Slavery in U.S. practiced far beyond the South

February 24, 2011

Black History Month is a month set aside to remember the years of oppression and struggle that black Americans’ ancestors were put through. But somewhere down the road, the idea behind such a month was hijacked, and it has become what it is today.

It’s clear that this nation is in need of a history lesson. The idea that slavery only existed in Southern states is absurd. There is evidence that goes all the way back to the early 1600s; 1619 in fact, about slavery in the United States for 170 years before our Constitution was ratified in 1789 and for more than 240 years before the creation of the Confederate States of America (CSA) and the Southern Battle Flag (1861).

At the start of the Civil War in 1861, there were 34 states; 23 remained loyal to the Union and the other 11 made up the CSA. Of the 23 Union states, 4 were slave states (Missouri, Kentucky, Delaware, and Maryland). West Virginia became a part of the Union when the Northwestern part of Virginia broke away and created the state of West Virginia in 186. Nevada was admitted to the Union in 1864 so by wars end, there were 36 states.

My question is, how can four years of history (1861-1865) overwrite more than 240 years of history that preceded it and even continued into the war? As one of my favorite politicians and figures, Alan Keyes, points out, it cannot. "The flag that was the symbol of slavery on the high seas for a long time was not the Confederate battle flag, it was sadly the Stars and Stripes."

To paraphrase the words of Christ, "A house divided against itself shall not stand" remain as true today as it did then.

Billy Parrish
Clarksville