In a drawer at my home is a folded American flag, a pair of house slippers, an obituary and funeral service notice. That flag was given to my mother at my father’s funeral services by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Local 3741, in Bakersfield, California. The flag represents the service my dad gave in World War II to protect this country from the racism of a guy named Hitler, and fascism from guys with names like Mussolini.
Like so many African American veterans, my father came home after helping to secure a victory from fascism and racism, only to face the same racism and fascism in America. Fascism was based on a theory that the state and private corporations should join together and cooperate for the good of the country. In other words, the corporations should control the state as corporate giants like the Koch Brothers control the Republican Party today. Some say that today’s America, the Republican/Tea Party, are wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporations. Both Nazism and Fascism believed in the superiority of the White race and inferiority of Blacks and other darker skinned ethnic groups.
Today, we see evidence of Nazism and racism in states like North Carolina where the corporate machine is forcing the state to back track on things like voting rights, unemployment benefits, and free public education. We see it in states like Florida, Louisiana and Arizona where the government is trying to implement affordable health Laws, called Obamacare. The corporate interests, like insurance companies along with drug and pharmaceutical companies, have bought and paid for the Republican legislators and governors of those states to fight to prevent the implementation.
Remember that in a Fascist state, the corporate interests and the racial superiority felt by those whites are the primary interests. So when you get a Black President and a white middle class who don’t subscribe to the superiority motif, it becomes more difficult to control the masses. In fact, in America, the Republicans not only have a Black President, but a massive white middle class who intermarry with Blacks and a growing brown, Latino population. The question is, “What’s a Nazi and Fascist to do?” One of their answers is to spend more money to buy more politicians.
The job of us as Americans is to be true to what our fathers fought for, justice and equality against Fascism and Nazism. So when you have governors like Jan Brewer in Arizona, Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, Pat McCrory in North Carolina and Rick Scott in Florida, join the fight to get them and their corporate controlled Republican/Tea Party out. Send money to the Democratic candidates and the NAACP to help fight the new battles against old enemies of Fascism and Racism.
Lest we forget about where we came from, let us review a little racial history of North Carolina. One of the books I have accumulated over the years is one entitled, Slavery in the State of North Carolina, by a North Carolina history professor named, John Spencer Bassett, Ph.D. The book was published in 1899. In the days of slavery, cotton was king in North Carolina. In fact, it was called a Cotton Aristocracy. Needless to say, slaves were believed to be necessary, so their treatment was prescribed by laws designed to keep them under control.
To accomplish total control of slaves, as of 1831, the laws became burdensome to Blacks. By then, the uprisings and rebellion of men, like Reverend Nat Turner, had occurred and the conservatives felt they were losing control so something had to be done. I guess it’s like America’s election of a Black President reactivating the racist mindset of white superiority theorists and they believe something has to be done. The problem for today is that in order to set the net to capture rebels and stop rebellion, white middle class members are in the way, and to get to Blacks you must get whites too. It’s not working.
Spencer, in his book, wrote in 1899, “. . . It came as a logical consequence of the conviction that the future development of Southern Society, as well as the safety of the Southern people demanded that slavery should be perpetuated. Before this iron necessity, every impulse to humanity, every suggestion for a better elevated Negro race, was made to fall. Now and again some sharp-eyed pro-slavery advocate would discover some way by which it was thought that the slave could lift himself out of slavery, and the way would be as promptly closed up. At one time it was teaching slaves to read, [and then] it was allowing Negroes to preach to their race [like Reverend Jeremiah Wright], . . . and sometimes it was allowing a slave to hire his own time [becoming self employed] . . . In every case, the Legislature was prompt with its veto.”
The book makes it clear that the courts were complicit with the legislature in keeping Negroes down. One example cited was the Dred Scott decision. This decision made it clear that the Negro was not a person within the meaning of the law and that there were “no rights that a Black man had that a white man need acknowledge.” If a slave was murdered by a white man, the state would pay for the value of the lost slave. In fact, there was a special tax levied on the taxpaying citizens to pay for executed slaves. If a lawyer could convince an all-white slaveholding jury that the killing of a slave was manslaughter rather than murder, he could avoid being punished.
A slave caught off his or her master’s plantation on Sundays was presumed to be up to no good and he/she would be punished by fifteen lashes of the bull whip. It was a crime to rebel against slavery. Every slave was presumed to be plotting to gain his/her freedom like Nat Turner had done. Slaves could not work for money, and people could not purchase goods or services from slaves because they might be trying to raise money to buy their freedom which was a no-no. Those who did do business with a slave could be punished.
What is happening with Republicans in this country, and specifically in North Carolina, in my opinion is an updated version of what our fathers went through. We should recommit to honor their memories and their struggle to gain our freedom and perpetrate that.
To those ancestral fathers who endured so much, we thank them and wish them Happy Father’s Day. We hope our generation has made you as proud as you made us!