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Black Folks Built the White House…And the Capital Too!

Michelle Obama mentioned that slaves built the White House  and the Fu News Moron crew goes crazy!

Fox host has white hot meltdown because Michelle Obama said slaves built the White House

Michelle Obama may have spoken Monday night, but Fox News Radio host John Gibson was so overwhelmed he had to unleash his rage in a blog post this afternoon.

During her speech, Obama addressed the “shame of servitude,” referencing the history of American slavery. “I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves — and I watch my daughters — two beautiful, intelligent, black young women — playing with their dogs on the White House lawn. And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters — and all our sons and daughters — now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States.”

Gibson couldn’t take it, according to Fusion. “A couple relevant facts,” he began. “It was 1792. The land for the District of Columbia was ceded to the federal government by two slave states. Slaves lived in the area and were employed in building much of the capitol. What, then, is the purpose of appropriating the construction of the White House to black slave workers, neglecting to mention other workers?”

Slaves, of course, were never “workers” in the sense that they were paid a living wage, allowed to quit whenever they want, had rights and could go home at the end of a long day. The history of America was built on the forced migration and forced labor of people of color that were enslaved by wealthy whites. To associate it with free white workers diminishes the horror they faced.

Gibson says that there were just as many white workers as slaves working on the White House when it was constructed. That’s outright false. The White House Historical Association verifies that there were indeed white workers, but the vast majority of the workers were black people, who were both slave and free. This was in large part due to problems finding enough white workers willing and able to do the work.

Bad News Fau Moron…Slaves indeed built the white House, the Capital Building, and a number of other Government buildings in Washington, DC. Most of the skilled workers at that time were slaves.

The White House Was, in Fact, Built by Slaves

Along with the Capitol and other iconic buildings in Washington, D.C.

…Up until a few decades ago, little attention was paid to looking into who actually laid the foundations and put up the walls of the White House. But what documentation exists today shows that many of Washington, D.C.’s most iconic government buildings, including the White House, were built by slaves.

In 2005, Congress put together a task force to shed light on the subject. After months of research, the commission announced that while it would never be able to tell the full story of the slaves who built these buildings, there was no doubt that they were intricately involved in the work, Alexander Lane reported for PolitiFact.

“Indifference by by earlier historians, poor record keeping, and the silence of the voiceless classes have impeded our ability in the twenty-first century to understand fully the contributions and privations of those who toiled over the seven decades from the first cornerstone laying to the day of emancipation in the District of Columbia,” Senate Historian Richard Baker and Chief of the House of Representatives Office of History and Preservation Kenneth Kato wrote in a foreword to the report.

From a geographical standpoint alone, it should come as no surprise that slave laborers were used to build the nation’s capital. Washington, D.C., was built on landed ceded to the federal government by Virginia and Maryland, and at the time the Potomac region was home to almost half of the country’s 750,000 slaves, Lane reports.

While the White House Historical Association reports that the D.C. commissioners originally tried to bring cheap workers over from Europe to build the new capital, their recruitment efforts fell short. As a result, they forced local slaves to provide the labor, often renting workers from their masters for year-long periods of time.

“Slaves were likely involved in all aspects of construction, including carpentry, masonry, carting, rafting, plastering, glazing and painting, the task force reported,” Lane writes. “And slaves appear to have shouldered alone the grueling work of sawing logs and stones.”

image: http://thumbs.media.smithsonianmag.com//filer/34/bd/34bd3b1b-c277-4f41-9a79-75e17bd66bb3/african-americans-1790s.jpg__800x450_q85_crop_upscale.jpg

The payroll to slaveowners shows that the government did not own slaves, but that it did hire them from their masters. Slave carpenters Ben, Daniel, and Peter were noted as owned by James Hoban.

The payroll to slaveowners shows that the government did not own slaves, but that it did hire them from their masters. Slave carpenters Ben, Daniel, and Peter were noted as owned by James Hoban. (National Archives and Records Administration)

In addition to constructing the buildings, slaves also worked the quarries where the stones for the government buildings came from. Ironically, the Statue of Freedom that sits atop the Capitol dome was made with the help of Philip Reid, a man enslaved by sculptor Thomas Crawford, who was commissioned to build the statue. According to the Architect of the Capitol, Reid was paid $1.25 a day by the federal government for his contributions.

“There is no telling how many stories that have been lost because, as a country, we didn’t value these stories,” historian and reporter Jesse J. Holland tells Smithsonian.com. “We’re always learning more about the presidents as we go forward and we’ll also learn more about the people who cooked their meals and dressed them.”

