In celebration of Black History Month, let us reflect on the tribulations and accomplishments of our elders and ancestors and learn from history. Today we are going to talk about Antonio Oblitas who according to my records, was the first freed slave to get reparations. Today, we got a lot of cats running around talking about reparations but don’t know what true reparations are to justify slavery. Well, nobody today can talk about reparations because only the likes of Antonio Oblitas got the true definition of reparations.
During the 1780s in Spanish-occupied Peru, a Spanish governor by the name of Antonio de Arriaga was the chief oppressor who job was to work the local Peruvians to pay their Spanish conquerors to send the money back to the Spanish monarchy in Spain. The funny side commentary is how you got Black folks, especially from the Caribbean all celebrating these European monarchies when those Kings and Queens were oppressing the living ish out of them and their oppressed ancestors for hundreds of years and British, France and Spain haven’t paid back a dime of the money they stolen while colonizing.
Although the Spanish trusteeship labor system, or encomienda had been abolished in 1720, most Indians at the time living in the Andean region of what is now Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, who made up nine tenths of the population at the time, were still pushed into forced labor for what were legally labeled as public work projects. However, most natives worked under the supervision of a master either tilling soil, mining or working in textile mills. What little wage that was acquired by workers was heavily taxed and cemented Indian indebtedness to Spanish masters.
The Roman Catholic Church also had a hand in extorting these natives through collections for saints, masses for the dead, domestic and parochial work on certain days, forced gifts, etc. Those fortunate enough not to be subjugated to forced labor were subject to the Spanish provincial governors, or corregidores who also heavily taxed any free natives, similarly ensuring their financial instability.
Oh, we forgot to mention the Vatican straight taxing these Peruvians after converting them over to Catholicism. And as you read, it was corregidores like Antonio de Arriaga was making sure no Peruvians had financial stability, the same they doing Black folks here in American in 2012. I keep telling yall they do not want to see us rich. Side note: you ever notice all those Black folks who won the lottery never did a damn significant thing for their own people? They always give that money to the church instead of the community, see what I mean about the slave conditioning that still go on today?
However, one of the Peruvian cats who became outspoken against the oppression was Tupac Amaru, not the rapper but the real Tupac so holler if ya hear me.
Tupac Amaru saw the oppression for what it is and decided to take a stand. Tupac was a very outspoken leader similar to the Rev. Al Sharpton except Tupac had balls and really about his people, unlike the clowns we got today running around in 2012 thinking they doing something special for Black people. Tupac organized his people and got with the real cats, not the cowards and they began working together on the revolution for their people.
Even though Tupac Amaru decided to get around with the underground, he looked like he fitted in as someone the Spaniards saw as an non-threat. Well, that was a big mistake, especially for Antonio de Arriaga, the oppressor. Tupac decided he was going to make a nice example out of the governor to launch the revolution and hit em up.
November 4, 1780 is when Tupac Amaru was at a dinner party invited by the local priest and the governor was also in attendance. But what they didn’t know was Tupac and his allies were up in there having a gangsta party because they about to get gangsta on Antonio de Arriaga:
After the governor got drunk and ish and left the spot, Tupac and his people kidnapped the governor and made him sign some papers that order everybody from Spanish oppressors and the local Peruvian cats to show up in the town square at a certain date. What Tupac had everybody gathered up for in that town square was to witness the execution of Antonio de Arriaga and show everybody how Tupac and his outlawz ride on their enemies.
A gallow was already in place at the square and the local Spanish people found themselves surrounded by thousands of soldiers on Team Tupac and was going to watch the governor get executed. Tupac who saw the horrors of slavery as Blacks were sold and in bondage the same way as they were in America had given the governor personal slave Antonio Oblitas the honor of executing him.
Here is the account of what happened:
On the morning of Friday, November 10th, Tupac Amaru ordered that three columns … be organized from all the people from his Province that were already there. Two were composed of Spaniards and Mestizos armed with muskets, sabers, and sticks; and one of Indians with slings. In the middle of this, he brought out the Corregidor, dressed in his military uniform, and publicly started taking his uniform off, stripping him of his rank following the rituals he had understood and seen in other occasions, until he was left in his shirt. He then put a shroud on him … that had the title of La Caridad on it. He then gave the order to take him to the gallows, accompanied by the Priest and two other clergymen, where he went with a resignation and patience worthy of somebody who was already touching the portals of eternity.
Once on the gallows the Corregidor was forced by the tyrant to publicly declare that he deserved to die in that way. A black slave of the Corregidor [named Antonio Oblitas -ed.] served as his executioner, but the ropes snapped and both fell to the ground. But they suspended them again with a lariat around their necks, and thus they completed the execution in clear sight and tolerance of all his Province. ["they" is as rendered in the book; I have no indication that more than one person was executed. -ed.] Not one voice was raised that would disturb the operation. And most surprising of all was that those same Collectors and those close to the Corregidor were the ones who (oh, what an awful spectacle of perfidy!) sped his way to the ignominious place of execution, and who pulled on his feet so he could die even more violently.
What is not mentioned above is when the governor first fell to the ground, he got up and ran like a little punk with the rope still around his neck to the church hoping the Catholics will save him. But his own people dragged the governor back to the gallows because they were surrounded by the locals and didn’t want to seem like they were helping this dude, better him than me is probably what they were thinking.
Well, to make a long story short, Tupac got his revolution on but the Spanish sent in reinforcements and captured him and drew and quartered him..damn, homey! So if Tupac Amaru was wondering how long will they mourn him, he is still celebrated to this day as a historical figure and an icon for revolution against oppression. But what is missing from this whole story is how Antonio Oblitas was the first African in the Americas to get reparations.
See, the moral of this Black History lesson is to say none of us don’t know what true reparations are because we were not slaves. No check, no apology, not affirmative action can compensate for the sanctioned form of slavery against Black people taking us away from our homeland, stripping us of our identity and our family. Personally, someone need to get punched in the mouth talking about they want reparations as if they been through what these slaves have been through.
Only a slave is deserving of reparations to justify what they been through. But what do you consider reparations? Is it 40 acres and a mule? I don’t think reparations can be replaced with material. Maybe having the ability to hang your own slave master in front of a live studio audience and the rope snap and he runs away like a punk only to get dragged back to you so you can try and hang him again – maybe that’s real reparations that Antonio Oblitas got to experience that for a moment, probably made him curl a smile.