Black History Fun Fact Friday – To Shoot Hard Labour by Joanne C. Hillhouse

This article is part of Antiguan and Barbudan author Joanne C. Hillhouse’s Blogger on Books book review series on her blog http://jhohadli.wordpress.com. 

Today, she provides insight into the book, To Shoot Hard Labour: The Life and Times of Samuel Smith, an Antiguan Workingman 1877-1982.


A Long Preamble

The full title of To Shoot Hard Labour, which I was first introduced to as a secondary school student and have referenced in the years since, is To Shoot Hard Labour: The Life and Times of Samuel Smith, an Antiguan Workingman 1877-1982 (first printing 1986).

You may immediately pick up that the title structure is reminiscent of the true-to-life literary genre known as the slave narrative. Famous examples of which include Twelve Years a SlaveNarrative of Solomon Northup, a citizen of New York, kidnapped in Washington City in 1841 and rescued in 1853 from a Cotton Plantation near the Red River in Louisiana (published 1859). Additionally, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, written by himself (published 1845 by the anti-slavery office in Boston); and The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, related by Herself (published in England in 1831).

The subject and author of the last of these spent some of her time in enslavement in Antigua, where I live, the locale of the post-slavery narrative told by Samuel Smith to his grandchildren, co-authors Keithlyn and Fernando Smith.

The slave narrative emerged in the colonial era as a genre and a tool of the anti-slavery movement concerned with dismantling chattel slavery in the Americas – other references will say North America, but I am being very specific.

It shouldn’t need to be said in 2020 with all the material (e.g., slave narratives) at our disposal, but chattel slavery – the brutal multi-generational-generational-generational form of human trafficking and enslavement of Africans fed by the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the need (read: greed) for labour for the mass production of sugar and cotton that built the European and North American (meaning the USA) economies – happened across the hemisphere known as the Americas. The Americas includes North and South America and the Caribbean. Historically, this is the so-called ‘New World’ over which European powers fought and which they colonized over hundreds of years – beginning with Columbus’ wrong turn at Hispaniola, modern-day Haiti (French), and the Dominican Republic (Spanish) in 1492.

The first enslaved Africans arrived in the New World in the 1500s. To Shoot Hard Labour, in its sweeping introduction, spoke of Las Casas, the Catholic priest known as the protector of the ‘Indians’, the Kalinago (called Caribs by the Europeans who in the history books I read as a child were described as ‘fierce’ and ‘warlike’) and other indigenous groups being exterminated for European profit, who proposed that the colonizers look instead to Africa for labour. In this introduction, it said the first enslaved Africans landed in the New (to the colonizers) World in 1502.

The Old World powers of England, Spain, France, Portugal, the Netherlands (Dutch) divvied up and dominated Africa (which they mined of her natural and human resources) and the colonies they claimed in the New World, often through violence. England emerged as a superpower – an empire upon which the sun never set, into the 20th century, until its former colony, America, which had greatly expanded its fortunes and influence since declaring its Independence in 1776, rose to take that spot. Forgive me for being hand wave-y on the details of globalization; I intend this as a discussion of the book To Shoot Hard Labour, not a New World history.

However, I am writing this in the summer of 2020, a summer in which the newly announced Vice Presidential hopeful on the US Democratic party ticket, Kamala Harris, is US (i.e., North American) born to a father from Jamaica and a mother from India. The fact that these are both former colonies of England and that Jamaica was, like the entire Caribbean, a chattel slavery colony is not the point, but it is not irrelevant. Harris’ Blackness, and her connection to the struggles of Black people who have fought their way from slavery to freedom and beyond, have been called in to question with sentiments like “She’s not Black. She’s Jamaican.”

If you know the New World history, you know that Blackness and Jamaica are not mutually exclusive. The English speaking Caribbean, including Jamaica, and other non-English speaking former colonies, are majority Black and have been for centuries at the forefront of anti-slavery, labour rights, and independence movements, and for decades at the forefront of the reparations movement specific to the injustices of chattel slavery.

It is a movement that has been centered in American discourse this election cycle – and we love to see it – because it’s all about reparative justice. This is something that should unite, not separate us. We are diasporically – through our ties to a common motherland, Africa, and the inheritance of a common brutal experience here in the New World – family. But here we are, and it needs to be said – some of the most brutal forms of chattel slavery existed in the Caribbean, and the post-slavery narrative To Shoot Hard Labour is one man’s testimony.

The genre known as the slavery narrative grew out of the lived experience of enslaved (and formerly enslaved) people, some 6000 of them across North America and the Caribbean through the 18th and 19th centuries. They were autobiographical and, given their use as an anti-abolitionist tool, emphasized the struggle, with religion and progress being recurring motifs. As with many slave narratives, To Shoot Hard Labour is an ‘as told to’ and Papa Sammy ends by telling his grandsons, “I hope that you will write down exactly what I am telling you. If you do, the people will see how far down in the mud arwe come from.” (p. 162)

To Shoot Hard Labour veers from your traditional slave narrative in that it begins in 1834 – the year slavery legally ended in the English speaking Caribbean, with the four year apprenticeship – Antigua, which opted for full emancipation in 1834, was an exception. I, therefore, describe it as a post-slavery narrative. Its central theme, beginning with Papa Sammy’s ancestor Rachael’s long walk across Antigua to re-connect with the daughter (Minty) sold off years before, is the quest for freedom, life, humanity in a world determined to keep Black people underfoot. “Only when they find Minty they really believe that slavery was all over for sure.” (p. 32) But not without scars, “Minty had a brand on she hand.” (p. 32)

The book is a stark reminder that the legal end of slavery did not mean its end in practice. In some ways, even in a country, politically independent since 1981, with Black leaders and a majority Black population, the struggle for true self-actualization continues. The ways in which the struggle continues and in which they have been brought in to sharp focus in 2020, the year of the COVID-19 global pandemic and the globally resonant Black Lives Matter uprising sparked in North America/the US, and the economic and social quakes sparked by both, is more heavy lifting than this piece can do.

