From Dred Scott to Barack Obama: the Continuation of Jim Crow
Prior to the success of Michael Alexander's book "the New Jim Crow," many young people, young blacks included, had never heard of "Jim Crow," because it is filtered out and diminished in the "American" mis-education system. And even though many more people have some knowledge or idea of the term, most of it is vague, and really usable in fashioning more effective responses to it, their understanding is without a concise historical context. This work is to provide one, for in order to know where we need to go, we need to understand where we are, which is only possible if we have a concise materialist understanding of how got here - Sankofa.
1848 - Too few blacks know about Dred Scott, who was actually the architect behind one of the greatest legal assaults not only on slavery, but the hypocrisy of America. Held in slavery by an Alabama doctor in the 1840s, who went to work for the U.S. Army as it carried out the removal of the Native people from the invaders called the "Northwest Territory," where slavery was not permitted. Even though there were only two short wars of resistance (the Black Hawk War of 1832 and the Creek War of 1836), the army still encountered resistance from small bands and took on casualties, in addition to sickness. so they needed a doctor. Dred Scott wound up held as a slave in the "free territory" where slavery was not legally permitted. Secretly being semi-literate, Dred Scott knew about the "Northwest Compact" not permitting slavery in the territory. When the doctor died, she told Dred Scott to prepare to return to Alabama, he, his wife, and their children. Dred Scott told the racist bitch to go to hell, he declared himself and his family free. The white woman called the sheriff and Dred Scott was locked up for refusing to be a slave in a territory where slavery supposedly was not permitted. Some abolitionist got wind of the situation and provided Dred Scott with attorneys to fight his case.
Even though Dred Scott initially won his case, lawyers for the "pro-slavery" forces backing the Ferguson family filed an appeal, which wound itself for nine year up to the U.S. "Supreme" court, Seven of the nine "Justices" of the court where en-slavers and slave-holders of black people, including the chief "Justice," Roger B. Taney, who had a family plantation on Maryland's Eastern Shore, from which both Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass had not only escaped, but had become notorious as opponents of slavery. So, Taney had an almost personal a cross to bear against "niggers" claiming to be free, those two "niggers" escaped from his neighbors plantation and then let folk know about it, while at the same evaded re-capture. However, they really did not want to re-enslave blacks like Tubman and Douglass, because they will never be and will only infect the rest of the slaves with the fever of escape or rebellion. Dred Scott was also one of "those niggers," after he took a stand for the Human Rights of himself, his family, and black folk, no slave holder would buy him, so he was freed. Unfortunately, he did not live a year afterward, for he he died in 1858 of Tuberculosis, yet left a major historical impact on having the system to reveal itself, which is exactly what the cold, nasty, and racist chief "justice" did.
1857 - Taney saw the case as an opportunity to make it clear the Blacks and Natives were nothing more than subjects to the "system dynamic," as the Honorable Queen-Mother Dr. Francis Cress Wesling we must understand "racism white power" as being. Taney and the rest of the "Justice" slave-holders that made up the overwhelming majority of the court, rejected outright Dred Scott's Human Rights claim to the right not be enslaved, but they have masked it as one asserting "citizenship." Dred Scott did not want to be a U.S. citizen and never contended that he was, he simply asserted that he at least had the right to be free from slavery where the government supposedly prohibited it by law. Dred Scott and his family where held as slaves in the so-called "free-territory" for over seven-years and no one moved to enforce the law, so he finally did it himself. That single act of defiance and determination, forced America to reveal its forever commitment to racism white power, no matter how hypocritical, for its "Democracy."
This issue raised by Dred Scott was not any assertion of a right to be a "U.S. citizen," he was not seeking to join the white-settler state, only his human right not to be held in slavery by it in order to support it in its crimes against another people. The decrepit Taney enjoyed delivering the decision of the majority, which was based on the straw man spin they put on it, that Dred Scott was seeking to be recognized as a "citizen" of the slave state, instead of his contention the he was a Human Being with the same "inalienable" rights bestowed by "their Creator," as whites claimed for themselves. Taney, speaking for the majority rendered a repudiation, capped with a declaration of perpetual subjugation of Black and Native people, "whether emancipated or not." Taney said:
"The words "people of the United States" and citizens are synonymous terms, and mean the same thing. They both describe the political body who ... form the sovereignty, and who hold the power and conduct the Government.The question before us is, whether the class of persons described in the plea in abatement [people of Aftican ancestry] compose a portion of this people, and are constituent members of this sovereignty?We think they are not, and that they are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word "citizens" in the Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United States.On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings, who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and the Government might choose to grant them."
