Tag Archives: slavery

Mentally Handicapped Black Man Held as a Slave in South Carolina

This is pitiful.I sincerely hope they lock these two abusers up for a long, long, time in general pop.

Bobby Paul Edwards tortured and abused mentally ill black man in his restaurant

Mentally handicapped black worker rescued after 4 years of torture and enslavement by SC restaurant owners

Two brothers in Horry County, South Carolina are facing charges that they treated a mentally handicapped black employee like a slave for years, beating and overworking the man, who lived in squalor on property owned by their restaurant.

According to the Charleston Post and Courier, two Charleston attorneys filed a civil suit on behalf of Christopher Smith, who worked at the J&J Cafeteria in Conway for 23 years, but was hideously abused and exploited from 2010 to 2014.

The suit lists 14 counts against J&J owner Ernest J. Edwards and manager Bobby Paul Edwards, including false imprisonment, discrimination and exploitive labor practices. Bobby Edwards, 50, was arrested a year ago in connection with the case. Those charges are still pending.

Last October, Smith was rescued when social workers received a tip from an anonymous source who expressed concern for the man’s safety. Attorneys Mullins McLeod and David Aylor said that while the civil suit cannot change the past or rectify the harm done to Smith, hopefully it will “bring about positive change in the future.”

The Post and Courier explained that Smith worked at the Edwards brothers’ business for more than two decades, but it was when Bobby took over as manager in 2010 that Smith’s situation turned ugly.

Smith was routinely called the N-word, according to the suit. He was savagely beaten with a frying pan, hot tongs, butcher knives, belt buckles and fists. He worked 18-hour shifts Monday through Saturday and 11-hour shifts on Sundays with no breaks, receiving little pay. His total wages for each year added up to less than $3,000.

The complaint against the Edwards said that Smith was often abused on the job, dragged into the walk-in freezer where he could be heard screaming in terror and pain by other employees and begging his abusers not to kill him.

Smith told social services workers that he was too afraid to run away or leave his job at the J&J Cafeteria because he believed the Edwards brothers would hurt him even worse or murder him.

When he wasn’t at work, Smith lived in a filthy, cockroach-infested apartment owned by the Edwards brothers. The lawsuit described Smith’s living conditions as “subhuman.”

McLeod and Aylor reported that when Smith was examined by medical professionals and the Conway, SC police, he was covered in scars and other evidence of prolonged, brutal abuse.

He was targeted for abuse by the Edwards brothers, they said, because he is black.


Posted by on November 17, 2015 in The Definition of Racism, The New Jim Crow


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The Forgotten Genocide of Black Peoples

Another BBC Documentary explaining how black civilizations and peoples were “erased”…

I had read some time ago an account of a European “explorer” in the 18th or 19th Century who travelled through Southwestern and South Africa destroying evidence of brick and stone buildings and towns such that he could justify that Africans had never developed any form of advanced civilization – but can’t find the reference at the moment.


Posted by on October 24, 2015 in Africa, American Genocide, Black History


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Correcting History – Free Black Man Convicted of Freeing Slaves in 1840’s Pardoned by Delaware

Righting the historical wrongs. Samuel Burris had titanium plated brass cajones, knowing what would happen to him if he was caught by the slave catchers!

Delaware Governor to Pardon Man Who Helped Slaves Escape

Not even the threat of being sold into slavery could stop Samuel Burris, a conductor on the Underground Railroad, from helping slaves to freedom in the 19th century.

A free black man, Burris was caught helping a slave try to escape from Delaware in 1847. After Burris was tried and found guilty of enticing slaves to escape, part of his sentence was that he be sold into slavery for seven years. Instead, a Pennsylvania anti-slavery society raised the money to purchase him and set him free. And Burris went right back to helping slaves escape.

Now, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has decided to posthumously pardon Burris for that long ago conviction, according to two people who have sought that step.

