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    1. #1
      Karen Hatter's Avatar
      Karen Hatter is offline Warrior

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      A Part of My American Story


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      The Sankofa bird is an Akan symbol, representing the African adage :

      "Always remember the past for therein lies the future, if forgotten ...."

      In my family, my generation, that is the generation comprised of myself and my first cousins, is only the fourth generation to be born out of slavery.

      My family is luckier than most. We know of one of our African ancestors. Due to the economic enterprise known as slavery, and make no mistake, it was a business, regardless of the specific details of how the first Africans from the continent of Africa entered into enslavement, their identities were most often lost to time.

      For most Africans, at the time of purchase, unlike the pedigree of a prized horse, there was no concern, on the part of the prospective buyer who sought to 'own' an African, for any accounting of the lineage of the African nor was the African allowed to speak his language or practice his culture without reprisal.

      This form of repression and oppression has resulted in Americans of African descent having huge gaps in their genealogical tree. My family was lucky enough to have one ancestor, on my maternal side of the family, himself an enslaved African and Methodist minister, well known within his community in Maryland, pen his biography.

      Because of his actions, reaching forward into the future from our family's past, my family is aware of our African ancestor who lived free on the continent of Africa in Guinea, of whom my ancestor speaks in his biography, later published by my cousin, five times removed from myself, in a book entitled From Whence Cometh. My cousin was the great, great grandson of my enslaved ancestor. It is the paternal branch of my maternal side of my family that I speak of here.

      My enslaved ancestor speaks of his grandmother being sold into slavery, in 1767 or 1768, to an Englishman in Maryland for three hogshead of tobacco, a hogshead identified as a container that held between 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of tobacco. Tobacco was used as currency during colonial times, largely in the colonies of Maryland and Virginia.

      He wrote about his grandmother speaking of being robbed of her adornments and her sadness and longing for the family from whom she was taken. She had a husband and a child. She had a life in Africa before arriving here.

      In Maryland, my ancestor from Guinea gave birth to two daughters, fathered by the man who claimed ownership of her. Nothing is known of them or their lives other than their names.

      My great grandfather was forced to flee from Lynchburg, Virginia because he dared to challenge a White man for payment he was owed and when it wasn't forth coming, a scuffle ensued. Word had come to him to expect a night visit. Not all night visits were from the Klan. Often White citizens who felt it their duty to keep 'those people' in their place, did just that.

      My great, great grandmother, on my mother's maternal side, was an enslaved person of African descent. Her daughter, my great grandmother, was born in 1887, twenty two years after the abolition of slavery.

      My great, great grandmother found her daughter work in the home of a White minister. At the age of twelve, my great grandmother was raped by the minister. As a result of my great grandmother's violation, my maternal grandmother was born.

      My mother and father, as young adults, during the time Dad was 'courting' Mom, had a near run in with enraged White youth because as Dad and Mom strolled along the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, New Jersey, because of Mom's fair complexion and hair texture, the White youth were following my parents, jeering at my parents, saying they were going to teach them both a lesson, until they were close enough to see my mother was not a White woman.

      On my branch of the family tree, as I've said, I am one of the members of my family that represents the fourth generation of my family born out of slavery.

      Shortly after I was born, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Brown vs. the Board of Education, stating segregated schools were separate but not equal, a fact known by Black communities but seemed to be unknown, more honestly, overlooked, in most White communities.

      I myself was a toddler when the brutal lynching and murder of Emmett Till occurred in Money, Mississippi, a 14 year old boy killed one week after his arrival in Mississippi from Chicago, Illinois, who was visiting for summer vacation with his family, after White folks said he whistled at a White woman.

      His killers were acquitted by an all White male jury. The killers later sold their story of how they kidnapped and murdered Emmett Till to LOOK magazine.

      Where I grew up, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Black workers had to go to court to force the transit system, at one time the now defunct, Philadelphia Transit Company (PTC), later known as the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), to hire them as drivers, with those jobs being exclusively held for and by White workers, the unspoken rule being 'Negroes need not apply' .

      At the age of eleven, my girlfriends and I, we called ourselves the 3 x 2 Club, three sets of two sisters, ranging in age from 6 to 11, myself being the oldest of the sisters, had gone to the library. The library was about five blocks straight up the street from our homes. We all lived on the same block.

      As we made our way back home, in the late afternoon, near sundown, we were chased for about a block, with bottles and rocks thrown at us, by a group of teenaged White boys. We'd made the mistake of being in the 'wrong' part of Philadelphia late in the day, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that is, not Mississippi.

      By the late sixties, I was sporting an Angela Davis sized natural. Like most of my generation, I entered a new level of political consciousness, determined to make a change and right the wrongs of this world.

      But, that was then. Now, I proudly wear auburn locks over three feet long. Locks have become my newest expression of consciousness and for me, they are more than a hair style choice.

      My hair and my life represent an acceptance of my sense of purpose, my mission, that being using my intellect and activism to assure that the attitudes and behaviors responsible for so much horror and pain within the African community, are never, ever, ever, ever allowed to sprout new roots to strangle the life out of another generation.

      No more; no more; no more!

    2. #2
      Nefertiti's Avatar
      Nefertiti is offline TOO BLACK TOO STRONG!!!

