Part One of Leroy’s Short Historical view of Black Disabled Bodies in America Dealing With Slavery Part two Will Cover Lynching


PNNscholar1 - Posted on 03 September 2018

Author: 
Leroy Moore
Before I start I must say that many disabled scholars wrote that disabled Africans were toss overboard of those ships. What I’m saying should not be new because many Black & disabled scholars and even musicians have wrote and sung about this history. I’m just repeating it here with some new details because this history is not well known. What you will hear is what I have researched, read, wrote and studied knowing that this area, Black disabled bodies, is a new subject even now in 2018. I give all respect to scholars, artists and activists who have wrote about this subject before me. This recording/article will consist of historical text and Krip-Hop songs/poetry. It comes from my presentation entitled Historical View Black & Disabled Under the Continuation of A Police State. From advice from friends I’m recording and writing this presentation out. It is not word by work but it capture the main points. Like I already said this area is in the beginning stages and this you will hear and read this is only my viewpoint i.e. my research.
 
Title: Historical View Black & Disabled Under the Continuation of A Police State -Slavery (Video made by Krip-Hop Nation co-Founder Keith Jones - a beginning of a musical entitled: Krip-Hop Nation: The Crossroads Experience is a performance using original music and poetry along with imagery taking the audience on a fully accessible multi-media journey through experiences of being black in the world of disability)
 
Title: Historical View Black & Disabled Under the Continuation of A Police State -Slavery (Video made by Krip-Hop Nation co-Founder Keith Jones - a beginging of a musical entitled: Krip-Hop Nation: The Crossroads Experience is a performance using original music and poetry along with imagery taking the audience on a fully accessible multi-media journey through experiences of being black in the world of disability)
 
Keith audio of the video:
 
Transcribe - They sweated in the bowls of vessels bound to where - they could not image. When they saw the sky and smelled the see -they wept. Where am I? Why God are they so cruel? How many days has it been? Why do they keep taking my wife? She doesn’t saying anything anymore… The air smells different. It’d hard to move. We only walk once a day. It’s hard to walk with these irons on my feet… These chains have taken my beloved… My son.. My family is no more….
 
Pages 133 and 136 of American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a
Thousand Witness describe the slaves' masters' views on disability by Theodore Weld of 1839 and I’m using their language of 1839 :
 
Old Slaves:
They're seen as a tax to the Master, it would be in the best interest to shorten their days.
 
The Incurably Diseased Maimed:
It would be cheaper for Masters to buy poison than medicine.
 
The Blind, Crazy and Idiots:
They're seen as a tax to the Master, it would be in the best interest to shorten their days.
 
The Deaf, Dumb and Person Greatly Deformed:
Such might or might not be serviceable to the Master, many of them would be a burden and many men throw their burden away.
 
Feeble Infants:
Would require much nursing, the time, trouble and expense necessary to raise them would generally cost more than they would be worth as working animals.
 
This document goes on to give estimations of 1600 slaves who were deaf and dumb, and 1300 blind slaves, in 1830. The directors of the American Asylum produced these numbers for the Deaf and Dumb of Hartford, CT. Historical View Black & Disabled Under the Continuation of A Police State. We are going to play the track, It Started In A Cage- reflexs on early entertainment.
 
It Started In A Cage
(Black Kripple & Fezo MadOne)
 
Black Kripple’s verse
Hip-Hop sit down & shut up
Krip-Hop holding class pop ppop
Before tv so people came out
We were in a cage lighting up the stage
 
Gave you entertainment
Lights went out we were chained up in the basement
The original dozens, cripple slaves, on ships
Battling each other talking shit
 
People came to the Delta to see us moan & hella
With a tin cup hanging off the guitar
We have come so far
But always are the falling stars
 
KRSOne laid out Hip-Hop history
From battling to the crip walk
All have roots to disability
Can’t stop won’t stop
 
Talking the truth
Hip-Hop got the Blues
Telling stories like Langston Hughes
Blues elders & Hip-Hop sons & daughters have everything to loose
 
Gave you entertainment
Lights went out we were chained up in the basement
The original dozens, cripple slaves, on ships
Battling each other talking shit
 
From Medicine to freak shows
Cripple elder dancing, Jim Crow
His dances went on stages
While other cripple nigas were in cages
 
Black blind musicians quickly aged
in the humminity, rain and snow
Whites only, certain places they could not go
End up like Emmitt Till, if they showed any rage
 