 

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2016 in Black History

 

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A Little Blues From the Heyday

Just for the fun of it, some old time Blues…

 
 

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19th Century Black Woman Author Discovered

Don’t believe everything someone says about “the only” or “the first” when it has to do with 19th Century black achievement.

In my personal book collection, I have books going back to the 1840’s. I know of, have seen (but do not own) and read a book of poetry published by a black woman (a distant cousin) named Anne Drummond, back in the 1850’s. She was a free black woman, and I don’t recall the story about how she learned to read and write. Being free, of mixed race, and living in Virginia – I don’t believe she was ever identified as “black”, at least by the people who published her work. I will have to get a scan of that and publish it from one of her descendants.

So I am not convinced, as this article claims, there  were only 4 black authors in the 19th Century.

Part of my personal collection includes a 19th Century Set of these McGuffey’s, and a copy  of the EPAMINONDAS AND HIS AUNTIE –

“True Love”: The Victorian (re)discovery that transformed our understanding of black women’s literature

Overlooked by historians, Sarah E. Farro was the lone black novelist of her era to write for a white readership

Two years ago, I was in the United Kingdom working on a follow-up project for my books “Black London” and “Black Victorians/Black Victoriana.” While looking through old British newspapers, I was astonished to read an 1893 announcement in The Daily Telegraph proclaiming Sarah E. Farro to be “the first negro novelist” with the publication of her novel “True Love.”

 I wondered: who was this woman? And why didn’t we know about this reportedly groundbreaking novel?

The Daily Telegraph didn’t get it exactly right: we know now that Farro wasn’t the first African-American novelist. Nonetheless, she appears nowhere in the canon of African-American literature.

After doing more research, I soon realized that Farro had made her mark writing about white people – and that this may also be the reason her work was forgotten. Learning of a black woman whose race was documented, whose novel was published – but who disappeared in the historical record – can change how we think about African-American literature.

Farro joins a small club

Searches of American census records show that Sarah E. Farro was born in 1859 in Illinois to parents who moved to Chicago from the South. She had two younger sisters, and her race is given as “black” on the 1880 census.

Her novel, “True Love: A Story of English Domestic Life,” was published in 1891 by the Chicago publishing house Donohue & Henneberry. It was one of 58 books by Illinois women writers exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exhibition (World’s Fair) in 1893. Newspapers in the U.K. and the U.S. heralded the book. Toward the end of her life, in 1937, Farro was feted at a celebration of Chicago’s “outstanding race pioneers.” Apparently, she never wrote another novel.

“True Love” disappeared from the historical record, and for decades historians recognized only three other 19th-century novels written and published by African-Americans.

One other, “The Bondswoman’s Narrative,” was recently found in manuscript and published, even though the author, Hannah Crafts, is only circumstantially (although convincingly) identified. With my discovery, Farro becomes only the second known African-American woman novelist published in the 19th century. And she now joins William Wells Brown, Harriet E. Wilson, and Frank J. Webb as the only African-American published novelists in the entire century.

When I returned to the U.S. from the U.K., I was able to track down only two copies of “True Love” in libraries – one at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago and the other at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – and headed to Chicago to read it. To briefly summarize: the novel tells the story of a man whose quest to marry his love, Janey, is thwarted by Janey’s selfish sister and mother. Generous and beloved Janey nurses her sister through a fever, only to catch it herself and die.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign later digitized it for me, and now it’s available online for anyone to read. Just two weeks ago I found an original copy on eBay and immediately bought it for US$124.

The eBay listing makes no mention of her race; nowhere except in early newspaper pieces is she identified as a black woman, so this important piece of history has remained invisible until now.

An unexpected subject matter?

The reason for “True Love’s” disappearance might be simple: it takes place in England, a place Farro probably never visited, and all of its characters are white….Read the Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2016 in Black History

 

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History – Black Spies in The Confederate White House

One of my distant ancestral family members was a man named James Armistead Lafayette, related by marriage. During the Revolutionary War, he worked as a double-agent providing false information to the British Lord Cornwallis, and sending British War plans to George Washington. He worked as a servant, and was ignored as a threat because he was a slave. He was one of the most famous of American spies during the war as over dinner, British Officers blithely ignored the slave in the corner, believing him part of the furniture.

The confederates apparently didn’t learn that lesson. Black women were particularly effective in running spy rings, and collecting information even in the Capital of the confederacy.

The Black Spies in a Confederate White House

How a secret intelligence network successfully spied on Confederate leader Jefferson Davis in his own home.