But let’s talk about this book though.

I covered a lot of ground in the 13th installment of my CREATIVE SPACE column of 2020 (SAY THEIR NAME: IN MEMORIAM) in which I wrote about To Shoot Hard Labour by telling the stories of some of the people beaten, raped, and killed, casualties of anti-Blackness post-slavery in Antigua, as well as some of the unsung freedom fighters (labour rights activists). There is likely to be some overlap, but I’ll try to tread ground not covered there, here. I urge you to read that article as a companion to this one.

As the nation was reminded during a month-long on-air book club discussion of it in which I participated, this book covers a lot in its 100 plus years, and even if you’ve read it before, you’re likely to learn something. And even if you’re not from Antigua, what you learn will be educational and impactful as you consider the arc of human history in general and Black people’s experiences in the New World specifically. The particularity of it makes it more potent, not less.

“Just a little away from the market on Church Street in an open space under a big mahogany tree was the old slave market where the bakkra use to sell our generations. That mahogany tree had hoods and spikes in it. After slavery end, Delos Martin, a Scotchman built a business place just west of it, and that would block the view of the courthouse at the corner of Scotch Row and Church Street…the little hill at the head of the city – the one in a straight line with High and St. Mary’s Streets – was called Gibbet’s Hill. It was the place where the open gallow was built – close to what is now called the Botanical Gardens – but the slaves use to call it Dribbet House.

The open gallows were like the frame of a house. Them gallows would have three or four planks overhead. The slaves used to be tied with rope at the neck or shoulders, around the waist, or any part of the body for that matter. They were then pulled up and tie to the overhead planks, and they would be left there to swing. A portion of food would be left in front of them, but that food was to let the slaves see it and not reach it. They were made to swing there till they dead. Nowadays, when you want to show how harsh you want to deal with somebody, you say ‘Me go kill you’. Back then we use to say ‘Me go gibbet you.’” (p. 95)

A long quote, yes, but hopefully you see what I mean, that you don’t have to know those places to see and hear, in Papa Sammy’s own voice, with the vivid descriptiveness of lived and/or handed down memory, the history being revealed.

For me, the reading comes with a sense of loss and reclaiming, as, though I grew up here and knew the named streets, these places, as described, weren’t known to me. There are stories of numerous places for us to re-discover–from the baobob (or as Papa Sammy called it bear bob) tree (the one on the Freemansville main road), which has the distinction of being near a former market where enslaved people were sold, Stony Hill Gully where enslaved people plotted freedom, in 1736 (enduring public torture and death as a consequence), to the lawlessness and licentiousness of bakkra spaces like Guiana Island and Willoughby Bay.

It’s worth noting that though the book, in the spirit of narratives, is autobiographic and, as a result, largely anecdotal, it is not so easily dismissed as a history. For one, it fills the gaps left by the original history of dates and more official sources, i.e., the colonizer’s perspective. For another, it makes a valiant effort to fact check itself.

Derelict Gunthorpes Sugar Factory Antigua High Resolution Stock Photography and Images – Alamy

When Papa Sammy gives 1904 as the year the Gunthropes sugar factory became operational, there’s a footnote that references “Sir Francis Watts, who played a leading role in the establishment of the first central sugar factory” (p. 115) as saying that it was planned in 1903 and reaped its first crop in 1905. The centralization of at least some part of the sugar production process, by the way, began opening up the world of people who had known only plantation life – a very narrow world indeed.

Sugar was king during much of slavery, plantation days, in the Caribbean, and this changed only ever so slowly post-slavery. Massa (also called bakkra – literally “back raw” according to one source* much like “cracker” a pejorative for white in the US* is, according to some sources I’ve seen, a reference to the sound of the whip hitting Black flesh) was still Lord, Master, and the magistrate. The formerly enslaved was still, for all intents and purposes, enslaved. As Papa Sammy said, “in those days, nega if them right, them still wrong” (p. 118)


Sunset from Jolly Beach (scotbon, Feb 2008) Antigua and Barbuda

While the story doesn’t scrimp on the sorrow, it doesn’t wallow in victimhood. It speaks concurrently of the rise of free villages like Freemansville, the harnessing of skills and resources (female-centered work in medicine – a fair amount of folk remedies included), the lingering effects of enslavement (children still carrying the so-called Massa’s name and harsh corporal punishment of children and adults continuing the pattern from the plantation), and the rise of the workers’ rights movements with sometimes fatal consequences (as during the 1918 ‘riots’).

Additionally, the governorship and business and ownership or lack thereof and the transformation of the country, the push for voting rights and ways the community worked together (“the swap, throwing the box and working the lift was the main things that prevent us from eating each other” – p. 116). And there was a beauty. I can verify that as Papa Sammy said, there is no better vantage point for sunset viewing than Clark’s Hill, which is a rising in the middle of the island.

