It is no secret that this country, the so-called United States of America, was founded upon White Supremacy.
Ever since the Spaniards invaded this land during the 14th century and stole it away from the indigenous Blacks and Indians through deceit and much bloodshed — white supremacy has been the standard by which this country lives by.
This is why it took over 400 years (15th-20th century) for us to be freed from slavery, about 300 years to be allowed to vote, and over 200 years to be able to have a black president. This is also why the government orchestrated the murders of our most prominent black leaders of the 60’s and 70’s such as Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Huey P. Newton. Not to mention the fact that the government currently donates 1 million dollars to Planned Parenthood every 24 hours for the purpose of promoting abortion in black communities.
And while many of our people today have been deceived into believing that racism is dead and that things have now changed because we have a so-called black president in Barack Obama — white supremacy is still the standard by which this country lives by.
The only difference between then and now, is that back then we had a plethora of black leaders who fought against white supremacy, and today we have a plethora of black leaders who fight to support white supremacy.
Instead of radical black revolutionaries such as Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey, we now have (sell outs) politically correct conformists, such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. Consequently, the black empowerment movements have faded away and we, Black America continues to be oppressed by White America.
So in light of Black History Month, which is really 12 months a year in my book, I want to shed some light on our ancestors (both men and women) who stood up against white supremacy, in hopes that it will encourage you to do the same.
5 Incredible God-Sent Leaders
#1 Vernon Johns
Not many people know about Vernon Johns, but he was the predecessor to Martin Luther King as the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Much different from pastors today, Mr. Johns was an activist and spent his entire adulthood fighting for the rights of Black America. He helped young black girls in the community who had been raped by white men accuse their attackers to the authorities. He taught young black boys how to become self sufficient by starting their own businesses. He also was also heavily involved in desegregation work, refusing to comply with America’s social policies that promoted white supremacy. And all of this was done outside of the church.
While in church, Mr. Johns boldly preached against sin, and challenged his congregation each Sunday to stand up for the black people in their community who were getting killed every day by white law enforcement. His continual accusations of his members doing nothing while their race was being killed stirred up a lot of haters in the church and they did all they could to ban him as their pastor. Not just the members of his church, but the members of other church nearby. Because of the boldness of his sermons, which were broadcasted throughout the city, everyone from the local residents to the mayor developed a deep hatred for Mr. Vernon Johns.
As a result, Mr. Johns never stayed at one church for more than a few years. He would travel around becoming the pastor of many different churches, preaching against sin, fighting against white supremacy, and challenge his members to do the same; and after the church would fed up with him, they would denounce him as their pastor and he would move on to the next. Believing that all it took for evil to flourish was for good people to do nothing, he did something. And just like the Messiah stated in Matthew 10:22, Mr. Johns “was hated by all men” for the sake of following Yahusha (Jesus).
#2 Fannie Lou Hamer
Fannie Lou Hamer, known as the lady who was “sick and tired of being sick and tired,” was one of the greatest social rights activist for black people that this country has ever seen. Born as the granddaughter of slaves in rural Mississippi, Miss Hamer grew up dirt with 19 older brothers and sisters who worked as sharecropper for a rich white family. After working as a sharecropper for 20 years in hot sun all day, Fannie Lou became sick and tired of being sick and tired, and started to seek ways to free herself from the oppression of whites.
The way opened up for Hamer when she attended a civil rights rally in 1962 and heard a preacher issue a call for blacks to register to vote. At the age of forty-five, Mrs. Hamer answered the call, though it meant overcoming numerous threats and obstacles and resulted in the eviction of her family from their plantation home. Hamer took this as a sign to commit herself to full-time work for the freedom movement, serving as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, and quickly rising to a position of leadership. But for a black person in 1960’s to challenge the system of segregation in Mississippi was literally to court death. Hamer, like other activists in the movement faced this reality on a daily basis. In the summer of 1963 she was part of a group arrested in Charleston, South Carolina, after they illegally entered the side of a bus terminal reserved for whites. While in jail she was savagely beaten, emerging with a damaged kidney and her eyesight permanently impaired. Despite the physical and mental persecution she faced, Mrs.Fannie kept it moving fighting for the equal rights of our people.
In all these endeavors, Hamer was sustained by her deep biblical faith in the God of the oppressed. “We have to realize,” she once observed, “just how grave the problem is in the United States today, and I think the sixth chapter of Ephesians, the eleventh and twelfth verses help us to know…what it is we are up against. It says, ‘Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’ This is what I think about when I think of my own work in the fight for freedom.” During the nonviolent freedom struggle of the 1960’s, Fannie Lou Hamer was a rock who did as much as anyone of her time to redeem God’s chosen people (black people) from oppression. She said, “Christianity is being concerned about your fellow man, not building a million-dollar church while people are starving right around the corner. Christ was a revolutionary person. That’s what God is all about, and that’s where I get my strength.”
