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Slavery By Another Name

Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Wall Street Journal senior writer Douglas A. Blackmon, the documentary explores the little-known story of the post-Emancipation era and the labor practices and laws that effectively created a new form of slavery in the South that persisted well into the 20th century.

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One of the sad realities in the history of slavery is that many who defined themselves as Christians but are actually (misguided), have taken texts out of context to justify their own sinful beliefs.  One of the most prominent examples of the misinterpretation of scripture is the Curse of  Canaan found in Genesis 9:27. 

 

Genesis 9:27 -  “May God enlarge [the land of] Japheth, And let him dwell in the

tents of Shem;  And let Canaan be his servant.”

 

I first heard of the association of this Scripture and Slavery while watching a movie called Mississippi Burning.   In the movie, the wife of a Klansman tells the FBI agent “Hatred isn’t something you’re born with it gets taught, school they said segregation is what’s said in the Bible, Genesis 9:27.  You get told it enough time, you believe it, you believe the hatred, you live it, you breathe it, you marry it.” 

How scripture was used to justify slavery and the mistreatment of African-Americans

This text is commonly referred to as “The Curse of Ham,” and was used by many white Christians in the previous centuries to justify the enslavement and horrible treatment of black people by white slave masters. These people believed that Ham’s descendants eventually populated Africa, and their dark skin is a sign that they are under the curse, and thus subject to enslavement by the descendants of Shem and Japheth (non-black-skinned people).

 

However, even after zealous Christians fought in the Abolition movement to get rid of slavery, many exegetes of Scripture continued to use this passage to justify Jim Crow laws, segregation, membership in the Ku Klux Klan, and the general mistreatment of black people.

So how did this get started?  Let’s look at Genesis 9:1-27

Now, Noah had 3 sons: (Shem, Ham, and Japheth). Now it is important to remember that Ham was the father of Cannan.  NOTECanna is the land that God promised to Israel when they left Egypt. 

Noah began to be a farmer and he planted a vineyard.  Noah drank the wine from his vineyard and became drunk and became uncovered in his tend - (he was naked).  Ham saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers who were outside - (The sin wasn’t’ necessarily seeing, which might have been unintentional, but in the telling, especially if his purpose was to make a mockery of his father).  However, the two brothers took a garment laid it on their shoulders and went in backward, and covered the nakedness of their father. – (They did not see the nakedness of their father).  When Noah awoke and knew what his son had done to him, he said - Genesis 9:27 - “May God enlarge [the land of] Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem;  And let Canaan be his servant.”

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Blacks Before America

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Blacks Before America" tells the story of Blacks thousands of years before Columbus landed in America.  Blacks were at the forefront of human civilization.  BBA describes the course of the civilization from Egyptian dynasties to the African pharaohs and queens, to early Christian priests, bishops and popes, traders, artists, and many more.

Blacks made extensive migrations to distant parts of the world for many centuries and left evidence of artifacts, paintings, and languages as proof of their advanced civilization.

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Before the dawn of History

Blacks have been identified with Africa.  The knowledge that Blacks made extensive migrations to far away parts of the world for many centuries has been hidden, de-emphasized, or diverted.  Actually, there is evidence even before written history that Black were world travelers.

  • There were Blacks on the Australian continent when it was first sighted by the Spanish in 1604 – Australia is 8000 miles from Africa.

  • American World War II servicemen were greeted by Blacks on the Solomon Islands of New Guinea again thousands of miles from Africa. 

  • A colony of Blacks was discovered in 1923 in southern China by Dr. Joseph Rock, a representative of the United States Department of Agriculture.  On the Adamese Islands, a part of the Republic of India, descendants of Negrito people have been found.  Though few are aware of it, Blacks have inhabited the Philippines for hundreds of years.

  • In the Western Hemisphere, Indians, or Native Americans, followed Black Asians across the Bering Straits.

The African earth has surrendered to archaeologists and anthropologists the earliest remains of a man and his ancestors.

MAN ORIGINATED IN AFRICA

Scholars have dug up skeletons in Africa as old as  50,000 years, while sites in Europe including Italy, England, Russia, and Scandinavia have yielded bones no more than 20,000 years old.  Proof of Black inhabitation has been uncovered in Western Asia.  Discoveries dating back six thousand years before Christ show Black Settlers called Natufians in Palestine.

Hatshepsut was an Egyptian princess whose grandmother, Nefertari Aahmes, was an Ethiopian.  She lived more than 150 years before Tutankhamen-(KING TUT) or approximately 3500 years ago.  Early in her royal life, Hatshepsut challenged 3000 years of male supremacy by fighting her way to the throne and holding it for 33 years.  She named Nehusi, a full-blooded Black, as prime minister and another Black, Semnut, as chief architect.

It was with the latter that she campaigned to build the greatest and most beautiful temple Egypt had ever seen.  Today her temple at Dier el Bahari stands as a monument to her effort and the genius of her builders.

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Hatshepsut, First Queen of Egypt

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Influence on

the Greeks

The influence of African culture, history, and tradition can be traced through Egypt and North America.  It can be seen in the very beginnings of Grecian civilization.  Homer’s Odyssey XIX tells of the glories of Ethiopia.  Africans were called the favorites of the gods and the most just of men.

