Wednesday, June 16, 2021

America's Story Of Slavery Is Not Black & White

Americans should understand that our history regarding slavery is more complex than simply saying, "Black Man Good, White Man Bad." 

I say this since I recently received a note from a reader who took issue with my story The Civil War: Did The North Use Slave Labor?  That article is about child slave labor practices in the Industrialized North during and after the Civil War and the North's hypocrisy. They were supposedly against slavery in the South.

My reader read the story and somehow determined that I tried to somehow demean what African slaves went through. He thought this because I wrote about child slave labor in the North. Though the practice of child slave labor lived long after black slaves were freed in the South, I pointed that out in the article, but that must not matter to him. He just couldn't understand that there are many forms of slavery, that there are many groups who have practiced slavery, and there are several more groups that have been victims of slavery. America's story of slavery is very complex and more than just about African slavery. 

As I state in that article: Slavery comes in several different forms. Forced Marriage, Domestic Servitude, Indentured Servants, Forced Labor, Bonded Labor, Child Labor, and Sex Trafficking are all forms of slavery. As for "chattel slavery"? Chattel slavery is the "owning" of human beings as property. They are bought, sold, given, and inherited. Since slaves in this context have no personal freedom or recognized rights to decide the direction of their own lives, isn't that comparable to what they did to children until the 1930s?

The child slave market was filled by hiring others to find them and detain them. In some cases, it was from orphanages. Other times it was from a destitute family. They were lied to and held prisoner, and even kidnapped. They were sold into bondage and stolen. They had no personal freedom or recognized rights, were beaten and starved, had bounties put on their heads if they escaped from where they were housed or worked, and were in some cases shackled to machinery and given a coffee can to urinate in. To me, that's slavery. That is certainly not the life of a free person.

Slavery in American is not something that only Africans endured. Since I can't avoid the obvious pun, it's not simply Black and White. Slavery is not just about Africans being brought to America as slaves. And while I've gotten used to people writing me to call me a Right-Wing Extremist over silly Leftist social issues, I'm finding that I'm being criticized because I write the truth about our history. 

Of course, the subject more than any other that gets folks on the Left steamed is when I write about the history of slavery in America. We've all heard the Left's mantra, which is always the same: Africans were done wrong as slaves, and no other group comes close to their suffering at the hands of white men.

That's their argument, even if it is wrong. That's what they believe, even if it is wrong. Frankly, the Left gets a lot of things wrong.

For example, the Left keeps saying that 1619 was the start of slavery in the United States. Forget that We the People didn't create the United States until 1776. The year 1619 was not the start of slavery in North America or the British colonies. 

Here's something else they conveniently never mention: the first legally recognized slave owner in Britain's North American colonies was a black man. It's true. According to colonial records, before 1655, there were no legal slaves in Great Britain's American colonies. Believe it or not, they only had "Indentured Servants" before that year. 

After being held for 7 years, all masters were required to free their Indentured Servants since their contracts expired. So yes, 7 years was the limit that an Indentured Servant could be held. Upon their release, a freed Indentured Servant was granted 50 acres of land. Since there were Irish and German Indentured Servants in Virginia at the time, the law stated that this also included any "Negro" purchased from slave traders. Negros, as they were known at the time, were also granted 50 acres upon their release.

Anthony Johnson was a "Negro," as he was listed since the word "negro" means "black," from what is modern-day Angola. He was brought to Virginia to work on a tobacco farm in 1619 after a British ship raided a Portuguese ship. Because the Portuguese slave traders baptized the slaves bought in Africa, the British had to abide by a Crown law that said they could not make slaves of baptized captives. So instead of calling them "slaves," the British called them "Indentured Servants." 

In 1622, Anthony Johnson was almost killed when Powhatan Indians attacked the farm he was on. Of the people on that farm, 52 out of 57 people were killed in the attack. Johnson married a black female servant while still working as an Indentured Servant on the farm. When Johnson was released as an Indentured Servant, he was legally recognized as a "free Negro," and he took up farming. 

To his credit, it's said he ran a very successful farm that expanded. Soon, he had many acres and several black Indentured Servants. In fact, by 1651, Johnson had 250 acres and five black Indentured Servants of his own. In 1654, when it was time for Johnson to release John Casor, one of his black Indentured Servants, he refused. Johnson decided not to. Instead of letting him go, Anthony Johnson instead told Casor that he was extending his time.

