Saturday, August 29, 2020

Blacks Still Selling Blacks Into Slavery

I received a note from someone on social media saying, "All White people, Hispanics, Latino, Asians, all non-Black people should apologize to Black Americans for what their slave ancestors had to go through. Black Lives Matter."

After shaking my head a little at the thought of someone actually apologizing to Black Americans for things that took place more than a century ago, I thought about how there is no excusing the wrongs of history. I also thought about it was our ancient past.

I thought about how only a fool would try to make excuses and apologize for what took place prior to 1863. That really is ancient history for most of us. Thinking about that fact, I believe someone would be a fool to try to apologize for what took place in ancient history.

But also, imagine what sort of an ego one would have to have to apologize for something that happened in the 19th century, or even make apologies for something that happened in the Middle-Ages. Of course, the adverse is also true as well, imagine what sort of a pretentious jerk would ask for an apology from others of different ancestries? 

I believe someone apologizing for things long before their birth is a special sort of nutcase. I find that someone who thinks that they need to apologize for things that happened in the 19th century and before should be considered insane. They are the same sort of people who confess to crimes they did not commit. They are those pathetic individuals who seek notoriety even if it means taking the blame for things that they didn't do -- or had nothing to do with.

As for those who suffer from idiocy and want everyone who is not Black to apologize to Black people today for something that they themselves had nothing to do with, I can't help but wonder what sort of foolishness, what sort of stupidity, would make them think that people should do that and apologize? I understand university students are listening to professors who put all sorts of garbage in their pea brains, but one has to really have an inflated sense of self-worth to expect others to apologize for something that they themselves had nothing to do with. 

Image how large a sense of self-importance one has to have, how conceited and arrogant, how purely egotistical someone would have to be to expect an apology for what others did in the year 1513 when the Spanish imported the first African slaves to the Western Hemisphere? Yes, that was the year 1513 was when the Spanish took a handful of African slaves to Puerto Rico.   

It is lunacy to ask non-Blacks to apologize for something that happened in 1513. I really believe that that would only be outdone by some crackpot who wants to apologize for the Muslim slave trade that took place during the Middle-Ages between 500 and 1500 AD. Yes, the Arab slave trade that took place for hundreds of years before the Atlantic slave trade took place. I'll talk more about that in a minute. 

As for when did the first African slaves arrive in North America? Well, one reader recently wrote to ask me if the year 1619 was the first year that slaves were brought to the United States?

Well, since the United States did not form and declare its independence from England until 1776 and actually became its own country as a result of winning its Revolutionary War in 1783, the year 1619 has nothing to do with the United States.

Some today are passing on bogus information saying that 1619 was the year that the first African slaves came to North America. But that's not true! The first African slaves were brought to North America in 1526 when the Spanish landed a few African slaves with them in Florida.

The second time slaves were brought to North America was in 1565 when Spanish conquistador Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles brought three African slaves with him to St. Augustine, Florida. It's said that St. Augustine became a hub for Spanish slave traders in Florida for years before the British brought African slaves in Virginia in 1619. In fact, St. Augustine, Florida, was the place where the first birth of an African slave took place in 1606. 

If you're wondering about the year 1619 which seems to be a big deal these days, that was the year that the first African slaves were brought to a British colony. The year 1619 is the year when the first slaves were brought to a British colony in North America. To be more accurate, it was the first time African slaves were brought to one of the 13 British colonies in North America. To be exact, Virginia.

In 1619, it is believed that nineteen African slaves arrived in Point Comfort, Virginia, which is near Jamestown. The British privateer responsible for bringing them to the British colony had stolen them from a captured Portuguese slave ship.

No, that Portuguese slave ship was not maned by my Portuguese ancestors. My ancestors back in the old country were fishermen, whalers, farmers, and cowboys. Yes, Portuguese vaqueiro.

This is one reason why I think apologizing for the slave trade in ancient times is lunacy. None of my ancestors bought or sold slaves. None of them transported slaves or had anything to do with slaves of any color or race. None of my relatives were slave traders. My family did not deal with the African slave trade, the same as how they had nothing to do with the Native American Indian and Chinese slave trades. Most likely, your ancestors did not either. But here's one more thing, if they did have something to do with the slave trade, that is on them -- not me in the year 2020.

Now here's the rest of the story about what took place in 1619 in the British colony of Virginia. Those 19 Africans were not treated as slaves. It's true. And here's why. The Portuguese slave buyers baptized their slaves before embarking -- and they did so when they bought them from Black chiefs in Africa. Why did the Portuguese baptize their slaves? So they wouldn't go to Hell if they died at sea or if the ship they were on went down. Strange reasoning, but true. 

And by the way, when is anyone going to start asking for both apologies and reparations from Blacks in Africa who sold their own people, in many cases their own family members such as their own children, into slavery? It is a question that no one seems to want to ask Black Africans? 

And here's another question, since the Blacks in Africa outnumbered the crews of slave ships a thousand to one in most cases, why didn't they resist being rounded up like cattle and sold? They could have easily defeated any attempts at selling them. Was it because their own people were the very ones doing the gathering, and the selling?

