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Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal/Prison Radio

"Immigration Echoes "

Rec. 5-21-06

1) 2:50 Radio essay Mp3

2) 3:39  Radio essay Mp3

IMMIGRATION'S ECHOES
=======================
[Col. Writ. 5/21/06] Copyright '06 Mumia Abu-Jamal

   Driven as much by presumed political necessity, as by xenophobic
fears, the immigration issue has grabbed the headlines and the talking
heads of the media.

The recent mass demonstrations against proposed immigration restrictions
have only fueled the issue further, and among Blacks come echoes of
nativism, a fear-driven rejection of these newcomers, who are "taking
our jobs."

While it can be argued that many of the jobs taken by Mexican immigrants
are jobs that most Americans, Black or white, won't do, the fear
remains, and Black radio, newspapers and other media are awash in
expressions of concern, and frankly, xenophobia.

This happens, I'm convinced, in the context of a nation with a deep
racial hierarchy, which traditionally places Blacks at the permanent
bottom; and amidst a period which showed, with painful clarity, that
these historical rankings are still amongst us.  Witness Katrina.

That said, perhaps history offers lessons for us in this time,
threatened by change, that will allow us to find a way out of this
cul-de-sac.

In a time of greatest peril, when Africans in the US were fighting for
their freedom from the American forces of slavocracy two uniquely
American communities came to their aid; 1) Native peoples, and 2) Mexicans.

How so, do you ask?

Before the US Civil War, Americans fought at least two wars with the
Seminoles, a people then living in Florida.  The reason for the wars?
The Seminoles, unlike other area tribes, refused to turn in Black
runaways from American plantations.   US Army General Thomas Jesup, who
fought the Seminoles, with its hundreds of Black warriors, was moved to
write: "This, you may be assured, is a [N]egro, not an Indian war."

When the pro-slavery, white-expansionist war went bad for the Seminoles,
red and Black Seminoles fled to Mexico (which abolished slavery in
1829), where they were given land, and joined the Mexican Army to defend
the country from invading gringos.  The Seminoles were led by Coacoochee
(also known as Wild Cat), and he was assisted by a Black man named John
Horse.

Writer William Loren Katz, in his 1986 book *Black Indians: A Hidden
Heritage*, informs us that Mexico became a home that wasn't possible in
the United States:

"Seminoles arrived in a country that had ended slavery in 1829 and had
welcomed slave fugitives ever since.  Some three thousand U.S. [B]lacks
lived peacefully in Mexico, most of them far from the Rio Grande
border.  Periodically, slavehunting posses plunged across the river to
seize black people for sale back home.  Some Mexican politicians
conspired with these desperadoes, the better to finance their political
campaigns.

"Seminole families had hardly settled down when in 1851 U.S. outlaw John
"Rip" Ford rode into Mexico with a band of four hundred men.  Wild Cat
and John Horse were called upon to drive out the bandits, former Texas
Rangers and unemployed Texans.  Sixty Seminole fighters drove back the
Texans without a casualty." [p. 73]

When Black folks needed help the most, Mexico stood on freedom's side.

What does this mean, 150 years later?

It means that Blacks and Browns have a shared history of resistance
against oppression.

It means that Blacks and Browns need not be the strangers they fear, nor
the antagonists they dislike.

History can open doors of recognition and long-lost remembrance.

It can begin to heal, not the past, but the present.

Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal

[*Sources*: Katz, William L., *Black Indians: A Hidden Heritage* (New
York: Atheneum/Ethrac, 1986); McReynolds, Edwin C., *The Seminoles*
(Norman, Ok. & London: University of Oklahoma Press, 1957).]

 

[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.
#1-800-533-8478.] 

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

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The Power of Truth is Final — Free Mumia!

PLEASE CONTACT:
International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - AND OFFER YOUR SERVICES!

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
SCI-Greene
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370

WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!

Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa