It’s the anniversary of when people abducted from a continent along with their treasures were “freed.”
The treasures weren’t returned. They sit in people’s wood paneled dens – dovetailed and wainscoated and carved, often by slave labor, from trees long since stolen and decimated elsewhere. Teaks and mahoganies, and other woods named by thieves pretending to be discovering things that already belonged to other people, their given names no longer remembered, and the forests now dust blown stinking pits that make the elephants travel thousands of miles in a season to find an ever narrowing selection of growing things to eat, and their numbers dwindle as new thieves try to capture the magic in their tusks and horns, shot by desperate and hungry men, too trying to find something to eat.
Treasures and heirlooms of families drowned in the middle passage, locked behind glass, slowly rotting in museums bearing the same names as ancestors of the owners of those wood paneled rooms. It’s hard to return treasures when you’ve killed those who know the stories, and confused the survivors and made it impossible to know our ancestors, so it’s quite easy to deny claims and even easier to justify the theft by calling it a “collection” and hiring a curator to tell just enough but not the whole story of the object behind the glass.
Not repaid for centuries of enslavement – reparations went to the plantations owners for “lost property.”
Not “freed” exactly, because the Thirteenth amendment has a loophole, and if you can write laws to criminalize behavior, or keep people from making a living via poor health care, poor education, lower pay, and other systemic obstacles, you can funnel people into prison, or the military, and then sell their labor to defray the cost of care for them.
So I guess we can acknowledge that today is the anniversary of the day that wealthy White folks moved the goalposts again, and created this weird concept in this country – a concept called, “freedom.”