As for what happened in 1619 after that Portuguese ship sailed off with 19 Africans that they had just bought from other Africans? Well, that Portuguese ship was raided by a British ship. The Brits boarded the Portuguese ship and stole the slaves from the Portuguese. But, because the British considered those baptized slaves "Christians," those 19 Blacks were subsequently exempt from being made slaves.

About now, you're saying, but I thought you said they were slaves? And they were, that is until the Brits stole them and realized that they were baptized. As a result of being baptized, the 19 Africans were treated as "Indentured Servants" who would have been able to work their way out of bondage. 

Yes, just the same that my ancestors had to work their way out of bondage when they were brought to Hawaii as "Indentured Servants" in the 1870s. But, as they say, that's a story for another day.

As for the 19 Africans who were in Virginia with the status of "Indentured Servants," they were not treated any differently than the Irish, Scott, German, and other "Indentured Servants" that were already there at the time. In fact, those 19 Blacks were part of over a thousand English "Indentured Servants" who were there in the colony.

And here's something else, some of those Africans were freed after they worked out their indentured servant contracts. Some were given land after working out their contracts in the same as that other indentured servants did from their former masters. 

As for mixed-race Spanish and Portuguese with African lineage? One historian called them the "charter generation" in the colonies because there were mixed-race men who were indentured servants, and whose ancestry included African and either Portuguese or Spanish. The fact is, those who were known as "Atlantic Creoles" were descendants of African women and Portuguese or Spanish men who worked in African ports as traders or facilitators in the slave trade.

One such indentured servant was a man who became very famous for all the wrong reasons. His name was Anthony Johnson. He was a Black man who was an African who arrived in Virginia in 1621. He is said to have arrived as a slave but became an indentured servant. Later, he became free and he was a property owner.

Though he was an African, and a Black man, he eventually bought and sold other African slaves for himself. Yes, no different than his relatives did in Africa. In fact, in 1651, he owned 250 acres and had five indentured servants. Four of his indentured servants were white and one was black. What makes Anthony Johnson famous is that he made history by becoming the first legally observed slave owner in the 13 British colonies in North America. 

In 1653, a Black indentured servant by the name of John Casor claimed his indenture status had expired seven years earlier and that he was being held illegally by Johnson. He actually complained about what was taking place to Johnson's neighbor, a white man by the name of Robert Parker. Parker decided to intervene and try to persuade Johnson to free Casor from his indentured status which had expired.

Parker also offered Casor work, and Casor wanted to sign a term of indenture to Parker. Casor knew that conditions for his Irish and German indentured servants were very good compared to the harsh conditions that were commonplace under Johnson. And by the way, I would have bet good money on the idea that conditions for a Black indentured servant would have been better under a Black master -- but I would have lost. Cruel masters come in all sorts of colors.

When Johnson found out about what was happening, he refused to allow Casor to stay with Parker -- and Johnson even sued Parker in the Northampton Court in 1654 for the return of his "property" which Anthony Johnson claimed was John Casor. 

The court initially found in favor of Parker, but then Johnson appealed. And in 1655, a British court reversed its ruling finding that Anthony Johnson still "owned" John Casor. With that, the court ordered that Casor be returned and that Robert Parker be made to pay court costs. 

That court ruling was the first instance where a judicial determination in the 13 British colonies held that a person who had committed no crime could be held in servitude for life. While Johnson became famous because he made history by becoming the "first legally declared slave owner" in the British colonies in America, Casor became famous because he was the first person to be declared a "slave" in a civil case. Both men were Black. Both men were Africans. Both were sold by their own people. 

Johnson believed in owning other Blacks as "property," including his indentured servants who people today seem to think weren't on the same par as slaves. If they weren't on the same par as slaves, why did all of the fugitive slave laws apply to indentured servants who left the plantation? As for his winning that case, Black slave owner Anthony Johnson paved the way for plantation owners to refuse to acknowledge the completion of indentured servant contracts -- thus keeping them slaves. 

When the 13 British colonies gathered together to vote for independence from England, they made an agreement that a vote for Independence had to be unanimous. While many today say that our founding fathers sold out and didn't end slavery in 1776, I don't believe they could have. We should keep in mind that many of the 13 colonies had already ended slavery by 1776.

Of course, there were colonies that had not. The colonies in the South depended on slavery and indentured servants for cheap labor. Because of that, there was no way that a vote for Independence would have passed the Continental Congress on a unanimous vote if a clause to end slavery was included in the draft of the Declaration of Independence.

By the American Revolution, the slave trade was outlawed by individual colonies. After the United States became a nation as a result of winning the war with England in 1783, anti-slavery groups grew and soon went about trying to exert political pressure on representatives to end slavery in the newly formed nation we call our United States.

By 1807, President Thomas Jefferson signed a law banning the importation of African slaves into the United States. It went into effect in January of 1808. From that point until slavery was abolished through an executive order in 1863, by way of the Emancipation Proclamation, slaves coming into the United States were smuggled. 

