the slave trade

African Union criticizes US for ‘taking many of our people as slaves’ and not taking refugees

[IMAGE: African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on 30 January, 2017.]

The head of the African Union has criticized Donald Trump’s ban on immigration from some Muslim-majority countries, saying it presents “one of the greatest challenges” for the continent.

As representatives of the AU’s 53 member states met in Addis Ababa for a two-day summit, the chief of its commission said the bloc was entering “very turbulent times” after the US President’s election.

“The very country to which many of our people were taken as slaves during the transatlantic slave trade has now decided to ban refugees from some of our countries,” said Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

“What do we do about this? Indeed, this is one of the greatest challenges to our unity and solidarity.”

Mr Trump’s executive order prevented people with passports from three African nations – Libya, Somalia and Sudan – from travelling to the US. It also blocked visas for citizens from four Middle Eastern countries – Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran.

The President has also suspended all US refugee programmes for 120 days, and ended the flow of Syrian refugees to America indefinitely.

Also speaking in Ethiopia, the UN Secretary General commended African countries for opening their borders to refugees and people fleeing violence while other parts of the world, including the developed West, close boundaries and build walls.

Antonio Guterres, attending his first AU summit as the UN chief, said: “African nations are among the world’s largest and most generous hosts of refugees.

“African borders remain open for those in need of protection when so many borders are being closed, even in the most developed countries in the world.”

Mr Guterres didn’t make a direct reference to the recent executive orders signed by Mr Trump, which also included a commitment to build a wall along the Mexican border, but his comment drew enthusiastic applause from hundreds of African leaders, officials and dignitaries who attended the opening of the summit, the Associated Press reported.


Today is National Freedom Day, the day that President Lincoln signed the Amendment outlawing slavery in 1865. Slavery has occurred in many forms throughout the world, but the Atlantic slave trade – which forcibly brought more than 10 million Africans to the Americas – stands out for both its global scale and its lasting legacy. And while slavery in the United States is taught in classrooms, not much time is spent on the effect the Atlantic slave trade had on Africa’s economy after slavery was abolished. In this TED-Ed lesson, Anthony Hazard discusses the historical, economic and personal impact of this massive historical injustice.

How the Atlantic Slave Trade affected Igbo Societies

A lot of the abhorrent practices like human sacrifice in Igbo religious institutions can be traced to, or were heightened by the Atlantic slave trade. It’s at this time that the practice of condemning people as osu or ritual slaves became intensified. The slave trade created an environment in which African religious practices became very violent which may have consequently led to the rapid spread of Christianity in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The pursuit of conspicuous consumption promoted greed, impoverished people and rendered them vulnerable to enslavement by their creditors. A growing culture of conspicuous consumption ensured the extremely high cost of funerals, marriages, and other ceremonies. “Gun salutes,” or multiple firing of canon, as well as human sacrifices — practices that developed during the overseas slave trade era — became regular features of the funerals of the rich. Slave-ship captains ordered gun salutes when coastal kings boarded newly arrived ships to collect customs, and human sacrifice developed as the overseas trade cheapened human life.46 Even though the sale of human beings generated revenues, diminished value for human life was an inevitable consequence of a culture of violence and death that resulted from slave capture, warfare, raiding, and resistance. Although slave traders calculated the value of their captives in terms of profits, nothing would stop them sacrificing the captives if they calculated that such sacrifice would replenish their cost in manifold proportions. The primary focus of their interest was not human life but profit, which they could apparently achieve through either destruction or preservation, as they might calculate in any given circumstance. Economic and spiritual considerations were linked. These extremely expensive, decadent and sometimes gruesome undertakings deepened stratification. Human sacrifice also fed on and promoted the domestic slave trade, as perpetrators had first to acquire the individuals needed for the purpose. Even head hunting is associated with the late-nineteenth-century history of Arondizuogu.47 These untoward practices represented cultural changes that were the consequences of either the overseas slave trade or of its suppression. 