The servants knew. The Confederate White House in Richmond, Virginia, was not a happy home. The coachman had heard Varina Davis, the first lady of the South, wondering aloud if the rebellion her husband led had any prayer of success. It was, he heard her say, “about played out.” Less than a year into the war, she had all but given up hope. And the president himself, Jefferson Davis, gaunt and sere, was under tremendous strain, disheartened and querulous, complaining constantly about the lack of popular support for him and his policies.

What the servants at the dinner table heard could be even more interesting: insights into policy, strategy and very private lives. They could glimpse up close the troubled emotions of Varina, who was much younger than her husband. She was in her mid-30s, he was in his mid-50s, and her energy, even her sultry beauty, were resented by many in that small society. She had a dark complexion and generous features that led at least one of her critics to describe her publically as “tawny” and suggest she looked like a mulatto.

Varina’s closest friend and ally in the cabinet was Judah P. Benjamin, the cosmopolitan Jewish secretary of war and then secretary of state. He was a frequent visitor to the Davis residence. He shaped Confederate strategy around the globe. And over port after dinner, what intimacies might have been revealed about this man, whose Louisiana Creole wife lived in self-imposed exile in Paris, and whose constant companion in Richmond was her beautiful younger brother?

As in any of the big households of yesteryear (one thinks of Downton Abbey, to take a popular example), what the servants knew about the masters was a great deal more than the masters knew about them. And in the Davis household the servants were black slaves, treated as shadows and often as something less than sentient beings. The Davises knew little of their lives, their hopes, their aspirations, and they certainly did not realize that two of them would spy for the Union.

History is almost equally oblivious. When it comes to secret agents, or servants, or slaves, all learned to tell the smooth lie that let them survive, and few kept records that endure. When it comes to the question of the spies who worked in the Confederate White House, where solid documentary evidence has failed, legend often has stepped in to fill the gaps and, to some considerable extent, to cloud the picture.

The one slave-spy we know the most about is William A. Jackson, the handsome coachman who appears to have been hired out by his owner at one point to work as a waiter in a Richmond hotel before being rented to the Davis family to drive them around the city.

In early May 1862, soon after New Orleans had fallen to the Union and as the Federal army under Gen. George McClellan was inching its way up the peninsula from Yorktown toward Richmond, the slave William Jackson crossed the lines into the Federal camp and began telling his story to the officers, who debriefed him at length, then to a handful of reporters. Over the next several weeks, tales about his revelations were printed and reprinted in papers all over the country.

Thus, one could read in the The Liberator, an abolitionist paper out of Boston, an article picked up from Horace Greeley’s Tribune in New York that was a paean to the escaped slaves making their way to Union encampments. Typically they were called “contrabands,” not yet entitled to their freedom (the Emancipation Proclamation was not announced until later that year, and did not go into effect until 1863).

“The fact cannot be questioned that the most important information we receive of the enemy’s movements reaches us through the contrabands,” the author of the Tribunearticle proclaimed.

When Jackson made his appearance in the Union camp, we are told, generals, colonels and majors flocked around him and the commander, Gen. Irvin McDowell, telegraphed the War Department with some of Jackson’s revelations.

If he brought useful tactical intelligence, however, it didn’t make it into the Northern newspapers, which focused on the gossip he passed along.

Jackson described Jefferson Davis as “pale and haggard,” sleeping little, eating nothing, constantly irritable and complaining about his generals: ‘He plans advances, but they execute masterly retreats,’” Jackson is quoted saying.

Varina Davis, meanwhile, had become a terror to her servants. “Mr. Davis treated me well,” said Jackson, “but Mrs. Davis is the d–––l,” the word devil considered too fraught for the paper’s readers.

Jackson seems to have spent quite a bit of time driving Varina around, and listening closely to her depressed views of the “played out” Confederacy. In part, no doubt, Jackson was telling the Union officers and press what they wanted to hear, raising their morale by talking about the declining mood in Rebel Richmond. He said not only slaves but whites were looking forward to the arrival of the Union troops. The Davises kept their bags packed and ready to go, he said, and even Mrs. Davis couldn’t pass off Confederate money…Read the Rest Here, including the story of Mary Elizabeth Bowser the amazing woman who operated a spy ring in the confederate capital...

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2016 in Black History

 

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The Story of How the First KKK Was Broken In South Carolina

Your history books will tell you the Civil War ended with Lee’s signing his surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. That isn’t true.

