Mark Peters: Living in America through my eyes

Published: 2/14/2020 10:15:12 AM
Modified: 2/14/2020 10:15:00 AM

February is black history month and I want to express what its history means to me as a black man. Afro-Americans have contributed with their athleticism and musical talents to make a better world.

The first recorded Africans arrived in British North America in late August 1619. That’s when “The White Lion,” a privateer ship owned by Robert Rich, 2nd Earl of Warwick but flying a Dutch flag, docked at what is now Old Point Comfort (located in modern day Hampden, Virginia) with about 20 Africans.

They came to Jamestown, Virginia via Cape Comfort in August 1619 as indentured servants.

Nearly a century earlier, on April 2, 1513, Juan Ponce de Leon became the first European explorer to reach the coast of what is now the United States of America (modern Florida). In November 1528, a slave called Esteban (or Estevanico) became the first American slave to step foot on what is now the United States of America.

In 1530, Juan De La-Barrera, a Seville merchant, began transporting slaves directly from Africa to the new world. Before this, slaves had normally passed through Europe first. His lead was quickly followed by other slave traders.

The injustices go back to the Civil War days when blacks could enlist but could not fight alongside white soldiers.

In World War II, American Fortress (bombers) flying over Germany were getting taken down by the German (Airforce) Luftwaffe. The Tuskegee airmen gave them air support to accomplish their mission. The Tuskegee airmen were all black pilots.

As one story goes, a white American pilot who was being chased by German Messerschmitt’s looked to his left and saw what he described as the sky opened up and there was an angel. It was a PS1 Tuskegee Red Tail giving him air support to finish his mission. They saluted each other.

If ever there is to be peace and harmony among races, we have to work on it together instead of continuing to destroy each other. Otherwise, neither one of us will survive.

Mark F. Peters


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