plantation colonial

The house ‘with the blue shutters’ from the 2004 film The Notebook is a real house located on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina, built in 1772 and named Martin’s Point Plantation.

Nerd Moment: May I marry your daughter?

One of my favorite moments of Murder Most Foul is Killian asking Charming for his blessing to ask Emma to marry him. Normally I am not a fan of this tradition due to the history behind it but this time it melted my heart. It melted so much that it is the focus of Nerd Moment 1 (that’s right, I’m writing 2 this week).

The tradition of ask permission to marry a daughter dates back the the beginning of time. We all have seen it in movies and even read about it in books, fiction and nonfiction. The tradition was not a tradition when it began but actually a contract. A contract between a man with a fortune, land and oh a daughter and a man who wanted to increase his fortune, land and oh have sons so there would be a family name to keep strong. For centuries marriage had nothing to do with love and all to do with increasing wealth and forming alliances. Of course over the centuries this “tradition” died out. Men no longer needed to create talk to a potential wife’s father about a contract for a marriage proposal to happen. 

Let me correct myself actually. There was no need for a contract but the tradition of asking for permission or a blessing stood. It was and still is the very gentlemanly thing to do. 

I know, I know. For some it is an antiquated idea. Women aren’t cattle or property. No one needs to sign off on women being allowed to be proposed to. You are right no woman does. Which is why when Charming tells Killian he didn’t know he was so old fashioned it showed us that even in Charming’s eyes, Prince of the Enchanted Forest, Killian DID NOT need his permission or blessing because he knows Emma is her own person for one and two this was a tradition that in Emma’s world had become outdated. 

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anonymous asked:

Do you think people like Reyes because he's the spicy Latino character? im trying to understand the hype. I kind of think people just like him for being hot brown boy with hot accent.

lol wtf you’re like the third nonny to ever ask me to speak for the entirety of Reyes stans and tell you why we like him. I mean, whatever answer I give will be personal and not necessarily a reflection on the community, so let me get started on something I can generalize: fetishization.

[*Note I have a small postscript answer anticipating Sloane Kelley’s characterization at the end of this post.]

Short answer: No, but… Long Answer: Yes, but… >both buts lead to: but racism is something we participate in regardless of whether or not we are anti-racist.

Basically, we consume and propagate tropes and images regardless of how we problematize it, and it’s really up to your consumption of Reyes’s character to determine your complicity in the fetishization that inevitably follows a character like him.

The Unintentional Lecture on the Spicy Brown Boy with an Accent Trope

I think you’d all be lying if you say you didn’t get a wee bit charmed by the accent when you first heard it. It’s subconscious; it’s ingrained in everything we consume; the person with the accent is exotic, mysterious, and jarringly different from the identities you formed in the creation of your protagonist.

Writers, filmmakers, and artists have constantly employed accents for characters to instill a very impermeable yet nonetheless alluring sense of “difference.” This is why George Lucas racistly gave the aliens accented English in the prequel trilogy despite having given them acceptable yet unintelligible (to us) alien languages in the original Star Wars trilogy. The bureaucrats starving Naboo for a trade deal get the haughty Japanese businessfolk accent; the slaver who owned Anakin and is “stingy” has a vaguely semitic accent; Jar Jar Binks with his “massah” lingo and incoherence eerily mimics the language white writers ascribed to black slaves in 19th-century fiction (as seen in Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Huckleberry Finn), and it’s weirdly reminiscent of Jamaican accents as well, so you can’t help but think of his “tomfoolery” in a racialized undertone. I’m sorry to call out George Lucas in this (I’m really not tho), because he isn’t alone. My point is that in the most blatant of cases, accents from real communities and groups are transposed onto alien or monstrous creatures in a move that simultaneously anthropomorphizes them (i.e. giving them voice and characterization) without granting them the dignity of being fully human and an American or British accented English seems to be the dominant mode of doing this. [Let’s not talk about how Bioware has handled accents for aliens in GENERAL in the ME Original Trilogy for now, because this is complicated]

On the flipside you can dehumanize human characters by giving them this same treatment of accents. See this post for an elaboration.

