All servants imported and brought into the Country. . . who were not Christians in their native Country. . . shall be accounted and be slaves. All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves within this dominion. . . shall be held to be real estate. If any slave resists his master. . . correcting such slave, and shall happen to be killed in such correction. . . the master shall be free of all punishment. . . as if such accident never happened. – Virginia General Assembly declaration, 1705
A few days ago, I was engaged in a debate with young members of the movement about the state of Blacks here in America. These young men and women argued with hope and optimism about both the past and the future. “We had a Black President!”, “The Civil Rights Era was a success!” “Things are getting better for Blacks all over the world!” “Slavery is a thing of the past!”
These young men and women, who were very intelligent when it came to all things philosophical and academic, cant see the forest for the trees.
You might think slavery is a thing of the past. Just like those young Activists, you might even think that things are actually getting better! But the reality is that slavery is becoming a forecast for the future of Blacks here in America.
Each year, harsher laws are quietly passed that further disenfranchise Black men and women. We find ourselves hunted by the police, handcuffed and shot in the head (while our loved ones are told its suicide!), our boys find themselves raped by pedophiles with institutional sponsorship, lynched for speaking out about police brutality, sterilized, denied, rejected, and mass incarcerated.
Of course, you might not have been personally raped, incarcerated, or personally marginalized, but what happens to one of us happens to all of us – just as the enslavement of 12 million Africans had just as devastating an effect on those Africans that were left on the continent. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Our time now is more perilous than ever. Our failure to take real action against the policies that set the wheels of slavery in motion has placed us in a position of weakness that hasn’t been seen since that fateful day in 1619 – the day that the Maryland Doctrine of Exclusion was created. This doctrine set in motion a 200 year long process that led to slavery, Jim Crow, and the condition we now find ourselves in.
What is The Maryland Doctrine of Exclusion?
The Maryland Doctrine of Exclusion was collectively written by the Maryland Colony Council in 1638, and states the following:
“ Neither the existing Black population, their descendants, nor any other Blacks shall be permitted to enjoy the fruits of White society.”
The doctrine was written to insure that Blacks would remain a “subordinate, non-competitive, non-compensated workforce.”
While many efforts have been made to dismantle the effect of the Maryland Doctrine and the system of slavery on the lives of Black Americans, the recent Supreme Court case challenging Affirmative Action programs reminds us that there still remains a mindset that seeks to limit the movement and opportunities of African Americans in most areas of American life EXCEPT FOR sports, entertainment and servitude.
This law led to the creation of thousands of similar laws in both Maryland and in other colonies. Here are just a few:
- Slavery Law, 1665– exclusion of blacks from benefits afforded whites
- British Plantation Act, 1667–code of conduct for slaves, slaveholders
- Carolina Trade Law, 1686–barred blacks from all trades
- Virginia Marriage Law, 1691–prohibited white women from marrying black men
- Massachusetts Anti-Miscegenation Law, 1705–criminalization of interracial marriages
- New York Runaway Law, 1705–execution for recaptured runaway slaves
- Virginia Public Office Law, 1705–prohibited blacks for holding public office
- Virginia enacted Meritorious Manumission, 1710– slave snitches awarded freedom
- South Carolina Fugitive Slave Act, 1712–criminalized runaway slaves
- North Carolina Anti-interracial Marriage Law, 1715–forbade, criminalized race mixing
- South Carolina Anti-interracial Marriage Law, 1717–forbade, criminalized race mixing
- Delaware Marriage Law, 1721–forbade white women from marrying black men
- Pennsylvania Morality Statement, 1722–condemned blacks for sexual acts with whites
- South Carolina Migration Law, 1820–free blacks forbade from entering this state
- District of Columbia Registration Law, 1821–required blacks to register annually and post bond
- North Carolina Migration Law, 1826–forbade entry of free blacks, violators penalized $500
- Florida Voting Law, 1827–only whites could vote
- Maryland Occupation Acts, 1827–blacks banned from driving/owning hacks, carts or drays
- Georgia Literacy Law, 1829–fine/imprisonment for teaching a black person to read
- Illinois Marriage Law, 1829–forbade interracial marriage
- Louisiana Expulsion Law, 1830–required all free blacks to leave the state within 30 days
- Mississippi Employment Law, 1830–forbade blacks employment in printing and entertainment
- Dred Scott Decision, 1857–Supreme Court dehumanized/disenfranchised blacks
- Maryland Recreation Law, 1858–forbade free slaves and slaves from boating on the Potomac
- Southern Black Codes, 1868–deprived blacks from the right to vote and hold public office
- Civil Rights Law of 1875 Weakened–Supreme Court challenged the constitutionality of this law
- The Grandfather Clause, 1898—deprived blacks of the right to vote in Louisiana
For the full list, visit Africa Speaks.
