By Jueseppi B.
Throughout the month Of February, TheObamaCrat™ will post a daily series called The Black History Moment Series. Each day for 28 days of this historic month you will be given the food of Black History to satisfy your hunger for knowledge.
The series starts now: The Black History Moment Series #1. Slavery
A Story of Slavery: A True Story, Repeated Word For Word As I Heard It
Published on Nov 3, 2012
Various pictures of slaves from the 1800s, as well as photographs of Mark Twain and black Union soldiers, set to the audio of “Ashokan Farewell” as performed by David Roberts and a narration of Mark Twain’s “A True Story, Repeated Word For Word As I Heard It” as read by Richard Henzel.
Slavery in America began when the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619, to aid in the production of such lucrative crops as tobacco. Slavery was practiced throughout the American colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, and African-American slaves helped build the economic foundations of the new nation. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 solidified the central importance of slavery to the South’s economy.
By the mid-19th century, America’s westward expansion, along with a growing abolition movement in the North, would provoke a great debate over slavery that would tear the nation apart in the bloody American Civil War (1861-65). Though the Union victory freed the nation’s 4 million slaves, the legacy of slavery continued to influence American history, from the tumultuous years of Reconstruction (1865-77) to the civil rights movement that emerged in the 1960s, a century after emancipation.
Abraham Lincoln: Saint or Sinner? (Full Documentary)
Published on Apr 7, 2013
Abraham Lincoln is the most celebrated figure in American history, but is the reverence deserved?
Slavery In America:
Slavery in the Americas had a contentious history, and played a major role in the history and evolution of some countries, triggering at least one revolution and one civil war, as well as numerous rebellions. The Aztecs had slaves. Other Amerindians, such as the Inca of the Andes, the Tupinambá of Brazil, the Creek of Georgia, and the Comanche of Texas, also owned slaves.
Slavery was prominent in Africa, across the Atlantic Ocean from the Americas, long before the beginnings of the transatlantic slave trade. The maritime town of Lagos was the first slave market created in Portugal (one of the earliest colonizers of the Americas) for the sale of imported African slaves—the Mercado de Escravos, opened in 1444. In 1441, the first slaves were brought to Portugal from northern Mauritania.
By 1552, black African slaves made up 10% of the population of Lisbon. In the second half of the 16th century, the Crown gave up the monopoly on slave trade and the focus of European trade in African slaves shifted from import to Europe to slave transports directly to tropical colonies in the Americas—in the case of Portugal, especially Brazil. In the 15th century one-third of the slaves were resold to the African market in exchange of gold.
In order to establish itself as an American empire Spain had to fight against the relatively powerful civilizations of the New World. The Spanish conquest of the indigenous peoples in the Americas included using the Natives as forced labor. The Spanish colonies were the first Europeans to use African slaves in the New World on islands such as Cuba and Hispaniola, see Atlantic slave trade.
An estimated 12 million Africans arrived in the Americas from the 16th to the 19th centuries. Of these, an estimated 645,000 were brought to what is now the United States. The usual estimate is that about 15% of slaves died during the voyage, with mortality rates considerably higher in Africa itself in the process of capturing and transporting indigenous peoples to the ships. Approximately 6 million black Africans were killed by others in tribal wars.
The white citizens of Virginia decided to treat the first Africans in Virginia as indentured servants. Over half of all European immigrants to Colonial America during the 17th and 18th centuries arrived as indentured servants. The transformation from indentured servitude to slavery was a gradual process in Virginia. The earliest legal documentation of such a shift was the case of John Punch in 1640 where a negro, John Punch, was sentenced to lifetime slavery for attempting to run away. This case also marked the disparate treatment of Africans as held by the Virginia County Court. After 1640, planters started to ignore the expiration of indentured contracts and kept their servants as slaves for life. This was demonstrated by the case Johnson v. Parker where the court ruled that John Casor, an indentured servant, be returned to Johnson who claimed that Casor belonged to him for his life. According to the 1860 U. S. census, 393,975 individuals, representing 8% of all US families, owned 3,950,528 slaves. One-third of Southern families owned slaves.