What happens when you give a human character an accent?

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The French Revolution was a bourgeois revolution, and the basis of bourgeois wealth was the slave trade and the slave plantations in the colonies. Let there be no mistake about this. “Sad irony of human history,” says Jaures, “the fortunes created at Bordeaux, at Nantes by the slave-trade gave to the bourgeoisie that pride which needed liberty and contributed to human emancipation.” And Gaston-Martin the historian of the slave trade sums up thus: though the bourgeoisie traded in other things than slaves, upon the success or failure of the traffic everything else depended. Therefore when the bourgeoisie proclaimed the Rights of Man in general, with necessary reservations, one of these was that these rights should not extend to the French colonies. In 1789 the French colonial trade was eleven million pounds, two-thirds of the overseas trade of France. British colonial trade at that time was only five million pounds. What price French abolition? There was abolitionist society to which Brissot, Robespierre, Mirabeau, Lafayette, Condorcet, and many such famous men belonged even before 1789. But liberals are liberal. Face to face with the revolution, they were ready to compromise. They would leave the half million slaves in their slavery, but at least the Mulattoes, men of property (including slaves) and education, should be given equal rights with the white colonials. The white colonial magnates refused concessions and they were people to be reckoned with, aristocrats by birth or marriage, bourgeois their trade connections with the maritime bourgeoisie. They opposed all change in the colonies that would diminish their social and political domination. The maritime bourgeosie, concerned about their millions of investments, supported the colonials, and against eleven million pounds of trade per year the radical politicians were helpless. It was the revolution that kicked them from behind and forced them forward.

First of all the revolution in France. The Gironde right wing of the Jacobin club, overthrew the pro-royalist Feuillants and came to power in March, 1792.

And secondly the revolution in the colonies. The Mulattoes in San Domingo revolted in 1790, followed a few months later by the slave revolt in August 1791. On April 4, 1792 the Girondins granted political and social rights to the Mulattoes. The big bourgeoisie agreed, for the colonial aristocrats, after vainly trying to win Mulatto support for independence, decided to hand the colony over to Britain rather than tolerate interference with their system. All these slave owners, French nobility and French bourgeoisie, colonial aristocrats and Mulattoes, were agreed that the slave revolt should be suppressed and the slaves remain in their slavery.

The slaves, however, refused to listen to threats, and no promises were made to them. Led from beginning to end by men who had themselves been slaves and were unable to read or write, they fought one of the greatest revolutionary battles in history. Before the revolution they had seemed subhuman. Many a slave had to be whipped before he could be got to move from where he sat. The revolution transformed them into heroes…

The island of San Domingo was divided into two colonies, one French, the other Spanish. The colonial government of the Spanish Bourbons supported the slaves in their revolt against the French republic, and many rebel bands took service with the Spaniards. The French colonials invited Pitt to take over the colony, and when war was declared between France and England in 1793, the English invaded the island.

The English expedition, welcomed by all the white colonials, captured town after town in the south and west of French San Domingo. The Spaniards, operating with the famous Toussaint Louverture, an ex-slave, at the head of four thousand black troops, invaded the colony from the east. British and Spaniards were gobbling up as much as they could before the time for sharing came. “In these matters,” wrote the British minister, Dundas, to the governor of Jamaica, “the more we have, the better our pretensions.” On June 4th, Port-au-Prince, the capital of San Domingo, fell. Meanwhile another British expedition had captured Martinique, Guadeloupe, and the other French islands. Barring a miracle, the colonial trade of France, the richest in the world, was in the hands of her enemies and would be used against the revolution. But here the French masses took a hand.

