slaveholders

Today in history: November 18, 1803 - The Battle of Vertières the last major battle of the Haitian Revolution is fought leading to the establishment of the Republic of Haiti the first Black republic in the Western Hemisphere The battle delivered the final blow to the French attempt to re-institute slavery as they had done in the other parts of the Caribbean This decisive blow was a major loss for France and it’s colonial empire The Haitian Revolution helped inspire slave rebellions in the United States and British colonies and struck deep fear in the minds of the slaveholders and colonizers

Hattie McDaniel

Halle Berry made headlines in 2002 when she became the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Actress, for her role in Monster’s Ball. Yet this didn’t seem that unusual at a time only a few years removed from the election of the first black U.S. president. It was much more of a shock in 1940 when Hattie McDaniel became the first black person to win an Oscar. Ironically, McDaniel’s Oscar-winning performance as the character Mammy in Gone With the Wind was not universally viewed as a great achievement by blacks at the time; many criticized her appearance in a film sympathetic to the view of slaveholders. It wasn’t the only irony surrounding McDaniel’s award — in keeping with segregation protocols at the time, McDaniel sat at a blacks-only table during the Oscar ceremony. Although McDaniel is best remembered for her GWTW performance, she appeared in more than 80 other films during the 1930s and 1940s. She is also regarded as the first black woman to sing on radio in the United States. Fittingly, she has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, honoring both her singing and film careers.

Image: Hattie McDaniel in 1941.

One cannot escape the question by hand-waving at the past, disavowing the acts of one’s ancestors, nor by citing a recent date of ancestral immigration. The last slaveholder has been dead for a very long time. The last soldier to endure Valley Forge has been dead much longer. To proudly claim the veteran and disown the slaveholder is patriotism à la carte. A nation outlives its generations. We were not there when Washington crossed the Delaware, but Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze’s rendering has meaning to us. We were not there when Woodrow Wilson took us into World War I, but we are still paying out the pensions. If Thomas Jefferson’s genius matters, then so does his taking of Sally Hemings’s body. If George Washington crossing the Delaware matters, so must his ruthless pursuit of the runagate Oney Judge.

In 1909, President William Howard Taft told the country that “intelligent” white southerners were ready to see blacks as “useful members of the community.” A week later Joseph Gordon, a black man, was lynched outside Greenwood, Mississippi. The high point of the lynching era has passed. But the memories of those robbed of their lives still live on in the lingering effects. Indeed, in America there is a strange and powerful belief that if you stab a black person 10 times, the bleeding stops and the healing begins the moment the assailant drops the knife. We believe white dominance to be a fact of the inert past, a delinquent debt that can be made to disappear if only we don’t look.

We must stop beating around the bush on this issue. Slaveholding masters did rule much of the United States most of the time in this period. We can all agree that some of these masters had admirable qualities, that Thomas Jefferson was charming and eloquent, that James Madison was a talented political theorist, that George Washington was a brilliant general, and that Andrew Jackson fought for the interests of people who were not rich. Nevertheless, these men all owned human beings and, as politicians, defended the ownership of human beings - even when they believed that society would be better off if it acknowledged that “all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,” and so on. There was a Civil War for a reason, and this reason had very little to do with tariffs or railroads. The United States collapsed into one of the bloodiest wars of the nineteenth century (620,000 dead) because a series of political struggles in the 1850s demonstrated that it “cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free.” Americans were forced to decide, continuing in Abraham Lincoln’s words, whether it would become “all one thing, or all the other.” At Gettysburg, Antietam, Vicksburg, Petersburg, and Atlanta, they decided that it would become all free. The masters finally lost control of American politics, though they certainly did not disappear altogether.

This book operates on the assumption that we will gain much more than we can ever lose by taking these facts seriously. We do not celebrate our democratic traditions more faithfully by identifying them incorrectly. On the contrary, when we embrace slaveholders as the champions of liberty and democracy in our history, what we really promote is a cynical despair - not only about our political history but also about contemporary political life.

There is a real tradition of liberty in the United States. There is also a real tradition of democracy, including a democracy practice in formal political institutions. Rebels and outsiders are often fascinating people, and their stories produce great and inspiring stories. But it hardly necessary to “give voice to the voiceless” to locate an American democratic tradition. It is only necessary to accept the reality that the stories the slaveholders liked to tell about themselves are misleading when they are not downright false. These stories are our most familiar historical set pieces, the ones in which the slaveholding champions of liberty and democracy defeat legions of monarchists and aristocrats (by which they usually meant northerners) on behalf of “the people.”

—  Robin Einhorn, American Taxation, American Slavery

Property damage and looting”—perhaps more than nonviolence—has also been a significant tool in black “social progress.” In 1851, when Shadrach Minkins was snatched off the streets of Boston under the authority of the Fugitive Slave Law, abolitionists “stormed the courtroom” and “overpowered the federal guards” to set Minkins free. That same year, when slaveholders came to Christiana, Pennsylvania, to reclaim their property under the same law, they were not greeted with prayer and hymnals but with gunfire.

"Property damage and looting" is a fairly accurate description of the emancipation of black people in 1865, who only five years earlier constituted some $4 billion in property. The Civil Rights Bill of 1964 is inseparable from the threat of riots. The housing bill of 1968—the most proactive civil-rights legislation on the books—is a direct response to the riots that swept American cities after King was killed. Violence, lingering on the outside, often backed nonviolence during the civil-rights movement. "We could go into meetings and say, ‘Well, either deal with us or you will have Malcolm X coming into here,’" said SNCC organizer Gloria Richardson. "They would get just hysterical. The police chief would say, ‘Oh no!’"

What cannot be said is that America does not really believe in nonviolence—Barack Obama has said as much—so much as it believes in order. What cannot be said is that there are very convincing reasons for black people in Ferguson to be nonviolent. But those reasons emanate from an intelligent fear of the law, not a benevolent respect for the law.

There's no place like home for the holidays (Jade x Kurloz)

When Jade and Feferi had returned from their trip, the first thing Jade wanted to do was see Kurloz. The trip was great, and she loved it! It was nice to get away and she loved the after effects: ie: she came back with a wonderful tan, Besides, Feferi never really treated her like a slave any way, so they just bonded and had lots of giggling fits.  It truly was a wonderful time, but Jade was ready to be home, it was an odd thought to her that she considered the slavehold home, but not really.  She had always been told growing up that home is where the heart is, and her heart was without a doubt with Kurloz.

Once they were at the hold, the two girls parted ways.  Feferi went back to her hive to rest up and Jade was headed for a much needed shower, until she ran into Gamzee that is. They talked for a few minutes before she convinced him that she really needed to go shower. He nodded but also mentioned how she should surprise Kurloz with her return, considering he wasn’t expecting her yet. So that’s just what she did

****

Some time had passed since she had run into Gamzee and now the plan was in motion. She had gone to her room, showered and changed into a pair of denim shorts that showed off her legs and an over the shoulder shirt.  Gamzee had texted Kurloz claiming he wanted to do something and to meet him in the courtyard, so all at was left was to wait. 

In thinking of America, I sometimes find myself admiring her bright blue sky, her grand old woods, her fertile fields, her beautiful rivers, her mighty lakes, and star-crowned mountains. But my rapture is soon checked, my joy is soon turned to mourning. When I remember that all is cursed with the infernal actions of slaveholding, robbery and wrong, — when I remember that with the waters of her noblest rivers, the tears of my brethren are borne to the ocean, disregarded and forgotten, and that her most fertile fields drink daily of the warm blood of my outraged sisters, I am filled with unutterable loathing.
—  Frederick Douglass

