Book Review: The Hidden History of Massachusetts

by Ashahed Muhammad

There is much talk of Massachusetts Senator John Kerry and his attempted run for the White House. Kerry is considered one of the “White moderates” whom Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote about as being more “dangerous than the White Citizens Counselor or the Ku Klux Klanner” concerned with maintaining “order” preferring “a negative peace, which is the absence of tension, to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”  Interestingly enough, John Kerry is the current standard-bearer for the Democratic Party’s group of wealthy well to do White males who have claimed to be the enlightened privileged ones destined to lead the world. The state of Massachusetts also claims former President John F. Kennedy and Senator Edward Kennedy.

When one thinks of the institution of slavery, minds immediately travel to the old south and states that were apart of the confederacy such as Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama, however, the racism that existed in northern areas such as Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island was quite insidious.  This is what makes the book The Hidden History of Massachusetts so valuable.

Unless one lives in the geographic area of Massachusetts, you may feel as if this book is not relevant, however, one interested in simply casual research could easily find that many of the old laws dealing with segregation and subjugation of Black slaves in America still exist in many cities and states across the United States of America.

The Hidden History of Massachusetts delves in to the names of landmarks such as bridges, parks, centers and other institutions that were named in honor of many who were responsible for untold deaths of many Blacks and Indians.  Almost every city has built structures and named schools after these individuals however, little thought is given to the origin of the names and the psychological effect it has on the individuals who are forced to live in the culture.

Imagine for example, the town of Amherst in Massachusetts being named after Sir Jeffrey Amherst. He is a man who is considered by Indians to be what Adolph Hitler was to the Jews.  A college is named after an individual who – as commander in chief of the British Forces in North America – was responsible for the initiation and implementation of the systematic annihilation of the native Indian population in that area using biological warfare by ordering smallpox to be sent into the Native Indian population. This is documented in his actual writings and not merely a matter of paranoid conjecture.

It is interesting to note and pointed out with great insight by the author that the pilgrim settlers, in their desire for conquest initiated the demonization and dehumanization of the Indians, which is noted as a typical stratagem used in European and Western Domination. The author writes:

 “The Pilgrims initially expressed admiration for the many qualities observed in Indian society. They also realized that the warm and trusting Indians were nonetheless vulnerable to conquest by brute force, deceit and trickery – qualities in which the whites excelled. It did not take long before they began the poisonous process that ultimately led to the destruction of the Red man and his civilization.”

The “paradise” originally described by the criminal settlers had suspiciously become a “barbaric wasteland.”   The Indians once described as cooperative and accommodating were now described as “savages” and “cannibals” ironically by invading settlers composed of the dregs of European society.

Those who colonized America were composed of the killers, robbers, rapists and drunks of European society and considered pariahs in their own home continent. The drunken sodomy and barbarism of the European settlers was so prevalent that there were 11 levels of drunkenness in the legal records of that time.

As the desire for expansion and colonization grew, so did the needs of the settlers for a labor force, which provided the impetus for and vigorous pursuit of Black slave labor as a business policy. Interestingly enough, during the mid-1600s, Indians and Blacks were enslaved.

“White indentured servants – those debtors, rapists, and robbers flushed from the dungeons of Europe – enjoyed more rights than either the African or the Indian. Ultimately, with the Indian all totally wiped out, the Black African alone occupied the lowest position in the colony.”

It is ironic that the stereotype of Blacks being lazy has withstood the test of time, however, Blacks were obtained when needing a labor force.  It is interesting that the Europeans – known for living in tremendously unsanitary conditions – chose Blacks to clean their houses, cook for them and take care of their children, while at the same time calling them savages and using the press to dehumanize them.  This process is also detailed in Chapter 2 of the book, which goes into the above-mentioned as well as the so-called abolitionist movement in Massachusetts – which upon further analysis was an economic issue for the colonists and not a human rights issue as portrayed by western historical revisionists.

Harvard University , founded in 1636 and located in Cambridge , Massachusetts is considered the most prestigious institution of higher learning in the United States of America.  A little known fact is that this institution – in the 20th century – had an active chapter Ku Klux Klan.  In case one believes this to be simply legend or perhaps radical Black racialists with an ax to grind, the author includes an article taken directly from the Harvard Crimson – the official periodical of Harvard University – as proof.  

Harvard has educated six U.S. presidents, many Supreme Court justices, cabinet officers, and congressional leaders, and dozens of major literary and intellectual figures and yet, its legacy includes the brutal subjugation of Blacks, and active collaboration with those responsible for the deaths of untold numbers.

Maimondes, an influential and well-respected theorist whose views have shaped the understanding of the Law of Moses for generations of Jews finds his name upon a school in Brookline , Massachusetts . Ignoring the fact that he said that Blacks:

“…have among the beings a rank lower than the rank of man, but higher than the rank of apes.”

Additionally, Maimondes in his own writings, and in the writings of those who have studied him, it is found that he considered slaves cattle, and believed slavery to be a part of the cultural fabric and natural order.

Information such as this accompanied with accurate and meticulous documentation is found throughout the entire book. 

This revised version contains an additional 28 pages of charts, footnotes and supplemental documentation specifically for those interested in delving beneath the surface of the superficial information that is usually presented in history books. This book gives an indication of how inextricably linked slavery is to the foundation of the United States while at the same time delivering a brilliant example of how research into this sort of topic should be conducted.

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