Every American should be aware of the horrid treatment that African slaves endured in the United States for 80 years from 1783 to 1863. But how many Americans are aware that Africans sold their own people into slavery to Muslim slave traders for hundreds of years -- long before those same Africans started selling their own people to White Europeans?

While today BLACK LIVES MATTER wants to air their grievances regarding slavery in the United States in the 19th Century, they are silent and do not confront Muslim slave buyers who are presently buying Black African slaves sold by Black Africans. Yes, today in 2020. 

Known as the "Arab Slave Trade," Muslims were buying Africans from other Africans for centuries before the Europeans started doing the same thing. It's said the Muslim slave trade benefitted Muslim countries for at least ten centuries. Yes, for a thousand years before Christopher Columbus mistakenly found the Bahamas while thinking he reached Asia. 

So with that, I have to wonder why disregard the Muslim culpability that folks like BLACK LIVES MATTER and others don't care about? Why do Muslim slavers get a pass when it comes to paying reparations and issuing apologies? As far as that goes, why do Black Africans get a pass for the same reason since they were involved in selling their own people into slavery for a thousand years before they ever started selling them to Europeans? Is it because it doesn't fit their political agenda for reparation from Americans?

Here's something more, slavery is taking place today in Africa and the Middle East, and groups like BLACK LIVES MATTER and people like Barack Obama and other Black celebrities refuse to acknowledge what's taking place today. They aren't talking about it when they should be fighting modern-day slave traders who are buying and selling other Blacks to Muslims today.

As for reparations, if BLACK LIVES MATTER and other Leftist groups want reparations -- why aren't they seeking reparations from their Black African ancestors who sold them into slavery in the first place? And since the dirty little secret, today is that the Muslim slave trade is still taking place today, besides not seeking reparations from them, why aren't Muslims being taken to task for still buying and selling Black African slaves today?

I read somewhere that murdered Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi once apologized for Arab involvement in the African slave trade. He said that he "regretted the behavior of the Arabs, how they brought African children, made them slaves, then sold them like animals." He apologized as if he himself were there and could have stopped it. Obviously, since he apologized for things that happened in the Middle Ages, and ancient history, I have no idea who he was catering to. 

The fact is, he apologized for the wrongs that were done by others who built their empires. No, not for the short 80 years from 1783 to 1865 that was in fact the case of slavery in our history as a nation known as the United States. But instead, he apologized for the over ten centuries that Muslim nations were buying and selling slaves. He didn't apologize for the slave trade that was still actively taking place at that time. Yes, the Muslim slave trade is still taking place today.   

The Muslim slave trade today is all about money, wealth, and a complete disregard for human life. No different than it was back in the Middle Ages. Those who buy and sell their people have no soul. 

In the Arab slave trade, as with the Muslim slave trade today, the skin color of the sellers and the buyers are mostly Black. Sadly, this only goes to prove that history tells us that skin color in itself does not guarantee that a person cares about human life any more than someone of a different skin color.

Frankly, before someone asked me and others to apologize for what took place over a century ago, they should demand an apology from Blacks who are still selling their own people to the highest bidder.

Tom Correa

Thursday, August 20, 2020

The La Paz Incident 1863

In my last post, It's Better To Have A Gun And Not Need It Than To Need A Gun And Not Have It, I talked about Deputy U.S. Marshal George W. Leihy who was also the Indian Agent in La Paz, Arizona, in 1866. In that article, I talked about how Marshal Leihy foolishly went about unarmed in his capacity as a lawman. A few years earlier in 1863, a young Union Army officer learned how unwise a policy that is when it came to his troops being unarmed during their routine day.

While La Paz, Arizona, is today just a ghost town made up of an old graveyard and adobe ruins, it was once a producing gold mining town. When gold was discovered in the Arroyo De La Teneja on the Eastern bank of the Colorado River on January 12, 1862, that gold strike set off the start of what became known as the Colorado River Gold Rush. Though short-lived, the mining town of La Paz grew out of the stampede that followed.

By the spring of that year, 1862, La Paz had a population of over 1,500 and was a stage stop between Fort Whipple,  Arizona, and San Bernardino, California. In 1862, it was part of the New Mexico Territory. In 1863, it became part of the Arizona Territory when the area was officially declared a U.S. territory by then-President Abraham Lincoln.

During those days the town served the miners in the La Paz Mining District. As for hitting pay-dirt, the area is said to have produced about 50,000 troy ounces of gold per year for the years 1863 and 1864. Believe it or not, that ghost town today was the county seat of Yuma County from 1864 to 1870. And here's something else, some sources say tiny La Paz was considered as the site for the Arizona territorial capital. Imagine that. 

It was so prosperous, that what is today a ghost town was once the largest town in the Arizona territory by 1863. Of course, in that same year, by late 1863, things started to change when the gold started to peter out. After that, the town tried to hang on as a port for transportation and shipping serving steamboats on the Colorado River. It was about that time that it became a supply base for the Army for a while.

