Nancy Harriette Lee (1904-1995) was a member of generation number 64 in Christ, and in the seventh generation of Elizabeth (Betty) Hemings offspring born in America. She was truly a unheralded and often rejected Messianic minded daughter of the American Revolution ... a direct descendent of William Lee (1756-1828) and Elizabeth Hemings (1735-1807) both of whom served the cause of American liberty per documentation by their masters George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
First and foremost, Nancy was a vociferous reader that even as a child in rural Ohio was Jeffersonian in her nurturing, inspiration and motivation by parents Thomas and Mary Elizabeth Lee (great-grandson of William Lee and great grand-daughter of Elizabeth Hemings). She was always a curious and caring person even before World War I, when brothers were conscripted in the administration of a racist President Woodrow Wilson who served to "keep Negroes in their place." Nancy was fortunate to have a literate mother able to explain White racism in the context of attitudes gained from their biblical beliefs that people of African heritage were descendents of Ham ... cursed by God to be bearers of water and hewers of wood as servants to others.
Mary Elizabeth Butler Lee knew she was descended from Thomas Jefferson who doubtlessly long ago (during the 50 years of his hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly interaction with them) would have explained to Hemings family members his beliefs regarding biblical fables. Mary Elizabeth would later offer a similar explanation to her grand-children to help arm them against ignorance daily propagated by ignorant preachers, both Black and White.
Nancy Lee lived a life (both child and adult) of a herald angel more often than not rejected by men and women of wealth and power around her. But, most importantly, her heritage of liberation theology gleamed in the 18th century (based on teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, not Moses or Paul) was internalized in the 19th century by millions of Black and White Americans (especially abolitionists). And, she was descended from Madison Hemings whose sons, sons-in-law, nephews and neighbors served the causes of liberation for over four million fellow human beings from chattel slavery.
The daughter of Thomas Findley Lee who was born free on the Custiss Plantation in 1859, the day John Brown was hanged, ... Nancy was nurtured, indoctrinated, motivated and educated with a sense of Messianic mission matters unknown or unappreciated by social science and often anti-Black protagonists for wealth and power. As a child in a state that had contributed more energy, men, women and wealth than any other to win the Civil War that abolished slavery, ... Nancy was a gifted reader of 18th and 19th century literature on the topic of African-Americans. She lived through World War I and the racism of Woodrow Wilson who in 1914 re-segregated the nation's capitol made free by Abraham Lincoln in 1862.
Americans do not like to remember the Germans absorbed much of their racist rationale from America of the early 20th century where scholars and journalists routinely wrote about who was inferior or superior. She would later note that "nothing really changed on either side of the debate until Adolf Hitler in the name of Nordic supremacy slaughtered European Gypsies, Jews, Slavs and anyone else determined to be inferior." Like most scholarly African-Americans of her generation, she had witnessed government housing policies evolved in the 1930s to separate Blacks from living near the White ethnic immigrant groups.
She was not impressed by ruthless miracles of Robert Moses (1888-1981) and his urban disciples throughout America in the destruction and dispersal of families that had been painfully generated and formatted after generations of chattel slavery. Indeed, the effects of urban renewal projects may have generated many millionaire developers but sure as hell caused millions of African-Americans to wander in the desert for 40 years.
Indeed, all moral worth is inherited and to comprehend the attitudes of anyone, a social scientist is obliged to research and consider the family history in both health and wealth. Such is the case with most Jewish and Christian practitioners in the sciences of judging others ... except wherein people perceived inferior are judged. Nancy discovered early in her career after World War II that racist logic was often super-imposed on public policy via the use of empirical data gleamed on the basis of race from questionable sources ... rather than costly observation that essentially required personal interaction.
At the time of her birth into generation #64 (1890-1919) since that of Jesus, ... empowered social scientists of generation #63 (1860-1889) in America and Europe (Christians and Jews) did not all agree or encourage public policies for the uplift of non-Whites anywhere. Most Whites (not all) born in her generation inherited a country that was the most prosperous and productive in the world; but, also the most racist in its treatment and regulation of any and all people classified as not White.