Chattel slavery was not indentured servitude, no matter what some meme said, and the fact that we seem to be forgetting that makes books like To Shoot Hard Labour even more valuable. Consider that post-slavery movement was restricted – you couldn’t just switch employers, and you would be punished physically or locked up for not going to work. You still effectively lived in slave quarters (called the ‘nega-house’ where there was no privacy); you did not police yourself in any way – in fact, “whenever there was a fight or quarrel among nega-house people, it would be massa that would decide who was to get punish and how the punishment would be” (p.38) and who in fact still had and exercised the power of life and death with impunity over the people he once owned.

Consider that post-slavery, you did not own the land you worked nor what it produced unless bakkra said so, that prison labour (literally a jail cart which moved where the work was) was effectively another form of slave labour. Consider all this and more through the lens of current conversations re Blackness, reparations, etc. Consider all this and more, over the 100 years Papa Sammy lived, dying the year after Antigua arrived at political Independence.

Who else to tell this story even if in the telling he disrupts some established narratives–e.g., bringing nuance to the story of modern Antigua, dinging the mythology, speaking to the jealousies and infighting, and the missed opportunities and broken promises even with Black leadership?

You can hear the heartbreak in his words as he reflects on the mahogany tree that once marked the slave market in town. “It was our government and black people that pluck up that tree.” (p. 161). It is we, now in charge, he insists who have forgotten and that’s the heartbreak of this book, but that’s also the hope. These stories are hard to read but they need to be told because – there is much that was done that we can learn from, there is much that was done to us that we must never forget.

Click Here to Purchase Your Copy of To Shoot Hard Labour

Why read this book, beyond it being riveting history? To quote Papa Sammy, “I want the young generations to remember” (p. 161), and this is important because, to quote him further, “I hope that the day will never come again when our people have to suffer indignity like my generation and others have to.” (p. 162) Indignity, when you read this book, and books like it, you will see that that’s putting it mildly.

RIP to the co-author of To Shoot Hard Labour, Antiguan and Barbudan historian, and trade unionist Sir Keithlyn Smith who died July 31st, 2020, and buried in an official funeral on September 15th, 2020.


RELATED LINKS

CREATIVE SPACE: IN MEMORIAM https://jhohadli.wordpress.com/creative-space/creative-space-2020/creative-space-13-of-2020-say-their-name-in-memoriam

BLOGGER ON BOOKS (2020) – To Shoot Hard Labour by Keithlyn and Fernando Smith https://jhohadli.wordpress.com/joannes-extra-ness/blogger-on-books-vlll-2020/blogger-on-books-2020-to-shoot-hard-labour-by-keithlyn-and-fernando-smith

Joanne C. Hillhouse – Author bio https://jhohadli.wordpress.com/about/bio and professional services https://jhohadli.wordpress.com/writing-editing-coaching-services

*Bakkra (Massa): slave master, oppressor

Etymology: “back raw,” “oppressor” (which he bestowed with a whip.)

The bakra or bakra master  refers to a slave master and or slave driver. It is often used in reference to performing unpleasant / involuntary tasks for a demanding person (often in jest).

Fi mi supervisa comin’ like a real bakra masa

*Cracker: “Cracker” was used to refer to poor whites, particularly those inhabiting Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia’s frontier regions. It is suspected that it was a shortened version of “whip-cracker” since the manual labor they did involved driving livestock with a whip. Over time this came to include slave-drivers who used Blacks as livestock during chattel slavery, often literally “cracking the whip” to make them walk faster when human bodies replaced cattle or as a warning to enslaved people who were not “working” hard enough. ‘Ev’ry time I hear the crack of a whip, my blood runs cold. I remember on the slave ship, how they brutalised our very souls.’ – Bob Marley, Slave Driver, from Catch a Fire | Source: “Remembering the Crack of the Whip: African-Caribbean Artists in the UK Visualise Slavery.”


Joanne C. Hillhouse is the author of two books of children’s fiction, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure and With Grace, two books for the teen/young adult market The Boy from Willow Bend and Musical Youth, and two adult contemporary books Oh Gad! and Dancing Nude in the Moonlight. Her writing has appeared in several international magazines, literary journals, and anthologies, including, respectively, Essence, The Columbia Review, and New Daughters of Africa.

Follow and Subscribe to Hillhouse’s thought provoking blog at http://jhohadli.wordpress.com.

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Be sure to check out more Black History Fun Facts Here.

Want to contribute a Black History article? Find out how here.

Black History Fun Fact Friday: Guest Writers Wanted

Updated: 4/27/2020

On January 17, 2015, I started a new Blog Series in honor of Black History Month called Black History Fun Fact Friday. I planned for the series to run from January 2015 through the end of February 2015, but two badges and 70 weeks later we are still going strong.

Black History Fun Fact Friday is not just a Black History Month segment anymore. It has carved out its own space on this blog. I want to get back to publishing Black History articles every Friday and would love to have some help.

I am reaching out for help from individuals who are interested in helping to contribute to this series.

Requirements:

 

  • Must be at least 18+ to write for The PBS Blog.

 

  • Must be original work. Do not copy and paste the article from other blogs unless that blog is your own. If you have a Black History article to share that you published to your site, I welcome you to submit it for Black History Fun Facts. I have no problem with that as long as it is your work. You can also link back to it so readers can follow your blog.

 

  • Because of the nature of this series, interested writers must be Black/African American.

 

  • Topics must be relatable to the history of Blacks/African Americans, African diaspora, e.g.

 

  • Articles must be emailed to me for approval at least one week before publishing. If you email your article on 4/28 for example, I will publish it on 5/1 if there are no needed changes.

