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(written 2011)

(part of this is an excerpt from the article, 'Atheltics vs. Slavery')
March 2011, ESPN released a documentary about Michigan's Fab Five basketball team that starred Jalen Rose and Chris Webber. During one segment, Rose referred to Black athletes who played for Duke University as 'Uncle Tom's."

Let me first say, I got madd love for Jalen Rose. He's a voice to be reckoned with when it comes to speaking truth about sports, but the history of this name must be addressed because most everyone believes this fabrication of a manz life that has endured humiliation for nearly two-hundred yearz.

We all know being called a sell-out, or more precisely an Uncle Tom, is the ultimate diss — especially when called this from another Afrikan. For yearz Afrikan people who did thingz to be in favor of whitefolk were called 'Uncle Tom's'; the problem is, hedz don't even know who Uncle Tom was.

There is a myth about the character known to many American-Afrikanz as Uncle Tom. To begin with, he was not a mythical person, although his character turned out to be. He was created to describe the house negro; a derogatory term used to verbally assault those slaves who worked in the living quarterz of slave ownerz during the plantation dayz.

Afrikanz who were assigned to work as personal assistants, cooks, and nannies were often the ones targeted. The first came from the slave owner who would chose those with special abilities for inside tasks. The other and more verbal (and sometymz violent) torment came from other enslaved Afrikanz.

For nearly two centuries, Uncle Tom has taken the rap for Quimbo and Sambo , two negro supervisorz who lived and worked on a plantation along the Mississippi River. Owned by a barbarous slaveholder, they were forced to brutally overwork lower-ranking enslaved Afrikanz with a wicked and tyrannical disregard for physical limitation or human dignity.

Writer, Bil Carpenter, writer of Destiny Magazine, wrote in an article,

"Drunk with power to rule over other slaves their cruelty knew no bounds. The slapstick duo obliged their master, and by doing so were afforded privileges, above and far beyond fellow slaves. They were designated as leaders by slave owners who perceived a willingness on their part to take charge of their brethren on behalf of their masters. In exchange for the intoxicating false glory attached to the position of leader, they were required to demonstrate an allegiance to their appointing masters that was tantamount to self-loathing."

Carpenter continued,

"The master of this particularly hated pair, known only as Simon Legree, was described by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her 1852 classic, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Quimbo and Sambo took their derogatory names from the warped Mr. Legree. The two were said to evolve into a mirror image of the cruelty embodied by Mr. Legree, who is described by former slaves as the worst owner of humans the South ever saw. There was, however, a sharp turn in history when Legree received, as payment of an old debt, a slave named Tom from a neighbor. It was Mr. Legree's first encounter with black dignity. This encounter would also lay the foundation for a not-so-subtle division among blacks, which exists, even to this day."

The book, Uncle Tom's Cabin as well as other works describing the history of slavery, referz to Tom as a "rugged individualist who resisted, with dignity, the dictates of an insane system of humans owning humans," said Carpenter.

It is said his character mimicked Kunta Kente of Alex Haley's book, Roots. No amount of oppression or cruelty could break his spirit. Word spread from state to state after he challenged his new master to stop the cruelty exacted on field handz by the overseerz. During an incident when the parents of a young enslaved Afrikan female ran to Tom's cabin for his help to prevent Quimbo from raping their daughter, Tom confronted Legree as being the source of the evil that reigned terror on the entire plantation. He offered his own back to the whip in exchange for the freedom of the young woman.

The lack of fear for his own life and his willingness to stand up to Legree earned Tom the respected title of "Uncle," a name reserved in those dayz for the most honorable male on any given plantation. Enslaved Afrikanz adopted Tom as their own uncle and person to go to for intervention between master and enslaved Afrikan.

Carpenter continues,

"In addition to performing his assigned chores with the utmost precision, he became champion of the mistreated, and eventually the political opposition to the leaders. Legree, as well as other owners of Tom, found that to mistreat Tom brought about a work slowdown."

Soon, Tom lived in his own cabin, which became the place of counsel and sanctuary for Africans with grievances. His willingness to confront black and white injustice earned him a limited freedom long before the Civil War.

He did encounter opposition however, but it was not from white slave owners. His biggest enemies were those black overseer's appointed as leaders over the people. They were being increasingly challenged by slaves who found the bold courage of Uncle Tom very attractive.

The historical fact is that a quiet but growing movement could be found in plantation after plantation of slaves who wrapped themselves around the concept of individual rights and dignity. By the mid 1820's these rugged souls, who grew in their boldness to stand up to their overseer's, became known as Uncle Tom's.