Ocea Thomas of Atlanta said in a telephone interview Tuesday that she received a phone call last weekend letting her know Markell would pardon Burris, who died in the 1860s and was one of Thomas’ ancestors. Phone and email messages left Tuesday for Markell’s spokeswoman, Kelly Bachman, were not immediately returned.

Thomas says she became emotional after learning that Burris, the brother of her great-great grandmother, would be pardoned.

“I stood there and cried. It was pride. It was relief. I guess justification. All of that,” Thomas said.

Robin Krawitz, a historian at Delaware State University who is writing a book about Burris, said historians don’t know exactly how many slaves Burris helped escape but they do know he continued his work even after his conviction, at great personal risk. Slaveholders and sympathizers eventually complained to the state legislature, saying Burris hadn’t stopped enticing slaves to leave their masters. Burris left the state when lawmakers responded with a law that could have brought a lashing so severe it would have been tantamount to a death sentence.

Thomas, Burris’ relative, says she was told the pardon will take place on Nov. 2, the anniversary of Burris’ conviction. The state had already been planning to unveil a historical marker honoring Burris that day. The marker will be placed in Delaware’s Kent County, near where Burris grew up.

Robert Seeley, of Havertown, Pennsylvania, who had asked the governor earlier this year to pardon Burris and two other men, confirmed that he’d also been contacted about the pardon.

“It’s a victory. It brings honor to the Burris family and it brings justice for Samuel Burris and his descendants. It’s making a wrong a right finally,” Seeley said.

Seeley had asked the governor to pardon Burris as well as two others who had worked to get slaves to freedom: John Hunn and Thomas Garrett, one of Seeley’s relatives who is credited with helping more than 2,000 slaves escape. Seeley says he got the idea after outgoing Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn granted clemency to three abolitionists convicted for hiding and helping escaped slaves.

Seeley says he’s been working with Markell’s office but that the governor can’t issue a pardon in Hunn and Garrett’s cases because they were tried in federal court, not state court. He says President Barack Obama would need to pardon them and that he plans to continue to work on a pardon in their case.

“Even if it comes out to be a proclamation or a declaration or not an official presidential pardon, so be it. We’ll see what we can do,” he said, adding there is “a lot of red tape.”

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Posted by on October 21, 2015 in Black History, Giant Negros


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Redlining Collection of Debt Through the Courts

One of the impacts in the differential in generational and saved wealth among black and white families is black families have fewer resources from which to draw in the event of unexpected bills or crisis. A corrupt legal system backs tis – a person who can’t pay a $300 utility bill certainly cannot afford $3000 or more for a Lawyer, so these almost always automatically go to judgement, whether the person actually owes the debt or no. Further, collections companies are allowed to tack on obscene fees and “interest” on the debt from 30%-100% further burying the victim. Welcome to the new American Slavery through the virtual debtor prison.


The Color of Debt: How Collection Suits Squeeze Black Neighborhoods

Our first-of-its-kind analysis shows that the suits are far more common in black communities than white ones.

ON A RECENT SATURDAY AFTERNOON, the mayor of Jennings, a St. Louis suburb of about 15,000, settled in before a computer in the empty city council chambers. Yolonda Fountain Henderson, 50, was elected last spring as the city’s first black mayor.

On the screen was a list of every debt collection lawsuit against a resident of her city, at least 4,500 in just five years. Henderson asked to see her own street. On her block of 16 modest ranch-style homes, lawsuits had been filed against the occupants of eight. “That’s my neighbor across the street,” she said, pointing to one line on the screen.

And then she saw her own suit. Henderson, a single mother, fell behind on her sewer bill after losing her job a few years ago, and the utility successfully sued her. That judgment was listed, as well as how one day the company seized $382 from her credit union account — all she had, but not enough to pay off the debt.

As the lines of suits scrolled by on the screen, Henderson shook her head in disbelief, swinging her dangling, heart-shaped earrings.

“They’re just suing all of us,” she said.

