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Re: Slave Narratives

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  • Dean Costello
    ... the ... Ummm, the few Confederate newspapers I have viewed from that period appear to make it perfectly clear that the war was indeed based on preserving
    Message 1 of 16 , May 5, 1999
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      ><< I'm not sure I understand what revision you wish us to adopt in light of
      >this--however you cut it, slaves constituted 45% of Alabama's population; in
      >all but the most mountainous counties of the hill country, slaves were
      >prevalent throughout the state. What is your interpretation of the
      >statistics? What do you believe they reveal to us about history?
      >
      >My daughter's 8th grade history book stated 32% of Alabamians owned slaves.
      >This is not true! I think the revisionist do this to give credibility to
      the
      >erroneous idea the War for Southern Independence was fought to preserve
      >slavery.

      Ummm, the few Confederate newspapers I have viewed from that period appear
      to make it perfectly clear that the war was indeed based on preserving
      slavery. It is the "revisionists" in the 1880s and the 1920s who started
      the move towards "The War of Northern Aggression" and other equally silly
      descriptors and tried to add the concept of State's Rights to defend their
      actions.

      As to the use of "revisionist" as an apparent term of denigration:

      There have been several changes of thought in terms of the reasons behind
      the Civil War. My personal research (which admittedly is not all the
      detailed since I have, well, a full-time job) tends to support the
      currently growing trend that the Civil War was fought over slavery.

      Depending on the period of time you are examining (e.g., Reconstruction,
      Woodrow Wilson and "Birth of a Nation", anti-segregation in the 50s through
      70s, the Reagan period of refusing to acknowledge racial problems, to the
      present), the common belief of historians range from a war to end slavery
      to a war to defeat rebel forces and/or a war to preserve State's Rights.
      From my evaluation of historical literature, there appears to be a cyclic
      approach to why the Civil War occurred.

      As a result, the use of "revisionist" to describe historians that you don't
      agree with is about as useful (and accurate) as describing anyone who is in
      favor of gun control as communist, e.g., it doesn't make a lick of sense.
      -
      Dean Costello
    • arque
      send NO more mail please ... From: DANptAL@aol.com To: alabamahistory@onelist.com Date: Wednesday, May 05, 1999
      Message 2 of 16 , May 6, 1999
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        send NO more mail please
        -----Original Message-----
        From: DANptAL@... <DANptAL@...>
        To: alabamahistory@onelist.com <alabamahistory@onelist.com>
        Date: Wednesday, May 05, 1999 3:11 PM
        Subject: Re: [alabamahistory] Slave Narratives