Small scale armed battles would continue throughout the South and midwest would continue for another 15-20 years between black and Native American militias and groups especially in the Carolinas against the the KKK and white Militias, as well as remnants of Quantrills “Raiders” and “Border Ruffians” and Jayhawkers out west.

The following is the history of one group of Federal Troops, Company K, sent to try and break up the KKK in South Carolina in the early 1870’s resulting in the destruction of the First Klan in that state.

If you are familiar with the history of the KKK, there have been three Klans spanning a period of over 100 years – and a fourth likely emerging under the influence of Donald Trumps racism and xenophobia.

K Troop

The story of the eradication of the original Ku Klux Klan.

“Go out and shoot every white man you meet, and you will hit a Ku-Klux every time.”

Sometime after 2 o’clock in the morning, the men cramming into the small cabin lowered themselves to the floor. For a passing moment, they must have looked as though they were conducting a group prayer. They were listening at the floorboards for any rustling, breathing, maybe even whispered pleas for deliverance. Then they tore up the planks. A woman standing near them begged them to stop. Ferociously, they went on, until the floor surrendered its secret.

Earlier that same night, March 6, 1871, the Ku Klux Klan had swarmed the South Carolina upcountry. The rumble of 50-odd men on horseback sounded like an invading force. Membership in the local dens of the Klan, which emerged as a paramilitary terror group after the South’s defeat in the Civil War, thrived in York County. But movements like the Ku Klux Klan feed on fear even in times of strength, and the alarms were ringing out over the growing numbers of black voters in local elections.

That night, the riders went house to house dragging black men out of their beds and forcing them to swear never to vote for “radical” candidates—in other words, those set on protecting their tenuous new rights. The Klansmen’s goals went beyond the vote to the humiliation of these men in front of their families, sending the message that whatever else might have changed since the Civil War, the power dynamic in York County had not. “God damn you,” one Klansman cried out during an attack. “I’ll let you know who is in command now.”

The tormenters concealed themselves beneath robes and horned masks; some of the clothing was dark, some white, some bore crosses or grotesque designs. The man leading this night’s havoc was Dr. J. Rufus Bratton. One local resident and former slave later remembered Bratton as a man who set the “style of polite living” around York County. A father of seven who volunteered to serve as an army surgeon for the Confederacy during the war, Dr. Bratton was the county’s leading physician as well as one of the top officials in its Klan. He brought an agenda with him that night that he shared with only a select number of the other nightriders, a term the press began to apply to the violent men.

Bratton claimed a local black militia led by a man named James Williams was responsible for a rash of fires at white-owned properties. These militiamen, supported by the state and federal governments in an effort to encourage black civic engagement, were not content with a ceremonial status. They swore to avenge the Klan’s growing list of misdeeds and murders, to become a kind of counter-Klan force. During the course of the ride, Bratton rendezvoused with younger members of his order, including Amos and Chambers Brown, sons of a former magistrate, and the four Sherer brothers, who were only formally initiated into the Klan during that night’s ride. When the men met up, they used code words confirming their membership.

“Who comes there?”

“Friends.”

“Friends to whom?”

“Friends to our country.”

Bratton directed this smaller unit of men to the home of Andy Timons, a member of Williams’s militia.

Timons woke to shouts. “Here we come, right from hell!” They demanded the door be opened. Before Timons had a chance to reach it, they broke it from the hinges and grabbed him. “We want to see your captain tonight.”

After beating Timons until he gave up the location of Williams’ home, about a dozen Klansmen rode in that direction. They picked up yet another member of the black militia on their way there; even with the information on Williams’ whereabouts obtained from Timons they needed more help to locate a rural cabin in the dead of night. “We are going to kill Jim Williams,” they told their new guide.

Williams’ offenses in the eyes of Bratton and his co-conspirators predated the formation of the militia. During the Civil War, Williams had been a slave near Brattonsville (a plantation named for Dr. Bratton’s ancestors, and where Bratton himself was born) until he escaped from his master and crossed into the North to fight for the Union army. When he returned to York County after the South’s defeat a free man, he represented an era of new beginnings, “a leading radical amongst the niggers,” as one Klansman groused. He changed his name from Rainey, the name of his former owners, to Williams and headed the militia that vowed to check the Klan’s power.

A few hundred yards from Williams’ house, Bratton brought a smaller detachment of his men to the door. Rose Williams answered, informing them her husband had gone out and she did not know where he was. Searching the house, they only found the Williams children and another man. The raid’s leader was not satisfied that his prize for the night was gone and studied the house with his piercing black eyes.