That’s not only true in Jennings. The story is the same down the road in Normandy and in every other black community nearby. In fact, when ProPublica attempted to measure, for the first time, the prevalence of judgments stemming from these suits, a clear pattern emerged: they were massed in black neighborhoods.

The disparity was not merely because black families earn less than white families. Our analysis of five years of court judgments from three metropolitan areas — St. Louis, Chicago and Newark — showed that even accounting for income, the rate of judgments was twice as high in mostly black neighborhoods as it was in mostly white ones.

These findings could suggest racial bias by lenders or collectors. But we found that there is another explanation: That generations of discrimination have left black families with grossly fewer resources to draw on when they come under financial pressure.

Over the past year, ProPublica has investigated a little-known but pervasive shift in the way debt is collected in America: Companies now routinely use the courts to pursue millions of people over even small consumer debts. With the power granted by a court judgment, collectors can seize a chunk of a debtor’s pay. The highest rates of garnishment are among workers who earn between $25,000 and $40,000, but the numbers are nearly as high for those who earn even less.

Despite their prevalence, these suits remain remarkably hidden, even to people in the communities most burdened by them.

In the city of St. Louis and surrounding St. Louis County, where Jennings lies, only about a quarter of the population lives in neighborhoods where most residents are black. But over half of court judgments were concentrated in these neighborhoods.

Armed with these judgments, plaintiffs — typically debt buyers, banks, hospitals, utilities, and auto and high-cost lenders — have seized at least $34 million from residents of St. Louis’ mostly black neighborhoods through suits filed between 2008 and 2012, ProPublica’s analysis found.

April Kuehnhoff, an attorney at the National Consumer Law Center, said that the analysis raised “crucial questions about how racial disparities are entering the debt collection system and what we can do to eliminate these disparities.” The findings, she said, should spur lawmakers to reform overly punitive federal and state collections laws.

Collection suits — typically over smaller amounts like credit card debt — fly across the desks of local judges, sometimes hundreds in a single day. Defendants usually don’t make it to court, and when they do, rarely have an attorney.

For those who do show up, the outcome isn’t all that different. In Missouri, most judgments resulted in the plaintiff attempting garnishment, whether the defendant appeared in court or not, according to ProPublica’s analysis.

In Jennings, which since the 1960s has shifted from almost entirely white to 90 percent black, the suits are unrelentingly common. Between 2008 and 2012, there was more than one lawsuit for every four residents. And yet, this fact astounded residents when they heard it, because it is a facet of life that most keep private. Parents hide it from their children, and neighbors never think to discuss it.

The typical household income in Jennings is about $28,000, an income level at which families spend, on average, all of their income on basic necessities, federal survey data shows. Each paycheck must be carefully apportioned with the most vital costs — mortgage or rent, food and utilities — prioritized.

A garnishment hits this kind of household budget like a bomb. Federal law and most state laws protect only the poorest of the poor from having their wages seized, otherwise allowing plaintiffs to seize up to a quarter of a worker’s after-tax pay. If that paycheck is deposited in a bank, that and other money in the account can be seized to pay down the debt. When garnishment protections do exist, the burden is usually on debtors to figure out if and how the laws protect their assets. …Much more on the story here

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Posted by on October 9, 2015 in The New Jim Crow


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What a Slavery Museum Teaches…

History forgotten is history repeated. The Atlantic doesn’t quite get it right about the Whitney Museum being the first and “only”.

Why America Needs a Slavery Museum

The Whitney Plantation near Wallace, Louisiana, is the first and only U.S. museum and memorial to slavery. While other museums may include slavery in their exhibits, the Whitney Plantation is the first of its kind to focus primarily on the institution. John Cummings, a 78-year-old white southerner, has spent 16 years and more than $8 million of his own fortune to build the project, which opened in December of last year.

Cummings, a successful trial attorney, developed the museum with the help of his full-time director of research, Ibrahima Seck. The duo hope to educate people on the realities of slavery in its time and its impact in the United States today. “The history of this country is rooted in slavery,” says Seck. “If you don’t understand the source of the problem, how can you solve it?”

