Thread: Perhaps no other group of people in America exemplifies the disdain and racism America has for black people throughout history more than black veterans.
But when we teach American history in school, black veterans are intentionally excluded
Many people know that black soldiers fought in the American Revolution for both the British and the American Patriots. But we are rarely taught how this happened.
Here's a hint: Racism and scared white people.
When the Revolution broke out in April 1775, most black soldiers enlisted with state militias to fight on the side of the Patriots (This was a few years before they signed Tom Brady)
But white people were scared AF that armed blacks could start a national slave rebellion.
So, in July 1775, they created a Continental Army and put a Virginia slaveowner in charge. The first thing he did was outlaw the recruitment of black soldiers.
The ones who were already fighting could stay, but any new black recruits were shit outta luck.
So, in November, Virginia's Royal Gov. John Murray, whose title was the 4th Earl of Dunmore, proclaimed that any enslaved African who fought for the British side would be freed.
When word of "Lord Dunmore's Proclamation" spread, as many as 100,000 slaves escaped.
Many formed a unit that they probably didn't tell your black ass about.
Lord Dunmore's Ethiopian Regiment kicked ass and took names. (Well, they probably didn't take names because you know how white folks felt about slaves that could read.)
One of the first battles they fought in was the Battle of Kemp's Landing. A Va. local slaveowner was mad that his slaves escaped, hooked up with the Continental Army and set up an ambush.
But when Dunmore's boys pulled up, the white Continental forces were shook!
Those black soldiers WHIPPED THAT ASS!
A few of the Continental leaders were captured, including Hutchinson. The greatest thing about this was that Hutchinson was captured BY HIS OWN SLAVE!
Man, those white folks were MAD! So the State of Va. tried to fix it. They proclaimed that any black slave who was caught taking up arms would be put to death. But if the slaves returned to slavery, they would be forgiven and not be punished.
Except for the re-enslavement part.
Black soldiers weren't trying to hear this BS.
Dunmore's crew kept kicking ass, so that Continental Army leader who banned blacks, decided that he would let blacks fight after all.
And that's how blacks started fighting in the Revolutionary War
4% of all the forces in the American Army were black. The average black soldier fought 4.5 years while the average white soldier fought for about 6 months.
In Maine, more blacks fought for Rhode Island's militia than whites, mostly because people in R.I. were scared.
Now all of these numbers are estimates. Here's why:
You must remember that slavery was legal in all 13 colonies during the Revolution. So many of the "blueblood" families that we credit for fighting in the war didn't actually do shit.
It was a common practice for rich white men to send slaves in their place to fight. But the white men STILL got the credit.
And after the Brits were defeated, what did those Americans do?
They re-enslaved the black soldiers that helped America gain its independence.
See what I'm talmbout?
So much for honoring the troops.
Of course, we honor the brave men and women who fought for the Union side in the Slave Preservation War (some people call it the "Civil War." Fuck those people.)
Wait... Did I say "men and WOMEN?"
Let me tell you about a few black Civil War heroes.
Now the first was Mary Jane Richards.
She was born into slavery too, but she somehow became educated and moved to Liberia. But MJ was so smart and charming that a woman who was running a spy ring asked her to come back and fight in the War for White Supremacy
When MJ came back, they arrested her because it was illegal for a freed slave to even be in a slave state. But she somehow got out of jail, and guess what she did?
She went undercover...
As a motherfucking slave!
And this is where Mary put her charm to use. She funneled so many secrets to the Union that nearly every high-ranking general mentioned the invaluable intelligence secrets she supplied.
How did she get it?
Well, Mary was working as a double agent in a very prime location:
As Jefferson Davis' maid in the Confederate White House.
Instead of teaching you info like this, they make you learn dumb shit like the battle between the Merrimack and the Monitor. To be fair, that was one of the most important battles in all of naval history.
