Collectively, black folks in the United States have never wanted to highlight the issue of class and class exploitation, even though there have always been diverse caste and class groups among African-Americans. Racist biases shaped historical scholarship so that the information about African explorers who came to the Americas before Columbus was suppressed along with elementary knowledge of the black folks who came as explorers and immigrants who were never slaves. Indeed, until recently most black people telling the story of our presence here in the so-called New World would begin that narrative with slavery. They would not talk about the Africans who came here bringing gifts of cotton seed, or the small numbers of black immigrants who came seeking the same freedom as their white counterparts.
While a few white Americans are willing to acknowledge that a large majority of the European colonizers who came to these shores were indigents and working-class folks seeking to improve their lot, mostly they tell the story of their arrival on these shores by calling attention to the journeys of the privileged. Like their black counterparts,