Mr. FLOYD would be alive, next, those four Officers would still have their jobs, and would not be sitting in prison for years in the future! Next, Mr. Floyd's wife would not be a widow, and his children would still have a father, his nieces and nephews an uncle, etc. Next, many business owners would still be open for business and their employees would still have their jobs! Next, All those who lost their lives or have had permanent damage to their ways of life by peripheral fallout caused by Mr. Floyd's MURDER, would still be whole and undamaged! Lastly, what about the families of the Officers, ...the wives, parents, childrens, how will their lives be changed? Think about ALL the families involved here. What sacrifices and changes will be FORCED on them now, because of one selfish man with a lust for control! All these calamities, griefs and hurts could have been avoided,.. IF JUST ONE OFFICER out of three had manned up to the oath he took to protect and serve the citizenry of the City of Minneapolis, in the State of Minnesota, and if all four had adhered to the rights given to Mr. FLOYD under the Constitution of The United States Of America!

Charles Douglas

I also would like to plead with Police Officers all over this nation, do the right thing! Think about those you love and those who love you who you owe it to to come back home safely after every shift you work! They love You, they need and are counting on You! Don't burn you life and future down by not following established regulations and protocols which have been given to you to perform your job.If you make up your mind to work righteously as per the law, then those you work with needs to know ahead of time how you roll, tell them if not! I had a female partner in Houston for a while and she knew my beliefs, and my moves and I knew hers! We both understood where the other was coming from! I recommend that kind of partnership 100 percent!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.