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There are a lot of controversial moments, works, and speeches in African-American history; not just significant and progressive works but controversial ones that introduced a radical idea to the African-American framework, incited action and/or changed the way some interpreted the plight of Blacks in the diaspora. This list does not include the “I Have A Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. which is one of the most celebrated texts in modern history; rather, it includes those ideas rejected or challenged by the mainstream as well as those that resonate in the minds of many unconventional thinkers today. These are just a handful of those works and ideas from the library of provocative manifestos.

Willie Lynch Letter

Many times, on our comment boards, readers tend to invoke the historical document, the Willie Lynch letter, as a way to explain the roots of Black discord. Well, the Willie Lynch letter is now suspected to be a total fabrication. Who wrote the letter? We still don’t know. Nevertheless, the contents of that letter have sparked a critical discussion in the Black community.

The story is that in 1712, a sla-ve owner named Willie Lynch delivered a speech to other sla-ve-owners about how to control their sla-ves: by pitting them against one another. He instructed them to separate sla-ves by skin color, age, and sex in order to breed distrust and hate. Many have gone to explain this to be the reason between the division between lighter skinned and dark skinned peoples as well as the stressed relationship between black men and black women. The Willie Lynch letter is seen as the blueprint for self-hate in the Black community. Even though the letter is not authentic, it has ignited an important conversation about the ills of relations amongst Black people.

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