The Negro was invented in America.

John Oliver Killens

Slavery required some creative redefining. Our people were brought here—mothers, fathers, sons and daughters—and were dubbed savages. Savages became slaves and slaves became colored or Negro, no matter the European blood that was now mixed with African and Native American blood in our veins.

Whatever we became, others wrote our definition, or liked to think they did.

Of course, we’ve always had our own dictionary, which has grown thicker as we have learned about the culture that was stripped from us, and about our efforts in the face of death, fate, and extraordinary oppression. We are defining ourselves as a people and as individuals. Let us invent ourselves, know ourselves, and respect ourselves.

Call to Action: On this day, I will take five minutes to be quiet and listen to my inner self, and determine who I am and what I should be.

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