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Tag Archives: slavery

Pharrell Williams…”Freedom” and Prince …”Baltimore”

Enjoy the song – but check out the background and symbolism…

Prince’s song on Baltimore and the death of Freddy Gray…

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2015 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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An Open Letter From Actor Kirk Douglass – Apologize For Slavery!

This one really surprised me. Not because of who is saying it (Spartacus!) – but because of the timing.

Thank You for pointing that out, Mr. Douglas.

 

An Open Letter to All Those Who Would Be President

If you want my vote in November of 2016, I am asking you to do something right now.

America has never formally acknowledged and apologized for the unspeakable evil of slavery. So I am asking Republicans and Democrats alike to apologize to the American people. Our continued refusal to apologize for slavery still shames and divides our nation. It is past the time to heal.

I have lived a long time — 98 years — and I have seen many incredible things.

I remember the days when the Ku Klux Klan was very powerful. They burned crosses on lawns.

I remember when there were segregated drinking fountains and bathrooms.

I’ve even lived long enough to see a black man elected president — twice. Incredibly, he now lives in a house that was built by slaves.

I hope to live long enough to see one of the candidates promise an apology for slavery. We cannot erase our history, but we can pledge that hatred will be banished from our great land.

I look forward to your reply.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in The Post-Racial Life

 

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The New Jim Crow — Slavery in America…In 2015

Slavery in America never really went entirely away. And while most of the news about slavery here, and the majority of cases involving human trafficking are in the sex trade – it is growing in other areas. Something on the order of 65-150,000 people are held in modern slavery in the US.

It’s Easy For Traffickers To Exploit Magazine Salespeople. But The Industry Can Change That

Traffickers have become so adept at exploiting their victims in broad daylight that you may have purchased an item from their menu of goods from the comfort of your own home.

“Knocking at Your Door,” a new report released by nonprofit Polaris, details how little oversight there is in the door-to-door sales industry, which makes it a ripe environment for traffickers to lure in vulnerable victims. Between 2008 and this year, 419 reports of possible human trafficking cases involving traveling sales crews were made to two organizations that support this specific demographic.

That’s more than any other industry except domestic work.

While advertisements typically indicate that workers must be at least 18 years old, children are hardly spared from this industry.

A decade ago, the Child Labor Coalition estimated that more than 50,000 children were forced to work for groups that sell magazines, the Atlantic reported earlier this year. But Reid Maki, CLC coordinator, believes that number hasn’t budged much since.

It’s become this little world of people operating in the shadows, and they’ve become very good at working the system,” Maki told the news outlet. “There are so many areas of magazine crews operating just outside the law that seem unconnected, but they’re not. They keep one step ahead of the authorities.”

But those figures likely belie the full picture considering that victims are often too fearful to come forward and report their traffickers.

The traveling sales industry is particularly appealing to traffickers because the crews rarely stay in one place for long and itinerant sales workers are considered independent contractors. That means they’re exempt from federal and state minimum wage requirements, overtime and other employment protections, according to the report.

And when businesses are flagged for questionable practices, they can change their name and register in another state with ease.

The bulk of such cases involve magazines sales, specifically.

Of the 357 cases that were reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline, 64 percent referenced magazine sales.

Many publishers aren’t even aware that such rings exist, and often don’t have the resources to monitor all of their selling agents.

The corrupt selling agents have developed a layered system that hooks vulnerable people and traps them with threats, force and manipulation…more

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2015 in American Genocide, American Greed

 

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Uncle Tommy Clarence Blows a Gasket on Gay Marraige Decision

Uncle Tommy Clarence didn’t get on the court by being the brightest lightbulb in the pack. He demonstrates it again in his dissent on Gay Marriage equality…

Clarence and Virginia Thomas

Clarence Thomas Has The Weirdest Dissent To The Marriage Equality Case

WASHINGTON — Justice Antonin Scalia may have penned the most colorful dissent to Friday’s landmark Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, but his colleague Clarence Thomas wrote the weirdest.

Thomas, alone among the four dissenting conservative justices, seemed to recognize that the legal reasoning he and his fellow dissenters were bringing to bear on same-sex marriage could also apply to interracial marriage. That’s a problem for Thomas, because only bigots oppose interracial marriage, and he presumably didn’t want his dissent to be seen as window-dressing for hatred. Thomas tried to get around this uncomfortable parallel by arguing that Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 decision that required every state to recognize interracial marriage, wasn’t really about marriage after all. Here’s what he wrote:

Petitioners’ misconception of liberty carries over into their discussion of our precedents identifying a right to marry, not one of which has expanded the concept of “liberty” beyond the concept of negative liberty. Those precedents all involved absolute prohibitions on private actions associated with marriage.Loving v. Virginia, 388 U. S. 1 (1967), for example, involved a couple who was criminally prosecuted for marrying in the District of Columbia and cohabiting in Virginia, id., at 2–3. They were each sentenced to a year of imprisonment, suspended for a term of 25 years on the condition that they not reenter the Commonwealth together during that time.

In other words, Thomas is saying, the Loving decision was actually about letting interracial couples live together without being arrested. And OK, yes, it’s true that Richard and Mildred Loving were criminally prosecuted. But it’s ridiculous to claim that the decision overturning their conviction simply decriminalized interracial cohabitation. Here’s what then-Chief Justice Earl Warren actually wrote in that case:

There can be no doubt that restricting the freedom to marry solely because of racial classifications violates the central meaning of the Equal Protection Clause … The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.

Marriage is one of the “basic civil rights of man,” fundamental to our very existence… Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.

If you’re still not sure whether that decision was about marriage, then consider that it overturned interracial marriage bans in 16 states… kind of like how Friday’s decision overturned same-sex marriage bans in 13 states. Thomas can say whatever he wants, but his reasoning here is hard to defend. (Incidentally, Thomas, who is black, is married to a white woman named Virginia, because you can’t make this stuff up.)…

Clarence continued with:

Human dignity cannot be taken away by the government. Slaves did not lose their dignity (any more than they lost their humanity) because the government allowed them to be enslaved. Those held in internment camps did not lose their dignity because the government confined them. And those denied governmental benefits certainly do not lose their dignity because the government denies them those benefits. The government cannot bestow dignity, and it cannot take it away.

Arguing that there is no “Dignity” clause in the Constitution. And “Life”, “Liberty” don’t bestow some small measure of happiness and dignity? The basis of slavery was to strip the slaves of their human dignity…thus the better to control them.

Thomas concludes with…

“Today’s decision casts that truth aside. In its haste to reach a desired result, the majority misapplies a clause focused on ‘due process’ to afford substantive rights, disregards the most plausible understanding of the ‘liberty’ protected by that clause, and distorts the principles on which this Nation was founded. Its decision will have inestimable consequences for our Constitution and our society,”

 

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2015 in Black Conservatives

 

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How Slavery Built America

Saw this one on my Amazon Reading List, downloaded it – and have been reading through it the last week or so on my way to work on the subway.  Historian Edward Baptist’s treatise on how slavery made America has been greeted with both strong objection from the usual suspects as well as hailed for it’s detailed treatment of a complex historical subject, the ramifications of which still impact American Society today. What Baptist documents is what us students of American History have suspected for a very long time, but until this book – no one really documented it and brought it out front.

What Baptist succinctly points our and documents is the “capitalism” which grew this country from it’s founding in the early 1600’s to an industrial powerhouse owes it roots, and its foundation to slavery. Far from the oft repeated “land of economic opportunity”, slavery generated over half of this country’s economic might, and the worth  of slaves alone constituted over 1/6th of the total wealth of the nation prior to 1860. This one smacks the”Southern Myth” regurgitated by conservative right wingers dead between the eyes.

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

 

Part of a book review by the NY Times. Follow the link for the whole article.

A Brutal Process

‘The Half Has Never Been Told,’ by Edward E. Baptist

For residents of the world’s pre-­eminent capitalist nation, American historians have produced remarkably few studies of capitalism in the United States. This situation was exacerbated in the 1970s, when economic history began to migrate from history to economics departments, where it too often became an exercise in scouring the past for numerical data to plug into computerized models of the economy. Recently, however, the history of American capitalism has emerged as a thriving cottage industry. This new work portrays capitalism not as a given (something that “came in the first ships,” as the historian Carl Degler once wrote) but as a system that developed over time, has been constantly evolving and penetrates all aspects of society.

