The History And Development Of Slavery In America
WEDNESDAY, MAY 11, 2016
I understand that Alex Haley (Roots Movie Producer) was once watching TV showing starving sick diseased Africans and said “If not for slavery that could be me. Every time a black sees a Confederate flag he should kiss it”.
But it was the flags of Spain, Portugal, England, France, and the Dutch and later the American flag by Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New York that brought the slaves to America.
SO WHY DO OUR HISTORY BOOKS LEAVE THESE SEVEN FACTS OUT?
1) The slave trade prospered in West Africa 40 years before Columbus even discovered America. African tribes actually conducted raids on their neighbors for the express purpose of enslaving them. Tragically, slavery is practiced to this very day in places like the Sudan, Zaire and Nigeria.
2) Five European powers (Spain, Portugal, France, Holland and Britain) competing for New World influence all employed slavery, with Brazil
(Portugal’s crown jewel) topping the list at 5.5 million slaves, half of the total brought to the New World. By 1860, their numbers had dwindled to a little over 2 million.
3) Only 6% of Africans reached our shores (about 600,000). By 1860 their numbers had increased (without new importations) to almost 4 million, the only slave population in recorded history to increase in captivity. Indigent Anglo-Celts filled the need for slaves (as indentured servants) Most white Southerners are descendants of these early bondsmen.
4) Slavery was practiced in all thirteen colonies and NY City was second only to Charleston SC in 1776 as the city with the highest percentage of slaves. Sojourner Truth was born Isabella Van Wagner, a slave in New York.
5) The liberal guilt, which today besets the North, has at its roots the profits from its vast slave trading which did nothing less than finance the Industrial Revolution. At the Constitutional Convention a continuation of the slave trade was a concession wrung by the Northern delegations from the South which allowed the North to continue the international trade another 20 years, until 1808.
6) New England slave ships continued plying the waters in defiance of the ban thereafter providing millions of slaves to French and Spanish sugar plantations in the Caribbean and South America.
7) The 1860 census reveals 95% of America’s slaves were owned by just 5% of the population while 85% of Southerners owned the land and structures they lived upon. This clearly establishes a large, independent non slave-holding class of yeoman farmers who later became the rank and file as well as the heart and soul of the Confederate army. To state their motive for fighting was the preservation of slavery is pure nonsense.
The Old South and the Confederate States of America was a classical civilization with colleges and universities, art and literature, architecture, world class statesmen, and a fine military. Like all classical civilizations including ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome the C.S.A. was driven by slave labor. However, slavery was a dying institution prior to the Civil War. Like the aforementioned civilizations, the C.S.A. deserves to be studied, honored, and respected.
It is the institution of slavery that is primarily responsible for the criticism, misunderstanding, and opposition to Confederate history and heritage. The winner of a war writes the history and biased Northern historians have presented selected facts and intentionally omitted other important facts. Therefore American history is an extremely biased New England perspective of the Old South, Confederacy, and Reconstruction. These dishonest Northern historians write history in such a manner as to cause students to assume that only the South was responsible for slavery. The truth is becoming known. New York City had the second highest slave population in America second only to Charleston SC.
The North was not only complicit, it was largely responsible for the development of slavery in America. The Pilgrims landed in 1620 in Plymouth Colony (Massachusetts) and immediately began enslaving Pequot Indians. They were the first colony to legalize slavery by statute in 1641. It was the New England colonies of MA., CT., NH., RI., and New York that imported slaves to America along with England, Spain, Portugal, and the Dutch. The economic infrastructure of the port cities of colonial New England depended on the nefarious trade. In contrast, in Virginia, a 7 year indentured servitude existed until 1655 when Anthony Johnson became the “Father of Southern Slavery”. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction-THE FATHER OF SOUTHERN SLAVERY WAS A BLACK MAN.
It was Queen Elizabeth of England who put that country in the slave trade business. Colonial Virginia tried over 30 times to prohibit the trade but England and the New England slave traders declined. These Northern colonies had both state owned and privately owned fleets of slave ships. Today, Jewish Americans are some of the most outspoken critics of the Confederacy, but ironically, this ethnic group was very involved in the highly profitable slave trade.
Liberal critics of the Confederate States of America have indoctrinated many Americans, especially African-Americans, to believe that slaves on Southern plantations and farms were constantly abused. Certainly some were, but most were treated fairly and some so well that they considered their status superior to poor whites. It was in Africa during the capture by fellow Africans that the slaves were horribly abused and weaker individuals murdered. Then during the “middle passage” on the ships of European and Yankee Northern captains, they were packed into cramped and unsanitary quarters where many died on the voyages to America, West Indies, and South America. Once they arrived in the South, they were often treated as family.
In 1934-1936, during the Franklin Roosevelt administration’s WPA program, about 2200 old former slaves in 11 Southern states were interviewed and their stories recorded. They are known as the “Slave Narratives” and have been published in books. The vast majority spoke with great affection for their former masters and talked of the good times and kind treatment. In contrast poor white workers in Northern factories were treated harshly. Most did not have single family housing until after 1900 (see the movie “Gangs of New York”). Southern slaves had better food from the plantations and farms than most poor Northern workers. In the South, a slave was cared for from birth to death but in the North workers were fired when they became old and infirm. Thousands were homeless on the streets of the Northern industrial cities.
The flags of England, Spain, Portugal, and other European nations as well as the U.S. flag-the Stars and Stripes flew over slavery at various times from 1492-1865 (373 years) as compared to only 4 years for the Confederate flag. So if you want to hate a flag perhaps you should choose one of the aforementioned as opposed to the Confederate flag. It was the U.S. flag-the Stars and Stripes that flew over the genocide of the Native American Indians who were herded onto reservations and subjected to starvation, disease and murder by U.S. Cavalry troops (including black “Buffalo Soldiers”) and corrupt Indian Agents. The ugly truth is–America killed more Indians under the “Stars and Stripes” and colonial American flags (9-14 million) than Germany did Jews under the Swastika (6-7 million-and this number is controversial and may be much lower). Furthermore the official flag of the KKK is the U.S. flag not the Confederate flag.
The Pilgrims began enslaving Indians immediately after their arrival in 1620. When America entered the slave business the first slave ship “The Desire” was fitted out in Marblehead Mass. in 1637. In 1641 Mass. became the first colony to legalize slavery by statute. The colonies and later states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and New York had state owned and privately owned fleets of slave ships and these 5 Colonies/States are primarily responsible for the slave trade in America. But dishonest Northern historians have omitted facts and wrote history in such a manner as to cause students to conclude that all the responsibility lies with the South. Slavery did not exist in the South until 1654-1655 when Anthony Johnson, a free black, went before the courts of Virginia (English courts) and was granted lifetime ownership of John Casor a fellow black. Thus the father of Southern slavery was a black man. Virginia tried over 30 times to stop slavery but England and New England would not allow the profitable enterprise upon which the prosperity of New England had risen to stop it. From 1440 thru 1870 there were 54,200 ship voyages to and from Africa for slaves and not one (0) flew the Confederate flag but a lot of them flew flags of the colonies and states of New England and the U.S. flag–the “Stars and Stripes”.
James W. King
SCV Camp 141 Commander
Lt. Col. Thomas M. Nelson