#3 Nat Turner
Nat Turner was a Hebrew Prophet and the architect of the August 1831 Southampton Virginia slave revolt. Born October 2, 1800 , in Southampton County , Virginia as the property of his slavemaster, Benjamin Turner, Nat sought to be free from his oppressors his entire life. While still a young child, Nat was often overheard describing events that had happened before he was born. He was also known as an outstanding and gifted speaker, having the ability to say aloud what the slaves felt inside. This, along with his keen intelligence, and other signs marked him in the eyes of his people as a prophet “intended for some great purpose”. Even, Turner himself felt the calling on his life at a very young age. To prepare himself, he refused to touch tobacco, money or liquor as his friends on the plantation were doing and spent much time fasting and meditating. He had a reputation as a holy man–which played a role in his ability to organize people.
As Turner grew older, he found the biblical scriptures that called slavery unjust and contrary to the will of God and began to have numerous visions about God’s justice for the slaves. He would often stand up and preach this visions that God would show to him about freeing his people, and held the slave community spellbound and in awe. On May 12, 1828, Turner had his third vision: “I heard a loud noise in the heavens, and the Spirit instantly appeared to me and said the Serpent was loosened, and Christ had laid down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and that I should take it on and fight against the Serpent, for the time was fast approaching when the first should be last and the last should be first… And by signs in the heavens that it would make known to me when I should commence the great work, and until the first sign appeared I should conceal it from the knowledge of men; and on the appearance of the sign… I should arise and prepare myself and slay my enemies with their own weapons.”
After receiving this vision, Nat began organizing people to help him accomplish his future mission. He chose an inner circle of only four disciples–Henry Porter, Hark Travis, Nelson Williams and Samuel Francis–and even they were not told all his plans. The group developed wide contacts among small farms of Southampton, where slaveowners typically had three or four slaves. Nat traveled preaching, learning about the roads and identifying potential recruits. He filled pages with maps and plans–often written in his own blood–using special hieroglyphs that, even after his death, the slavemasters could not decipher. When the appointed time came, Turner and six of his men met in the woods to eat a dinner and make their plans. At 2:00 that morning, they set out to his slavemaster’s household, where they killed the entire family as they lay sleeping. They continued on, from house to house, killing every slaveowner they could find–regardless of age or sex–to stampede slaveowners out of the county in panic.
As they journeyed, local slaves rallied their caused and Turner’s force eventually grew to 50 slaves, , most on horseback. After word of the rebellion had gotten out to the whites; military camps came after Turner and his crew, and his force became disorganized. Many of his men scattered and Turner went into hiding. After 2 months of hiding out, two local slaves sold Nat Turner out to the white authorities, and He was discovered and captured. At his trial on November 5, 1831, Nat Turner confessed of exactly what happened and was sentenced to die by hanging for his role in the slave rebellion. He was hung, skinned and divided up amongst the crowd watching the hanging.
Nat Turner’s spirit and fight for the freedom of his people lived on among the slaves and free Blacks, and inspired hundreds of more slave revolts, that would later lead to our emancipation from slavery.
#4 Harriet Tubman
As we all know, Harriet Tubman was a lead conductor in the underground railroad that was responsible for freeing thousands of slaves. But what most of us don’t know is that Harriet was called by God to do so. Born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1820, Mrs. Tubman learned Bible stories from her mother at a very young age, and always found inspiration in the Exodus narrative and rejecting the admonitions for slaves to obey their masters. As Mrs. Tubman grew older, in her teen years she started to receive powerful visions and vivid dreams from God, detailing of how he wanted His people free. She would rely on these visions first in planning her own escape from slavery and later, when leading others to freedom in the North.
In 1849, fearing that she would be sold and separated from her family, Tubman plotted her escape. By night, she followed the North Star and relied on the Underground Railroad, a network of free blacks and white abolitionists, including members of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers. She arrived in Philadelphia and later recalled: “When I found that I crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such glory over everything; the sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.”She soon returned to Maryland to lead members of her family to freedom. Under cover of darkness, she employed an arsenal of deceptive tactics and tricks to conceal her identity. Slowly, one group at a time, she brought relatives out of the state, and eventually guided dozens of other slaves to freedom. Traveling by night, Tubman (or “Moses”, as she was called) “never lost a passenger”.
Large rewards were offered for the return of many of the fugitive slaves, but no one then knew that Tubman was the one helping them. Because her rescue missions were fraught with danger, Tubman demanded strict obedience from her fugitives. A slave who returned to his master would likely be forced to reveal information that would compromise her mission. So if a slave wanted to quit in the midst of a rescue, Tubman would hold a revolver to his head and ask him to reconsider. When later asked whether she would actually kill a reluctant escapee, she replied, “Yes, if he was weak enough to give out, he’d be weak enough to betray us all and all who had helped us, and do you think I’d let so many die just for one coward man?” In modern day terms, Mrs. Tubman was most definitely about that life!
When the Southern-dominated Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, requiring law officials in free states to aid efforts to recapture slaves, she helped guide fugitives farther north into Canada, where slavery was prohibited. Tubman said she would listen carefully to the voice of God as she led slaves north, and she would only go where she felt God was leading her. Fellow abolitionist Thomas Garrett said of her, “I never met any person of any color who had more confidence in the voice of God.” It was her faith and reliance on The Most High that gave her the strength to accomplish her mission. In her words exactly, “I always tole God, ‘I’m gwine [going] to hole stiddy on you, an’ you’ve got to see me through.” And just before her death, she told those gathered around her, “I go to prepare a place for you.” Called by God to free her people from white supremacy, Mrs. Tubman completed the tasks with flying colors.
