“A Dutch ship carrying 20 Africans arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, on Aug. 20, 1619, a voyage that would mark the beginning of slavery in the American colonies. The number of slaves continued to grow between the 17th and 18th centuries, as slave labor was used to help fuel the growing tobacco and cotton industries in the southern states. At the end of the Civil War in 1865, some 4 million slaves were set free. However, racial inequalities and violence toward newly freed slaves would persist in the country throughout the 1860s and 1870s.”
“The arrival of the “20 and odd” African captives aboard a Dutch “man of war” ship on this day (August 20) in the year 1619 historically marks the early planting of the seeds of the American slave trade.” (Benjamin Banneker also challenged Slavery In Letter On This Day In 1791)
“Today in 1619, it was reported by English tobacco farmer John Rolfe, husband of famed Indian princess Pocahontas, that “20 and odd” African slaves arrived at the Jamestown Settlement in British colonial North America aboard a Dutch man-of-war ship. The ship had originated in the Portuguese colonies of present-day Angola, which had been established in the 1500s. Angola was a heavy exporter of slaves to Brazil and the Spanish colonies.”
“Newly established English colonies in North America create a demand for laborers in the New World. At first, captured Africans are brought to the colonies as indentured servants. Once their term (3-7 years) is completed, indentured servants are allowed to live free, own land, and have indentured servants of their own. However, this system does not last long; indentured servitude gives way to lifetime slavery for Africans as the British colonies grow and the need for a permanent, inexpensive labor force increases”
“The Black Atlantic explores the truly global experiences that created the African American people. Beginning a full century before the first documented “20-and-odd” slaves arrived at Jamestown, Virginia, the episode portrays the earliest Africans, both slave and free, who arrived on the North American shores. Soon afterwards, the Trans-Atlantic slave trade would become a vast empire connecting three continents. Through stories of individuals caught in its web, like a 10-year-old girl named Priscilla who was transported from Sierra Leone to South Carolina in the mid-18th century, we trace the emergence of plantation slavery in the American South. The late 18th century saw a global explosion of freedom movements, and The Black Atlantic examines what that Era of Revolutions—American, French and Haitian—would mean for African Americans, and for slavery in America.”
“In terms of African involvement, it is true also that Africans enslaved others before the coming and demands of the European. But three other facts must be added to this statement to give a holistic picture.. African enslavement was in no way like European enslavement. It was servitude which usually occurred “through conquest, capture in war or punishment for a crime” (Davidson, 1968:181). It could also resemble serfdom as in Medieval Europe where peasants were tied to the land and a lord for protection. They often lived as members of the family, married their masters daughters and rose to political and economic prominence and did not face the brutality and dehumanization which defined European chattel slavery.”
Source, Introduction to Black Studies, Ch. 4: The Holocaust of Enslavement
While Kayla’s work always mesmerizes me, another award recipient named Gabrielle Gorman brought me and many others to tears with her experimental film “Dear America,” for which she won the title of 2015 Student Honoree.
Photo courtesy of the My Hero Project
I just watched the live stream of Kayla’s film screening at the National Young Arts Foundation in Miami, and Gabrielle’s film screened shortly before hers. Watching it again made me question why this film touched me so personally. After all, Gabrielle’s film is about not loving herself as a dark-skinned black youth. She candidly discusses how she wanted to bleach her skin and lessen her large lips–how she wanted plastic surgery to look more…
Since this is the final interview I will skip through the semantics and get straight to the point.
The Interracial Blog Feature was inspired by my new book, “Beyond The Colored Line”, and was created as a means to foster a better understanding of diverse relationships. Not just between whites and blacks but between all diverse relationships.
Today, we welcome a special guest in as our final interviewee. I didn’t know initially that both he and his wife wanted to be interviewed and being I did have an extra spot left you can imagine my excitement. Help me to welcome Andre Wells, husband to Allison Wells from last weeks segment, to the blogosphere.
EC: Well hello there Mr. Wells. As our first and only male guest I appreciate your boldness in letting me interview you! I was starting to think this was a woman thing LOL. So, you know the routine, can you give the racial background of you and your wife for the record and how long you’ve been together?
AW: Hello EC. My name is Andre Wells and I am African American and my wife is Hispanic and Caucasian. We’ve been together for about 12 years, Married almost 10.
EC: Excellent. Now, the character in my book, Stella May, is what the people of her era deem a mulatto, that is, she is of mixed ancestry. You have children who are biracial. What advice would you give to fathers of mixed children on how to deal with the stigmas that are often placed to them?
AW: Be honest with your children about who they are and the struggles they may have to face. Teach them how to respond to stigmas and challenges.
EC: I like that, “teach them how to respond to stigmas and challenges”. Speaking of challenges, what are some challenges that interracial couples deal with that couples of the same race may not have to deal with?
AW: Some people think I am over dominant over my wife or feel the woman must be the head of house because the black man must not be that responsible.
EC: Interesting. There is a big controversy within the black community concerning role reversal or the topic of submission and authority in general.
Mr. Wells, when African-Americans and Whites marry, there is more likely to be an African-American husband and a white wife. In fact, 73 percent of all African-American and White marriages have this setup. In your personal opinion, since you would know more than any of our guests! As a black man, and your experience with Interracial Relationships, what do you think attracts other ethnicities to black men?
AW: Black men are unique. Unique in our looks; unique in the way we carry ourselves; even the way we raise our families. In most cases white women want black men but don’t want the stigmas that come along with it.
