We’ve Lost Our Moral Compass
Junious Ricardo Stanton
“Neither god, nor angels, or just men, command you to suffer for a single moment. Therefore it is your solemn and imperative duty to use every means, both moral, intellectual, and physical that promises success.” Henry Highland Garnet 1865
Africans in America have experienced horrific abuses, desecration, dehumanization and degradation at the hand of Euro-Americans. In the midst of our travails we always had leaders most of whom remain unknown and uncelebrated who urged our people on, exhorted them to keep the faith to resist and struggle for freedom and righteousness. As we commemorate the four hundred years in this hemisphere, let us not consign all our recollections to our debasement and degradation. Let us remember our successes and triumphs despite the overwhelming odds, systemic violence and sanctioned oppression.
In the midst of hellish conditions we always had leaders who stood up and spoke out who sacrificed themselves on our behalf by offering a clear vision of freedom and urging us on by providing a moral compass to guide us. Sadly we have lost touch with that element of leadership within us, somehow we think because legal apartheid has been minimized or because we have more elected officials, more millionaires, more visibility, more celebrity and status, we are free that our struggle is complete.
I am not trying to be a Davey downer or rain on your parade but we are far from free. What is freedom anyway? Is it being able to go in debt to buy a shiny car, engage in conspicuous consumption or deny your core self in order to fit into a society that makes it clear every day that unless you confirm to their standards you are nothing.
Ever since our kidnapped ancestors where brought to this hemisphere, we have been treated as commodities, chattel, subhuman fodder for their wars and capitalist endeavors but now we are viewed as unwanted nuisances.
When the English colonists decided to make slavery racial and permanent, our ancestors resisted. We always had those among us who refused to submit, who refused to give up their souls and their humanity no matter how vile, foul and horrific their circumstances or the situation they experienced.
We always resisted on the personal level we have examples of folks like Nat Turner who led a rebellion, Frederick Douglas who fought and beat his owner to the point his owner never raised his hand to him again and Harriet Tubman who led several hundred enslaved Africans to freedom. We always had men and women who comforted those around them, who helped heal those who had been brutalized or who were in need. This was a common reality that dates back to ancient times and ideas like Ubuntu (I am because we are, we are because I am) and our historic collective spirit and way of living
We always had men and women who spoke up, articulated truth so powerfully they changed the very vibration within their environment providing righteous leadership during horrific times. Many, as I said, are unknown to us today but we can call the names of a few like: Henry Highland Garnet, Fannie Coppin Jackson, Harriet Tubman, Benjamin “Pap” Singleton, Ida B Wells Barnett, Noble Drew Ali, Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, Fannie Lou Hamer and Martin Luther King Jr. These dynamic leaders sacrificed on behalf of our people and didn’t line their pockets.
In the modern era we sorely lack men and women like them. Today the words sacrifice, struggle, unity and Black Power are no longer in our lexicon! We have lost the moral imperative and leaders willing to provide the moral compass. If we are to improve our condition and status we have to regain our collective moral compass.
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