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We Were Slaves: Be Proud of Our Heritage and Strength

A slave entertaining children.

A slave entertaining children.

We Were Slaves™

My story does not come from Africa. It originated there generations ago, but my story was born in Woodville, TX. My heritage is from slaves. For years, society made me embarrassed about this heritage, but I am done with that!

My ancestors built this country and talk about your hostile working conditions. The more I read about slaves, the more I appreciate their resilience and their ability to survive. It started with the journey to the America's. We do not know how many died on those trips. We do not know how many ended up as shark food. We know about the rapes of women. We know about the starvation and the diseases.

We know about the dehumanization that took place in slave markets. We know that they whipped freemen within an inch of their lives to make them slaves. We know about the work that slaves did to build this country. We built the infrastructure that is America.

We survived. We went on to survive 100-years of the destruction our bodies, our homes and businesses. Lynching was a common practice and no one paid the consequences. Riots, before 1965, consisted of whites running through black neighborhoods and burning stuff. People ask me all the time, "Why haven't black people prospered like other groups." Well, because for a century you burned and looted our properties. Then you took that property without consequences. Many blacks who fled the South during the Great Migration, were running for their lives.

So, black people understand your strength. Despite terrible odds and groups who wanted to destroy us, we are here. Despite having our souls traumatized, we are here. Despite laws whose design was the destruction of our people, we are here. Despite rape and torture, we are here.

They called us lazy. They called us thieves by nature. They said that sex controlled us. They called us brutes. They called us bucks and bitches. Yet, we are here. They chopped off our feet, mutilated our lynched bodies, and still, we are here. Stop believing it.

We are survivors. Through this, we created a country. We created music that serenaded generations. We built the first clock in America. We invented the Cotton Scraper that revolutionized the cotton industry. We built the first crop reaper and never got the credit. We invented a boat propeller that helped shipped goods arrive on time. We invented a steam engine large enough to drive a warship. This was during slavery. We would go on to perform the second open-heart surgery.

We Were Slaves™. It is time that we proclaim and embrace our past. It is time that we help America understand our contribution. It is time that we see ourselves and our slave heritage as a credit to our resilience. We are Americans and, yes, WE WERE SLAVES™.

Own it. Claim it. Embrace it. Because we survived it. We thrived despite it. Our culture is the cloth that is wholly American. Slavery is America's shame, but it is and should be our crowning glory. We made her rich and the country she is today. It does not matter what others believe or say. It does not matter that they deny slavery and its brutality. All that matters is that we recognize the strength that it gave us. That we use that strength and teach our children their heritage. We Were Slaves™ and I am proud of it!!!


Wesman Todd Shaw from Kaufman, Texas on May 12, 2018:

First off, I've never been to Woodville, but my love of Texas extends beyond places I've been. I guess it is possible I've been to Woodville, but I don't recall it.

I'm from Kaufman. I was born in Dallas. I've lived the most of my life in Kaufman County, and then Dallas County second.

Society, or one could simply refer to it as 'left wing extremist mass media' is doing all it can to attempt to make me ashamed of things I had not a single thing to do with as well. Many of my ancestors were Confederate veterans.

We're talking about dirt poor people. There's never been, so far as I can find out, a solitary soul in my ancestor's US history who was ever wealthy, or owned a slave.

...but I'm a straight white male. From the south. And I'm a Christian. So the left wing extremist mass media says it is wonderful to hate ME.

Okay - this can be taken as neither here, nor there. At one point I lived in the extremely tiny town of Rosser, Texas. Rosser is thought to be mostly black. I'm not sure that is true, but there are only around 400 people in Rosser to begin with.

Anyway, I had lived there for a while. Six months or so. I was doing a LOT of illicit drugs at the time. And I was also sometimes working as many as 90 hours, or even more, in a week. Hard work. Hvac mechanic work.

My mind started coming apart. Rosser is an extremely rural community. There are very old and very large oak trees. I literally started - not 'seeing,' but imagining that I was seeing people hanging from some of those trees.

Well, I grew up in Kaufman, and a large number of persons from there know me, and one night a black friend I'd went to school with had posted some things on Facebook about lynchings in the Scurry/Rosser area from many years past. The man was from a large and well known local black family, and a lot of older persons were chiming in on how they'd also heard of these same things.

Wild. While there are no known documents of such happenings, there are many stories of such lynchings. I'd have preferred thinking my mind was just shot from overwork and using illegal chemicals.

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