A righteous tidal wave of anger followed people seeing the nine-minutes-plus videotaped police lynching of George Floyd in Minneapolis late May 2020. Racist monuments glorifying the slave-owning Confederacy came tumbling down, especially in the Deep South. These acts to take down the statues were part of historic mass protests that swept the country during the summer of 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The enslaved Black “Mothers of Gynecology” are now honored in this memorial in Montgomery, Alabama.
Two years earlier the monument paying homage to J. Marion Sims, once praised as the “father of modern gynecology,” was removed from Central Park in New York City, following many years of protest.
What led to the removal was a growing understanding and anger that Sims, a 19th century gynecologist in Montgomery, Alabama, used enslaved Black women as guinea pigs, experimenting on them with new medical techniques without using anesthesia or obtaining their consent. His techniques resulted in unspeakable torture.
Sims believed that Black women did not experience the same kind of pain as white human beings. Black people were nothing more than chattel to Sims and his ilk, who viewed them as less than human and actually treated them worse than animals. This was the prevailing view of enslavers in the South and even in some regions of the North.
Black women during this period were denied the right to control their own reproductive systems and destinies, starting when they were adolescents. This is horribly similar to the recent case of the 10-year-old girl from Ohio, raped twice, impregnated, and in order to receive an abortion, was forced to travel to Indiana, because of the fascistic anti-abortion law in Ohio. The doctor who performed that abortion is now being threatened with prosecution by the attorney general of Indiana, using a legal technicality to harass and punish her.
Treated as property, enslaved Black girls and women were systematically raped and sexually assaulted by white plantation owners and treated as “breeders” to produce more enslaved people. The enslaved grandmother of the great Mississippi activist, Fannie Lou Hamer, was forced to give birth 21 times as a result of this barbaric treatment.
Honoring those who resisted
In Montgomery where Sims first performed his horrific experiments, a stunning new monument was unveiled Sept. 24, 2021. “Mothers of Gynecology” includes figures representing Anarcha, Lucy and Betsey, three of the 11 enslaved women who were unwilling participants in Sims’ depraved procedures. Anarcha was reportedly pregnant at age 17 during this time.
The statues, located at the More Up Campus, are almost 15 feet high and were created by local Montgomery artist and activist Michelle Browder. The campus is dedicated to changing how history is remembered, “by finding creative ways to honor the voiceless, the minimized, the ignored.” (anarchalucybetsey.org)
Browder says of her motives, “The endeavor is to change the narrative as it relates to the history and how it’s portrayed, regarding Sims and the women [who] were used as experiments. They’re not mentioned in any of the iconography or the information, the markers.
“No one talks about these women and their sacrifices and the experimentations that they suffered,” Browder said. “And so I feel that if you’re going to tell the truth about this history, we need to tell it all.
“There’s more to this history than Dr. King and Rosa Parks, and the Confederacy.” (al.com, Sept. 27, 2021)
The monument is a gut-wrenching reminder of the strategic role that slavery played in establishing the U.S. as the most powerful imperialist country in the world, through the ongoing systematic and systemic repression of Black people as an oppressed nation.
As every Confederate monument comes tumbling down, new monuments should eventually take their place, honoring those who gave their life’s blood to resist and destroy the monstrous institution of white supremacy.
From Harriet Tubman to female members of the Black Panther Party, Black women have always played a role in armed resistance in the United States, said Jasmin Young, a doctoral fellow at the University of California’s Department of African American Studies. Young is working on a manuscript titled, “Black Women with Guns: Armed Resistance in the Black Freedom Struggle.”
Troy Anthony Davis shouldn’t be dead. But on Sept. 21, 2011, at 11:08 p.m. ET, the candle flame of his brilliant, strong and beautiful physical life was snuffed out in the bloody hands of a state sanctioned illegal lynching.