August 10, 1792 was the beginning of the revolution triumphant in France. The Paris masses and their supporters all over France, in 1789 indifferent to the colonial question, were now striking in revolutionary frenzy at every abuse of the old regime and none of the former tyrants were so hated as the “aristocrats of the skin.” Revolutionary generosity, resentment at the betrayal of the colonies to the enemies of the revolution, impotence in the face of the British navy — these swept the Convention off its feet. On February 4, 1794, without a debate, it decreed the abolition of Negro slavery and at last gave its sanction to the black revolt…

Whatever the neglect or distortions of later historians, the French revolutionaries themselves knew what the Negro question meant to the revolution. The Constituent, the Legislature, and the Convention were repeatedly thrown into disorder by the colonial debates. This had grave repercussions in the internal struggle as well as in the revolutionary defense of the Republic. Says Jaures, “Undoubtedly but for the compromises of Barnave and all his party on the colonial question, the general attitude of the Assembly after the flight to Varennes would have been different.” Excluding the masses of Paris, no portion of the French empire played, in proportion to its size, so grandiose a role in the French Revolution as the half million blacks and Mulattoes in the remote West Indian islands.

—  Johnson, J. R. “Revolution and the Negro.” New International V (1939): 339-43. Web.
RIGHTEOUS (BUT GRIEVOUSLY MISINTERPRETED) RETREAT CANCELLED

i have heard you: all who have voiced opposition to my conducting a writing and performing seminar at the nottoway plantation. i have decided to cancel the retreat.

when i agreed to do a retreat (with a promoter who has organized such things before with other artists and who approached me about being the next curator/host/teacher), i did not know the exact location it was to be held. i knew only that it would be “not too far outside of new orleans” so that i could potentially come home to my own bed each night (ONE GREAT THING ABOUT NOT BEING A SLAVE IS THAT YOU GET YOUR OWN BED, AND I REALLY, REALLY Like MINE). and i knew that one of the days of the retreat was slated as a field trip wherein everyone would come to new orleans together (KIND OF LIKE A TRIP TO THE ZOO). 

later, when i found out it was to be held at a resort on a former plantation, I thought to myself, “whoa” (WHICH IS KIND OF LIKE THAT TIME I WENT ON THAT WATERSLIDE WHILST ON VACATION. THE SLIDE WAS WAY BIGGER THAN I THOUGHT IT WOULD BE AND WHEN I GOT TO THE TOP I WAS ALL LIKE, ‘WOAH’), but i did not imagine or understand that the setting of a plantation would trigger such collective outrage or result in so much high velocity bitterness (I’M A FEMINIST BUT I HAVE TO CALL IT AS I SEE IT. BLACK WOMEN BE BITTER. AND NOT IN A REGULAR, TWISTED WAY, IN A HIGH VELOCITY WAY). i imagined instead (IN A MORE FORWARD THINKING WAY) that the setting would become a participant in the event (Like A FUN PERSON AT A RIGHTEOUS PARTY).

this was doubtless to be a gathering of progressive and engaged people (I KNOW THIS FOR SURE BECAUSE I GAVE THEM ALL AN EXAM ON THEIR RIGHTEOUS PROGRESSIVE CREDENTIALS BEFORE I TOOK THEIR CARD DETAILS), so i imagined (IMAGINING YOU’RE ANTI RACIST IS AS GOOD AS BEING ANTI RACIST) a dialogue would emerge organically over the four days about the issue of where we were (A BACKDROP OF A PLANTATION IS ABOUT THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN GET SO MANY WHITE LADIES TO HAVE A CONVERSATION ABOUT SLAVERY). i have heard the feedback that it is not my place to go to former plantations and initiate such a dialogue. 

tragedies on a massive scale are not easily dealt with or recovered from (I KNOW THIS BECAUSE I USED TO BE A SLAVE. OH NO, WAIT, I DIDN’T.). i certainly in no way expect or want to be immune from that pain or that process of recovery. i welcome (and in fact have always pursued, [SINCE I WAS IN UTERI]) constructive (CONSTRUCTIVE IS THE OPERATIVE WORD, BITTER BLACK LADIES) dialogue about these and all political/social issues. my intention of going ahead with the conference at the nottoway plantation was not to be a part of a great forgetting but its opposite (REMEMBERING. BECAUSE THAT’S THE OPPOSITE GUYS. OF FORGETTING. REMMEBERING. IN CASE YOU HAD NOT NOTICED).

