During the summer of 2018, I attempted, and not for the first time, to completely read The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. As with my previous attempts, I found, after about sixty pages, the contents to be too disturbing and too depressing for me to be able to continue. Perhaps that response was unavoidable, given the fomented uprisings in my nation, America, a glorious country that has achieved enormous strides in uniting peoples of all races, cultures, creeds, and beliefs.
The ruling classes of the capitalistic world of globalist power are scrambling to scrape up as much coin as possible, in the wake of their rapacious world beginning to crumble. That monstrous construct has started to corrode from its own venality and immoral filth. For me, the past five or six years have called to mind the years of my childhood, when these bonds of servitude upon the working peoples of a free world were initially strung around the muscle and heft of the commoners, the men and the women who perform the labour of trades and industries.
It is not often that any person gets to see the undoing of the foul mechanisms that caused heartache, even heartbreak, to the elder members of her own family during her childhood. There are times when I weep and pray, and realize that the skies are the heavens above us, and our Maker is far from indifferent to our sorrows.
History has long shown that unity among free citizens cannot be tolerated by the moneyed elites of any nation, during any epoch. During the past several years, the horrifying scenes of political leaders inciting division and violence among the citizenry of democratic nations — those real-life events have served as indications that the tyrants’ love of power is being fought, tooth and nail, by the power of love within the populace. May that power of love, and the power of the people who chose love over hatred — prevail over the hatred and the shameless greed of the 21st century overlords.
Although I was unable to finish this superbly written book, I did write into my journal some poignant passages of eloquence, and truth, by Mr. Douglass:
“. . . the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs.” Consequently, Frederick Douglass possessed no accurate knowledge of his age.
“It is the wish of the masters to keep their slaves ignorant of their dates of birth . . . of everything. . . They seldom came nearer to it [the date of their birth] than planting-time, harvest-time, cherry-time, spring-time, or fall-time.”
“The need to know was impertinent, improper, and evidence of a restless spirit.”
Punishment of a field hand: “A whipping is the penalty of not being in the field at sunrise, unless a slave has special permission from his or her master to the contrary — a permission which they seldom get, and one that gives to him that gives it the proud name of being a kind master.”
I’d long been aware that the Negro slaves of my nation sang only when they were most unhappy. The tales of woe were voiced in tones of rapture to express what Douglass called “the soul-killing effects of slavery.” This truth is why I cannot witness the self-aggrandizing performances of slave songs by anyone, but, most of all, by what is today known as an African-American — as if that person, alone, can lay claim to the supreme social significance and the immaculate morality of singing a slave song. All the while, wearing a sumptuous designer dress and being accompanied by a magnificent symphony orchestra, in an opulent concert hall in the urban pit that is the modern enclave of despair.
Does the socially-conscious songstress donate her earnings to the poor? Does she even minimally understand how her upper-class hypocrisy has suppressed the most basic opportunities of the very people she asserts to champion?
I tried my best to convince her that her children comprehended that she was working for them, to raise them, to provide the necessities of life for them. She was not employed to pay for the boat at the lake, or the expensive vacations. I think she believed me; but it struck me as woeful, that a woman who was doing the work of two parents would feel so inadequate to the task of being a mother. She asked me what she could do to help her son and daughter to do well in a school that she knew was failing them.
I mentioned “Reading Night,” since that weekly Wednesday occasion is part of how I tiptoed into home-schooling my children. Choose your book to read to your children. They are your children, I stated quite categorically.
Reading Night led this mother to many more nights, and days, of instructing her children in all that the tax-fat educrats could never achieve: the love of learning.
Frederick Douglass defined slave songs, those spirituals of yore, as “the sounds of bitter anguish that pass through the chambers of his soul.” He nearly detested the sounds of them because those songs of the slave represented the sorrows of his heart. He was relieved by them only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears.
There are countless aching hearts that can be relieved now, only by their own tears. Grant your heart the healing power of those soothing tears. You did nothing wrong by believing cautionary words spoken by cowardly people who lied to you, betrayed you, despised and mocked you. Time can heal those grievous wounds, but only if that time is wisely used.
I’ve a feeling that time is being used more wisely now than it has been in ages. That rock of ages is the one we, the people, are standing upon.