George Junius Stinney Jr. was born on Oct. 21, 1929. He should be nearing his 82nd birthday, bouncing grandbabies and great grandbabies on his knee, surrounded by family and friends.
But he was murdered in South Carolina’s electric chair on June 16, 1944, for allegedly confessing to the brutal beating of two white girls, 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 8-year-old Mary Emma Thames.
Stinney was Black, 14 years old, 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighed a bit over 90 pounds when he was lynched.
His trial – from jury selection to death sentence – lasted exactly one day. He had exactly 81 days of life from the time of his March 23, 1944, arrest to his murder at 7:30 p.m. on June 16, 1944.
There are no written records of any confession. Stinney’s court appointed attorney was a tax commissioner preparing to run for office. No one challenged the sheriff’s testimony. No appeals were filed on Stinney’s behalf. No Blacks were allowed in the courtroom much less on the jury. Stinney’s father was fired from his job and his parents were run out of town just one short step ahead of lynch mob violence.
In George Stinney’s case there is no official court transcript of the trial, and the official records of the case total less than two dozen pages, mostly arrest warrants.
Stinney was required to prove his innocence – instead of being innocent unless proven guilty.
And there is nothing – no evidence whatever – linking George Junius Stinney Jr. to the murders of two white girls, 8 and 11 years old. There is only the white sheriff’s assertion of a confession – also not documented in writing.
Pleas for clemency from the local NAACP and unions to Gov. Olin D. Johnston fell on ears deafened by the cheers of those “glad of your decision [to execute] the nigger Stinney,” as one person wrote to the governor.
For 67 years, the silence surrounding the George Stinney case has been deafening.
Shades of Judge Sabo’s intent to help the state of Pennsylvania “fry the nigger” in the case of internationally acclaimed death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Troy Anthony Davis was Black and had spent 22 of his 42 years entombed for a crime he did not commit.
In Davis’ case – as in Mumia’s – there are tens of thousands of pages of court documents. Documents in both cases contain lies from coerced so-called witnesses and recantations of those lies. Documents in both cases contain evidence of court proceedings in which both defendants were required to prove their innocence – instead of being innocent unless proven guilty.
In the wake of the murder of Troy Anthony Davis, the common threads of the three cases are so egregious and extreme that it is obvious that convictions, death warrants and executions were obtained in spite of the fact that the prosecution had no case – and the innocence of a Black person does not matter, whether that person be man, woman, or child.
Shades of the infamous Dred Scott Decision of 1857, in which the federal government made it clear that a Black person has no rights that a white person is bound to respect.
Shades of the murder of George Lester Jackson and of the Attica Prison Rebellion of August and September 1971; the recent strike by prisoners in Georgia; the current hunger strike at Attica Prison Rebellionand other prisons in California. Attica prisoners fighting for liberation were massacred by the state and federal government, and prisoners’ struggles for liberation across the land are being met with indifference, torture, disappearances and death at the hands of state and federal governments.
In the face of these atrocities, there are those who would continue to argue that things have improved by having Blacks in positions of power. But in a corrupt government, this is fallacious reasoning at best.
Note the following:
a) The silence of Black Attorney General Eric Holder regarding Troy Anthony Davis;
b) That Black District Attorney Larry Chisolm stood blind, deaf, dumb and mute – impervious to millions of pleas and petitions for a retrial based on seven of nine witnesses recanting their statements and no gun or DNA evidence linking Troy Davis to the crime;
c) That two members of the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole that rejected a petition for clemency for Davis are Black men – Vice Chairman Albert Murray and Chairman James E. Donald, who did nothing;
d) That the infamous Clarence Thomas, a Black man, led the U.S. Supreme Court in rejecting Troy Davis’ 11th hour petition for a stay of execution;
e) that Barack Hussein Obama, a Black president stood mute – as usual – although he later gave utterance that it would have been “inappropriate” for him to intervene.
