Lift Ev’ry Voice, and then some

It’s Black History Month! And Trump’s a racist!

I spend too much time on Twitter and this morning ran across the transcript of Trump’s Black History Month remarks. He referred to the breakfast as “our little breakfast, our little get-together,” first of all.

This arrogant, ignorant jackass.

The internet (myself included) lathered itself into a rightful uproar over his remarks about Fredrick Douglass getting more attention “recently” and having been doing good work.

His speech, as I have said on other platforms, was essentially, “We’re having breakfast to honor the best black person, Martin Luther King Jr.,”;”I heard of these other black people once so I will name them so people believe I know black people,”; and then “I have black friends.” Oh, and “don’t trust the media, they lie, I love that bust of MLK Jr in the Oval Office and have definitely not removed it.”

For some perspective, McSweeny’s, a website that traffics in satire and other humorous ephemera, published his actual remarks in full. Real words from the “real” “leader” of the country published for full effect on a satire site.

Cool, cool. So we’re off to a good start.

In other corners of the internet I learned that there are real people in this country teaching that Eli Whitney, the inventor of the cotton gin, was black.

Well, no. He was white. The black man that pops up in Google images when you type in Eli Whitney is in fact George Washington Carver who invented many things but not (as you might have been taught) peanut butter, and he damn sure didn’t invent the machine that helped make slavery even more barbaric.

And then I learned in ANOTHER corner of the internet (the Google Doodle) about Edmonia Lewis, the first professional African American and Native sculptor. She went to Oberlin, though she was not allowed to graduate after being accused of stealing art supplies, and found her way to Boston, where she studied under a sculptor with abolitionist sympathies named Edward Brackett. Lewis was born of a free black man and a Chippewa woman, but Boston’s never been a hotbed of integration so Brackett’s abolitionist sympathies are critical. By all accounts she was incredibly talented and made a name for herself despite tremendous obstacles and barriers. We both (me and you, person reading this) learn more about her, and experience her work in the SMITHSONIAN, for goodness’ sake.

Black history is our history, y’all. What are you learning? What are you reading? What are you listening to?

 

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