In fact, generation #62 (1830-1859) Black and White young men had waged a bloody war from 1861 to 1865 that shaped public policies for uplifting four million human beings from the status of chattel property to that of citizen. She closely observed the ruthless master blaster Robert Moses; Holocaust docility rationalization by Stanley Elkins; political power opportunist Daniel Moniyhan and neo-conservative writings of Nathan Glazer who claimed expertise about African-Americans in the name of sociology more akin to his own heritage than that of Nancy Lee.
She decried the data collection and analysis methods they used to rationalize public policies contradicting African-American mission endeavors up from slavery. She was indoctrinated, educated and experienced in the social experiences, sciences and values that uplifted African-Americans .... at least three decade before alien wizards (such as Nathan Glazer, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Stanley Elkins).
She died as a typical traveling Methodist having attempted to spread Jeffersonian ideals and values in the Greater Pittsburgh region. May GOD bless her soul. She tried to live a useful life. For Nancy, the wonder of it all was that Robert Weaver and others in the Kennedy-Johnson Administration ignored advice and empowerment of scholars outside their northeast circle of Ivy League experts. So, garbage in, garbage out applied! And, blame failures on the unsaved!
Nancy was a well-read student of her own heritage and history in Africa and America. She was a Messianic Christian her entire life, and admired the generation of abolitionist and post-War mission minded Christians that sought to liberate and uplift Black families in the face of of often violent opposition. Ohio had thousands of families whose ancestors had been both abolitionists and Union Army soldiers and sailors, ... and the schools were integrated sufficiently for her to meet and know many of their offspring in the tiny farmland village of Bloomington. Most of her teachers in Ohio, born and bred in the horrible 19th century ... shared and taught common values about the abolition of chattel slavery. But, not all!
She understood very well why the non-violent Presbyterian style mission-oriented aggressiveness of Booker T. Washington (1856-1915) and his supporters among American philanthropists (like Andrew Carnegie) ... was a cause for alarm among many Christians and Jews opposed to upward mobility of Africans, African-Americans or Caribbean Islanders. Their alarm was not on the basis of color, but old testament beliefs and official dogma of religious orders like the Knights of Columbus and Ku Klux Klan. Few social scientists, even in the pre-World War II environment of America would have dared disavow being influenced by their religious beliefs taught to them in their pre-adolescent years. Humans are after all, social beings.
Nancy's interest in social welfare began at an early age in a family that valued social welfare of themselves and others. She read about and greatly admired men like former Union Generals Armstrong and Howard were sons of gospel oriented Messianic Christians that had struggled to end slavery. By age five, she could sing every word of Clara Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic." It was from these type New England and Ohio families of whites that emerged the mission-minded proponents for motivating and training Black young men with hard skills (such as plumbing, brick masonry, carpentry, and other mechanical abilities).
The field of social work in the United States certainly had its origins in this generation of mission-minded Christians with clear goals to ... "help somebody" [Martin Luther King, Jr.]. And, they built HIS Church and named them as colleges like Hampton, Howard, Lincoln, Tuskegee, and of course ... Fisk and Smith Colleges to train social workers. Soon afterwards, many other Messianic Christian institutions like Morehouse and Spellman Colleges joined in the long-march to battle heathenism, disease, ignorance, poverty, and racism. Their inherited mission was clearly to help build and sustain families to become useful to society as productive members of HIS Church.
For folks born in generation #63, like Edward B. DuBois educated in social work at Fisk College ... ministers ought to be and were supposed to be social workers if they wanted to be useful. Long before earning his doctorate degree from Harvard College, he was known to detest and have little patience with self-serving "preachers of nothingness." Nancy and most other African-American scholars of her generation #64 long ago understood that except for Messianic beliefs, not pretentious preaching ... 19th century slave ancestors would not have gained their liberties as free human beings. She bemoaned the ignorance by successor generations #65 and #66 who lacked knowledge or interests in Messianic matters with meanings to educated African-Americans up from slavery.