 

  • Please send articles as an attachment in a Word Document, 12p Font, Times New Roman text.

 

  • Please do your best to self-edit your work for basic typos/spelling/grammatical errors before submission. Grammarly and ProWritingAid are good free self-edit software programs to use.

 

  • Please include at least one image with the post. Canva is a good program to use to make your own images.

 

  • This is Black History Fun Fact Friday not Black History Opinions so do your best to submit articles covering accurate historical information. I will vet the submissions to make sure they do. If you have links to sources, please include them. If you quote someone else, please cite your source. Articles that plagiarize will not be featured on this blog. (Note: Writers, as a heads up, if you are quoting people in your Social Media graphics without giving proper credit, this is plagiarism. Putting quotation marks around the quote does not make it yours. Don’t leave off the name of the person who said it first!)

 

  • Please include a photo of yourself, social media handles, website, or links to books you’ve written on the topic. This will be added to the end of the post.

Benefits of Guest Blogging:

 

  • Increase traffic to your own website/blog
  • Build Relationships/Online Influence
  • Build Domain and Search Engine Authority
  • Capture Wider Audience (go hand-in-hand with the 1st point)
  • Develop Your Authority on a topic
  • Improve Your Writing
  • Opens the doors for paid business opportunities

Email articles to yecheilyah@yecheilyahysrayl.com.

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Khaya Ronkainen

Today, I’d like to welcome Khaya Ronkainen. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.


What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Khaya Ronkainen. I was born and bred in South Africa, and I now call Finland my second home.

South Africa in the houusee. What was your childhood dream?

To become a teacher. I have huge respect for teachers. I talk this, and also the reasons why I never took up the occupation after all, in the “About” page of my site.

Nice. We’ll be sure to link that below. In your own words, what is humility?

Humility is not a low opinion of one’s self but an awareness that there’s always room for improvement, even if one is confident in their abilities and skills/talents.

Absolutely agree. Who’s your favorite Historical figure?

Nelson Mandela, because he gave me a voice. Most people are aware of apartheid system and its laws that prohibited many things in South Africa. For those who do not know what apartheid is, I suggest a read that sheds some light on the nature of racial injustices at the time, Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, a South African author. I read somewhere that if one wants to understand a country, they must read its authors. So I hope you’re inspired to pick up the book if you’ve never read it.

Awesome. What is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?

Animal Farm by George Orwell. It’s the first influential book I read that showed me the power of a written word, and opened up a whole new world. I have to thank my English teacher, Mrs. Roos, during my high school years. She knew how to activate young minds and keep them engaged through literature.

Available now on Amazon

Loved Orwell’s 1984. What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer?

It’s often difficult for me to describe what I do to people who don’t write or create in any other form. Because what I do, writing, largely depends on an exaggerated inspiration or the elusive muse that holds me hostage, but with no promise of real money.

The most exciting thing?

Dreaming stories into being, that is, the gift of imagination.

You said, there’s no promise of real money in writing. With Indie Publishing being as successful as it is these days, do you think that’s changing? In what way can we improve how writers are paid?

Certainly, there’s no denying the success and benefits of indie publishing; total creative control, higher royalties, supportive indie communities, and so on. More importantly, indie books are doing well as traditionally published books, when it comes to e-publishing, in some genres.

When I talk about no promise of real money, I’m not speaking for all writers but my own writing, which is mostly poetry. Let’s face it, poetry is a difficult genre to sell. My observation is that people love poetry or at least, the idea of poetry, but are not so eager to buy poetry books.

We also know that no one goes into poetry for money. Poets still have to hustle and take regular jobs in order to earn a living. So, perhaps, I’ll rephrase your question, “In what way can we improve how writers are paid?” with “How can we support poets, as readers, and stop undervaluing their work by expecting to get it for free?

As you can see, I’m passionate about this topic. But I’ll stop here.

No, keep going! I love the passion and you are absolutely right. While no one should “poet” for money, no one should do anything else for money! You shouldn’t embrace any path for money specifically and yet we must eat. Looking at it this way, why is poetry or writing…why is Art in general, not expected to be profitable? Something to think about.

I suppose I don’t have to ask what genre you write in…

Poetry, because I like its brevity and the immediacy it creates. Fiction (semi-autobiographical works) because I like to blur the line between fact and fiction. I’m also a horror genre “visiting writer.” As a matter of fact, I’ve recently published my second poetry chapbook, a small collection of dark poetry.

Available now on Amazon

Outside of writing, what are some of your passions?

Nature is my playground and a playmate, my husband. Seriously, I do all sorts of outdoor activities, and I draw huge inspiration from nature.

I can see that about you! Beautiful. What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?

Taking a sabbatical in order to go backpacking through Asia.

Thank you Khaya for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


Copyright ©2019. Khaya Ronkainen. photo used with permission.

Bio

Khaya Ronkainen is an independent author, writer, poet, public speaker and many other things. She currently lives in Finland with her husband.

Her work often examines duality of an immigrant life, cultural identity, relations among immigrants, and nature. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Seasons Defined and From the Depths of Darkness, both available at Amazon Kindle.

She is currently at work on her debut novel about growing up in South Africa during apartheid era. Learn more about the writer and her work or connect via her blog at www.khayaronkainen.fi.

You can also find/connect with Khaya at:

Amazon Author Central: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B07DGT7683

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/khaya.ronkainen/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18097702.Khaya_Ronkainen

Blog: http://www.khayaronkainen.fi/


Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE. 

