Magnolia Roots The Curse of Ham

It seems we started off wrong ‘cause of somebody named Ham. And so, we are damned to be water-bearers and woodchoppers and servants because, all of a sudden, we are black with blood curses. We arrive here in trouble. Everybody else starts out with a new soul, only we come here with the curse of Ham around our necks. No purity for us. Christ didn’t get around to it (Virginia Writers Project, 1940. 93).
Photography provided courtesy of Infinite Inquiry Inc., all rights reserved.

On most plantations slaves were not allowed to sing African songs, dance African dances, or speak African languages. The practice of conjuration was universally outlawed. The very word ‘African’ was meant to invoke the image of ignorant savagery and the words ‘black’ and ‘dark’ (as in darkey) carried connotations of evil, immorality, and ugliness. Blacks were taught that their skin was ugly, that their lips and noses were unaesthetic and malformed, and that they carried a natural smell that was offensive. Like sheep, Negros did not have hair but wool… (Erskine 2014, 105).

Still, what every kindergartner should know perpetuates the magnolia myth at its earliest stages of the Core Knowledge Series (Hirsh, 1996).

Analysis of existential situations of oppression reveals that their inception lay in an act of violence - initiated by those with power. This violence, as a process, is perpetuated from generation to generation of oppressors, who become its heirs and are shaped by its climate (1970).

Humanity is a 'thing,' and they possess it as an exclusive right, an inherited property.

For them, having more is an inalienable right, a right they acquired through their own 'effort,' with their 'courage to take risks.'

To surmount the situation of oppression, people must first critically recognize its causes, so that through transforming action they can create a new situation, one which makes possible the pursuit of a fuller humanity.

The oppressed, having internalized the image of the oppressor and adopted his guidelines, are fearful of freedom. Freedom would require them to eject this image and replace it with autonomy and responsibility.
Created By
M.A. Lucas-Green


M.A. Lucas-Green (web arrangement) A.T. Lucas (Atlanta panoramic still) K.E. Green (footage of 2012 Air Force JROTC Armed Exhibition Champions - Mundy's Mill High School: Cadet Col. C.L. Swinney III D.R. Boyles (Considering Hermeneutics: Hermes, Teachers, and Intellectualism, 1994) L. Code (Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location, 2006) P. Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1970) M. Mitchell (Gone with the Wind, 1936) W.E.B. DuBois (The Souls of Black Folk, 1903) J.E. King (Black Education: A Transformative Research and Action Agenda, 2005) Z. Muhammad (Faith and Courage to Educate Our Own: Reflections on Islamic Schools in the African American Community, 2005) C.D. Lee (The State of Knowledge About the Education of African Americans, 2005) J.J. Ellis (American Sphinx, 1996) A. Gordon-Reed (The Hemingses of Monticello) J.W. Loewen (Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. 1995) The Shop: Monticello (Magnolia Virginiana, 2010) S. Huff (Moonlight and Magnolias: Myth as Memory, 2000) T.D. Fallace (Dewey and the Dilemma of Race: An Intellectual History 1895-1922, 2011)

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