Messianic minded Christians (especially Booker T. Washington) wanted Black men to be competitive and useful in the tasks of self-sustaining families and communities. And, be property owners though opposed by many Whites who perceived ex-slaves and offspring to be best suited to earn their livings as servants and share-croppers to white land owners. Whether north, south, east or west, ... there were hundreds of thousands of middle and upper economic class White women who wanted and were accustomed to having Black men and women as inexpensive servants for multiple house-hold chores. And, long before the Civil War, in virtually all rural townships in places like the Pittsburgh region .... Blacks were daily hired as cheap farm laborers and share-croppers.
In the Southern states, immediately after Union soldiers were removed in 1876, sheriffs, judges and juries began a process of random arrests and jail sentencing of tens of thousands Black youth convicted of infractions such as loitering, public drunkenness, trespassing, disturbing the peace, reckless eye-balling and a host of other infractions ... resulting in them paying their fines via re-enslavement to road and timber contractors, local farmers and even as servants to county officials. Nancy speculated that a thousand times more Black folks were beaten, chased and burned out of towns and farms in the south than were lynched. Such outings were seldom newsworthy; and only disseminated because the Sleeping Car Porters and other Black men on the railroads carried such stories by the Black press throughout the country.
The bottom-line social results of these early Negro Removal programs were that Black family formations were constantly disrupted and dispersed by the rule of law more often than mobs. And, even in Ohio it was very difficult for African-Americans, like Nancy's father (Thomas Findley Lee) to buy land for farming. Long before red-lining as to where African-Americans could live in America ... the economic and legal climate in the north discouraged and made almost impossible the owning of lands for competitive farming. Even with a seller and buyer agreement, county land registrants often refused to register the transactions. And, the regulatory processes were routinely used by county and state agencies to deny Black men licenses to even operate and drive a taxi or deliver goods. Hourly and daily regulatory discrimination against African-Americans was far more prevalent than the frequent lynching that gained coverage by journalists.
Indeed, the feeling existed among many well-intentioned Whites that if Blacks would only stop pushing so hard for property ownership, the thousands of lynch victims would stop by people no longer feeling threatened. The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909 by forty-seven whites and six blacks whose primary goal was to get the judges and politicians to force the federal and state governments to intercede and stop the daily lynching of African-Americans. By the time conservative democrats elected President Woodrow Wilson in 1912, the skilled crafts unions of mostly immigrants in most northern states were violently opposed to integration of Black men into their craft unions or employing them as skilled craftsmen.
The 1890s Homestead strikes and riots were largely about and by first and second generation immigrant laborers from Europe opposed to Black men they perceived to be aliens coming in from the American south to receive their jobs plus equal pay as white men. Andrew Carnegie was so disgusted with the hatred and chaos that he decided to sell his interests to the newly formed U.S. Steel Corporation, retired to his castle in Scotland and tried to prevent the on coming World War I launched by ultra greedy nationalist European and American industrialists over the desired spoils of Africa (consumer markets, serf labor and mineral deposits) left over from the disastrous slave trade.
Labor leaders like Samuel Gompers were ardent racists and helped elect Wilson on the basis of their racism. Industrialized areas such Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania with large immigrant populations flocked to register and vote for Wilson ... many even before becoming citizens. Immigrant groups were very dependent upon political enfranchisement and privileges afforded them by their local church or synagogue and the democratic party and union bosses. Nancy recalled that her family and most African-Americans in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and the New England states were regularly voting republicans since at least the era of Abraham Lincoln, and feared what Wilson (born in a former Virginia slave owning family) would try to do.