There it was stated as plainly as could be stated, not by black folk, but the "Justices" of America's "Supreme" court, that the U.S. is like a Leopard, which cannot change its spots, speaking truth to the origin and nature of America. Taney and the rest of the system was prepared for the day when chattel-slavery would be outlawed, but not enslavement and slavery by other means, for after all the objective of America is to perpetuate the subjugation and destruction of those it subjugates and gets in its imperial way.
In response, Frederick Douglass delivered a stinging rebuke not only of the court, but those white who posed as his comrades in the "abolition of slavery," and of course the total liberation of black people, Douglass can be best be summed up where he said:
"This infamous decision of the Slaveholding wing of the Supreme Court maintains that slaves are within the contemplation of the Constitution of the United States, property; that slaves are property in the same sense that horses, sheep, and swine are property; that the old doctrine that slavery is a creature of local law is false; that the right of the slaveholder to his slave does not depend upon the local law, but is secured wherever the Constitution of the United States extends; that Congress has no right to prohibit slavery anywhere; that slavery may go in safety anywhere under the star-spangled banner; that colored persons of African descent have no rights that white men are bound to respect; that colored men of African descent are not and cannot be citizens of the United States."
But, Dred Scott never asserted a right to be a "citizen" of the slave-holding state that held him and his family in bandage, he asserted his human right to be respected as a person, plain and simple. For Dred, an "inalienable right," was applicable to all since they came from their Creator, and he was smart enough to know that white folks were not his "Creator," but his and his people's destroyers. Dred Scott's claim was not even based on the Northwest Compact, but simply on the criminality of the notion that one people can declare the right to deny the humanity of another people, Dred simply refused to put up with it any more and made America to expose its true nature, so in that way that picture of an unassuming slave, is actually one of a legal genius. Dred Scott knew that no slave holder would then want this rebellious nigger on or even near their plantation, so he had himself barred from slavery. They could do nothing but cut him loose, unfortunately it only formally came shortly before his death, the same as happened with Herman Wallace in 2014. Dred Scott at least had almost a year, Herman had barely a week.Even though he lost in the system, Dred Sott scored a major tactical battle that helped to propel the white-settler state toward its own internal economic conflicts, the "industrializing North," as opposed to wealthier southern slave aristocracy.Within three-years, the Confederates would succeed from the white, threatening the existence of the great "White Union" of America. For the north the issue really was not of slavery, but the methods of enslavement in the age og of industrialization. The war did not start over, or ever really concerned itself with morality or immorality of slavery, but over which system of enslavement would prevail, the agrarian slave-aristocracy or the industrialist northern modern wage-slave, a new look for Jim Crow. Although the South conceded the militarily battle to the Union, it maintained its war to ensure that the black would at least forever held in servitude, as part of the founding principles of America, and they received confirmation of this fact from the U.S. government.
the former being "granted" by a superior onto an inferior, while the latt
er being one bestowed on a person by "their Creator" at birth. The enslavement of black people and the taking of the Native's land, was based on the racist notion that both people were not "persons," that they had no "inalienable" rights that whites as a people and nation-states were bound to respect. Their "Supreme" court stated in the Dred Scott case that nothing, not even emancipation, would change that relationship.
The enactment of the Fourteenth amendment some ten-years later not only did not change the master-slave relationship, but re-affirmed and solidified it for the new form of slavery. Since no person can be "made" a citizen of a nation without his consent, without that person freely electing to seek citizenship in a particular nation, the Fourteenth amendment was an imposition. Black people did not lobby for the amendment, had no involvement in its creation and enactment, although they were specifically the subject of its intent. Section 1 of the amendment is the one where it is claimed that black people derived their citizenship in America, which states:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
The Native people were born on the land on which the United States implanted itself, but they are not "citizens," likewise, to claim that Africans kidnapped and held in America were then "citizens," is the same as the kidnapper claiming his victim as part of his household and making them forever "subject" to his authority. The U.S. made no offer of reparations or repatriation to blacks newly freed from chattel-slavery. Putting bricks in an oven and calling them biscuits does not make them biscuits, they are still bricks. The real intent behind the Fourteenth amendment was not some noble effort to make an amends for past crimes against humanity, but rather to perpetuate an institution in a new form as a solution to America's "colored problem."