Foundations of Slavery in America
In the early 17th century, European settlers in North America turned to African slaves as a cheaper, more plentiful labor source than indentured servants (who were mostly poorer Europeans). After 1619, when a Dutch ship brought 20 Africans ashore at the British colony of Jamestown, Virginia, slavery spread throughout the American colonies. Though it is impossible to give accurate figures, some historians have estimated that 6 to 7 million slaves were imported to the New World during the 18th century alone, depriving the African continent of some of its healthiest and ablest men and women.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, black slaves worked mainly on the tobacco, rice and indigo plantations of the southern coast. After the American Revolution (1775-83), many colonists (particularly in the North, where slavery was relatively unimportant to the economy) began to link the oppression of black slaves to their own oppression by the British, and to call for slavery’s abolition. After the war’s end, however, the new U.S. Constitution tacitly acknowledged the institution, counting each slave as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of taxation and representation in Congress and guaranteeing the right to repossess any “person held to service or labor” (an obvious euphemism for slavery).
Slaves and Slaveholders
Slaves in the antebellum South constituted about one-third of the southern population. Most slaves lived on large farms or small plantations; many masters owned less than 50 slaves. Slave owners sought to make their slaves completely dependent on them, and a system of restrictive codes governed life among slaves. They were prohibited from learning to read and write, and their behavior and movement was restricted. Many masters took sexual liberties with slave women, and rewarded obedient slave behavior with favors, while rebellious slaves were brutally punished. A strict hierarchy among slaves (from privileged house slaves and skilled artisans down to lowly field hands) helped keep them divided and less likely to organize against their masters. Slave marriages had no legal basis, but slaves did marry and raise large families; most slave owners encouraged this practice, but nonetheless did not hesitate to divide slave families by sale or removal.
Slave revolts did occur within the system (notably ones led by Gabriel Prosser in Richmond in 1800 and by Denmark Vesey in Charleston in 1822), but few were successful. The slave revolt that most terrified white slaveholders was that led by Nat Turner in Southampton County, Virginia, in August 1931. Turner’s group, which eventually numbered around 75 blacks, murdered some 60 whites in two days before armed resistance from local whites and the arrival of state militia forces overwhelmed them. Supporters of slavery pointed to Turner’s rebellion as evidence that blacks were inherently inferior barbarians requiring an institution such as slavery to discipline them, and fears of similar insurrections led many southern states to further strengthen their slave codes in order to limit the education, movement and assembly of slaves. In the North, the increased repression of southern blacks would only fan the flames of the growing abolition movement.
Civil War and Emancipation
The South would reach the breaking point the following year, when Republican candidate Abraham Lincoln was elected as president. Within three months, seven southern states had seceded to form the Confederate States of America; four more would follow after the Civil War (1861-65) began. Though Lincoln’s antislavery views were well established, the central Union war aim at first was not to abolish slavery, but to preserve the United States as a nation. Abolition became a war aim only later, due to military necessity, growing anti-slavery sentiment in the North and the self-emancipation of many African Americans who fled enslavement as Union troops swept through the South. Five days after the bloody Union victory at Antietam in September 1862, Lincoln issued a preliminary emancipation proclamation, and on January 1, 1863, he made it official that “slaves within any State, or designated part of a State…in rebellion,…shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”
By freeing some 3 million black slaves in the rebel states, the Emancipation Proclamation deprived the Confederacy of the bulk of its labor forces and put international public opinion strongly on the Union side. Some 186,000 black soldiers would join the Union Army by the time the war ended in 1865, and 38,000 lost their lives. The total number of dead at war’s end was 620,000 (out of a population of some 35 million), making it the costliest conflict in American history.
The Legacy of Slavery
The 13th Amendment, adopted late in 1865, officially abolished slavery, but freed blacks’ status in the post-war South remained precarious, and significant challenges awaited during the Reconstruction period (1865-77). Former slaves received the rights of citizenship and the “equal protection” of the Constitution in the 14th Amendment (1868) and the right to vote in the 15th (1870), but the provisions of Constitution were often ignored or violated, and it was difficult for former slaves to gain a foothold in the post-war economy thanks to restrictive black codes and regressive contractual arrangements such as sharecropping.
Despite seeing an unprecedented degree of black participation in American political life, Reconstruction was ultimately frustrating for African Americans, and the rebirth of white supremacy–including the rise of racist organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan–had triumphed in the South by 1877. Almost a century later, resistance to the lingering racism and discrimination in America that began during the slavery era would lead to the civil rights movement of the 1960s, which would achieve the greatest political and social gains for blacks since Reconstruction.
