The Broadway show is a fiction and bamboozlement: Hamilton was a depraved enslaver of people, just like most of the Founders of the White Settler State.
“White folk’s dreams of capitalism and democracy in the Americas came at the expense of the stealing of Native American lands and the forced servitude of Black people.”
“We always want to refashion the Founders to be a mirror for us. My job as a historian is to dislodge misconceptions, not to entertain my students and not to make people feel comfortable. That’s what good history does.” -- Nancy Isenberg, Professor of American history at Louisiana State University
“I’m one of the 22 million black victims of the Democrats, one of the 22 million black victims of the Republicans, and one of the 22 million black victims of Americanism. And when I speak, I don’t speak as a Democrat, or a Republican, nor an American. I speak as a victim of America’s so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy; all we’ve seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism, we see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don’t see any American dream; we’ve experienced only the American nightmare. We haven’t benefited from America’s democracy; we’ve only suffered from America’s hypocrisy.” -- Malcolm X (Omowale El Hajj Malik El Shabazz)
Folks may have to cancel their tickets to Broadway’s hit play called Hamilton in New York City. And the calls for a Black agenda centered on reparations could grow louder in America from Afrikan American community activists. In an article published in the Smithsonianmagazine on November 10, 2020, David Kindy interviews the researcher who has uncovered information on Alexander Hamilton’s involvement in the slave trade. Hamilton is a United States founding father. He has been portrayed by many “credible” historians as an abolitionist. However, progressive historians have counteracted that argument. They say Alexander Hamilton enslaved Black people. Some progressive historians have even argued for many years that Hamilton is at fault for helping to create the constitutional root origins for American slavery, and additionally, participated in slavery. These progressive historians say he did nothing to oppose arguments from other founding fathers for their racist legal support of slavery when the US Constitution formed in 1787. Whatever the case may be, it is an actual fact that the US founding fathers established American constitutional protections for the enslavement of Black people. Based on factual history, many of the founding fathers were slave-masters. And another intellectual has come forward to reveal that Alexander Hamilton was also a slave-master. The scholar’s named is Jessie Serfilippi. In the interview, Ms. Serfilippi tells journalist Kindy that she has documented concrete evidence that shows Alexander Hamilton enslaved Black people in America.
“It is an actual fact that the US founding fathers established American constitutional protections for the enslavement of Black people.”
Kindy writes, “For Jessie Serfilippi, it was an eye-opening moment. As she worked at her computer, she had to keep checking to make sure what she was seeing was real: irrefutable evidence that Alexander Hamilton—the founding father depicted by many historians and even on Broadway as an abolitionist—enslaved other humans.
“I went over that thing so many times, I just had to be sure,” recalls Serfilippi, adding, “I went in to this with the intention of learning about Hamilton’s connection to slavery. Would I find instances of him enslaving people? I did.”
In the document, several line items indicate that Hamilton purchased enslaved labor for his own household. While antithetical to the popular image of the founding father, that reference has reinforced the view held by a growing cadre of historians that Hamilton did actively engage in enslaving people.
“I didn’t expect to find what I did at all,” Serfilippi says. “Part of me wondered if I was even wasting my time because I thought other historians would have found this already. Some had said he owned slaves but there was never any real proof.”
Kindy further says that Serfilippi’s findings led to irrefutable evidence on Hamilton’s involvement in American slavery. He writes, “the smoking gun was at the end of the cashbook, where an anonymous hand is settling Hamilton’s estate following his death. That person wrote down the value of various items, including servants. It was a confirming moment for Serfilippi” (Ibid).
Jessica Serfilippi is the Interpreter of the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, which explores Hamilton’s involvement in slavery. The Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site in Albany, New York is the home of Hamilton’s father-in-law Philip Schuyler, a Revolutionary War general, U.S. senator, and slave-master. Her paper came about as part of her research on the many Afrikan Americans enslaved by Schuyler. According to the mansion, Schuyler owned as many as 30 Black people between his two properties in Albany and Saratoga, New York.
“Hamilton’s father-in-law owned as many as 30 Black people.”
Alexander Hamilton lived from January 11, 1755 or 1757 to July 12, 1804. He was born an orphan in Charlestown, Nevis in the Caribbean. In his youth, Hamilton was taken to the American shores. In his adult life, during the American Revolutionary War, he joined the Continental Army to help defeat the British empire for US independence. After the Revolutionary War, he co-created the United States of America. He was an influential interpreter and promoter of the U.S. Constitution. Hamilton was America’s first Secretary of Treasury. He is the founder of the nation's financial system. Hamilton went on to establish the Federalist Party, the United States Coast Guard, the Bank of America, and the New York Post newspaper.
However, Alexander Hamilton was like millions of White people fleeing Europe for “new lands” in the Western Hemisphere and for the American way of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, White folk’s dreams of capitalism and democracy in the Americas came at the expense of the stealing of Native American lands and the forced servitude of Black people.
Jesse Serfilippi findings on Alexander Hamilton speaks volumes on the long struggle Black people have had to endure from being kidnapped from Afrika to the horrors of US enslavement to the second-class treatment in segregation to the current movements for Black liberation in America.
Jamestown, Virginia was the very first place Black people were brought to in America by force. We were taken from Afrika in chains by White people to be turned into slaves starting in 1619. Slavery in the US, and in Europe, violently stripped Black people from our homelands in Afrika, from our Afrikan names, from our Afrikan culture, from our practice of the Abrahamic faith traditions, from our Afrikan traditional spiritual systems, from our Afrikan languages, from our manhood, from our womanhood, from our childhood, from our norms, from our values, from our ethics, from our folkways, from our mores, and from our all connections to mother Afrika.
