FROM CASSIUS CLAY TO MUHAMMAD ALI
“I’m not what you call me, I’m what I respond to.”(African Proverb)
“Rename a newly enslaved person. This is the way in which a master asserted the destruction of a slave’s old identity and the imposition of a new one. Slave ship anchored off the coast of Africa: 1797 first African man and women brought on board were always renamed “Adam” and “Eve” new names for newly created people. Robert “King” Carter, one of the largest 18th Century planters of the Chesapeake area remarked, “I named them here” and instructed that the overseer’s should take care that negroes… always go by ye names we gave them.”
I had a professor tell me that maybe Cassius Clay was not conscious of the fact that he was encoding the word “king” into the world view. I explained to the professor that ideology was both conscious and unconscious.
“Enslaved people resisted this renaming practice in countless ways. The modes of resistance varied with time and place. During the early years of North American slavery, many enslaved people retained their African names among themselves-especially on large plantations.”
Cassius Clay said, “I shook up the world.” Was he unconsciously or consciously referring to another time and place? “Black Power” was a conceptual idea in the sixties and seventies. For power to be actualized it must first be seen. There were successful and unsuccessful attempts at Black Power with the slave rebellions of Gabrielle Prosser, Nat Turner, John Brown, Amistad, first American settlers at Pee Wee River and of Toussaint Louterture to name a few. But if I’m right about Cassius Clay being either conscious or unconscious of what he was saying, then he must have been referring to a specific time period. If Clay was encoding the words “I’m the king of the world” and “I shook up the world” into the new construct then when was the last time “Black Power” was first actualized? When was the last time “Black Power” shook up the world? Cassius Clay must have been referring to ancient Africa; a time when the Moors and the Nubidian Kings were defending North Africa from the foreign invaders:
“Civilization came to North Africa with the Canaanite traders from Tyre and Sidon, their language Phoenician, later called Punic in the Western Mediterranean closely related to Hebrew. They began exploring the coasts of the west in the late second millennium BC. In (264-241 BC) the Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans, and French had set their minds on colonizing Africa. Their goal was to control the trade routes between North Africa and Sicily and exploit its natural resources.”
This was the first time in history White Power and Black Power went head-to-head for world domination; the world’s first race riot.
“Other indigenous peoples of the interior, between the coast and the Garamantes, are labeled ‘Gaetuli’, doubtlessly linked to the semi-nomads of Numidia and with the Numidia themselves, the most powerful people of the Maghreb. The Moors and the Mauri of the far west were too distant to affect Lepcis.”
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