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Battling Bigots on the WWW – The Myth of “Irish Slaves”

Prior to 1700, there were about 10,000 Irish brought to America as indentured servants. Many of these folks wound up doing farm labor. The period of “servitude” could be from 7 to 15 years based on the cost of their transport to the New World, and what labor skills they had. The white supremacist line is that these people were slaves…They were not. They were not for several reasons –

  1. They were indentured for a specific period – not life. Once their indenture was over, they had to be released.
  2. They never lost legal rights. Ergo, and indentured servant had the right to challenge their indenture in court. Furthermore, if assaulted or killed by the plantation owner – the owner was subject to criminal laws, up to and including murder in the courts of the colonies. Salves conversely, were property, and there was no legal consequence of killing a slave.
  3. About 1670 many of the slave states began passing laws which established slavery solely as a condition of black people. These laws included perpetuity clauses which made the children of slaves…slaves. Status of children, whether free or slave was based on the status of the mother. Ergo, if the mother was free, the children were free. Which was the beginning of the various miscegenation laws prohibiting whites and blacks marriage. Plantation owners specificall wanted to stop black men from having children with indentured Irish women because the children of such would not be slaves.

Virginia, 1662″Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children got by any Englishmen upon a Negro shall be slave or Free, Be it therefore enacted and declared by this present Grand assembly, that all children born in this country shall be held bond or free only according to the condition of the mother.

“Virginia, 1667″Act III. Whereas some doubts have arisen whether children that are slaves by birth… should by virtue of their baptism be made free, it is enacted that baptism does not alter the condition to the person as to his bondage or freedom; masters freed from this doubt may more carefully propagate Christianity by permitting slaves to be admitted to that sacrament.

“Virginia, 1682″Act I. It is enacted that all servants… which shall be imported into this country either by sea or by land, whether Negroes, Moors, mulattoes or Indians who and whose parentage and native countries are not Christian at the time of their first purchase by some Christian… and all Indians, which shall be sold by our neighboring Indians, or any other trafficking with us for slaves, are hereby adjudged, deemed and taken to be slaves to all intents and purposes any law, usage, or custom to the contrary notwithstanding.

“Virginia, 1705″All servants imported and brought into the Country… who were not Christians in their native Country… shall be accounted and be slaves. All Negro, mulatto and Indian slaves within this dominion… shall be held to be real estate.

[2]South Carolina, 1712″Be it therefore enacted, by his Excellency, William, Lord Craven, Palatine…. and the rest of the members of the General Assembly, now met at Charles Town, for the South-west part of this Province, and by the authority of the same, That all negros, mulattoes, mestizo’s or Indians, which at any time heretofore have been sold, or now are held or taken to be, or hereafter shall be bought and sold for slaves, are hereby declared slaves; and they, and their children, are hereby made and declared slaves….”

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‘Irish slaves’: Historian destroys racist myth conservatives love to share on Facebook

White supremacists have been promoting the myth that the first slaves brought to the Americas were Irish, not African — but a historian says there’s simply no evidence to back their racist claims.

Liam Hogan, a research librarian at the Limerick City Library, set about debunking the myth after spotting a widely shared Global Research article in 2013 and realized its potential for misinformation, reported Hatewatch.

“It was quite clear to me then that many would never engage with the history of the transatlantic slave trade when they had this false equivalence to fall back on,” Hogan told the website. “I think that’s what convinced me that I needed to put the record straight.”

The myth essentially equates indentured or penal servitude with racialized perpetual hereditary chattel slavery, Hogan said.

Racists claim the Irish slave trade began in 1612 and was not abolished until 1839, and they insist “white slavery” has been covered up by “politically correct” historians.

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“The various memes make many claims including (but not limited to) the following: that ‘Irish slaves’ were treated far worse than black slaves, that there were more ‘Irish slaves’ than black slaves, that ‘Irish slaves’ were worth less than black slaves, that enslaved Irish women were forced to breed with enslaved African men and that the Irish were slaves for much longer than black slaves,” Hogan said.

“This is then invariably followed up by overtly racist statements,” he added. “For example, ‘Yet, when is the last time you heard an Irishman bitching and moaning about how the world owes them a living?’”

Hogan hasn’t isolated the myth’s first appearance on social media, but it’s been a common trope on the white supremacist website Stormfront since at least 2003 and has been trotted out as an argument against reparations for slavery and to attack the Black Lives Matter movement.

He pointed to a 2014 post on Alex Jones’ Infowars website that attacked both Black Lives Matter and reparations by promoting several falsehoods about “Irish slavery.”

