chapter  9
28 Pages

We Will be Free

Oppression breeds subservience, and the habit of servility invites more brutal oppression. Breaking this cycle in the history of African Americans did not come easily since it had been institutionally established for several centuries. From the first capture in a physical sense and the mental imprisonment by demanding that Africans accept the names given to them by the white enslavers, the cycle had been set in place, as in stone, by the perpetuation of African enslavement. Of course, the African was not only separated from his or her own land but also separated from his or her sense of identity. It was as if one’s name was no longer Mandela but Madison, no longer Baraka but Barber, no longer Adusei Peasa but Arthur Price, and so forth. Africans had lost not just physical place but mental place, a loss that meant the people could no longer see themselves as assertive. Therefore, the process of enslaving Africans was as much a psychological one as it was a physical one.