Black leader's who discovered they had an Uncle Tom among those they supervised were struck with panic at the impending challenge to authority. A line in the sand was drawn which some believe aided the spark we all know as the Civil War. The spark of contention, lit so long ago, continues to burn in the black community even today…"

The real Uncle Tom was a revolutionary and this challenged whitefolks ability to continue oppressing us. When his story was turned into a book and then a movie, the writerz re-worked the script making Uncle Tom's character the exact opposite; a slave who was loyal to his master and all too eager to please whitefolk — is this not the strategy YTs used in disguising practically all our history?!

With these works, this became the most commonly known image of Uncle Tom. Through the magic of rewriting history and making it into a book and film, the term "Uncle Tom" became synonomous with "sellout" overnight, putting into hibernation the real story of Uncle Tom.

The "Tom" caricature portrayz Afrikan men as loyal, happily submissive servants. As with the Mammy caricature, "Tom" was born in the era pre-Civil War America; a land very much in the defense of slavery. How could slavery be wrong, argued its backerz, if Afrikan servants were gratified, loyal servants?

"Tom" was presented as a smiling, wide-eyed, dark skinned server: fieldworker, cook, butler, porter, or waiter. Unlike the lower negroes, the "Tom" is portrayed as a dependable worker, eager to serve. Also, unlike the savagely violent negro (as they were labeled), the "Tom" is docile and non-threatening to YT. The "Tom" is often old, physically weak, and psychologically dependent on whitefolk for approval.

This is the same persona given to Stowe's "Tom" in her book. Her version of "Tom" is a gentle, humble, christian slave. Stowe uses this character to show the perfect gentleness and forgiving nature which she believed lay dormant in all Afrikanz — an imbedded psyche the majority of us around the world have psychologically inherited.

Examples of this is seen with Mr. Shelby, Tom's first Master, who is kind. Financial troubles forced Shelby to sell Tom. Tom does not run away despite a warning that he is to be sold. Mr. St. Clare, his second master, befriendz Tom and promises to free him. Unfortunately for Tom, St. Clare is killed before signing his freedom paperz. He endz up bein' sold to Simon Legree.

Legree wanted to make Tom an overseer. When he is ordered to flog a woman slave, Tom refuses. Legree strikes him repeatedly with a cowhide lash. Again, he tellz Tom to beat the woman. Tom, with a soft voice, sayz, "the poor crittur's sick and feeble; 'twould be downright cruel, and it's what I never would do, nor begin to. Mas'r, if you mean to kill me, kill me; but, as to my raising my hand agin anyone here, I never shall, -- I'll die first."

In a later altercation, because Tom refuses to reveal the whereabouts of Afrikanz who broke free, Legree orderz Sambo to beat him until he tellz and if not, to kill him. Tom died as a result of these injuries.

What's deep is despite being a model slave—hard working, loyal, non-rebellious, and often beefed with his overseer—Tom is sold, cursed, slapped, kicked, flogged, worked like a horse, then beaten to death. All this and he never lifts a hand to hit his masters nor to stop a blow. he doesn't complain, rebel, nor run away.

This is probably the reason the names "Uncle Tom" and "Tom" have become termz of disgust for American-Afrikanz: manz loyalty to his master is superseded only by his devotion to religious faith that supports the oppression of his people.

Uncle Tom's Cabin achieved a major feat for its time selling over two million copies within two yearz of its publication in 1853. By 1879 there were at least forty-nine traveling companies performing Uncle Tom's Cabin throughout the United States—all as a form of propaganda selling the stereotype of abiding negroes. The producerz went a step further in changing the book version for the stage which became known as Tom Shows.

Little Eva was now the star; all other characterz became irrelevant. The violence of slavery became a misnomer, almost to the point of mythological. Afrikanz were depicted as "happy darkies" living under a divine and harmonious system. The stage Tom's represented a reconstructed contrast to the original Uncle Tom . Stowe's Tom was an obedient, loyal, non-complaining enslaved Afrikan, but he was not weak, submissive, or docile. Tom resisted Legree. He gave his life rather than help Legree find two women runawayz.

