Tag Archives: American history

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

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

American Eugenics and the Holocaust

images

Image: labdish.cshl.edu

I came across an article yesterday on Timeline.com: “The Nazi Breeding and Infanticide Program You Probably Never Knew About”. The article describes the Nazi breeding program that involved encouraging and forcing “pure Aryan” women to get pregnant from “pure Aryan” men and taking the babies to be educated by the SS, as well as the active euthanasia of “impure” babies.

There is a reason you may never have known about this. Continue reading

What Passes for History Here

image: lps.lexingtonma.org

image: lps.lexingtonma.org

The average American’s lack of history knowledge and insight has always boggled my mind. When I went back to college to get a degree in literature in the Rio Grande Valley, I had to take a summer course in World History. Five weeks. Because having spent five years on it in my Dutch high school didn’t count. It was five weeks of facts, and not even that many, because we also had to learn world geography. Continue reading

American History in the Netherlands

Image: Wikipedia

Another question I got from my funk post was: What do European kids learn about American history. Well, I can only talk about what I learned, but feel free to add to it in the comments, Dutch readers.

I had History several times a week, from seventh through eleventh grade, and from Mesopotamia to the Vietnam War, more or less. I seem to remember that we started learning about America in tenth grade, and it would have continued through eleventh grade, whenever America came up in relation to a certain period. This would have been around 1977-1978. I’ll just describe what I remember; trying to be systematic after all those years wouldn’t work.

Let’s have a look.