The Crusader Newspaper Group

“When your children ask…”

Looking at country singer Jason Aldean, who is getting major pushback for his white supremacist anthem “Try that in a small town,” it is obvious that the song is a racist cry to go back to the days in this nation when Black people were forced to drink from separate water fountains, forced to enter restaurants through the back door, charged poll taxes to vote, redlined from the banking systems, and were the last hired and first fired.

In light of this anti-Black anthem by Aldean, the Governor of Florida is steadily trying to erase and rewrite the horrors of chattel slavery in this nation. The governor and his sycophants are instituting a narrative in the public schools that says, “slavery was a benefit to African people.”

First of all, there was no benefit in violently snatching Africans from their homeland, stuffing those same Africans into the stinking and putrid holes of slave ships, then selling those Africans as if they were property on auction blocks and separating families in the process. That was not a benefit.

There was no benefit in working those Africans in canebrakes, tobacco plantations, and cotton fields from sunup to sundown for no wages. That was not a benefit.

There was no benefit in labeling those Africans as 3/5 of a person in the Constitution of this nation (Article I, Section II). That was not a benefit.

There was no benefit in plantation owners using, and abusing, those Africans as private sex objects to be raped at will while those Africans never had the ability to press charges or receive justice from this government for the inhumane treatment Africans had to endure on plantations. That was not a benefit, that was an act of brutality perpetrated against Africans who were enslaved.

The other essential point is that Africans came to this land with the needed skills that white racists needed to build this country and build their wealth.

Africans already knew carpentry and were master craftspeople. Africans already knew horticulture and farming and were exceptional in working the land, growing produce and introducing new kinds of products like peanuts, which were called “goobers” down south.

In fact, many Black African women sewed seeds from their homeland into their hair and carried those seeds all the way from the coast of Africa to these shores and planted those seeds in this land.

Africans already knew God before they were stolen from their homeland, and those Africans who were both Muslim and Christian were descendants of the Africans who taught Europe the religion of Jesus.

It seems that the governors of Florida and Texas, as well as other states, are daring people of African ancestry to tell our own story. African descended people are being dared by the hordes of hell and anti-Black sentiments in this nation to create our own institutions to teach our own children, fund our own endeavors and create our own enclaves called communities.

The African Jewish writer of Exodus gave us the blueprint when in Chapter 12 of Exodus the writer records the instruction of Yahweh to the people that said, “And when your children ask you, what do you mean by this observance,” tell them your story.

The people in the text were about to be freed from slavery by God’s presence working through the leadership of Moses, Miriam and Aaron.

The people were about to cross over the Red Sea by God’s mighty hand. The people were about to commemorate God’s deliverance in what is called the Passover. And this ritual would be the catalyst to teach their children, to then teach their children and so on, their own story. This ritual of the Passover would be a constant reminder of what they had endured for over 400 years but also what they overcame because God worked through them to free them.

This ritual would serve as a correction to any would-be oppressors who tried to rewrite history to favor oppressors over the oppressed and any attempt to whitewash the fact that God is not a friend of oppressors or oppression of anyone.

Black people in this country are being forced to stop treating the Africana movement of memory as insignificant and remember that our history did not start in slavery but that it started when humans were first fashioned by God.

“When your children ask…” Tell them our story.

Black people in this nation are being dared to cherish our own story. Teach your children who we are and whose we are.

African descended people are being pressed to center our story in everything we do. The writer of Exodus says, “When your children ask…” That is the challenge as a people of faith, to teach our own story to our own children.

What will you do in future years when your children ask, “What does this mean? Who are we as a people? What have we done that has contributed to civilization? Who are we and what has God done through us?”

Beloved, “When your children ask…”

To teach your story, you must first know and cherish your own story because your story is a story where God plays the prominent role.

Knowing The Truth - Part I
Rev. John E. Jackson
Senior Pastor at | + posts

Rev. Dr. John E. Jackson, Sr. is the Senior Pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ-Gary, 1276 W. 20th Ave. in Gary. “We are not just another church but we are a culturally conscious, Christ-centered church, committed to the community; we are unashamedly Black and unapologetically Christian.”

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