Why Black Americans Empathize with Michael B Jordan’s Eric Killmonger over Boseman’s T’Challa

Photo: Marvel Studios

Because Eric Killmonger is a reflection of many Black American’s on a much deeper level than T’Challa. In fact, many Black American’s do not know T’Challa. They know Eric. This is why most Black Americans, more so than sympathize with him, empathize with him. They can put their lives into his shoes.

I’ve only seen the movie once (which is only important when talking about a movie nearing $900 million dollars worldwide and is #1 in the World…the world ya’ll…that people have seen two and three times.)

Saying this, I have only read two articles that brought up the real concerning the conflict between T’Challa and Killmonger (cited below). I liked that they put this conflict  in the movie because (as I believe one of the actors pointed out) there is a private conversation among Black Americans concerning the relationship between those who have been taken captive and those who have not. As I’ve stated on this blog time and time again, Africa is a continent with over 50 countries and even more nationalities of people. That said it’s impossible for a people to be called African as nationality because it does not specifically point to a place of origin. Which country in Africa are we talking about? Where in Africa can you claim? Who in Africa would claim you? Herein lies the conflict between Eric and T’Challa.

Here’s the phrase that has captured our hearts:

Bury Me
Movie Quote: Eric Killmonger

Killmonger was left behind, left out and rejected from among his people. He was locked out of the greatness of Wakanda and forced to grow up in the gritty streets of Oakland. His struggle and longing for a place of belonging and nationhood is the exact sentiment of the Black American. This statement (“…bury me in the ocean with my ancestors that jumped from the ships…”) is proof that he is a descendant of those who have been taken captive via The Transatlantic Slave Trade; a Wakandian by blood but rejected. Not privy to the knowledge and advancement of his homeland, Killmonger attended instead American Universities and studied his culture from a distance. Having grown up in America, not even Killmonger’s name is a reflection of his identity. His name is Eric which is not as exotic as T’Challa. It does not signify or denote any kind of place of origin. Eric also does not speak with an accent and uses language common to any Black American male growing up in the hood.

tenor

Eric is angry but rightfully so. He has had to watch his people suffer while Wakanda has thrived with resources that could have helped them. Eric wears his rage concerning the mistreatment of his people like a garment and does not understand how to direct that energy in a way that is less destructive. He reminds me of the young black men standing on the corners, full of rage, but without a way to release it in a way that is productive. Given the proper guidance, education, and resources, I believe these are some of the most powerful men the so-called Black community has. While many of us drive by them, shaking our heads and sighing, these boys are absolutely fearless and, like I said, given the proper direction can be the warriors they are descendant from.

drug-300x300

While Killmonger’s temper gets the best of him, his desire to use the wealth of Wakanda as a way to help his people in America is a noble one (just don’t weaponize the vibranium by putting it into the hands of black people with no training in how to use it Killmonger. Train your people first lol.) For all of these reasons, and many more, I believe many Black Americans empathize and connect more so with Michael B. Jordan’s character than Boseman’s T’Challa. For many of us, Killmonger is the hero, choosing to die (symbolically and literally) with his people than to serve among those who have rejected him.

The first article I want to share is: “Are Black Americans Allowed in Wakanda?”

“Every time a Wakandan referred to Killmonger in the film, he was called an “outsider.” Even though he proved he was of Wakandan blood, he still wasn’t one of them. Killmonger grew up hearing stories about a home he’d never been to. He had knowledge of Wakanda’s wealth and culture but he had no access to it himself. While T’Challa was able to visit a lush, African landscape surrounded by his ancestors, Killmonger’s trip to his own ancestral plane led him back to an apartment complex, where he was mostly alone.”

Read more Here: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/opinion-doggett-wakanda-racism_us_5a901b35e4b01e9e56baef3e

The second one is: Erik Killmonger Is Not A ‘Super-Villain,’ He Is A Super-Victim Of Systemic Oppression

“I refuse to see Killmonger as a super-villain. I see him as a super-victim of systemically oppressive forces, forces that forced him into a hyper-awareness of his dueled unwanted status in Wakanda and in America, due to having the blood of his mother, who was a descendant of black folks forced into the United States via the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. This two-pronged othering serves as the source of his super-power. His super-power did not derive from radioactive spider bites like Spider Man, or mythological alien strength like that of Superman. Killmonger’s character harbors a super-power more potent than the fictive mineral Vibranium, housed exclusively in Wakanda: Killmonger is the possessor of un-tempered black rage….Killmonger’s black rage is my black reality, and I cannot see Erik Killmonger Stevens as a villain because it would mean seeing myself as a villain as well (and as a black man in America, I have been vilified enough.)

Read more Here: https://blavity.com/eric-killmonger-is-not-a-super-villain-he-is-a-super-victim-of-systemic-oppression

T’Challa and Huey next to Yoruba Tribal ruler in West Nigeria sitting on throne surrounded by elephant tusks.

Personally, I liked both T’Challa and Killmonger for different reasons and enjoyed the Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X undertones embodied in the characters. Marvel’s Black Panther came out around the same time Huey Newton and Bobby Seale founded The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense and it is believed that X-Men is based on The Civil Rights Movement. Created in 1963, fans allege that Stan Lee wanted to create a comic that showed bigotry and racism via fantasy and that Magneto and Professor X are direct correlations of Martin and Malcolm. In Black Panther, T’Challa and Killmonger also seem to have the same correlation. Those who were fans of Malcolm will definitely be a fan of Killmonger.

