Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 130 - Multiracial March on Washington (Part1)

The next couple blogs are going to be my speech that I gave on the first ever 1996 Multiracial March on Washington.  Charles Byrd organized the march and some other guest speakers who played an integral part of the changes recommended by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and ultimately signed into law by President Clinton were Ramona Douglass, Maria Root, Susan Graham and Reginald Daniel.  As a white mother of biracial children, to call my children "black" is an insult to me.  However, if they chose to self-identify as only black, that is their right for which I stood on that day and gave this speech.  I fought for their right as any military fights for our freedoms.  I just pray that they remember it was both their African-American father and their Caucasian mother who stood in Washington DC that day, and it was their white mother speaking for those who couldn't...doing the right thing.

BJ Winchester
President, A Multiracial Social Group

Let us acknowledge our appreciation to Charles Byrd for having the foresight to conceive the idea of this first Multiracial March on Washington and the determination to carry out his vision.  Thank you Charles Byrd!

Welcome to a chapter of history! Remember, never again can this history be repeated.  never again can we seize the moment to say, "I was at the first Multiracial March on Washington!"  Our childrens children will read about this day and acknowledge that you are the leaders of this movement and YOU were the great visionaries of the future.  And as we compete with the 1996  Summer Olympic s in Atlanta and the Olympic Soccer games here in Washington, DC, let us acknowledge Dan O-Brien.  Dan is representing America in the Olympic decathlon event.  He has been quoted as saying, "When give the choice for self-identification on the current forms, I check the African-American box."  he also told of his preference to have a mixed race box to correctly self-identify.  Just think.  Dan O'Brien, a multiracial person, may soon be declared the GREATEST ATHLETE IN THE WORLD!  Dan, we are here representing you today, as you so proudly represent America in Atlanta.  We wish you well.  Together, in different ways, we are both creating history.

To the people who have traveled great distances, thank you for cherishing the issue enough to care.  For the people who have traveled any distance, thank you for being bold and proud about an issue that has divided this country for TOO LONG!

My name is BJ Winchester.  I am co-founder of a Multiracial Social Group in Jacksonville, Florida called Unity.  We feel Unity was the best name for our group since, by definition according to Webster, Unity is "the state of being one, as in spirit, aims, interests feelings, etc, of that which is made up of diverse elements or individuals."  We felt that it was relevant for Jacksonville, Florida to be represented here today, because Jacksonville is the birth place of the Jim Crow Laws.  These laws permeate the climate of America which we see today.  It is these laws which have been the backbone of the one-drop of black-blood-theory.  And although these unjust laws are legally non-binding, they are still very much a part of the American psyche.  The anti-miscegenation laws, laws against interracial marriage originated from the Jim Crow laws.  These same laws have created this unspoken view of multiracial children as being illegitimate.  We are glad to say in1996 that the community of Jacksonville, Florida has embraced its multiracial community, and although it is not perfect, it is striving to educate itself and support multiracial people.

So it is today that we traveled from Florida to unify the multiracial movement.  We come together in UNITY to share our "oneness in spirit" for the freedom of choice.  The freedom of choice for our children and multiracial people to self-identify to that which they are - multiracial.  Today the multiracial community is forever under the scrutiny of many eyes.  There are many eyes that look, not at our true self but at the color or hue of our skin  and decide for us what we should be called and/or labeled.  I ask you, has it not been clear enough when we have refused to answer their question of identity (due to lack of a choice that speaks the truth) that they would then insult us further by filling in the blank for us?  Have you asked yourself what give the people who choose to administer the "Eyeball Test" the right to say who I am, or who you are, or who anybody is for that matter?  Last time I checked there were no federally regulated classes given and certified licenses awarded for this "Critical Eyeball Federally Mandated Test."

Yet this compiled data is used for all Federal Agencies.  There is no social relevance of racial make-up of the United States if we're all created and treated equal.  So it goes without saying, the country is still in need of categorizing its people.  For now all of us are NOT equal.  We are a minority with predictions of an astounding growth rate faster than any other group of people.  But as the nation opposes our views due to their lack of education, we stand for the struggle to gain acceptance for being honest about racial tolerance, racial acceptance and racial integration.  We can find solace in the notion that we will soon be the majority!

Today I have come before you to stand for diversity, love and understanding of one another. I bring before you history calling us to move forward.  Today, through me, the voices from our past call us to be strong.  No matter how painful history has been to us in the past, we have an opportunity to come together now and rewrite the course of race relations in this country.  Today I provide you with a road map f where we have been, and hopefully a route to the future.

I speak of the mulatto in the passages of history because it gives a clear view of how history can repeat itself.  I do not mean to exclude multiracial people who are of non-black heritage.

The earliest recorded history of multiracial people was in 1691.  Anne Wall, and English white woman, was arrested and enslaved for the sole reason of having two children born of a black man.  I think this is what she might have been saying at the time...

I have seen the confusion these legislatures and plantation owners have.  They are posted with the dilemma of mulatto children born to white women.  My two sons are mulatto and created by the union of the Negro dad and myself, their white mother.  The legislatures are trying to figure out how to stop these Negro men from having children that by law are FREE. For us, it is an issue of love and of being together as a family.  We couldn't marry because nobody would marry us.  It is against the law  and nobody wants to go to jail.  They denounced our children as "that abominable mixture and spurious issue."   Mulatto children of white women were becoming more frequent.  They first felt the English law was acceptable to use in America.  The English law states that child's status would follow the status of its father.  Upon further review, the law was to be changed to follow the status of the mother.  Te children of slave women would then still be the plantation owner's property, or chattel.  but this newly posed problem of mulatto children born of white women has them wondering what to do.  Well they finally figured it all out at my expense.  In 1705, they stiffened the sentence for white persons who married negroes or mulattoes to six months in jail.  They wrote about me in the Elizabeth City County Newspaper in Virginia as if I had committed a terrible crime.  They said, "and for as much as Anne Wall of this country, a free English woman being convicted of having two mulatto sons by a Negro, begotten and borne of her body contrary to ye law, it is therefore ordered that ye said Anne Wall do serve Mr. Peter Hobson of Norfolk County, Virginia the term five years."  yes, they fined me 15 pounds of sterling, five years of service and my sons were also taken from me and turned over for service to Mr. Hobson until they reached thirty-one years of age.  They even banished me from Elizabeth County. I don't care too much about what they did to me, but they were unfair to my children and other mulatto children.  They banned free mulattoes from this county in Virginia, so many of them moved north to Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.  They passed legislation in 1705 prohibiting mulattoes form holding office, cancel ed their right to vote, their right to bear arms, and the government taxed them unfairly so they couldn't make a profit.  (to be continued..)

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