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“It appropriates the massacre of around 132 African victims of the genocidal transatlantic slave trade in order to diminish it,” Hogan said, referring to the Zong massacre in 1781. “If you look at the Infowars version of the meme you’ll see it has even appended an extra zero, making the number of victims amount to 1,302, while adding that ‘these slaves weren’t from Africa, these forgotten souls were from Ireland.’ This shameless appropriation is then used by Infowars to mock calls for reparatory justice for slavery.”

The myth has become nearly ubiquitous in social media discussions on slavery and race — and it was even promoted by a blogger on the liberal Daily Kos website.

“There was almost no situation where the meme was not used to derail discussions about the legacy of slavery or ongoing anti-black racism,” Hogan said. “Starting with Ferguson and with almost every subsequent police killing of an unarmed black person from late 2014 through 2015, the meme was used to mock and denigrate the Black Lives Matter movement. It is in a sense the ‘historical’ version of the disingenuous All Lives Matter response to demands for justice and truth telling.”

Hogan has collected hundreds of examples of the fallacious argument, which he has shared on Twitter and Tumblr, and he said some of those memes have been shared hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook.

The myth is especially popular among Confederate apologists, and Hogan cites several examples of its deployment during the debate over Confederate flag displays in the wake of the fatal shootings of nine black churchgoers by a white supremacist.

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“This year I’ve tracked the meme being shared by the Texas League of the South, History of the True South, Love My Confederate Ancestors and the Sons of Confederate Veterans,” Hogan said. “They seem to believe that this meme somehow negates the fact that the Confederacy fought a war to perpetually enslave millions of African-Americans and their descendants.”

The myth is often supported with citations to the books “To Hell or Barbados,” by Sean O’Callaghan, and “White Cargo,” by Don Jordan and Michael A. Walsh — both of which are historically questionable, according to Hogan, but he said most articles about “Irish slaves” don’t even quote from those sources.

Instead, Hogan said most of those articles rely heavily on an unreferenced blog post and the self-published work of Holocaust denier Michael A. Hoffman II.

Hogan said his concerns are shared by at least 81 academics and historians, and he hopes to set the record straight in his own book.

“I would like to reclaim the history of Irish servitude in the 17th century Anglo-Caribbean and present it in context for a general audience,” he said. “The Cromwellian policy of forced transportation to the colonies in the 1650s (which included an estimated 10,000 Irish people) understandably scars our collective memory and it deserves both respect and close attention from anyone interested in the history of the unfree labor systems in the Atlantic world.”

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He said the myth’s appeal reveals an essential element of racist thought — and the way those beliefs are exploited to justify discriminatory laws.

“The racism then flows as these various groups of Neo-Nazis posit why whites can overcome a ‘worse’ situation than blacks and ‘do not whine about it,’” Hogan said. “So the ‘get over it’ racism that so often accompanies the meme is not about history at all. It goes much deeper than that.”

“Their belief is that non-whites can’t move on due to racial inferiority or social pathology,” he continued. “So through false equivalence and erasure, they attempt to remove history as a determinant so that they can claim the current socioeconomic position and mass incarceration of black people in the U.S. is due to racial inferiority.”

 

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From Renowned Brain Surgeon to “Super Tom” – Ben Carson’s Fall

People in the Baltimore area are well aware of Ben Carson’s mental issues. Now the whole country knows…

Ben Carson’s infinite fall from grace

If we use Ben Carson’s logic on enslaved “immigrants,” Frederick Douglass made it big after a plantation internship

“There were other immigrants who came here in the bottom of slave ships, who worked even longer, even harder, for less.”

That’s a quote from Secretary Ben Carson’s address to Department of Housing and Urban Development employees on Monday. I normally can’t tell when he talks if he’s sleepwalking, delusional or out to lunch, but this is low, even for him.

Watching Ben Carson is becoming more and more painful. As black kid growing up in Baltimore, Dr. Carson, the world-famous pediatric neurosurgeon, was hand delivered to me and my peers as a hero. Not anymore. All his accomplishments in science are diminished now, overshadowed by his infinite fall from grace. Carson’s gone from top doc to Donald Trump’s boy.

I’m not sure where the Republican Party found Ben Carson, but I’ll be glad when they send him back, and I’m not alone. His comments on slavery and immigrants have sparked an explosion of social media backlash, from memes to rants. Pundits are also chiming in on how confused Dr. Carson is about the difference.

On “Anderson Cooper 360″ last night, CNN’s Angela Rye pushed back against Carson’s comments: “Ben Carson said black people worked for less. I have breaking news for Ben Carson today,” she said. “We built this joint for free. We didn’t build it for less.”