Furthermore, prior to Stan Lee’s comic and the organizing of The Black Panther Party, the term “Black Panther” existed already. The 761st Tank Battalion was an independent tank battalion of the United States Army during World War II. The 761st was made up primarily of African-American soldiers, who by federal law were not permitted to serve alongside white troops. They were known as the “Black Panthers” after their unit’s distinctive insignia; their motto was “Come out fighting.”

Now, go watch the movie!!

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Introduce Yourself – Introducing Guest Author Shaun M Jooste

Welcome to Introduce Yourself, a new and exciting blog segment of The PBS Blog dedicated to introducing to you new and established authors and their books.

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Shaun M Jooste. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?

Shaun M Jooste, and I am from Cape Town, South Africa

Alright now. Africa is in the house yall. Shaun, what would your perfect writing / reading room look like?

A large study / library in a large tower overlooking the lake. Cabin in the woods will do fine too.

What job do you think you’d be really good at?

Besides writing novels and games? Screenwriting for movies.

Sadgi: Book 3 of the Celenic Earth Chronicles is Available now on Amazon

 

Ohh. Yess. What was your childhood dream?

Becoming a published author was one, so I guess I can check that one off my list. Becoming a Formula 1 racer was another, and I guess I can check that off my list for a very different reason (too late for that now).

OK. What skill would you like to master?

In an ideal world? Mastering the natural elements like in my epic fantasy series, the Celenic Earth Chronicles.

What skill do you think you’ve mastered?

I still have a long road ahead. Every time I think I’ve mastered something, I realize I’ve only scraped the dust off the top. I think I’m pretty good at storytelling though.

I feel you. In your own words, what is humility?

Knowing your absolute potential and ability, without having to scream it out to the whole wide world and using it only to improve yourself even further.

I like that. Shaun, if you had unlimited funds to build a house that you would live in for the rest of your life, what would the finished house be like?

Like my massive fortress and surrounding walls that I built on Minecraft. Castle on an island – bucket list item.

Not minecraft Lol. What’s your favorite drink?

Coffee to get the creative juices flowing, Sprite or Orange juice on a warm day, Shiraz for when the mood gets going.

What state or country do you never want to go back to?

Sadly, I only know South Africa. I don’t really know if all the other continents really exist.

Lol. What do you love most about living in Africa?

I love South Africa, specifically Cape Town, the most because of our wild diversity, not just in human culture, but also in fauna and flora. I love the landscapes and nature, it is just so wonderful.

Nice. I know you’re into music. What songs have you completely memorized?

Not so much songs as albums…Disturbed, Linkin Park, Evanescence, Bon Jovi, PVRIS, Skillet, Fall Out Boyz. I generally stick to an artist, get all their music and sing them to death.

Visit Shaun on the web at https://celenicearth.wordpress.com/

Does blogging help you to write?

Yes. When I wrote Celenic Earth Chronicles between 2002 and 2009, I was very much alone and isolated. No one knew what I was doing and what was going to be published. I was my own motivation. With Silent Hill: Betrayal in 2016, I started my blog and shared so many details while I developed the story and wrote the novel. It was so encouraging getting positive feedback and encouragement that it still motivates me to this day.

Who is your favorite writer?

I grew up with fantasy. Stephen Donaldson’s Thomas Covenant series, JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Raymond E Feist’s Riftwar Saga… they were my mentors.

When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

My answer for this is twofold. I had Windfarer first published by a self-publishing company in 2007. It was really exciting to get my work out there, but the trust and fear that the publisher wasn’t conning me was huge.

Then in 2016, I established my own publishing label, Celenic Earth Publications, and republished my fantasy series and published Silent Hill: Betrayal. It was great having all the creative control and putting my own work out like I wanted it.

Congrats on your publishing label! If you could live in a movie, which would it be?

If they adapted my epic fantasy series to film, it would be on Celenic Earth. I created that world, and I dearly want to live in it myself.

For existing movies, I would live in Hogwarts. Not study, live there. Like in one of the towers (see question 10 again. lol)

Cool beans. Shaun, married? How long?

Yes, I’ve been married to Tammy 7 years this August.

Awwue. Hey Tammy! Children?

Yes, I have two wonderful children. Nathan, my six year old son, and Avril, my two year old daughter. They inspire everything I do now.

Double awwue! What do you wish you knew more about?

Effective marketing strategies and promotion of books that actually translates into sales. Real sales.

I heard that. What do you think of the world we live in?

It needs more magic, or divine energy, or something. We are so focused on this industrial and technological ages, we’re losing touch with our souls and the divine. And I’m not talking yoga and meditation. We need to ignite that spiritual spark that lifts us up to… something higher.

Are you religious?

No. I believe in God, and was brought up Catholic until something happened when I was 25 and my eyes started to open up. I’m not fond of religion, or what some religions have done to this world. However, I am close to God in my own way and am very spiritual, and still classify myself as Christian, although no one else ever will. To me, religion and spirituality are very different, the first one being a swear word to me. I believe religion to be the heart of all evil… or rather, the way we as humans use it.

I’m not fond of religion either. Speaking of spiritual matters, what is the most thought provoking book you’ve ever read?

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield.

What’s the most difficult thing about being a writer? The most exciting thing?

The most difficult – getting my novels out there. The most exciting – getting my novels out there. lol

Lol. I know that’s right. Why is writing important to you?

I tried living without it for 3 years while I was doing my degree. It led to some severe depression when I thought about what I gave up. Clearly I cannot live without it.