46 The practice of “gun salutes” had developed by the end of seventeenth century when European slave traders used it to entertain and honor both themselves and prominent Africans they dealt with. For example, on or about May r, 1699, the slaver Albion-Frigate fired seven-gun salute for King William of New Calabar when he went aboard to collect duties. In late June of the same yea; King William and master of another English ship at the port were also each recipients of a seven-gun salute; late; Captain Edwards of the Albion-Frigate received another seven rounds, when “he returned ashore” (James Barbot).

G. Ugo Nwokeji (2010). The Slave Trade and Culture in the Bight of Biafra: An African Society in the Atlantic World. Cambridge University Press. p. 201.

Black history month day 6: Olaudah Equiano.

Olaudah Equiano, also known as Gustavus Vaasa, was a prominent African in London. He was a freed slave who supported the British movement to end the slave trade. His autobiography, published in 1789, helped in the creation of the Slave Trade Act 1807 which ended the African trade for Britain and its colonies. Equiano was part of the Sons of Africa, an abolitionist group composed of prominent Africans living in Britain, and he was active among leaders of the anti-slave trade in the 1780s.

Equiano’s book, “The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African”, is one of the earliest-known examples of published writing by an African writer to be widely read in England. By 1792, it was a best seller: it has been published in Russia, Germany, Holland, and the United States. It was the first influential slave narrative of what became a large literary genre. Equiano’s experience in slavery was quite different from that of most slaves as he did not participate in field work. Rather, he served his owners personally and went to sea, was taught to read and write, and worked in trading. Even after his freedom he continued to be an explorer and travel extensively everywhere from the Arctic to the United States.

His Life as a freed slave was stressful, and he suffered from suicidal thoughts until he became a born-again Christian and found peace in his faith. He married in English woman, Susannah Cullen, and together they had two children.

Did Europeans “civilize” the Americas? Actually, anthropologists tell us that “hunters and gatherers were relatively peaceful, compared to agriculturalists, and that modern societies were more warlike still. Thus violence increases with civilization.

[…] Textbooks cannot resist contrasting "primitive” Americans with modern Europeans.

[…] Europeans persuaded Natives to specialize in the fur and slave trades. Native Americans were better hunters and trappers than Europeans, and with the guns the Europeans sold them, they became better still. Other Native skills began to atrophy.

[…] because whites “demanded institutions reflective of their own with which to relate,” many Native groups strengthened their tribal governments… New confederations and nations developed.. The tribes also became more male- dominated, in imitation of Europeans.. [there was] an escalation of Indian warfare… [the slave trade helped] to deagriculturize Native Americans. To avoid being targets for capture, Indians abandoned their cornfields and their villages.

[…] "Europeans did not “civilize” or “settle” roaming Indians, but had the opposite impact.

[…] According to Benjamin Franklin, “All their government is by Counsel of the Sages. There is no Force; there are no Prisons, no officers to compel Obedience, or inflict Punishment.” Probably foremost, the lack of hierarchy in the Native socieites in the eastern United States attracted the admiration of European observers. Frontiersmen were taken with the extent to which Native Americans enjoyed freedom as individuals. Women were also accorded more status and power.. than in white societies of the time.

[…] "Indeed, Native American ideas may be partly responsible for our democratic institutions. We have seen how Native ideas of liberty, fraternity, and equality found their way to Europe to influence social philosophers such as Thomas More, Locke, Montaigne, Montesquieu, and Rousseau… Through 150 years of colonial contact, the Iroquois League stood before the colonies as an object lesson in how to govern a large domain democratically.

[…] John Mohawk has argued that American Indians are directly or indirectly responsible for the public-meeting tradition, free speech, democracy, and “all those things which got attached to the Bill of Rights.” Without the Native example, “do you really believe that all those ideas would have found birth among a people who had spent a millennium butchering other people because of intolerance of questions of religion?”