Rye said, “So many things about black history, including our last black president, have been trivialized. Maybe I would just throw this away as a mistake, and maybe he just had a gap in his judgment and a gap in his memory, but he also has compared Obamacare to slavery. This is an analogy that Ben Carson tosses around.” Rye added, “He may have some severe misunderstandings about what American slavery really was and how it impacted lives including those of us who sit here today.”

If we use Ben Carson’s logic, Frederick Douglass made it big after his plantation internship, Harriet Jacobs went into servitude for the sole purpose of memoir research and Harriet Tubman was the best tour guide of her time. Carson’s actions have prompted many, including myself, to label him as an Uncle Tom. But we might be wrong about that: “Uncle Tom” may be too good of a title for the HUD secretary.

The term Uncle Tom originates from Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 novel “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” The title character is portrayed as a God-fearing martyr who is fully dedicated to protecting his fellow enslaved brothers and sisters — so much so that he continuously exploits himself, sacrificing his own freedom and ultimately his life, for their well-being. We clearly know that Carson is a martyr for nothing but his own dwindling reputation and he has yet to display any of these characteristics, so that’s out of the question.

Let’s jump to the more modern definition of Uncle Tom: the sellout, a black person who goes above and beyond to praise, celebrate and honor whiteness; a person who would exploit self, family and friends all in an effort to gain acceptance from white people. Yes, Carson fits that description and has definitely earned the Uncle Tom title. There is one more layer, however, that must be acknowledged: Most Uncle Toms become Uncle Toms out of necessity­­. They develop these behaviors as a coping mechanism, as survival skills needed to excel in a racist society. (People constantly forget that slavery went on for more than 400 years and legally ended only 165 years ago.)

I understand where that mentality comes from. I don’t agree with it, but I understand the reasons why some black people code switch, wear golf pants and suppress parts of their culture with the hope of being accepted as the only black person on campus, the only black person to get that scholarship, the only black person on that cable news show or network. Again, I don’t agree with those actions under any circumstances, unless the person is doing it to create mass opportunities for others — which is rare.

Such people do have an agenda. Those Toms are launching their careers, unlike Carson who is already rich and accomplished. So why is he working for Trump’s administration, making these false and stupid statements about black history? Do we need a new phrase for guys like Carson?

Why would a person so accomplished and considered by many to be a hero — a genius even — use his remaining years on Earth to be a Trump slave? He’s trying to rewrite history and further dehumanize blacks, just like Texas textbooks. I never saw a person so hung up on white validation in my life­­. Carson has surpassed being an Uncle Tom: He’s now a Super Tom, and he can’t sink any lower than that.

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Posted by on March 8, 2017 in Black Conservatives

 

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Maryland Opens Historical Center About Harriet Tubman

A portion of Harriet Tubman’s life is set to be dramatized on the Television Series “Underground” on WGN America. Watch it, it is really good!

I currently live on the Eastern Shore, about an hour and a half South of the places Harriet Tubman rescued slaves. I am familiar with the landscape and the swamps (The Great Cypress Swamp) and thickets can be near if not completely impassable and are similar to something you would think of in Florida or Louisiana. There is a great kayak trip though the swamp area, as well as the Blackwater (the water is stained black by the cypress trees) area off the Choptank where Tubman operated.

Harriet Tubman fled a life of slavery in Maryland. Now a new visitor center opens on the land she escaped.

She preferred moving in the darkness of long winter nights. She didn’t wait for late passengers: The “train” for Zion always left on time. And she carried a pistol, in case of trouble or flagging hearts.

Her branch of the line began here, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, near places like Tobacco Stick, Kentuck Swamp, and Skeleton Creek, off the Choptank River, to the north.

She was small and the color of a chestnut, as her owner described her when she first ran away. But she was hardened by whippings and work on the timber gangs, and she knew the wilderness as well as a hunter.

On March 11, the National Park Service and the Maryland State Park Service plan to unveil a new visitor center here dedicated to the life and mission of abolitionist and legendary Underground Railroad conductor Harriet Tubman.

The $22 million center, in the works since 2008, is adjacent to the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, in the hallowed area where Tubman was born, enslaved and from which she escaped.

The opening festivities next weekend will feature reenactors, lectures and writing workshops. The center has exhibits, a museum store, a research library, and an outdoor walking path and pavilion.

It’s the same area where Tubman repeatedly returned at great risk to help relatives and friends out of bondage along the secret anti-slavery network to freedom that was the Underground Railroad.

Between about 1850 and 1860, using stealth and disguise, she made 13 trips, spiriting 70 people out of slavery, historians believe.

