The Legacy

You look at our people, and wonder what we lack,
You brand us as decadent, because we are black.
The whites are progressives, their culture and their world.
They do not like to think, they’re propped by black man’s gold.

They wish us to forget, how much from Africans they stole:
Our labour free, as slaves in chains, was our role.
‘Why, Blacks were using slavery; why not join the trade?’
Was the convenient excuse the white slavers made.

For sadder yet Blacks must admit, with great regret
Africans sold black brothers, let us not forget,
Sold us to slavery, not in war nor as sacrifice,
For lucre, for pretty baubles: a fiendish price.

Whites failed to state their role in stark barbarity,
They sailed to Africa in Christian Charity,
And took some slaves (from trees?) to free from poverty
To familiar clime; to improve their dignity.

Don’t forget Africa, was the ‘White Man’s Burden’,
They helped us Blacks because we were so down-trodden.
They helped us and them-selves, over three hundred years.
Their help was rape, abuse and death, and bitter tears.

Our work, gave the White Man wealth, when sugar was gold;
Built Bristol, Liverpool, to glorify his world;
Railways, factories, the Industrial Revolution;
Where were the Christian Churches? Disgraced collusion!

“Why are Africans so backward?” A question they will ask.
Some blacks forgetting history, will join in the task:
Of proving it’s innate: the whites’ superior,
And with higher morals freed the African inferior.
‘Let it go! Let it go! Look ahead! Let it go!
Slavery was abolished more than a century ago.’
We can’t escape the trap: the global economy
Slavery lives in systems of white society.

White society rules the world society.
In Africa, multinationals dominate:
They follow tracks that lead to wealth and extricate
Our birthright; helped by a corrupt minority.

We cannot let it go! We dare not let it go!
For all the blood we shed, for all the pain we bore,
From Africa across the sea, to the Americas shore;
The rapes, the wasted lives, atrocities galore
Heaped on our ancestors down-trodden on the floor
On which white greed was piled on the African’s gore.

Until equality reigns, inferiority
Is torture, like barbarity of their slavery.
Every compromise, every sycophantic smile,
Is worse than torment of our forebears served with bile,
As tortured souls fled mangled carcasses on the pile
Of murdered, enslaved Africans.

We cannot let it go! We dare not let it go!
We will not let it go!

‘What do you want?’ The White Man asks.
‘It all happened in ancient times
When different values prevailed in different climes;
Why should Whites take the guilt of past generations?
No apology! We have our reservations.’

‘We want democracy, applied equality,
Your grasp that with these two alive, we both are free
Of our martyrs’ pain; without, by you inherited.
By you in this epoch, with no excuse, inflicted!’

We will take equality, the path to freedom.
It’s not yours to give, it’s our intrinsic fiefdom.
We’re now prepared to fight, for what our forebears died,
With the strength of all their blood, we’ll be fortified.

Integration, assimilation? no; equality, if honesty prevails.
If you with power, with good intent, help us to drive nails
In racism’s coffin. Together we can expunge that scourge,
Then jointly we can face a future, united by respect and courage.

Respect for Africans starts with apologies,
For inhumane wrongs inflicted, for years of scourges.
Equality enhanced by reparation
Is the path to follow for true restitution;
Then in hope we can live together in peace.

By John E. Prince