Friday, April 03, 2009

Ray Winbush's Belinda's Petition Now Available for Purchase!

In 1782, Belinda, an African on the Ten Hills Plantation in Medford Massachusetts, petitioned the state legislature for reparations for her 50 years of captivity and unpaid labor by her former owner, Isaac Royall. Royall had fled to Canada shortly after the American Revolution since he was a “Loyalist” to Britain and feared for his life and his own captivity what would become the United States. This story of her captivity, enslavement and liberation is an incredible tale of resilience during a time when Africans in America were seen as something a little more valuable than livestock.

Belinda’s Petition is but one in a long history of the reparations struggle that is sewn in the fabric of African history for the past 550 years. This concise story of the reparations struggle is meant to provide a “view from the bridge” on the ongoing struggle of Africans throughout the world in obtaining justice for the most heinous crime of the past millennium --- the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Whether you support or oppose reparations is unimportant; what Belinda’s Petition will show you is that the western world is built upon 500 years of the unpaid labor of millions of enslaved Africans whose call for justice has been conscious, courageous and consistent since they were first captured in 1441 by Europeans.


  1. Anonymous11:44 AM

    Congratulations on the publication of your book. I would love to read it; however, I am dissauded from doing so by reading some of your other articles in this blog that contain highly irresponsible blanket statements that seethe racism and promote division. I can only assume that you would be unable to separate your inner feelings from the factual story-telling of Belinda's plight.

    I am thankful for the black and white abolitionists that helped Belinda as well as the white people in the Commonwealth who ultimately helped her, and other freed slaves, in their final days.

    My only wish was that they would have went farther and demanded reparations from the African tribal raiders who captured the slaves in the first place. This was probably the first evidence of African on African crime and no one of color is held accountable for it. One could say without the European compensation for the captured slaves, the African tribal raiders would have had no incentive to capture their own kind; however, doing so unfairly alleviates responsibility from the Africans. Thus it is fair to say both white and black people were responsible for the slave trade. They were conspirators. They were partners in crime bound by an agreement to trade humans for goods.

    I support the idea of restitution only for those that were directly involved. I do not support restitution for descendents of those that were wronged, nor do I support penalties for companies and governments in the present day that are run by entirely different generations of people who possess an entirely different set of standards and morals and who are governed by an entirely different set of laws and who are entirely disconnected from several preceding generations.

    Without reading your book and only going by your blog comment today, I am unclear how the entire Western world was built upon 500 years of unpaid labor. If slaves were first captured by African tribal raiders then transferred into European hands in 1441, then 500 years would make the date in question 1991 no? I will refrain from listing all of the facts to the contrary because I will assume this was a typo error or inadvertent misstatement of the facts.

    Good luck with your book.

  2. Dear Anonymous,

    Thank you for wishing me luck with my book, and I can assure you that the purchase of my book by you is not needed since I already have many engagements with several organizations for my book tour.

    Your response typifies whites who wish to feign their "knowledge" of race in Amerikkka yet choose to remain ignorant of nearly all aspects of the historical brutality of whites toward Blackpeople in this country. Let me just take just a few examples from your misinformed communique...

    First, Belinda did not want nor did she have *any* white helping her to secure her freedom or reparations in 1783. White often feel that Blacks cannot achieve struggle without the aid of a "white benefactor" and nothing could be further from the truth. Either Primus Hall or the poet Phillis Wheatley wrote Belinda's Petition for her. Whites had *no* agency in her securing reparations for her and her daughter.

    Secondly, your "idea" about securing reparations from tribal chiefs is an oft-used "argument" to flip the reparations argument back to Afrikans. Do we blame Jews for the Holocaust because of a few collaborators? Do we blame native American groups for their genocide because some of them collaborated with Custer, Carson and others in their slaughter? Do we blame Japanese for their internment during WW II because some of them collaborated with the Amerikkkan government? The answer to all of these is "no" so why try and blame 1/10 of 1% of Africans who participated in the slavery for the *European* Transatlantic Slave Trade? It's because after all of these years of whites screaming hypocritically about Blacks "taking responsibility", they don't it themselves when it comes to how *you* and others benefit either directly or indirectly from the work my Ancestors performed for you and your white Ancestors.

    You say, "I support the idea of restitution only for those that were directly involved." Again, your resistance to expanding your knowledge of just exactly what reparations are will leave you ignorant and will force you to continue to utter statements like this. READ A BOOK, if not mine, something that would help you understand how ridiculous this statement is.

    There's other stuff you say that simply isn't worth my time. Come back with something more substantive and perhaps we can then have an intelligent dialogue.

    Good luck with your reading,


  3. Anonymous7:02 PM

    Perhaps I should clarify the fact that I'm not of Caucasian descent. I didn't think it actually mattered, but in retrospect I see that it does; obviously the worth of my words were judged on your perception about the color of my skin.

    I also don't need to be lectured on Primus Hall or his father Prince (who I believe actually helped her write her petition) or on the color of their skin. You're absolutely wrong though if you think no white people helped secure Belinda's freedom or her reparations.

    Belinda was freed by white people who fought and died for her freedom. I won't pretend that they weren't fighting for other things as well, but the truth is is that slavery was part of it. Many thousands of slaves were also freed from the executive orders of a white president. Belinda's reparations were granted and approved by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' congress, which was to my knowledge composed entirely of white people. And those white people, unlike today, did not have loads of unnecessary politically correct pressure sitting on their shoulders. It was white governments that banned the slave trade.

    Your attempts at drawing analogies between African raiders and the conspirators of other horrific tragedies may work on your uneducated following, but it does not work on me. Unlike the other events you cited, the African raiders were a *major* player in the slave trade. They were not simply a "few conspirators". Without the raiders, the slave trade would have failed since Europeans were not allowed into interior Africa. So yes, Ray, the slave trade was a joint venture between Europeans and Africans. On a side note, I would like to inform you, with a PhD in History, that Africans also sold their own kind to the Arabs as slaves before the European slave trade. I am somewhat amused thinking about the response you would get if you would take your reparations argument to them.

    I will also address your utterly misguided comment about slaves performing for me and for my ancestors. Again I will reiterate that I am not of Caucasian decent so I can assure you that no slave performed work for my ancestors. I can say though that a very small percentage of white families in the North and the South had slaves. If I am not mistaken, I believe the percentage is around 25-30%. So I can only assume that the other 70-75% of white families did their own work. So I am ultimately unclear how you feel some slaves assisting with farming and sewing on the plantations of 25% of white families somehow propelled the United States to a world super-power.

    I don't need to read any book about reparations to understand that it amounts to compensation (monetary and other) to African Americans paid for by taxpayers, consumers, and companies who most likely were not tied to the slave trade. Furthermore, even if they were tied, they should not have to pay for the sins of their forefathers, who they probably don't even know.

    In closing, let me throw a couple of "what if" events to highlight how misguided your reparations argument is.

    The Hyskos people, an Arab group from modern-day Palestine, invaded Northern Egypt and ruled it on or about the 12th dynasty. If most northern Egyptians had your way of thinking, then they would petition Palestinians to provide them reparations for the wrongs done in 1650 B.C. But it shouldn't stop there. In about 750 B.C. Nubia (around modern day Sudan) conquered Egypt. If they had your thinking then the modern day Egyptians should petition the Sudanese government for reparations. That sounds a bit ridiculous doesn't it?

    And as a word of advice, I recommend refraining from using the "white people always argue that fact" retort. The fact that white people use a fact does not dismiss the truth that the argument, is indeed, based on fact.

  4. You won't be the first white person to post on this blog with lies that they're white. *I* doubt if you are black particularly because you choose to remain "anonymous". Until you *verify* your identity I refuse to comment on your worthless questions/statements.

    BTW, I have Ph.D. in *psychology* not history and thus have a good understanding of whites like you...