        >From: DANptAL@...
        >
        >In a message dated 5/4/99 2:40:52 PM Central Daylight Time,
        >costello@... writes:
        >
        ><< What do you mean by this? Portrayals of slavery run the gamut from
        > "Amistad" (which I have been led to believe is fairly close to 'actual')
        to
        > the absolutely hideous D.H. Lawrence "Birth of a Nation" (which led to the
        > celebration/approval of the KKK, supported the racist policies of Woodrow
        > Wilson, and was a "source" for "Gone With The Wind" [about which 'nuff
        >said]).>>
        >
        >My point is that slightly less that 6% of Southerners owned slaves (6.4% in
        >Alabama-1860 census). Then we have evidence in the Slave Narratives that
        most
        >have favorible things to say about slave days and their masters. Taking
        that
        >into account the percentage of Southerners that owned and abused their
        slaves
        >would extremely low and would surprise most people.
        >
        ><<< >"Roots" by Alex Haley and the "Civil War" by Ken Burns are prime
        > >examples. And that is where caution in interpreting should be applied.
        I
        > >will accept the words of the old slaves any day before I would those
        >current
        > >PC historians who have an agenda to promote.
        >
        > "...before I would those current PC historians who have an agenda to
        >promote."
        >
        > Boy, talking about agendas...
        >
        > Okay, let's see: "Roots" was written in the early '70s (miniseries in
        > 1977), >>>
        >
        >You are right about the date but the series runs regularly as a truthful
        >portrayal of slavery and Alex Haley was sued for plagerism and settled out
        of
        >court. It only took a moment to find the following on the net.
        >London Times 9/7/97
        >
        >American TV boycotts expose' of Haley's Roots
        >
        >by John Harlow
        >Arts Correspondent
        >
        >AMERICAN television networks are boycotting a BBC documentary exposing the
        >extent to which Alex Haley falsified his family history in his best-selling
        >book, Roots.
        >
        >Network executives admit they are worried that the program, which will be
        >broadcast in Britain next weekend as part of the Bookworm series, could
        cause
        >racial tension - especially in the Deep South where Haley, who died five
        >years ago, is most revered.
        >
        >Roots was billed as the true story of Haley's family, traced back six
        >generations to a west African called Kunta Kinte who was captured by slave
        >traders in The Gambia and sold to American plantation owners. It was a
        >cultural phenomenon when it appeared in 1976 and earned Haley 200 literary
        >prizes, a 32 million dollar estate, the friendship of President Jimmy
        Carter
        >and the gratitude of black America. Within a year, however, doubts started
        >surfacing.
        >
        >In 1977 The Sunday Times tracked down a folk historian in The Gambia who
        had
        >been a crucial source for Haley. The investigation exposed both men as
        deeply
        >unreliable. Other revelations about Haley's occasionally slipshod research
        >followed.
        >
        >The Bookworm program suggests that Haley not only made mistakes but
        >deliberately falsified his own records for dramatic effect.
        >
        >Philip Nobile, a writer who has spent years cross-checking the sources in
        >Roots, regards Haley as a shameless hoaxer: "Virtually every fact in the
        >closing critical pages of Roots is false. Nobody would have challenged this
        >book if it had been classified as fiction, but Haley defrauded the very
        >people he claimed he was championing."
        >
        >Academics in the field of pan-African studies, where Roots is an essential
        >textbook, reluctantly agree. "We have accepted we must honour the spirit
        >rather than the letter of Roots, but to have it systematically demolished
        >would only play into the hands of white supremicists," said a teacher at
        >Tennessee University, where the records of Haley's 10-year search for his
        >ancestors are stored.
        >
        >The Haley family rejects all claims against the author, suggesting the
        >evidence is "trivial and malicious". But Henrik Clarke, a veteran black
        >historian, told Bookworm: "As a people short of heroes, we sometimes take
        the
        >best we can get and sometimes we exaggerate them into something
        >a little bit better than they deserve to be."
        >***********************************
        >I will post later on the remainder of your comments.
        >
        >David Allen
        >
        >------------------------------------------------------------------------
        >The possibilities are endless!
        >http://www.onelist.com
        >ONElist has something for everyone!
        >------------------------------------------------------------------------
        >Archives for the list can be viewed at
        >http://www.onelist.com/archives.cgi/alabamahistory
        >
      • arque
        send NO more mail please ... From: DANptAL@aol.com To: alabamahistory@onelist.com Date: Wednesday, May 05, 1999
        Message 3 of 16 , May 6, 1999
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          send NO more mail please
          -----Original Message-----
          From: DANptAL@... <DANptAL@...>
          To: alabamahistory@onelist.com <alabamahistory@onelist.com>
          Date: Wednesday, May 05, 1999 3:11 PM
          Subject: Re: [alabamahistory] Slave Narratives