Gave you entertainment
Lights went out we were chained up in the basement
The original dozens, cripple slaves, on ships
Battling each other talking shit
 
The roots of Hip-Hop
Can’t stop won’t stop
Like Kutta Kinnta
Even after his foot was chop
 
Krip-Hop making the connection
After all of this raw discrimination
You can’t hide from yourself
From the cage digust, sit with it, don’t turn the page
 
Fezo’s Verse
From slave ships to blue chip recruits they still comin except this time wit contracts and business suits to steal ya youth then reap profits from what I produce I'm reduced to stereotypical representation of complex individuals racism is the residual residue that clouds the view to what I aspire to I'm a scorched earth profit I come to set fire to those that admire leaders that require my submission obtain by force in the beginning now they complicit sugar cane cotton and molasses trading in commodities including our asses giving octoons and quadroons half passes now it's detention for lackin hall passes speak truth to power true but when they bust ya applause line is a nine clappin back at you Nat turner would be a fairy tale ya hope stay fantasy see it wont be actual physical mortal wounds it's play wit ya rules my way bonds and ballots candidates on a new Silk Road where souls are fed not sold but low and behold it's being foretold lie down gets ya walked on stand firm on ya patch of Tera strange fruit and scare bearer is but a fraction of original mans spiritual tapestry if these are my final thought know that I fought and scores wins alongside the losses wisdom is sage da essence can't be caged.
 
Black Kripple's Verse
Gave you entertainment
Lights went out we were chained up in the basement
The original dozens, cripple slaves, on ships
Battling each other talking shit
 
The roots of Hip-Hop
Can’t stop won’t stop
Even in thoses cages Africans were fore to entertain the White men through dancing, singing and more.
 
Black disabled people played a major role in our history from entertainment. Sometimes this history was ugly and full of harsh discrimination and brutality from force entertainment on slave ships to freak shows to the story of the person, Jim Crow. However often today when scholars/film directors and other cultural workers/activists pick up these stories/realities of the past from Jim Crow to The Dozens to the 13Th Amendment to Lynching to the school to prison pipeline to police brutality and connect it to what is going on today, the disability component is left out or not even recognized.  In my cultural work I have tried to put back that disability component into this historical and present picture. Once again Black and Hip-Hop sholars wrote and taledl about the term, The Dozens however the disability component of the story is overlooked and not deeply studied.
 
“The Dozens, “snapping”, “cracking”, or the act of trading insults back and forth is a black oral tradition that dates back to slavery and has it’s roots embedded in both Mississippi and Louisiana. The name itself refers to the sale of slaves who had been overworked, were disabled, or beaten-down – their physical (and often mental) conditions affected their value and they were sold by the dozen, which was considered by slaves, the lowest position within the community. The term evolved to mean a competition between two people, typically men, in a contest of wit, mental agility, verbal ability and self control. It is believed The Dozens developed as an outlet for slaves’ depression and worked as a “valve of aggression for a depressed group”. Since it was nearly impossible for slaves to display aggression towards their oppressors, but it was encouraged and expected for them to display aggression towards one another, The Dozens became a practice for nearly all slaves, male and female, young and old. Aside from being an outlet for the slave aggression, The Dozens provided a forum for the discussion of forbidden topics such as homosexuality, incest, and mental illness.
 
Throughout history, The Dozens has always found its place within Black comedy. Since much of the insult-throwing is good natured (i.e. The Clean Dozens vs. The Dirty Dozens), Black comedians tend to be the purveyors of this oral tradition and their skill level defines the level of respect they command by both their colleagues and their audience. A new and upcoming comedian can earn his stripes in a battle of The Dozens against a veteran – it’s the comic equivalent to a freestyle battle between MC’s
 
Just like The Dozen, the story of Jim Crow from manyy scholars leave out the real person, a Black elder with a physical disability. So les go back to the story of the person, Jim Crow using the lingo back then.
 
“In 1828 or 1829, so the story is told, in free Cincinnati or down the river in slave Louisville, or maybe in Pittsburgh (or was it Baltimore?), an obscure actor named Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice came across a crippled black stablehand doing a grotesquely gimpy dance. “Every time I turn about I jump Jim Crow,” the stablehand would sing, illustrating his words with an almost literally syncopated dance. The effect was comical, all accounts agree; it was also rhythmically compelling or exciting, though how this effect is achieved through a discontinuity in which one half of the body is acrobatic and the other immobilized is apparently too self-evident to be addressed. Rice was so impressed that he bought the black man’s clothes and made off with his song and dance. “Jump Jim Crow” became a major smash– “the first big international song hit of American popular music.”’
 
