The Frederick Douglass “Declaration” Against Isfet in the U.S.A. & Honoring Juneteenth

Posted on June 26, 2016 by

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 The Frederick Douglass “Declaration” Against Isfet in the U.S.A. and

The Galveston, TX Birthing of “Juneteenth” Celebrations of Our African Humanity

By Bro. Mxolisi Ozo-Sowande / T. Sowell

 

It is duly noted in credible studies that the consciousness and traditions of our Kemetian ancestors were/are reflected in the traditions and practices of nations around the world, including the U.S. That reality seems absolutely obvious in the selection of July 4th — exactly two weeks after the Summer Solstice in 1776 — as the day to celebrate the birth of this nation (USA) and its Declaration of Independence. This choice is said to have grown from the knowledge of Kemetian traditions gained by the pioneers and practitioners of Euro-centric (yurugu) Masonry, which would surely include discovering that the day of Summer Solstice opened a two-week period of reflection, celebration and renewal of commitment in Kemet, relative to divinely inspired harmony and justice throughout that ancient land.

In that light, the profound words of our great ancestor, ASAR Frederick Douglass, delivered on July 5, 1852, at an event commemorating the 76th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence come to mind.  It has been called a “biting oratory,” one that we might want to call “The Frederick Douglass Declaration of Consciousness and Resistance Relative to Isfet in the U.S.A.” With courage and character, he told that audience, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn.”

While forcefully voicing numerous reasons for his mourning, in the face of the hypocrisy of a nation having chattel slavery as the critical ingredient of its foundation and  prosperity,  and yet declaring that “all men are created equal,” Douglass raised this question:  Is it not astonishing that “while we are engaged in all manner of enterprises common to other men, . . . living, moving, acting, thinking, planning, living in families as husbands, wives, and children, and above all, confessing and worshiping the Christian’s God, and looking hopefully for life and immortality beyond the grave, we are called upon to prove that we are men (human)!?”

Douglass went on to say the following, among other “biting” truths: “Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.” (Douglass’ complete speech can be viewed here: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h2927t.html)

Galveston: Juneteenth!

That same Isfet absence of the light and spirit of humanity referenced by Douglass was embodied in the cold-blooded June 19, 1865 delivery of the so-called Emancipation Proclamation to the state of Texas, two days before the Summer Solstice of that year, more than two years after the Proclamation’s coming into being, some 13 years after Douglass’ “declaration.”

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.”  General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865

There you have it. Slavery is over. Remain quietly at your “present homes” and work for wages. Expect no support from this liberating army. Deal with the Isfet the best way you can.

Juneteenth, Galveston

 

As you might imagine, the humanity that even chattel slavery could not kill was released in rejoicing and celebration by formerly enslaved Africans in and around Galveston (those whose circumstances allowed them to do so), to the resentment of whites in the area. In the following year, with Isfet (“jim crow laws”) prohibiting them from using public parks in the area, those “free at last” Africans, in the spirit of Kujichagulia/Ujima/Ujamaa, pooled their funds to purchase land on which to hold the first organized and scheduled “Juneteenth” celebrations in U.S. history. Emancipation Park in Houston, Booker T. Washington Park in Mexia, and Emancipation Park in Austin are among those sites.

The celebration of June 19 as emancipation day — a day to nurture and deepen the celebration of the survival of African humanity in our hearts and souls — spread from Texas to the neighboring states of Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma as liberated Africans moved out to find their family members. It also took root in Alabama, Florida, California and elsewhere, as Africans migrated from Texas.

Here & Now!Juneteenth, NOW

As we find ourselves entering the second week of 2016’s post-Summer Solstice Day period, it seems clear to this writer that a serious measure of the spirit of Frederick Douglass’ 1852 Declaration is still relevant for our reflections and our action agendas. The list of systematic Isfet injustices that continue to be imposed upon us African-descended “citizens” is considerable:

  • gross injustices in hiring and promotional policies and practices;
  • pipeline-to-prison (mis-)education situations;
  • reprehensible practices of police departments – profiling, brutalities, homicides;
  • inequitable, unjustified mass incarceration of Black men (and increasing numbers of Black women);
  • indifference to the life-threatening challenges of poverty – medical, nutritional, social, spiritual, etc.;
  • on-going efforts to reverse legislation and policies enacted to address these and other injustices.

These and other issues make it imperative that we speak and act militantly and diligently, allowing the powers that be in this land no room to rest in their niches of comfort, privilege and corruption. Black Lives Matter! Justice Must Be Done!

On the other side of that coin, above and beyond what local, state or national governments might do, we must take some of that Frederick Douglass spirit and all of the spirit of our formerly enslave African ancestors, to nurture and accelerate the never-ending celebration of the survival of African humanity in our hearts and souls – every day, every season, every year, in every person of our families and communities. “Juneteenth” and otherwise. We must:

  • become more militant and diligent in the raising of our children, protecting them from anti-AfricFrederick Douglass 2an forces, ideas and customs that are rampant in this society; get to know and embrace the African wisdom that teaches: A child is not a complete being until he or she has been taught the values, principle and expectations of their parents, elders, family & community (village); this must take priority over all other inputs;
  • discover and embrace values, principles expectations that will serve as the foundations for our lives and raise us above the temptations of this society’s “carrots on sticks” and all other absurdities – spiritual, material, economic, social, other;
  • get our churches and other community organizations to work together, to devote time, energy and resources for ongoing programs that will give life to effective self-reliance developments and pride in our communities, including businesses that bring products, services and employment opportunities;
  • develop family mission statements that include responsibilities and positive roles for every member of the household, with inputs from children and adults;
  • have regular reading and study sessions of positive Black historical and cultural materials; on a rotational basis, adopt inspirational ancestors and cherish their spiritual presence in our homes & hearts regularly;
  • be pro-actively involved with the education of our children – homeschool, private, public, or whatever combination; the “educational” pipeline to poverty, prison & living death must end !!!
  • do all we can, in every way we can, to bring a halt to “babies having babies” – talk, teach, listen!
  • do all we can, in every way we can, to bring a halt to Black on Black violence and crime.

These and other issues make it absolutely imperative that we work together! Ujima! Making our Sisters’ and Brother’s problems Our problems, and working together to solve them. Let that be our ongoing celebration of the survival, revival and power of African humanity in our hearts and souls!

It’s in our hands, if it’s in our hearts!!!

Ankh, Udja, Seneb! / (Life, Prosperity/Vitality, Good Health!)

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