Casor left and became employed by a free white man named Robert Parker, Johnson's neighbor. Johnson took legal action and sued Robert Parker in Virginia's Northampton Court in 1654 to retrieve his "property," which was Casor. In 1655, the Virginia colonial court ruled that Anthony Johnson could hold John Casor indefinitely. The court gave judicial sanction for blacks to own slaves of their own race. Because of that, John Casor became the first permanent slave in the British colonies in America, and Anthony Johnson became the first legally recognized slave owner in Britain's American colonies. And yes, both men were Africans.

While both men were black, I find it interesting that whites could not legally hold a black Indentured Servant as an indefinite slave until 15 years later, in 1670. In that year, the Virginia Colonial Assembly passed legislation permitting free whites, blacks, and Indians the right to own blacks as slaves. Yes, that ruling also gave Indians the right to own slaves -- black and white. And yes, they did.

By 1699, the number of free blacks prompted fears of a "Negro insurrection." So, believe it or not, that was the year that the British colony of Virginia ordered the repatriation of freed blacks back to Africa. And believe it or not, most blacks actually remembered what it was like to be sold into slavery by other Africans. So most sold themselves to white masters just so they would not have to return to Africa.

This was the first effort to repatriate free blacks back to Africa. The modern nations of Sierra Leone and Liberia both originated as colonies of repatriated former black slaves. As for black slave owners in North America? Anthony Johnson was just the first of many.

It is true that many slaveholders were African or had some African ancestry. And while this is going to be one of those points where someone is not going to like the truth and will inevitably write to call me something or other, the number of black slave owners continued to rise after the United States was established and cut ties with the British.

President Thomas Jefferson, who is vilified today for owning slaves, stopped the importation of slaves into the United States in 1807. Yet, by 1830, 3,775 black slave owners were living in the South. Those black slave owners owned 12,760 black and white slaves. By 1860, the year before the start of the Civil War, about 3,000 black slaves were owned by black slave owners in New Orleans alone.

It should be noted that some historians believe that black slave owners bought their own relatives to give them better lives. Of course, some historians say that most black slaveholders appeared to hold slaves as a commercial decision absolutely no different than white slave owners did.

Slavery in America is said to have begun when the first African slaves were brought to the North American colony of Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619 to aid in the production of crops as tobacco. But that might not be completely accurate. For example, the Irish slave trade began when British King James II sold 30,000 Irish prisoners as slaves to the New World.

England's King James II issued a proclamation of 1625 that required Irish political prisoners be sent overseas and sold to English settlers in the West Indies. By the mid-1600s, the Irish were the main slaves sold to Antigua and Montserrat. At that time, 70% of the total population of Montserrat were Irish slaves.

Ireland quickly became a source of human livestock for English merchants. The majority of the early slaves to the New World were actually white. In fact, from 1641 to 1652, over 500,000 Irish were killed by the English, while another 300,000 were sold as slaves.

As a result of deporting those who the English considered criminals and killing the rest, Ireland's population went from about 1.5 million to less than half that in one decade. Families were said to have been ripped apart as the British did not allow Irish husbands to take their wives, and subsequently, fathers were stripped from their children as they were sent across the Atlantic. 

This led to a population of homeless women and children. Britain’s solution was to auction them off as well. During the 1650s, over 100,000 Irish children were taken from their parents. All just to be sold as slaves in the West Indies, Virginia, and New England.

In that decade, 52,000 Irish, mostly women and children, were sold to Barbados and Virginia. Another 30,000 Irish men and women were sold to the highest bidder. Finally, in 1656, Cromwell reportedly ordered that 2,000 Irish children be taken to Jamaica and sold as slaves to English settlers needing cheap labor.

One writer said that many people today will avoid calling the Irish slaves - yet that's what they indeed were -- slaves. History Revisionists will try to explain the plight of the Irish as their simply being "Contract Labor," which is another term for "Indentured Servants." But it would be dishonest to describe them as such, especially since they were indeed treated as slaves. 

While I know full well that my bringing up the plight of the Irish will be seen as me trying to lessen the plight of Africans brought to America, people should recognize that Irish slaves were nothing more than human cattle during the 17th and 18th centuries. And yes, their plight did precede the Africans. 

Of course, the African slave trade was just beginning during that same period. It is well recorded that African slaves were more expensive to purchase and were actually treated better than their Irish counterparts. Some say that stemmed from the Irish being Catholics, which were hated by the British, who were Protestants. And no, there is no Irish History Month to talk about their suffering. 

And how about those New England slave traders? Why don't we hear how the folks in the British colonies in New England dealt in slaves long before the South got involved in the slave trade? They actually had more Native American slaves than the South had African slaves at one point. 

