Projecting backwards from the birth of Henry Hill in 1753 and then forward to Hill surname births in Ohio and Virginia, ... we have concluded a common mother likely born around same time (1735) as Betty Hemings. And like Betty's mother, her mother may have been born in Africa around 1720, sold into slavery in America by age of puberty where she was soon thereafter impregnated by a White male with Hill surname, ... and gave birth by 15 to 17 years of age.
What we also do not know for certain is whether Henry Hill was a free man by virtue of a Virginia legislature approval of freedom for his war service, or perhaps simply purchased freedom from owners and then left the state for Ohio in order to remain and live free. And, if so did he have White ancestry sufficient to pass for White in Ohio?
And, as taxable cargo on a British licensed and insured ship, ... imported into a British port on the James River, such as Williamsburg, she would have come from a British port in Africa, such as The Gambia as documented by Alex Haley in his book "Roots." Haley used known realities and his own imagination.
It is amazing that so few of the new Black novelists and entertainers in pulpits and on stage have such little knowledge or interest in real histories. Obviously, realities of the Age of Enlightenment have not yet been digested by African heritage novelists, poets, playwrights, and screen-writers. On the one hand, African-Americans have birthed many gifted and talented youth, but on the other are losing the battle for hearts and minds that uplift "the least of us."
While many pride themselves on devouring great literature by others (especially writers, poets and musicians of the 16th-20th centuries), ... few have sufficient substances of moral worth to digest and imagine inspirational stories, like that of Henry Hill or even Dory Miller at Pearl Harbor, in their conceptualizations about Black men? Just who and how on earth do they imagine 200,000 young African-American men were inspired and motivated to join Union forces, ... with a 40 percent chance of being killed or seriously wounded? Mothers? Sisters? Plantation preachers? Minstrels?
Our view is that possible reasons include plagiarized stereo-typed characterizations by most writers describing Black men to exist and die unlike superior people (including women) of different ethnic-racial backgrounds. Sort of like novelists who cite Swahili (East African-Arab-Portugese slave traders lingo) that came into vogue in the 1960s hippie rebellion era, ... using make believe words without a literary history such as exists among great Anglo-Saxon novelists or even Akan speaking people of West Africa.
The hip-hop generation of rappers like TuPac Shakur are an output of what happens when gifted and talented youth hop over realities about real heroes in the Black experience. And, uneducated youth imagine slave trader lingo to be poetry! We believe writers and novelists have a critical role to play in this modern age by inspiring youth to believe they were born for a purpose beyond even their own lives, ... yet to be usefully lived like Henry Hill and James Armistead Lafayette who fathered the sons who died in the name of Christ that we, you, they might live better and more fruitful lives.
Youth need to be told they are part of something wonderful yet to be achieved! Money-makers like Sean Combs have successfully employed novelists and better writers to even prostitute themselves by portraying the likes of "Biggie Smalls" as somehow courageous in a world where men know courage, like love, does not flow from drug induced make-believe living. James Armistead was courageous, ... not Biggie Smalls who lived and died in the drug induced generation of nothingness!
Too many would-be African-American writers are not inspirational and write about a single self generated life in a single location. Many attempt to praise a single generation of humanity such as sing and rap preachers are apt to do while skipping over facts, functions and even geography of the goodness they claim to believe in. First Lady Michelle Obama will likely attest that quickest road to Princeton is high SAT scores, ... and true happiness is pursued by inspired and motivated sons and daughters up from slavery via generations of goodness by fathers and mothers fathers' and mothers' all the way back to West Africa. Happiness is a product of goodness which is generated by faith matured by loving and believing in more than simply self. It is seldom found for long by souls still on the plantations of daily remorse and living without the faith of empowerment by helping others to help themselves!
Novelists like Terry McMillan and other talented writers might occasionally praise HIS spirit in the sacredness of motherhood, ... but more often than not skip over the rocks upon which it has been anchored. And, then in their concluding chapters, ... seek to interject victory and triumph in nothingness more likely to depress rather than inspire pursuit of happiness for new generations by good mothers.