Sadly, that all pretty much ended when the Colorado River shifted its course west in 1866. Believe it or not, that shift in the river left La Paz landlocked. With that, its use as a shipping port came to a complete halt. By the early 1870s, there were only a few folks hanging on for a while. Some say they hoped for the river to shift again. By 1875, it was abandoned. 

La Paz, Arizona, does have the distinction of being the place of the westernmost confrontation during the Civil War. In fact, it's the location of what became known as the La Paz Incident in 1863. 

What became known as the La Paz Incident took place on May 20, 1863. The story of that incident started in February of 1862 when Confederate troops planted their flag at Mesilla, New Mexico, and claimed the Arizona Territory for themselves. To take back the territory which the Confederates were claiming as theirs, Union Commanders sent the California Column east to reinforce the Union Army and engage the Confederates head-on in what became known as the New Mexico Campaign. 

For a while, Confederate cavalry actually occupied Tucson. That was from late February to early May of 1862. As soon as the California Column showed up, the Confederate forces withdrew soon after the skirmish at Picacho Peak. A year later, La Paz would be an important Union Army supply base used to supply Union garrisons along the Colorado River in Arizona. In 1863, Union General James H. Carleton had several California secessionists, most Copperhead Democrats who were sympathetic to the Confederacy, arrested and detained at Fort Yuma.

On the evening of May 20th, the Colorado River steamer Cocopah arrived at La Paz. It was headed to Fort Mohave. Aboard her was a small party of Union soldiers, under the command of Lt. James A. Hale of the 4th California Infantry. After docking, the unarmed Union troops left the steamer to go to Cohn's Store to purchase needed supplies.

Among the California secessionists was a man by the name of William "Frog" Edwards. Edwards was a Copperhead Democrat who had already been confined in Fort Yuma and released in La Paz. He watched as the Union soldiers approached the store. He was a Southern sympathizer who hated the Union and wanted to do something for their cause. It was then that he made his move and approached the unarmed Union soldiers. Yes, this would be another case when being armed would have either dissuaded their attacker or possibly saved lives. 

Out of seemingly nowhere, William "Frog" Edwards pulled a revolver and opened fire on the unarmed Union troops. First to die, almost instantly was Private Ferdinand Behn. Private Truston Wentworth was shot and would die the following day. Private Thomas Gainor was shot and believed close to death, but he would recover from the attack.

Lt. Hale gathered his man. Once armed, they set out to search La Paz for Edwards. Unable to find Edwards, Lt. Hale returned to board the steamer Cocopah. Lt. Hale and his men returned to Fort Yuma along with their dead and wounded the following day.

Almost immediately upon returning, Lt. Hale was put in command of a fully supplied contingent of forty Union troops which returned to La Paz to hunt for Edwards. The Union soldiers stayed on his trail and tracked Edwards into the desert. It was in the desert that they found him there several days later. He was dead. The cowardly Confederate sympathizer who shot three unarmed Union troops apparently died of exposure and dehydration.

After that, it's said that whether his men were on a work detail, routine duty, or even a night in town, Lt. Hale never allowed his men to go unarmed again. Sadly, the need to be armed in a hostile land was a lesson Deputy U.S. Marshal George W. Leihy would learn the hard way in 1866.

Tom Correa

Monday, August 17, 2020

It's Better To Have A Gun And Not Need It, Than To Need A Gun And Not Have It

With all of the chaos going on in the streets of several of our cities these days, with ANTIFA wanting to plant their Communist flag in any city that they can intimidate, and with Black Lives Matter telling Whites that they are somehow responsible for slavery that happened over 200 years ago, things have gotten a little scary for inner-city travelers. One such traveler is a reader who wrote to ask a simple question, "Is it better to have a gun on me, even if I'm never going to need one?"

My first response when I read her email was a bit of a chuckle. I chuckled at the idea of someone assuming that we will never need something. I'm a good driver, why do I need a seatbelt? My house is not a fire trap waiting to happen, so why do I need a fire extinguisher? My plumbing is fine, why do I need a drain plunger? And you get the idea. The list of what we keep on hand because we may need it overrules our false sense of security when it comes to life in general.

My reader merely asking the question tells me that she's concerned with her safety. According to her letter, she has to commute into a fairly big city that is working to defund its police department while the danger all around grows daily. She feels that she is in a hostile land and the police are outnumbered. Worst, she feels the police chief is being kept from doing his job in the midst of the bad guys taking over the city. The mayor is scared and is bowing to the threats from the bad guys. The townsfolk, they are looking for peace and salvation in the form of help that is being turned away.

Does it sound like an old Hollywood movie? Does it sound like any of a hundred films made back in the 1930s, '40s or '50s, about a town that needs taming? Does it sound like a situation that no one in any city should be facing? Do you get the feeling that she's at her wit's end when looking for answers regarding how to protect herself or her family? Do you get the feeling that she has lost faith in the local police and has essentially given up depending on the local city and state government to provide her with some semblance of safety and security?

It's been my experience that there comes a moment in time when people realize that they are ultimately responsible for their own security. While there are many things that trigger that realization, in some cases, it comes out of an overwhelming sense of fear. In other cases, it comes when realizing that the people you depended on for protection are simply not there anymore.