Tubman’s life spanned most of the 19th and part of the 20th century, took her across the Eastern United State and Canada, and saw her fight for civil rights, women’s rights and the cause of the Union in the Civil War.

But it was here in the mosquito-infested swamps and woods, and the local plantations and river ports, that the slave girl “Minty” Ross became the liberator, Harriet Tubman.

Here, Tubman was beaten as a child by a mistress who slept with a whip under her pillow. Here, she checked muskrat traps, broke flax and hauled logs with a team of oxen she was permitted to purchase.

nd here, scholars say, amid a fracas one night, she was struck on the head with an iron weight and suffered a debilitating brain injury that would alter her life.

Tubman understood the haunting landscape where she lived and was said to possess a mystical “charm” that protected her, according to biographer Kate Clifford Larson.

“She was a genius,” Larson said in a recent telephone interview. “Even though she couldn’t read or write, she was born with a gift.”

“When she worked in the woods with her father, he taught her how to survive,” Larson said. “How to feed herself, how to protect herself, how to navigate through those woods that are really dark at night.”

And she dare not carry a lantern.

“This is the area that shaped Harriet Tubman’s ideals,” National Park Service historian Beth Parnicza said. “It’s where she and her family grew up, where she lived for 27 years of her life.”

“This landscape is critical to her story,” she said…. Read the Rest Here

 

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2017 in Black History, Giant Negros

 

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Yale to Change Calhoun College to Grace Hopper College

John C. Calhoun was a Southern Congressman prior to the Civil War from South Carolina. He was know for two things, his ardent support of slavery, and along with Henry Clay, in being one of the principal causes of the Civil War, with Clay rallying Southern states to secede from the Union. The blood on this man’s hands included not only the 650,000 Americans on both sides who died during the Civil War – but countless civilian casualties.

Admiral Grace Hopper was a Washington area heroine. She is credited with creating the first structured programming language, COBOL. Met her several times first professionally as a Department Head while working at the Old Navy Yard, and second, as she would come to the University to give talks about technology and technology history. She was an icon for all of us to try and emulate.

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Yale to Rename Calhoun College for Computer Scientist Grace Hopper

Yale’s Calhoun College — named after the nation’s seventh vice-president and prominent defender of slavery, John C. Calhoun — has long been a source of controversy, with students calling for the university to rename it, most recently in a wave of protests that began in fall 2015. On Saturday, the university announced that they would be dropping John C. Calhoun’s name from the college and naming it after a female computer-programming visionary, Grace Hopper.

Back in April 2016, Yale president Peter Salovey said that they would not be renaming Calhoun College, which he explained by saying that “erasing Calhoun’s name from a much-beloved residential college risks masking this past, downplaying the lasting effects of slavery, and substituting a false and misleading narrative, albeit one that might allow us to feel complacent or, even, self-congratulatory.”

He’s since appeared to have come around to the arguments against the name. “John C. Calhoun’s principles, his legacy as an ardent supporter of slavery as a positive good, are at odds with this university,” Salovey told reporters following news that the university would in fact be dropping Calhoun’s name.

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, the new namesake of the residential college, was a visionary computer programmer who earned her master’s and Ph.D. at Yale. She served in the Navy during World War II and was a pioneer in automatic programming (and, unsurprisingly, faced resistance from the heavily male tech world at the time). In 2016, Hopper received the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously.

The change is expected to take place sometime between now and the fall.

Someone the Yale students can be proud of!

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Black History, The Post-Racial Life

 

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Ava Duvernay…The 13th

Director Ava DuVernay has a new documentary out called The 13th. The documentary is named after the 13th Amendment of the US Constitution, which ended slavery…

Except in one specific instance.

This interview with Ms Duvernay goes into more detail.

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2016 in Black History, BlackLivesMatter, The New Jim Crow

 

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United Nations – The US Owes Reparations

The UN is on a roll this week… The “Racial Terrorism” part is ongoing.

How about some legislation which covers the ground in terms of the Justice System mentioned by Hillary Clinton in the debate last night…

As well as some anti-discrimination laws with teeth.

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United Nations: US owes blacks reparations over slavery and ‘racial terrorism’

The United States should give African Americans reparations for slavery, UN experts said Tuesday, warning that the country had not yet confronted its legacy of “racial terrorism.”

Amid a presidential election campaign in which racial rhetoric has played a central role, the UN working group on people of African descent warned that blacks in the US were facing a “human rights crisis.”

This has largely been fuelled by impunity for police officers who have killed a series of black men — many of them unarmed — across the country in recent months, the working group’s report said.

Those killings “and the trauma they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynchings,” said the report, which was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday.