[…] Indian warfare absorbed 80 percent of the entire federal budget during George Washington’s administration and dogged his successors for a century as a major issue and expense… [in many cases] the settlers were Native American, the scalpers white.

[…] All the textbooks tell how Jefferson “doubled the size of the United States by buying Louisiana from France.” Not one points out that it was not France’s land to sell–it was Indian land… Indeed, France did not really sell Louisiana for $15,000,000. France merely sold its claim to the territory… Equally Eurocentric are the maps textbooks use to show the Lewis and Clark expedition. They make Native American invisible, implying that the United States bought vacant land from the French… [Textbooks imply that the Indians were naive about land ownership, but] the problem lay in whites’ not abiding by accepted concepts of land ownership.

[…] The most important cause of the War of 1812.. was land– Indian land… The United States fought five of the seven major land battles of the War of 1812 primarily against Native Americans… [a] result of the War of 1812 was the loss of part of our history. A century of learning [from Native Americans] was coming to a close… until 1815 the word Americans had generally been used to refer to Native Americans; after 1815 it meant European Americans… Carleton Beals has written that “our acquiescence in Indian dispossession has molded the American character.” … destroyed our national idealism. From 1815 on, instead of spreading democracy, we exported the ideology of white supremacy. Gradually we sought American hegemony over Mexico, the Philippines, much of the Caribbean basin, and, indirectly, over other nations… We also have to admit that Adolf Hitler displayed more knowledge of how we treated Native Americans than American high schoolers who rely on their textbooks. Hitler admired our concentration camps for Indians in the west “and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination–by starvation and uneven combat” as the model for his extermination of Jews and Gypsies.

[…] Yet we “still stereotype Native Americans as roaming primitive hunting folk, unfortunate victims of progress.


Excerpts from  Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong 

by James W. Loewen

im 18 and this white woman around 25 came at me saying white privilege isnt real and “in 2017 white people are actually the most oppressed race” and she kept calling me “a millennium brainwashed by media” like first……. sweaty ur a millennium too……… and second poc just want white ppl to stand by us but all we get is yall trying to frantically victimize urself bc u got a 1/1000000000 taste (not even lbr) of what we’ve experienced throughout generations like…….. honey…. pls


Sharing my reading tonight.
Middle Passage Monday…sigh.

This is by far one of the heaviest nights of the week for me. Doing research on the specifics of the slave trade and the gruesome middle passage our ancestors endured before even making it to the “New World”

So many emotions. This is going to be difficult. Share this information far and wide.

I think that using alien to describe otherness works,” says Reynaldo Anderson, a professor who writes about Afrofuturism. Anderson is one of many theorists who view the alien metaphor as one that explains the looming space of otherness perpetuated by the idea of race. “We’re among the first alien abductees, kidnapped by strange people who take us over by ships and conduct scientific experiments on us. They bred us. They came up with a taxonomy of the people they bred: mulatto, octoroon, quadroon.
—  Excerpt from “Afrofuturism” by Ytasha L. Womack. Read it on Oyster →

March 31st 1797: Olaudah Equiano dies

On this day in 1797, the abolitonist Olaudah Equiano died in London aged 51/52. Equiano wrote in his autobiography that he was born in Nigeria, and was kidnapped and sold into slavery when he was 11. He was shipped to Barbados then Virginia before being sold to a British officer in the Royal Navy. During this time, Equiano travelled widely with his new master, and experienced battle in the Seven Years’ War. He was taught to read and write by the sailors, and was baptised in 1759. He was later sold to a merchant in the West Indies, and worked as a deckhand, valet and barber. Equiano began to trade privately, independent of his master, and eventually earned enough money to buy his own freedom. After years of enslavement, Equiano was now a free man. He spent the following years traveling extensively, and in the 1780s returned to London. There, he became deeply involved in the anti-slavery movement, joining the ‘Sons of Africa’ group of black abolitionists and working with the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. The publication of his autobiography in 1789 highlighed the horrors of slavery, describing in graphic detail the horrendous conditions endured by African slaves. Equiano’s candid account was a bestseller and, coupled with his powerful speaking tours across Britain, it bolstered the abolitionist cause. Equiano’s involvement contibuted to Britain’s abolition of the slave trade in 1807, which was followed by the total abolition of slavery throughout the empire in 1833.  Equiano married in 1792, and became involved in the campaign for universal suffrage. He was tasked with settling former slaves in Sierra Leone, but died before he could emark on the expedition. Olaudah Equiano has been hailed as the father of African literature, and is remembered for his role in bringing an end to the slave trade.