“He might be under there,” Bratton said of some wood flooring that caught his eye.

They lowered themselves, trying for the most likely spot. Prying up the planks, they found Jim Williams crouched beneath.

Rose pleaded with them not to hurt her husband. They told her to go to bed with her children and marched Williams out of the house. Andy Timons, meanwhile, scrambled to gather the militia to warn Williams, but the Klan’s head start was too great. Bratton had brought a rope with him from town and placed it around Williams’ neck as the group selected a pine tree they decided “was the place to finish the job.” Williams agreed to climb up by his own power to the branch from which they would drop him, but when they were ready to finish the job, he grabbed onto a tree limb and would not let go. One of Bratton’s subordinates, Bob Caldwell, hacked at Williams’ fingers with a knife until he dropped.

Searching the woods later, Timons and Rose found him hanging by the neck. A card on the corpse mocked the militia: Jim Williams on his big muster. Meanwhile, Dr. Bratton rejoined the larger group of Klan riders, who stopped for refreshments at the home of Bratton’s brother, John. One of the Klansmen who had not been on the raid asked where Williams was.

“He is in hell I expect,” replied Bratton.

At Bratton’s brother’s house the secret riders could relax without their disguises, revealing some of the most recognizable and distinguished faces of York County. They could celebrate weakening the will and abilities of their local political enemies through their latest campaign of intimidation. But their actions under the cover of darkness that night—and on many other nights filled with whippings, beatings, sexual assault, and murders—were set to unleash an unprecedented counterattack from the federal government with a single goal: to wipe out the KKK….Read the Rest of This Story Here

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2016 in Black History, Domestic terrorism

 

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The Story of Robert Smalls, and South Carolina

By 1900, only 34 States had compulsory Public Education systems – 4 in the South. During the reconstruction period when black legislators were elected, Public Schools were established in some states of the South, several were shut down after Reconstruction in Southern States.

The story of Robert Smalls still resonates today – as does the Southern Myth of Reconstruction.

The tale of a former slave sheds light on South Carolina’s presidential primaries

It is impossible not to think of history as we watch the poll results rolling in from South Carolina, where Clinton and Sanders vie for the state’s largely African American Democratic vote, and where Trump handily won the Republican contest, where exit polls indicated that 96% of voters were white .

Much of the state’s history – as the birthplace of secession and a stronghold of Jim Crow segregation – is shameful, and its repercussions are not entirely past. But looking back at one of the state’s legendary African American political figures might help us understand how the state decides to vote come this weekend, especially as the question of reparations becomes a national debate.

Robert Smalls was a slave who stole a Confederate ship during the Civil War and brought it to the Union fleet, gained his freedom, managed to get elected to the state legislature, and ultimately served five terms in Congress .

Smalls’ mother was a slave to Henry McKee, but as a young boy, Smalls was rented out in Charleston, where he learned how to pilot ships. When the civil war broke out – it started in Charleston – he and a number of other slaves worked on the Planter, a Confederate ship, which he daringly captured in the middle of the night and piloted through the mine-infested waters, first to pick up family members of the enslaved crew, and then to the Union blockade of the harbor.

He managed to successfully deliver the ship, which he continued to pilot throughout the war, becoming something of a cause célèbre. In 1865, he brought the Planter to Philadelphia, where he was to give a talk. He was kicked off of the segregated trolley on his way back to the ship, prompting a movement that eventually desegregated that city’s public transportation.

After the war, Smalls ran a store, a newspaper, and served in the state legislature – where he fought for and won the first public education in the state – before being elected to Congress for five terms.

His old home in Beaufort – at 511 Prince St – is marked a historical site and it is is, in many ways, a perfect monument to post-reconstruction race relations in America.

Smalls bought the home in a tax sale when he returned after the war. His mother had worked there raising the McKee children even though her own son, Robert, had been sent away. Now he was back and he legally owned the house.

“After the war, Henry McKee, who was most likely Robert’s father, died,” said Helen B Moore, Smalls’ great granddaughter, who manages a travelling exhibit dedicated to Small. “Mary Bowles McKee was left alone and was both physically and mentally ill . She wandered her way back to the house where she had lived for many years. She came to the door and Smalls, of course, recognised her. She wanted to come in and he allowed her to do so – she was quite ill and quite demented and had no idea the house had been sold.”

She did not remember that the house was no longer her property, according to Moore, but also probably didn’t realise that Smalls himself was not her property anymore.