 (The Real Story Black Disabled Elder)
 
Jim Crow Jim Jim Jim Jim Crow
Jim Crow Jim Jim Jim Jim Crow
Jim Crow Jim Jim Jim Jim Crow
Jim Crow Jim Jim Jim Jim Crow
Jim Crow Jim Jim Jim Jim Crow 
Will the real Jim Crow please limp up
You were more than just policy
Just dancing in your community
Theft of your identity
Some say you were a myth
Elderly Black disabled man just gone poof
White man took your clothes & dance moves
To the stages & courtrooms
Institutionalize you
But what happened to you
Your full name
Jim Crow or some claimed Jim Cuff
People wrote you were lame
You were an African slave
Your song & dance twisted
Displayed how Blacks behaved
People came from far & near
to watch & hear
As people emulate & got paid
While you, the person in history fade
Now people speak your name
But not the person
They should be ashamed
Passing down incomplete stories
we’ll ever know the real Jim Crow
This is Black disabled history
Just like the real Porgy
Jim Crow died in poverty
From minstrel Shows to Hip-Hop shows
The dance inventor we still don’t know
Myth or fact
I’ll not let you go
Keep on dancing & singing
The real Jim Crow
Jim Crow Jim Jim Jim Jim Crow
Jim Crow Jim Jim Jim Jim Crow
Jim Crow Jim Jim Jim Jim Crow
Jim Crow Jim Jim Jim Jim Crow
Jim Crow Jim Jim Jim Jim Crow
 
 
What I learned in my grade school back in the late 70’s and early 8’s that Pressident Lincoln freed the slaves and The Thirteenth Amendment, thatt we all learned prohibite slavery and outlawing involuntary servitude, was passed in 1865 shortly before the end of the Civil War. WhatI wasn’t tauught and only learned when I was an adult was that this protection was not extended to people with developmental disabilities until nearly a century after the passage of the 13th Amendment. The book, The Continuation of Slavery: The Experience of Disabled Slaves during Emancipation Jim Downs explains this history where he wrote that working and living on the plantation was seen as charity and a helful thing the newly disabled free Africans
 
No wonder the documentary, "13th Amendment” had nothing to say about Black disabled people. As we all know, freedom of a slave depended on his or her ability to work. So, non-disabled people were promised freedom while Black disabled people were locked up in large, run-down, segregated institutions, like mental health hospitals and some prisons. And today, with the high rates of Black youth in special education, they are caught in the Pipeline to Prison. So when I watch or read documentaries and books like "13th Amendment" and "New Jim Crow" and not see or read in depth the experience of Black disabled people, it makes me shake my head! Here is my poem entitled Read 13th AMENDMENT: A Black Disabled Poetic Viewpoint
 
My Black disabled ancestors
Weren’t free by a swift of a pen
Way back then
 
Black Codes, Ugly Laws & Lynchings
Dancing on slave ships
Shackles on our feat shaking our hips
 
Also lead many to freedom
 
Hey let’s talk Representative James Mitchell Ashley & Abraham Lincoln
What happened to your pen back then
What was your definition of “Involuntary Servitude?
 
I don’t mean to be rude
 
Your pen back then
Separated us by law
Ok I can understand that was a flaw
 
In 2017 we are still living your mistake
 
And it is hard to take
Decades of freak shows, circus & museums
Involuntary entertainment for the public sake
 
Forced to work against his or her will
Only way to make a buck was to shut up
And get into a cage
 
As “owners” took our income was the hardest pill
 
13th Amendment wrote into the US Constitution
While Black disabled people were locked up in run down state institutions
Today we think that shelter workshops of the Salvation Army are the solution
 
If it wasn’t abuse it was sub-minmum wage
And we must not show any rage
Cause we weren’t free so could be again locked in a cage
 
Separated so not mentioned
No wonder Black scholars have no comprehension
When they write, teach & create art on the 13th to the New Jim Crow
 
We were never the invisible nation
My Black disabled ancestors gave my generation
The foundation to write books & make art and music inside & outside of Krip-Hop Nation
 
Stay tune for part two where we get into lynching and Black people with disabilities. You been listening oor reading to Leroy Moore and I hope you continue to reading my  blog?
 
Peace!

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