THE LAW KEEPERS
*****The LawKeepers, Co.*****
Canaan is the Land / Jerusalem is the Place
*Where My GOD Has Said HIS Heart Would Be*
P.O. Box 236, Madaba 17110 JordanYehudah73@hotmail.com / Afraqueen@AOL.COM
November 2, 1999
Lord Anthony Gifford
The British House of Lords
Dear Lord Gifford:
Re: Reparations for Survivors of the
TransAtlantic/African Slave Trade
I am writing to you in behalf of The LawKeepers, Co.. We are believers in the Most High GOD of Moses and adhere to the Laws that GOD gave to this Prophet. We seek assistance from the United Nations to aid us in obtaining Reparations to return to the lands of our nativity and assistance to aid us in our right to worship freely and return to our culture. Because of the TransAtlantic/African Slave Trade and because we are considered second-class citizens, we have no influence and people in power and authority have all but ignored our pleas for justice to be served for the hundreds of years of Slavery, oppression, and degradation Blacks have suffered and faced in European and American societies.
It is documented that you describe this enterprise in human bondage as, "the mass kidnap and enslavement of Africans" and "the most wicked criminal enterprise in recorded human history." And you deem this crime could be tried in much the same manner as the Nuremberg trials of German Nazis at the end of the World War II and the more recent trials of human rights abusers at the Human Rights Court in The Hague, Holland.
Lord Gifford, please know that your analysis is quite accurate, but is also an understatement because it does not expound and detail the whole story. People cannot truly describe the pain and suffering of a Survivor of this insane and merciless trade in human beings unless, of course, they have been victimized because of the color of their black skin. Please understand that your efforts are most welcomed, but we need all the facts to be presented on the table and to the World for a full and more precise and explicit understanding regardless of how embarrassing, disturbing, and incredible the truth may seem. The Nations on this globe are not aware of all the facts and assume that Blacks are resigned to this horrible fate.
Because of the Transatlantic/African Slave Trade, Blacks lost their rights to liberty and empowerment, Blacks lost their rights to self-determination, Blacks lost their rights to think, and Blacks lost their rights to exist as human beings, in that our forebears were treated as chattel. These documented facts, today, label us "inferior to Whites" and perpetuate hatred and disdain of Black Peoples all over the World.
There is no question that Blacks and other people of color are today treated as second-class citizens and do not have the privileges afforded Europeans and White America. There is no question that Blacks do not control the World, the entertainment industry, the media, the political and educational systems, the banking industry, marketing, and the power and authority over the distribution of wealth. There is no question that Blacks are not supervisors in the ways and means of corporate America. There is no question that Blacks do not have available to them the influence, power, and authority to stand with the rulers of this World in making decisions for the betterment of all groups and peoples. The "Peculiar Institution" of Slavery, though it no longer exists, is the result of a horrid and poignant branding, literally and figuratively, with indelible ink that has left Black Peoples all over the World scarred and labeled a dirty word. And we are, therefore, deemed unacceptable as a people and incapable of attaining intelligence and/or having the capacity to think judiciously.
Since the end of Slavery, degradation of the descendants of Slaves and race hatred towards all Black Peoples continued to linger on with deadly consequences. Because the United States made no effort to apologize for the enslavement of Blacks and to sensitize White America to the needs of freed slaves and their descendants, hatred of so-called Negroes was permitted to fester and with the blessings of the U.S. government and its Constitution, as well as other governments involved in the African Slave Trade. Instead of countries that entertained Slavery making efforts to end the White Supremacists mindset, Whites only continued with their race hatred against Blacks and established Judicial procedures to further segregate and discriminate against Blacks in policies, education, health, employment, and in all social issues that might have caused freed slaves and their descendants to benefit in any way.
Further evidence that Blacks are yet effected by the stigma of Slavery is that this very day, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has taken the initiative to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health. Although this has been an on-going process, the disparities persist. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is more common among African Americans than among Whites due to genetic and environmental factors. These are statistics that we cannot dismiss, and the reason is that matters involving our health continue to worsen due to racism, poverty, and depression.
