Articles written by Phavia Kujichagulia and reprinted from the San Francisco Examiner Online Newspaper
Gentrification & “Segregation Now, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever!”
In 1963, former governor of Alabama, George Wallace, delivered his infamous inauguration speech declaring, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” Fast forward more than half a century later. America boasts of being a post-racial society, yet segregation remains an American epidemic. From colonization to plantations, reservations, ghettos, border patrols, and gated communities of insecurity forever whistling Dixie and protecting the Confederacy, America is determined to go down singing, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”
Although the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 prohibited segregation, mere legislation cannot regulate bigotry, ignorance, hatred, fear, or inhumanity. Instead of achieving desegregation, thus began half a century of “White flight” from major cities across the country to newly established suburbs where housing, education, liberty and justice were denied to all Melanites (non-Whites). The Kerner Commission Report of 1968 addressed the practice and politics of White flight stating “America’s social norm of segregation and exclusion leads to one obvious conclusion – “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white - separate and unequal.”
In spite of an exodus from the cities in search of nuevo-segregation elsewhere, myopic dreams of perpetual privilege gave way to the stark realization that white-flight did not improve the quality of white life. Although white-flighters were able to avoid being neighbors to any Melanites, they couldn’t avoid the two- to five-hour segregated commutes that dominated their morning and evening routines from white-washed suburbia to the chocolate/brown cities they abandoned in favor of sustaining segregation and tolerating racism from the sidelines. Once antebellum dreams of racially-sanitized suburbs morphed into daily nightmares of refilling gas tanks for bumper-to-bumper commutes with intoxicating vehicle exhaust, crowded carpools, expensive toll booths, and random acts of road rage, white-flight shifted into reverse.
The solution – gentrification! Based on the rules of segregation, gentrification displaces Melanite (non-White) families from their homes, communities, and cities so that the gentry (wealthy White class) can relocate back into the cities. As a result, foreclosures, redlining, escalating prices, and exorbitant rents force many Black and Hispanic people/families out of Oakland, as well as many metropolitan cities nationally. Rising property taxes are pricing long-established families out of their homes. Caucasians are consistently awarded with homes and home loans, while Blacks and Hispanics are routinely denied homes and home loans. Likewise, Blacks and Hispanics are generally denied home improvement loans. Moreover, Blacks and Hispanics are often charged exorbitant interest rates on the home loans eventually attained. The result … more segregation.
In February of 2016, the document, ECONOMIC EQUITY: LOCKED OUT OF THE MARKET / POOR ACCESS TO HOME LOANS FOR CALIFORNIANS OF COLOR, revealed an unwavering commitment to segregation and racism in the 21st century. According to journalist, Rob Wile, “The study, co-produced by the Greenlining Institute and Urban Strategies Council, found that in 2013, the top-twelve lenders helped African American borrowers purchase a mere four homes in Oakland, while Hispanic borrowers received just seven home purchase loans.” The Rob Wile article, Another mortgage lender just settled charges that it discriminated against blacks and Hispanics for years (http://fusion.net/story/141197/another-mortgage-lender-just-settled-charges-that-it-discriminated-against-blacks-and-hispanics-for-years/), documented, “San Bruno, Calif.-based Provident Funding Associates is accused of charging 14,000 minority borrowers interest rates and broker fees that were on average hundreds of dollars, and at times thousands, higher than what white borrowers paid. The practice started as early as 2006 and lasted through at least 2011, according to the Justice Department’s complaint.” Yet it is what it is; it's business as usual; life goes on, et cetera. While gentrification guarantees increased segregation under the guise of urban improvement; it's merely business as usual. It's the same ole progressive racism that patriotically fulfills America's prophecy of “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”
Black History Need Not Be A Mystery
Although the Father of Black History, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, established Black History Month during the 1920s, almost a century later the general population remains blissfully unaware of Black and/or African history. Nevertheless, Black history is the history of the human race. This epic evolutionary journey began when the first common ancestor, Australopithecus Afarensis, stepped onto the world scene in approximately 3.5 million BCE. Every evolutionary stage from Australopithecus (10 million BCE) through Homo Sapien-Sapien (150,000 BCE) occurred in Africa.
Considerable archeological findings reveal the black identity of many aboriginal populations. Scientific research reveals that Blacks populated present-day Asia by 90,000 BCE and present-day Europe before circa 40,000 BCE. Black aborigines further migrated to present-day Australia around 32,000 BCE. Eventually a transcontinental migration over the Bering Strait placed Africans/Blacks in the western hemisphere more than 27,000 years before Columbus laid eyes on the Caribbean Islands. Thanks to radio-carbon dating (for fossils up to 70,000 years old) and the potassium-argon technique (for fossils more than 70,000 years old), both invented by west African scholar and genius, Dr. Cheikh Anta Diop, it is possible to date and identify the Black/African origins of both human evolution and civilization.