What do you love about yourself?

My intellect that comes up with these amazing stories, and my mental endurance and perseverance through everything I have been through. Also, I have heard I have beautiful eyes.

Lol! Alright handsome, watch out now. What don’t you like about yourself?

That I run out of energy way too quickly.

If you had one superpower that could change the world, what would it be? Why?

Again, mastering the elements. Pollution in the air, greenhouse effect, water crises, drought, earthquakes and tsunamis… all gone.

What genre do you write in, why?

I specialize in fantasy and horror, sometimes both at the same time. My epic fantasy novels have hints of horror, and my horror novels always have some fantasy elements in them. I grew up reading and watching fantasy, and I adore horror to the point where very few movies or games really scare me these days. So I immerse myself in those genres further with my writing.

Shaun, it was a pleasure. Thank you for spending this time with us!


Bio.

Shaun is the published author of the epic fantasy trilogy, the Celenic Earth Chronicles, and the horror novel, Silent Hill: Betrayal, which is based on the popular Silent Hill game franchise. He is also the screenwriter of the sci-fi space travelling screenplay, ‘The Space Drifter’, which was recommended by the 2015 Cinequest Screenwriting Festival.

Shaun is busy working on several writing projects, which includes the soon to be released romantic fantasy novel, ‘Dream Whispers’. He was appointed as an official Choice of Games author of text-based games, and expects to release an adventure novel in 2017. Silent Hill: Obversion is also to be expected to be released at the end of 2017, as well as his volume of almost 600 poems written over his adolescent years.

Under his publishing label, Celenic Earth Anthologies, several short story collections by various authors from around the world will be published. The Anthologies currently being edited and developed include ‘CEA Through the Dark’ (horror), ‘CEA No Boundaries’ (Cape Town NaNoWriMo collection), ‘CEA Into the Beyond’ (sci-fi) and CEA Past your Reality (fantasy).

Shaun has also been appointed as an online article writer for game reviews and announcements, namely for Pulse Entertainment U.K. and GameTyrant.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Pulse Entertainment UK Game Reviewer, Interviewer and Announcements: https://thepulseentertainment.co.uk/author/shaunmjooste/
 
GameTyrant Game Reviewer, Interviewer and Announcements: http://gametyrant.com/?author=59003a0f440243b85ba72404

Are you a new (or not so new) author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Black History Fun Fact Friday – Mostafa Hefny and The Race Card

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What if you identified as one race but because of geographical differences you were told you were another race? Even if your skin tone said otherwise? Is it right to determine race by skin tone alone? Does race itself even exist?

In today’s episode of Black History Fun Fact Friday, we will explore The Race Card and how it has handicapped the life of one man who is still fighting to reclaim his identity. He is quickly becoming an important part of history as his story tells us so much about race.

This Aug. 8, 2012 photo shows Dr. Mostafa Hefny in Detroit. Hefny, an Egyptian immigrant who lives in Detroit wants the U.S. government to classify him as black, not white. The Egypt-born Hefny, 61, says he's easily identifiable as a black man, but when he was admitted to the U.S. decades ago, he was classified on government papers as a white person. Hefny says he's a Nubian, an ancient group of Egyptians considered more African than Arab. According to government directive, a white person is defined as "a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa or the Middle East." (AP Photo/Detroit News, Max Ortiz) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT
Dr. Mostafa Hefny in Detroit.(AP Photo/Detroit News, Max Ortiz) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT)

Introducing Mostafa Hefny, an Egyptian Immigrant who came to the United States and was told he was white, despite his skin color. To understand this, let us first establish the U.S. racial classification system. The U.S. Census Bureau defines race as “a social category recognized by the United States and does not attempt to define race biologically, anthropologically, or genetically”. The Census Bureau recognizes five categories of race:

• White (people with origins in Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa,)
• Black or African American (Africa)
• American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian,
• Native Hawaiian
• Other Pacific Islander

Nicknames for race has also been applied to colors: White, Black, Red, and Yellow.

The census also includes a Hispanic ethnic category. It is an ethnic category rather than a race category because the Latino community is said to include many races, such as White, Black, Native American, Asian, and mixed. Keep in mind these are not classifications based on culture, land, or language, but skin tone alone. This means that anyone from Europe according to the lands designated for the specific color is considered white and anyone from Africa (according to the lands specified) is considered black.

In the ancient world, the Greeks, Romans, Israelites, Egyptians, Ethiopians, e.g. did not have racial categories. Rather people were divided according to their nationality. People from Europe may identify themselves as Irish, Russians, Greeks, Swedish, so forth and so on instead of simply whites. Likewise, people on the continent of Africa may refer to themselves as Ethiopians, Somalian’s, Nigerians, Egyptians, Israelites, Ghanaian’s, so forth and so on instead of simply blacks. The ancient Hebrews, Egyptians, Ethiopians, and Libyans didn’t speak of a place called Africa even though they were indigenous to that continent.

Since 1997, Mostafa Hefny, has been suing the U.S. government because when Hefny immigrated to America, the U.S. government told him he was no longer a black man. This is because according to the U.S. racial system of classification, we’re not supposed to realize that Egypt is in Africa, just that it is the Middle East, and as such anyone from the Middle East is considered White; obviously despite their skin tone.