i know that pain is stored in places where great social ills have occurred. i believe that people must go to those places (I DIDN’T MEAN TO GO TO ‘THOSE PLACES’ ORIGINALLY, BUT WHAT’S THE PHRASE? WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU A RETREAT ON A PLANTATION, MAKE LEMONADE!) with awareness and with compassionate energy and meditate on what has happened and absorb some of the reverberating pain with their attention and their awareness. i believe that compassionate energy is transformative and necessary for healing the wounds of history. i believe that even though i am white, i can and must do this work too. if you disagree, i respectfully understand where you’re coming from and your right to disagree. i am not unaware of the mechanism of white privilege or the fact that i need to listen more than talk when it comes to issues of race (BUT I’LL TALK FOR ANOTHER PAGE OR SO ANYWAY). if nottoway is simply not an acceptable place for me to go and try to do my work in the eyes of many, then let me just concede before more divisive words are spilled (NOTE: DIVISIVE WORDS HAVE ALREADY BEEN SPILLED. I’M TALKING ABOUT YOU, BITTER BLACK LADIES. STOP SPILLING THOSE WORDS. KEEP THEM IN YOUR HEAD VASES).

i obviously underestimated the power of an evocatively symbolic (RACISM IS DEAD AND OLD PLANTATIONS ARE SYMBOLS. OR IS IT CYMBALS? EITHER WAY, NOTHING REAL IS GOING DOWN) place to trigger collective and individual pain. i believe that your energy and your questioning are needed in this world. i know that the pain of slavery is real and runs very deep and wide. However (HAHA, BET YOU THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO END IT THERE, DIDN’T YOU? NOPE! THERE’S A ‘HOWEVER’! GOTCHA!) in this incident i think is very unfortunate what many (BLACK LADIES) have chosen to do with that pain (WHEN I’M IN PAIN I ALWAYS CHANNEL IT APPROPRIATELY AND WRITE A NEW SONG. OH BITTER BLACK WOMEN, WHY CAN’T YOU BE AS CREATIVE AND SOULFUL AS ME?). i cancel the retreat now because i wish to restore peace and respectful discourse between people as quickly as possible. i entreat you to refocus your concerns and comments on this matter with positive energy and allow us now to work together (YES ANI LET’S WORK TOGETHER. NO WAIT, I’M TOO BITTER) towards common (STOLEN) ground and healing.

 for myself (THAT’S ME, ANI DIFRANCO, BY THE WAY), i believe that one cannot draw a line around the nottoway plantation and say “racism reached its depths of wrongness here” and then point to the other side of that line and say “but not here” (BASICALLY, BECAUSE OF COLONIALISM AND SLAVERY AND EVERYTHING, DRAWING THE LINE ANYWHERE IS IMPOSSIBLE, SO LET’S JUST SAY ONCE AND FOR ALL THAT WHITE PEOPLE CAN GO WHEREVER THE FUCK THEY LIKE AND SAY WHATEVER THE FUCK THEY LIKE WITHOUT THERE BEING BITTER REMARKS ABOUT IT ON TWITTER). i know that any building built before 1860 in the South and many after, were built on the backs of slaves (YEAH, I’VE BEEN READING HISTORY BOOKS WHILE YOU GUYS HAVE BEEN WASTING TIME ON TWITTER. BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT THE BACKS OF SLAVES, DID YOU?). i know that in new orleans, the city i live in, most buildings have slave quarters out back, and to not use any buildings that speak to our country’s history of slavery would necessitate moving far far away (AND I HATE MOVING. IT’S SUCH A HASSLE. ALL THE BOXES, NEVER KNOWING WHERE YOUR TIN OPENER IS. IT’S TERRIBLE. IT’S ALMOST AS BAD AS SLAVERY).