Slavery plays a crucial role in this literature. For decades, historians depicted the institution as unprofitable and on its way to extinction before the Civil War (a conflict that was therefore unnecessary). Recently, historians like Sven Beckert, Robin Blackburn and Walter Johnson have emphasized that cotton, the raw material of the early Industrial Revolution, was by far the most important commodity in 19th-century international trade and that capital accumulated through slave labor flowed into the coffers of Northern and British bankers, merchants and manufacturers. And far from being economically backward, slave owners pioneered advances in modern accounting and finance.

Edward E. Baptist situates “The Half Has Never Been Told” squarely within this context. Baptist, who teaches at Cornell University, is the author of a well-­regarded study of slavery in Florida. Now he expands his purview to the entire cotton kingdom, the heartland of 19th-­century American slavery. (Unfortunately, slavery in the Upper South, where cotton was not an economic staple, is barely discussed, even though as late as 1860 more slaves lived in Virginia than any other state.) In keeping with the approach of the new historians of capitalism, the book covers a great deal of ground — not only economic enterprise but religion, ideas of masculinity and gender, and national and Southern politics. Baptist’s work is a valuable addition to the growing literature on slavery and American development.

Where Baptist breaks new ground is in his emphasis on the centrality of the interstate trade in slaves to the regional and national economies and his treatment of the role of extreme violence in the workings of the slave system. After the legal importation of slaves from outside the country ended in 1808, the spread of slavery into the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico would not have been possible without the enormous uprooting of people from Maryland and Virginia. Almost one million slaves, Baptist estimates, were transported to the cotton fields from the Upper South in the decades before the Civil War.

The domestic slave trade was highly organized and economically efficient, relying on such modern technologies as the steamboat, railroad and telegraph. For African-Americans, its results were devastating. Since buyers preferred young workers “with no attachments,” the separation of husbands from wives and parents from children was intrinsic to its operation, not, as many historians have claimed, a regrettable side effect. Baptist shows how slaves struggled to recreate a sense of community in the face of this disaster.

The sellers of slaves, Baptist insists, were not generally paternalistic owners who fell on hard times and parted reluctantly with members of their metaphorical plantation “families,” but entrepreneurs who knew an opportunity for gain when they saw one. As for the slave traders — the middlemen — they excelled at maximizing profits. They not only emphasized the labor abilities of those for sale (reinforced by humiliating public inspections of their bodies), but appealed to buyers’ salacious fantasies. In the 1830s, the term “fancy girl” began to appear in slave-trade notices to describe young women who fetched high prices because of their physical attractiveness. “Slavery’s frontier,” Baptist writes, “was a white man’s sexual playground.”

The cotton kingdom that arose in the Deep South was incredibly brutal. Violence against Native Americans who originally owned the land, competing imperial powers like Spain and Britain and slave rebels solidified American control of the Gulf states. Violence, Baptist contends, explains the remarkable increase of labor productivity on cotton plantations. Without any technological innovations in cotton picking, output per hand rose dramatically between 1800 and 1860. Some economic historians have attributed this to incentives like money payments for good work and the opportunity to rise to skilled positions. Baptist rejects this explanation.

Planters called their method of labor control the “pushing system.” Each slave was assigned a daily picking quota, which increased steadily over time. Baptist, who feels that historians too often employ circumlocutions that obscure the horrors of slavery, prefers to call it “the ‘whipping-machine’ system.” In fact, the word we should really use, he insists, is “torture.” To make slaves work harder and harder, planters utilized not only incessant beating but forms of discipline familiar in our own time — sexual humiliation, bodily mutilation, even waterboarding. In the cotton kingdom, “white people inflicted torture far more often than in almost any human society that ever existed.” When Abraham Lincoln reminded Americans in his Second Inaugural Address of the 250 years of “blood drawn with the lash” that preceded the Civil War, he was making a similar point: Violence did not begin in the United States with the firing on Fort Sumter.

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2014 in American Greed, Black History

 

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MSNBC Wusses Out…Again. Martin Bashir Resignation.

MSNBC commentator Martin Bashir has tendered his resignation to MSNBC. More than likely he was asked to leave by cowardly MSNBC Management. This leaves a huge hole in MSNBC’s lineup, taking away what was by far, their best interviewer. I mean I love you Rachael, but although she is smarter than the entire collection of Faux News bimbos combined, cutting through the bullshit in an interview isn’t her strong point. Bashir is a victim of responding to the Sno’ Ho’s ignorant and racist comments in kind – saying what a lot of us would if we had the microphone.