Slavery And The Making Of America
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation. Historically, slavery was institutionally recognized by most societies; in more recent times, slavery has been outlawed in all countries, but it continues through the practices of debt bondage, indentured servitude, serfdom, domestic servants kept in captivity, certain adoptions in which children are forced to work as slaves, child soldiers, and forced marriage. Slavery is officially illegal in all countries, but there are still an estimated 20 million to 30 million slaves worldwide. Mauritania was the last jurisdiction to officially outlaw slavery (in 1981/2007), but about 10% to 20% of its population is estimated to live in slavery.
Slavery predates written records and has existed in many cultures. Most slaves today are debt slaves, largely in South Asia, who are under debt bondage incurred by lenders, sometimes even for generations. Human trafficking is primarily used for forcing women and children into sex industries.
In pre-industrial societies, slaves and their labor were economically extremely important to those who benefited from them. Slaves and serfs made up around three-quarters of the world’s population at the beginning of the 19th century.
In modern mechanized societies, there is less need for sheer massive manpower; Norbert Wiener wrote that “mechanical labor has most of the economic properties of slave labor, though … it does not involve the direct demoralizing effects of human cruelty.”
Slave Narratives Full
Even though slavery is now outlawed in many countries, the number of slaves today remains as high as 12 million to 29.8 million. Several estimates of the number of slaves in the world have been provided.According to a broad definition of slavery used by Kevin Bales of Free the Slaves (FTS), an advocacy group linked with Anti-Slavery International, there were 27 million people in slavery in 1999, spread all over the world. In 2005, the International Labor Organization provided an estimate of 12.3 million forced laborers in the world. Siddharth Kara has also provided an estimate of 28.4 million slaves at the end of 2006 divided into the following three categories: bonded labor/debt bondage (18.1 million), forced labor (7.6 million), and trafficked slaves (2.7 million).
Kara provides a dynamic model to calculate the number of slaves in the world each year, with an estimated 29.2 million at the end of 2009. According to a report from 2003, by the Human Rights Watch, an estimated 15 million children in India, bonded workers, working in slave-like conditions in order to pay off debts.
A report by the Walk Free Foundation in 2013, found India had the highest number of slaves, nearly 14 million, followed by China (2.9 million), Pakistan (2.1 million), Nigeria, Ethiopia, Russia, Thailand, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar and Bangladesh; while the countries with the highest of proportion of slaves were Mauritania, Haiti, Pakistan, India and Nepal.
Examples of modern slavery are numerous. In 2008, the Nepalese government abolished the Haliya system of forced labor, freeing about 20,000 people. Though slavery was officially abolished in China in 1910, the practice continues unofficially in some regions of the country. In June and July 2007, 550 people who had been enslaved by brick manufacturers in Shanxi and Henan were freed by the Chinese government. Among those rescued were 69 children. In response, the Chinese government assembled a force of 35,000 police to check northern Chinese brick kilns for slaves, sent dozens of kiln supervisors to prison, punished 95 officials in Shanxi province for dereliction of duty, and sentenced one kiln foreman to death for killing an enslaved worker. The North Korean government operates six large political prison camps, where political prisoners and their families (around 200,000 people) in lifelong detention are subjected to hard slave labor, torture and inhumane treatment. In 2010 in Brazil more than 5,000 slaves were rescued by authorities as part of a government initiative to eradicate slavery.
Poverty has forced at least 225,000 Haitian children to work as restavecs (unpaid household servants); the United Nations considers this to be a form of slavery. Some tribal sheiks in Iraq still keep blacks, called Abd, which means servant or slave in Arabic, as slaves. Child slavery has commonly been used in the production of cash crops and mining.
Trafficking in human beings (also called human trafficking) is one method of obtaining slaves. Victims are typically recruited through deceit or trickery (such as a false job offer, false migration offer, or false marriage offer), sale by family members, recruitment by former slaves, or outright abduction. Victims are forced into a “debt slavery” situation by coercion, deception, fraud, intimidation, isolation, threat, physical force, debt bondage or even force-feeding with drugs of abuse to control their victims. “Annually, according to U. S. Government-sponsored research completed in 2006, approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across national borders, which does not include millions trafficked within their own countries. Approximately 80 percent of transnational victims are women and girls and up to 50 percent are minors”, reports the US Department of State in a 2008 study.
