Teachin' Chilrun History

I am well qualified to teach Black history…although I probably shouldn’t. One’s ability to do a thing and whether it’s proper to do said thing are two completely different camels in the same shed.

I am far too honest and blatant in my delivery to teach a subject as touchy and emotional as my peoples’ history – for if I were to, I would certainly allow my students to be privy to the following concerning our most revered heros:

1)      Jesse Jackson is a whore mongering camera whore who actually reviled Barack Obama as a ‘half breed’ and said wistfully that he would like to ‘cut his nuts off for talking down to Black folk’. Apparently, Jesse is also given to soliciting the affections of women young enough to be his grandchild. (This tidbit I heard from an old co-worker whose girlfriend at the time had the ‘privilege’ of being hit on by the Rev.)

2)      Martin Luther King Jr. stepped out on wife on several occasions, and plagiarized several of his early sermons and speeches. Oh yeah, and he was a Republican.

3)      Barack Obama is not a “Black” president. He’s half African, and raised by a Caucasian woman in INDONESIA. So when Black people asked if he was “Black enough” to get their vote while Mr. Obama was on the campaign trail, it was a valid question. His experience isn’t typical of “Black folk”…which is probably on the only reason he got to be president in the first place.

Why do I bring up these tidbits of useful information? I’m so glad you asked! About 2 weeks ago, my daughter was learning about Harriet Tubman during her Girl Scout meeting. She and her best friend Michaela were in awe of this historical figure.

“Why does she carry a gun?”

“Why did they call her ‘Moses’?”

On and on. Unfortunately – or fortunately – I was not in the room during their rapid rounds of questioning.  I only heard about them from the troop leader. Nadjah showed me a series of sheets of paper she had colored showing Harriet Tubman hiding in floor boards, in flower pots, in the attic of a house. If was all very kid friendly, Sesame Street, rated G stuff. Harriet Tubman, as it turns out, is one of my favorite historical figure, second only to Yaa Asantewaa. Had I been teaching the class, the outcome of that lesson would have been much different. There would be no gaily colored sheets of paper, no questions about what happened during the trek through the Underground Railroad.

Gather ‘round chil’ren while I tell you de story of ol’ Moses, the first real gangsta this side of the Atlantic.


Harriet was born Araminta Ross in 1820 or 1822. As a child, she was beaten by several masters to whom she was hired out. That dent you see in the middle of her forehead was as a result of her being struck in the head by an iron weight by one of those masters. She had seizures and headaches the rest of her life as a result. Why, she couldn’t be more than 12 or 13 years old – not that much older than YOU, come to think of it!

Ol’ Harriet was also called Moses, because she led over 300 slaves out of bondage. She sang coded Negro spirituals to let the slaves know it was time to escape. She made over a dozen trips back into the South to lead her people on to freedums in de North.

Once you were on the Underground Railroad, there was NO turnin’ back chilluns…you hear me? Ol’ Moses used to carry a revolver and other tools to aid her and her passengers on a smooth trip. In fact, on one trip, one young man got cold feet and just up and announced he was going back to the plantation. Well, Mrs. Tubman couldn’t have that, could she? She put that old revolver next to his head and said “You go on or DIE.” That dude had ‘snitch’ written all over him…and ain’t nuthin worse than a DRY SNITCH, ya hear me?

One of Harriet’s other tools in her kit was laudanum. Laudanum contains almost all of the opium alkaloids, including morphine and codeine. Laudanum was used to keep noisy babies QUIET. Basically, it put them in a comma for the duration of the trip. When them overly concerned mommas would  buck at the thought of Harriet drugging their precious babies…why, let’s just say that didn’t sit well with the Conductor. Given her statistics and success rate, I’d say them little brown babies slept quite peacefully after their momma had been given ‘what fer’ and a good tongue lashing.

You know what else happen to old Moses? While she was out savin’ the world, her husband up and married another woman!…Some chick named “Caroline”. For real nigga? I’m leading hundreds of people to freedom, I come back for you, and I see you laid up with this ho’? But what did ‘Rit do? Instead of acting a complete fool, she decided he was not worth the fuss and led some other people to freedums instead. That. Very. Day.

You go girl!

Slavery was a scary, cruel business. Many children were sent to work in the fields when they were naught but 6 years old…about the average age of this Daisy Troop here, coincidentally. And there were no ‘snow days’. Nuh uh! Massa made you clean out muskrat traps and clear fields with nothing but a shovel and back sweat – even if you had the measles…just like my hero, Harriet Tubman.  

So chilluns, you got any questions? No? Well, class dismissed! Don’t forget to bring in your cookie orders next week!


And this is why I am not a teacher or story teller.