This question actually comes from the blog of Stephanie Robinson on the Covenant with Black America website.
Should African Americans focus with laser-like precision on self-sufficiency
We cannot have meaningful dialogue about America without talking about the amazing contributions that African Americans have made to our country. To say that America was built on the backs of its enslaved African population is to state the obvious. Quite literally, the Southern economy was built, preserved, and matured by and through centuries of free labor.
American slavery was a system whose currency was brutality. Black skin was deemed a mark of inferiority that warranted all manner of subhuman treatment, including the most vicious of physical assaults. Jim and Jane Crow was not much better. The Ku Klux Klan and like organizations ushered in a unique form of American terrorism. Yet, through it all, the enslaved population held out an unassailable hope for the future.
Indeed, it is this hope in the face of the evils of slavery and Jim Crow that shaped and molded our very democracy. African Americans were acutely aware of the contradiction between our founding ideals and the lived realities of the African-American population. From the abolition movement onward, prophetic Black leaders held a mirror to America and challenged it to live up to the true meaning of its creed.
But other African-American activists in the tradition of Marcus Garvey and Elijah Muhammad believe that America's brutal past is irredeemable. The best thing for Blacks to do is separate.
Stephanie Robinson, Esq. is the Founding President and CEO of The Jamestown Project an action-oriented think tank founded and operated primarily by people of color and women.