The heartless stereotyping by cruel and insensitive Whites that is meant to degrade and taunt and that has existed since the start of Black enslavement, to this day, provokes a sense of low self-esteem, worthlessness, stress, and despair among Black peoples. And we are left wondering if there will ever come a time when we will lead healthier lives, be raised out of this quagmire to more admirable levels, and be afforded an environment that will make our children proud of who they are and proud of the color of their skin.
Slaves and their descendants have endured the worst "ethnic cleansing" known to man. But because of our status, the authorities prefer not to discuss this truth and shun and ignore Blacks who speak out against inequities. We want it to be known that as a result of this trade in human bondage, we have lost our culture, religion, heritage, and language, and, to this day, we still bear the names of the White Slave Masters who enslaved our forebears. This is valid evidence that we never had the opportunity to return to our heritage and culture and are stigmatized with names of men who enslaved our forebears. Nor were freed slaves given the option to leave the Americas where once the powers-that-be and their governments forced men, women, and children to be branded and to remain under the most inhumane conditions known only to beasts of burden. The Slaves were raped repeatedly, both men, women, and children, and there was no compassion to even consider the cries and pleas for help. The insane and cruel breeding of slaves for market and/or for farms and plantations proved to be quite lucrative for White Masters but a daily nightmare for my forefathers. It should also be noted that because children were taken from their mothers, husbands from their wives and families, wives from their husbands and children and sold to GOD alone knows what plantation owner, never to be seen again, that this painful experience, also, weighed heavily on the hearts and minds of the Slaves for all of their lives. What could be more horrid than knowing that your child and your grandchildren would be sold into a life of cruel and inhumane bondage? Day and night my forefathers were haunted with this pain and suffering wishing that the nightmare would end. From their graves, they yet cry out to this very day for recompense and for better lives for their progeny.
Immediately following the Civil War, White plantation owners established a farm tenancy system, whereby, landlords provided former Slaves with land, seed, and credit. The former Slaves received a share of the crop's value, and any debt owed was deducted from any profit gained from the cash crop. This "sharecropping" system proved to be just another method of abusing and manipulating the poor freed Blacks and punishing them for the abolition of Slavery. However, it was deemed beneficial for Whites, as it yet used Blacks in another form of enslavement. The Blacks were left with nothing, and the plantation owners had everything to gain.
From 1880 to 1960, three thousand (3,000) Blacks were lynched in the United States, and we are still victims today of these same atrocities. It was those in power and authority who sectioned off the ghettoes for Blacks, sustained the deprivations, and maintained the savage inequalities that exist between the Blacks and the Whites in America and who pasted across the Employment Section of the Newspapers: "Coloreds need not apply" - as late as the 1950's. Our mothers, who yet live today, have scrubbed many a White person's floor for much needed pocket change to help ends meet. During these years, our fathers had the most menial positions that could only promise that this generation of Blacks and the next would be sustained at the poverty level.
Had we been White Slaves instead of Black ones, there would not have been the need to establish Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Is not the need for such Acts indicative of the fact that injustice and crimes against Blacks still prevail? Hard working Blacks are yet denied loans and mortgages needed to assist them in their pursuit of the "American Dream," hopes for leading better lives, and happiness. And unfortunately, for many, their false hope for economic success is in winning a State Lottery.
To date, the United States is speaking out against crimes against humanity involving other countries, but yet no compassion or attention is given to the fact that Blacks must yet fight for Affirmative Action, equality, due process of law, and "justice for all" right in the "land of the free." Surely, it was to President Clinton's embarrassment when Mrs. Rosa Parks, the Mother of Civil Rights, spoke out on national television on June 15, 1999 for equality for everyone. There is no doubt that Mrs. Parks is yet concerned with the need to invoke harmony among the many peoples of the United States as she reiterated what Blacks have been advocating and fighting for since 1865.
There are few activists seeking measures to end inequality, prejudice, race hatred, discrimination, and oppression of Blacks in America. But there are many focused on "animal rights'" issues. Not even the government takes issue with establishing a harmonious society that embraces Blacks and that seeks ways of including this group so as to encourage good will and peace within the country.
