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 6, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    No clue Dan and there are of course no reliable statistics.

    That said, I’ve witnessed many, many clashes between (mostly) blacks and cops in Cuba – many times with the blacks being armed with machetes, etc. – and I have never seen a cop pull a gun. To subdue them they usually just beat the guys with their batons.

    I’ve also seen gangs of (mostly) black guys win in a fight against cops, with the cops finally retreating in disgrace.

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