Wilson had been a scholar, President of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey ... but, his attitudes toward Africans and African-Americans were firmly rooted in his ancestral beliefs and values that held them as property and slaves, ... to be separate and not equal. African-Americans were not surprised when on April 11, 1913 he issued an executive order to re-segregate government departments. Under Wilson's affirmative reaction policies, the Klan quickly expanded with great influence and attacks against Blacks (burned-out properties, beatings, lynching, misdemeanor imprisonment for prison labor gangs, and regulatory activism to deny Black men licenses in their trades such as livery or memberships in skilled craft unions). And, bounty hunters again roamed north searching for runaway Black fugitives from southern chain-gains legally imposed.
Nancy Lee, as a young educated woman witnessed the strength of American style terrorism blossom in Oklahoma, California, Oregon, Indiana and Ohio as a model for the future National Socialist Party (Nazi) in Germany. The showing of the movie "Birth of a Nation" in 1915 terrified her in its after-math of violence against African-Americans in cities and towns across America. Even before World War I ended, Nancy was skeptical of American silence that was a precursor to events that would soon erupt in Nazi Germany with even more devastating results. The Ku Klux Klan, a demonstrated terrorist organization throughout the ex-confederate states was legalized and good in the eyes of President Woodrow Wilson and the law.
The last great hope, Booker T. Washington, (of Southern Blacks up from slavery) died on November 14, 1915, and by December the great migration began with over two million people up from slavery began moving to Northern industrial centers as family units. (They attempted to compete with immigrant family units from Europe, and faced a different type of racism steeped in religion and unionism, not simply color). Early on in her life as a young educated woman, Nancy embraced activism and teachings of Mary Church Terrell and Mary McLeod Bethune ... that family formation was the base for communities in body and spirit of Jesus (the Messianic as opposed to the Pauline one of most Christian faiths), .... and the congregating and educating of mothers to know and respect one another was the best approach to raising up better and more fruitful generations.
Both women perceived tens of thousands of neighborhood colored women's clubs fostering churches for enlightenment and colleges for educating colored women to be teachers ... would change the culture in a generation or two. We now know they were right, except that after the Montgomery Bus Boycott initiated by club women like Rosa Parks, African-American scholars took their eyes off the prize .... uplifting the mother and child in the context of families and communities. With mothers and children as the crown jewels of Christ, ... they rightly reasoned it was a star that both men and women could easily relate to in not only in the "Negro Education" but also encouraging beneficial labors and play like baseball teams. Gifted and talented women in a thousand points of light for the uneducated ones ... had the capacity to think in such noble but practical application terms.
African-American men and women, in tightly knit family units, north, south, east and west by the year of Booker T. Washington's death had erected over 40,000 thriving church congregations less than fifty years up from slavery. Virtually all the colleges for Negroes in Ohio, Oklahoma, Missouri, Pennsylvania and all the ex-confederate states agreed with this rationale; and generally admitted women on a ratio upwards of 4 to 1; and, families were encouraged to send at least one family member to a college for ministers and teachers.
All Black college historical data records tend to support this little known or understood "happening" in the colored women's movement. It was this movement of Messianic women that generated thousands of teachers for Black children. It was this movement that generated not only the funds to build churches but virtually all the great movements to progress .... that generated the Southern Christian Leadership movement of Martin Luther King, Jr. Rosa Parks was a club woman before becoming "Mother" of the civil rights movement. It is equally clear from historical data that White Women's movements led by women like Katy Stanton never embraced or integrated the Colored Women's movements, perhaps not much because of color and race but the fact their missions and goals were very different.
Nancy remarked that she had great admiration for clubs but feared to join one less it make her less welcome to interact with the others in Pittsburgh. While the city of Pittsburgh hosted the big clubs, she said "every little town in the region had its own women's club and baseball team. Though the baseball teams of White and Colored men occasionally played each other, .... the White and Colored Women's Clubs had little interaction with each other in matters such as picnics and other sponsored community activities for children."
