Radio Host Thinks Misbehavior same as Slavery
Augusta, Georgia radio host, Austin Rhodes, is against renaming the John C. Calhoun expressway. During his February 7, 2018 radio show, Rhodes suggested John C. Calhoun, a slave owner and staunch defender of slavery, is no worse than James Brown because of his well publicized misbehavior. He concluded if the Calhoun expressway is renamed, then, the James Brown Boulevard and the James Brown Arena should be renamed. Therefore, Rhodes believes a crime against humanity which lasted over 300 years is equivalent to the misbehavior of a Black entertainer. Augusta Commissioner Bill Fennoy would disagree.
The attitude of Bill Fennoy and Austin Rhodes can be understood by a Frederick Douglass quote. Douglass said, “I am one of those who thinks the best friend of a nation [or city] is he who most faithfully rebukes her for her sins – and he, her worst enemy, who, under the specious and popular garb of patriotism, seeks to excuse, palliate, and defend them.” On this issue, Augusta’s best friend is Fennoy who rebukes the city for the sin of naming an expressway to honor a defender of slavery while Rhodes seeks to defend and excuse the transgression.
Clearly, Rhodes does not understand the adverse impact slavery had on Black people in America. Perhaps, he should embrace the words of historian Dr. John Henrik Clarke. In his work, Slave Trade and Slavery, he wrote, “In the United States, in the fight to destroy every element of culture of the slaves, the system was cruel. No other system did so much to demean the personality of the slave or so ruthlessly sell family members away from each other.”
Moreover, Dr. Clarke wrote, “Another neglected aspect of the African in the New World is the role of the African women. Few white women were brought to the New World during the first hundred years. Many families of the New World originated from cohabitation between white slave master and the African woman. Later this same slave master made and supported laws forbidding his own child to have an education.” As a slave owner, Calhoun tacitly approved of the molestation and mistreatment of female African slaves.
Furthermore, Dr. Clarke wrote, “It has been estimated that during the African slave trade, Africa lost 60 to 100 million people. This was the greatest single crime ever committed against a people in world history.” Clearly, Austin Rhodes is on the wrong side.