While I'm not going to go into the reasons, or what started me doing it, I've carried a gun or had one nearby for close to 45 years. It has been a conscious decision of mine to do so for my safety. That's what carrying a gun comes down to. After weighing the reasons for considering it, it comes down to making a conscious decision -- a decision that you made after deliberating about both the pros and the cons.

Why is that so important? It's because carrying a gun for personal protection is a personal preference. And with it, one has to understand the seriousness of using a gun in self-defense. The use of deadly force should be used if one's life or the life of another is in mortal danger. Simply put, carrying a gun is insurance. It is there to keep one alive.

I'm just one of the millions of American gun owners who believe in the real-world wisdom that says, "It's better to have a gun and not need one than to need a gun and not have it." Like millions of other Americans, I've always believed that I would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to providing security for myself and those I love.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we really are responsible for providing our own security. The police, as much as I respect the job they do, simply can't be everywhere at a moment's notice. It's silly to think they can. That's never changed over the years. And because of that fact of life, having a gun may be the determining factor when your life is on the line.

About now, there may be a reader who is about to write me a note to say that many an armed citizen was killed during the Old West. Frankly, they'd be right. Armed citizens were killed for several reasons back in the day. But while that's true, taking precautions such as arming one's self also saved many lives. Guns were used not only while protecting the person armed, but also while protecting their families and homes.

Tom Correa


Thursday, August 13, 2020

Sam Elliot on the American Cowboy

Sam Elliot as Virgil Earp in the film Tombstone (1993)
In an article in American Cowboy magazine titled Tombstone Rides On, dated January 19, 2015, and updated February 13, 2017, writer Amy Herdy wrote about talking with the cast of the film Tombstone (1993). In her article, some of those who made that great film possible shared their stories about what it took to make it.

She wrote about how actor Sam Elliott said he "regards Tombstone as one of the last great Westerns." She also quoted Sam Elliot views on the American Cowboy. Below is that part of her article, she wrote:

The film seems to capture the culture of "true cowboys," and that likely appeals to the audience as much as it appeals to Elliott.

"I don’t consider myself a cowboy, but I consider myself a cowboy at heart," he says. "And I think it's in the way one conducts themself, what kind of a person you are. I'm used to hard work — I've worked hard all my life. I think that's a big portion of it. I think it's how you treat people, how you treat women, what kind of integrity you want to have, what kind of character one has, my love for livestock of all kinds. 

I feel very fortunate to have grown up where I grew up. I wouldn't have minded growing up years before, a couple of generations earlier, but I think that I had the best of it. I look around at what's going on today and damn, I'm glad I'm not my kid's generation, my daughter's generation. 

It's a pretty sad world out there right now. And it's hard to be optimistic about it. I feel like on some level you don't know who to believe any more. And that's not a good thing, regardless of where you stand politically."

Movies like Tombstone, however, keep the cowboy creed alive.

"[Cowboys] stay close with their family," Elliot continues. "We have a set of values that goes with that code. You know, you get sick of hearing the talking heads talk about the moral decline and the moral decay and all that. You hear all this talk, it's an awful lot of lip service, but there doesn't seem to be an awful lot of people doing anything about it. 

I think those people that wear hats — or don't even wear hats, but those people that understand the cowboy way (or whatever you wanna call it), the code of the West — ranchers, farmers, or any of those people who are close to the land, who work off the land, they get it. They get it. And that's gonna stay alive there. And I think that's gonna stay alive there for a long time. I'd bet on that more than I would anything else in this country. I think those guys are gonna survive all of us. Outlive all of us."

I agree with Mr. Elliot's sentiments on the American Cowboy. Yes indeed, I really like what he had to say. I hope you do as well.

For writer Amy Herdy's full article, click here American Tombstone Rides On

Tom Correa

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez A Racist Who Hates Whites

Racist Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Following the death of Black American George Floyd, who was killed during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers, Democrat rioters have burned and looted businesses and destroyed parts of cities across America. With political cover by Democratic Party politicians who refuse to condemn their action, those rioters have also vandalized and attempted to remove statues of historical figures across the nation.   

Among those statues which they consider "offensive" are statues of Christopher Columbus, President Ulysses S. Grant, and escaped black slave Frederick Douglass. Frankly, I've found the targets of their hate and disdain for America a little strange. Whether they know it or not, Christopher Columbus never set foot on North American soil and died thinking he found Asia. 

It is a fact of history that Ulysses S. Grant emancipated a slave that was gifted to him before the Civil War. During the Civil War, Union General U.S. Grant was instrumental in defeating the Confederacy, which wanted to keep slavery alive. While president, he fought the Ku Klux Klan created by the Democratic Party -- and President Grant used federal troops to put down attacks on freed black slaves that were being murdered and lynched by Democrats who still saw themselves as slave-owners.