Further evidence that we are still the underdog - the oppressed - the descendants of this "Peculiar Institution" of Slavery - is the fact that various Black groups have been fighting for Reparations for over forty (40) years without results when European Jews, the Japanese, and the Native Americans have already received restitution for the atrocities committed against them and all with the aid of U.S. tax dollars. Our holocaust was the most devastating and lasting of all atrocities committed against a people, and we are yet effected by this heinous bondage, but information regarding our past and our present day plight is dismissed as unworthy and insignificant. And after generations of enslavement, Blacks are asked to prove that this crime against humanity that killed many, many tens of millions of my people yet affects us today.
Because of the Transatlantic/African Slave Trade, our forefathers were victims of pernicious crimes that lasted for centuries of working from sunup to sundown and even in many cases until midnight. These were crimes from which we have not yet recovered due to the stigmatizing of our past bondage in the United States and other European Countries. We are survivors of the Slave Trade and, albeit, today's society will not let us forget it. We were shackled and forced from the African continent at gunpoint. And even since the abolishment of slavery, we have had to endure government enforced post-slavery Black Codes, Jim Crow Laws, lynchings, segregation, discrimination, injustice, inequalities, oppression, and much unlawful persecution, cross burnings, and taunting by the Ku Klux Klan. Even in this late twentieth century, our hardships entail a controlled society that maintains demographics and anti-assimilation schemes that sustain the privileged and the upper-class citizens while it deprives minorities and prohibits our empowerment and an opportunity for us to pursue happiness for our succeeding generations.
U.S. Slavery and the institution of racism that permeates the World have accomplished the mission of the present World Powers to degrade minorities and deprive us of equal rights, an equal share in the governing process, and the much needed share in the distribution of wealth. But yet Slaves were freely given the Masters' Christian religions which we have since learned was to inspirit love for our enemies, a docile demeanor, and a better appreciation for enslavement. The Church was no refuge for slaves. On the contrary, many a Christian owned slaves. We were also prohibited from reading and obtaining an education, as illiteracy sustained our ignorance and helped to justify the reprehensible racist attitude toward us.
Unto this day, we must continue to suffer the degradation that is cast upon us. Although there exists many, many educated Black men and women in all professional fields of employment, we are still faced with those of the dominant race who wish to publicize that Blacks are inferior to Whites. As a young adult I had believed that Blacks needed an education - just as Whites had said - in order to excel and compete for jobs and other opportunities. But, although Blacks now have the college degrees, we still are not treated justly or with respect.
It is also important to note the hate crimes against Blacks, such as that took place in 1923 in Rosewood, west of Gainesville, Florida, where Whites massacred and forced Blacks from their homes, off their lands, and out of town. And the tragedy in Oklahoma in the early 1900's that involved, "The Black Wall Street," where an entire town in Tulsa (The Greenwood District) was graced with affluent and successful Blacks who owned all manner of stores and businesses including banks but was destroyed by rioting. Due to the ubiquitous false rumors that a Black man had assaulted a White woman, the Whites triggered the worst riot in American history. And as a result, thousands of Blacks were killed and Black economic growth and empowerment of this most prosperous town came to a halt. Above all, let us not forget the Tuskeegee Experiment that was conducted on poverty stricken Black males during the years 1932 - 1970. This study was about the U.S. government lying to these men about their being treated for syphilis and depriving them of treatment in order to obtain "pure results" to see if syphilis effected African Americans as it did Norwegian men. There was absolutely no concern for the welfare of these men or for their descendants - none whatsoever. Actually, and it is quite obvious, those promoting this study had no compassion for these Black men and did not care one iota about what this experiment was doing to them and how it would effect them in later years. We have these horror stories to remember, and we can't forget as one only perpetuates another. The African Slave Trade was a tragedy for Blacks of that era, as well as, for Blacks living today. And it is painful to even know that some authorities suggest that we prove that we yet suffer hardships as a result of this trade in human bondage that has left all manner of hardships, stress, and scars on Blacks, especially the poor and the uneducated because they are easiest to control and manipulate. The dependency on the welfare system purposely only kept Blacks in sub-standard communities with inferior educational standards that blocked academic excellence in Blacks. And we must consider the fact that if the United States has not yet established a system of justice and equity for Blacks, and its had since 1865 when Slavery was abolished to do so, then we have no reason today to believe that equality and equitable arrangements for us will ever exist in this country.
