Tag Archives: Black History

Salsbury’s Slavery Spectacular!

Black America Show poster

Image: newyorkhistoryblog.org

I’m reading Fantasyland: How America Went Haywire, A 500-Year History, by Kurt Anderson. He gives an inventory of all the ways (white) Americans have been more prone than Europeans to believe in big dreams, in get-rich-quick schemes, the supernatural, cure-alls, conspiracy theories, UFO sightings and other “alternative facts” from the beginning of white colonization up to the Trump presidency and America’s current “post-factual” society. It’s fascinating, and it confirms that I’m right when I argue with my American husband that UFO sightings are really mostly an American thing. 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

A Few Books and Movies About American Slavery

django unchainedWant to read or watch some more about American slavery?

Of course the first book on the list should be Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. It’s fiction, but based firmly in the harsh reality of slavery. It’s called the book that started the war. It certainly increased Northerners’ sympathy for slaves. Of course, if Uncle Tom had been a little less turn-the-other-cheek Christian the book wouldn’t have been so influential. But all of Uncle Tom’s misplaced pacifism and loyalty to the guy who sold him down the river aside, it is actually a pretty strong social commentary.

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Reconstruction: What If?

lincoln and emancipationLincoln went to war to get the South back into the Union. Although the war was mostly about slavery, his initial aim was not to abolish it. He wrote as much in a letter in 1862:

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The Meridian Riot of 1871

image: wikipedia.com

image: wikipedia.com

And now for the post that I’ve been working up to: Meridian, Mississippi.

To us, it was just a random dot on the map on our way home to Austin, Texas on a recent trip. We were going to spend the night in Jackson, but I stupidly stuck my credit card in the dollar slot of a vending machine at a rest stop outside Meridian. The vending machine, very happy with the change in diet, promptly ate my card. We wanted to cancel the card as soon as possible, but first we needed it to check into a hotel, so we stayed in Meridian.

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Reconstruction: Now You See It, Now You Don’t

Gen. Robert E. Lee (gray) surrendering to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (blue)

Gen. Robert E. Lee (gray) surrendering to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant (blue)

So, that takes care of the very broad history of slavery in America. Finally, liberty and justice for all, right?

Wrong.

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Slaveholders, Militant Immediatists and Everyone in Between

slave storeYesterday I promised that I would qualify the anti-slavery movement.

In my very broad overview of slavery in America I mentioned that the North was largely against slavery and the South was largely for it. Well, the white South, that is. But of course things were never quite that black and white, pardon the pun.

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