As for Frederick Douglass, after escaping slavery, he joined the Republican Party becoming a national leader of the abolitionist movement to end slavery. Besides Booker T. Washington and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass is America's most famous Black social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. So no, tearing down a statue of him, as with Columbus and Grant, makes no sense to an educated person.

While talking about an uneducated person who should sue to get whatever funds she spent on her failed college education, on July 31, 2020, it was reported that the uneducated New York Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has singled out a statue of Catholic priest Father Damien in the U.S. Capitol, National Statuary Hall, as an example of the "white supremacist culture."

In her video taken at the U.S. Capitol, she can be heard saying: "Even when we select figures to tell the stories of colonized places, it is the colonizers and settlers whose stories are told – and virtually no one else. Check out Hawaii's statue."

"It's not Queen Liliuokalani of Hawaii, the only Queen Regnant of Hawaii, who is immortalized and whose story is told. It is Father Damien. This isn't to litigate each and every individual statue, but to point out the patterns that have emerged among the totality of them in who we are taught to defy in our nation’s Capitol: virtually all men, all white, and mostly both.

"This is what patriarchy and white supremacist culture looks like! It's not radical or crazy to understand the influence white supremacist culture has historically had in our overall culture & how it impacts the present day."

In addition to Father Damien's statue, the Capitol houses Hawaii's other contribution to the National Statuary Hall Collection, a statue of King Kamehameha I, who united the Hawaiian islands as one kingdom by 1810. The two statues were gifted to the National Statuary Hall Collection from the State of Hawaii in April of 1969.

I remember listening to Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, "The world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change ..." 

Frankly, it was then that I realized how much of a pity it is that Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says things that she knows nothing about. I found it disappointing that she never learned what Mark Twain said, "It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open one's mouth and remove all doubt."

As for Father Damien, he was not a "white supremacist," as she said. He was born Jozef de Veuster in Belgium. He arrived in Hawaii in 1864 when the islands were ruled by a monarchy. As a Catholic priest, Father Damien conducted missionary work on the islands. And for the last 16 years of his life, he ministered to a leper colony on the island of Molokai.

While serving the Kingdom of Hawaii on Molokai, Father Damien built six chapels at the colony, heard confessions and comforted the sick and dying every day, and was said to have held Mass daily for all there. Father Damien even built coffins and dug graves until he himself contracted the disease and couldn't anymore. For what he did for others, he became Saint Damien after the Vatican canonized him in October 2009.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn't care that her slanderous attack aimed at Father Damien is in reality aimed at a compassionate and selfless man, a spiritual hero and an icon of love in Hawaii, a man of courage, a good man who himself died of leprosy after spending his life serving others who had that disease.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez doesn't care that, before becoming Queen, Liliuokalani visited Father Damien on Molokai to present him with honors from the Kingdom of Hawaii. Or that in the state of Hawaii, October 11th is Saint Damien Day because of his selfless humanitarian service to those in need.

It's shameful that such a character assassination of Father Damien, a man who ministered to a Hawaiian leper colony, an exceptional person who we all know dedicated his life to others, who died helping those infected with that horrible disease, is attacked simply because he was "White."

Yes, my friends, as sad as it is to say about a sitting Congresswoman, I believe Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez aimed her slanderous attack at Father Damien for no other reason other than his being "White." 

It's pathetic that she only sees the color of his skin and not his great works and deeds. And that that's what true racism is all about. Yes, that's what true racists do. True racists ignore the content of one's character and focus on the color of one's skin -- Black or White. She's as true a die-hard racist as I've ever seen. She's no different than other White hating racists that I've seen in my lifetime. 

The pure racist we know as Democrat Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has shown us that she doesn't care what we think of her racism against "Whites." She has shown us all that she has absolutely no shame when falsely and maliciously accusing a "White" historical figure, in this case, Father Damien, of being "a white supremacist." 

A good person would feel shame and apologize if they did or said something wrong. From what I can see, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is not a good person. 

Tom Correa

Monday, August 3, 2020

It Was Hell On Earth: Andersonville Prison

Andersonville Prison
Camp Sumter, which is better known as Andersonville Prison, was established in February of 1864 and served the Confederacy until May of 1865. As a Confederate prisoner-of-war camp, it was used to hold about 45,000 Union prisoners during the final fourteen months of the Civil War. When first opened, it was only about 16.5 acres in size. Less then four month later, it was enlarged by 10 acres. The stockade walls were 15 to 16 feet high. It was 1,620 feet by 779 feet in size. Imagine putting 45,000 men to live in area that small. 
As for it's infamous "Dead Line," a small fence known as "the dead line" was erected about 19 to 20 feet inside the stockade wall to keep the prisoners away from the stockade walls. That 19 to 20 foot area was considered a "No-Man's Land." It's said any of the prisoners who simply touched the "dead line" was shot without warning by Confederate sentries in the guard platforms which were called "pigeon roosts."

The prison was commanded by Confederate Army Captain Heinrich Hartmann Wirz. At the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, Wirz who was married and 37 years-old, enlisted in the Confederate Army near his Madison Parish, Louisiana, home. He enlisted as a private in Company A, Madison Infantry, 4th Battalion of Louisiana Infantry.

