ADOS, Biden, grassroots, Black, platform, reparations, African Americans
By Dr. Joy DeGruy
“Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome, America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury & Healing”
The transatlantic slave trade, referred to as the Middle Passage, marks a period of human trauma rarely equaled. The Middle Passage describes one leg of the triangular route of trade that brought captured African men, women, and children to the Americas and enslaved them. Millions were force onto cargo ships bound for unknown lands that included Brazil, the West Indies, Europe, and the United States, among others. These people were loaded onto ships and crammed together with sometimes less than 18 inches between them. Here they would dwell for many weeks to several months in the bowels of the ship. They were deprived of any human comfort and shared in a collective misery. This disgusting placed was where they slept, wept, ate, defecated, urinated, menstruated, vomited, gave birth, and died.
It has been estimated that the millions of Africans who died en route exceeded the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust of the 1930’s and ‘40’s. Yet few of us are even aware that his part of the African American history exists. The first enslaved Africans were captured and brought to Portugal in 1444. The first slaves were brought to South Carolina by the Spanish in 1526. Although slavery has long been a part of human history, American chattel slavery represents a case of human trauma not comparable in scope, duration, and consequence with any other incidence of human enslavement. The fact that the delegation from the United States walked out of the United Nations World Conference Against Racism, Racial discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance, which took place in Durban, South Africa, in 2001, a conference that declared American chattel slavery as a crime against humanity, served only to highlight America’s refusal to acknowledge this period in her own past.
In 2016, the United Nations sent a group of experts on people of African descent to the United States to meet with black Americans in numerous cities, including Jackson, Mississippi; Baltimore, Maryland, New York City; Chicago, Illinois; and Washington, DC. After a week of meetings to gather facts and information, the working group released its preliminary recommendations citing their serious concerns about the human rights issues of African Americans. They suggested that the United States establish a national human rights commission and officially acknowledge that the transatlantic slave trade was a crime against humanity. The UN working group identified the intentional targeted attacks on people of African descent in America since their arrival and leading up to present times as a crisis that needs to be remedied immediately:
The colonial history, the legacy of enslavement, racist subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the U.S. remains a serious challenge as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent. . .Contemporary police killings and the trauma it creates are reminiscent of the racial terror lynching’s in the past, impunity for state violence has resulted in the current human rights crisis and must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
In spite of evidence from both national and international agencies and even personal accounts and testimonials from those who have experienced the traumas firsthand, there is still reluctance to acknowledge or redress the injuries to African Americans.
This transatlantic exploitation is now being referred to as the Black Holocaust or the Maafa, which in Swahili means disaster, calamity, or catastrophe. Until recently, American historians have been unwilling to confront the realities of this great suffering, as evidenced by the usual absence of these events from our public school curricula and textbooks.
Many Africans died during the Maafa. How Many? Most scholars agree that nearly as many Africans died crossing the Middle Passage as reached the end of the voyage. If this is true, then it is likely that between 10 and 15 million died on the voyage. And this does not account for the millions of Africans estimated to have died fighting against their would-be captors and who never made it to the slave ships. The actual number of those who died in Africa and en route to the Americas will never be known. However, the fact that millions perished is not difficult to conceive given the horrific and vile conditions aboard the slave ships. In some cases, when there was an acute outbreak of disease like smallpox or dysentery, ships were abandoned at sea with their human cargo chained helplessly below, destined to suffer a slow, merciless death. Those who fought against their captors were murdered, others took their own lives rather than be resigned to a life of brutality and torture and the suffering certainly didn't for those who survived the journey.
QUOTES FROM THE PAST:
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.
I had reasoned this out in my mind, there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.
Harriett Tubman – 1820 -1913
"If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should,
therefore, protest openly everything... that smacks of discrimination or slander." Mary McLeod Bethune – 1875 - 1995
African Descendants of Slaves (DOAS) have been going through MAAFA for four hundred years. All know the African version, "The Rape of Recy Taylor" encapsulates MAAFA for Blacks in America. "The Rape of Recy Taylor" also encapsulates Rosa Parks activist work beyond sitting on a bus.