We do not need to plea with the slave masters to recognize our humanity. These politics and tactics have come up time and time again during social upheavals against white supremacy and state violence. I saw it during Oscar grant struggles when some folks were pushing police reform. I ask what would Harriet Tubman do? What would Nat Turner do? Certainly not ask the slave master for freedom. We take it. It’s time we start valuing each other enough to struggle for one another so that we may live for one another. We do not need to convince the slaveholding system of shit. But with the legalist and reformist strategies also comes a certain policing of militants by ‘activists’ in the streets. Unfortunately a lot of times this policing comes from more liberal or non-profitized folks of color, who want to keep things non-violent. For me as a Black womyn this policing takes away my agency to get turnt up in the streets, which I need to do, because that is healing too. Black people aren’t just victims of white supremacy, we also fight back and rage against the system too. Always. And it isn’t just White people or ‘outside agitators’ breaking stuff. These claims disempower our people.

On monday night during the march I got in between these womyn of color, who were attempting to snatch a bandanna off this white boys face, who had attempted (and failed) to break some stuff. They yelled at him for taking up space in an event for Black people. Used the same condescending arguments that it will be Black people, who are arrested first (as if Black people aren’t also expressing a certain dignified rage in the streets). Then they demanded he show his face. I jumped between them then so they yelled at me too. I said I feel the arguments around White boys and space, but still, we can’t be snitches…they didn’t get it. A few hours later I smiled in a sea of fire and broken glass as I saw Black faces loot back. It made me think of those womyn from earlier and my peoples who fear these tactics, who want to contain some sense of ‘peace’ In the streets. Peace for what? Whose streets are these? Whose banks are these? Why are we more concerned about keeping the peace towards private property we don’t own, rather then letting people do their thing in the streets? And policing tactics in the name of protecting Black people and our vulnerability to the state? We don’t need that. We’ve been smashing against this private property thang since our ancestors burned down plantations. Monday and Tuesday night in Oakland, CA was no different and we should be proud of that.

—  [solidarity means attack]
As scholars of slavery writing books on the historical value(s) of black life, we are concerned with the long history of how black people are commodified by the state. Although we are saddened by the unprosecuted deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and countless others, we are not surprised. We live a nation that has yet to grapple with the history of slavery and its afterlife. In 1669, the Virginia colony enacted legislation that gave white slaveholders the authority to murder their slaves without fear of prosecution. This act, concerning “… the Casual Killing of Slaves,” seems all too familiar today.

Why are Nazi & Confederate flags on display in Kiev?

When Kiev’s City Hall was seized with guns and Molotov cocktails, one of the first acts of the Euromaidan street fighters was to unfurl a number of flags and insignia. Prominent among the flags were swastikas, Iron Crosses, Nazi SS lightning bolts, the Celtic cross used by the Ku Klux Klan, and the Confederate “stars and bars” flag of slaveholders in the United States. (tinyurl.com/ltfu4vq)

This is no accident. The flag of the U.S. Southern slaveholders and the Klan cross are symbols understood around the world. They stand for racism, reaction, lynchings and mass terror, for keeping oppressive institutions intact and for beating down people of color and all those who struggle for a better world.

Racists from across Europe have traveled to Kiev. Wearing these symbols on their helmets and jackets, these thugs roamed Kiev and defaced the homes of Jews. They destroyed memorials to those who fought the Nazi invasion and occupation of the Ukraine in World War II. Offices of the Communist Party of the Ukraine were ransacked and destroyed, revolutionary books publicly burned in bonfires. Twenty-five statues of Lenin have been destroyed, requiring heavy equipment. (tinyurl.com/lfs734u) Amidst this offense of fascist vandalism, progressive people have mobilized to protect progressive centers, monuments and government buildings.

Symbols send a message. They are shorthand to millions of people for the aspirations and goals of social and political movements.

Naming a street, boulevard, school or holiday for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks is recognition of the historic Civil Rights movement and Black liberation movement in the U.S. It resonates with all who stand against racism and oppression.