Following the end of the military aspect of the American civil war, which truly did not end until 1876, it was faced with the "problem" of what to then do with the newly "freed" blacks. Whites in the north, as well as the south, had been so thoroughly infused with racism that neither wanted blacks to be treated as equals and thus, the "problem" as to what to do with them. Those holding the "power and the government" devised the Fourteenth amendment to create the fallacy of a legitimate relationship between blacks and the U.S. government by claiming by the mere fact that the kidnapped African was now left destitute at the scene of the crime, they should now and forever be made "subject to the authority" of the kidnapper in exchange for the title "citizen."
The fallacy being made instantaneously, for at the same time that they were enacting the Fourteenth amendment, many of the southern states were enacting "Black Codes," while laws imposing strict racial segregation already existed in the northern states. From 1865 to 1876, the civil war continued on a political level as the Confederate States of America violently re-took control of the southern states while the federal government did nothing. Finally, in 1876, the United States and the Confederate States of America struck a deal, a compromise, whereby in exchange for agreeing never to attempt secession again, the Confederate governments would be re-admitted into the (white) Union and be allowed essentially to re-enslave blacks within their borders. That event is known as the "Hayes Compromise," where the Republicans bartered away the purported newly granted "citizenship" of blacks to the Democrats, who at the time was the por-slavery party.
The "Black Codes" were created in response to the provision of the Thirteenth amendment, which contrary to popular misrepresentation did not "abolish" slavery, but rather merely restricted the power to enslave to those holding the power and the government "as punishment for crime." Acts or mere state of being that were not criminal for whites, became criminal for black people, take the case of Homer Plessy. In order to enforce strict racial segregation it was a crime for any black person not to comply with the restrictions placed on them by these laws, so when Homer Plessy refused to leave a whites only railway car, he was arrested and prosecuted. His case made it all the way to the U.S. "Supreme" court where he argued that segregation was unconstitutional in that it burdened blacks with a "badge of inferiority, to which that court stated this:
"We consider the underlying fallacy of the plaintiff's argument to consist in the assumption that the enforced separation of the two races stamps the colored race with a badge of inferiority. If this be so, it is not by reason of anything found in the act, but solely because the colored race chooses to put that construction upon it. The argument necessarily assumes that if, as has been more than once the case and is not unlikely to be so again, the colored race should become the dominant power in the state legislature, and should enact a law in precisely similar terms, it would thereby relegate the white race to an inferior position. We imagine that the white race, at least, would not acquiesce in this assumption. The argument also assumes that social prejudices may be overcome by legislation, and that equal rights cannot be secured to the negro except by an enforced commingling of the two races. We cannot accept this proposition. If the two races are to meet upon terms of social equality, it must be the result of natural affinities, a mutual appreciation of each other's merits, and a voluntary consent of individuals." Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 (1896)
There are many who would argue that the Plessy ruling was overturned by subsequent "Supreme" court decisions beginning with the Brown v. Board of Education cases in 1954, yet here we are some 58-years later still confronted with "separate, but equal" serving as the basis for the criminal prosecution of black and brown people. A prime example of this is what goes on in D.C. "Superior" court on a daily basis, take for example the failure of many judges there to perform "probable cause" determinations. Although the "Supreme" court has held that the determination is part of the "critical stage" of a criminal prosecution, it is still critical as to the placing of restraints on a person's liberty pending a criminal prosecution.
The Fourth Amendment requires a judicial determination of probable cause as a prerequisite to extended restraint of liberty following arrest.The prosecutor's assessment of probable cause, standing alone, does not meet the requirements of the Fourth Amendment, and is insufficient to justify restraint of liberty pending trial.Gerstein v. Pugh - 420 U.S. 103 (1975)
If at this hearing the Court imposes any conditions of release which constitute a significant restraint on pretrial liberty upon any person who was arrested without an arrest warrant, the Court shall, unless the defendant waives an initial probable cause determination, require the prosecutor to file with the Clerk of the Criminal Division by the end of the next working day a copy of a sworn statement of fact offered to establish probable cause; except that in nonmoving traffic violation cases, the traffic citation may be considered by the Court as sufficient to establish probable cause. Upon the filing of the sworn statement of fact, the Court shall then proceed
promptly to determine if there is probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed and that the defendant committed it. The determination or probable cause may be made by the Court without conducting a hearing. The Court's finding of probable cause may be based upon hearsay evidence in whole or in part. The Court shall enter its determination as to probable cause on the case jacket along with the date of the determination. If the Court determines, based on the information offered by the prosecutor, that there is no probable cause, the Court shall release the defendant, without significant restraints on the defendant's liberty, and shall order the defendant to appear for the next Court proceeding. Rule 5(c) DC Superior Court Rules of Criminal Procedure