click to enlarge
After emancipation, many freedmen and -women took the surnames of their former owners as their own. Some blacks in the U.S. took on the surname Freeman, while others adopted the names of popular historical or contemporary figures of social importance, such as former presidents Washington, Jefferson, and Jackson.
A number of African-Americans and Jamaican Americans have changed their names out of the belief that the names they were given at birth were "slave names." An individual's name change often coincides with a religious conversion (Muhammad Ali and Louis Farrakhan, for example) or involvement with the black nationalist movement (e.g., Amiri Baraka and Assata Shakur).
Some organizations encourage African-Americans to abandon their "slave names." The Nation of Islam is perhaps the best-known of them. In his book, Message to the Blackman in America, Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad writes often of "slave names." Some of his comments include:
"You must remember that slave-names will keep you a slave in the eyes of the civilized world today. You have seen, and recently, that Africa and Asia will not honor you or give you any respect as long as you are called by the white man's name."
"You are still called by your slave-masters' names. By rights, by international rights, you belong to the white man of America. He knows that. You have never gotten out of the shackles of slavery. You are still in them."
Other organizations, such as the Black nationalist US Organization also advocate for African-Americans to change their "slave names."
Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of African-Americans bear "slave names."
When I went to school, we were never taught Black History. We never learned about the Black leaders, the long, agonizing history that brought most Blacks to America. Those atrocities were glossed over in favor of mindlessly boring topics like the X Y Z Affair.
This series of cartoons will review Black history as told from a Black mother to an interracial child. This series will be ugly, course, horrific and truthful. I will mostly abandon the commentary for an article on Black history.
This series is not about Obama or Hillary. I want to you to try to imagine how Black families tell their children of the atrocities their ancestors, all of them, suffered because of the color of their skin. Try to imagine how Black families counsel their children when someone calls them "nigger" for the first time. Can you imagine the bone crushing emotion that must well up? Can you imagine the agony, frustration and anger?
Can you imagine being the Black preacher who tries to paint a picture of a just God every Sunday? Especially in a country that claims where the notion of racism is a thing of the past, the job is difficult.
These strips may at times be entertaining and sometimes they may not - mostly not.
I don't want you to laugh so hard you cry, I want you to cry so hard you do something about it.