Certain symbols of revolution, resistance and liberation, such as the red flag, the red and black flag, the red star and the rainbow flag, are recognized around the world. The struggle to remove racist names of sports teams is well understood, as is the struggle to remove memorials to racists, slave owners and Confederates throughout the U.S. South.

Victoria Nuland, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, publicly bragged that Washington has committed more than $5 billion to these “democratic forces” in the Ukraine. (tinyurl.com/q577smd)

Nuland, Sen. John McCain and other U.S. and German politicians have publicly embraced known fascist thugs. Open U.S. support for the Ukrainian Fatherland Party, the Svoboda party and Right Sector is hardly a mistake. It is sign of how the U.S. and European Union plan to impose austerity, cutbacks and rule by Western banks.

The display of hated racist and fascist symbols should serve as a dire warning of what is at stake in the Ukraine today for all progressive people fighting for change, liberation and human solidarity. All capitalism can offer in its state of decay is more poverty, repression, fascism and war.

http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/03/05/nazi-confederate-flags-display-kiev/#at_pco=smlwn-1.0&at_si=undefined&at_ab=per-2&at_pos=0&at_tot=1

E1B The Civil War Amendments 13-15 CONNECT TO IMMIGRATION DEBATE

A new chapter in American history opened as the Thirteenth Amendment, passed in January of 1865, was implemented. It abolished slavery in the United States, and now, with the end of the war, four million African Americans were free. Thousands of former slaves travelled throughout the south, visiting or searching for loved ones from whom they had become separated. Harriet Jacobs was one who returned to her old home. Former slaveholders faced the bewildering fact of emancipation with everything from concern to rage to despair.

Men and women — black and white and in the North and South — now began the work of rebuilding the shattered union and of creating a new social order. This period would be called Reconstruction. It would hold many promises and many tragic disappointments. It was the beginning of a long, painful struggle, far longer and more difficult than anyone could realize. It was the beginning of a struggle that is not yet finished.

As part of Reconstruction, two new amendments were added to the Constitution. The Fourteenth Amendment, passed in June 1865, granted citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the United States. The Fifteenth Amendment, passed in February of 1869, guaranteed that no American would be denied the right to vote on the basis of race. For many African Americans, however, this right would be short-lived. Following Reconstruction, they would be denied their legal right to vote in many states until the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

But all of this was yet to come. The Americans of 1865 were standing at the point between one era and another. What they knew was that slavery was dead. With that 250 year legacy behind them, they faced the future.

(PBS on John Brown)

The American Minute: Spanish-American War ended

The American Minute: Spanish-American War ended

The Spanish-American War ended with a Treaty signed DECEMBER 10, 1898.Leading up the war was slavery in Cuba.

President James Buchanan wrote December 19, 1859:

“When a market for African slaves shall no longer be furnished in Cuba…Christianity and civilization may gradually penetrate the existing gloom.”

In 1868, a Creole farmer in Cuba began a revolt.

Cubans drafted a “10th of October…

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But if you go through and read the column in question you see that Coates actually says this: “I insist that racism is our heritage, that Thomas Jefferson’s genius is no more important than his plundering of the body of Sally Hemmings, that George Washington’s abdication is no more significant than his wild pursuit of Oney Judge.”

The difference between the two seems pretty obvious to me. Coates isn’t saying that Washington was nothing more than a slaveholder. He’s saying that being a slaveholder isn’t cancelled out by his role as president. He’s saying the two things are inseparable, in the face of lots of people who try to separate the historical greatness of the Founding Fathers from their faults.

