By Doni Glover, Publisher
Unapologetically Black: Doni Glover Autobiography
The Doni Glover Show on WOLB 1010 AM (Thurs. 11a-12p)
(BALTIMORE – November 2, 2019) – “Unapologetically Black” is the name of my autobiography. And while in retrospect there is so much more I want to do with the book in terms of content, the overall theme remains a constant in my life.
A friend of mine, former Eastern Shore Councilwoman Moonyene Jackson-Amis, went to see ‘Harriet” yesterday as it opened in theaters across the country. I desperately wanted to hear her feedback.
For the uninitiated, Moonyene is an attorney, a historian, an expert on Harriet Tubman who also does re-enactments of the Underground Railroad All-Star across the country, and she is the first African American female councilwoman on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She is also the one who spearheaded the erection of the Frederick Douglass statue there some years back.
All things considered, the one comment she made very early this morning that really got under my skin is how the expert for ‘Harriet’, a clueless white woman named Kate Clifford Larson, minimized the number of slaves Harriet Tubman freed from 1,000 or so down to 70.
I say this because many Afrocentric people know the truth and have even posted Harriet Tubman’s famous quote for years: “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
Call it oral tradition. Call it what you want, but this quote is revered around the globe. So, for Larson to suggest that Tubman only freed 70 slaves is a smack in the face. Harriet actually helped free hundreds more.
For instance, according to Biography.com, “Tubman was the first woman to lead an armed expedition during the Civil War. She guided the Combahee River Raid, which liberated more than 700 slaves in South Carolina.”
Further, the director made a huge mistake listening to this woman and not checking with Amis or at least someone from the Black community on the Eastern Shore who knows the damn truth.
Time and time again, African Americans are subjected to these so-called experts who have a way of leaving out important parts to our story. We saw this locally by another s0-called white expert named Rebecca Skloot who wrote about our beloved Henrietta Lacks. In my interview with family members who did not take part in her book’s writing, I learned that Skloot never returned some of the pictures given to her for the book. Further, she failed to talk to some senior members of the family who were less enthused by the project. Lacks’ cells, if you recall, were usurped by Johns Hopkins Hospital and the institution regarded as great worldwide never fairly compensated the family, although millions if not billions of dollars were made off of the discovery. Lacks’ cancer cells are the source of HeLa cells, one of the most important finds ever in medical research. Lacks’ self-rejuvenating cells were used, among other things, to create the first polio vaccine.
Too often, non-African Americans claim to be experts when they clearly are not and when there are ample African American experts available.
Some call such people “culture vultures” who are merely out to make a name for themselves. I detest such poor research and I really despise the usury and trickery often implored by these individuals who, for whatever reason, do a lackadaisical job at getting to the truth.
Personally, there is very little anybody, black or white, can tell me about my history. I am too indoctrinated by our experts, like Senegal’s Cheikh Anta Diop, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, J. A. Rogers, Dr. Carter G. Woodson, and Dr. Yosef Ben Jochannan. They have fed me so full that when I do hear non-African and non-African American so-called experts, I either smirk or laugh to myself.
To take it a step further, I am not impressed either by white artists who specialize in African American artwork. I imagine Michael Rosato is a wonderful man, considering his spectacular mural of Harriet Tubman down on the Shore. However, I know damn well that there are some more than capable African American artists who could have painted the Eastern Shore icon. It is important that such literary and artistic works of this nature are done by the icon’s own people, especially in America, the home of some of the most racist deeds ever committed upon a human race. It’s not enough that Black people had to endure racism while alive. Even in death, white people want to take over our images and our story, too.
I saw the same thing here in Sandtown after Freddie Gray. An army of white muralists were here painting stories of Freddie and the surrounding community. What I did not see much were Black artists doing the work. To me, it’s insulting! One mural done by an Iranian American located at Pennsylvania and Gold alludes to America’s “immigrants”. Huh? What? Have you lost your damn mind? Besides the indigenous Africans who founded America thousands of years ago, those who came by way of slave ship in the 15th,16th and 17th centuries were not immigrants. They were prisoners of war who were turned into slaves. The point is, they didn’t come here of their own free will.
Well, to these co-called experts I say thanks, but no thanks.
We are more than capable of telling our own story and painting our own historical images. And to those African Americans who get suckered by these so-called white experts and put them on a pedestal without first checking with qualified Black folks, shame on you! Please go to the library and fix your self-esteem because the white man’s ice is not colder.