#5 Fredrick Douglas
Fredrick Douglas was a slave abolitionist and social rights activists who spent most of his life fighting against America’s model of white supremacy, for the equal rights of black people. Born in Maryland in 1818, his master’s wife taught Douglass to read at a young age, and Douglass shared this knowledge with other slaves, encouraging them to read the New Testament and interpret Jesus Christ’s message of equality but rejected all Biblical justifications of slavery. He secretly organized a Sunday school, where he taught other slaves to read: “I held my Sabbath school at the house of a free colored man. . . I had at one time over forty scholars, and those of the right sort, ardently desiring to learn. They were of all ages, though mostly men and women. I look back to those Sundays with an amount of pleasure not to be expressed. They were great days to my soul.”
After escaping slavery, Douglass settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and joined the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and, in 1839, became a licensed preacher in the Church. Although Douglass wrote that he looked back at his time in the AME Zion Church with great joy, he did not remain with them for more than a few years, saying that “it consented to the same spirit which held my brethren in chains.” After witnessing so much mental oppression being placed upon his people by the Government and the local churches, Douglas decided to become an anti-slavery lecturer, and in 1845, Douglass published his first autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. The book quickly became a best seller, reprinted nine times and translated into French and Dutch.
Douglass then started a weekly journal, The North Star, where he challenged his readers to question the contradiction between America’s Christianity and the institution of slavery. Speaking before packed houses in Great Britain and America, Douglass attacked Christianity for not only permitting the continuation of slavery but also encouraging its expansion: “The church and the slave prison stand next to each other. … [T]he church-going bell and the auctioneer’s bell chime in with each other; the pulpit and the auctioneer’s block stand in the same neighborhood.” Then on July 5, 1852, Douglass delivered the greatest antislavery oration ever given, titled “What to the Slave is your Fourth of July?” at an event commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence, held in Rochester, NY, Douglass’ home at the time. In his scathing address, Douglass railed against the institution of slavery, the Fugitive Slave Act, and the hypocritical American Christianity that supported such oppression.
It was Friedrick Douglas’ bold stance against slavery, that eventually led to President Abraham Lincoln issuing out Emancipation Proclamation to African Americans. Although it didn’t end slavery, it started the process, which led to us now being free today. Mr. Douglas faith in God fueled him to fight for his people, causing him to spend his entire life using his gifts to better the lives of the so-called African Americans.
I admire and have the utmost respect for our past leaders who loved us so much that they risked their own lives to fight against White Supremacy for our freedom. With that being said, I have very little respect (if any at all) for the majority of our black leaders today. Unlike our ancestors who faced death day in and day out for the cause of our freedom, our most prominent black leaders today have the money and the power to fight for our people, yet they do nothing. Sure, they give you a good speech from behind the pulpit or in the news media about what needs to be done, but when it’s time to get their hands dirty, they’re ghost!
Take all of the big named mega-church pastors of today, for example (I’m not going to mention any names, but you know who they are). Where are they when our young brothers and sisters are getting gunned down in the streets everyday by white law enforcement? They’re always there to promote their newest book, CD, or event to us; yet always absent when it comes to speak up against any of the many injustices that take place upon Black America day in and day out.
If pastors today were true men and women of God like our ancestors were, they’d be in the streets, in the news media, and in the court rooms fighting against the injustices of their people, just like they did; but they are not.
Instead, they are collecting millions of dollars from us every single year from tithes and offerings, while we the people are oppressed. And there is something terribly wrong with that! Anyone who has ever read the gospels, knows that Yahusha (Jesus) was hated by everyone because he spoke the truth & fought against the government’s oppression of his people. And he said that if we are His followers, then we would suffer the same (Matthew 10:22). Therefore, we can easily conclude that our black leaders of today are not followers of the Messiah. Instead they are followers of the world, chasing the riches and acceptance of White America, rather than the liberation of God’s people.
I say all of that to say this: we as black people living in America have a job to do.
Just as our ancestors’ sacrifice their own wants and desires for the betterment of our people; we should be doing the same. Now I’m not suggesting that we all hit the streets and start a mass rebellion or anything like that (although I’m not opposed to it either). I’m merely saying that we need to stop being so ‘me-me-me’ focused, and start being of service to our people. The dominant society is at work every single day promoting white supremacy into our minds, therefore, we need to combat that by promoting black empowerment to our people, especially our youth. If we don’t set the example to our youths that we love our people and will put our lives on the line for them, then we only have ourselves to blame when they grow up and become partakers in white supremacy.
Hopefully, the stories of our ancestors who boldly fought against white supremacy to better our people, will inspire you to do the same. Regardless of how you feel, our life is either supporting white supremacy or fighting against it. There is no in between! So we should all have the courage to ask ourselves this question: does my life support or fight against white supremacy? Your answer to this question will guide you to what you need to do next.