Why was Black Life in the United States worth less after ratification of the Constitution than it was in 1776? By Mark Wisan 7/17/2016
The lucrative and addictive Slavery Industry appealed to the worst elements of our Founding Fathers when they allowed the "Three Fifths Compromise" into our Constitution. This detestable compromise inserted a clause in our new Constitution that the life of a black person is of less value than the life of a person who is not black. This was not true in 1776 when our founding fathers declared:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
So many Black American soldiers fought alongside George Washington that the American Revolution would not have been successful without them. But, the status of Black Americans declined after the ratification of the Constitution because of the "Three Fifths compromise." This detestable clause contaminated our constitution from 1789 until 1866. Those who benefitted from the Slavery Industry held our Constitution hostage. They refused to allow our Constitution to become law unless Black lives were valued at a fraction of other lives. The detestable compromise was forced on our nation by selfish and shortsighted citizens who benefitted from the Slavery Industry. Many of these unpatriotic citizens lived in New York and Pennsylvania and did not own slaves, but did business with slave plantations. In 1789 Slavery was a "growth industry" that continued growing rapidly until the Civil War. Sex made it grow. A plantation with 100 slaves could easily double in value by forcing the slaves to have sex. The Slavery industry grew. Those at the top of the industry grew richer and more politically powerful year by year. The workers at the bottom of the industry, the slaves with no political rights, grew poorer year by year.
The Slavery habit came back after Reconstruction as Jim Crow. But, with no wealth in owning slaves, there was only addiction. By Mark Wisan 7/17/2016
On the night of August 6, 1930 in Marion, Indiana, 16 year-old James Cameron and two friends, Tommy Shipp and Abe Smith, attempted to rob Claude Deeter and Mary Ball. James was holding a gun, but refused to use it, because he recognized Claude as a client of his shoeshine business. He handed the gun to one of his friends and ran away. Claude was killed later anyway. Mary told police that the crime was not robbery but rape, (an allegation she would later recant.) It was this rape allegation that caused a mob, estimated at 15,000, to gather outside the jail on August 7. As James Cameron was shoved toward a noose, he saw Shipp and Smith hanging from trees, dead. He was beaten unconscious by the mob, but remembers hearing a voice tell the mob “Take this boy back. He had nothing to do with any raping or killing.” The mob fell silent and released him. James Cameron felt gratitude to God for surviving a lynching. He became active in his church, not only to understand why he survived, but to prevent similar events from happening to others in the future. He dedicated himself to writing about lynching, slavery, Jim Crow, the Civil War, and the Ku Klux Klan. And he wrote letters to local newspapers about racial discrimination wherever he saw it.
In 1979, on a church trip to Israel, at Yad Vashem, Cameron was struck that before the Jews could be killed, their lives had to be made to seem to be worth less than the lives of ordinary citizens. It reminded him of his own experience with a lynch mob. He saw that descendants of African slaves in America had to be made to appear less than human in order for citizens to participate in a lynching.
In 1982 Cameron self-published a book about his experience in 1930 called A Time of Terror. In 1992 Cameron asked Jewish philanthropist Dan Bader for $50,000 to help start America's Black Holocaust Museumto exhibit the material he had gathered for the past 50 years.
CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES
Article. 1 SECTION. 1. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. SECTION. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature. No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen. [Representatives and direct Taxesshall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.]* (Note: Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution was modified by Section 2 of the 14th Amendment.)
Amendment XIV. Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868.
SECTION 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws
SECTION 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, [being twenty-one years of age,]* and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Note by Mark Wisan: During the 79 years from 1789 to 1868, Slaves were not citizens and were regarded by the law as property, and therefore seemed to some not be human. As Lincoln pointed out below, the lives of Black Americans worsened over this period, as more citizens changed the meaning of "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” to exclude American Blacks.
Abraham Lincoln’s Speech on the Dred Scott Decision Springfield, Illinois, 6/26/1857
“The Chief Justice … assumes that the public estimate of the black man is more favorable now than it was in the days of the Revolution. This assumption is a mistake. … In those days, our Declaration of Independence was held sacred by all, and thought to include all; but now, to aid in making the bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is assailed, and sneered at, and construed, and hawked at, and torn, till, if its framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all recognize it. All the powers of earth seem rapidly combining against him. Mammon is after him; ambition follows, and philosophy follows, and the Theology of the day is fast joining the cry. … It is grossly incorrect that the public estimate of the Negro is more favorable now than it was at the origin of the government.
Judge Curtis, in his dissenting opinion, shows that in five of the then thirteen states, to wit, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina, free negroes were voters, and, in proportion to their numbers, had the same part in making the Constitution that the white people had. … The Constitution was ordained and established by the people of the United States, through the action, in each State, of those persons who were qualified by its laws to act thereon in behalf of themselves and all other citizens of the State. In some of the States, as we have seen, colored persons were among those qualified by law to act on the subject. These colored persons were not only included in the body of `the people of the United States, - by whom the Constitution was ordained and established; but in at least five of the States they had the power to act, and, doubtless, did act, by their suffrages, upon the question of its adoption.