So over time, we can see that the system of White Supremacy that is in the heart and soul of America continued to create, evolve, and strengthen laws that upheld their white supremacy and ensured that Black men and women would never advance within American society.
Notice that when one state gets away with one of these laws, other states follow suit. Fast forward to today:
Fact: There are more African Americans under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.
The growth of prisons has been followed by a dramatic increase in the use of prison labor by private companies. It is not coincidental that yesterday’s punitive system of “Black-Codes” is today disguised under euphemisms like “Truth in Sentencing,” “Zero Tolerance,” “Crack-Cocaine vs. Powder”, “100:1 Sentencing Disparity,” “Three-Strikes” and you’re in for life, etc. It is also not a coincidence that most of the Black men (and a growing number of Black women) that you know have spent some time on probation or parole.
The above examples show you that the same forces that wanted us enslaved in the 17th century are still at work – not just here, but in Haiti, Nigeria, Uganda, and every other Black nation on the planet. Then, as now, the Black prison population performed an economic and political function for the benefit of the white ruling class.
Executives, politicians, and the white ruling class, like the human vultures they are, all stand poised to profit from the ignorance and suffering taking place in the Black community.
It has been said that if you place a frog in hot water it will immediately jump out, however, if you place it in warm water and gradually turn up the fire then the frog will become comfortable, complacent and, thereby, cook to death.
If what I say is true, then how could a Black man achieve the highest office in the nation? First, understand that the President is NOT important. Its the policies that matter – and that’s why you are not allowed to vote on policy.
Let me say that again, you only vote for the person who seems the most likable. You don’t get to vote on the laws that rule your life.
Did you vote for a tax increase or decrease?
Did you vote for Obamacare?
Did you vote on the interstate speed limit?
Did you vote on tougher laws against police officers who racially profile?
No, because you’re not allowed to! You vote for the politician who gives the best speech. Once that person is in office, he or she is under the control of the “majority” – the white supremacists that use Obama, Trump, and all other Presidents like puppets to keep their hands clean while they continue to marginalize the distracted Black citizenry.
Again, we can look to history to understand what is going on.
What is The Meritorious Manumission Act?
The Meritorious Manumission Act of 1710 was the legal act of freeing a slave for “good deeds” as defined by the national public policy. Meritorious Manumission could be granted to a slave who distinguished himself by saving the life of a white master or his property, inventing something that a white slave master could make a profit from or snitching on a slave rebellion.
It is not coincidental that the system of “Meritorious Manumission” first instituted in Virginia in 1710, is now perpetrated under the guise of 5K1. Federal Criminal Rule 5K1.1 is one way for federal defendants to receive lower sentences or to have previously-imposed sentences reduced by “cooperating” with the government. When a defendant “cooperates,” it means that he or she helps the government investigate or prosecute someone else. In other words, snitching.
Black men and women who play nice with the system can be rewarded with promotions, money, fame, power, and even political positions – just like slaves were in the past.
Why Slavery Is A Natural Byproduct of Capitalism
Two of the pillars of capitalism are wage labor and capital accumulation. In other words, the Capitalist who is able to accumulate the most capital with the lowest cost of labor wins. It is therefore in the best interest of the Capitalist to find and exploit the cheapest labor possible.
Slavery in the future will not take the same form as slavery in the past, but the long term results will be just as damaging. In our age of automation, outsourcing, and technological disruption, many of the occupations that African Americans currently rely on are disappearing.
According to Department of Labor statistics, African-Americans are now over-represented in the following industries that are being destroyed by automation:
- Bus and Taxi service (30.5%) – These jobs are dead
- Nursing and Home Health Care (29%)
- Couriers and messengers (26.7%) These jobs are dead
- Warehousing and storage (26.1%) – These jobs are dead
- Animal slaughtering and processing (25.1%) – These jobs are dead
What will become of the displaced Black labor force of the future? History has shown us that disenfranchised masses become easy prey.
What has happened elsewhere and in other ages can happen here in the United States. We are just one economic downturn away. We can either remain vigilant, politically active, and prepare ourselves, or we can hope for the best. And hope is never a wise strategy.