THE REAL BENJAMIN BANNEKER ‘LETTER TO THOMAS JEFFERSON’ reported by norman j. clement rph,dds

‘which he countered the racist framing of African Americans’

foot note 37 “White Party, White Government”, pg. 13-14, from, HHS report White Opiod: Pharmaceutical race and The War on Drugs That Wasn’t. 2017

“By the late 1700s white-framed views of African Americans were ever more firmly enshrined in the legal and political institutions of the growing nation by the white descendants of the earlier colonists. Indeed, African Americans have long been an overt or hidden reference point for these and later whites’ actions or interpretations of society”

Benjamin Bannecker Designer of the US Capital

“Against this aggressive European American oppression and its racializa- tion, both indigenous peoples and African Americans resisted when and how they could.

For example, in August 1791, Benjamin Banneker, a free black astronomer, surveyor, and almanac creator, penned an important letter to Jefferson, then U.S. Secretary of State, in which he countered the racist framing of

Palaia Fokaia, East Attica, Greece

African Americans as lacking in virtue and humanity. He called out the “general prejudice and prepossession, which is so prevalent in the world against those of my complexion,” but added that 

“we are a race of beings, who have long labored under the abuse and censure of the world; that we have long been looked upon with an eye of contempt; and that we have long been considered rather as brutish than human, and scarcely capable of mental endowments.” 

Next he forthrightly urged the powerful Jefferson to recognize the “indispensible duty of those, who maintain for themselves the rights of human nature, and who possess the obligations of Christianity,


to extend their power and influence to the relief of every part of the human race, from whatever burden or oppression they may unjustly labor under.” Then, drawing on whites’ common slavery metaphor, he cited British efforts to reduce white American revolutionaries to “a state of servitude,” and suggested that there was a time when Jefferson himself had seen “into the injustice of a state of slavery, and in which you had just apprehensions of the horrors of its condition.”44 

Temple of Poseidon, Laviro, East Attica, Greece

Banneker boldly and accurately added that, even as Jefferson had articulated in a Declaration of Independence condemnations of British violations of whites’ liberty, he and his slaveholding associates had also detained 

“by fraud and violence so numerous a part of my brethren, under groaning captivity and cruel oppression” and thus were “guilty of that most criminal act, which you professedly detested in others, with respect “to yourselves.”45 

In this assertive black counter-framing, which made use of some of the same “rights” language as the white American revolutionaries, black Americans were viewed as at least as virtuous and human as white Americans. “


from, norm rph dds, tampa, fl. Pronto Pharmacy. I found this while researching so-called Opioid Crisis, from a foot note report from HHS study Published online 2017 Jun 28. doi: 10.1057/biosoc.2015.46. PMCID: PMC5501419 NIHMSID: NIHMS752948 PMID: 28690668 by
Julie Netherlanda and Helena Hansenb,c,*
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