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I’m not sure how many black Americans feel about all the uproar from those who don’t fully understand, why Black Lives Matter, or what it means to have been denied access to so much in this country that has made the, “wealth gap” between black Americans and white Americans so great. Simply put, from the time African slaves were brought to this country, we have been “denied access” to the basics that promote prosperity for the general populace.

For those who do not claim to be racist, I would like for you to take a walk-through history — via an actual book or Internet research to understand how the denial of access has kept people behind. For those who know and understand — I hope you’ll speak up to confirm what I say and I’m going to use the plural pronoun, “we” because my ancestors were part of the journey and the multitudes who were denied access.

  • We were denied access to the native language of the many tribes brought to this country. Fear of what was being said, and not understood by white slave owners, forced African tribesmen to forego their native language to learn a new one — in captivity.
  • We were denied access to learning to read or write the new forced language because the white slave owners knew, that once we learned how to read and understand the environment and how it purposefully kept people under control, we would rebel and fight for the freedoms we rightfully deserved as human beings.
  • We were denied access to protecting women and children from being molested and raped by white slave owners who “raped the women” to expand their wealth of slaves without paying for more. Many of those women were raped in front of the men they had been given to for “procreating more slaves” and the men were prohibited from doing anything to protect their women.
  • We were denied access to having our inventions patented because we were not considered “full human beings.”
  • We were denied access to raising our own children when the “master” thought it was more beneficial to separate black children from their mothers so they could benefit economically.
  • We were denied access to joining the military to fight in early wars and had to join all black regiments (check the history for yourself), there was more to the black regiments than the Tuskegee Airmen than many have no knowledge about.
  • We were denied access to buy land or houses in specific areas and had to use white allies to purchase for us and then were denied access to equality of living in peace and freedom because white neighbors didn’t want us around them.
  • We were denied access for the opportunity to go to school with white children (segregation).
  • We were denied access to use public transportation in the same way as our white counterparts.
  • We were denied access to college education and therefore established our own after a number of black people, sat in hallways, on the floor, grappling to understand what was said by white professors so they could also get a higher education.
  • We were denied access to hotels, bathrooms, theaters, and restaurants and when were given access — we were seated in out of the way places so as not to upset or offend the white clientele.
  • We were denied access to be accurately portrayed in the movies, and in television shows as a people with their own rich culture.
  • We were denied access to economic growth — bank loans, mortgages, and other businesses. When some dared to defy the status quo and established their own access to economic wealth (Black Wall Street), angry, bigoted white people burned down the town and killed many of the residents.
  • We were denied access to equal justice in all areas of our “so-called justice system. We were never given opportunity to prove innocence because were always judged guilty simply because of our skin tones.
  • We were denied access to the same amenities of our white counterparts on trains, in bus depots and on buses.
  • We were denied access to community amenities — the swimming pools, the tennis courts.
  • We were denied access to healthcare and dental care and funeral homes — we had to establish our own which were not equal to the access others had.
  • We were denied access to cemeteries — I guess dead black folks were a big threat.

So, I get why some people are up in arms with the current environment and awakening of reality — black people have a right to be angry and to protest the injustices suffered by our ancestors and what many are enduring right now — access denied — to being treated like a human being, American citizens, with justice for all.

The following is taken from a post on Facebook in response to someone bemoaning the fact that Black people wanted their own television station and colleges and universities — they did not understand why, so I responded. There was so much more, but at the time I read their post, only two things struck me to remember.

For Blinded Eyes — Historically

This morning, I woke up at 3:00 am and could not sleep, so I started scrolling through Facebook posts and ran across a post that got my attention. I cannot remember who wrote it, but perhaps, if they read through this one, they will know who are.

I do not remember all of it, but there are two things which struck me the most. You see, the post was bemoaning the fact that the author did not see the need for: BET (versus WET) or Black colleges versus white colleges. I wish I could remember more, but at 3:00 am, I guess I am doing good to remember this.

BET — the Black Entertainment Television — why? Because for years, there did not appear to be any room for black entertainers on most television networks. Most of the network productions portrayed black people as clownish or stupid, illiterate, and poor, with a few exceptions. The reason BET needed to be — because the WET (White Entertainment Television) (the author’s words, not mine) was all there was — and still does not adequately portray who black people are. But I want the author to remember think about this — exactly how long has the television industry been around and exactly how many shows accurately portrayed the black community? How long did it take for black entertainers to be taken seriously and given serious roles in the entertainment industry?

HBCU — Historical Black Colleges and Universities exist because for generations — white colleges would not allow black people entrance. The few black people who got into the hallways were left there — outside the classrooms, straining to hear what was said so they could keep up with the workload, but never accepted as part of the class. Historically, and apparently now, that attitude still exists today in some people who think black people are not good enough to get where they are.

I would ask the author and any who agreed with them to do some research and remember that the slaves were not allowed to learn to read, then they weren’t allowed into white schools, colleges, hotels, and when they were allowed into restaurants, they were seated “out of the way” of the white clientele.

If anyone is still reading this — that is a miracle, but I want to say this much. Instead of bemoaning or complaining about black people wanting equality and justice, remember what was done to us — and all the “access denied” that we endured, and yet, many of us have managed to do so much more than some white people who always had access to whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted it — and we did not. My response is not meant to stir up more racial hostility, but to hopefully cause some to wake up — and understand, we are just trying to obtain what you’ve always had — “access to doing better.” Whenever I see a lack of understanding about the history of black folks in America, I will address it and I would hope that — it would open the door to conversations that matter and will make a difference to all.

I do not have a problem addressing issues when I see them, but I will take the time to respond in a coherent manner, that does not promote any further racial tension. What I will not do, is to ignore the obvious ignorance that some have displayed simply because they want to deny history, or never understood it.

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Unfolding life perspectives as an educator, wife, mother, grandmother, next president and preacher in all I write. Believe Him! DC-- mary.hallrayford@gmail.com

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