While the majority of trafficking victims are women, and sometimes children, who are forced into prostitution (in which case the practice is called sex trafficking), victims also include men, women and children who are forced into manual labor. Due to the illegal nature of human trafficking, its exact extent is unknown. A US Government report published in 2005, estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 people worldwide are trafficked across borders each year. This figure does not include those who are trafficked internally. Another research effort revealed that between 1.5 million and 1.8 million individuals are trafficked either internally or internationally each year, 500,000 to 600,000 of whom are sex trafficking victims.
Slavery by Another Name PBS Documentary 2012)
Published on May 19, 2013
Slavery by Another Name PBS Documentary 2012)
The Destruction of the Black Family- Part 1
I ’member he had a real pretty gal on his place. . . One of the overseers was crazy about her, but her mother had told her not to let any of ’em go with her. So this old overseer would stick clo…se ’round her when they was workin’, just so he could get a chance to say somethin’ to her. He kept followin’ this child and followin’ this child until she almost went crazy. Way afterwhile she run away and come to our house and and stayed ’bout three days.
When my marster found out she was there, he told her she would have to go back, or at least she would have to leave his place. He didn’t want no trouble with nobody. When that child left us she stayed in the woods until she got so hungry she just had to go back. This old man was mad with her for leavin’, and one day while she was in the field he started at her again and she told him flat footed she warn’t goin’ with him he took the big end of his cow hide and struck her in the back so hard it knocked her plumb crazy. It was a big lake of water about ten yards in front of ’em, and if her mother hadn’t run and caught her she would have walked right in it and drowned.
In them times white men went with colored gals and women bold[ly]. Any time they saw one and wanted her, she had to go with him, and his wife didn’t say nothin’ ’bout it. Not only the men, but the women went with colored men too. That’s why so many women slave owners wouldn’t marry, ’cause they was goin’ with one of their slaves. These things that’s goin’ on now ain’t new, they been happenin’. That’s why I say you just as well leave ’em alone ’cause they gwine [going] to do what they want to anyhow. . . .
. . Now sometimes, if you was a real pretty young gal, somebody would buy you without knowin’ anythin’ ’bout you, just for yourself. Before my old marster died, he had a pretty gal he was goin’ with and he wouldn’t let her work nowhere but in the house, and his wife nor nobody else didn’t say nothin’ ’bout it; they knowed better. She had three chillun for him and when he died his brother come and got the gal and the chillun.
One white lady that lived near us at McBean slipped in a colored gal’s room and cut her baby’s head clean off ’cause it belonged to her husband. He beat her ’bout it and started to kill her, but she begged so I reckon he got to feelin’ sorry for her. But he kept goin’ with the colored gal and they had more chillun.
The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow
Remnants of slavery
In the case of freed slaves of the United States, many became share croppers and indentured servants. In this manner, some became tied to the very parcel of land into which they had been born a slave having little freedom or economic opportunity due to Jim Crow laws which perpetuated discrimination, limited education, promoted persecution without due process and resulted in continued poverty. Fear of reprisals such as injust incarcerations and lynchings deterred upward mobility further.
Generations of descendants from slavery are affected by bigotry and prejudice and limited opportunities. Domination and control virtually guarantee that the lowest element of society will live at or below the level of chattel slaves. This is particularly noticeable in nations that sought to enforce complete equality, but necessarily failed. In the Soviet Union from the time of Lenin until after Stalin, the GULAG Archipelago, a massive system of labor and penal concentration camps, kept millions of state slaves in conditions far worse than American antebellum slavery. Critics of American incarceration levels sometimes refer to modern American prison systems as “New Age Slavery” … followed by “The New Jim Crow.” A comparison between slavery and incarceration involves numerous similarities. The continuance of slavery in one form or another across the world reflects inevitable social stratification and geographic disparities. The means of enforcement and reasons for domination change through the centuries. Economic, political, military, demographic and social forces invariably force one segment of society to the bottom, and for some years that subordination may appear as a type of slavery, even though the institution of chattel slavery has been legally abolished. As “slaves” are continually freed, other groups, peoples, and individuals inevitably take their place at the bottom.
Malcolm X: Make It Plain (Full PBS Documentary)
Uploaded on Jan 8, 2012
The 1994 PBS documentary on the life of Malcolm X