“We were taken from Afrika in chains by White people to be turned into slaves starting in 1619.”
White supremacy and the system of racism have been in existence since the founding of America. These two social diseases in the world became the foundations for American slavery and segregation. And Black people have been the most victimized by White domination for centuries.
Unfortunately, America is still in its denial with her culpability in the oppression of Black people at the hands of Whiteness.
However, to present a facade of equality for Black people in the United States, she creates a fictional appearance to the world that progress has been successfully made through the creation of civil rights legislation and the integration of Black people into her society.
But this is far from the facts.
The United States has never given Black people owed reparations, nor presented the Afrikan American community with an official apology for our enslavement in America. Many elected officials in America do not want the world to know that White supremacy and the system of racism are still ravaging the Black community.
Unfortunately, many of us in the US have been duped by racist propagandist historians. We have been made to believe the hype of American exceptionalism. We have been programmed to think that progress has happened for Black folks -- i.e., the election of Barack Obama as the first Black President of US, Kamala Harris as the first Black Vice President of American -- when in reality, progress is illusory. The masses of Black people are still suffering socioeconomically.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, the highly acclaimed writer, was called to Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on June 19, 2019. At a hearing on reparations for Black people, Coates eloquently told the H.R 40 Congressional committee members: “American slavery is a dilemma of inheritance. But the logic of enslavement, of white supremacy, respects no such borders. And the god of bondage was lustful and begets many heirs: coupe d’ etats and convict leasing, vagrancy laws and debt peonage, redline and racist GI Bills, poll taxes and state sponsored terrorism.” He continued, “While emancipation deadbolted the door against the bandits of America, Jim Crow wedged the windows wide open.”
Coats ended his speech saying that, because of slavery and segregation, deep trenches of Black inequality exists in the Afrikan American community. He concluded: “…the wealth of the typical Black family has 1/10 of the wealth of a typical White family." Coates's is respected for his arguments on reparations. In 2014, he published his widely read commentary called, “The Case for Reparations,” in The Atlantic.
“In reality, progress is illusory.”
Former US Congressman John Conyers, Jr. and current US congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee established House Resolution (H.R.) 40 as the Congressional Reparations Study Bill. Since 1989, every year the Bill has been introduced in Congress. H.R. 40 has been championed by the Legislative Commission of N'COBRA (The National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America). In 2001, N'COBRA supported H.R.40, entitled the Commission to Study Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. This bill was sponsored by Rep. Conyers. The N'COBRA organization has been fighting for reparations since 1987. It was founded by Afrikan-centered community organizations such as the Institute for the Black World 21st Century, the National Conference of Black Lawyers, The New Afrikan People’s Organization and the Republic of New Afrika.
But before Coates even existed in life, one of the world greatest Black leaders passionately spoke to the ignored, but dire conditions within the Afrikan American community stemming from centuries of racial oppression. His name was Malcolm X (Omowale El Hajj Malik El Shabazz).
Brother Malcolm X’s critiques of American democracy and capitalism are still relevant today. The Black nationalist freedom fighter gave a speech on April 3, 1964 in Detroit, Michigan titled, The “Ballot or the Bullet.” Malcolm said, “I’m not a Republican, nor a Democrat, nor an American, and got sense enough to know it. I’m one of the 22 million black victims of the Democrats, one of the 22 million black victims of the Republicans, and one of the 22 million black victims of Americanism. And when I speak, I don’t speak as a Democrat, or a Republican, nor an American. I speak as a victim of America’s so-called democracy. You and I have never seen democracy; all we’ve seen is hypocrisy. When we open our eyes today and look around America, we see America not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism, we see America through the eyes of someone who has been the victim of Americanism. We don’t see any American dream; we’ve experienced only the American nightmare. We haven’t benefited from America’s democracy; we’ve only suffered from America’s hypocrisy.”
Malcolm X understood that masses of Black people, through the centuries, have never truly experienced Americanism because White racism blocked every avenue to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This condition is still happening today without a pause.
“You and I have never seen democracy; all we’ve seen is hypocrisy.”
US founding father Alexander Hamilton, and his kind, are at the core of contemporary racial problems in America. They created America’s version of systematic racism that continues to oppress Black people throughout the world
Alexander Hamilton was no exemption to the rule of the US enslavement of Black people. Hamilton was not an abolitionist. He secretly practiced and participated in the bondage of Afrikan humanity. American slavery reaped huge profits for Hamilton and the United States of America.
In summation, this is why we must demand nothing less than a Black agenda centered on reparations from the new President-elect Joe Biden. The US enslavement of Black people was central to the founding of the United States. Slavery was practiced by many framers of the US constitution. In fact, the framers protected the international slave trade from even being debated by Congress for the first 20 years that the Constitution was in effect. It took the Civil War, the deaths of over 600,000 people fighting for and against slavery, the deaths of millions of Black souls working on American plantations for centuries, and passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution to physically end US slavery. America slavery made the country, and many White people, rich. But the consequences of White America’s prosperity relegated Afrikan people to the lowest realms of US society, thus creating a permanent Black underclass in the America of today.
-Bashir Muhammad Akinyele is a History and Afrikana Studies teacher at Weequahic High School in Newark, NJ. He is also the co-coordinator for ASCAC's (the Association for Study of Classical African Civilizations) Study Group Chapter in Newark, NJ. (https://ascac.org/)
Note: Spelling Afrika with a k is not a typo. Using the k in Afrika is the Kiswahili way of writing Africa. Kiswahili is a Pan -Afrikan language. It is spoken in many countries in Afrika. Kiswahili is the language used in Kwanzaa. The holiday of Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26 to January 1.
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