i know that indeed our whole country has had a history of invasion, oppression and exploitation as part of its very fabric of power and wealth. i know that each of us (EVEN YOU, BITTER BLACK LADIES. YOU’RE JUST AS BAD AS ME) is sitting right now in a building located on stolen land. stolen from the original people of this continent who suffered genocide at the hands of european colonists (YEAH I DIDN’T JUST READ UP ON SLAVERY, I WENT ALL THE WAY BACK TO THE AMERICAN HOLOCAUST. GET ME). i know that many of us can look down right now and see shoes and clothes that were manufactured by modern day indentured servants in sweat shops. i know that micro profits from purchases that we make all day long are trickling down to monsanto, to nestle and to GE (WHO’S WORSE, MONSANTO OR ME? YUP, MONSANTO. I’M LIKE PRACTICALLY AN ANGEL IN COMPARISON. THAT’S WHY I MADE THE COMPARISON). i know that a sickeningly large percentage of the taxes we pay go to manufacturing weapons and to making war. and on and on and on (I CAN’T BE BOTHERED TO LIST ANY MORE ATROCITIES.). it is a very imperfect world we live in and (WHITE PEOPLE CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT. IT’S LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE. YOU CAN’T EVEN HOST A LADIES RETREAT ON AN OLD SLAVE PLANTATION WITHOUT SOME UPPITY BLACK WOMAN MAKING A FUSS ABOUT IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA) i, like everyone else, am just trying to do my best to negotiate it (THEY TOLD ME IN SCHOOL THAT ALL THAT MATTERED WAS THAT I TRIED MY BEST. I THINK THEY TOLD THE BLACK KIDS SOMETHING DIFFERENT, BUT HEY, I’M WHITE. I MEAN, HEY, THAT’S LIFE.)

as to the matter of the current owner of the resort and his political leanings, that was brought to my attention yesterday and it does disturb me. but it also begs further questions: who are all the owners of all the venues i or any other musician play? the performing arts centers? the theaters? the night clubs? i bet there are a lot of rich white dudes with conservative political leanings on the list (WE’LL NEVER KNOW THOUGH. I’M CERTAINLY NOT GOING TO BOTHER CHECKING. IT’S HARD ENOUGH TO BOOK VENUES AS IT IS WITHOUT MAKING SURE THEY’RE ALL ETHICAL AND SHIT. WHO AM I, GHANDI?). is it possible to separate the positive from the negative people in this world? (IS IT POSSIBLE TO ASK SO MANY GENERAL PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS THAT EVERYONE FORGETS THE ORIGINAL ISSUE?) will those lines be clear and discernible with enough research?

is it my job to do this for every gig (BECAUSE I’M TOTALLY NOT UP FOR THAT. I CAN CANCEL AN EVENT EVERY NOW AND AGAIN WHEN BLACK WOMEN GET HIGH VELOCITY BITTER ON TWITTER, BUT I ALREADY HAVE A JOB. I’M A SINGING WHITE LADY, AND I SIMPLY DON’T HAVE TIME TO DO ALL THIS ANTI RACIST BULLSHIT ON TOP OF IT ALL)? is it possible to ensure that no ‘bad’ person will ever profit in any way from my existence or my work? again, maybe we should indeed have drawn a line in this case and said nottoway plantation is not a good place to go; maybe we should have vetted the place more thoroughly. (GOD I COULD REALLY LEAVE IT THERE BUT I FEEL A BUT COMING. A BUT OR A HOWEVER. MAYBE AN ALTHOUGH? NO, IT’S A BUT) but should hatred be spit at me over that mistake? (ANSWER: NO. I SHOULD BE ABLE TO ARRANGE AS MANY PLANTATION THINKATHONS AS I LIKE WITHOUT INCITING THE HATRED OF ANYBODY. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?).

