August 19, 2016

On this day August 19th...

On this day August 19, 1791 Benjamin Banneker wrote a lengthy letter to Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State. The letter showed the hypocrisy of slavery and challenged the idea of freedom for whites as they ascribed it to be the same freedom that should be granted to Africans.

Banneker made it a point to "freely and cheerfully acknowledge, that I am of the African race." Though not himself a slave, Banneker encouraged Jefferson to accept "the indispensable duty of those who maintain for themselves the rights of human nature," by ending the "State of tyrannical thraldom, and inhuman captivity, to which too many of my brethren are doomed."                                                  

Appealing to Jefferson's "measurably friendly and well-disposed" attitude toward blacks, Banneker presumed that he would "readily embrace every opportunity to eradicate that train of absurd and false ideas and opinions which so generally prevail with respect to us."

After acknowledging that by writing to Jefferson he was taking "a liberty which seemed
 to me scarcely allowable," considering "the almost general prejudice and prepossession which is so prevalent in the world against those of my complexion," Banneker launched into a critical response to Jefferson's published ideas about the inferiority of blacks.

With restrained passion, Banneker chided Jefferson and other framers of the Declaration of Independence for the hypocrisy "in detaining by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren under groaning captivity and cruel oppression, that you should at the Same time be found guilty of that most criminal act, which you professedly detested in others, with respect to yourselves." 

Citing Jefferson's own words from the Declaration -- the "Self-Evident" truth "that all men are created equal" -- Banneker challenged Jefferson and his fellows "to wean yourselves from those narrow prejudices which you have imbibed with respect to" African Americans.

DARC herein takes this opportunity to say Big-Up! Ras. Banneker…

As a matter of fact also on August 19, in the year 1954 Diplomat and first Black winner of Nobel Peace Prize, Ralph J Bunche was named undersecretary of the United Nations.

 

 

 

 

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