By Richard B. Muhammad -Editor-

Hip hop mogul Russell Simmons’ “Uncle Rush” Twitter handle was nearly changed to Uncle Ruckus by those upset with his Twitter posting of a parody sex tape of Harriet Tubman with her White slave master.

Within hours he apologized and pulled the offensive product. His apology brought varied responses some satisfied, others still angry and dismayed.

Radio host Bev Smith invited Russell to her Aug. 28-31 women’s conference saying, “You have hurt and degraded Black women everywhere.”


Besides Russell’s judgment there is another issue: Sanitizing slavery’s horror and hiding Black rebellion. The slave trade was not fully opened until a pope sanctified it as a way to bring heathens to Christ. Noble lies have always been used to justify Black genocide–and minimize our incredible suffering.

The Civil War wasn’t about Black equality or Black progress. Slavery had a social, economic and political impact on Northern and Southern relations and those tensions led to the Blue-Grey clash. After the war, Northerners wanted to reunite with their Southern brethren. The plight of “darkies” wasn’t important. By 1877, a North-South agreement ended Reconstruction and returned unfettered White terrorist rule.

Literature praised plantation life and content cotton-picking piccaninnies. Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America, wrote Blacks “were transferred to shores enlightened by the rays of Christianity. There, put to servitude, they were trained in the gentle arts of peace and order and civilization; they increased from a few unprofitable savages to millions of efficient Christian laborers. … Never was there happier dependence of  labor and capital on each other.”

Slave accounts tell the bitter, brutal truth: “The slave traders would buy young and able farm men and well–developed young girls with fine physique to barter and sell. They would bring them to the taverns where there would be the buyers and traders, display them and offer them for sale. At one of these gatherings a colored girl, a mulatto of fine stature and good looks, was put on sale. She was of high spirits and determined disposition,” recalled Richard Marks, who was enslaved in Maryland, and interviewed in 1937 as part of the Works Progress Administration Slave Narrative Project.

“At night she was taken by the trader to his room to satisfy his bestial nature. She could not be coerced or forced, so she was attacked by him. In the struggle she grabbed a knife and with it, she sterilized him and from the result of injury he died the next day.”

“I ‘member he had a real pretty gal on his place … One of the overseers was crazy about her, but her mother had told her not to let any of ’em go with her. So this old overseer would stick close ’round her when they was workin’, just so he could get a chance to say somethin’ to her. … Way afterwhile she run away and come to our house and stayed ’bout three days. When my marster found out she was there, he told her she would have to go back, or at least she would have to leave his place. … When that child left us she stayed in the woods until she got so hungry she just had to go back. This old man was mad with her for leavin’, and one day while she was in the field he started at her again and she told him flat footed she warn’t goin’ with him he took the big end of his cow hide and struck her in the back so hard it knocked her plumb crazy. It was a big lake of water about ten yards in front of ’em, and if her mother hadn’t run and caught her she would have walked right in it and drowned,” said an unnamed former slave from Georgia interviewed around 1937.

This blood-soaked institution that ravaged Africa and was responsible for millions of deaths in the journey across the Atlantic Ocean alone is never fully presented in America. While Nazis may embody evil, slavery was just a “peculiar institution.” Never mind the pain of the lash, the trauma of rape and sexual assault of Black women, children and men. Never mind the debasement of human beings inspected, sold, beaten, and killed like livestock. Never mind the destruction of Black minds, torture endured by Black souls and the perversity of their owners. “On this plantation were more than 100 slaves who were mated indiscriminately and without any regard for family unions. … If there seemed to be any slight reluctance on the part of either of the unfortunate ones, ‘Big Jim’ would make them consummate this relationship in his presence. He used the same procedure if he thought a certain couple was not producing children fast enough,” recalled Sam and Louisa Everett, enslaved in Virginia, interviewed in 1936.

“He enjoyed these orgies very much and often entertained his friends in this manner; quite often he and his guests would engage in these debaucheries, choosing for themselves the prettiest of the young women. Sometimes they forced the unhappy husbands and lovers of their victims to look on,” the couple, who were forced to marry, recalled.

Until we learn about and face our own suffering we will never feel our own pain, honor our ancestors and demand proper reparations from those responsible for our destruction. Self-knowledge and self-love are the keys to our rise and bring a proper view of our history and our responsibility.

(Final Call editor-in-chief Richard B. Muhammad can be reached at editor@ You can also follow him on Facebook and @RMfinalcall on Twitter.)