lucius_gantt_1.jpgBack in slavery days, there were hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of brave black men and women who resisted the exploitation, the abuse and the oppression of wicked slave masters.

Those fearless men and women would constantly seek to live their lives as free citizens. They would plot and plan 24/7 to find ways to escape the plantation and go back to Africa or to just get away from their devilish captors.

But their efforts and desires to change their lives and conditions oftentimes rested merely on a wing and a prayer.

Most slave rebellions in America were thwarted by slave snitches. The slaves who were happy working from sunup to sundown, the slaves who were happy to sleep on the ground and the slaves who were happy to be the baby mommas of the evil, despicable slave masters would always run and tell the slave masters when the proud slaves were planning a revolt or an escape from the cotton fields and the plantation.

When they were caught and rounded up, the runaway slaves were routinely whipped and beaten by the slave masters but more often they were “punished” by other slaves.

After seeing their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters beaten to a pulp, castrated or even executed, many slaves would just give up to get along.

Subsequently, one white overseer with a whip in one hand and a bible in the other could control hundreds of slaves.

In 2012, about 500 years after chattel slavery, some black people in America can still be controlled by a wing and a prayer.

Can I prove it? Yes!

The eyes of the nation were this week on Florida. There has been a lot of news about the Republican presidential primary in the state and the GOP has a limited number of registered black Republicans but there are issues like gaming approval and other issues in many Florida counties that will bring black voters out to the polls.

In any gaming vote, for instance, the white voters will be divided, so proponents and opponents of gaming must have black votes to be victorious on Election Day.

So, white folks looking for black voter support always run to House Negroes. No, not the kind you’re thinking about. They run to Negroes in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

And what do the black elected officials tell them?

Well, most political campaign money is spent on media. By the time you read this column, you will have already been bombarded with TV and radio attack ads, newspaper editorials and endorsements, direct mail, robo phone calls and so on to generate voter support.

White politicians and political interests go to your black legislators or your black commissioners and say, “What should we do to get black voters to vote for us? What is the answer?” Is the answer the one that elected officials give: “Put black people to work,” Is the answer “Hire or contract black media experts or political professionals?” Is the answer “White people should buy ads in black newspapers or on black-owned television and radio stations?” No.

The answer given most by black elected officials seeking to get involved in campaigns for white politicians or special interest groups is: “If you want to win, just give me all of the money, just pay me.”

I love it anytime a black person can get paid but, for the life of me, I can’t understand why it is so difficult for blacks in politics to say, “Pay me and the black professionals,” or, “Pay me and patronize the black-owned media institutions.”

Well, there is one group of blacks that does get a small slice of the campaign money pie and that is your black preachers. If you pay the preacher, you can speak at the black church and disrupt or distract worship services. You may even be able to use the church bus, paid for by the congregation, to give people rides to the polls.

However, according to the elected officials advising the white politicos, the best thing to do to generate black votes and control black voters is to give black people some chicken and beer.

It has been said if you build a baseball field in a corn patch, they will come and if you give black people some chicken they will vote for you.

I pray that I’m wrong but I think of the billions of dollars that will be spent in 2012 election campaigns only a miniscule percentage will result in contracts or jobs for black voters and black people.

Why? Because in 2012 you can still stifle black political and social progress and control black people and black voters with a wing and a prayer — a chicken wing — and that is a shame.

Lucius Gantt is a consultant based in Tallahassee and author of the book  Beast Too: Dead Man Writing. He may be reached at

Photo: Lucius Gantt