But it only happened because of a black woman:
Mary Louvestre was an enslaved woman who had a talent for drawing. Now back then, very few black women had jobs as graphic designers, so Mary had to become a seamstress.
She was so good, her masters hired her out to other people
So one day, Mary was working for a Confederate engineer. She could tell he was up to something (White folks were ALWAYS up to something back then... and now.)
It turns out, he was planning to take an old ship famous for its speed, remove the hull, and replace it with IRON.
So Mary snuck in, and DREW THE GODDAMN ENGINEERING DRAFT!. Then she told the engineer:
"BRB. I gotta go see my master about something."
Mary headed for the Underground Railroad.
When she showed Union soldiers what she had, she got a military escort to DC.
She gave Gideon Welles, the Sec. of the Navy her plans. And then she WALKED BACK.
Why is that part so unbelievable?
Because Mary was 55-70 years old and walked with a cane.
With Mary's plans, the Union Navy created its own iron warship and that's how the Merrimack and the Monitor became the first ironclad ships in history to battle each other.
Robert Smalls was enslaved, too. But he worked on ships his entire life.
So when he decided to escape, he didn't hit the Underground Railroad. He stole a Confederate ship, went through FOUR Confederate ports, giving the right signal at each, and handed the ship to the Union along with all the Confederate plans.
He was so intelligent that he was put in charge of several Union ships. When he retired, he bought his old master's house, opened a school for newly freed slaves, taught himself to read in 9 months, and got himself elected to Congress.
How was Smalls rewarded?
He was denied his officer's commission because he never went to the Naval Academy (because he was black)
He didn't get his pension until 32 years after the war was over (because he was black)
He never received the reward for turning over the Confederate ship because...you know.
In WWI black women joined as nurses but were relegated to treating German Prisoners, meanwhile, black soldiers would not recieve officers commissions and even educated black men could only work as laborers in the military
When they returned home, they were subjected to mass lynchings. Remember the Red Hot Summer of 1919, when race riots exploded across America? This was due to a rash of lynchings because black veterans returned from WWI and did crazy shit like look white folks in the eye.
These lynchings were government-sanctioned. In 1917, on the Senate floor, Miss. Sen. James K. Vardeman said:
"Impress the negro with the fact that he is defending the flag, inflate his untutored soul with military airs...
"Teach him that it is his duty to keep the emblem of the Nation flying triumphantly in the air, it is but a short step to the conclusion that his political rights must be respected.”
The Army was integrated in 1948 but 4 years earlier, the Army passed the G.I Bill, offering education and low cost mortgages to ALL soldiers...
Back then, there were only 72 HBCUs that offered Bachelors's degrees. And this thing called "Jim Crow" still existed. HBCUs turned away an estimated 40,000 veterans simply because, they were too full.
But at least they could buy homes, right?
In theory, black veterans could obtain low-cost mortgages. But the federal government had basically restricted federally backed loans to white people. They didn't allow black folks to move into white neighborhoods and banks couldn't lend in black neighborhoods.
After WWII, 79 percent of black people lived in the South, so there was no way for heroic veterans to educate themselves or purchase property
In MOST cities, mortgage lending was restricted by color-coded FHA maps. They came up with a name for it:
In NY and NJ, WWII veterans received 67,000 VA-backed mortgages.
Black vets got less than 100.
In 1947, of 3,200 VA mortgage loans were handed out in Mississippi.
Black solders got TWO
It still didn't stop.
Black veterans were encouraged to enter "vocational training" instead of college.
Shit...Medgar Evers survived the battle of Normandy but couldn't survive racist whites in America.
Blacks were 11 percent of the soldiers in Vietnam and only 2 percent of the officers.
Still, black soldiers have disproportionately fought in every war since WWII and are still treated like shit.
Everything that America is and will ever be was paid for by the blood of black people.
And America still keeps making withdrawals.
And it all started with that racist proclamation by a Virginia slaveowner who is also the most famous veteran of all time:
You can follow @michaelharriot.
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