President Barack Obama, we have been told, had a White American mother and a Black Kenyan father. However, it has recently been discovered that one of his ancestors was an enslaved African American on his mother’s side of the family!
Back in 18th century Virginia slavery, that is chattel slavery, did not exist. Instead there was indentured servitude. People from Britain as well as Africa, who were prisoners of war or debtors, were taken to the Americas and forced to do hard labor for a period of years. After they had served their time they would be given their freedom and a parcel of land. One day three indentured servants escaped from their plantation. When they were apprehended the two White indentured servants had additional years of service added to their term, the Black runaway, though, was made a slave for life. This was the first recorded instance of chattel slavery in the Americas, and he was an ancestor of Obama’s mother.
So we see that a descendant of the first slave in America has now become the president of the United States. A clear instance of the Biblical prophecy, “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” In truth, the meek have indeed inherited the earth.
Soon after the Revolutionary War, there was a great armed struggle in Virginia known as Bacon’s Rebellion. Black and White indentured servants rose up against the plantation owners. When it was over, the planters decided to drive a wedge between the poor Whites and poor Blacks. Over time, they began to phase out White indentured servitude, and to extend the terms of service for Black indentures to lifelong bondage. Thus, the rich Whites were able to use poor Whites as a buffer to protect them and their privilege from broad-based demands for equality.
Note that during the Civil War, the vast overwhelming majority of soldiers who died for the South did not own slaves. After the war, the Ku Klux Klan was organized by the White ruling class in the South, again, to use poor Whites to protect their interests. It was the poor and working class Whites who most adamantly and violently opposed the civil rights movement. However, it was only after the movement had succeeded in removing the legal support for segregation that the American South was able to reach its full potential.
Now, today, who is most adamantly opposed to President Barack Obama? Poor and working class Whites, the very people who his proposals for universal health care and increased taxes on the rich, would greatly benefit. As for his “White” mother having Black ancestry, the idea that there exists a “one drop rule,” meaning anyone with a drop of Black blood is Black, is pure myth. No one who traces their ancestry back for hundreds of years in this country can claim to be pure White, Black or Native American. No one, not one.
By; Dr. Arthur Lewin
Dr. Lewin was born in Harlem, New York. His parents hail from Jamaica and Cuba. His research has included topics in Jamaican political history, charismatic leadership in African America, Africa and the Caribbean and the class structure in Black America. He is the author of the popular book Africa is Not a Country its a Continent!