Like occupy the USA, "occupied black lives matters " at the Black lives Plaza in Washington Dc close to the Lafayette park and 1600 Pennsylvania avenue [White House ] is working daily to take down monuments erected to the glory of American historical figures who also traded and or owned slaves, with particular emphasis to the Andrew Jackson statue in the center of Lafayette Park, facing the White House gate.
The recent killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis Minnesota police has generated global interest and concern over the subject of Racism in the west with particular attention and focus in the United States of America today.
The history books are replete with the historical origin and progression of slavery of Africans and African Americans.
Like other Western nations, the united states of America was involved in slavery in one form or another from the beginning of the nation to the passage of the 13th amendment in 1865.
Slavery was legally practiced in all thirteen colonies even before they came together to form the united states.
Many have erroneously said and or written that it was a thing of the Southern states.
Slavery was more of an economic system to benefit certain people through exploitation and use of cheap slave labor, of people who were bought, sold, and or traded for that purpose and was replaced by the sharecropping system.
Those who contributed to the building of the united states as a nation were associated with slavery in one form or another, though the statues which are erected to their memories are not predominantly done for their involvement directly and or indirectly in the trade and system.
The framers of the constitution would all be insulted and ridiculed for producing a constitution that made certain humans three-fifths of others though claiming that all men and women are born with fundamental rights.
The 1789 constitutional talks had slavery as a very very contentious issue that led to the three-fifth clause to please slave owners, giving them too much political power.
After the American Revolution, certain northern states followed the abolition movement and banned slavery, including certain Southern states while congress officially abolished slavery in 1808.
Louisiana's Purchase and the Mexican cession brought in new lands and great cotton businesses that needed cheap slave labor and helped sustained the slave trade in the South.
In 1860 Abraham Lincoln won presidential elections, campaigning to abolish slavery, leading to many southern states banding together as a confederate union to preserve their trade and secceed from the Union. The civil war lasted a few years with the union forces winning over the confederate group who were predominantly southern states.
The confederates' flag and statues remind the children and descendants of Slavery of the atrocities and damage that was inflicted on their ancestors.
The emancipation proclamation ended slavery in 1863 and congress ratified the thirteen amendments officially in 1865.
It should be noted that, though slavery was abolished in 1863, the people in the Southern state of Texas only got the news on the 19th of June 1865, in Galveston and that is the basis of the Juneteenth celebrations.
The civil rights movement in the sixties built on the work of the National Association of the advancement of colored people [NAACP] that started in the late 19th century.
The is much that has been gained through the civil rights movement and more needs to be done.
Race relations have improved to an extent though there seem to be systemic remnants of an issue that lasted many hundreds of years, giving certain races and people groups advantages through the color of their skin.
The Black lives matter movement seems to be the new civil rights movement fighting to right the wrongs of slavery remnants.
The killing of George Floyd in Minnesota has created a new opportunity for people of color to demand changes in American institutions.
Prominent white Americans like senator Mit Romney, republican of Utah, Elizabeth Warren, and others have marched with black lives matter demanding change.
Presently, the statues of historical American leaders erected in city parks with taxpayers' money are being destroyed and or thrown down.
Mayor Turner of Houston is ready to do away with two major statues to be located in the African American Museum under what he calls "Less we forget ".
South Carolina brought down the confederate flag from the capitol and put it in the museum under the leadership of Governor Nikky Halley.
The black lives members are threatening to pull down the statue of Andrew Jackson from the lafayette park, an act which has led President Donald Trump to speak out. The president sees the statues as cultural symbols, that tell the history of America, and thinks that bringing them down will mean doing the same to that of George Washington who is honored with statues in many states.
Yes, that may require the names of whole cities changed like Washington.
Culture has to do with the norms and values of a people and if the slave system of the past was a cultural way of life of certain Americans Trump idolizes, then it must be made clear that emulating their cultural stances and slave privilege ideologies today is being questioned by white and black Americans who do not believe that those who could subjugate their fellow humans for their private gains should be honored.
The is no way that one can erase the history of slavery and those who benefitted from it.
It is not a culture of the united states today and should never be.
Diversity and inclusion require that people be honored for their collective contributions in nation-building while not forgetting the mistakes they make and or made.
Museums dedicated to certain historical events should hold certain artifacts and bursts of slavery perpetrators.
Statues that are appalling to the present times should be put in museums for the study of history by those who are interested.
Let people decide those issues.
Dr. Akwo Thompson Akwo Ntuba