I graduated from the City College of the City University of New York (CCNY of CUNY), right in whose foregrounds sits the landmark Hamilton Grange, and so I have quite an intimate mnemonic connection with the tragic story of the first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. The Charlestown, Saint Kitts and Nevis-born, American Founding-Father, is also credited with founding The New York Post newspaper, dubbed by its present-day publishers as the oldest continuously published daily.
The Honorable Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) had been born and raised at a time when the total enslavement of African-Americans was the “inalienable norm,” as far as Upper-Class European-Americans were concerned. And though classified as “White,” Mr. Hamilton, who must have owned quite a remarkable number of slaves himself, does not seem to have been the least bit loathe or averse to the idea of having a consanguineal affinity or relationship with ethnic Diasporic Africans.
Legend has it that once Mr. Hamilton was confronted with the question of the possibility of having an African ancestry. This was, of course, not altogether a practical impossibility, for the overwhelming majority of the human population on these plantation island communities was Black-African. Mr. Hamilton and people who looked like him would have been classified as “Creole” with a capital “C,” the lower-case version of such designation having been exclusively reserved for African-descended inhabitants of the Caribbean islands, as well as such non-island geopolitical enclaves as Trinidad and The Three Guyanas.
But what is fascinating to observe here is the fact that confronted with the possibility of having some African ancestry or heredity, Mr. Hamilton had not taken the cheapest and easiest way out. Which is that he could have flatly and angrily denied or rejected any such association, and perhaps even threatened to settle matters in the fatal manner which he was to do with then-Vice-President Aaron Burr. In other words, Hamilton, unlike every one of the so-called Alt-Right Conservative Republicans, did not reckon it to be tantamount to the abject denigration of his racial integrity to be associated with the African species of humanity, of which yours truly is an unabashed prime example.
Instead, we are told that Mr. Hamilton had simply riposted that he was not privy to the fact of any of his white ancestors’ having “jumped over the wall” to indulge in a mating game with any females on the other side of the wall or fence. We are also told by the history books that this terse Hamiltonian response appears to have permanently put matters to rest. One can only speculate what the response might be were a similar question to be posed to our half-German and half-Scottish President-Elect, to wit, Mr. Donald John Trump.
Which brings me to our President-Elect’s allegedly tweeted demand of an apology from the producers and/or management of Broadway’s Richard Rogers Theater, because his electioneering arch-lieutenant and current Vice-President-Elect, Mr. Mike Pence, had been booed by the audience when he went to see a performance of the “hit hip-hop musical” production called “Hamilton,” as the New York Times put it. Such characteristic Trump demand is nothing short of head-scratching, to say the least in response to a man whose entire presidential electioneering campaign centerpiece consisted of the total alienation of all ethnic, racial, religious and cultural minorities here in the United States. I even had both my 11-and 8-year-old American-born sons ask me whether we may have to leave this country for their ancestral home-country of Ghana.
At best, President-Elect Trump has made most minorities here in the United States feel barely tolerated by the Republican leadership; and at the worst, decidedly unwelcome and criminal. But that like my two sons, Mr. Trump is also a second-generation American, makes matters all the more bewildering. The fact of the matter, though, is that when he decided to bear witness to the Broadway musical “Hamilton,” unmistakably billed as a “Hip-Hop” hit musical, Mr. Pence ought to have realized, immediately, that such a musical performance would not have Mr. Stephen Bannon, President-Elect Trump’s chief strategist and counselor, at center-stage. Then also, it amounts to stretching matters too far to expect that the directors and producers of this musical would have control over the behavior or reaction of the audience towards Mr. Pence.
In the end, we are refreshingly told that just before Vice-President-Elect Pence exited the Ricard Rogers Theater, the actor Brandon Dixon, who had played former Vice-President Aaron Burr, had stepped forward during a curtain call to respectfully address the former Indiana governor on the need to prevail on his boss in order to ensure that their much-touted agenda of “Making America Great Again” did not entail the summary proscription of the citizenship of non-white Americans or what the earnest petitioner called “We Diverse Americans.” That Mr. Dixon is described as African-American must have pointedly underscored the gravity of his message. At least that is the fervent hope of those of us “Wretched of the Earth” who find ourselves caught between an apocalypse and a rupture of Biblical proportions.
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