Slave Memorial at George Washington’s Mount Vernon marking the unmarked graves of slaves buried next to the Family Burial plot.


Posted by on August 26, 2015 in Black History


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Republican Proposes “Bringing Back Slavery”!

If you haven’t figured out that the right has far surpassed “the epitome of stupidity” , we have this case…And it isn’t Dingbat Trump…Although it is one of his followers.

Conservative racism at it’s…Typical

Jan Mickelson…Proving you can be 7 cans short of a full six pack


Conservative radio host’s comically horrific immigration plan: Let’s reinstitute slavery to build Donald Trump’s wall

As if the GOP’s decision to start seriously debating how to undermine the 14th Amendment weren’t bad enough, earlier this week an influential conservative Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson debuted a brilliant idea for how to deal with undocumented immigrants — reinstitute slavery.

On his August 17th program, Mickelson proposed putting up signs all over Iowa saying that “as of this date, 30 to 60 days from now, anyone who is in the state of Iowa who is not here legally and who cannot demonstrate their legal status to the satisfaction of the local and state authorities here in the State of Iowa, become[s] property of the State of Iowa.”

“We have a job for you,” he speculated telling the newly enslaved people of Iowa, before shifting to the practical benefits of slavery. “We start using compelled labor, the people who are here illegally would therefore be owned by the state and become an asset of the state rather than a liability and we start inventing jobs for them to do.”

If the Mexican government won’t pay to build Donald Trump’s “big, beautiful, powerful wall,” we will “‘invite’ the illegal Mexicans and illegals aliens to build it. You show up without an invitation? You get to be a construction worker!”

“If you have come across the border illegally, again give them another 60-day guideline, you need to go home and leave this jurisdiction, and if you don’t you become property of the United States, and guess what?” Mickelson asked. “You will be building a wall. We will compel your labor. You would belong to these United States. You show up without an invitation, you get to be an asset.”

When a caller later pointed out the obvious — that this “sounds an awful lot like slavery” — Mickelson replied by asking “What’s wrong with slavery?” He proceeded to claim that the real slaves were the taxpayers on whose largesse undocumented immigrants allegedly depend.

“We allow millions of people to come into the country, who aren’t here legally, and people who are here are indentured to those people to pay their bills, their education of their kids, pay for their food, their food stamps, their medical bills, in some cases even subsidize their housing, and somehow the people who own the country, who pay the bills, pay the taxes, they get indentured to the new people who are not even supposed to be here,” he said. “Isn’t that a lot like slavery?”

Geez…Compared to Ben Carson, this clown is a “moderate”. Uncle Ben wants to use drones to kill people on the border!

Ben Carson takes immigration debate to insane new low, floats drone strikes at border


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America’s Complicity In the Cuban Slave Trade

Slavery in Cuba was aided and abetted by both the United States and England. Today, that history casts a shadow on future US-Cuba relations. The average lifespan of a Cuban slave was only 8 years.

From and Article “10 Things You Didn’t Know About Cuban Slavery”

  • Life Expectancy of Enslaved People in Sugar Mills Was No Greater than Eight Years

Working in sugar mills and on sugar plantations was incredibly hard work, and it often slashed the life expectancy of enslaved people dramatically. Based on harsh working conditions, deplorable living quarters, insufficient hours for rest and a variety of other factors, enslaved people who worked in the sugar mills were only expected to live for another eight years at most, according to materials provided by the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU

  • Enslaved Pregnant Women Were Often Beaten in the Stomach

Cuban slave masters were particularly cruel when it came to pregnant women. While the owners of enslaved people in the Americas tended to punish women without any regards to their pregnancies, in Cuba their pregnancies were used as part of their punishment.

  • Slavery Continued On Well After It Had Been ‘Abolished’ in 1817

According to the 1817 treaty that Cuba made with England, slave trade into Cuba was abolished. Unfortunately, this didn’t put an end to enslaved Black people being brought to the foreign land.