Addressing the deeper causes of America’s racial tensions, the experts voiced concern over the unresolved “legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality.”

“There has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent,” the report said.

Working group chairman Ricardo A. Sunga told reporters that the panel believed several models of reparations could work in the US context, including “elements of apology” and a form of “debt relief” to the descendants of enslaved people.

Asked about the campaign and accusations that Republican nominee Donald Trump has made racially inflammatory remarks, Sunga voiced alarm over “hate speech…xenophobia (and) Afrophobia.”

“We are very troubled that these are on the rise,” he added, without naming Trump specifically but calling on officials and “even candidates” to watch their words.

Trump and his camp have denied all racism charges.

In the campaign’s first debate on Monday, Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton accused Trump of launching his campaign on the “racist lie” that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

The UN working group visited the several US states in January before producing their final report.

 

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The Star Spangled Banner…Made by Slave Owners

As usual, there were black hands behind the creation of the US Flag which flew over Ft  McHenry and inspired the Star Spangled Banner.

The Slave Owner Who Stitched the Original Star-Spangled Banner

Mary Young Pickersgill’s deeds made herself an American icon. The name of the slave who aided in her most famous labor has been lost to history.

Image result for Ft MchenryThe 30-foot by 42-foot star spangled banner that inspired the national anthem was made in the summer of 1812 by a 37-year-old Baltimore widow named Mary Young Pickersgill.

She completed the task in six weeks, working late into the night with the assistance of her 13-year-old daughter Caroline Pickersgill, 13-year-old niece Eliza Young, and 15-year-old niece Margaret Young. They were joined by a 13-year-old indentured servant, Grace Wisher, who was African-American, but not a slave and likely working under the same arrangement as she would have been had she been white. 

By some accounts, they were also aided by an African-American who was a slave and who is listed by the census as living in the rented premises that served as Pickersgill’s residence as well as place of business.  The slave’s name is lost to history.

The flag was commissioned at the start of the War of 1812 by U.S. Army Major General George Armistead, the commander at Fort McHenry at the entrance to Baltimore Harbor. Armistead wrote in his instructions: “It is my desire to have a flag so large that the British will have no difficulty seeing it from a distance.”

That meant Pickersgill needed a bigger space than the flag-making shop she had opened after the death of her husband to support herself and the only one of her four children to survive past infancy. Her daughter would write in a letter to Armistead’s daughter:

The flag being so very large, mother was obliged to obtain permission from the proprietors of Claggetts brewery which was in our neighborhood, to spread it out in their malt house; and I remember seeing my mother down on the floor, placing the stars.”

The task would later be termed Herculean, but Hercules was a guy and therefore not likely to have been able to demonstrate such precision along with considerable endurance. Call it Pickersgill-ean. She added a final touch, without which Francis Scott Key might never had been inspired to write the poem that became the lyrics for “The Star Spangled Banner.”

“After the completion of the flag, she superintended the topping of it, having it fastened in the most secure manner to prevent its being torn away by (cannon) balls,” the daughter reported in the letter. “The wisdom of her precaution was shown during the engagement: many shots piercing it, but it still remained firm to the staff.”

Following the battle, Armistead must have understood that this was not just any flag and that Pickersgill was not just any flag maker. Pickersgill’s daughter would write to Armistead’s daughter:

“Your father (Armistead) declared that no one but the maker of the flag should mend it, and requested that the rents should merely be bound around.”

With her renown as the maker of the original star spangled banner, Pickersgill prospered enough to purchase the building where she lived and worked. She was also able to found America’s first organization dedicated to assisting women who had fallen on hard times. Her Impartial Female Humane Society arranged for employment and housing for its beneficiaries, as well as school vouchers for their children. She subsequently established a home for aged women and then one for men.

Pickersgill was a pioneering feminist ideal of all-American entrepreneurship and civic responsibility and she would have seemed the perfect person to have made the Star Spangled Banner were it not for a document dated April 14, 1857. 

As cited in the book Mary Young Pickersgill Flag Maker of the Star-Spangled Banner,” the document passed title of Pickersgill’s building to her daughter at the time of her death six months later. It added:

“Also the following described or mentioned Negro slaves for life to wit: Emily aged thirty years, Jane aged twenty four, and Julia aged twenty four years and Maurice boy three years and also all the furniture goods and chattels and effects belonging to me and now in the dwelling house.”

Pickersgill apparently no longer had the unnamed female slave, who would have been older than those who are listed. The new slaves – for whom no last names are listed — were all born subsequent to the making of the Star Spangled Banner. …More Here

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2016 in American Greed, Black History, Women

 

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