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10 Things You Should Know About Slavery and Won't Learn at 'Django'

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  • Romi Elnagar
    This is a very interesting article, even if it isn t sourced.  That itself became a hot topic of discussion in the blog, but the reason I have posted part of
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 22, 2013
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      This is a very interesting article, even if it isn't sourced.  That itself became a hot topic of discussion in the blog, but the reason I have posted part of the readers' responses is that there were a couple of interesting comments.
      Hajja Romi

      http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/01/10_things_django_wont_tell_you_about_slavery.html

      10 Things You Should Know About Slavery and Won’t Learn at ‘Django’
      by Imara Jones

      Much hullabaloo has been made recently about slavery as entertainment in movies like “Django Unchained.” But lost in the discussion is
      slavery as history, and the simple fact that it was an economic system
      which seized the economic know-how of Africans in order to construct
      unimaginable wealth in North America, Europe and throughout the Western
      Hemisphere. Wealth from the slave trade took Western Europe from being
      one of the world’s poorest regions to its wealthiest and most powerful
      in under a century.
      Though sadistic and macabre, the plain truth is that slavery was an
      unprecedented economic juggernaut whose impact is still lived by each of us daily. Consequently, here’s my top-10 list of things everyone should know about the economic roots of slavery.
      1) Slavery laid the foundation for the modern international economic system.
      The massive infrastructure required to move 8 to 10 million Africans
      halfway around the world built entire cities in England and France, such
      as Liverpool, Manchester and Bordeaux. It was key to London’s emergence
      as a global capital of commerce, and spurred New York’s rise as a
      center of finance. The industry to construct, fund, staff, and
      administer the thousands of ships which made close to 50,000 individual
      voyages was alone a herculean task. The international financial and
      distribution networks required to coordinate, maintain and profit from
      slavery set the framework for the modern global economy.
      2) Africans’ economic skills were a leading reason for their enslavement.
      Africans possessed unique expertise which Europeans required to make
      their colonial ventures successful. Africans knew how to grow and
      cultivate crops in tropical and semi-tropical climates. African rice
      growers, for instance, were captured in order to bring their
      agricultural knowledge to America’s sea islands and those of the
      Caribbean. Many West African civilizations possessed goldsmiths and
      expert metal workers on a grand scale. These slaves were snatched to
      work in Spanish and Portuguese gold and silver mines throughout Central
      and South America. Contrary to the myth of unskilled labor, large
      numbers of Africans were anything but.
      3) African know-how transformed slave economies into some of the wealthiest on the planet.
      The fruits of the slave trade funded the growth of global empires. The
      greatest source of wealth for imperial France was the “white gold” of
      sugar produced by Africans in Haiti. More riches flowed to Britain from
      the slave economy of Jamaica than all of the original American 13
      colonies combined. Those resources underwrote the Industrial Revolution
      and vast improvements in Western Europe’s economic infrastructure.
      4) Until it was destroyed by the Civil War, slavery made the American South the richest and most powerful region in America.
      Slavery was a national enterprise, but the economic and political
      center of gravity during the U.S.’s first incarnation as a slave
      republic was the South. This was true even during the colonial era.
      Virginia was its richest colony and George Washington was one of its
      wealthiest people because of his slaves. The majority of the new
      country’s presidents and Supreme Court justices were Southerners.
      However, the invention of the cotton gin took the South’s national
      economic dominance and transformed it into a global phenomenon. British
      demand for American cotton, as I have written before, made the southern stretch of the Mississippi River the Silicon Valley
      of its era. The single largest concentration of America’s millionaires
      was gathered in plantations along the Mississippi’s banks. The first and only president of the Confederacy—Jefferson Davis—was a Mississippi,
      millionaire slave holder.
      5) Defense of slavery, more than taxes, was pivotal to America’s declaration of independence.
      The
      South had long resisted Northern calls to leave the British Empire.
      That’s because the South sold most of its slave-produced products to
      Britain and relied on the British Navy to protect the slave trade. But a
      court case in England changed all of that. In 1775, a British court
      ruled that slaves could not be held in the United Kingdom against their
      will. Fearing that the ruling would apply to the American colonies, the
      Southern planters swung behind the Northern push for greater autonomy.
      In 1776, one year later, America left its former colonial master. The
      issue of slavery was so powerful that it changed the course of history.
      6) The brutalization and psychological torture of slaves was
      designed to ensure that plantations stayed in the black financially.
      Slave revolts and acts of sabotage were relatively common on Southern
      plantations. As economic enterprises, the disruption in production was
      bad for business. Over time a system of oppression emerged to keep
      things humming along. This centered on singling out slaves for public
      torture who had either participated in acts of defiance or who tended
      towards noncompliance. In fact, the most recalcitrant slaves were sent
      to institutions, such as the “Sugar House” in Charleston, S.C., where
      cruelty was used to elicit cooperation. Slavery’s most inhumane aspects
      were just another tool to guarantee the bottom line.
      7) The economic success of former slaves during Reconstruction led to the rise of the Ku Klux Klan.
      In less than 10 years after the end of slavery, blacks created thriving
      communities and had gained political power—including governorships and
      Senate seats—across the South. Former slaves, such Atlanta’s Alonzo
      Herndon, had even become millionaires in the post-war period. But the
      move towards black economic empowerment had upset the old economic
      order. Former planters organized themselves into White Citizens Councils
      and created an armed wing—the Ku Klux Klan—to undermine black economic
      institutions and to force blacks into sharecropping on unfair terms.
      Isabel Wilkerson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, “The Warmth of Other Suns”, details the targeting of black individuals, as well as entire black
      communities, for acts of terror whose purpose was to enforce economic
      apartheid.
      8) The desire to maintain economic oppression is why the South was one of the most anti-tax regions of the nation.
      Before the Civil War, the South routinely blocked national
      infrastructure protects. These plans, focused on Northern and Western
      states, would have moved non-slave goods to market quickly and cheaply.
      The South worried that such investments would increase the power of the
      free-labor economy and hurt their own, which was based on slavery.
      Moreover, the South was vehemently opposed to taxes even to improve the
      lives of non-slaveholding white citizens. The first public school in the
      North, Boston Latin, opened its doors in the mid-1600s. The first
      public school in the South opened 200 years later. Maintenance of
      slavery was the South’s top priority to the detriment of everything
      else.
      9) Many firms on Wall Street made fortunes from funding the slave trade.
      Investment in slavery was one of the most profitable economic activities
      throughout most of New York’s 350 year history. Much of the financing
      for the slave economy flowed through New York banks. Marquee names such
      as JP Morgan Chase and New York Life all profited greatly from slavery.
      Lehman Brothers, one of Wall Street’s largest firms until 2008, got its
      start in the slave economy of Alabama. Slavery was so important to the
      city that New York was one the most pro-slavery urban municipalities in
      the North.
      10) The wealth gap between whites and blacks, the result of slavery, has yet to be closed.
      The
      total value of slaves, or “property” as they were then known, could
      exceed $12 million in today’s dollars on the largest plantations. With
      land, machinery, crops and buildings added in, the wealth of southern
      agricultural enterprises was truly astronomical. Yet when slavery ended,
      the people that generated the wealth received nothing.
      The country has struggled with the implications of this inequity ever since. With policy changes in Washington since 1865, sometimes this
      economic gulf has narrowed and sometimes it’s widened, but the economic
      difference has never been erased. Today, the wealth gap between whites
      and blacks is the largest recorded since records began to be kept three
      decades ago.








      Deborah Martin12 days ago
      ...I'm in Staten island and can tell you that most of the
      people in the Sandy storm mess don't even know that areas like Dongan
      Hills are named after one of the biggest slave traders in New York, the
      Rosebank was a slave settlement once and that there were lynchings on
      Snug Harbor. They look at me in shock when i tell them obliterated
      African burial grounds on Forest Avenue or that slave ships once pulled
      into the the port of Coney Island. I ask them to picture the place when the Lenapi Lennai Indians were here in New York Region and how they
      were mass slaughtered in order for their ancestors to hearken a call to
      Europe to take the land.
      You might see them on newscasts speaking
      of the tragedy and yes, it's terrible but most Black Staten Islanders
      know (especially the older ones) that going in Dongan Hills or Rosebank
      was synonymous with having a Louisville slugger upside your head!

      Reply
      3 replies
      +14








      Gwendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.
      Gwendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway. Deborah Martin10 days ago
      Our ancestors but first and foremost the Lenapi Lennai who were murdered to take that land. There are obliterated African Burial grounds (1850-
      1900) on Forest Avenue from the Rose AME Church around the 7-Eleven area and our ancestors walked from Bullops Point in Old Richmondtown to
      Richmond Terrace to celebrate the 1827 Emancipation of the Slaves in New York. They prepared for weeks and walked, WALKED for two days. The
      woods out here are thorny! They thought they would be enslaved again if they didn't get out. They left old people behind who wanted them to
      live for them since they were too old and infirm to make the trek in
      what was a much more wooded island then.
      I went to high school on
      Richmond Terrace and have often wondered exactly where this inn stood.
      Halls of records have burned down so much is lost but somewhere, the
      ancestors will make a way out of no way. for us to find it.


      wendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.

      wendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyw






      Gwendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.























      Gwendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.
      wendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway Pearl Duncan13 days ago
      Because this essay is an overview of the “economic roots of slavery,” as the
      author says, another excellent source is Eric Williams’ “Capitalism and
      Slavery” and his “From Columbus to Castro: the History of the
      Caribbean.” Readers can read about the slave trade in Africa, the U.S., the Caribbean and Europe, and this is one author who viewed the trade
      from an international perspective.

      Viewed as the international economic enterprise it was, slavery is a
      massive subject. Eric Williams did his doctoral thesis on slavery and
      the international slave trade, and like the rest of us who research this
      subject, he uses primary sources and documents to illustrate his
      points. His books have a lot of ah-ah moments and it’s amazing that
      most of his economic source records were found in European archives, not
      in the U.S. of the Caribbean. Many of the authors who write about this
      subject find original records in Europe.

      The literature
      you request is readily available. A first class university, any HBCU
      library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to remember
      that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before the
      Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does not
      fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.

      The literature
      you request is readily available. A first class university, any HBCU
      library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to remember
      that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before the
      Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does not
      fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.
      The literature
      you request is readily available. A first class university, any HBCU
      library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to remember
      that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before the
      Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does not
      fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.
      Gwendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.

      Gwendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.

      Gwendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.
       
      Gwendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.







      Gwendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.






      SamuelBiagetti13 days ago
      Herbert Klein, "The Atlantic Slave Trade" is good. Richard Dunn, "Sugar and Slaves."
      As for slavery in the US, there are so many books I really wouldn't know where to start.


      Gwendoline Fortune13 days ago
      The literature you request is readily available. A first class university,
      any HBCU library, even a cursory search on Google. It is important to
      remember that documentation existed in books, by scholars, long before
      the Internet. We are fortunate to have this source, but knowledge does
      not fall off the tree.. Do not expect someone else to drop it into your
      mouth. Read John Hope Franklin, Howard Zinn, as an opening. I haven't
      taught for years and sources no longer fall out--without thinking.
      Search "lack historians, black history. and reams will appear. Begin
      with the two, above, The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass, --too many to count. D... our sad educational systems, anyway.

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