Category Archives: American Civil War

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 3 A Little Property History

plantation houseThis is the third post in a series that started because of a white person’s question on Facebook: What have whites ever done to blacks —  after slavery — to keep them from succeeding? Don’t they have exactly the same opportunities as we?

Read the introduction to the series here.

(For this post I rely heavily on Ned and Constance Sublette’s eye-opeing book: The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry.)

In America, one of the main ways to build assets is through home ownership. In the previous post I already laid out the many ways government on every level, together with the housing industry, kept African Americans segregated from whites, how they kept them out of middle-class neighborhoods and how they refused to give them mortgages. A century of segregated neighborhoods, racially restrictive covenants and redlining have left African Americans far behind where home ownership is concerned.

If we’re going to talk about real estate, though, to really understand the scope of the injustice done to African Americans, we need to go back to the very beginning of white land use in America. Continue reading

But That Was Then, This Is Now : Part 1 Introduction

DSC_0072A while ago I saw someone ask, somewhere on Facebook, “But what have whites done, since the Civil War, to prevent blacks from succeeding? Why do we owe them anything?” So I got to work, thinking I’d write a post in which I’d neatly sum up, chronologically, all the ways whites have worked to systematically exclude blacks from the American dream. Continue reading

Loophole

13th amendment

Image: loc.gov

Slavery was abolished in America at the end of the Civil War, with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution:

Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

The amendment passed Congress in January of 1865 and after much debate it finally passed the Senate in December of that year. As has been pointed out by many, it has a loophole: slavery as a punishment for crime. Continue reading