From slavery to prisons: Where have we come in 150 years?

Hodges Investigation Team

It has been 150 years since the Civil War began, and I think that it is time to do some reflecting to examine how far we have come as a people and as a nation. In 1860 there were 4.5 million Blacks in America and four million of them were slaves.

So, during the time of the Civil War the vast majority of U.S. Blacks were slaves. Slaves, for you young people who were not taught about this in school, were forced to do very intensive labor such as farming fields while being whipped with a leather bull whip. Slaves were not allowed to read, and if they were caught reading they would often have their eyes removed by their slave masters.

Slaves were not allowed to have families for the most part, as the slave master would often sell off family members to make money. The slave master would often impregnate Black slave women multiple times despite the fact that the woman was married.

Slaves were taught that they were less than human, and they were taught to hate themselves because of the color of their skin. Slaves were viewed as property just as the cows that you see when you drive into the country today are viewed.

Now that I have briefly explained to our young people what slavery was about, I will discuss how far we have come since the Civil War. Currently there are 40 million Blacks living in America, and today these Blacks are not held in slavery, as least not in the form slavery took during the Civil War.

We currently have a Black president and many other Black elected officials, so based on that, everything is all good now, right? Well, not really. Since the Civil War we have made tremendous strides, but we still have a long way to go.

Today, although we are not slaves, a number of us do not have our freedom. We are overly represented in the prisons and jails. Our economic situation is less favorable than it should be based on the fact that this country was literally built off the backs of our ancestors. Our educational level is not what it should be given the fact that so many of us paid the ultimate price to get our education.

As stated before, if one of us were caught reading during slavery times they could get their eyes cut out. Today you have to threaten to harm someone to get some of these kids to read.
During slavery we didn’t have the freedom to make choices for ourselves. Today we have the freedom to make choices, but unfortunately some of us make choices that get our freedom taken away.

During slavery we didn’t earn any money. Today, 150 years later, we earn lots of money, but for the most part we don’t have anything to show for it. In order to progress over the next 150 years we must place a greater importance on education within our community. The number of our kids who do not graduate from school is staggering.

We must make it unacceptable not to do well in school in our community. Just think: Some 30 years from now, people of color will be the majority in this country, and what good is that going to do our county if the new majority can’t read or do basic mathematics?

We must still face racism both internally and externally, but I am confident that we will overcome it. Just look at how far we have come over the last 150 years.

Cornering the Black jobs market
On a side note, I guess there will be no more Vikings games in Minneapolis in three years. I guess there will be no money for the middle-person “school” that has a monopoly on Black workers in terms of contracts.

Many of you may not know this, but a “school,” if you want to call it that, has deals with contractors such that, if that contractor is going to hire Black workers, those workers must come from this “school.” What a racket this “school” has going!

But in time all will be revealed, as we have been investigating them for the last six months. Let me just say this at this time: Beware of the man bearing a job in exchange for which you must enroll into his school. He gets your tuition and you get, well, nothing but a handshake.

Maybe this “school” will take their band of peddlers to Arden Hills, proposed site of the new Vikings stadium, to do a shakedown — but not if we can help it.

Booker T Hodges welcomes reader responses to