Tag Archives: Slavery

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


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

The November 4 Demonstration

20171104_132226Well, there was supposed to be a November 4 demonstration calling to impeach Trump and Pence at Republic Square Park today from 1 – 5 pm, but I was there from 12:45 to about 2:30 and there was pretty much nobody. One guy with a sign, everyone else could have just been there because it was a park. Continue reading

Neither Racist Nor Responsible?

20160423_130914Okay, there’s no way I can keep up with everything that’s going on, so I’m just going to write about what I was going to write about.

In the wake of Charlottesville there’s been a lot of talk on social and main stream media about white privilege and white responsibility for blacks’ uphill battles in America. Many white people claim not to be racist, but they also don’t feel responsible for race problems that they were not directly involved in. Continue reading

Lies Your Teacher Told You

image: sundown.afro.illinois.edu

image: sundown.afro.illinois.edu

So yesterday’s post set the stage for James W. Loewen’s book Lies My Teacher Told Me. It was first published in 1995 and then updated in 2007. Loewen points out a lot of the same things I mentioned in yesterday’s post. In addition, he found that high school students generally rank history as the least relevant subject, even less relevant and interesting than algebra. (No offence, math teachers.) 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

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.

Continue reading