“But is not the slave trade entirely a war with the heart of man? And surely that which is begun by breaking down the barriers of virtue involves in its continuance destruction to every principle, and buries all sentiments in ruin!”
- from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

sweetheartwriter2017  asked:

To your comment on how black kids are raised with violence. Due to the fact that our ancestors have been enslaved by your ancestors and did these violent acts to us at the slightest bit of disrespect. You learn from others. If you grow up your whole life, seeing your family and children being whipped for things like this, you do it yourself. And it just gets passed down like that. White people though, seeing the pain they inflict, dare not raise a hand to their child (in lots of cases) :)

I had a chuckle at this.

My ancestors were black. Simple check of our blog would show that no one here is white.

But you are partly right. While my black ancestors may not have been slave owners (just like the average white person’s were not), black people did enslave other black people longer than Europeans enslaved black people, including those purchased from Africa during the Atlantic Slave trade. There is still a bunch of slavery happening in Africa today.

So i guess your point can be changed to…many black parents today are violent towards their children because other black people were violent to their ancestors? Mkay.

Glad you could show me the light.

There is always a certain glamour about the idea of a nation rising up to crush an evil simply because it is wrong. Unfortunately, this can seldom be realized in real life; for the very existence of the evil usually argues a moral weakness in the very place where extraordinary moral strength is called for.
—  W.E.B. Du Bois, from The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870

November 29th 1781: Zong massacre

On this day in 1781, hundreds of captured Africans were killed aboard the British slave ship Zong. The ship had left the African coast on September 6th carrying 470 slaves, which was far more than the ship could accommodate, but Captain Luke Collingwood insisted on taking more people to maximise his profits from selling them as slaves. The horrific, cramped conditions aboard the ship led to rapidly spreading disease and malnutrition, which claimed the lives of fifty slaves and seventeen crew members. In order to prevent further deaths and to allow himself to collect insurance money on the lost slave property, Collingwood decided to throw 132 sick and dying captives overboard, beginning on November 29th. Ten of the kidnapped Africans threw themselves to their deaths in an act of defiance against Collingwood’s barbarity. Upon the Zong’s arrival in Jamaica, the ship’s owner filed an insurance claim of £4,000 for the loss of the human cargo, asserting that the ship lacked the water supplies to sustain the full crew and captives. This claim was refuted, however, as it was soon discovered that the ship had 420 gallons of water aboard. Despite the weakness of the ship owner’s claim, a Jamaican court in 1782 ruled in their favour, forcing the insurers to pay out. The insurers appealed the court’s decision, and the ensuing legal battle soon acquired a moral element, as it enflamed the growing abolitionist movement in Great Britain. The high publicity around the case, and the fact that abolitionists like Olaudah Equiano and Granville Sharp used it to further the anti-slavery cause, led to a second trial in Britain ruling in favour of the insurers. However, prevailing inhumane attitudes towards the plight of the kidnapped Africans prevented criminal charges from being brought against those responsible for the massacre. Britain’s Solicitor General flippantly rebuffed the case, claiming that as slaves are legal property, the incident is akin to as if wood had been thrown overboard. The tragic deaths of hundreds of captured Africans, and the injustice of their murderers’ reprieve, did, however, strengthen the abolitionist movement. The Zong massacre provides one the darkest symbols of the horrific Middle Passage, and paved the way for the eventual abolition of slavery across the British Empire in 1833.