She did make clear in her remembrances that White and Black club women did collaborate in matters such as music lessons and hospital care assistance to nurses, on behest of Messianic physicians to Colored folks in the area hospitals. It reinforced Nancy's belief that music and health needs could and should transcend racial considerations. Like her mother and Thomas Jefferson, she loved music and the book of Luke ... who was a physician. Nancy blamed generation #65 (births 1920-1949) of African-American women who upon maturity abandoned the cause of colored women's clubs. Their offspring generation #66 are both selfish and uncaring; but, the causes of degeneration were mostly the result of "Negro removal programs" that tore apart what God knows African-Americans like Mrs. Robert L. Vann had tried to foster in regions like Pittsburgh.
The colored women's clubs were not all the same but many more or less emulated and paralleled the White Women's clubs even on matters such as gardening, plays and literature readings. With a population of less than twenty million African-Americas, .... there existed approximately 200,000 colored women's clubs at the time of Daniel Patrick Moniyihan special interests reference year 1960. Nancy said, "he found what he was looking for to generate a name for himself, not because he cared a damn about us." The Kennedy Administration did not know what to accept and believe other than what men like Moniyhan presented to them as problems and solutions about single mothers with dependent children.
Nancy Lee believed that JFK and RFK tried to be helpful and relied upon people like Daniel Moniyhan, Nathan Glazer, Robert Weaver and other Harvard type theoreticians. Though Moniyhan was a Roman Catholic, he apparently was less interested in the reasons more mothers were seeking welfare assistance in 1960 than his intellectual focus on too many Black babies being born. Moniyhan was born in Oklahoma and raised in New York City that had many single women, both Black and White ... many of whom were non-Black college students taking advantage of free education opportunities at City University.
Such mothers that lobbied for federal funded aid to families with dependent children did not want interference in their lives .... merely the money and housing until they could be self-sufficient. Public policy for aid to families with dependent children, as we knew it until very recently, ... emerged in this cocoon of special interests. And it occurred without a word of input or testimony from educated African-American experienced professional women like Nancy Lee. She noted that her preferences would have been to establish neighborhood based volunteer committees of family women, clubs, to validate applications for aid ... especially teenage girls getting pregnant to get away from dependency and home.
Her view was that teenage young women needed families and community more than ever after babies were born, .... not separation in a housing project of young mothers without men or means to even fix a broken window pane. According to her, it was not unrealistic to expect teenage girls and boys to desire leaving home. The old fashioned way was going to college, joining the military and even getting pregnant to get married to a young man with a steady job. The program for Aid To Families with Dependent Children completely changed the social dynamics and relationships among the Black poor of body and spirit.
Like the slave masters of a four generations before, ... it provided a reward of separate cabins for mothers. Anyone knowledgeable of African-American real life history on slave plantations could have predicted what did happen in a single generation #67 (births 1980-2009) birthed by generation #66 welfare mothers was likely to happen.... again. Aid To Families with Dependent Children helped achieve what the Ku Klux Klan could never have achieved even with lynching and blood hounds to chase thousands of Black men away from home.
Even before graduation from the University of Pittsburgh that refused to accept her in the School of Social Work, ... she was well aware of Klan literature proclaiming its growth to over four million members avowed to keep America as a protestant white man's country. The Klan like the soon to be Nazi terrorism in Europe understood the basis of human growth was in existence of families, not individual members. They did not simply seek out an aggressive black man to destroy but the family of which made his life worth living. American racism from its very beginning was almost always opposed morally, legally and socially against the existence and fostering of family units among African-Americans akin to those of White Americans.
Yet, there were some Whites who often disagreed in this type functional racism that opposed strengthening of Black family units, ... especially teachings and applications of the gospels that uplifted Europeans from heathenism. Indeed, opposition to African-American social activism from the times of Paul Cuffee and Richard Allen in the revolutionary war generation through that of Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth generations right up to Martin Luther King, Jr. could only be opposed by ignoring and negating the gospels as an issue.