EC: Wow. Speaking of black men, I hear a lot of black people, women in particular, accusing other blacks of being “sell outs” when they date outside their race. Have you or your wife ever had the misfortune of the title and why do you think this is?
AW: I’ve heard that term in reference to relationships such as mine. I think it stems from feeling betrayed, jealousy, misunderstanding and some just down right racism.
EC: Speaking of opinions, a lot of people discern that blacks who speak with a professional tongue are trying to sound white. I speak from experience. My husband is not white but he’s very educated and he grew up in a diverse city as well where the majority of people in the town were white. Of the blacks present, he was teased by them a lot for his speech. They said that he sounded, “White”. As a man married to a “bi-racial” woman, what are your thoughts on this?
AW: Black men / women who have to live in a world where success is often based on one’s professionalism and ability to communicate properly, some may face scrutiny when trying to present themselves as respectable individuals in society.
EC: Mr. Wells I am enjoying this interview I must say. Now, speaking of speech, I’ve always wondered about the conversations between interracial couples concerning the ongoing racial tensions surrounding blacks and whites. Are there any moments when you and your wife disagree with a subject that is race related? If so, how do you deal with that?
AW: For the most part we understand and agree concerning each others racial differences. We look to the bible to help us have knowledge of who we are and that generally relieves any confusion we may have.
EC: Speak brother speak! Hope I’m not offending anyone out there, yall know I’m silly hee hee. So loving this interview right now yaass LOL. Were almost done though. Any time before 1967 your relationship would technically be illegal. How does that make you feel today with the knowledge that you’ve chosen to be with someone outside of your race?
AW: I didn’t have knowledge of who I was when I met Allison. But even so, I didn’t even begin to discriminate or allow race to determine who or how I love someone. To me, those days demonstrated racism and racism restricts people from fulfilled lives.
EC: Indeed. Andre, I want to thank you again for being part of this series, it has truly been a pleasure. If there is one form of advice you would give to people still struggling to accept Interracial Relationships, what would it be?
AW: Know that not every “interracial relationship” is joined together because they deny their own or even prefer another race. Some are actually together; love enjoins them and friendship maintains them.
EC: Can I ask you that same question again? I need you to repeat your answer for the record lol. No, seriously, in closing, as someone who has been married for some time, name one thing that has kept your relationship going.
AW: A relationship together in spirit and in truth.
EC: Thank you Mr. Wells, it has truly been a pleasure.
It is unusual for me not to put much thought into scheduling Mr. Well’s interview last, simply because I tend to plan everything (well, mostly everything). From the dates I choose to release my books to a subject as complex as this one, nothing I ever do hardly come without reason or significance. That said however, I didn’t put much thought into scheduling Mr. Wells interview last. But as I reflect on his answers, I am thankful for how this series has ended. His answers, in my opinion, summed everything up very nicely. I love how he brought in the bible and spoke concerning identity. What people must understand is that when I bring up these kinds of topics it is not about white or black. I am not trying to unite a color of people. It is not, then, about blacks or whites; it is about identity and nationhood.
It’s been a long ride for our people here in the America’s; from slavery, to Jim Crow, to racism, imprisonment, police brutality, the list goes on. Black people are the only group of people whose nationality changes with the census. They are the only people who cannot trace their lineage back to their natural heritage. If there is any people on the face of the earth more discriminated against than they, more despised and more afflicted then they please, inform me. They are such; the African American is, because their problem is not physical. Being deeper than racism itself, their problem is spiritual. If African Americans can begin to search deeper into the question of “Who am I and what is my purpose?” Then race and the concept of black and white in general will eventually fade. As I have stated on this blog plenty of times and as I will continue to state, I use black and white as terms for understanding, but I do not consider it my nationality. Black is, after all, a color but it does not define nationhood.
I want to thank everyone so much who has taken the time to support this series, either as interviewees or as interactions. I know it touched someone somewhere and for that I am thankful.
As a token of my appreciation for those who have opted to share a piece of themselves with us, I have a special gift.
Over the course of my writing career I have published a number of books and I have carefully chosen a few of them (the ones I think are the best lol) and placed them here. I want you (Interviewees) to each choose which book you would like to have and I will mail it to you at no cost. I am a hard-copy type person so your book will be a hard-copy. It is my way of saying thank you. Choose any one of these you like and email me your mailing address (Please visit the website to see what each book is about. I don’t want to list it here to preserve space on an already lengthy post. Just click on each book as if you were buying it and it shows what each is about):
Stella Book #2
Stella Book #1
Pearls Before Swine Vol #1 (a play)
From Girlhood to Womanhood (poetry)
In Case You Missed It:
The Interracial Blog Feature – Interviews Beyond The Colored Line:
Just want to remind you to join me tomorrow for another interview on the topic of Interracial Relationships. As you know, for the rest of this month I will be posting interviews I have conducted with some individuals on their thoughts on the topic of Interracial Marriages and the role race plays in relationships in general. This feature was inspired by the release of book two in my Stella Trilogy, “Beyond The Colored Line” this summer and will post every Thursday of this month. Join me tomorrow at 8:00a CST to meet another good friend of mine. You don’t want to miss his answers!
We have made it to the end of the month and so this is the final interview. As a token of my appreciation, I will be giving away a free gift to each of the Interviewees. Hope to see you in the morning!