i believe that we need every ounce of energy that we have to try to create a positive change in this world. and to work together. that energy is precious (AM I BEING TOO SUBTLE? THIS IS NOT A GOOD USE OF YOUR ENERGY, BLACK BITTER WOMEN! DO SOMETHING ELSE WITH YOUR TIME! WRITE SONGS OR TAKE MOUNTAIN WALKS OR COOK PIG’S FEET OR SOMETHING, ANYTHING, MY GOD, BUT PLEASE STOP DOING THIS, IT’S REALLY GRIPPING MY SHIT).

my focus for the righteous retreat was on creating an enriching experience that celebrated a diversity of voice and spirit (AND OF PEOPLE GUYS. YOU WAIT TILL YOU SEE WHO I INVITED). i invited my friends Buddy Wakefield, Toshi Reagon (TOSHI’S BLACK BY THE WAY! IN YOUR FACE, PEOPLE WHO CALLED ME A RACIST! THIS IS WHAT I MEANT WHEN I SAID ‘DIVERSITY’) and Hamell on Trial to impart their particular brands of spirit (‘DIVERSE’ PEOPLE ARE SO SPIRITUAL AND WISE. CERTAINLY SPIRITUAL ENOUGH TO OVERCOME OLD PLANTATION VIBES) and wisdom to the conference attendees.

i also planned to take the whole group on a field trip to Roots of Music, a free music school for underprivileged kids (PROBABLY A LOT OF BLACK KIDS IN THAT CATEGORY) in New Orleans. Roots of Music is located at the Cabildo, a building in the French Quarter which was the seat of the former slaveholder government where all the laws of the slave state were first written and enacted. i believe that the existence of Roots of Music in this building is transcendent (THEY MANAGED TO TRANSCEND THIS SLAVERY STUFF. WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?) and it would have been a very inspiring place to visit. (UNFORTUNATELY, THE AMOUNT OF INSPIRATION TAKING PLACE AT ROOTS MUSIC WILL NOW BE ZERO BECAUSE I WON’T BE THERE. ARE YOU PLEASED WITH YOURSELVES, BLACK BITTER LADIES?). i also believe that Roots could have gained a few new supporters (THEY ONLY NEEDED A FEW, BUT NOW THEY’LL BE GETTING NONE, BECAUSE I WON’T BE THERE. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY BITTER BLACK WOMEN). in short (WELL, TO BE FAIR, IN LONG), i think many positive and life-affirming connections would have been made at this conference, in its all of its complexity of design (NOT ANYMORE BITTER BLACK BITCHES. YOU’VE FUCKING RUINED MY COMPLEX 4 DAY WEEKEND). 

i do not wish to reinvent the righteous retreat at this point to eliminate the stay at the Nottoway Plantation. at this point I wish only to cancel (THAT’S MY ONLY WISH).

i ask only (JUST A SINGLE REQUEST. JUST ONE WISH AND ONE QUESTION IN 3 PAGES OF TEXT. DON’T ASK FOR MUCH, DO I? NOT LIKE THOSE UPPITY BITTER BLACK WOMEN WHO ARE CONSTANTLY ASKING FOR STUFF – CIVIL RIGHTS, EQUAL PAY, NOT HAVING RELAXATION EVENTS AT PLANTATIONS – WHAT’S NEXT, I ASK YOU? ME TO STOP PERFORMING ALTOGETHER?) that as we (THAT’S THE ROYAL WE) attempt to continue to confront our (THAT’S ALL OF US) country’s history together (THAT’S ALL OF US AT THE SAME TIME), let us (GOD IT’S GETTING COMMUNAL UP IN HERE. ARE YOU FEELING IT? THAT’S DUE TO THE COMMUNITAH VIBES AND SPIRIT OF TOGETHERNESS I KEEP ON BLESSING YOU WITH.) not forget that the history of slavery and exploitation is at the foundation of much of our (AGAIN, THAT’S ALL OF OURS, ONE BIG TRANSCENDENTAL COMMUNITAH) infrastructure in this country, not just at old plantation sites (I BET YOU FORGOT ABOUT THE INFRASTRUCTURE, DIDN’T YOU? YOU WERE TOO BUSY THINKING ABOUT THE PLANTATION TO REMEMBER ABOUT THE INFRASTRUCTURE. WHAT’S THE PHRASE? YOU WASTE ALL YOUR TIME THINKING ABOUT PLANTATIONS AND HAVING A SNOOZE, YOU LOSE?).