Historians like Professor Stanley Elkins of Smith College ignored documented history of African-Americans by daring to conjecture about the abolitionist movement without comprehending the potentially inherent generative power of rebellion in the Gospels. And, that is a historic issue. Jesus was a rebel with a cause! We do not fault men like Elkins and Moniyhan so much as we do the journalists who have utterly refused in the 20th century to publish truths discovered and written by Black scholars like not only George Washington Williams but scores of others that men of the Elkins school of thought could have referenced, ... rather than the holocaust, a horrible period that was a long-time coming by generations of powerful people who rationalized and tolerated racism that destroyed millions of human beings.
What occurred in Europe at its worst exposed the failures of Pauline not Messianic Christianity that came to rescue and salvage the victims! It might have been avoided if Europeans had ever adopted Messianic Christian beliefs rooted solely in the gospels according to Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. Legitimate African-American ministers of the gospel were educated at places like Lincoln, Morehouse, Virginia Union and Wilberforce. Men like Kwame N'Krumah and Martin Luther King, Jr. were not accidents but a long-time coming and expected by generations of believers.
They knew that in their own history, prior generations of abolitionist ministers internalized, used and sang the old testament verses about Joseph, Moses and the end of their slavery down in Egypt land, ... to invoke the spirit of hope among slaves and ex-slaves. And, they knew most plantation preachers were ignorant of it! In fact, it was the law in Virginia and other states that assemblies of slaves for worship services had to pay a fee of $2.00 to have a White minister present to witness what the Black minister preached. Seminary educated ministers of the gospel, (like Congressman John Lewis of Georgia and Jesse Jackson of the world) are still the most highly respected callings among educated African-Americans.
It is doubtful that someone like Stanley Elkins could understand how many African-Americans have internalized the gospels rather than wearing it as a symbol of their faith. Nancy Lee noted that a Black man with robes or a collar around his neck is the sign of a soul paid to advertise someone else's values. Frederick Douglass became a Messianic minister before he stepped forward as an abolitionist. And, it is not surprising that most abolitionist leaders were ministers; and a surprise to some Whites might be the fact that the entire African Methodist Church network of tens of thousands of members established by Richard Allen after the Revolutionary War, ... was essentially an abolitionist movement.
Nancy said it was ignorance for Elkins to have the scholarly audacity of thoughts that such men should wait and compromise beliefs driven by their faith, decidedly not that of the slave owners. Wait for what and who? Compromise with people and their ancestors who did not even believe Africans were human beings? Therein, men like Elkins give us a hint as to their own family heritage and values. He concocted his dependency theories about African-Americans based on what he wanted to believe, perhaps a Freudian defense of his ancestry behavior in the slave trade that raged from 1441 until 1865. He referenced interviews by White interviewers in the federal writers project of the 1930s ... not the scholarly works by scholars like John Hope Franklin and others of African heritage whose ancestors were both slaves and abolitionists.
Nancy Lee believed men like Stanley Elkins corrupted the field of social work so laboriously evolved in New England after the Civil War. He taught young women at Smith College to not believe writings by women like Harriet Beecher Stowe. What Elkins did was write a history that was untrue excepting for people who wanted it to be true! He obviously sought to rationalize the behavior of European holocaust victims as an explanation of African-Americans obviously seen but not heard, ... a racist tradition! Herein is a racism rooted in the notion that African-Americans do not know their own history because empirical data studies by Whites with superior minds say so. Harm is not meant by such scholars, merely the comfort of believing themselves superior to the least of us.
It was almost psychotic for Elkins to term a race of people as docile and dependent who yielded up most of their military age young men to wage war. African-Americans totaled 4.5 million residents in 1860; and, yielded 200,000 enlistments in the Union Army, Navy and another 200,000 civilian laborers ... the highest percentile of participants in the war, union or confederate. How could he dare compare holocaust victims who suffered and died for 12 years of Nazi terror, ... with African-Americans who suffered and died for 400 years? Easy. Simply ignore the facts about the before, during and after of the Civil War that shaped modern America.
Nancy Lee said she learned at an early age that attitudes about people up from slavery are most effectively propagated by educators and mass media who influence public policy. She very much resented biased scholars whose ancestors had not experienced the Civil War or lived in America before the 20th century. She perceived that too many, if not most post-World War II social work king-pins had hidden agendas to accumulate wealth and power. She often noted that many like Patrick Moynihan postured themselves as social work experts about the needs and aspirations of African-American families they knew little about.