          >From: DANptAL@...
          >
          >In a message dated 5/4/99 2:40:52 PM Central Daylight Time,
          >costello@... writes:
          >
          ><< What do you mean by this? Portrayals of slavery run the gamut from
          > "Amistad" (which I have been led to believe is fairly close to 'actual')
          to
          > the absolutely hideous D.H. Lawrence "Birth of a Nation" (which led to the
          > celebration/approval of the KKK, supported the racist policies of Woodrow
          > Wilson, and was a "source" for "Gone With The Wind" [about which 'nuff
          >said]).>>
          >
          >My point is that slightly less that 6% of Southerners owned slaves (6.4% in
          >Alabama-1860 census). Then we have evidence in the Slave Narratives that
          most
          >have favorible things to say about slave days and their masters. Taking
          that
          >into account the percentage of Southerners that owned and abused their
          slaves
          >would extremely low and would surprise most people.
          >
          ><<< >"Roots" by Alex Haley and the "Civil War" by Ken Burns are prime
          > >examples. And that is where caution in interpreting should be applied.
          I
          > >will accept the words of the old slaves any day before I would those
          >current
          > >PC historians who have an agenda to promote.
          >
          > "...before I would those current PC historians who have an agenda to
          >promote."
          >
          > Boy, talking about agendas...
          >
          > Okay, let's see: "Roots" was written in the early '70s (miniseries in
          > 1977), >>>
          >
          >You are right about the date but the series runs regularly as a truthful
          >portrayal of slavery and Alex Haley was sued for plagerism and settled out
          of
          >court. It only took a moment to find the following on the net.
          >London Times 9/7/97
          >
          >American TV boycotts expose' of Haley's Roots
          >
          >by John Harlow
          >Arts Correspondent
          >
          >AMERICAN television networks are boycotting a BBC documentary exposing the
          >extent to which Alex Haley falsified his family history in his best-selling
          >book, Roots.
          >
          >Network executives admit they are worried that the program, which will be
          >broadcast in Britain next weekend as part of the Bookworm series, could
          cause
          >racial tension - especially in the Deep South where Haley, who died five
          >years ago, is most revered.
          >
          >Roots was billed as the true story of Haley's family, traced back six
          >generations to a west African called Kunta Kinte who was captured by slave
          >traders in The Gambia and sold to American plantation owners. It was a
          >cultural phenomenon when it appeared in 1976 and earned Haley 200 literary
          >prizes, a 32 million dollar estate, the friendship of President Jimmy
          Carter
          >and the gratitude of black America. Within a year, however, doubts started
          >surfacing.
          >
          >In 1977 The Sunday Times tracked down a folk historian in The Gambia who
          had
          >been a crucial source for Haley. The investigation exposed both men as
          deeply
          >unreliable. Other revelations about Haley's occasionally slipshod research
          >followed.
          >
          >The Bookworm program suggests that Haley not only made mistakes but
          >deliberately falsified his own records for dramatic effect.
          >
          >Philip Nobile, a writer who has spent years cross-checking the sources in
          >Roots, regards Haley as a shameless hoaxer: "Virtually every fact in the
          >closing critical pages of Roots is false. Nobody would have challenged this
          >book if it had been classified as fiction, but Haley defrauded the very
          >people he claimed he was championing."
          >
          >Academics in the field of pan-African studies, where Roots is an essential
          >textbook, reluctantly agree. "We have accepted we must honour the spirit
          >rather than the letter of Roots, but to have it systematically demolished
          >would only play into the hands of white supremicists," said a teacher at
          >Tennessee University, where the records of Haley's 10-year search for his
          >ancestors are stored.
          >
          >The Haley family rejects all claims against the author, suggesting the
          >evidence is "trivial and malicious". But Henrik Clarke, a veteran black
          >historian, told Bookworm: "As a people short of heroes, we sometimes take
          the
          >best we can get and sometimes we exaggerate them into something
          >a little bit better than they deserve to be."
          >***********************************
          >I will post later on the remainder of your comments.
          >
          >David Allen
          >
          >------------------------------------------------------------------------
          >The possibilities are endless!
          >http://www.onelist.com
          >ONElist has something for everyone!
          >------------------------------------------------------------------------
          >Archives for the list can be viewed at
          >http://www.onelist.com/archives.cgi/alabamahistory
          >
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