About These Scrapbooks
Page 3 - Continued
My passion for other-discovery was driven by southern culture’s four-hundred year obsession with destroying the historical and genealogical record of my “others”, i.e. my parents, my guardians and their ancestors, then polluting or destroying official historical and genealogical records with deliberate lies of commission and omission by obscuring bloodlines, birthrights, origins, surnames and most importantly, heritage. The common thread of these websites, then, is other-discovery of long-dead individuals who produced my family and who, by revealing themselves to me, tell me who I am. Based both in genealogy and history, it is a single thing - a search for identity that seeks “others” in order to see and understand “self”. It has local, regional and national landscapes, but remains, nonetheless, one thing….other-discovery. My discovery recorded in each of these sites, black and white relatives and guardians who strove to ensure black generations free lives in defiance of white enemies striving to enslave us, first with visible chains and, later, with invisible chains of immoral laws and intimidation. Each of these scrapbooks, then, seems, paradoxically, the same story with different contexts or, if you prefer, different stories with the same context.
I now understand why the content of that eighth scrapbook called The Southern Afro-American Scrapbook, the only one that I neither planned nor “authored” in the strictest sense, was a source of consternation and frustration throughout my sixteen-year journey. Selective, national histories of whitewashed facts and propaganda has filled our libraries, school rooms and air waves since the first African-American slave was exploited to satisfy white supremacist whim, greed, and lust four hundred years ago. Those histories were recorded with deliberate and malicious half-truths and lies as lipstick for thousands of pigs whose avarice and malice perpetrated human abuse and misery for personal gain in God’s name. That destruction of historical facts was designed to alter public perception of beastly deeds of evil men determined to prevent African-Americans from succeeding on their own terms. Unscrupulous authors, journalists and historians, in support of white supremacy, worked feverishly to scrub and destroy the histories and genealogies of truly decent African-American “others”. But, I now know much that they preferred that I didn’t know. Neither marauding terrorist nor unscrupulous historian succeeded in completely erasing knowledge of my “others”. That fact alone makes my sixteen year opus well worth the effort. I could not be prouder of the many “others” that I encountered along the way, a few still living but most long dead. For I truly believe that it is only in the process of such other-discovery that I am able to know who I am. I now understand exactly what the African slave, Cinque, meant when, in the movie, “Amistad”, he stated “at this moment, I am the sole reason for all of my ancestors to have ever existed.”. I humbly add to that belief the following corollary “…. and I fully understand that they are the ones who defined me…and shaped me…and inspire me.!”