In her view, modern scholars used empirical data to rationalize anti-family policies; and, Moynihan for all his posturing made clear that his primary concern was the birth of too many babies among the Black poor, not the uplift of families to love and care for them. And, social scientists generally remained silent or inactive about affirmative actions like Head Start Programs or the need to license Black taxi drivers in places like Pittsburgh, ... that would have helped families gain relationships and remain economically intact. Data bases cited and used by men like Moynihan ignored the facts about collection and assembly methods. of such disparity studies, for example the unemployment rates published.
It was no joke that becoming a medical doctor was easier for Black men than getting a plumbers license. The historical data affirms it was so. Changes that came were too little and too late to salvage most African-American poor families that existed prior to the year 1960. Government in its creative accounting has managed to balance the books and cover over the reality of damage assessments in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children and the HUD housing programs, ... by classifying teenager mother households as families, without family histories. Plantation style values by both the overseers and mothers dependent upon them!
Nancy Lee read hundreds of books and listened to even more speeches in lecture halls, radio programs and public outings, and noted that in her seven decades of social work interests, ... she rarely heard anyone acknowledge that most African-Americans were fellow Christians. To be sure, conservatives and neo-conservatives in the best traditions of Barry Goldwater have never linked African-Americans with the gospels. Nancy once remarked that White folks like William F. Buckley are often brilliant in circumventing the gospels, ... in deference to their Pauline Christian teachings and old testament quotes uniquely applied against people of African heritage. And, the Buckley flock of conservative journalists can go one step further in showing themselves to be superior people by interjecting various Greek philosophers to rationalize their bias.
To be sure about it, Washington and Jefferson at the upper scale of the slave owning aristocracy were among the few families that ever categorized and classified their slaves in the context of families, ... whether or not African traditional or Moslem; or baptized in Africa or the Americas as Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Quaker or Baptist. Even as late as the Great Society programs of President Lyndon Johnson, scholars like Nathan Glazer were opposed to the very idea of doing anything to help uplift Black families. Individual help was OK, but families ... NO! Others like him and his friend Daniel Patrick Moniyhan simply said or did not say, "forget the nonsence of an extended Black family, assimilate and save the child to be honorary White people like Clarence Thomas."
In fact, slavery could not have began or been sustained without very clear and concise theology to sanction it....especially Catholicism, Islam, Episcopalism and Judaism. And, various African theologies made it feasible especially so with the foreign market opportunities generated by the Roman Empire, Byzantine Empire, Ottoman Empire, Portuguese Empire, Habsburg Empire, French Empire and British Empire that established Nancy Lee's African ancestors in Virginia. Arab raiders and traders in the name of Allah, beginning in 8th century after birth of Jesus did not hesitate to capture, buy or sell Africans as infidels (non-believers in Allah and the Prophet Mohammed).
The Latin Catholics fueled by greed, ... began the god-awful Atlantic slave trade in the 15th century with official rationalization by Church leaders that Africans did not have souls or equally worse, were black devils. By the 18th century Anglican might fueled by young men from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland (and opportunist Dutch rebels against Spain) ... supplanted the Latin domination of the Atlantic slave trade. The British Empire soon clashed with and triumphed over the Empire of France as protector of the Roman Catholic faith. And, the rest is history that White Americans more or less understand about their own theology origins; but, have never understood about African-Americans up from slavery.
It is a big mistake by historians to dare imagine that Africans did not have a theology or belief in a supreme being. We now know that all Africans believed in God, but all their metaphysical links were via ancestors known to them. African tribal beliefs and faiths for centuries after the birth of Jesus, ... assured that only the blood of tribal kin mattered much; and, any other persons of alien tribal existence was legitimate for killing or capture as slaves. Documentation is still being sought for clues as to who was the African heritage mother of William Lee; but, testimony of Madison Hemings suggests his great-grandmother was a full-blooded African likely born in Africa, Cape Verde or Caribbean Islands around the year 1715 and subsequently gave birth in Virginia to Elizabeth Hemings in the summer of 1735.