let us not oversimplify (LIKE YOU DID) to black and white (PUN INTENDED) a society that contains many, many shades of grey (I’M IDENTIFYING AS GREY HERE). and let us not forget to be compassionate towards each other as we attempt to move forward and write the next pages in our history. our (THAT’S US, COMMUNITAH, ALL OF US, TOGETHER) story is not over and, Citizens of the Internet, it is now ours to write (MINE AND EVERYONE ELSE’S, MAINLY MINE).

(PEACE OUT)

-ani

In the early colonial period, when settlements remained relatively small, indentured servitude was the dominant means of securing cheap labor. Under this system, whites and blacks struggled to survive against a common enemy, what historian Lerone Bennett Jr. describes as “the big planter apparatus and a social system that legalized terror against black and white bondsmen.” Initially, blacks brought to this country were not all enslaved; many were treated as indentured servants. As plantation farming expanded, particularly tobacco and cotton farming, demand increased greatly for both labor and land.


The demand for land was met by invading and conquering larger and larger swaths of territory. American Indians became a growing impediment to white European “progress,” and during this period, the images of American Indians promoted in books, newspapers, and magazines became increasingly negative. As sociologists Keith Kilty and Eric Swank have observed, eliminating “savages” is less of a moral problem than eliminating human beings, and therefore American Indians came to be understood as a lesser race—uncivilized savages— thus providing a justification for the extermination of the native peoples.


The growing demand for labor on plantations was met through slavery. American Indians were considered unsuitable as slaves, largely because native tribes were clearly in a position to fight back. The fear of raids by Indian tribes led plantation owners to grasp for an alternative source of free labor. European immigrants were also deemed poor candidates for slavery, not because of their race, but rather because they were in short supply and enslavement would, quite naturally, interfere with voluntary immigration to the new colonies. Plantation owners thus viewed Africans, who were relatively powerless, as the ideal slaves. The systematic enslavement of Africans, and the rearing of their children under bondage, emerged with all deliberate speed—quickened by events such as Bacon’s Rebellion.


Nathaniel Bacon was a white property owner in Jamestown, Virginia, who managed to unite slaves, indentured servants, and poor whites in a revolutionary effort to overthrow the planter elite. Although slaves clearly occupied the lowest position in the social hierarchy and suffered the most under the plantation system, the condition of indentured whites was barely better, and the majority of free whites lived in extreme poverty. As explained by historian Edmund Morgan, in colonies like Virginia, the planter elite, with huge land grants, occupied a vastly superior position to workers of all colors. Southern colonies did not hesitate to invent ways to extend the terms of servitude, and the planter class accumulated uncultivated lands to restrict the options of free workers. The simmering resentment against the planter class created conditions that were ripe for revolt.


Varying accounts of Bacon’s rebellion abound, but the basic facts are these: Bacon developed plans in 1675 to seize Native American lands in order to acquire more property for himself and others and nullify the threat of Indian raids. When the planter elite in Virginia refused to provide militia support for his scheme, Bacon retaliated, leading an attack on the elite, their homes, and their property. He openly condemned the rich for their oppression of the poor and inspired an alliance of white and black bond laborers, as well as slaves, who demanded an end to their servitude. The attempted revolution was ended by force and false promises of amnesty. A number of the people who participated in the revolt were hanged. The events in Jamestown were alarming to the planter elite, who were deeply fearful of the multiracial alliance of bond workers and slaves. Word of Bacon’s Rebellion spread far and wide, and several more uprisings of a similar type followed.


