February Book of the Month: “Hanging Captain Gordan”.

Every Black History Month is an opportunity to learn an important lesson that everyone (not just Black/African Americans) can take and apply to how they view people of a different ethnicity than themselves. The 500 plus years of the challenges people of African descent endured from the Transatlantic slave trade on to BLM has affected more of the world than we realize at times.

Slavery as we know of it historically ceased to exist, yet never fully vanished. It lingered around in the shadows and underbelly of various societies, and in some places had such a firm grip you’ll find them – bought and sold, as if nothing ever really changed.

And just as we find legislation and laws to curb the current existence of slavery in places where we still find it, in this book; “Hanging Captain Gordon”, we find the slow and ineffective move to stamp out the slave trade in North America.

Through Black History Month Writing Elite is going to go a little deeper into the elements of African American history seldom seen, heard, or taught. While what everyone commonly knows about African American history is important (essential to be correct), what’s equally important are the things we don’t know, and in bringing them into the forefront of the conversation, we can begin to move in a better direction in regards to having a truly equitable, and just society.

I love this lecture given by Quintard Taylor, Jr. Professor of American History at the University of Washington. He goes into great detail about not only the horrors and daily challenges of the transatlantic slave trade but also the ambiguous socio-economic and legislative challenges between 1528 – 1865; that eventually shaped the ongoing history that we now celebrate and reflect upon every February.

Hanging Captain Gordon is a wonderfully deep look at the one and the only instance an American citizen was sent to the gallows for engaging in the slave trade, as well as the turmoil that occurred during the height of the civil war era. You may be wondering how it’s relevant for us today? A part of answering that question lies in reading the book, but from my own reading of it has to do with how our American society’s view on race and racism has to shift altogether in order to make any substantial change.

After all, it wasn’t a jury of 12 African Americans that sentenced Captain Gordon to his fate; but rather a jury of his (all Caucasian) peers. The beauty of this book is that it shows the United States’ reluctance and eventual successes in coming to terms with slavery as an institution and the cultural shift that shaped the Civil War. So with all that said this book is a definite must-read through the Black History Month!


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