Note this carefully: Here are six Black men who have attained positions of high power in the U.S., whose business it seems is to reassure their white handlers that Afrikan people will get no favors from them. At all times, one and/or several of them were in positions to intervene to save Troy Davis’ life, and they did nothing.
It seems therefore that some of us have been taught how to attain and maintain high office – and to utilize these positions by being the oppressors’ “boys.” In other words, some of us have learned from Willie Lynch how to kill our own with impunity … accompanying their tacit acquiescence to genocide by the thunderous silence of their voices.
It was in Lynch’s speech, entitled “The Making of a Slave,” that the British enslaver gave his message to the enslaver government in the Virginia colony on the American continent in the year 1712 on the River James that set the tone for what were to become the U.S. federal and state governments that reign supreme today.
These are instructions given 299 years ago on how to teach enslavers, the government and the enslaved – in perpetuity!
Wake up, Afrikans … we live in the shadow of true evil
For by the lynching of Troy Anthony Davis, not only have we been attacked by the enslavers, attempting to re-enslave us and to colonize our minds, bodies and spirits – and re-enforce the Willie Lynch doctrine – but we have been betrayed by some modern day house negroes: Clarence Thomas, Eric Holder, Barack Hussein Obama, Larry Chisolm et al.
We sacrificed our blood, our sweat, our tears, our very lives and spirits and those of our ancestors on thorns of the impunity of a system of government that is and has been and forever will be a corruption of true freedom and justice.
It is truly “just us” who are being slaughtered like rabbits by those who make a mockery of our pain and dying. Witness the horrific torture-murder coverups of Kenneth Harding, Oscar Grant III and now Troy Anthony Davis.
Rife with racial epithet, brutality and the continual pogrom of genocidal intent, how are these 21st century lynchings different from those in which whites brought their children, elders, picnic baskets and pickle jars to the public hangings, tortures, burnings and mutilations of thousands of Afrikan men, women and children – and the post cards of their smiling faces as they posed near the burnt and bloody remains of the strange fruit they’d grown on their lynching trees, collecting body parts and photographs for display of their handiwork, sanctioned by their bastardization of god?
What difference is lynching at the behest of white massuh by the bloodied hands of their house niggas? Whose is the Black face and whose is the white mask?
For what did Ida B. Wells Barnett, Harriet Tubman and other brave Afrikan men, women and children of our ancestors risk and in some instances sacrifice their lives for us to empower ourselves – allegedly – by gaining voting rights – only to have us not be really empowered at all?
For what reason do some of us still make sacrifices to put Afrikan people into positions of supposed power in this corrupt government that unleashes wars and death globally – only for them to act more brutal than the original brutalizers?
President Barack Hussein Obama considered it “inappropriate” for him to consider presidential intervention to save an Afrikan life in a non-federal case rife with serious doubt to prove guilt.
Yet he considers it appropriate to deny Palestinian statehood; appropriate to sanction the NATO lynching of Black Libyans; appropriate to send more Afrikan men and women and other peoples of color and poor people – and high school aged students – to the front lines to die in U.S. instigated and escalated wars of greed; appropriate to send two of the biggest destabilizers of Haiti – George W. Bush and William Clinton – to Haiti as overseers; appropriate to plot insidiously, albeit unsuccessfully, to keep the twice democratically elected president of that struggling country in forced exile; and appropriate to ride to the rescue of his personal friend Henry Louis Gates when he was arrested for breaking into his own home, and further appropriate to pronounce the entire incident stupid to a global audience, and appropriate to smooth things over with the offending white officer by inviting him up to the big house to swig a brew with him and his rescued friend.
Barack Hussein Obama is pro death penalty, pro prison and military industrial complex – and anti Afrikan people. He just didn’t say so when he was running for office.