The Republicans inculcate that the negro is a man; that his bondage is cruelly wrong, and that the field of his oppression ought not to be enlarged. The Democrats deny his manhood; deny, or dwarf to insignificance, the wrong of his bondage; crush all sympathy for him, and cultivate and excite hatred and disgust against him; compliment themselves as Union-savers for doing so; and call the indefinite outspreading of his bondage “a sacred right of self-government. “ The plainest print cannot be read through a gold eagle; and it will be ever hard to find many men who will send a slave to Liberia, and pay his passage while they can send him to a new country, Kansas for instance, and sell him for fifteen hundred dollars, and the rise.
Jews of Color Ask Us All to Dream of - and Fight for - Justice BY LEO FERGUSON (JTA) 7/13/2016 published on http://www.reformjudaism.org
Last week, we watched in horror and dismay as violent event after violent event unfolded, each amplifying and decontextualizing the one before it. By Friday morning, July 8, five Dallas police officers were dead, three Black men had been killed by the police (including the Dallas shooter), and countless families were broken and traumatized.
On Friday evening I was in the streets marching, chanting our movement’s simplest, yet most elusive assertion, “Black Lives Matter.” As a Black person and a Jew, I was asserting the value of my own being — attempting to claim agency over my own body and the bodies of those who look like me in the face of racism and violence. I usually find these marches and rallies empowering, but on this night I was deflated and sad. As we marched through the rapidly gentrifying streets of New York City, I couldn’t stop watching the faces of those people, especially white people — presumably many of them Jewish — who sat in outdoor cafes sipping wine or coasting by in the backseats of taxis. Some cheered or raised a glass, others asked mutely; some were obviously annoyed at the minor disruption to their day. I joked darkly to a Jew of color who was marching with me that all of our signs should just say, “If you’re standing there, reading this, then you are part of the problem.”
On Sunday I joined a group of Jewish people of color, organized through Jews For Racial & Economic Justice, or JFREJ, to process and hold space for each other after a week of pain. Many of those in the room with me have been active in the fight to pass the Right To Know Act , a piece of legislation before the City Council here that would help address the very issues that have brought our nation to this terrifying moment. It would create more trust and mutual respect between communities and the police by requiring officers to identify themselves with a business card when they stop you on the street, thus allowing you to follow up if you believe you were stopped or searched in a discriminatory or illegal manner. It would also provide a remedy for unconstitutional searches by requiring officers to inform people when they have the right to refuse a search. The bill would protect everyone in New York by empowering citizens and creating a bond of trust with the police.
Our Jews of Color Caucus has been working with the rest of JFREJ as part of a wide coalition of grassroots organizations, Communities United for Police Reform, in a tireless effort to pass this bill. And it was my job on Sunday to tell everyone, even after the week that our country had been through, that the bill is still not on the calendar for a vote in the City Council. We actually have a council majority for both bills, enough to pass the legislation. But it still hasn’t been brought up for a vote even though not a single other police reform bill has passed in New York since the death of Eric Garner two years ago.
As I looked at the demoralized faces in the room, I understood why the week left us all so drained and depressed. For decades people of color have protested against discriminatory and violent policing. And while there have been some meaningful victories over the years, we have yet to win the true accountability that we need to secure our full civil rights and dignity. Ever since the death of Garner in my city — in some ways ever since the beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles 25 years ago — we’ve had the proof right in front of us, on our screens. We thought this new phenomenon — ubiquitous cameras providing new evidence of an enduring injustice — would shock the nation into action, but it hasn’t.
We have organized and marched and rallied, thinking it would move the nation to value our lives and reform its policing. But it hasn’t. All across America, local community groups are working to pass bills and make policy reforms such as the Right To Know Act. Each effort tries to address some small piece of the problem of racism and police violence — to chip off some tiny piece of the iceberg and make some progress. Our movement is growing, but not fast enough. Unless the Jewish community and everyone who is now watching from the sidelines gets involved, we will be sharing these tragic videos for years to come. Now is the moment to say “never again — not one more.” Now is the moment for white Jews to join us in the streets, to call your legislators, to donate your time and money. To invest in a future where we never have to enter Shabbat with the echoes of gunshots in our ears.
The only way we can ensure a future in which Black lives matter and the police are trusted and respected by all is if white Jews, and all Americans, actively participate in the campaigns for racial justice and police accountability being waged all across the country by local organizations, especially those led by people of color. We can win, but only by creating movements too powerful to be ignored. In this struggle there is no neutral ground — if the Jewish community isn’t part of the solution, then it is part of the problem. Like those people watching us march past them, most Americans don’t see this as their problem to solve. As Jews, we know what it means to fight for our survival while those around us do nothing. And as a Jew of color, I am tired of feeling abandoned by my friends and my larger Jewish community when they sit on the sidelines rather than fighting for my safety and full humanity. Though these weeks have been painful, I am still filled with hope for change and certainty that we will win. All I have to do is look at the community I am lucky enough to work with — the powerful, brilliant Jews of all races who are struggling for racial justice every day. They remind me of the most potent parts of our tradition: those that call us to strive for justice even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. We won’t give up — we will pass bills like the Right to Know Act.