[Pnews] Charlottesville and the Battles of History - Mumia Abu Jamal
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu Aug 31 15:14:52 EDT 2017
Charlottesville and the Battles of History
by Mumia Abu Jamal - August 31, 2017
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
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.
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