Patricia Turner, author of Ceramic Uncles & Celluloid Mammies, noted the versions of Uncle Tom that entertained audiences on stages were drained of these noble traits. He was an unthinking religious slave, sometymz happy, often fearful. The stage Tom's were middle-aged or elderly. He was shown stooped, often with a cane or stick. He was thin, almost withered. His eyesight was failing. These depictionz of Uncle Tom are inconsistent with Stowe's Tom who was a "broad-chested, strong armed fellow." Stowe's original was the father of small children, unlike the desexed Toms of the stage. Stowe's Tom was capable of outworking most slaves.

YT knowing the difference in effects reading has opposed to the ease of simply watching, everything was in place to reinforce the stereotype of the scrawny, god and overseer fearing negro — an image that has haunted us since.

There's another story to the legend of Uncle Tom that rarely is acknowledged, that being the belief by many Uncle Tom actually lived under the name Josiah Henson.

Henson (June 15, 1789 – May 5, 1883), was an author, abolitionist, and minister. Born into slavery in Charles County, Maryland, he escaped to Ontario, Canada in 1830, and founded a settlement and laborerz school for other fugitive Afrikanz at Dawn, near Dresden in Kent County. At the time of his arrival, Ontario was known as the Province of Upper Canada (U.C.), becoming the Province of Canada in 1841, then Ontario in 1867, all within Henson's lifetime there.

His 1849 autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada, is widely believed to have inspired the title character of Stowe's, Uncle Tom's Cabin. Following the success of Stowe's novel, Henson issued an expanded version of his life story in 1858 with, Truth Stranger Than Fiction. Father Henson's Story of His Own Life. Interest in his life continued, and nearly two decades later, his life story was updated and published as Uncle Tom's Story of His Life: An Autobiography of the Rev. Josiah Henson (1876).

He was born on a farm near Port Tobacco in Charles County, Maryland. When he was a boy, his father was punished for standing up to a slave owner, receiving one hundred lashes and having his right ear nailed to the whipping-post, and then cut off. His father was later sold to someone in Alabama. Following his family's overseerz death, young Josiah was separated from his family when he was sold as property in an estate sale.

After his mother pleaded with her new owner Isaac Riley, Riley agreed to buy back Henson so she could at least have her youngest child with her; on condition he would work in the fieldz. Henson rose in his overseerz' esteem, and was eventually entrusted as the supervisor of his overseerz farm, located in Montgomery County, Maryland (present day North Bethesda).

He tried to buy his freedom by giving his master $350 which he had saved up over the yearz, only to find that it had been increased to $1000. Josiah Henson moved to Little Yellowbanks near Lewisport, Ky, in 1825. He was appointed to govern over Amos Riley's enslaved Afrikanz. Amos obtained Josiah from his brother Isaac. Isaac transferred slaves to his brother when he incurred debts he could not pay. Subsequently, Josiah escaped to Canada in 1829.

Wikipedia states he escaped to Kent County, U.C., in 1830, after learning he might be sold again. Crossing into Upper Canada via the Niagara River, with his wife Nancy and their four children, he settled at Dawn, Canada West. Ontario had become a refuge for slaves from the United States after 1793, when Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe passed "An Act to prevent further introduction of Slaves, and to limit the Term of Contracts for Servitude within this Province". The legislation did not immediately end slavery in the colony, but it did prevent the importation of slaves, meaning that any U.S. slave who set foot in what would eventually become Ontario, was free. By the time Henson arrived, others had already made Ontario home, including Black Loyalists from the American Revolution, and refugees from the War of 1812.

Henson first worked farmz near Fort Erie, then Waterloo, moving with friendz to Colchester by 1834 to set up a Black settlement on rented land. Through contacts and financial assistance there, he was able to purchase 200 acres in Dawn Township to realize his vision of a self-sufficient community. The Dawn Settlement eventually prospered, reaching a population of 500 at its height, and exporting black walnut lumber to the United States and Britain—a feat dated almost one hundred yearz before Black Wallstreet of Tulsa, Oklahoma (1921).

Henson purchased an additional 200 acres next to the Settlement, where his family lived. Henson also became an active Methodist preacher, and spoke as an abolitionist on routes between Tennessee and Ontario. He also served in the Canadian army as a military officer, having led a Black militia unit in the Rebellion of 1837. Though many residents of the Dawn Settlement returned to the United States after slavery was abolished there, Henson and his wife continued to live in Dawn for the rest of their lives. Henson died at the age of 93 in Dresden, on May 5. 1883.

Here is where we see history altered in America's early dayz primarily to imprint a stereotype we still suffer from today that has proven to be socially, economically, and spiritually beneficial to their plight of being the superior race. The film and book had a major role in permanently ingraining these stereotypes into the American psyche. This enabled the term "Uncle Tom" to become synonymous with Afrikanz being "boot-lickerz", "lazy", alwayz "shuckin' and jivin'," and "passive" with no will to be free and not the true freedom fighter as Henson so eloquently set as an example.

The weight of this ploy to reverse the truth of a liberator to a slow-talking, carefree, and docile-styled figure we've become accustomed to know in later characterz like Buckwheat of the Little Rascals, the Pickaninny, and Uncle Remus is uncalculated. The light-skinned mulatto was seen as a sex object; the affectionate, dark-skinned female became the mammy; and the portrayal of our Afrikan children became the Pickaninny often seen with knotty-tangled braidz with big protruding lips painted red.

Evidence of this became apparent in the 1960 and 70s, when the book was counter-attacked by writerz like James Baldwin who wrote an essay, "Everybody's Protest Novel," and the Black Power movement sayin' Uncle Tom engaged in race betrayal. And of course, YT did nothing to stop it; this was the icing on the cake… the Afrikan freedom fighter was against their own kind without knowing it because they did not know of Josiah Henson! And as long as they didn't know of Henson, the fallacy of Uncle Tom would live on—bringing it full-circle to Jalen Rose's inaccurate use of the term.

Of course it's better for YT to have you think of Uncle Tom as a steppin'-fetch-it-boot-lickin'-shiftless-negro rather than familiarize yourself with the life of Josah Henson. Global White Supremacy simply cannot allow any positive images of Afrikan people whatsoever, for it would put their mission and eventual power in jeopardy.

The question is, now that you know, to do nothing; to enlighten no one on the seriousness of using the term 'Uncle Tom' in reverence, admiration, and celebration opposed to believing the version YT wants you to believe simply exonerates whitefolks misdeedz to our people, our legacy, our history… Let the true spirit of Uncle Tom be known! Bless...

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• Just read and really feel the need to share. Most enlightening and seems to empower due to the historical focus in article of whites consciously using the true historical reference by twisting the truth into a self destructive reference.
xxxxxxxxxxPosted by Alvin Franklin ( on Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 5:23 AM

CEO RESPONSE: Humble thANKHs, Generaaal! We must be in the practice of correcting and honoring the wrongful deedz to our Ancestorz. Each one teach MANY! Bless...

• Brilliant clarification and research about the real Uncle Tom vs the revised version. Thanks so very much. I will pass this on.
xxxxxxxxxxPosted by adjanic ( on Sunday, April 13, 2012 at 8:38 PM

•Thank you for the information in a way that clearly gives the correct and accurate description of the man. I was just correcting a brother and his use of "Uncle Tom" who wrote an article Black Americans Betray Forefathers with use of the N-word for BlackMen In America, a very discussion blog. Although the article was about film critic Jake Hamilton the interview with Samuel Jackson and the role he played in the movie Django Unchained. I still had a problem with his description of Jackson role as an "Uncle Tom" which is to the contrary.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! For addressing this Miss Justices, uncovering the veil, of this "Decepticon" which has held us hostage for decades and brining to the forefront the real and true story of and about the man they called Uncle Tom. As a youngster, growing up in Brooklyn, NY, I remember seeing a late night movie about Uncle Tom and the true story. It could have been on the Late, Late, Show which played on channel 2 or on The Million Dollar movie which aired on channel 9 both in the New York City.

xxxxxxxxxxPosted by James Sanford ( on Wednesday, March 5, 2014 at 4:34 PM

• This was truly an uplifting, wonderful article!! It's a beautiful thing when a long lost truth surfaces! It's also sad, that we are so easily brainwashed, by what we are told, or see in the media, and that we believe the lies without questioning them! Thank you so much for exposing the truth, by exposing the truth, also helps understand the true reason for the misconception of Uncle Tom, which is mental slavery and division.
xxxxxxxxxxPosted by Tamika Stevens ( on Wednesday, October 16, 2013 at 2:58 PM

• This was some awesome information, I will be sure to pass it on to my children! Keep up the good work. It is assuredly some great food for thought! Do-Think-and Live MAAT'.
xxxxxxxxxxPosted by Aleda Allen ( on Wednesday, September 5, 2012 at 8:05 PM

• Thanks for the Clarification!!
xxxxxxxxxxPosted by Brian Dunigan ( on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 at 6:38 PM

• Excellent article, brother!
xxxxxxxxxxPosted by Phil O'Neal ( on Saturday, April 16, 2011 at 3:29 PM

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