FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Charlottesville and the Battles of History

The events surrounding Charlottesville, Virginia have a resonance far beyond the borders of Old Dominion. Even though they began as a strictly local affair, they quickly assumed a national character, because this strictly local event stems from the nation’s history—a history that remains not only contested but bitterly unresolved.

That history, of course is the toxic poison of White Supremacy, and the trigger thereof—African Slavery—the intentional, centuries-long economic, social, communal and psychic exploitation of Africans for the financial and psychological benefits of the White Nation. This toxin has tainted the bloodstream of the Nation, and infected all segments of society, and was integral to the very development of Whiteness as a core identity for millions of people who call themselves “Americans.”

As we look at protests rolling throughout the country, the first thing we must recognize is that this isn’t about monuments. Nor is it about the Civil War.

It is about the Present. It is about how this country will define itself, how it sees itself, and how it understands its future.

But history, true history is more about today than yesterday, for it is the pathway to tomorrow, and it lives or dies in the minds of the young who learn, or unlearn, how this country came to be, and what role they play in the days to come.

The great Black freedom fighter, Malcolm X repeatedly said, “Of all our studies, history best rewards our research.” He knew this not only because he was taught this by his Teacher (Honorable Elijah Muhammed) but because he learned this in the very expression of his life. For, as a state prisoner, a man so hated that he was called “Satan,” his learning of a deeper history of Black people literally made him a new man. It gave him confidence, it turned his loathing into loving, it gave him purpose—and perhaps more importantly, perspective.

Perspective. How to look at the world. How to interpret it. How to understand why things are the way they are. That’s the real value of History.

It teaches Perspective of Now—not Then.

And that’s the reason why monuments, turned green by oxidation and pigeon poop, are seemingly at the center of these controversies.

The Trump presidency signaled a Great Leap – Backwards. It was the expression of a deep, profound fear of the Future, of Change, of Transformation. So, they hold on to Yesterday, invoking Tradition—as if the central Tradition of America wasn’t—and isn’t—Black Slavery, which launched it into and Economic and World Power.

Charlottesville is thus a turning point—a pivot point upon which the Nation turns back, or moves forward, creating a New History.

This only the people of America will decide.

More articles by:

Mumia Abu-Jamal is the author of Writing on the Wall.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
February 21, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Election Con 2020: Exposing Trump’s Deception on the Opioid Epidemic
Joshua Frank
Bloomberg is a Climate Change Con Man
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Billion Dollar Babies
Paul Street
More Real-Time Reflections from Your Friendly South Loop Marxist
Jonathan Latham
Extensive Chemical Safety Fraud Uncovered at German Testing Laboratory
Ramzy Baroud
‘The Donald Trump I know’: Abbas’ UN Speech and the Breakdown of Palestinian Politics
Martha Rosenberg
A Trump Sentence Commutation Attorneys Generals Liked
Ted Rall
Bernie Should Own the Socialist Label
Louis Proyect
Encountering Malcolm X
Kathleen Wallace
The Debate Question That Really Mattered
Jonathan Cook
UN List of Firms Aiding Israel’s Settlements was Dead on Arrival
George Wuerthner
‘Extremists,’ Not Collaborators, Have Kept Wilderness Whole
Colin Todhunter
Apocalypse Now! Insects, Pesticide and a Public Health Crisis  
Stephen Reyna
A Paradoxical Colonel: He Doesn’t Know What He is Talking About, Because He Knows What He is Talking About.
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A New Solar Power Deal From California
Richard Moser
One Winning Way to Build the Peace Movement and One Losing Way
Laiken Jordahl
Trump’s Wall is Destroying the Environment We Worked to Protect
Walden Bello
Duterte Does the Right Thing for a Change
Jefferson Morley
On JFK, Tulsi Gabbard Keeps Very Respectable Company
Vijay Prashad
Standing Up for Left Literature: In India, It Can Cost You Your Life
Gary Leupp
Bloomberg Versus Bernie: The Upcoming Battle?
Ron Jacobs
The Young Lords: Luchadores Para La Gente
Richard Klin
Loss Leaders
Gaither Stewart
Roma: How Romans Differ From Europeans
Kerron Ó Luain
The Soviet Century
Mike Garrity
We Can Fireproof Homes But Not Forests
Fred Baumgarten
Gaslighting Bernie and His Supporters
Joseph Essertier
Our First Amendment or Our Empire, But Not Both
Peter Linebaugh
A Story for the Anthropocene
Danny Sjursen
Where Have You Gone Smedley Butler?
Jill Richardson
A Broken Promise to Teachers and Nonprofit Workers
Binoy Kampmark
“Leave Our Bloke Alone”: A Little Mission for Julian Assange
Wade Sikorski
Oil or Food? Notes From a Farmer Who Doesn’t Think Pipelines are Worth It
Christopher Brauchli
The Politics of Vengeance
Hilary Moore – James Tracy
No Fascist USA! Lessons From a History of Anti-Klan Organizing
Linn Washington Jr.
Ridiculing MLK’s Historic Garden State ‘Firsts’
L. Michael Hager
Evaluating the Democratic Candidates: the Importance of Integrity
Jim Goodman
Bloomberg Won’t, as They Say, Play Well in Peoria, But Then Neither Should Trump
Olivia Alperstein
We Need to Treat Nuclear War Like the Emergency It Is
Jesse Jackson
Kerner Report Set Standard for What a Serious Presidential Candidate Should Champion
ADRIAN KUZMINSKI
Home Sweet Home: District Campaign Financing
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
The Latest BLM Hoodwinkery: “Fuel Breaks” in the Great Basin
Wendell Griffen
Grace and Gullibility
Nicky Reid
Hillary, Donald & Bernie: Three Who Would Make a Catastrophe
David Yearsley
Dresden 75
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail