The question Cliven Bundy put to his audience last week—Was the black family better off as property?—is as immoral as it unoriginal. As both Adam Serwer and Jamelle Bouie point out, the roster of conservative theorists who imply that black people were better off being whipped, worked, and raped are legion. Their ranks include economists Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell, former congressman Allen West, sitting Representative Trent Franks, singer Ted Nugent, and presidential aspirants Rick Santorum and Michele Bachmann.
Most of us have heard about the legendary Deacons for Defense. Through exhaustive research and interviews, Umoja introduced us to many other unsung heroes and sheroes (although not surprising the historical documentation was scant on women’s contribution to armed resistance in the south). Men and women like Hartman Turnbow, Rudy Shields, Robert “Fat Daddy” Davis, C.O.Chin, Ora “Miss Dago” Bryant, Luella Hazelwood and many more. Their inspirational stories affirmed that black folks stood with dignity, unflinchingly looking in the face of pure hatred and forged on to re-define their futures.