To be honest, if MSNBC is too chickenshit to call Palin on her pernicious and offensive racist statements…

Then they are too chickenshit for this viewer.

Putting this one under the heading of Domestic Terrorism.

 

Martin Bashir Resigns From MSNBC Following Sarah Palin Comments

Martin Bashir has resigned from MSNBC following weeks of controversy over his incendiary comments about Sarah Palin, he announced in an email posted byMediaite on Wednesday.

“Upon further reflection, and after meeting with the president of MSNBC, I have tendered my resignation,” the email read in part. “It is my sincere hope that all of my colleagues, at this special network, will be allowed to focus on the issues that matter without the distraction of myself or my ill-judged comments.”

In a statement, MSNBC president Phil Griffin paid tribute to Bashir:

“Martin Bashir resigned today, effective immediately. I understand his decision and I thank him for three great years with MSNBC. Martin is a good man and respected colleague – we wish him only the best.”

Bashir had been a host on the network since 2011, and had frequently raised eyebrows with his hyperbolic commentary. But his comments in November in response to remarks about slavery by Palin touched off a firestorm. Among other things, Bashir said that someone should defecate and urinate in Palin’s mouth, a punishment delivered to some slaves. He apologized, but the comments continued tohaunt him.

Bashir’s resignation came shortly after Alec Baldwin parted ways with MSNBC over anti-gay comments he made towards a photographer. At the time, many wondered why Baldwin, who was suspended for two weeks for statements he made off the air, was seemingly being punished more than Bashir, who was not given any immediate suspension.

Bashir’s departure leaves a hole in MSNBC’s afternoon lineup. Leading candidates for the slot include MSNBC contributor and guest host Joy Reid, along with the recently hired Ronan Farrow. For the time being, Reid will fill in as a guest host.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2013 in Domestic terrorism

 

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Bashir Takes a Dump on the Sno’ Ho’

I mean…Tell us how you feel, Martin! The only issue I see here is his suggestion wouldn’t be any different than taking a dump in a Don’s John.,,

You are just adding to the pile.

Martin, you get an Honorary Giant Negro Award for that one!

MSNBC’s Bashir: Sarah Palin Should Be Defecated, Pissed On

MARTIN BASHIR: We end this week in the way it began — with America’s resident dunce, Sarah Palin, scraping the barrel of her long deceased mind, and using her all time favorite analogy in an attempt to sound intelligent about the national debt.

SARAH PALIN: Our free stuff today is being paid for by taking money from our children, and borrowing from China. When that note comes due and this isn’t racist, so try it. Try it anyway. This isn’t racist. But it’s going to be like slavery when that note is due.

BASHIR: It’ll be like slavery. Given her well-established reputation as a world class idiot, it’s hardly surprising that she should choose to mention slavery in a way that is abominable to anyone who knows anything about its barbaric history. So here’s an example: One of the most comprehensive first-person accounts of slavery comes from the personal diary of a man called Thomas Thistlewood, who kept copious notes for 39 years. Thistlewood was the son of a tenant farmer who arrived on the island of Jamaica in April 1750 and assumed the position of overseer at a major plantation.

What is most shocking about Thistlewood’s diary is not simply the fact that he assumes the right to own and possess other human beings, but the sheer cruelty and brutality of his regime. In 1756, he records that a slave named Darby catched [sic] eating canes; had him well flogged and pickled, then made Hector, another slave, S-H-I-T in his mouth. This became known as Darby’s dose, a punishment invented by Thistlewood that spoke only of the slave owners savagery and inhumanity.

And he mentions a similar incident again in 1756, this time in relation to a man he refers to as Punch. Flogged Punch well and then washed and rubbed salt pickle, lime juice and bird pepper. Made Negro Joe piss in his eyes and mouth. I could go on, but you get the point.

When Mrs. Palin invoked slavery, she doesn’t just prove her rank ignorance. She confirms that if anyone truly qualified for a dose of discipline from Thomas Thistlewood, then she would be the outstanding candidate.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 16, 2013 in Stupid Tea Bagger Tricks, The New Jim Crow

 

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