Why don't we hear about the New England slave trade? Could it be because it had nothing to do with African slaves? And no, I'm not talking about child slave labor in the Industrial North. The New England slave trade had to do with Native Americans in the New England area being taken as slaves by British settlers there? 

The fact is it did happen. During what became known as the First Indian War of 1875, also known as the King Philip’s War, British colonies in the Northeast joined together to create the New England Confederation to fight the Wampanoag, Nipmuck, Pocumtuck, and Narragansett Indians. The leader of the Indians was a Chief by the name of King Philip. 

As a result of that war, thousands of Native Americans of different tribes, including women and children, and the noncombatant elderly who surrendered to avoid enslavement -- were taken as slaves. Almost as many women, children, and elderly were taken as slaves by the British colonialists as were warriors taken as slaves. 

Native Americans were enslaved by British colonialists, and Native Americans enslaved their enemies. It's true. While they were hunted and taken as slaves, Native American tribes took captives and made slaves of their enemies for centuries. They certainly did long before Europeans ever arrived at "The New World, The Americas." 

Slaves were taken as prisoners of war. Among some Pacific Northwest tribes, about a quarter of the population were slaves. Other slave-owning tribes of North America were, for example, the Comanche, the Credo, the Pawnee, and the Kiowa. Most tribes held slaves. 

In fact, many Indian Tribes who made the journey on the Trail of Tears brought their slaves with them -- including their black and white slaves. It's true. After 1800, the Cherokees and the other civilized tribes started buying and using black slaves from whites and black slave owners. It's said that it was a practice that they continued after being relocated to Indian Territory in the 1830s.

The Five Civilized Tribes adopted some practices of the Europeans that they saw as beneficial. Owning slaves was seen as useful. It's said the Cherokee tribe had the most slaves.  In 1809, while it is said that they did have a few white slaves, they held nearly 600 enslaved blacks. In 1835, that number increased to almost 1,600 slaves. And by 1860, that number increase to around 4,000. And yes, that increase came after the Trail of Tears and their relocation to the Indian Territory.

Cherokee populations for those dates were 12,400 in 1809, 16,400 in 1835, and 21,000 in 1860. Of the Cherokee who owned slaves, 83 percent of them held fewer than 10 slaves. Some historians believe that the tribes owned slaves to mirror the whites with who they came in contact. Some say the nature of slavery in Cherokee society often mirrored that of a white slave-owning society. 

For example, the Cherokee had laws that barred intermarriage of Cherokee and enslaved Africans. Cherokee who aided slaves were punished with one hundred lashes on the back. Interestingly, those of African descent were barred from holding office in the Cherokee society. That was especially true if they were a mixed-blood Cherokee.

And as for enemy captives? Man or woman did not matter to the tribes if you were from another tribe. They saw their enemies as lower than them. An example of this is the story about a Ute woman captured by the Arapaho and later sold to a Cheyenne as a slave. The Ute woman was used as a prostitute while she lived as a slave until about 1880, when she died of a hemorrhage resulting from "excessive sexual intercourse." It is said that a Ute had no worth to a Cheyenne.

And no, Native American tribes taking slaves was not a practice confined to the modern-day contiguous lower 48 states. The Haida and Tlingit Indians tribes that lived along southeast Alaska's coast were traditionally known as fierce warriors. They were also slave traders. Some of their slaves were taken along the California coast. Yes, they used boats to raid as far south as the coast of California.

Believe it or not, even Hawaiians had a "slave-class" long before Europeans discovered those islands. The Kingdom of Hawaii called their law The Masters and Servants Act of 1850. Just two years later, in 1852, it replaced the Kingdom's "Kauwa System" of serfdom.

The word "kauwa" is Hawaiian for "slave-class." Their slave class called the"kauwa" was filled with those taken as prisoners of war or their children. The kauwa were identified with a tattoo mark around the eyes or on the forehead. They were indeed slaves, but also much more than that. They were often used as a human sacrifice at the luakini heiau when worshipping their gods. They were not the only human sacrifices. Law-breakers of all classes and social castes, and even defeated political opponents, were also acceptable as human sacrifices. Yes, that's real tough politics when the loser becomes a human sacrifice.

Because of their need for cheap labor, the Kingdom of Hawaii adopted and used the American Fugitive Slave Laws to govern the Indentured Servants and the treatment of immigrant labor brought to Hawaii. When Hawaii became a Territory of the United States on June 14, 1900, Hawaii's Masters and Servants Act of 1850 was abolished. Although not officially slavery, Hawaii's Masters and Servants Act of 1850 nevertheless shared the economic goal of slave laws to harness labor. Those slave laws were that of the United States.

