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The year was 1863 and Blacks were finally free
Free to live their lives as they pleased
Just so long as how they pleased never upset the balance sheet
Free from the chains that bond them to work land that wasn’t theirs
Yet not free enough to escape laws that hindered their opportunities

Manipulation of the system guaranteed them low pay
Same work different wage was the theme of the day
Still every dime not ear marked for survival was stuffed under mattresses
placed in cookie jars
or buried in back yards
There were no other options for the freed.
The white majority blocked access to established banking systems
But some of them did see this as a travesty
And with only good intentions approached the Black community,
The Freedman’s Savings and Trust,
A bank built specifically for the soldier of color, along with the newly freed

But the path to hell is paved with the corpses of those who trusted words spewed from the mouths of the well meaning

Even still, with hopes of building a better future for their progeny
Blacks deposited their hopes and dreams
Grasping onto to faith, they believed
Oh, how they believed

70 thousand innocent black souls, believed
Hungry for a safe place to build their family’s eternity, they believed
Deposits equaling 57 million dollars in today’s economy, they believed

Congress, appointed White men as trustees
Endowing them with the responsibility to ensure all funds were handled properly
But they betrayed that trust, extending unsecured loans to their own business, as well as their cohorts
Thus the Freedman’s Bank and Trust was dismantled from within, brink by bloody brick
Until there was nothing left to ravage

Then under the guise of wanting diversity and a steady hand at the helm,
That same majority turned to Fredrick Douglas,
Inviting him to head the ailing the bank
Their true goal, only to mask their own absurdity

Douglas, unaware of their deceit, accepted their plea
But at that point the bank resembled a cadaver,
It had long since passed the point of no return

Lack of oversight by Congress allowed the bank to be plundered
Leaving only carnage behind to be withdrawn

And what of those 70,000 innocent Black souls
Only a fraction recouped even a 3rd of what was stole
and the rest sat abused and neglected once more

To be clear, fraud transferred what should have been generational Black wealth into the Whitman’s hands
And lessons like these have been played on repeat until etched into our very melanin

And still some in the majority believe that human rights, wealth and education are specifically born to them, merely because of the color of their skin, and even though the Declaration of Independence clearly states that all men are created equal, they believe African Americans are not due Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

But this is not truth!

We will overcome centuries of deception and oppression
Our only options are to learn, adapt, and teach
So, when you hear African Americans declare
Black Power
Black is Beautiful
Black Girl Magic
or even Black Lives Do Matter
We are simply pushing forward in the furtherance of our dream
And our dream is not to hoist our children above the heads of yours
Our dream, simply put, is that our children will have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field
That, is our dream, and we will march onward until it’s finally achieved