  • Slavery in Cuba Was Gendered

Unlike slavery in America, Cuba’s slavery system was gendered, according to “General History of the Caribbean,” Vol III. Enslaved women often had a different set of tasks and responsibilities than enslaved males.

  • The Haitian Revolution Boosted Demand to Enslave Black People in Cuba

After the Haitian Revolution, slavery became even more profitable for slave traders and masters in Cuba. Without a huge population of enslaved people, Haiti backed out of the sugar market, leaving Cuba to be the only major global force dominating the space.

  • Enslaved People Started to Outnumber the White Population in Cuba 

The population of enslaved people in Cuba started to grow so quickly that there was a serious fear that the number of enslaved people would outnumber the white population in the country. According to “A Companion to Latin American History,” enslaved people comprised nearly 40 percent of the Cuban population. When this number was combined with the number of freed Black people in the country, they easily outnumbered the white population.

  • There Was a Spanish Flavor of  ‘Slave Codes’ in Cuba

Spanish rule actually created laws that would regulate the treatment of enslaved people. There were guidelines on everything from how many times an enslaved person could be whipped to how many hours they could be worked every day. Unfortunately, this set of rules, known as the Código Negro Español or the Spanish Black Code, was largely ignored by those who enslaved people.

  • Black Women Endured Rape by White Masters in Hopes of Gaining Freedom 

There were actually policies in place that would allow enslaved people to obtain their freedom, but they certainly weren’t easy. Enslaved people had the option of buying their freedom, but it was a hefty price that many couldn’t afford. Women, on the other hand, had another option. According to “General History of the Caribbean” Vol III, enslaved women who were raped by white men hoped that they would at least become pregnant after dealing with the traumatic experience because Cuban policies would grant freedom to some enslaved Black women who had a child by a white man.

  • Spaniards Weren’t the Ones Who Introduced Cuba to Large-Scale Slave Trading

While Spaniards kept slavery thriving in Cuba, they actually weren’t the ones who introduced it on a major scale. Small groups of enslaved people had already been brought to Cuba before the British took control of the island in the 1760s, but it wasn’t until the British imported thousands of enslaved people to Cuba that it became a major part of their economic foundation.

  • Black People Were Enslaved Specifically for Their Superior Strength

Both Africans and Chinese people were enslaved in Cuba, but Black people were chosen specifically for their superior strength over other races. According to, Black people were often considered to be in much better physical condition than white people, which made them a target for those involved in the slave trade.

Cuba’s Star-Spangled Slavery

The stars and stripes, not the Confederate flag, once represented the sordid system of human slavery in Cuba.

Old Glory is flying once again in front of the U.S. embassy in Havana, Cuba. And at the flag-raising ceremony on Friday, Secretary of State John Kerry did everything he could to remind people of the history that brought it down 54 years ago. “For more than half a century,” he said, “U.S.-Cuban relations have been suspended in the amber of Cold War politics.”

The U.S. punditocracy, meanwhile, weighed in with predictable platitudes about the meaning of it all. Many complained that Cuban dissidents should have been invited to the embassy. The Washington Post called the State Department’s excuses for this failure “lame” and proclaimed, “The American flag is a powerful symbol of the country’s long and noble struggle to defend the values of freedom and democracy.”

Fair enough. But as we’ve learned in the course of this summer, flags can mean many things to many people. And if we want to have a better understanding of Cuba, now that it’s beginning to open up, we should remember that its troubled relations with the United States did not begin with Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959 or even Teddy Roosevelt’s charge up San Juan Hill. We should understand that for many years the American flag—not the Confederate flag—was, for Cubans, the star-spangled banner of slavery.

Early in the 19th century, Great Britain, the United States, and most of the governments of Europe had passed laws banning the horrific slave trade between Africa and the Americas. The British, who finally emancipated the slaves in their colonies in 1833, moved not only to end their own previously extensive participation in the trade in humans, but to prevent others from carrying out that grim commerce as well. They deployed warships off the coast of Africa and South America to stop, search, and seize suspected slavers, and they used gunship diplomacy more than once to impose their will on weaker nations.