From the mouth of Africa’s Great Rift Valley, Blacks populated the planet, eventually giving birth to the world’s first and greatest high cultures. Africans created Kemet (9000-527 BCE); the Greeks called this Black civilization Egypt. Blacks then migrated out of continental Africa and gave birth to the civilizations of Sumer in Mesopotamia/Iraq (3500-500 BCE), the Indus Valley of India (3000-1500 BCE), China’s Shang Dynasty (1500-1024 BCE), as well as the ancient/Black Olmec societies constructed in Mexico and Guatemala (1500-800 BCE). These Black/African-centered high cultures, the first known to hue-mankind, thrived thousands of years before Rome came into existence in 527 BCE. Eleven thousand years of unparalleled Black excellence and African glory predate European colonization of the western hemisphere and establishment of America’s tri-continental enslavement holocaust (Maafa) by more than 11,500 years.
Black history would not be a mystery if these facts were taught from kindergarten through the university level. Fortunately Oakland, California is home to one of the oldest bookstores in America - Marcus Book Store. At 3900 Martin Luther King Junior Way (510- 652-2344), a virtual cornucopia of information on Black/African and world history awaits you. In spite of global mis-education considerable information has been researched, documented and made available through the painstaking scholarship of many distinguished, albeit unsung historians. Some of these scholars and their research can be found in the books Blacks In Science, edited by Ivan Van Sertima, Great African Thinkers: Cheikh Anta Diop, also edited by Ivan Van Sertima with contributing editor Larry Williams, and Civilization Or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology by Cheikh Anta Diop, just to name a few. These books reveal how Africans/Blacks have been creating civilization and developing the sciences for millenniums.
More than 5000 years ago Africa gave the world its first physicians, masons, and engineers, including Imhotep, architect of Africa’s Great Pyramids. By 525 BCE this African multi-genius, was deified in the Mediterranean Basin as the “God of medicine” as well as the first “Christ.” The Greeks worshiped him as their God of healing. Imhotep is also deified by Hippocrates in the Hippocratic Oath as the God Aesculapius. To this day, all physicians are sworn-in by pledging allegiance to the illustrious African scientist, Imhotep. The first universities and libraries evolved in Africa. In Kemet, hundreds of texts on medicine, anatomy, healing, and embalming were written and shared with the rest of the world. Religion, democracy, science, and astronomy all developed along the Nile. Eventually the Greeks, then the Romans studied philosophy, politics, economics, et cetera under the physicians, priests, masons, and scientists of Ancient/Black Egypt.
In Ruins of Empire, French historian, Count Volney writes, “The Ethiopians were the first who invented the science of the stars, and gave names to the planets.” University of Illinois associate professor, John Pappademos, further explains, “The practice of starting the day at midnight dates back to the Egyptians. The Egyptian calendar year contained 365 days, 12 months of 30 days each, plus five festival days. Obelisks, which are found all over Egypt, were symbols of the sun God, Ra…Obelisks were used to determine the summer solstice (June 21st), winter solstice (Dec. 21st), vernal equinox (March 21st), and the autumn equinox (Sept. 21st). The Washington monument, in the District of Columbia is a replica of an African obelisk.” Africans studied the solar system for thousands of years before European societies realized there was a solar system.
Millenniums later, proof of African/Black excellence continues to withstand the test of time. Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World the only remaining monoliths are Africa’s Pyramids of Giza. Upon accompanying Napoleon Bonaparte during his invasion of Egypt in 1797, Count C. F. Volney wrote: There [in Africa] a people now forgotten, discovered, while others were yet barbarians, the elements of the arts and sciences. A race of men now rejected for their black skin and wooly hair, founded those civil and religious systems which still govern the universe . . . The ancient Egyptians were real Negroes of the same species with all the natives of Africa.”
Excellence and perfection were epitomized within the Black/African cultures of Nubia, Kush, Punt, Axum, Dagon, Mali, Songhai, Ghana, Monamotapa, Timbuktu, Benin, Dahomey, and the Moors. Historically, for these and other reasons, the color black and Blacks have long been associated with excellence and spirituality. Today millions of Muslims of all colors pilgrimage to Mecca to kiss the black Kaaba Stone. Likewise, millions of Christians of all colors pilgrimage around the globe to visit the many shrines of the Black Madonna & Child/Jesus. The Catholic University of Notre Dame (the Great Lady) is named in honor of this Black Madonna. Legacies of Black/African history endure.
Traditionally, the color black was synonymous with power, perfection, wisdom, and beauty. So there’s no mystery why judges wear black robes to symbolize authority, while graduates wear black gowns to symbolize wisdom and excellence; in many cultures the color black is utilized to represent life, while white is used to represent death - as in ashes; inside martial arts a black belt represents the highest level of accomplishment; a black dress is perceived as chic & refined attire; a black hole is known to be an all-absorbing, galactic energy force; black jack is deemed a winning hand of cards; a black limo represents power and prestige; black-tie-affairs are elegantly sophisticated events; profitability is represented with the words, “in the black;” the human body rejuvenates best when sleeping in total darkness; dark beer is considered to be the finest beer; the finest chocolate is dark chocolate; and the ideal type/mate is reported to be tall, dark, and handsome. Black is and has always been, beautiful! It is the essence of color as well as the quintessence of life itself. Consistent with the laws of nature, the many hues of black and brown symbolize fertility. These colors represent the rich, dark soil that gives life to crops, flowers, and plants; the darker the better. Thus these are also the pigments that gave birth to the hue-man race. In the beginning there was blackness; everything else evolved from that.
The information above is partially taken from the book, Recognizing & Resolving the Roots of Racism (ISBN 978-1-4507-4050-0), by Phavia Kujichagulia.
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