Friday, July 6, 2007

The Real Freedom Fighters

I was going to write something about what I really feel about the 4th of July, about how not one black person living in 1776 America was free. I was going to write about how in 1776 a black man was not even considered a man, but 3/5 of a man. I was going to write about how Americas' founding fathers wrote that "all men are considered equal", but as Americas' History has shown, that only applies to "men" that look like the founding fathers. But on a whim, I have decided to change up and celebrate the 4th of July without all the negative feelings. I have decided to write about something good. I have decided to write about some things that Americas HIStory never talks about, (drum roll please...), the contributions of American Black people to this country's freedom.

First I am going to start with a brother named Crispus Attucks. Crispus Attacks was born into slavery in 1723. He grew up on a farm with his parents and older sister. Although he was treated "well" by his master, he began to feel the need to be free. As we can suspect, this became a problem for "massa", so low and behold, young Crispus was sold. He stayed with his new master until he was 27. Sometime during his 27th year as slave, he went on a business trip with his master to Boston. While there he secretly applied for a job as a whaler on a ship, for it was his desire to become a sailor. He knew that the ship would not return to Boston for a long time, so he was not worried about "massa" or the lynching party that run away slaves was greeted with on their return to the plantation. He returned to Boston some 20 odd years later to find that the King of England was trying to impose his "taxation without representation" upon the colonies. Of course this upset Mr. Attucks as well as everyone else, so Mr. Attucks decided to do something about it. He stood on a platform in the middle of the town square and called for a plan of action against the British. His short, but very stirring speech prompted the colonists to fight for their freedom. About a month later the town heard loud bells in the street, and they rushed out to see Mr. Attucks leading a small group of men. He was yelling out that now was the time for the men to be men and stand up against the British. He demanded for the town people to come out and fight for their respect and their freedom. He led his small group of men right up to the British Troops and challenged them to a fight. Of course the British was not trying to fight one on one, so shots rang out, which killed Mr Attucks and four of his followers. This "little incident", became known as the Boston Tea Party. Mr. Attucks was not only the first black man to die in the Revolutionary war, he was the first American to die. This is a little known fact that HIStory books leave out.

Next, comes the story the of the Buffalo Soldiers. These brave, young Americans fought Indians, bandits, cattle thieves, murderers, gunmen, bootleggers, trespassers and Mexican revolutionaries during the years that followed the Civil War. They were called Buffalo Soldiers because the Indians they were fighting against noticed the similarity between their hair and that of buffalo fur. These men protected the settlers that came out west after the war. Some of these same settlers were left-overs from the Confederate Army, so you can imagine the reception that these soldiers received. They not only received undue hostility from the people they were assigned to protect, but also from the government that sent them there. They were supplied with inferior horses, equipment, rations and living quarters. But besides all this, the 9th and 10th regiment racked up 16 medal of honer recipients.

The 15th regiment from Harlem, New York was deployed to France during WWI. On September 29, 1918 during the French campaign Meuse-Argonne, the brave men from Harlem, took control of the French city of Sechault. They took the city after it was bombarded by German artillery. After this battle, the young men from Harlem was nicknamed the " Hell Fighters" because of their ferocity during combat. The "Hell Fighters" never had a man captured during their campaign against the Germans. Why were Americans fighting with the French, you may ask? Well, these "Americans", were not considered good enough to die for their country, so they were shipped off to die for someone Else's.

The Tuskegee Airman fought segregation and racism to become one of the most decorated regiments of all time. These all black military aviators, fought aerial battles over Italy, North Africa, and Europe during WWII. They flew over1578 missions as bomber escorts. This was a very dangerous mission because the bombers were always under very heavy attack, and it was these fighter pilots mission to make sure that the bombers completed their bombing assignments. The Tuskegee Airmen completed their duties with distinction, considering at the time that black men were not considered smart enough to do anything but serve as cooks.

I could continue this post with stories about the Red Ball Express, which protected supply routes during WWII. Or about the 555th parachute battalion that served as smoke jumpers during WWII. Or about the 54th Massachusetts Infantry that was a group of volunteer ex-slaves that fought for the north during the Civil War. The 54th was the first organized black regiment in the northern states. The movie Glory was based on these courageous Americans. I cannot leave out the courageous Black American women that did thier part in securing this countries freedom. The Women's Army Corps 6888th Battalion was a World War II unit that was comprised of 855 black women.Besides the all white nursing corp, this Battalion was the only all female Battalion to serve overseas during the war. Their main responsibility was to ensure that all the soldiers (BLACK and WHITE) serving overseas recieved their mail,which was a very big responsibility.

I can go on and on about the contributions that American Blacks have made to Americas' so called " Freedom", all in the face of racism and segregation. We have endured and maintained under centuries of injustice and hatred. And why did we not just rise up and fight for our freedom like the colonists did against Britain? Well I really can't answer that. All I can think of is we considered this our home. We were proud of our country even if our country was not proud of us. All we wanted was to be accepted and respected in the land that our forefathers had a hand in building. And so some of us died proving that we are just as equal as our fellow white Americans. This is why I have to put my feelings aside for at least one day and remember the African blood that stains this great land. For if it were not for that blood, America would not be the America that all of us have come to love and call home.

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