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      And it feels good to know this(don't it) despite any obstacles we know our ancestors gone through (slavery being the biggest and disgraceful of them all...EVER!!!) Im currently doing a search of my roots I know some things, I'm looking to trace all the way back even if it takes me years to do so(I'm about to do a genealogy test alsoPeace and Welcome

    3. #3
      Fenix's Avatar
      Fenix is offline aFROdemic

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      A powerful story! Thanks for sharing and welcome!
      "Oh Africa! When shall be the term of thy long degradation? Behold here, even now, I pledge thee, O my Mother, that I shall devote my years to thee, shall work for thy redemption, shall love thee and be proud of thee and glory in thy power now lying dormant and shall strive to bring it to the light. Take my youth, my labors, my love, my all and do thou when I shall have died for thee, take me to thy bosom, an untamed, untamable African." -Hubert Harrison

    4. #4
      Jacuma's Avatar
      Jacuma is offline Forward To PanAfricanism

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      Thumbs up Welcome Home!


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      Uhuru Sister Karen and welcome, your touching story goes directly to the core of any Afrikan reading it, for this story is in fact ourstory asante sana for sharing it.
      Thirty eight years ago on 12/04/2009 the united snakes murdered Fred Hampton & Mark Clark, this date also marks the 6 year anniversary of the launching of this site in solidarity of these martyrs.

    5. #5
      G.O.D.F.A.T.H.A.'s Avatar
      G.O.D.F.A.T.H.A. is offline Universal Wisdom Seeker

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      Welcome home Sister Karen and thanx for sharing your story. Uhuru for now.





    6. #6
      Sourakhata's Avatar
      Sourakhata is offline Proud Son of West Afrika

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      Uhuru Sasa Sista Queen..!!

      And no matter what game they play
      We got something they could never take away
      And it's the fire (fire), it's the fire (fire)
      That's burning down everything
      Feel that fire (fire), the fire (fire)
      No water could put out this fire (fire)



    7. #7
      Queen_Samiya's Avatar
      Queen_Samiya is offline PRO AFRIKAN QUEEN

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      Thank you!!


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      Thank you for sharing a powerful story with us all. I am one of the Africans that traced my roots back to West Africa, which is the Yorubaland called Nigeria on my mother side, which is amazing experience for me to know more about myself. I also found out that I mix with other group of people from West and Central Africa. It feels so good just to know our roots!! That is the most amazing to know is our history, our culture, and our languages. I am so tired of speaking this white man's language, which it is English, but you all know how it is. One day I wanted to teach my children how to speak their African languages like Yoruba, Fulfulbe (Fulani), and Twi (Akan). It is part of our heritage because our language, our identity (ethnic background), our clothes, and our names were taken away from us since we landed to America. We should always be thankful for our true heritage, because we come from the most great people on this planet Earth!! I am so proud of my history, after many years of studying and knowing, it is a honor for me to say that I am one of the "True African" that lives here in Amerikkka that knows about my history background that some people from the Motherland that don't know.

    8. #8
      BlkSpartacus's Avatar
      BlkSpartacus is offline Warrior

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      Peace Sis, wonderful account of your history. The way you describe it offers a remarkable visual depiction in my mind.
      "You think if there really is a God, he would agree with the man that shot Joanne Chesimard(F*** Naw) You listen what I learn to tell, I got a prophecy them crackers that framed Herman Bell gonna burn in Hell.". Saigon

    9. #9
      Mordecai_7's Avatar
      Mordecai_7 is offline Warrior

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      My American Experience


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      What do you say to those of us who have a DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE ???

      What do you say to those who have been attacked by the police and beaten, only to have "criminal charges" filed against them for being a victim???

      What do you say to those who have gone to schools with an unequal and often subpar quality of education, and found later in life that their level of education has left them unable to compete in the job market???

      What do you say to the "drug addicted" who got high because they wanted to escape HELL ON EARTH, even if it was just for a little while???

      What do you say to those who never had "two parents" to "encourage" them or give them a "right guidance???"

      I could go on, but I wont. History is important, because you have to know where you come from in order to know where you are going. You are obviously a Very Intelligent sister who took the time to find things out. But how does this SAVE BLACK PEOPLE who are still suffering from the results of what you point out, historically??? Our PROBLEMS AS A PEOPLE ARE NOW, and show no signs of changing. Are we going to still be TALKING and INTELLECTUALIZING when "the storm" finally hits???

    10. #10
      Karen Hatter's Avatar
      Karen Hatter is offline Warrior

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      Brother Mordecai 7,

      Your rage at me for sharing a portion of my biography is misplaced rage.

      And I ask you, how does challenging me for sharing my story move our people forward?

      It was my intent, by sharing, to given the Family here a glimpse into my life's circumstances that have shaped me into who I am, which seems to have been of interest to some Brothers and Sisters here, who have dropped by to show me love for my efforts.

      Peace.

    11. #11
      Mordecai_7's Avatar
      Mordecai_7 is offline Warrior

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      Quote Originally Posted by Karen Hatter View Post
      Brother Mordecai 7,

      Your rage at me for sharing a portion of my biography is misplaced rage.

      And I ask you, how does challenging me for sharing my story move our people forward?

      It was my intent, by sharing, to given the Family here a glimpse into my life's circumstances that have shaped me into who I am, which seems to have been of interest to some Brothers and Sisters here, who have dropped by to show me love for my efforts.

      Peace.

      My rage is not directed at you, it is directed at THE CONDITION OF OUR PEOPLE, which seems never to change in spite of all THE PROGRESS we are supposed to have made as a people. I see it was alot more noticiable than I thought, but when you feel something in your heart as strong as I do about your people things come out in a way that are perceived as you perceived them... IT WAS NOTHING PERSONAL, sister.

      When I see INTELLIGENT Black Women and INTELLIGENT Black Men I look for answers and I look for the desire to bulid something better for ourselves as a people. History is history. The future is now.

    12. #12
      WildFlowers's Avatar
      WildFlowers is offline Premium Member

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      What a powerful story! Thanks for sharing.

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