Blacks and people of color are encouraged to believe that "most Whites are not prejudice." But if this were true, then why aren't "most Whites" speaking out to eliminate the race hatred and discrimination that exists in the United States and the rest of the World? In fact their silence is deemed their assent to the inequities and atrocities that exist against people of color to this very today. And too often, this race hatred surfaces in the form of modern-day lynchings such as the torturing of the Black man in Jasper, Texas who was tied to the back of a truck and pulled until he was decapitated. Or cases involving police brutality concerning the Black man who was tortured with a plunger stick up his rectum. These crimes did not happen a hundred years ago; they happened just last year. And there are also many other cases where young Black men are murdered just because being Black makes one a suspect. The pain we suffer at watching our People live in poverty and withstand humiliation, degradation, and death is unbearable and leaves us wondering, at all times, which one of us is next. Where is just a fraction of those Whites who are not racist and who support equal rights and equity? Where is just a fraction of those honest and caring Whites in Congress who stand for justice for all? We have not received justice in any form since the end of Slavery. We were not given the option to leave the States, nor were we ever issued an apology for the atrocities committed against our forefathers. And the relentless refusal to apologize is even greater evidence that the descendants of the Slave Masters do not think that enslavement, maiming, rape, murder, deprivation of ones dignity and justice all allude to atrocities in any way.
Unfortunately, we must live with the understanding that Whites deem that these are acts against humanity only if these are crimes committed against Whites. Say it isn't so. You, Lord Gifford, are in the position to help Blacks who are victims of all human rights violations. The United Nations has helped many victims: victims of the European Jewish holocaust, victims of forced migration, and victims who have been denied their rights to worship freely. Therefore, please help us, as we are also victims even though the African Slave Trade no longer exists. We yet experience the depravity and injustice that abounds due to this heinous crime.
Many will argue that the slaves are dead and so also are those who enslaved them, therefore, Reparations are not in order for anyone. However, our argument is that the wealth that was accrued by the blood, sweat, tears, and death of our enslaved forefathers exists, today, through the legacies the Slave Masters handed down to their own descendants from one generation to another. But for the freed Slaves and their descendants, there was no such inheritance. The wealth that Whites accrued and prosperity they enjoyed was in no way meant to be for Slaves and their descendants. This, again, is evidence of the gross miscarriage of justice that enabled the White Privileged Class to excel economically and that inhibited and restrained Blacks from doing same, as there was no legacy to be handed down to freed slaves or to their generations that followed. And there was absolutely no pursuit of happiness, as oppression, persecution, and grief were and still are parts of our lives then and now.
The cotton, tobacco, fisheries, molasses, rum, indigo, rice and sugar industries and the gold and silver mines that were so lucrative for Slave Masters from slave labor are still in the hands of Whites. And the descendants of slaves continue to suffer from the lack of ownership and other corporate positions and empowerment that would provide them with the means to lead more favorable and productive lives.
We need the United Nations to aid us in our endeavors to live prosperous and pleasurable lifestyles of our own making that we have never had the opportunity to do and experience, all because of the color of our skin and our horrendous background. The European Jews receive restitution for the atrocities committed against them and have had U.S. help to obtain these monies, albeit, this was not a crime that took place on U.S. soil. Slave after Slave, too, suffered but lived through dreadful and miserable centuries watching their children and grandchildren be sold into slavery time and time again and wept and pleaded to no avail for compassion from their Slave Masters. As many as 100 million Blacks died in the Transatlantic/African Slave Trade, and yet we cannot persuade the U.S. Congress to consider Reparations for enslaving our forefathers who served and died at the hands of the founding fathers of this country and who made these United States the great, economical country that it is today.
