“…We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools…”
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we begin black history month it is only fitting that we be reminded of the contributions made to our nation by our black immigrant brothers living amongst us. This is of particular importance as only 2 weeks ago, on the eve of the nation’s celebration of our greatest civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Trump verbally abused, insulted and denigrated immigrants of African and Caribbean decent during a meeting at the White House.
Immigrants such as Jan Ernst Matelinger, born in Dutch Guyana, who created the shoe making machine that revolutionized the craft and made shoes affordable for everyone to wear, changed American daily life for the better. We should be reminded of Jean Baptist DuSable, a native of Haiti, who founded and helped to build Chicago, the third largest city in America. Black immigrants have also welded international power. After immigrating to the U.S. Kwame Nkrumah returned to his native Ghana to become its first president following decolonization.
Often when we think of American pioneers we forget our black immigrant brothers. America’s first black millionaire was William Leidesdorf, born in St. Croix. He was also the first African-American Diplomat and a founding father of the State of California and the city of San Francisco. We cannot fail to also give honorable mention here to Barack Obama Sr., a native of Kenya who, although he did not remain in the U.S., fathered our 44th President, Barack Obama. These are just a few of the historic black immigrants who helped make America what it is today.
After the President’s, State of the Union address earlier this week, it is clear that Trump’s views originate from an alternate reality. One that devalues immigrants and falsely sees them as “the enemy” trying to detract from American “greatness.” From the President’s comments earlier this month we know that this Administration is no friend to the black immigrant. Yet, it would be a pity to fail to recognize the contributions of black immigrants today. The U.S. census bureau states that African immigrants are far more educated than native born Americans. Many black immigrants hold masters degrees and many more are entrepreneurs. They build wealth in their communities which ultimately translate to increased tax contributions for our nation.
Mr. Trump’s newly proposed immigration policy consists of an institutional barrier to diversity and seeks to make permanent discriminatory and racist practices throughout the immigration process. As Americans, it is our duty to defend and protect our black immigrant brothers and their contributions to the American way of life.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “We must live together as brothers or perish together as fools…” While we have many people revendicating freedoms on one side of the aisle and equal treatment on the other, everyone seems to have forgotten brotherhood. Yet, our very lives have been formed by and the future depends on our ability to preserve the rights of our black immigrant brothers.
By The Immigration Post – Chief Editor