Moore says the story was passed down through family lore, and no one can say whether it’s true or not. But we can imagine the horror of those conversations as Smalls tried to gently remind this woman, day after day, again and again, that they were equals, he was in the legislature, and he was not her property.

In many ways, the story of Robert Smalls and Mary McKee is the story of race relations in America for the last 150 years. White America continually slips into a kind of dementia, repeatedly forgetting that the world has changed, that we white people don’t own African Americans, that we are not better than them, more valuable, or more deserving of reward. In order to awaken ourselves – and I write this as a white male born and raised in South Carolina – perhaps we need a new reconstruction.

The “ Bargain of 1877 ” ended reconstruction in the south, and we fell into the folly of Jim Crow when the state constitution of 1895 legally enshrined segregation. We were awakened and reminded again of the errors of our ways during the civil rights movement, but quickly drifted into a new form of the dementia as the drug war and mass incarceration followed through.

Last month, Hillary Clinton gaffed at an Iowa debate by implying that reconstruction was a bad time in the nation’s history. The question – who was her favorite president – was an attempt to catch her between Obama and her husband Bill. Instead, she tripped into another hole when she chose that safest of presidential heroes, Abraham Lincoln.

“I don’t know what our country might have been like had he not been murdered, but I bet that it might have been a little less rancorous, a little more forgiving and tolerant, that might possibly have brought people back together more quickly,” she said.

His old home in Beaufort – at 511 Prince St, which he purchased at tax auction had been the former residence of the McKee family which were his slavemasters prior to the War

“But instead, you know, we had reconstruction, we had the reinstigation of segregation and Jim Crow. We had people in the south feeling totally discouraged and defiant. So, I really do believe he could have very well put us on a different path.”

Hillary had backed herself into the old-school view of “the horrors of reconstruction”, and the response, most notably by Ta-Nehisi Coates in the Atlantic , was fierce and immediate.

Eric Foner, a professor of history at Columbia University and the author of numerous books on the subject, said: “Here’s why Hillary’s remark struck a chord with people, a negative chord … The old view of reconstruction as a period of misgovernment, of punishment of the white south and that kind of thing, the underpinnings of that are still around today. They reverberate today – the notion that giving rights to black people is a punishment to whites in some way.”

Foner suggests that the discussion of reconstruction is not really about the past. “A lot of the questions that are being debated in our campaign right now are reconstruction issues. You know, who’s a citizen, who should be a citizen? How do you deal with terrorism? What’s the balance of power between the federal government and the states? And the right to vote? In other words, we are seeing issues of reconstruction really fought out right now.”...Read the Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2016 in Black History, Democrat Primary, Giant Negros

 

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Black Memoribilia/Black Americana

BTx3 has a small collection of Black Americana. For those unfamiliar with the term, Black Americana are historical items having to do with black folks going back to the 1700’s. The items may be slave chains and handcuffs, or racist caricatures of black folks, sometimes mass produced from the 1800’s through the 1940’s.

Came across this piece at a recent auction (no, I didn’t buy it), which is sheet music from 1898. It is projected to go for over $1,000.

A description of the item(s)

WHEN A COON SITS IN THE PRESIDENTIAL CHAIR
[Sheet Music] 2 Titles. ++ WHEN A COON SITS IN THE PRESIDENTIAL CHAIR. By Geo. R. Wilson of the Famous Wilson Family… Chas K Harris, (1898). (Lower edge of first page and inside of front wrap: “Fred’k Pollworth & Bro., Music Typo’s, Milwaukee.” “5” cent price on front wrap. 4to, sheet music. [Front wrap], [ads on verso], [4pp musical score], lacking rear wrap. Front wrap separated and has a tear overlapping the “n” in “Wilson.” Smaller tear to right margin. Tiny chips and tears to edges of front wrap. The lyrics are an extended joke based on what Harris believed to be impossible: A black President. In keeping with that theme, the front wrap shows The Wilson Family in silly costumes, especially funny for a time when most blacks performed farm labor, housework, and other blue collar work. ++ JEROME & SCHWARTZ’S COMIC SONG FOLIO: A Collection of New and Well-known Comic Songs by these two popular writers. Shapiro, Bernstein and Company, (1902). “50c Net” price at lower right of front wrap. 4to. [Front wrap and blank verso], [title page], score 4-54pp, [rear wrap and blank recto]. Front wrap separated. Rear wrap and corners of leaves have creasing. Includes “There’ll Never Be A Coon Sit In The Presidential Chair” (pp36-38, inspired by the sheet music listed first above, but not the same).

 

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2016 in Black History

 

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