A King Day to Remember

On January 15, 2018, the Unpaid Labor Project participated in the first celebration in the history of the United States of America to honor the first 12 generations of African Americans. Between 900-1,100 people of all ages joined us. And what did we celebrate? We celebrated the collective contribution of 12.5 million Black people to the birth, growth and survival of the United States of America. They were imported into this country for their labor between 1607 and 1865.

Celebrate? It was fitting that we do so. It was fitting that we do so on the national holiday set aside to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his contribution to all American’s civil rights. Even as I write to tell you about the celebration at the Shalom Church in St. Louis, I am concerned. I am concerned that the magnitude of what I’ve said so far may be lost.

Although Europeans began to settle North America in 1607, it would be 169 years before the USA would be born. For those 169 years, and for the 89 years that followed, Black people were laying the physical and economic foundations of what would become the most successful nation in modern history. As a result of their Unpaid Labor, all Americans alive today are benefitting.

The celebration included an exhibit of the history supporting the Unpaid Labor Project. It included a reception. It included interpretive dance, a motivational speech, and great singing.

It also included a skit that highlighted the Unpaid Labor message of the need to Acknowledge, Abolish, Advocate and HYPE THE STRIPE. Acknowledge the history of contribution. Abolish the false idea that remains today of racial superiority and inferiority that was created to justify racial slavery. Advocate for national racial reconciliation. HYPE the symbol of a black stripe in the American flag as a fitting statement of the magnitude of Unpaid Labor Contribution in our nation’s history and the wisdom of Acknowledgement, Abolition and Advocacy.

This skit pulled it all together in the form of a trial. The truth of Unpaid Labor Contribution was put on trial. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. testified by video. Unpaid Labor won in court. America will win as Black people embrace the hope, dignity, honor and standing that comes with knowing that our people did, have and will continue to make America great.