We are entitled to compensation for the free labor and past atrocities that our forebears endured at the time of Slavery and for the race hatred, discrimination, prejudice, and poverty that resulted from this heinous criminal bondage. And all countries involved in this profit making venture and that were made rich and economically powerful are requested to establish an International Fund for the Descendants of African Slaves to be used for those of us who choose to return to our countries of origin. We want an opportunity to live in friendly countries where we are accepted, Black though we may be, and establish better lifestyles for ourselves and for our children.
The following countries, to name a few, were deeply engrossed in the Transatlantic/African Slave Trade for moneymaking ventures: Portugal, Spain, Britain, France, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, the Thirteen Colonies and the United States. Even the Church and other religious groups were partakers of this most productive Slave Trade. And there is no question that Black Slaves account for the wealth and growth of all of the above countries, and we have much documentation to support this claim.
Surely, if any group of people is deserving and entitled to compensation from all countries that took part in this trade of human bondage, shouldn't the descendants of Slaves at least be considered, since our suffering and living in a World that fosters overt and covert hatred for the Black Peoples and promotes Whites as the privileged, have lasted for so depressingly and conscientiously long? How many Whites could have endured Slavery and the hardships and injustice that followed an enslaved people as have Blacks? How many Whites could have endured the degradation, oppression, and unfairness that Blacks yet suffer in this late twentieth century? Would not Whites seek also to pursue better lifestyles for themselves and for their children that were more conducive to their culture and religion? Of course they would, and they'd get it, too! We are human beings with feelings, with desires, and with hopes and dreams to worship Our GOD in Truth. Therefore, please help us in our plight to obtain Reparations and to follow after Our GOD to serve and worship HIM accordingly as it is written in HIS teachings to HIS Prophet Moses.
Will we ever be worthy of respect? Will our desires ever be honored? Hear us, please. Have compassion for our concerns for a more enjoyable lifestyle, for our spirituality, and for the self-esteem of our children.
We, LawKeepers of the Book of GOD's Law, are requesting funds to enable us to serve our GOD and to pursue genuine happiness for ourselves and for our children. And in order to do so, we need housing, our own religious and academic school, farm and farm equipment, clinic, and funds for opening small businesses.
And for us to be able to exercise our right to religious freedom, we will need the support of the United Nations. Please understand that we have been patient and diplomatic in our appeal for help in this regard. But we are not taken seriously, not by the President of the United States to whom we have been writing every month for almost two years, the U.S. Congress, Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, UN High Commissioner, Mrs. Mary Robinson, Senior Human Rights Officer, Mr. Hamid Gaham, Civil Rights advocates, etc, etc.. And not one of these very important people who are in positions to eliminate injustice and stand for Human Rights has responded to our letters to address the issue of Reparations for past crimes against the enslaved Black Peoples and their afflicted and tormented descendants. Are we not entitled to be represented at the United Nations for our right to human rights, as well? Is not the Commission on Human Rights established for our concerns for culture, language, religion, and ethnic identity as expressed in their Article 27? If so, then please help us and advise the "Working Group on Minorities" and the "Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities" to work in our favor just as their offices have enthusiastically worked for the European Jews, the Japanese Americans, and for the Native Americans.
Please, have compassion for our concerns, as we despair and are greatly troubled because of our status in this World and our inability to return to our cultural and spiritual way of life, that is according to the Book of GOD's Law and to serve HIM. We pursue only that which is rightfully and justly due us being the descendants of the worst form of slavery known to perpetuate the oppression and affliction of Black peoples in the four corners of this globe.
Please know and understand that we are extremely disheartened and frustrated because the powers-that-be refuse to consider our needs and to help us. We do not have the power or the wherewithall to bring to fruition our desires, as we are at the mercy of World leaders, and we are, therefore, compelled to seek your assistance, Lord Gifford.
We have attempted to be thorough and candid, however, should you require any further detailed information, we are ready to sit and discuss Reparations and our right to worship Our GOD freely.
We thank you for taking the time to read this lengthy letter that documents our past and present, and it is our hope that you use it to justify Reparations for the Survivors of the TransAtlantic/African Slave Trade and our desires to return to our identity, our culture, our customs, our Spirituality, and of most importance to us, to return to our GOD and HIS "Old Paths" (Jeremiah 6:16).
Tziona Y. Nelson
The LawKeepers, Co.