What If Part II: America
How different would American history be if freedom, liberty, and justice for all was given to African-Americans?
The African holocaust began during the 17th century when Europeans decided to enslave Africans for the transatlantic slave trade in the Americas. The Africans never saw themselves as slaves, but prisoners of war. After 400 years in bondage, the Africans became free, but faced new challenges from discriminatory racist practices and laws.
How different would American history be if African-Americans were treated fairly after slavery?
Slavery in the US was abolished in 1865, and unfortunately, the Ku Klux Klan was formed in 1866, just one year after African-Americans were free from bondage. The goal of the KKK was to scare and remind African-Americans of their place in society, according to Enotes.
While the KKK was creating havoc for African-Americans, the country was segregated and African-Americans were still able to create communities, schools, towns, banks, churches, and businesses.
Jim Crow laws were enabled in 1877, with signs that showed where African-Americans could legally walk, drink, eat, and sleep. Most African-Americans obeyed these laws because if they didn’t, they would have been met with racial violence.
The first and only city to be bombed by air on American soil happened in 1921, in Tulsa, Ok. Greenwood, OK was known as "Black Wall Street" because it had prominently African-American businesses thriving due to Jim Crow laws. The town was massacred by whites who were jealous of the wealth of African-Americans. Firebombs were dropped on the town by airplane, and hundreds were killed and injured.
The whites couldn’t understand why some African-Americans were worth millions of dollars. White superiority was threatened, and they blamed African-Americans for the destruction of the Greenwood community.
The survivors and their families never received respirations for the destruction of their community.
In 1950, the Civil Rights Movement was gaining momentum, and in 1955, the lynching of Emmett Till happened. Till was a 14-year-old African-American boy who was accused of whistling at a 21-year-old White woman named Carolyn Bryant. Bryant’s husband and half-brother abducted Till from his Great-Uncle’s house and lynched him. After the lynching, the men sunk Till’s body in the Tallahatchie River.
Till’s body was returned to his mother in Chicago, and she requested an open casket for her son’s funeral. Her goal was to showcase the barbarism of lynching. Before Carolyn Bryant died in 2017, she admitted she lied to the FBI when she testified against Emmett Till.
How different would American history be if African-Americans were treated equally after 400 years of slavery?
For instance, slavery was abolished in 1865, but imagine if the KKK was never created in 1866 to remind African-Americans that they were not U.S. citizens.
Imagine a world where America was morally fair and justice was the law of the land. Many African-American lives would have been spared and saved because the KKK would've never existed, and Jim Crow laws that were enabled in 1877 would have never existed either.
Imagine if Black Wall Street never got burned to the ground in 1921, and the many African-American entrepreneurs were able to pass their inheritance and knowledge down from one generation to the next.
African-American millionaires were made during the reign of Black Wall Street before it went up in flames in 1921. Just think of the inheritance that would’ve been available every year for their descendants. Think about the inheritance in 2018, it may be in the billion of dollars.
How about Emmett Till, who had much more life to live, but his life was cut short at 14-years-old because a lie got him lynched and murdered in 1955.
Imagine if Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived and died of old age, instead of being murdered by a sniper bullet to the neck in 1968. Think of the huge social and economic change King could have accomplished, not just for his people in America, but for people around the world.
Buried American History
Benjamin Banneker, an African-American man was born to former slaves in 1731. He was a free man and was self-taught with little formal education.
Banneker was placed on the panning committee by Thomas Jefferson. In just two days, Banneker completed the layout of Washington D.C. with streets, parks, and major buildings, including the White House. Without Banneker’s knowledge and genius, America’s nation capital wouldn’t exist.
Banneker’s other professional titles included astronomer, city planner, mathematician, inventor, author, and social critic.
The American Abolitionist Movement
America had abolitionist movements that occurred before and during the civil war with the goal to end slavery in America. In 1775, white abolitionist Thomas Paine released the article “African Slavery in America,” and he was one of the first to advocate abolishing slavery.
African-American abolitionist Frederick Douglass was known as the father of the Civil Rights Movement. He was a former slave, and a firm believer of equality for all people. He started the first abolitionist newspaper entitled, “North Star,” and his mission statement was:
"Right is of no sex – Truth is of no color – God is the Father of us all, and we are all brethren."
There were both black and white abolitionists working together for a common goal, which was to abolish slavery and end racism in America because they believed all men and women should be treated equally.
This indicates that the American government structure created the laws that enforced practices of inequality such as discriminatory practices in housing, hiring, education, transportation, the armed forces, and public accommodations to name a few.
Until the American government structure is revamped from the ground up, only then may there be true equality.
"I wish you could know what it means to be me, then you'd see and agree that every man should be free" - Nina Simone, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free
What will people say about American history 100 years from now? Will there ever be true equality in America? Only time will tell.