From pages 228-229:

The transition to a more focused scientific racism required not a leap but a casual step. The institutionalization of medicine—the organization of science faculties and medical colleges in the colonies—happened as slave owners, planters, land speculators, and Atlantic merchants began sponsoring scientific research. The families who paid for the establishment of medical schools and science faculties also oversaw those developments. The founding of medical colleges on American campuses brought science, particularly the human sciences, under the political and financial dominion of slave traders, slave owners, and their surrogates. The class influences upon science were apparent during the Whistelo trial. The court invited experts whose educational credentials, professional titles and appointments, and institutional affiliations mapped the half-century rise of academic science in North America. That deference was, in fact, a fair reflection of how fully science had been tamed. As slaveholders and slave traders paid for medical colleges and science faculties, they also imposed subtle and severe controls on science.

As Atlantic slavery underwrote the production of knowledge, it distorted the knowable. “When a governing board sat down to consider the affairs of the colonial college,” the historian Richard Hofstadter observed, “there was usually assembled at the table a group of men who were accustomed to seeing each other frequently at the counting houses, in each other’s homes, and in the vestries of churches.” As noted earlier, John Morgan, a founder of the medical school at Philadelphia, traveled to the West Indies to make connections and raise money. The cofounder of the medical college, William Shippen Jr., had extensive land interests in Pennsylvania, and was tied through marriage to regional dynasties including the Livingstons of New York and New Jersey. On April 3, 1762, Shippen had wed Alice Lee of the prominent Virginia plantation family.”

The New York surgeon John Bard, president of the local medical society, secured his family’s economic position by investing in land and slaves. His son Samuel’s education at King’s College (Columbia) and Edinburgh was a departure from his career path. Surgeons traditionally received their training as apprentices, while physicians studied the arts and sciences at universities. The two professions were also divided by specialty: surgeons performing external and mechanical treatments, such as bleedings and amputations, and physicians focusing on internal medicine. Dr. Bard fully supported his son’s professionalization, offering suggestions for scientific and medical reading, and lovingly supervising Samuel’s study habits, dress and manners, social activities, and courses. He gave Samuel detailed advice on courting a wife. He sent money for his expenses, encouraged him to seize every educational opportunity while abroad, and, self-conscious about their colonial status, reminded him of the importance of “appearing like a Gentleman.”

While Samuel Bard was studying in Scotland, his father invested in Hyde Park, a 3,600-acre plantation along more than three miles of the Hudson River in Dutchess County, New York, with a resident overseer “to support his the said John Bard’s slaves in good and sufficient Cloathing and Bedding.” When Samuel Bard returned to New York City to establish its first medical college, he turned to merchants for support. His son William eventually married Catherine Cruger, the daughter of the St. Croix slave trader Nicholas Cruger, and his daughter Eliza married John McVickar, professor of political economy at Columbia and heir of a West Indies and China trader whose ships carried the products of slavery and opium. William Bard became a founder of the New York Life Insurance and Trust Company. In 1860 William and Catherine’s son John Bard founded St. Stephen’s College (Bard) as a preparatory school for General Theological Seminary in New York City. Bard donated a chapel and land for the campus. Columbia eventually honored John McVickar and Samuel Bard with the memorial McVickar Professorship of Political Economy and the Bard Professorship of the Practice of Medicine.

via

http://louisproyect.org/2014/07/17/out-of-the-bowels-of-the-slave-and-opium-trade-sprang-bard-college/

Inequality In U.S. Today Is Worse than in Apartheid South Africa or 1774 Slaveholding Colonial America ... and TWICE As Bad As In Ancient Slaveholding Rome

Inequality In U.S. Today Is Worse than in Apartheid South Africa or 1774 Slaveholding Colonial America … and TWICE As Bad As In Ancient Slaveholding Rome

Even Slaves Had It Better

Inequality in America today is twice as bad as in ancient Rome, worse than it was in Tsarist Russia, Gilded Age America, modern Egypt, Tunisia or Yemen, many banana republics in Latin America, and worse than experienced by slaves in 1774 colonial America.

Nicholas Kristof notes at the New York Times that inequality in the U.S. is worse than it was in apartheid South…

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