According to Dr. William Metford, in his book History of Greece, there were Ethiopian colonies in Greece.  This led him to doubt whether Greeks were of Phoenician or Egyptian origin.  He described Greece as a melting pot of nations and noted that the engravings and wall paintings in both the Aurignacian and Magdelian Ages were similar to those of modern Blacks.

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Among the Romans

From before the beginning of the Punic Wars (264 B.C.), through Rome’s mightiest years until its decline, Blacks had had an active role in Roman society.  They were citizens, soldiers, military leaders, teachers, writers, slaves, chariot drivers, racers, and artisans.  It was a century after the Third Punic War (149-146 B.C.) before Rome began to know about the interior of Africa.  Until then, all information came from countries that bordered West Africa such as Carthage and Egypt.  Later Romans penetrated the interior for trade, battle, losses, and conquests.  

Records show that a Roman official named Cornelius Gallus met with an Ethiopian government official in 29 B.C. to settle a boundary dispute which would separate Roman Egypt from Ethiopia. 

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Revelations 12:11

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

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3 Black
African Popes

Black Victor, a native of Africa, was the fifteenth Pope.  He served from 186 A.D. until 197 A.D. during the reign of Emperior Septimius Severus, also an African who had led Roman legions into Britain.  Scholars now recognize that it was Victor who reaffirmed the Holy Feast of Easter to be held on Sunday as Pope Pius had done.  Black Victor was Pope for ten years, two months, and ten days.  He was crowned with martyrdom and buried in the Vatican near the body of the Apostle Peter, the First Pope. 

 

Militades occupied the papacy from 311 to 314 A.D., serving four years seven months, and eight days.  He decreed that none of the faithful should fast on Sunday or on the fifth day of the week because this was the custom of the pagans.  He noted in Rome that there was a Perian-based religion called Manichaenism, the faith of a people called Manichaens who said they could release the spirit from the body through asceticism.

 

Of the three Black African popes, Gelasius seems to have been the busiest.  He occupied the hold papacy four years, eight months, and eighteen days (492 A.D. to 496 A.D.).  Gelasius followed up Militades’ work with the Manichaens.  He made an issue of why the Manichaens’ gods had not provided calm seas to bring late grain ships to Rome and prevent suffering.  He exiled them from Rome and burned their books before the doors of the Basilica of the Holy Mary.

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Blacks in the New World

There are numerous documents that tell of the presence of Blacks with Spanish explorers who came to the New World after Columbus touched it in 1492.  Blacks were also with Columbus on all his voyages.  Pedro Nino was said to have piloted the ship Capitania Hispania on the third voyage. 

Blacks were with Pedro de Aviles Menendez when he founded Saint Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in America.  Vasco Nunez Belloa, who had Blacks with him, speaks of finding a colony of Blacks in Panama in 1513.  He marched across the bottom of the present United States and reached the Pacific Ocean, where Blacks built the first ships in America and planted and harvested the first wheat. 

 

The Conquistadores found Blacks dispersed in small tribes and villages throughout the New World.  There were colonies of Blacks in northern Brazil called the Chares.  There were others at Saint Vincent on the Gulf of Mexico, where Black Caribs clustered around the mouth of the Orinoco River in

present-day Venezuela.

Courtesy of 
Blacks Before America
Mark Hyman

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AFRO-GERMANS DURING THE HOLOCAUST

The Nazi German regime did not have an organized program to eliminate African Germans. However, the regime discriminated against and persecuted them. Some Black people in Germany and German-occupied territories were isolated; an unknown number were sterilized, incarcerated, or murdered.

AFRO-GERMANS DURING THE HOLOCAUST

Afro-German Children in the Rhineland

Following World War I, the victorious Allies occupied the Rhineland in western Germany. The use of French colonial troops, some of whom were Black, in these occupation forces heightened anti-Black racism in Germany. Racist propaganda against Black soldiers falsely depicted them as rapists of German women and carriers of venereal and other diseases. The German press derogatorily referred to the children of Black soldiers and German women as the “Rhineland Bastards.”  The Nazis viewed Afro-Germans—children with one African parent and one German parent—as a threat to the purity of the Germanic race. In his 1925 autobiography, Mein Kampf (My Struggle), Adolf Hitler charged that “the Jews had brought the Negroes into the Rhineland with the clear aim of ruining the hated white race by the necessarily-resulting bastardization.” 

Nazi Persecution of Afro-Germans

Once the Nazi regime came to power, Afro-Germans were marginalized in German society, isolated socially and economically, and not allowed to attend university. Racial discrimination prohibited them from seeking most jobs. By the end of 1937, the Gestapo had secretly rounded up and forcibly sterilized many Afro-Germans. Some were subjected to medical experiments; others mysteriously “disappeared.”

In addition to being persecuted for their race, Afro-Germans were persecuted for other reasons. For example, Hilarius Gilges was an Afro-German dancer and Communist activist from Düsseldorf, Germany. Nazis murdered him on June 20, 1933, for his politics, as well as his race. Today, Hilarius Gilges Platz in Düsseldorf memorializes Gilges as a victim of Nazi terror.

To view the entire story, visit

AFRO-GERMANS DURING THE HOLOCAUST