Overpower Radio
10Nov/172

Star Spangled Chains

The NAACP calls for the removal of the 'Star-Spangled Banner' as the national anthem. (source: WSVN News 7)

The Facebook community shows its patriotism with great disrespect, as members comment, "move to another country," if you don't like it. To my surprise, I noticed more Latin immigrants posting these messages than anyone else. (source: WSVN News 7 on Facebook)

The third verse of the 'star-spangled banner', which many are unfamiliar with includes;

"No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,"

Slave to Soldiers

In it, the "hireling and slave." refers to Black slaves hired to fight on the side of the British during the War of 1812. The stanza glorifies America's defeat of one of two units of Black slaves recruited to fight for the British (on the promise of gaining their freedom). The author of it was a wealthy slave owner who believed Black people were an inferior race of people. He did not have us in mind as he envisioned America being "the land of the free". As so many slaves fought for their freedom "The Star Spangled Banner" celebrates the triumph over them. America demanded the return of slaves during a peace treaty in 1814, but the British refused. They, the former slaves, settled in Canada with some of them going to Trinidad.

(source: The 'Star-Spangled Banner' and Slavery)
(source: British Colonial Marines Were Comprised Of Freed Slaves)

For all Black Americans, that have heard the build up in the anthem, "for the land of the free, and the home of the brave," it's important to know that it didn't include you, because it did not include your ancestors.

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  1. A “slave” was a “slave” back then. Even in the British lexicon, during the war of 1812 IN AMERICA, a “slave” was a “slave”. The sorriest way to say f**k you to an oppressed group is to try to make a play on words as if to say, “he said slave, but he wasn’t talking about you!” Knowing well, that in these lands in 1812, in America, a “slave” was a term this country used to refer to our ancestors as property. We suffer the most disrespectful resentment and disregard for the pain and suffering of our ancestors, when this country, everyone seems to love so much, was built on their backs.

  2. Slavery wasn’t abolished until approx 1865. The star-spangled banner was written in 1814, by a slave owner. It is a fact, that “the land of the free” did not include Black people. Black people were still being hung for trying to run away to be free. I could never honor any perception of the Black militia as being “turncoats”, who were fighting to be free from slave owners who were physical, mentally, and sexually abusing them, separating them from their families (husbands from wives, children from parents, brothers from sisters, etc.) banning them from knowing how to read – killing them if they discovered they could. No way in hell, would I ever call them a turncoat or honor the “bragging” of any group in their moment of defeat. It not only wouldn’t be Black of me. It wouldn’t be human of me to do that, and if being American would permit me to do that, then I denounce that here and now. I will never rejoice in their suffering.

    To further expound on the fact that “the land of the free” didn’t include me: Not in 1812 it didn’t. Not even in 1865. When slavery was abolished, even Martin Luther King recorded a speech where he stated (I’ll paraphrase) that it was freedom to hunger, freedom to the winds and rains of the earth without shelter, without land to cultivate so that we could establish ourselves economically …as in those days it was common for the government to give land to countryman. It wasn’t given to Black folks. Again, I state, it didn’t include me. We weren’t fellow countrymen, we were slaves, and when slavery was abolished we were 2nd class citizens – not fellow citizens.

    In 2017, after a Black man became president, we can look back and account that during his presidency, it has been the most ever media coverage of police brutality against people of color. A Black child is murdered in the streets by a man following him home from a store, and that man found innocent in the courts. A Black woman is pulled over, arrested, and dies in jail. A Black man chocked to death. A child murder for flashing a fake gun at a playground, and so many more that I start to forget their names and a football player kneels, because he faces a conflict in the pledge of allegiance when he realizes “with justice and liberty for all” doesn’t apply to everybody, and the mere notion of a Black man having contempt for the many many many times the judicial system has publicly failed people of color (while the world views it in the mainstream media) causing a frenzy, is further evidence that “justice for all” in “the land of the free” didn’t include me. It cares less about Black people. I have more rights and a greater potential (to be a fellow countryman and live in peace) today than I did 200 years ago, but that doesn’t make me forget what this country has done to my ancestors, and it doesn’t smudge THE FACT that when the star spangled banner was written it celebrated my enslavement, as those with political power, with money, with land went to their homes and continued to abuse my people and force them into free labor.

    This is not my opinion. These are the facts.


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