There are a couple of conflicting versions as to how Wirz became a Confederate Army Captain. On version says that he was wounded and cited for bravery, spent three months of rehabilitation at his home, before being promoted to Captain on June 12, 1862. Supposedly, because of his wound, it's said he was assigned to the staff in charge of Confederate prisoner-of-war camps.

Another account says that he was promoted to Captain by Confederate President Jefferson Davis before sending him to Europe as a courier to take dispatches to Confederate Commissioners James Mason in England, and John Slidell in France. Supposedly, Wirz returned from Europe and began working on the staff in charge of Confederate prisoner-of-war camps.

In February of 1864, the Confederate government established Camp Sumter which was intended to hold only 10,000 Union POW in barracks. When Wirz arrived at Camp Sumter, no barracks were being built simply because the Confederacy didn't have the funds to build them. Instead, the prisoners were housed in the open. 

The prisoners gave this place the name "Andersonville", which became the colloquial name for the camp. It soon filled to over 32,000 at its peak. Of course over it's lifespan, it would see about 45,000 Union troops confined there. Severe overcrowding made sanitary conditions completely out of the question. Water was not available, there was a lack of food, and medical treatment and supplies was pretty much non-existent. 

It's said Wirz recognized that the conditions were inadequate and petitioned his superiors to provide more support, but his requests were denied. The Swiss born Confederate officer was 41 years old when he was later tried and executed after the war for war crimes committed at Andersonville prison. In reality, he was executed for conspiracy and murder relating to his command of the camp. 

While Wirz was charged and hanged for what took place there with its overcrowding at four times its capacity, its inadequate water supply, lack of food, and unsanitary conditions, Wirz received little to no support from the Confederate government in terms of food, water, and medical supplies. So yes, the Confederacy itself bears a great deal of responsibility for the death toll at Andersonville. 

And please, don't think it wasn't a hellish place. Among the dead that were left in place for days, the filth and the disease, the only source of drinking water was from a creek which also served as the camp's latrine. It said that it was filled with fecal matter from thousands of sick and dying men. 

Of the causes of death at Andersonville, there were many, including:
  • Abscess - Swollen, inflamed area in body tissues with localized collection of pus.
  • Anasarca - Abnormal accumulation of fluid in tissues and cavities of the body, resulting in swelling. Also known as dropsy.
  • Ascites - Accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity.
  • Asphyxia - Loss of consciousness due to suffocation; inadequate oxygen, and too much carbon dioxide.
  • Catarrh - Inflammation of mucus membranes of nose and throat causing increased flow of mucus. (Common cold).
  • Constipation - Condition in which feces are hard and elimination is infrequent and difficult.
  • Diarrhea - Frequent, loose bowel movements. Symptoms of other diseases.
  • Diphtheria - Acute, highly contagious disease. Characterized by abdominal pain and intense diarrhea.
  • Dysentery - Various intestinal inflammations characterized by abdominal pain and intense diarrhea.
  • Enteritis - Inflammation of intestines.
  • Erysipelas - Acute infectious disease of skin or mucus membranes. Characterized by local inflammation and fever.
  • Gastritis - Inflammation of stomach.
  • Hemorrhoids - Painful swelling of vein in region of the anus, often with bleeding.
  • Hepatitis - Inflammation of liver, often accompanied by fever and jaundice.
  • Hydrocele - Accumulation of fluid in the scrotum.
  • Icterus - Characterized by yellowish skin, eyes, and urine. Also known as jaundice.
  • Laryngitis - Inflammation of the larynx.
  • Nephritis - Acute or chronic disease of kidneys, characterized by inflammation and degeneration.
  • Pleurisy - Inflammation of membranes covering lungs and lining of chest cavity. Characterized by difficult and painful breathing. Also known as pleuritis.
  • Rubeola - Measles.
  • Scurvy - Disease resulting from deficiency of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), which is found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Characterized by weakness, spongy gums, and bleeding from mucus membranes. Also known as scorbutus.
  • Smallpox - Acute, highly contagious disease. Characterized by prolonged fever, vomiting, and pustular skin eruptions.
  • Tonsillitis - Inflammation of tonsils.
  • Typhoid - Acute infections disease, characterized by fever and diarrhea.
  • Ulcus - Ulcer.
Of the approximately 45,000 Union prisoners held there over a period of 14 months during the war, nearly 13,000 died. That's 13,000 deaths in just 14 months. The majority died of scurvy, diarrhea, and dysentery. And during its worst months, over 100 men died each day.

As for lack of food, by 1864, the entire Confederacy was in dire straits when it came to food and supplies. Some might not realize it, but because of the Union blockade of sea-ports, Union attacks on the South's food producers, and their attacks of the South's supply-lines, the Confederacy was starving by 1864.

So while there was a lack of food for the prisoners, it was not that much better by then for the Confederate personnel guarding them or the Confederate Army as a whole. And think about this, how would anyone justify taking prisoners more rations when the general population of most Southern cities which were shelled into ruins were actually starving. For example, just a year earlier during the Siege of Vicksburg -- it's said the people there were eating rats to get by.

