It was on this date, December 6th, 1865 that the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified by the states. The great emancipator, Abraham Lincoln, has gone down in history as the one who freed the enslaved Africans and erased this original sin from the soul of America.
Yeah that’s how the story goes, but that’s not actually true.
5 Things to know about Lincoln and his push to “end” slavery can be found in depth here. Let’s be clear though, Lincoln was no great proponent of ending the enslavement of black folks. As the History Channel explains; (1) Lincoln was NOT an abolitionist, (2) he did NOT believe that blacks should be considered equal to whites, with regard to rights. (3) Lincoln believed that blacks should leave the US and colonize Africa or Central America. (4) The emancipation proclamation was a military policy not human policy, it wasn’t issued because slavery was wrong. It was issued to help win the war and crush the confederacy. (5) The emancipation proclamation did not “free” a single enslaved person. Lincoln “freed” the enslaved that were in confederate states, but since those states seceded from the Union, Lincoln really had no control over them. The proclamation left slavery intact in border states and newly “captured” confederate states.
To put a twist on a good ole bible verse, what Lincoln meant for his own benefit, God turned it into our good.
One hundred and fifty one years is the length of time that descendants of enslaved Africans have been freed from bondage and servitude. We’ve spent our time trying to work towards the 4th principle of Kwanzaa, our purpose and it has not been an easy road. From Reconstruction to Jim Crow to Civil Rights Movement to the crack epidemic to mass incarceration to Black Lives Matter, black people in this country have had, and continue to have everything thrown at us, but still we rise with purpose. We continue to rise and persevere with a determination to live fully in our humanity.
As we move to celebrate Nia, the 4th principle of the Nguzo Saba, we ask you to think about your own purpose as an educator. What drew you to the profession? What keeps you in the profession? When you read the principle of purpose, what does it invoke in you?
Collectively, we cannot be defeated. In our chosen vocation of educators of Diasporic children, we create the future. Everyday that we walk into our classrooms, we help to build and develop our community. And from our chosen, unapologetic perspective, we teach about our greatness in order to restore us to our greatness.
Today, we honor you, the Culturally Responsive Educator of the African Diaspora. You represent purpose. We ask that you print out a copy of the purpose principle and put it up in your classroom and in your home as a constant reminder of the endeavor you have chosen, and that you might say, has chosen you.
Don’t forget to like, comment and share.