What July 4th Means to Black America

by Alberto N Jones

Sherdavia Jenkins. Photo: nbcmiami.com
Sherdavia Jenkins. Photo: nbcmiami.com

HAVANA TIMES — A moving article written this week by columnist Leonard Pitts in the Miami Herald marks the 10th anniversary of the violent death in “punk gangster” crossfire of 9-year-old Sherdavia Jenkins in Miami. This X-Ray image of the human disaster that is rooted in that city and has metastasized throughout the United States suggests the existence of an ethnic cleansing program in place.

In a tragi-comedy ritual, ex-Congressman Kendrick Meek was speechless, stricken by grief, and that personification of a shameless Florida politician, then Speaker of the Florida House Marco Rubio, said “we sit on a crisis of epic proportions,” something I had noticed shortly after arriving in the US as part of the Mariel boatlift in 1980.

Tensions were very high in Miami, because of the brutal murder of Afro American businessman and Viet Nam veteran Arthur Mc Duffie at the hands of 4 Hispanic (2 Cubans) police, who smashed his skull into a pulp with their flashlight.  The case was transferred to Tampa, where an all-white jury acquitted all perpetrators, setting off the first city wide riot I had seen in my life.

Frustrated neighbors from Overtown, Liberty City and other predominantly black neighborhoods set their community on fire and the anticipated response of the governor was to unleash thousands of National Guards armed to their teeth with M-16s, armored vehicles and helicopters, which left in the aftermath 15 dead, nearly a hundred wounded civilians and 100 million dollars in damages on the victims, not on the perpetrators.

Since then, the list of cruel, vicious and blatant murders of blacks and Latinos with impunity across the United States are too many to enumerate.  I painfully recall Illnor Bumpers, an 84 year old grandmother shot repeatedly and killed by 4 cops in her living room in the Bronx.  Amadou Diallo, an African emigrant, was opening his apartment door in the Bronx when he was shot at 41 times and hit 19 times.

Most thought we had seen the worst brutality, perversion and cruelty of a nationwide deranged police force when Abner Louima was sodomized with a broomstick in a police station in Brooklyn or when 43 year old Eric Garner, who was peddling “illegal” cigarettes in Staten Island, was attacked by 9 police officers and choked to death on the sidewalk in broad daylight.

But the vicious police killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice with a fusillade of gunfire while playing with a toy gun in a park, goes beyond all logic or reasoning, precisely in a country that is enamored with guns, allows guns to be purchased as easy as buying bread and where ownership is legally inscribed in its Constitution and enforced by the National Rifle Association.

After these revolting examples, why waste any time with the notorious killings of Trayvon Martin in Florida, Michael Brown in Ferguson or the wicked murder of Freddy Gray by Baltimore police?

In another section of Mr. Pitts article, he offers a chilling sample of children who have been murdered across the United States such as Joseph Spencer 12, Michael Alvin 12, Roberto Lopez 4, Rosay J. Butler 3, Gabriel Martinez 5, Delric Miller 8 months, Antonio Santiago 13 months, David Garth 12, Ja’ Quail Mansaw 7 months or King Carter 6 years old. No steps have been taken by any government institution to eradicate this gun violence epidemic.

The horrors of centuries of slavery, whippings, lynching, and massacres in Colfax, 1873, Arkansas, 1919, Tulsa 1921, Rosewood 1923 or the monstrous killing of Emett Till in Mississippi, have not touched the moral fiber of a nation with a tarnished past.

Yet, the United States government has dedicated years of investigations, congressional hearings and millions of dollars trying to find Hillary Clinton or the Obama administration guilty of failing to save the lives of 4 spies infiltrated in Benghazi that were ambushed and killed in a CIA compound, euphemistically described as an Embassy.

Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass

These irrefutable facts are the basis for Frederick Douglass’ most legendary speech in Rochester, New York on July 5, 1852 when he said:

What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.


18 thoughts on “What July 4th Means to Black America

  • July 5, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    How many Cuban Blacks are killed by Cuban cops …..?

  • July 5, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    That’s odd… I’ve seen that photo of Fredrick Douglass on this website before. Actually, I have this feeling that somehow or other, his picture is almost ubiquitously present in the comments section. Now it wouldn’t be the internet picture (whatever they are called) of an American black, who wears his race on his sleeve, unabashed chauvinist and who must dedicate hours a day to picking the most minute nits from a society, Cuba, to which he does not belong, other than as a foreigner married to a Cuban woman, would it ? Strange that he would be so hostile to Cuba, yet turn such a blind eye to the treatment of his own, beloved government to his own people to such an extent that he doesn’t even make his habitual appearance on this comment board. And we’re not talking about cops stopping blacks and asking for their carne (the Cuban equivalent of Driving While Black) we’re talking about grannies getting blown away with shotguns by the police. If I remember correctly, this guy even brags about his Mom sitting next to Rosa Parks on a bus or something, and having an uncle who was a Panther. It doesn’t seem to make sense.Maybe he’ll explain.

  • July 5, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    I think Ronin makes a very good point. Whenever Havana Times brings up some ugly aspect of American life it detracts from our on going trashing of everything to do with Cuba. So lets get back to what some of us do so well. Trashing and bashing Cuba. I miss hearing about how Cuban school children are forced to smile for tourists and how the Cuban people don’t have access to Libraries. About how much the Cuban people are unhappy. And my all time favorite, how the American Economic Blockage has little or no adverse effect on the Cuban Economy.

  • July 5, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    The key fact to determine here is, were they nine times as likely to be engaging in behavior that would lead to anyone, regardless of their race, being shot by the police. I
    am NOT saying that they were, by the way. It’s just that statistics
    showing that one ethnic group is more likely than another to be in one category or another — being shot by police, winning Nobel Prizes for medicine — does not by itself indicate that discrimination is going on.

    America is a violent country. I had an acquaintance — we were young radical leftists in the 60s and 70s — who was shot to death by the Los Angeles Police Department, supposedly while he was naked. (More details here: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2209&dat=19770826&id=rHdjAAAAIBAJ&sjid=oXkNAAAAIBAJ&pg=7116,5100254&hl=en‘.) I don’t know the facts, but I remember him as a rather gentle, slightly eccentric person, unlikely to threaten policemen. I don’t know what happened, but I don’t automatically exonerate the police when I hear about these incidents.

    The point is: you have to know the facts. And there are a lot of people invested in making a case against the police regardless of the facts.

  • July 5, 2016 at 10:33 am

    Sorry, the link wouldn’t open for me here in Cuba so I made the assumption that it was referring to the fact how blacks kill each other at a horrendous rate in the US.

    For a black person in the US being killed by a cop is statistically very low, compared to the 90+% chance of being killed by another black person.

    It’s truly a tragic situation.

  • July 5, 2016 at 6:42 am

    I see that i was not clear. The article refers to deaths at the hands of police officers.

    “Young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers in 2015, according to the findings of a Guardian study that recorded a final tally of 1,134 deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers this year.”

  • July 5, 2016 at 2:07 am

    I’m sorry, did i miss something, this is “Havana Times” not “U.S. Times.” This is a publication to discuss and be informed of Cuban issues, not to get some anti-police rant. Plus, if you think if it’s sooooo bad in this country, you are always welcomed to move out and go where you might think it’s better than this. Love it or leave it 🙂

  • July 4, 2016 at 8:30 pm

    Even for you George that’s a completely nonsense reply, making no logical sense whatsoever.

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