And here's something that you probably won't hear during Black History Month: the Spanish colony of Florida was where the first African slaves were traded in the early 1520s. So while some Leftist groups want to say that slavery of Africans in North America started in Virginia in 1619, they would be wrong. As for those who say it started in 1654 with Anthony Johnson, who was himself an African, convinced a court that his African Indentured Servant John Casor was his property for life, they would be wrong. 

Native American tribes, tribes that, in most cases, were so different from each other that most could not speak the language of their enemies, had been practicing slavery for thousands of years before Europeans ever arrived. Of course, as we can see merely what took place in New England, Florida, Alaska, California, and Hawaii, Native Americans were not the only group to do so. 

Too bad we don't teach the real story of slavery in American schools. And while none of this article is meant to diminish what African slaves went through, we should understand that no single group has exclusive ownership to suffering under slavery. 

As for Reparations over being the descendants of slaves? While this is barely scratching the surface of what took place regarding all of those made slaves, it sounds like more than just blacks would get Reparations if every group who were slaves got payment for suffering. 

So now, have I left anyone out? Well, yes, I have. 

But since I'm sure that I left someone out, let's move on and talk about another type of slavery that was widespread in the West. It was a type of slavery that really took off in the West, and it had everything to do with the Chinese. No, not the Chinese slave labor paid a quarter of what others were paid while working on the railroads. 

Both during and after the 1849 California Gold Rush, Chinese women were trafficked as sex slaves. They were shipped to California from China specifically as sex slaves. And by the way, when blacks today talk about how their ancestors had to face the indignity of standing on an auction block, those Chinese women were made to do the same thing when they were sold at auction starting in the 1850s on the wharf of San Francisco. Yes, right there in San Francisco, a sex slave trade was started. 

Chinese women were paraded out in open-air auctions to be less than human and feel shame. The sale of those Chinese women as sex slaves forced them into lives of prostitution and lives of bondage. And while it has since gone underground, sex-slave trafficking is something that is still taking place today.

Though the slave wages paid to illegals to do farm work still lure many across the border, illegals are not as needed on farms since more and more of America's agriculture is modernizing. But we should make no mistake about it. While illegals are needed as slave labor in sweatshops, today, children are the number one commodity in sex slave trafficking. 

Who is responsible, and who is profiting off of today's sex-slave trafficking? Politicians! 

Some say it's the coyote, the brokers, government officials, the shipper, and several other middlemen. In reality, the middlemen are not the people making it all possible. That distinction belongs solely to the politicians who are fighting so hard to keep our border with Mexico open. And frankly, I agree with those who say our politicians are getting rich off of the sex slave trade because they are responsible for allowing the underground sex slave trade to stay in business.

American politicians are responsible for the trafficking of women and children as sex slaves today. And no, we're not talking about putting teenagers on the streets of our biggest Democrat-controlled cities as hookers. Instead, I'm talking about sex slaves as young as 6 and 8 years old to be used by wealthy pedophiles. What should make every American angry is that men and women in Washington D.C., our political representatives, have the ability to stop it. But they don't. That makes them ultimately criminally responsible for enabling child sex slave trafficking to take place. 

Subsequently, today, with the help of corrupt politicians getting paid to keep our border open and unsecured, politicians who oppose securing the border allow modern-day slave trafficking and child sex slave trafficking into the United States from anywhere in the world. They are the people responsible for women and children from Mexico and Latin America, from China and other nations, to come into the United States for such a life. 

So while some want Americans to focus on the black slavery of the distant past, real slavery continues today. And yes, it is a shame that the politicians who scream the loudest to open our border haven't faced criminal charges yet for allowing slavery of both women and children to continue in the United States. Of course, corrupt politicians of both parties are being paid to keep the border open. I'm told that all politicians have to do to keep getting paid by Mexican Cartels is simply maintain a political position of opposing our securing our border with Mexico.

Before someone writes to tell me, "We need more laws." Please remember that the African slave trade in the United States went underground after President Thomas Jefferson stopped the legal importation of African slaves into the United States in 1807. That law took effect on January 1st, 1808. From 1808 to when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued by President Lincoln in 1863, for those 55 years, slave traders risked arrest and prison to fill their pockets with money. 

That same sore of greed is the problem that we face today. While slavery was technically outlawed with the passage of the 13th Amendment, slavery is still going on because of corrupt politicians. Sadly, we have crooked politicians in Congress and the White House today who are amoral, terribly dishonest, easily bought, and have no regard for human life. Many feel that the law doesn't apply to them.

Some say they should be tar and feathered. Frankly, I agree.

Tom Correa

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