Nancy Harriet Lee had a natural curiosity about her origins and would devote many years of her life to developing the African heritage room at the University of Pittsburgh in the hope it would help motivate students and faculty to pursue further research into relevant African history and values that impacted slave attitudes and behaviors in America. She was well aware that slavery did not begin in America but was quite different (viewed as chattel property) from the kind practiced in Africa.
Not surprisingly, it was common to find entire African villages of one tribal kingdom virtually enslaved as share-croppers to a dominant near-by village of another tribal kingdom. The differences among tribal kingdoms often numbering hundreds of thousands was not so much defined by language but via theology beliefs regarding one another. Chieftaincy itself (kingship) was in the first instance a protector and extension of the faith in their ancestors and previous kings and queens.
Freed by Washington on his death-bed, William Lee was a mulatto son of deceased Col. John Lee, Washington's friend) ... and free to sire a family with Aggie who was a dowry slave of Martha Washington. William and Aggie gave birth to Rose. Rose Lee (1805-1864) gave birth to Nancy (fathered by ........ Banister) in 1825 prior to she and the child being freed as dowry slaves in the will of Martha Washington probated in Arlington, Virginia. Nancy (1825-1912) was consequently bonded as a house-keeper to the Custis Estate to be administered by her distant cousin Robert E. Lee who had married ........ the heir of the Custis Mansion and Plantation in Arlington.
On the day John Brown was hanged in1859 after capture by Col. Robert E. Lee, Nancy Banister Lee gave birth to Thomas Finley Lee. On the day Robert E. Lee and family left Arlington for Richmond to assume leadership of the rebel military forces, Nancy Lee left behind in Arlington her siblings, cousins, friends and mother Rose to die and be buried during 1864 in the newly established Freedmen's Cemetery (paved over a hundred years later as a parking lot in the name of urban renewal and face of politically powerless African-American descendents of the people interned there).
On the day General Robert E. Lee in 1865 was forced by Union forces to flee Richmond, Nancy Lee (with her children) was released from bondage as a house-keeper to the Lee family. After witnessing the visit of Abraham Lincoln's triumphant ride through the city, ... Nancy settled her family of dependent offspring in the Midlothian suburb of Richmond, where thousands of Black men (leased from various Virginia slave owners) had labored as coal miners since the industry was first established in 1731 by French Huguenot immigrants.
Midlothian is the place and industry that many of the free and/or trusted black and mulatto families in Western Virginia likely came to know and learn from one another as cooks, house-keepers, blacksmiths, carpenters, livery men and miners of coal. Significant facts are that Hemings, Lee, Wilkinson, Martin and Lowry descendents likely first congregated in work therein from tobacco plantation locations in Albemarle, Bedford and other western Virginia counties prior to and after the Civil War that created the State of West Virginia. An argument is advanced that association and even marriages by the offspring of these families following the period of formal emancipation from slavery ... resulted from familiarities, integration and values generated.
Nancy Banister Lee, by example, was listed in the 1770 census as a house-keeper to the Wilkinson family of mulattos in Bedford Virginia, ... and also as a self-employed housekeeper in Arlington, Virginia confirming family history that she earned her living as a house-keeper until eventually moving her youngest children with her from Midlothian to Ohio where the institution of formal marriage in the eyes of the law was expected and desired by people "up from slavery." The area of Ohio to which she migrated included descendents of all the families listed above, both officially Black, Mulatto and White.
Most historically traceable families of traders (merchants) and owners (Christians and Jews) were appalled at the thought that slaves were or should ever be anything more than individual items of property accountable and measurable. For such men of wealth and legal means, freedom for slaves was a privilege that could be granted by the legal property owner, not a God-given right such as existed for White citizens and visitors to America.
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