But the United States had gone to war against Britain in 1812 to stop it from stopping and searching any American ships, and steadfastly refused to let the British anti-slaving fleet stop American-flag vessels. Instead, Washington deployed its own feeble squadron off the coast of Africa which did little to stop slavers and much to interfere with the British efforts to do so.

The main market for the slaves—tens of thousands of them every year— was the Spanish colony of Cuba, where it was more profitable to work them to death in the cane fields and then replace them with new, cheaply bought Africans, than it was to keep them healthy and alive. Technically, it was illegal to import them, but the law was ignored.

And, technically, trafficking in African slaves was illegal in the United States as well—it was supposed to be a hanging offense—but the New York ship builders and outfitters figured it was well worth the risk, and when cases were brought before the Southern courts they refused to indict.

Indeed, the pro-slavery faction in the United States had its own designs for Cuba: to buy it or conquer it and turn it into two new slave states, thus assuring control of the Senate and greater power in the House of Representatives. (Slaves had no rights as citizens or as human beings under the Constitution, but counted as three-fifths of a person for census purposes, thus hugely inflating the voting power of the states that held them.) More than a century before the Bay of Pigs fiasco, adventurers in the United States organized invasions of Cuba to “liberate” it from Spain in the interests of American slavery. Those, too, were fiascos.

It is difficult to conceive, today, just how gruesome was the trade carried out under that American banner of “freedom and democracy.” In the 1850s, Southern politicians known as “fire-eaters” were defending slavery—and the slave trade—as a moral good. They were pushing to reopen it between Africa and the United States. And at the epicenter of Southern radicalism, Charleston, many refused to acknowledge the grotesque inhumanity of the Cuban trade even when it stared them in the face.

In late August 1858, the horror that the South did not want to imagine—a slave ship—was right there in Charleston harbor. Vomit and urine and feces and blood had seeped deep into the raw wood of the sunless slapped-together slave decks in the hold, staining them indelibly with filth. Cockroaches by the millions seethed among the boards, and clouds of fleas and gnats rose up from them.

The stench that came from this vessel wasn’t the smell of a ship full of cattle and horses, but that peculiar smell that surrounds humans, and only humans, who are very afraid and very sick, or dying, or dead. The water in Charleston Harbor was still and flat and thick as oil, and the air was stifling hot and heavy. The stinking vessel, a brig called the Echo, had been captured off the coast of Cuba a few days before.

Because it was the summer, the season of disease, many of Charleston’s better-off residents had left the city. For those who remained behind the spectacle of the Echo and its Africans was a disgusting but almost irresistible novelty. Because the transatlantic trade had been banned for 50 years, many had never beheld such a ship before. “You will see by this morning’s Mercury that we have a slaver in our harbor,” one distinguished Charlestonian wrote to a friend. “She has on board about 300 naked native negroes, 60 of them women. Every one of whom is in the family way. Everybody is talking about them. The yellow fever, the cables and every other subject have faded before this. There is really and truly an excitement among these cold, stolid Charlestonians.”

That the Echo had been captured at all was the result of a dawning awareness by the federal government of something that the British consul in Charleston, Robert Bunch, had been explaining to the foreign office in London for years: the fleets of slave ships flying the American flag, supported by money-men in New York, and incited and abetted by the fire-eaters like Robert Barnwell Rhett and Leonida Spratt, posed a growing threat to the authority of Washington and to the Union itself.

The slave traffic was growing fast. Something had to be done before the momentum became unstoppable. So, quietly and against stubborn bureaucratic resistance, President James Buchanan had American warships step up their anti-slaving patrols off the coast of Cuba as well as Africa. And the Echo was their first prize…Read the rest here

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Posted by on August 15, 2015 in Black History


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