According to Webster’s Dictionary, a criminal is one who has committed a crime or a person who has been convicted of a crime – a rapist, murderer, robber or thief. Criminal judgments can be passed on an individual or collective. Few would deny that America and Europe have been by far the world’s greatest criminals and the proof is marked by historical data. Among the greatest crimes committed by America and Europe is the institution of slavery and colonization. The European and American Slave Trade was the most brutal, inhuman institution ever brought on a people and Africans were the primary victims of this holocaust, which lasted over 400 years and continues to plague people of African descent to this day.
The African Holocaust of 100 million must never be forgotten by black people in Africa and America because of the impact it has had on our people in the way we view ourselves, how others view us and the mental shackles that remain the ever-present reminder of a traumatic past.
In America, we have a well-documented history of slave-owning leaders including the “Founding Fathers” and early Presidents, who indulged in the American Slave Trade for forced “free” labor. Here is a partial list:
1. George Washington, America’s first President, owned 216 slaves in 1771.
2. Patrick “Give me liberty or give me death” Henry, owned 65 slaves at the time of his death.
3. Andrew Jackson owned 160 slaves during his term as Commander in Chief.
4. James K. Polk, the 11th President, owned 18 slaves.
5. Thomas Jefferson owned 185 slaves in 1809.
6. Abraham Lincoln, the so-called Great Emancipator, said during a debate in 1858, “I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having a Superior position assigned to the White race.”
7. Ulysses S. Grant owned 4 slaves.
8. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President, in a letter to a friend wrote, “Now as to the Negroes, I entirely agree with you that as a race and mass, they are altogether inferior to whites.”
(In part 2, the author discusses what Blacks are owed by European and American colonizers.)
Malik Ismail is an international traveler and activist. He’s explored many cultures in Africa including Ghana, South Africa and Egypt. He’s traveled to Cuba and South America. This year he visited Rio de Janeiro and Salvador Bahia, Brazil including the favelas of Rocinha and Cidade de Deus (City of God) in Rio. His writings have been featured in the L.A. Watt’s Times, It’s About Time Newsletter, Rolling Out Magazine and The Black Panther Intercommunal News Service.