There is no literary inspiration or even redeeming reflections in butter-flying from Harlem to Los Angeles, ... even skipping over historic triumphs in Ohio and bloody Kansas where the Civil War actually began. The story of both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars are about men like Henry Hill, ... and his stories are about Ohio whose storied past is about liberty by those who warranted it for others: to prevent becoming like those who amassed wealth and power by denying it to "the least of us."
The State of Ohio was admitted to the Union in 1802 as the first state with a constitution specifying no slavery, ... and became a beacon of liberty for thousands of African Americans to migrate there from other states, north and south. It was an amazing feat of political intrigue by the mostly former Virginia gentlemen like Thomas Worthington and newly elected U.S. President Thomas Jefferson who agreed with thoughts of the future President Abraham Lincoln,
... that slavery should not be allowed to expand westward as new territories entered into the Union as states even if most White inhabitants wanted it. And, financiers, traders, lawyers and owners in the lucrative slave trade industry opposed government interference or restrictions of their constitutional liberties to pursue "private enterprises."
Congress in the new nation's first affirmative action opened the newly gained Northwest Territories by issuing military warrants for land grants to veterans of the Revolutionary War. These valuable warrants could be sold for cash to land speculators or non-veterans; and the recipient owners had to go into the territories to claim the land from Native Americans who thought they owned it. Fighting erupted immediately as men with land sought to keep it from new claimants to it; ... human history even unto this date claiming either the government or even God gave them their rights. Men want what they see, especially land and women, whether or not others have it. We suspect that Henry Hill may have had a land warrant or purchased one before leaving Virginia.
Revolutionary War veterans like Hill migrated to Ohio from Virginia because even as a decorated veteran of the great war that generated the United States, ... he was required to register with County court and pay a head tax each year to remain in the State as a free person of color.
Like the Lee family members released at Mount Vernon per wills of George and Martha Washington, the law and its conservative ideology basis literally forced free Negros into bonded servitude agreements with White business owners, farmers, traders, etc. The big difference between free men and women of color under this draconian law was that most poor men like Henry Hill were physically able to leave for free states and Canada, ... while many women who were also mothers had extenuating circumstances to remain until their prime benefactor died.
Men and women technically free in most of the original states lived in constant fear of unscrupulous County Sheriff arrests, leaseholds and/or resell as slaves for violating the law. So-called free Blacks and Mulatto were essentially designated by law to be on life-time parole from slavery, ... and subject to being arrested, jailed and fines by County Courts, sale and return to slavery by unscrupulous County Sheriffs.
African-American existence in America as both free men and women, classified as both Black and Mulatto are stories that most writers, Black and White, ... have absolutely failed to write about with the sole exception of Alex Haley. But, even the episode "Roots" did not address the participation of African-Americans in the great war either as runaway slaves taking advantage of the opportunities or those many thousands who did enlist and serve in the rebel forces of George Washington and the British forces of King George.
Indeed, there are many African-American "Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution" who have no idea as to their ancestry links to it.
The impression given by the absence of novels and other writings for modern youth, ... is that African heritage in America is and was nothing of value prior to the "Harlem Renaissance" and a few other "feel good" fictions about the beginnings and experiences of Black folks. We make this point because so many urban born Black writers, ...
... have taken the model of Jimmy Baldwin and a few others to imagine and even teach about generations of nothingness before and after their own existence in places like New York City. Baldwin had very little education, travels or insight into the lives of most Black men in America or even the great State of New York, and the lives of African-Americans therein before, during and after revolutionary warfare that involved many.
Too many Black scholars have had a bad tendency to skip over the contents of "wars and sacrifice" in writing about African-Americans in a nation that was born of war and great courage, ... and has fought an average of one war every ten to twenty years. How can any writer or scholar have the audacity to write or discuss Black men in America without the effects and consequences of wars? No significant Whites in their professions have ever effectively skipped over the history of White men, especially cemeteries, ... without addressing who, when, where and why of wars.
Our concern is that African-American writers and scholars, unlike most self-educated, self enlightened and self serving preachers who think they know a lot (even have congregants address them as "Dr." ... need to "keep it real." Indeed, the absence of reality in generations of reasoning becomes more than fiction, ... and regenerates the world of superstition, fear and spiritual darkness from which African-Americans emerged after centuries of the slave trade and slavery. Why go back to such a world?
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