Amy Miller and Guy Trammell Jr.
This column appears bi-weekly in Foster’s Daily Democrats and Tuskegee News. Given that this is largely the world’s focus right now, Guy Trammell, an African-American from Tuskegee, Alabama, and Amy Miller, a white woman from South Berwick, Maine, are concerned with the issue of justice and its We are working on how to achieve this.
Guy Trammell Jr.
In 1897, Dr. Solomon Carter Fuller became the first African-American psychologist, two years after the birth of Francis C. Sumner, who was declared the “Father of Negro Psychology.” At a time when mental illness sent people to mental hospitals and there was no cure, Dr. Fuller was a pioneer in combining higher education and laboratory research to develop understanding and treatment. His photomicrograph equipment allowed him to include photographs of cell samples and other specimens in his reports.
Dr. Fuller was the first African-American faculty member at Boston University. In 1904, he was the only African-American of five research assistants selected by Alois Alzheimer to study Alzheimer’s disease at his German laboratory. Trained the first African-American doctors to work in military hospitals. Justice should mean fairness. But from investigations of police violence against black skin to drugs, which are black crimes, not health epidemics, precious black lives are lost in graves and prisons. Justice is ‘Just Us’ and ‘Us’ excluding people of color. In 1964, William P. Mitchell of the Tuskegee Civic Association successfully challenged Macon County’s “just us” jury selection. At Macon he had 5,097 black men and his 1,100 white men, but blacks made up only 7% of those contacted for jury duty, compared to his 1%. However, this monumental achievement would go unseen if it were overturned by other judges making “just us” decisions. But among the ‘just us’ judges with other motives, her single voice disappears. Solomon Carter Fuller is the informal director of the Department of Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine and has 34 years of exemplary teaching and groundbreaking research, but has never been more than an associate professor. was.
In 1933, a white assistant professor was suddenly promoted to full professor and appointed dean. Dr. Fuller knew perfectly well that if his skin color had been different, he would have been able to contribute more to the field that he loved dearly, so he responded by resigning. rice field.
After he left, they made Dr. Fuller an emeritus professor of neurology. (My goodness!)
Justice without fairness is an empty promise.
What does justice look like? What will justice bring to the 110 African descendants crammed into the Clotilda, the last slave ship to reach America?
How can the nation, state, or family of the man who sent the 86-foot ship to what is now Benin, Africa, kidnap men, women, and children for slave labor in Alabama? can you
This was the question posed in the award-winning documentary Descendants, backed by the Obama family’s Higher Ground production company and released on Netflix.
Timothy Meaher, an Alabama businessman from Maine, bought and paid for the 1860 voyage and burned the ship shortly afterwards to hide evidence. Many of his descendants still live in the neighborhoods they moved to when they were emancipated five years later. Called Africatown, it is surrounded by factories and highways.
Should the City of Mobile, Alabama, and the nation give back to those who lost their lives, their families, their homes?
As one descendant noted, justice is impossible. The men and women who were pushed here died. Is justice sending the descendants of the Meahers to another land where they don’t speak the language and work for no pay?
Only in recent decades has the story of Clotilda’s descendants been told. Perhaps because of local interest in silencing tales of illegally generated wealth. These men and women were brought to the United States a full two generations after the ban on transporting slaves from Africa and just a few years before the Civil War freed the enslaved people.
But history persists and emerges thanks to stories passed down through generations. In 2018, Zora Neale Hurston’s interview with Clotilda’s last passenger in the 1930s was finally published as a book, Barracoon.
This documentary raises the issue of reparations and justice for those who have been stripped of all their belongings and given nothing in return. And in this case, Tim Meaher’s beneficiaries are clearly identifiable.
Upon his release, Cudjo Lewis asked Meaher for land to compensate for the Africans he had brought to Alabama and the five years of unpaid labor he had forced him to do. Meaher refused, and the Africans worked and raised enough money to buy the land that became Africatown.
When the documentary was recently released, descendants of the Meer family, who remain prominent landowners in Mobile, reportedly contacted Clotilda’s descendants and issued the following statement: But I hope we — the current generation of the Meaher family — can start a new chapter. ”
It’s the beginning. Questions of justice remain, but perhaps a small beginning to healing.
You can contact Amy and Guy at ColorusConnected@gmail.com.