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Ex-Slave Survivals

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Following formal slavery, the Post-Slavery Period (last ing about 20 years) featured continued enslavement because of innumerable slave owners failing to tell tremendous numbers of Slaves they had been freed.

Simultaneously, there was Voluntary Enslavement (many ex- Slaves stayed on with White families because they had no place else to go); Defacto Slavery, particularly experienced by Black Share Croppers and by Black prisoners; and fragmented groups of Black people falling far short of actual freedom. Regardless of where Black people stood on the Social Ladder each shared an "Identity Atmosphere" characterized the "certain unchanging sameness" of the Black Experience. Also, each person had a unique atmosphere. Those most mentally devastated by the effects of slavery, by White terrorism, by general racism, and by their circumstances stayed inside the Struggling Tunnel (connecting the Slave quarters wi th today's inner cities) engaged in a l ife featuring extreme chronic juggling (e.g. spending what is borrowed or not present). This meant they were "busy" doing things that were not the most important things. Within this group were (and are) to be found the unemployed "Be-ers" (people persons) who were (and are) oriented to filling up a day, usually by "killing time while waiting to die"--an example of an Ex-Slave Survival. As much as any group these "Be-ers" have continued the Slaves' design of a slow pace in working, in walking, and in doing almost anything--meaning, of course, that it takes an extra long time, compared to other people, to get done even routine activities of daily living.

A second example of an Ex-Slave Survival was that of the atmosphere of the Share croppers. By being unable to read, write, or count they were easy victims of vicious and amoral White people who deceived them into stepping back into enslavement . What they passed along to their today's juggling descendants was having absolutely no knowledge about how manage money; no idea how to buy appropriately what they needed in order to do their job; and the self-defeating practice of taking any money they got their hands on and spending it for petty luxuries.

Following slavery there were essentially no "non-slavery" type jobs available and White people passed laws to imprison any unemployed Black person. Then, as now, the reason for Black prisoners was for Whites to make money off them. There is no known instance of a Black prisoner ever being freed or ever living past 10 years (for they were worked to death). Could it be that it was here that the idea was born in struggling Black people that they needed to "take breaks" to keep from killing themselves from overwork? Nevertheless, "taking breaks" before essentials are done has been (and is) greatly contributory to chronic juggling. Still, there were ex-Slaves who admirably chose to be "Balancers" (like magicians) in order to rise out of poverty (as were my Ancestors). Many cared for their large families, barely able to eke out a living from day to day. They were constantly sidestepping problems while making determined efforts (not just talking about it) to get an education as their only means of rising out of poverty. Within this situation it was essential to not appear "uppity" or act as if they had "gotten out of their place." Much of their energies were spent trying to avoid getting killed by every conceivable source of dest ruct ion devised and machined-gunned at them by White terrorists. Much time was spent several times a month going to funerals of family members and friends killed by sadistic Europeans.

Meanwhile White terrorists continued to go "wild" in not only killing Black people but taking whatever they saw as desirable--whether that be land, precious possessions, or those they could rape. They did then (and can now) get away with it because they and the police were "one." This caused struggling Black people to stick together and find comfort with each other without any self-improvement attempts. This Juggling series is reproduced from Bailey, Mentoring Minds of Black Boys.

website: www.jablifeskills.com