As for attempted escapes, Confederates after the war testified that 351 prisoners escaped through tunnels. The Union Army knew of less than 40 that made their way back to Union lines. It there were 351 POW who made it out, no one really knows if they returned home without notifying the Union Army, or if they simply died. Most believe they simply died. 

Remember, these men were weak from starvation and escape was fairly impossible because of their poor health. If a prisoners was caught trying to escape, the small rations they were already getting was cut, they were put working in chain gangs, or simply shot and killed. And believe it or not, the prisoners played dead as a way to escape. 

Because the dead amounted to around a hundred per day, some of the dead were not moved for days. Of those moved, the guards found that some of the prisoners would pretend to be dead to be carried out to the row of dead bodies outside of the walls. It's believed that as soon as night fell the men would get up and try to get away. Because of their poor health, those who tried it usually didn't make it. It's said when Captain Wirz found out about the prisoners playing dead, he ordered all of the dead to be examined by surgeons before any of the bodies were taken out of the camp. This backed up the dead in the camp, which of course created more disease. 

As for the clothing of the dead, because their clothing was often falling to pieces, clothing was often taken from the dead. John McElroy, a POW who survived Andersonville, later wrote, "Before one was fairly cold, his clothes would be appropriated and divided. And I have seen many sharp fights between contesting claimants."

Uncooked food was eaten because very little wood was given to the prisoners for warmth or cooking. This, along with the lack of utensils, made it almost impossible for the prisoners to cook the meager food rations they received, which consisted of poorly milled cornflour. Because of that, during the summer of 1864, Union prisoners suffered greatly from hunger, exposure and disease. Within seven months, buried in mass graves were those who died. 

All in all, survival for a prisoner in Andersonville really depended on who one knew. It's said a prisoner with friends inside Andersonville was more likely to survive than a loner. Prisoners with friends could get some food even if it were meager, clothing even if it were off the dead, have shelter in the way of sharing a tent, moral support, traded for their needs, and of course had protection against other prisoners who would kill to stay alive.

That bring us to a group of POWs who called themselves the "Andersonville Raiders". Those were prisoners who attacked their fellow inmates to steal food, clothing, shoes, and anything else of value. They resorted to primitive alliances and used primitive weapons such as clubs to kill to get what they wanted. 

To combat the Andersonville Raiders was a group that called themselves "Regulators". It's said they caught all of the Raiders, and tried them in a make-shift court run by a Regulators' judge in front of a jury selected from the prisoners. That jury, upon finding the Raiders guilty, set punishment that included being beaten, being stoned or flogged, running the gauntlet, spending time in the stocks, being sent to the guards to be outfitted with a ball and chain. And yes, it's recorded that in at least a half a dozen cases, Andersonville Raiders were hanged.

Union soldier John Ransom was a POW who survived Andersonville. Ransom was a typesetter at a newspaper before the war. While at Andersonville, he kept a diary. Ransom wrote in his diary on June 26, 1864: 

"They die now like sheep, fully a hundred each day. New prisoners come inside in squads of hundreds, and in a few weeks are all dead. The change is too great and sudden for them." 

Union Army Sergeant Major Robert H. Kellogg of the 16th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, wrote about his time as a POW starting in May 2, 1864. He wrote:

As we entered the place, a spectacle met our eyes that almost froze our blood with horror, and made our hearts fail within us. Before us were forms that had once been active and erect;—stalwart men, now nothing but mere walking skeletons, covered with filth and vermin. Many of our men, in the heat and intensity of their feeling, exclaimed with earnestness. "Can this be hell?" "God protect us!" and all thought that he alone could bring them out alive from so terrible a place. 

In the center of the whole was a swamp, occupying about three or four acres of the narrowed limits, and a part of this marshy place had been used by the prisoners as a sink, and excrement covered the ground, the scent arising from which was suffocating. The ground allotted to our ninety was near the edge of this plague-spot, and how we were to live through the warm summer weather in the midst of such fearful surroundings, was more than we cared to think of just then.

Andersonville was liberated in May of 1865. Over the next months, news of the hellish conditions at Andersonville would come forward. As news of the death camp reached the newspapers, Northerners were outraged at the South. 

Famed American poet Walt Whitman summed up the feelings of all after hearing of the miserable conditions and high death rate in the camp. He wrote, "There are deeds, crimes that may be forgiven, but this is not among them."

Today, the Andersonville National Historic Site, located near Andersonville, Georgia, preserves the former Confederate prisoner-of-war camp. The National Prisoner of War Museum opened in 1998 as a memorial to all American prisoners-of-war. The cemetery there is the final resting place for the Union prisoners who died while being held at Andersonville as POWs. It's said to contain 13,714 graves. Of those, 921 are marked "unknown".

The prisoners' burial ground has been made a National Cemetery. And while I as a Veteran would never think of being interned there, because it is a National Cemetery, it's also used as a burial place for more recent veterans and their dependents. Imagine that.

Tom Correa