Tobacco and Slavery

“How could educated, deeply religious Europeans trade in human flesh, as casually as they traded sugar and rice?” They traded black bodies like staples, I say!

I read Booker T. Washington’s autobiography Up From Slavery, in 2003 as part of my course studies at Fisk University. I love autobiographies because they allow me to communicate with my ancestors. By hearing their stories, I can hold the history close to my heart. I use these stories to help make my own story and life better. History is my anchor. I learn.

I am in the process of watching a documentary called Up From Slavery. It is packed with info that just makes me feel some type of way. I’ve watched and read accounts of history like it before, such as Alex Haley’s Roots, and I will continue to seek out such information because I enjoy learning about what happened (not so long ago might I remind you) to my great grandparents and their parents.

This film speaks to who I am. My grandparents are deceased so I have no storytellers left in my family. For that, I am sad. So I have to do lots of reading to keep myself up on the history.  I loved to listen to their stories when they were alive. Mostly my maternal grandfather. I miss him so much. However, I will keep the few stories he was able to tell close to my heart. They rose up from slavery.

THIS IS AN EPIC STRUGGLE… honestly, sometimes, I cry.

Up From Slavery is a 5 hour documentary that takes you on a journey of the history of Africans in America. Great information.

I have 4 more hours to go, but thus far, I have re-learned this: tobacco was one of the main reasons why Europeans needed slaves. They needed slaves to come to America and work on tobacco plantations. The African slave was especially important because he already possessed the skills it took to grow these crops and he looked different from the natives, making him easily identifiable. There was a high demand for tobacco in the 1670s and the number of slaves in VA heavily increased because of this. From the beginning of our history in America, we have been enslaved by TOBACCO. It kills me to see us fiend for cigarettes. Knowing the history of the nasty plant, I will never smoke it! Let me say it again, I will NEVER smoke it. It was used in the process of enslaving the African. !**%$ tobacco! It’s not for me and I hope you can understand that it is not for you either. Brown teeth, funky breath, blackened lips- why would you want it? Clothes, car, and house smell bad. You hair even stinks from it. I cannot stand the stuff. I’d rather smoke the illegal option, but I won’t smoke at all- it’s really no point. Same with drinking. Why do we need alcohol in our blood? It manipulates your conscious, encouraging you to make really bad mistakes and say and do things that are unnecessary. What are you drinking for? To take your mind away from reality? Erykah says: “teach your children wisdom, reality today. so they can live tomorrow.” I am saying this to say that REALITY is important and you should never hide from it. Deal with what is happening. What do you get from a cig? Does it calm your nerves. Oh. is that what you think? Well, find a better option. Did you know that exercise can calm your nerves? Yeah, try that. Wine is healthier than liquor. If you like the taste of the grape, try wine as a much better option. Might I suggest what they call two buck chuck, Trader Joe’s wine. It is actually really good to be $3.79. Yes, it’s that cheap for a bottle. The cabernet is awesome!

The point is TOBACCO sucks! Don’t kill yourself smoking one of the very things that helped to enslave our ancestors. Don’t be a slave to tobacco.

THIS IS AN EPIC STRUGGLE… honestly, sometimes, I cry. I cry because it’s not over. Wherever I go, I feel it. Lots of people don’t even realize that some of the things they say are disrespectful and hurtful. They think that I should get over this. My response: If you are asking me to forget, then you are asking me to die. Walk in my shoes. Bet you couldn’t. I wish I could forget, but the world won’t let me. Just tonight, my friends and I were in a restaurant and some white people were pointing at us with their eyes and we heard them making rude comments. Yes, this is still alive! I almost couldn’t believe how these people were behaving. It’s really silly, but the fact is, racism is still alive . It’s subliminal in many ways, but it’s all just the same.

THIS IS AN EPIC STRUGGLE… honestly, sometimes, I cry.

Coexist? Diversify? It’s hard. I’d much rather everyone got along, but those people who hate hearing about slavery and racism are setting us back. Why do you think it is OK to remain ignorant about what happened to Black people in America? Just in the 1960s we were being beaten with clubs, sprayed with water hoses, bit by dogs, punched by police. NOOOOO! The history must be told. I see it happening still, but more subliminally, if not in your face! We are enslaving ourselves by not telling the story and sweeping it under the rug like it didn’t happen. Do you see what is happening now? Our children are in a state of confusion. They are lost without the lessons history teaches.

Stop asking me to forget. Stop saying that I talk about it too much, No the hell I don’t! Walk in my shoes. Experience life from where I am standing. Racism is still here. Hate is still around. How bad do I wish it wasn’t? Really bad. But there it is, surfacing in such evil ways. Segregation, mis-education, no occupation, world inflation! We are selling ourselves out for material things that do not matter. Drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex every where we look! SLAVERY IS STILL ALIVE. LET’S KILL IT OR DIE TRYING.

Peace & Love