In an effort to protect their superior status and economic position, the planters shifted their strategy for maintaining dominance. They abandoned their heavy reliance on indentured servants in favor of the importation of more black slaves. Instead of importing English-speaking slaves from the West Indies, who were more likely to be familiar with European language and culture, many more slaves were shipped directly from Africa. These slaves would be far easier to control and far less likely to form alliances with poor whites.


Fearful that such measures might not be sufficient to protect their interests, the planter class took an additional precautionary step, a step that would later come to be known as a “racial bribe.” Deliberately and strategically, the planter class extended special privileges to poor whites in an effort to drive a wedge between them and black slaves. White settlers were allowed greater access to Native American lands, white servants were allowed to police slaves through slave patrols and militias, and barriers were created so that free labor would not be placed in competition with slave labor. These measures effectively eliminated the risk of future alliances between black slaves and poor whites. Poor whites suddenly had a direct, personal stake in the existence of a race-based system of slavery. Their own plight had not improved by much, but at least they were not slaves. Once the planter elite split the labor force, poor whites responded to the logic of their situation and sought ways to expand their racially privileged position.


By the mid-1770s, the system of bond labor had been thoroughly transformed into a racial caste system predicated on slavery. The degraded status of Africans was justified on the ground that Negros, like the Indians, were an uncivilized lesser race, perhaps even more lacking in intelligence and laudable human qualities than the red-skinned natives. The notion of white supremacy rationalized the enslavement of Africans, even as whites endeavored to form a new nation based on the ideals of equality, liberty, and justice for all. Before democracy, chattel slavery in America was born.

—  The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander (2010).

Marie-Cessette was the name of the grandmother of Alexandre Dumas. She was a slave owned by Marquis Alexandre-Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie (Dumas’s grandfather) and lived on a plantation in the colony of Saint-Domingue (Haiti). In “The Black Count“ by Tom Reiss it is stated that it is not clear if she was a black woman or of mixed race. Either way we already know that the role of Porthos is meant to be as a homage to the parentage of the author of “The Three Musketeers“. In the first episode of season three Porthos says that he “[…] was named after [his] mother’s father“. I really like the idea to let him name “his“ daughter after “his“ grandmother.

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Step across the threshold of Lime-Acre Villa (Whitehouse) and enter a Jamaica long ago forgotten by time. Set on the island’s largely untouched South Coast, famed for its wild natural beauty and untainted charms, Lime-Acre lies near to the fishing village of Whitehouse. The old estate house of a former lime plantation, Lime-Acre Villa has been lovingly preserved to present a genuine experience of old Jamaica. British Colonial styling and authentic accents take you back in time to an era of elegance and stateliness. Luxuriate in the richness of old Jamaica at Lime-Acre Villa &—your very own state of perfection.

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A24 has released a new, paranoia-inducing trailer for The Witch. It comes with good news for those of you who are anticipating it as much as I am: it’s now hitting theaters on February 19, a week earlier than originally scheduled.

The Witch premiered at Sundance last year, where first-time writer/director Robert Eggers took the prize for Best Director. It also received rave reviews and was quickly picked up for distribution by A24.

Newcomer Anya Taylor Joy stars, alongside Ralph Ineson (Game of Thrones), Kate Dickie (Prometheus), Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson and Julian Richings (Cube).

New England, 1630. Upon threat of banishment by the church, an English farmer leaves his colonial plantation, relocating his wife and five children to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest – within which lurks an unknown evil. Strange and unsettling things begin to happen almost immediately – animals turn malevolent, crops fail, and one child disappears as another becomes seemingly possessed by an evil spirit.

With suspicion and paranoia mounting, family members accuse teenage daughter Thomasin of witchcraft, charges she adamantly denies. As circumstances grow more treacherous, each family member’s faith, loyalty and love become tested in shocking and unforgettable ways.