“Dr. Hefny was a Bilingual Resource Teacher with Wayne County Regional Education Service Agency (Wayne County RESA) in Wayne, MI, USA for thirteen (13) years. When he stated on his employment records that he is black the Director of Human Resources sent him a letter which was copied to the Superintendent threatening him that his education career will be ruined if he did not change his racial classification on his employment records from black to white. A few days later one of the top administrators told him “If you ever say that you are black again no one will hire you and if hired you will be running from one job to the other for the rest of your life”. Even though Wayne County RESA provides support and consultant services to all of Wayne County which is 30% black, the Superintendent was white, his four Associate Superintendents were white, and 95% of the administrators and consultants were white.

Wayne County RESA did not fire Dr. Hefny, instead they denied him promotion twice, persecuted him, harassed him, called him nigger, and psychologically tortured him to the point that he left on social security psychiatric disability which lasted ten (10) years (1989-1998.) Additionally, he was hospitalized in psychiatric hospitals twice(1992 & 2000.) All the doctors who treated Dr. Hefny stated in their medical reports that his psychiatric injury was work related. When Dr. Hefny recovered and returned to the work force Wayne County RESA followed up on their threats and he was fired five times in one year.”

– Move On Petitions at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/justice-for-an-indigenous

How did Hefny respond? He was shocked when his government-issued identification classified him as “white.”

This Aug. 8, 2012 photo shows Dr. Mostafa Hefny in Detroit. Hefny, an Egyptian immigrant who lives in Detroit wants the U.S. government to classify him as black, not white. The Egypt-born Hefny, 61, says he's easily identifiable as a black man, but when he was admitted to the U.S. decades ago, he was classified on government papers as a white person. Hefny says he's a Nubian, an ancient group of Egyptians considered more African than Arab. According to government directive, a white person is defined as "a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa or the Middle East." (AP Photo/Detroit News, Max Ortiz) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT
(AP Photo/Detroit News, Max Ortiz) DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT

According to the Detroit News: “As a Black man and as an African, I am proud of this heritage. My classification as a white man takes away my black pride, my black heritage and my strong black identity.” – Mostafa Hefny

This begs the question, what is black and what is white? We use them for clarity, but are they colors or nations of people? What about other nations? Asians, Chinese, Japanese?

According to the Office of Management and Budget Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity, citizens are designated as White if they have “origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, North Africa or the Middle East.” For this reason, because of Hefny’s geographical location, his classification makes sense within the context of America’s definition of race. Again, according to the U.S. racial system of classification, we’re not supposed to realize that Egypt is in Africa, just that it is the Middle East, and as such anyone from the Middle East can be considered White; obviously despite their skin tone.

“Egypt is on the coast of Africa. It is not some small village in Sweden.” – Paul Mooney

From the foundation of man, we have been divided according to our nations and lands. In Genesis Chapter 10, we find the Table of Nations. After the flood Noah and his sons and their wives were saved and from this family repopulated the Earth. How they were divided is found in The Table of Nations.

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Ancient Egyptian Wall Painting
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JET Magazine Cover, Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time”

Since Ham had the most descendants we are not going to go through every last one, but he birthed the African nations populating Africa and other parts of the “Middle East.” The word Ham in Hebrew is Khwam, and it means “hot, burnt, and black.” The first-born son of Ham, Cush, forms the Kushite nation. They were also called and known as the ancient Ethiopians. Ethiopia comes from the Greek word, Aethipos, which means, “burnt or black face.”  The Greeks applied this name to the people living south of Egypt. The name Egypt comes from the word Aegyptus though the Egyptians called themselves Khemet / Kemet, which is a variation of the Hebrew word Khawm (Ham).  It means, “People of the black land.”

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While many of us are already familiar with Ham’s sons, Shem’s descendants are not always acknowledged. Though not “Africans”, they were also black as were the Israelites who were often mistaken for Egyptians. Paul was mistaken for a black Egyptian (Acts 21:38), Moses passed as the grandson of Pharaoh for 40 years (Acts 7:22-23) and the messiah hid in Egypt:

“Now it’s very unlikely that Jesus would have been able to be HIDDEN in Egypt, if he had a very different color of SKIN from the people in Egypt.” – University of Birmingham historian, Dr. Mark Goodacre, BBC program called The Complete Jesus, 2001

 

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Statue of King Tut

DETROIT IMMIGRANT RACE

I am not sure where Henfy is today with his case. Last I read he was still fighting to be classified as black and this was back in 2012. The ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, who visited Egypt in the 5th century B.C.E., described the Egyptians as black-skinned with woolly hair and anthropologist, Count Constatin de Volney (1727-1820), spoke about the Egyptians that produced the Pharaohs.  He later paid tribute to Herodotus’ discovery when he said:

“The ancient Egyptians were true Negroes of the same type as all native-born Africans.  That being so, we can see how their blood, mixed for several centuries with that of the Romans and Greeks, must have lost the intensity of its original color, while retaining nonetheless the imprint of its original mold.  We can even state as a general principle that the face (referring to The Sphinx) is a kind of monument able, in many cases, to attest to or shed light on historical evidence on the origins of the people.”

How do you think race influences our society today?

14 African Countries Still Forced by France To Pay Colonial Tax

“An article written by Mawuna Remarque Koutonin, peace activist and editor of SiliconAfrica.com discussed this act. The writer drew attention to the bad influence of French on the African continent and how they are still subjected to pay colonial tax for the benefits of slavery.” Read the entire article at the link below. Just thought I’d share some “news you can use” this rainy Tuesday afternoon. Good time to spend reading and researching. Knowledge is Power. Power is Truth. Truth is Freedom: