Review: Descendants of American Slaves
Ongoing events at Ferguson, MO have called attention to unrest that is at the heart of our beloved America. It is not a situation that arose from outside influence; it was born and bred right here in America. It was predictable. Economic injustice breeds un-ease and unrest wherever it is permitted to flourish.
The Ferguson situation, and hundreds just like it all across the U.S., have been in the making since the first slave ships arrived on our shores. It has been exacerbated by centuries of ‘head in the sand’ attitudes at best, and overt racism at worse. Perhaps the most appalling act, according to author, entrepreneur, and activist Norris Shelton, has been to diminish and dilute any attempts to right the horrible wrong done to American slaves and their offspring by lumping them with every other group of persons of color in the U.S. Shelton attempts to correct this diminishment and dilution by identifying the offspring of slaves who were forced into America as “Descendants of American Slaves”.
Shelton has written an excellent backstory that captures the reality and spirit of what it is like to be a Descendant of American Slaves. He points out that although the practice of slavery as a United States economic system has formally ended, the mental enslavement that exists as a result of the slave culture is still alive and well. Shelton should know. He was born into poverty in pre-civil rights rural Georgia, USA. He dropped out of school after the 9th grade. Yet, he became a successful entrepreneur whose businesses enjoyed such clients as General Motors and General Electric. His books Alley Rat, Crabs in a Barrel, and Black Name, White Game give vivid word pictures to the good, bad, and the ugly of his experiences.
There are other Descendants of American Slaves who write about how to create a successful business in America; Norris Shelton has proven that he can actually do it. The knowledge that informed his actions, and the process that he used are presented in his books America’s Little Black Book, Gatekeeper of the American Dream, and American Slaves Inc. Renaissance Plan. You might be surprised at how he did it. Here’s a hint: he worked across racial lines to assemble support that was needed for success, and continues to enjoy multi-racial support to this day. He discovered that Crabs in a Barrel come in all races and ethnicities, and that Uncle Tom is still alive and well! He also knows of the brilliance and capabilities of Descendants of American Slaves. Shelton has figured out that a keen understanding of how things and people operate is a critical element of success.
Shelton’s works help all its readers understand the why behind the mistrust and hatred that permeate so much of our society. People of all ethnicities would do well to read and gain insights. Understanding brings about healing and the courage to improve behavior.
Shelton has collaborated with author, activist, and commercial airline pilot Gerald Higginbotham to develop tools that not only enlighten, but also include a process that immediately supports building businesses that are owned and operated within the communities they serve. For decades, Higginbotham has been promoting the idea of working collaboratively to build a solid and sustainable economic system that provides ownership, jobs, a community tax base, and more. His book, Collaboration, Teamwork, and Networking: A Case for Working Together Systematically to Achieve Successful Living presents an outline for community-led economic solvency. His Master Builder System is a detailed education system that prepares participants in the system for sustainable success. Higginbotham’s Preparation for Success training is an antidote for the fallout from the kinds of experiences that Shelton describes in his books about his past.
A mind-shift is needed in order for Descendants of American Slaves to recognize who they are, then move forward to fully engage their incredible knowledge and skills. When they do, all of America will greatly benefit through invigorated innovation and business development. Perhaps best of all, events such as those in Ferguson will decline.
Coleman Papers/Locust Hill Publishing
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