Then there is Supreme Court ‘Just-us’ Clarence Thomas. He, unlike Barack Hussein Obama, has made no secret of his arch conservatism. And this isn’t the first time he’s dangled the carrot of freedom and hope to an Afrikan set to die, pretending to consider the facts and merits of a case, and then given the lynching whip his stamp of approval to go forward. After all, he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1991, in spite of his sexual harassment of Anita Hill, so approving lynching by lethal injection just-us for a few Black men isn’t that big a step.
Clarence Thomas left Troy Davis strapped on a death gurney for four hours while he, Thomas, chose to pretend to Davis and the world that Davis had a chance at gaining a stay of execution by his hand.
And Troy Anthony Davis met torture, terrorism, and brutality with a bravery that many of us do in fact possess and continue to demonstrate – a fact that sets us apart from our brutalizers – but which we must distil to its higher essence such that we are not the ones doing all of the dying.
Clarence Thomas’ soul is irretrievably gone – tainted. He is one of the killer elite of his U.S. government handlers. But the Thomases, Obamas et al are the people we’ve allowed to represent our best interests as Afrikan people?
As El Hajj Malik El Shabazz told us once before: We’ve been had. We’ve been took. We’ve been misled. And if we continue to be had, took and misled, we will continue to lose our people to the impunity of no justice – but just us.
Willie Lynch shaped the public conscience of his class, race and sex – globally – when he designed his “How to Make a Slave” pogrom. He planned for how his fellow enslavers and his government were supposed to act when he no longer walked the Earth.
And 299 years later, in the 21st century, it seems that the 16th century plan is being meticulously followed by the descendants of the “good negroes” he and his disciples made. They’ve perfected the art of instructing some of us to kill our own – thus wiping their bloody hands on our three piece suit sleeves, bought with Judas coin, in the same manner that George W. Bush wiped his hand on William Clinton’s shirt-sleeve after shaking hands with a Black Haitian man.
It would therefore be instructional for us Afrikans to be recalled to reality by El Hajj Malik El Shabazz’ speech regarding the House Negro vs. the Field Negro and to govern ourselves accordingly.
To express your condolences to Troy Davis’ sister Martina and her family, email email@example.com or write to: I AM TROY DAVIS, P.O. Box 2105, Savannah, GA 31407.
Listen HERE to Troy’s last words, recorded and released by the Georgia Department of Corrections in response to an open records request from the Associated Press. Here is the transcription:
“I’d like to address the MacPhail family. I’d like to let you all know that despite the situation – I know all of you still are convinced that I’m the person that killed your father, your son and your brother, but I am innocent.
“The incident that happened that night is not my fault. I did not have a gun that night. I did not shoot your family member. I am so sorry for your loss. I really am, sincerely.
“All that I can ask is that each of you look deeper into this case, so that you really will finally see the truth.
“I ask my family and friends that you all continue to pray, that you all continue to forgive. Continue to fight this fight.
“For those about to take my life, may God have mercy on all of your souls. God bless you all.”
Malaika H. Kambon is a freelance writer and photojournalist, owner of People’s Eye Photography and a master’s degree candidate in Interdisciplinary Studies at San Francisco State University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harriet Tubman Leads an Army of Bad Bitches” in ‘Drunk History’For the uninitiated… in short, “Drunk History” is a Comedy Central TV series based on an award-winning Funny or Die web series created by Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner, that re-enacts famous events in history as told by inebriated storytellers; hence the title.
It airs on Tuesday nights, on Comedy Central, at 10:30pm.
In the episode that aired last week, which focused on spies, viewers learned all about how Harriet Tubman became a spy for the Union during the Civil War, eventually leading raids on slave owners’ plantations in South Carolina.
Crissle West (our “inebriated storyteller”) narrates Tubman’s tale, as we watch Octavia Spencer play Harriet Tubman, in a piece titled “Harriet Tubman Leads an Army of Bad Bitches.”
By the way, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Viola Davis is developing a Harriet Tubman biopic for HBO which she will star in. But while you wait for that to happen, watch this in the meantime and hopefully be edutained: