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BS: Historic tour slave issue

GUEST,Fred Miller 14 Nov 02 - 05:05 PM
GUEST,Guest 14 Nov 02 - 05:19 PM
Mick Lowe 14 Nov 02 - 05:29 PM
Kim C 14 Nov 02 - 06:14 PM
Hollowfox 14 Nov 02 - 06:32 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 14 Nov 02 - 06:41 PM
Greg F. 14 Nov 02 - 07:12 PM
DougR 14 Nov 02 - 10:28 PM
Greg F. 14 Nov 02 - 11:05 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 14 Nov 02 - 11:09 PM
GUEST,Guest 14 Nov 02 - 11:25 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 14 Nov 02 - 11:43 PM
mack/misophist 15 Nov 02 - 12:02 AM
Banjer 15 Nov 02 - 06:13 AM
Rapparee 15 Nov 02 - 06:26 AM
Pied Piper 15 Nov 02 - 06:42 AM
Rapparee 15 Nov 02 - 06:57 AM
Pied Piper 15 Nov 02 - 07:07 AM
Greg F. 15 Nov 02 - 08:00 AM
Greg F. 15 Nov 02 - 08:05 AM
PeteBoom 15 Nov 02 - 09:51 AM
GUEST,Fred Miller 15 Nov 02 - 10:15 AM
Greg F. 15 Nov 02 - 10:32 AM
Jim Dixon 15 Nov 02 - 10:36 AM
PeteBoom 15 Nov 02 - 10:52 AM
Greg F. 15 Nov 02 - 10:57 AM
mack/misophist 15 Nov 02 - 11:10 AM
Kim C 15 Nov 02 - 12:04 PM
GUEST,Q 15 Nov 02 - 01:52 PM
greg stephens 15 Nov 02 - 02:17 PM
GUEST,Q 15 Nov 02 - 02:56 PM
GUEST,Q 15 Nov 02 - 03:01 PM
greg stephens 15 Nov 02 - 03:05 PM
Greg F. 15 Nov 02 - 03:08 PM
Greg F. 15 Nov 02 - 03:32 PM
greg stephens 15 Nov 02 - 03:41 PM
GUEST,Guest 15 Nov 02 - 04:33 PM
GUEST,Fred Miller 15 Nov 02 - 05:15 PM
Kim C 15 Nov 02 - 05:21 PM
Kim C 15 Nov 02 - 05:31 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 15 Nov 02 - 08:56 PM
Greg F. 15 Nov 02 - 10:07 PM
Greg F. 16 Nov 02 - 08:38 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 16 Nov 02 - 09:01 AM
GUEST 17 Nov 02 - 12:36 AM
Greg F. 17 Nov 02 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,adavis@truman.edu 17 Nov 02 - 12:48 PM
Greg F. 17 Nov 02 - 06:52 PM
GUEST,adavis@truman.edu 17 Nov 02 - 07:38 PM
Jerry Rasmussen 17 Nov 02 - 09:05 PM

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Subject: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 05:05 PM

A friend of mine directs a historic home near Louisville, and I went with my daughter's class on a field trip there. A volunteer who was our guide kept saying how well the family had treated their slaves, and that many of the slaves chose not to leave when they were freed. It made me uncomfortable. Should I say something about it? What do you think?


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 05:19 PM

Why did it make you uncomfortable? The slaves couldn't eat without land to produce food, and the land owners needed labor. Cooperation was necesary to survive. Like many blanket statements, the guide's were partly true and partly false.
Some slave owners were ogres but others knew that well-treated, healthy help produced more. By cooperation between land owners and their former slaves, food and cash crops were produced.
I am not extolling the system, but the post Civil War turmoil and upheaval, which both former slaves and masters had to deal with, is seldom considered.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Mick Lowe
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 05:29 PM

Hi Fred

Not being an authorative on either American history nor slavery (thankfully I've never been there), but I can understand that in some extreme curmcanstances some poor souls being adbducted from their native Africa and transported to the US to work on the cotton or tobacco plantations might under a more tollerant "owner" have found life better from whence they came and therefore prefered to remain in the "service" of those who deemed to own them.. again you have to consider what alternatives were open to the newly freed slaves.. where would they go and what would they do?... so inspite of any laws proclaiming emanicipation they would have little alternative but to remain with what they knew and uderstood. I'm not condoning slavery in any shape or form here.. just that history likes things in black and white whereas the truth tends to have mosre shades of grey#




Mick


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Kim C
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 06:14 PM

Ditto all of the above. Some slave owners were eager to protect their "investment" and treated their charges well. Since I don't know the site, I can't comment; if you want, you might ask for documentation. Sometimes there are letters and journals to support what the guides say.

There are many accounts of slaves who stayed on after emancipation. If they had been treated well, it was probably a wise choice, and certainly preferable to venturing to an unknown place, where you didn't know how you might be treated. Let us not confuse abolition with equal rights - even abolitionists did not believe that blacks were equal and should be treated as such.

Uncle Albert, who once belonged to Andrew Jackson, long outlived his former master, and chose to stay at the Hermitage. He is buried in the garden there. Also, at the Belle Meade Plantation, there was a groom (who had been a slave), who stayed there, because he loved horses, and was damn good at his job. He was so good at picking horses, they just gave him the money and said, here, go to market and pick out whatever you want. He was The Head Groom and had a position of respect and authority.

So... in answer to your question.... perhaps ask them what they have to support their statements. They should be willing to tell you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Hollowfox
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 06:32 PM

Well, Fred, I'd first examine what made you uncomfortable about the presentation, and then I'd tell the folks in charge of the tours. They want to educate, not make you uncomfortable, (and probably not sugar-coat the place's history. At least I hope not). Any feedback they get from tour takers gives them a chance to improve their program.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 06:41 PM

Unless they have good historic documentation to substantiate the claim, they shouldn't make it. I wouldn't necessarily consider it proof of good treatment, just because they stayed on. Considering the dangerous and hostile world they would be stepping out into, it would take some courage to leave.


Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 07:12 PM

Oh Jesus, not that "Happy Darkies" crap again. Spare us.

Try reading Eric Foner's "Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution", New York, Harper and Row, 1988 instead of watching reruns of 'Birth of a Nation' and 'Gone With The Wind'- get some facts under your belt & THEN continue this thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: DougR
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 10:28 PM

It was a different time, and thank God things have changed for the better. To assume, though, that all slave owners were tyrants and mistreated their slaves is stetching things a bit, though, IMO. It was not to the advantage of the owner to mistreat his slaves. It made no economic sense.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 11:05 PM

Racist Apologist Bullshit, or simply complete ignorance, which is more insidious...

. When you've finished the Foner book, read Ira Berlin's "Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America" Harvard University Press 1998. Then have a look at Chapter 5 of James W. Loewen's "Lies My Teacher Told Me" Simon & Schuster 1995. Then you might have a few facts on hand.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 11:09 PM

If business owners operated on the premise that it's good business to take care of your workers and keep them happy, the corporate world wouldn't even faintly resemble what it is today. People who focus on the bottom line are notoriously near-sighted.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 11:25 PM

The so-called reconstruction period is remembered as a time of carpet-bagging thieves, from both the North and South, plundering the people of the South, re-enslaving the Blacks and the poor Whites in a different way and interfering with the rebuilding necessary for diversified economic growth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 14 Nov 02 - 11:43 PM

Go stand in the dungeons of the slave "castles" in Ghana with one 1'x2' window thirty feet up in the air, where the feces and urine were flushed out when they got to be two or three feet deep, look at the way the slaves were stacked in the ships like firewood, read what percentage died on the way, consider that they were separated from their families, and if they lived to make the crossing, were sold like mules, women were raped and slave owners had the right to kill their slaves without explanation and then tell me that some of them were better off than they were living with their families in freedom in Africa. And then you can sell me the Brooklyn Bridge.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: mack/misophist
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 12:02 AM

Every evil thing that can be said about slavery in the United States is true. And yet not the whole truth. As a boy I knew black people who still worked for the families that had owned their grandparents. There are two reasons why. To go someplace better, there has to be someplace better to go. The other reason is that, once they were being paid, they saw no reason to leave. Besides, there wasn't any place that wanted them.

One thing that's always puzzeled me is the thousands of black men who voplunteered to serve in the Southern army.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Banjer
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 06:13 AM

One thing that's always puzzeled me is the thousands of black men who voplunteered to serve in the Southern army.


A lot of them were freedmen and were fighting to suuport the original cause of the war, that of states rights to govern themselves. A very small percentage of plantaion owners were slaveholders and slavery itself did not become an issue until 1863 when mister Lincoln wanted another 300,000 conscripts and the people of the North balked.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 06:26 AM

As far as I know, EVERY European nation made money from traffic in slaves. Literal fortunes were made from this immorality. But let's not forget, either, that it was Africans who sold the slaves to the slave factors, and yes, I know that often the sellers were "hooked" to the white man's rum/merchandise/whatever.

Change that first sentence; take out the word "European."

It's always puzzled me that the Southerners in the US always seem to refer to the slaves as "servants."


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Pied Piper
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 06:42 AM

As I understand it when slavery was abolished in America "sharecropping"(a form of economic slavery) was introduced, so it's hardly surprising that many former slaves could not leave.
When was sharecropping abolished?
   It's an unpleasant fact that the slave trade made a lot of money for the merchant class in Britain. Just down the road from me is Liverpool, which has an impressive town centre full of huge neoclassical buildings funded by the slave trade.
   The majority of British people (the workers) at the time were also effectively economic slaves.

All the best PP


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 06:57 AM

Sharecropping still exists; sharecroppers can actually be of any race, both historically and in the present. Nor was or is it confined to the American South.

Many former slaves DID leave; those that stayed often (but not always) became sharecroppers. Others left when they could, esp. during the 1920s.

Recently the Dept. of Agriculture was forced to make actual monetary payments to black farmers, reimbursing the farmers for failing to back loans, etc. as was done for white farmers.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Pied Piper
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 07:07 AM

Thanks for the info Rapaire
I'm staggered that it has not been made illegal.
All the best PP


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 08:00 AM

A lot of them ... were fighting to support the original cause of the war, that of states rights...



Utter Nonsense. The old 'states-rights-cause-of-the-war shibboleth again.

The primary "right" they were concerned about was

the right of property in human beings; they made no

bones about it at the time, however much slavery apologists

may try to obscure the facts a hundred and fifty years on.

PLEASE do a little research before making these preposterous claims.


Read sone primary materials: Jefferson Davis' or Alexander Stevens'

or any of the other seccessionist/Confederate politicians'speeches

and official correspondance; they're on the web- try using a search
engine. I make you a gift of the following as a starting point:





From: Declaration of the Immediate Causes Which Induce

and Justify the Secession of South Carolina from the

Federal Union. Adopted December 24, 1860





"...The right of property in slaves was recognized by giving to

free persons distinct political rights, by giving them the right

to represent, and burthening them with direct taxes for three-fifths

of their slaves; [ they were also 'burdened' by political representation

in Congress apportioned on the basis of this same three-fifths of the

slave population, giving the Southern states a decided political
advantage] by authorizing the importation of slaves for

twenty years; and by stipulating for the rendition of fugitives

from labor.



We affirm that these ends for which this Government was

instituted have been defeated,and the Government itself has

been made destructive of them by the action of the

non-slaveholding States. Those States have assume the

right of deciding upon the propriety of our domestic institutions;

['domestic institutions'=slavery]and have denied the rights of property

[in slaves] established in fifteen of the States and recognized by the

Constitution; they have denounced as sinful the institution of

slavery; they have permitted open establishment among them of

societies, whose avowed object is to disturb the peace and to
eloign the property [i.e., slaves]of the citizens of other States.

They have encouraged and assisted thousands of our slaves

to leave their homes; and those who remain, have been incited

by emissaries, books and pictures to servile insurrection..."




FULL TEXT HERE


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 08:05 AM

Apoligies- must still be asleep. dunno what happened with the line spacing, and the corrected link follows:


FULL TEXT HERE


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: PeteBoom
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 09:51 AM

And yet by the time of the American Civil War, importation of African slaves had stopped, had it not? Monroe's idea of establishing an African nation where African slaves could be returned to Africa after gaining their manumission papers resulted in Liberia (and its capital Monrovia). Once they system was in place were there any real options or ways of removing it given that the system was based upon a direct servitude organization - that is - the owners generally living on the same estates as the slave - and not miles away.

There are significant differences in the slave experience between Haiti (French) the West Indies (British) and the US. Haiti saw massive (and bloody) upheavals more than once before slavery was abolished there - mostly during the "enlightenment" period and up through the Fr. Revolution, through early Napoleonic times. Jamaica had more than one slave rebellion as well, typically put down with "efficiency". The difference between these two, and the US, was that when Britain outlawed slavery and actively discouraged the slave trade, the estates changed their proceedures, the military enforced the rule of law (This includes several accounts I've read of explaining to the ex-slaves that not only were they no longer slaves, they were subjects of the Crown and entitled to all the protections that meant, and enforcing it with the threat of the bayonet at the worst, or arrest and imprisonment at the least.)

Now then, there were several Americans who disliked the notion of slavery, even through their postion depended upon it. Madison's father-in-law (Dolly's father) bankrupted himself after freeing his slaves, then found he could not run his estates anymore without them. This gave the example to Madison that a gentle hand was better than no hand at all - that is, his policy was to not brutalize slaves, nor to sell off slaves, particularly if they had a family. If he bought one slave, he would buy their entire family. He made a point of educating them, and when possible, freed them after they had been educated or were otherwise able to establish themselves in a trade. Not ideal by today's standards, yet at the time, about the best one could hope for.

Likewise Robert Lee refused to sell the slaves inherited from his father-in-law's estate, even though it was deeply in debt. Instead, he made it his policy to train those that showed promise in specific employable trades, then freed them and their families and helped to get them established. He accepted grueling, and thankless, postings in order to get the higher pay from being in the field than he would have from half-pay while at home, or positions without the field-pay. Doing so, he managed to pay off the massive debts incurred by his wife's family - saving their honor, and his own. While he was not sure of the equality of the Black man, a common view of most educated whites in the US (and most of the world for that matter), he was concerned that freeing them would lead them to the decadence of large cities (New York, Philadelphia, Boston) where they would compete on un-equal footings for the lowest positions there were. Again, by today's Western standards, it was a terrible thing to do - enslave someone, for the time, he was lambasted as foolish for not selling off the "property" that would have had him out of debt easily, instead of strugling to be debt free by 1860.

At the same time, it WAS a different world. Was slavery worse than transportation to Australia for seven years hard labour for stealing to feed your family? Don't know.

One final thing, then I'll end this rant. Slavery, literal and figurative, exists today in more than one place in the world. It has existed in the literal sense throughout recorded history. The last 200 years (roughly) of attempts to eliminate slavery, or at least limit it, has been a blip in the last 4,000 years. Doesn't make it right - its just an "is" thing.

Now I expect I'll be lambasted by folks who don't like what I had to say, no matter how true it was. Kind of like I was in the first of the terrorism threads last September. Somethings just work in specific ways, no matter how much we don't like it.

Oh, Madison's and Lee's records and accounts are available for research - not just their memoirs. Their journals and papers from the time are far more illuminating than their later writings looking back. I've always found them fascinating - probably the most from their respective eras.

Have a day - Pete


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 10:15 AM

Well, I suppose what made me uncomfortable was the mm--I don't know, the bringing it up. Not that I think they need to demonize the particular family, but, how good can one be to one's slave? I guess if a family owned slaves, if it was a practice that was bigger than the choice the family would've otherwise wanted to make, it's fine that they perhaps didn't tend to heap cruelties onto it, but it doesn't quite enoble anyone if they didn't. Many slaves staying--it was said in a spirit of demonstrating something about the "owners" rather than about the way things were. It seems to want to stretch beyond what we can possibly really know about the family, historically, and is a crude generalization however true it may be.

I guess it was the sentiment of it that bothered me--I'd prefer they stuck to mere information, admittedly incomplete information, and didn't try to make a case about things.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 10:32 AM

Was slavery worse than transportation to Australia for
seven years hard labour ...?


If you can pose this question then you've surely proven the case for
total ignorance of the facts.

Madison['s] policy was to not brutalize slaves, nor to sell
off slaves, particularly if they had a family.


Completely clueless. The condition of slavery BY DEFINITION
brutalizes the slave..

Pick up a few books.....


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 10:36 AM

A lot of former slaves did remain on the plantations, or in the vicinity, and became hired laborers or sharecroppers. That's why there are so many blacks in the South today. That doesn't mean they did it out of loyalty to, or affection for, their former masters, which is what a lot of southern white folklore (or propaganda) would have you believe.

A lot depends on how the facts are presented.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: PeteBoom
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 10:52 AM

"total ignorance of the facts" WHOSE set of facts, Greg?

"Pick up a few books....." I have. Several. Many of them contradictory in evidence and conclusions. Your rant reminds me of a Uni student who has had one course from a single professor and has latched onto that as the answer. Oh, and Foner's book is one of the ones my shelf, I read it 10 years or so ago.

"The condition of slavery BY DEFINITION brutalizes the slave.." In the American model, generally, in certain instances elsewhere, sometimes, as a general rule.... Well, to quote an expert - "Pick up a few books....."


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 10:57 AM

Foner's book is one of the ones my shelf, I read it 10 years or so ago.

Apparently it would be productive for you to read it again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: mack/misophist
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 11:10 AM

What PeteBoom just said bears expansion. The American model of slavery may, in practice, have been the most abusive of all time. Even among the Aztecs, a slave could buy his freedom, for example.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Kim C
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 12:04 PM

It was my understanding that slaves in America could buy their freedom too, depending on who their master was.

Most abusive.... well, I don't know. I don't recall that anyone in America chained their slaves together and put them in a coliseum to fight off lions...

My understanding of the facts is that some people were good, and some people were not. So I don't think it's correct to say "all slaves were happy" or "all slaves were not happy." I have read a few personal accounts that seemed to indicate that at least a few people held their slaves in rather high regard.

Tee Edmonds, who lived at Belle Grove in Paris, VA, wrote about the day Aunt Letty left to go live with her son at another plantation. The Edmonds family had come on financial troubles because of the Civil War, and had to sell some of their slaves. Aunt Letty had been around for Tee's entire life, and the day she left, they all wept. Including Aunt Letty.

A couple of years ago, for Black History Month, the Tennessean newspaper ran a story about a former slave who became famous as a horse trainer. He had gone to war as a body servant with his master's sons, who were in the Confederate army. Years after the war, a newspaper reporter asked him why he had gone. He said he went because he loved those boys, and didn't want them to be out there with no one to take care of them.

Mister and I watched a video series called Echoes of Blue and Gray, that's a compendium of old newsreels from the early 1900s. One of them shows a group of elderly black men at a Confederate soldiers reunion. They said they had been to every reunion, and were treated just the same as the other soldiers. Maybe they were just mugging for the camera, I don't know.

Another old black man said that if the white man hadn't brought his people to America they'd still be in Africa living like wild beasts. Those were his words. Again, maybe he was just mugging for the camera.

Anyway.... I think there are true statements for both sides. It is a terrible part of world history, and shouldn't be ignored. It should, however, be presented factually and fairly, with supporting documentation.

One thing that has always bugged me... we're always told that it was illegal for a slave to read or write. But we also know that many of them did. However I have not come across any accounts of anyone actually being prosecuted for teaching a slave to read or write. Has anyone else?


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 01:52 PM

American Memory (LIbrary of Congress) has some 500 "slave narratives" on line. These cover the range in treatment, good to bad. Some interesting reading there. Search "WPA slave narratives" as well. unless one knows the indexing system, always search under more than one heading, items come up in different order.

This thread is going far afield. Conditions at one "home near Louisville." The tour guide may have further information. Larger holdings kept records of slaves and slave transactions; these are being used by descendants of former slaves to assist in their genealogical studies. If the home was just that of a single professional or entrepreneural family, there could be family records preserved.
Treatment varied tremendously depending on the situation. Some slaves (admittedly not many) had positions like that of overseers or head of services, trusted to handle money, buy goods and services, transport materials, supervise the field workers, etc. Mostly these were educated.
On the other hand there were the many plantation and field workers. Treatment of these slaves could be very bad, especially since a number of the plantations were "hard-scrabble," that is, the owners were barely able to keep operations going because of poor land and poor prices and huge debts. Other lands were controlled by absentee landlords (some abroad) who were only interested in profits.

This is not meant to whitewash the condition of slavery. Man, being a thinking (for the most part) animal with a desire for independence does not take to servitude. Servitude, especially if forced, is always degrading, no mattter the treatment.

Another subject. Share-cropping is not all bad. One man has land, but no labor. Another can work, but no land. In a good operation, both can make money. Others are degrading. I am in western Canada now. For a while, I owned a small farm and used it as a summer home. For the land, share-crop arrangements were make. A farmer would do all the work- fertilizing, cropping, using his own equipment. He would pay me one-third of the money after costs and keep the rest. All modern share-cropping is on this basis (I have lived in the south). In the depressed post-Civil War period, and again during the great depression, hard-scrabble operations were hard on both participants, but the land owner could gouge his tenants if there was no other alternative for them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 02:17 PM

Given that this is Mudcat, can I recommend the autobiography of Solomon Northup, slave and professional fiddler. I'm no historian, so I cant vouch for its total authenticity....but the information about the times, and the details on the music scene in the 19th century, are incredible.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 02:56 PM

The complete story by Solomon Northup is on the University of North Carolina Documenting the South Series, on their website: Twelve Years a Slave
Included are accounts from two contempory newspapers.
This website has many interesting documents including music lyric and hymn books, in their entirety, from the Civil War period.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 03:01 PM

Try Twelve Years for his book.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 03:05 PM

Thanks for that last bit of info, I couldnt remember any details of the Northup book.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 03:08 PM

I second the suggestion to read Northrop's "Twelve Years a Slave", particularly since it is the true story- well documented- of a free New York Black man drugged, kidnapped, and sold into slavery-leaving his wife and children behind in Saratoga. Such kidnapping was a common practice following the federal Fugitive Slave Act and the Dredd Scott decision. Mr. Northrop was eventually rescued from Louisiana- its a real puzzlement he didn't choose to stay on the plantation, since his second owner was a relatively "kind" master.



Full Text Here


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 03:32 PM

It was my understanding that slaves in America could buy their freedom too, depending on who their master was.
Not so. Most southern states had laws on the books specifically prohibiting manumission with strict penalties. Most toward the end of the antebellum era also prohibited free Blacks from residing within their borders.Them free Darkies set a real bad example for the slave population dontcha know.

Most abusive.... well, I don't know. I don't recall that anyone in America chained their slaves together and put
them in a coliseum to fight off lions...

Right you are- they just chained 'em to a tree & whipped 'em to death, starved them to death and worked them to death. Oh yeah, and lynched 'em by hanging, burning, shooting (not omitting to mutilate their genitals) as a family spectator sport. Much less abusive. Shows how far American civilization had advanced over the Romans in one and a half millenia.
I have not come across any accounts of anyone actually being
prosecuted for teaching a slave to read or write. Has anyone else? Yes. Lots.
Aunt Letty had been around for Tee's entire life, and the day she left, they all
wept. Including Aunt Letty.

Most likely because "Aunt Letty" (the demeaning name given her by her owner- I wonder what her REAL name was?)was leaving behind her entire family and everyone she knew plus all her posssessions (slave's could not legally own property) to go with her new owner. Not because she loved "ole Massa".


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: greg stephens
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 03:41 PM

I dont know about slaves not being allowed to own property, but Solomon Northop(or however you spell him) was very interesting on the subject of his fiddling work. He says slaves got Sundays off (or at least he did) and could work for money on their own account. That was when he did a lot of his playing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 04:33 PM

If there is anything demeaning about "Aunt Letty" it is beyond me. An older person in families I know are always aunt or uncle. Aunt Letty is, of course, Leticia, which was always Letty. When I visit my wife's relatives, I am introduced to any young'uns as "Unca -------"
Greg F shows the degradation of slavery but such comments as this show that he has little undrstanding of southern culture, Black or White.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST,Fred Miller
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 05:15 PM

My original question was fairly limited in scope, but I was interested to know what Catters thought. Thanks for the depth and breadth of these responses.

Still, as a field trip for third graders, I'm thinking it might be wise just to present information, unless a really credible attempt were being made to focus on slavery specifically. That wasn't the case, and I found the slant of these few remarks troubling. Thanks again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Kim C
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 05:21 PM

Greg F, can you direct me to sources of documentation for people being prosecuted for teaching slaves to read and write? Out of all the accounts I've read, I haven't come across a single one.

But I have been reading a book of letters by a slave to his former master: Dear Master


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Kim C
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 05:31 PM

John Parker bought his...


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 08:56 PM

My gospel quartet did a program on spirituals and black gospel for a group of kindergarten to third grade girls in a wealthy private school. I thought it would be impossible to try to give any sense of what it might be to be a slave, or even only have eghteen pair of shoes. I underestimated the kids enormously. We tend to do that. If someone said that many slaves loved their masters, I can hear the kids muttering underneath their breath.. "Right..", or "like, sure.."

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 15 Nov 02 - 10:07 PM

Kim-
Check the three books I mentioned above, and their bibliographies. That'll get you started.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 08:38 AM

On the off chance that Guest/Guest's post is an honest inquiry & not a flame:

If there is anything demeaning about "Aunt Letty" it is beyond me.

"Southern Culture" or no, Black folks had their OWN names, brought with them from Africa or given them by their parents, and you can bet "Leticia" wasn't among 'em. As part of their systematic denigration and subjugation, Blacks had their real names taken away and replaced with humiliating diminutives like "Aunt" and "Uncle" (they were hardly brothers or sisters of Ol' Massa's parents, tho there was a good or better chance they were Ol' Massa's children), names more appropriate for dogs or barnyard animals (e.g. 'Prince') or the derisive names of notables of antiquity (e.g. 'Caesar', 'Pompey', etc.)

A non-demeaning title would have been Mr., Miss, or Mrs. This was never done.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 16 Nov 02 - 09:01 AM

One thing that slaves were deprived of was their history. I've become more aware of this in recent years because I realize that my black friends and family can only trace their ancestry back two or three generations. For us folkies, who often like to trace our family back many generations, that's a loss. If you're black, unless you do extensive research and are fortunate to find records, you can't even tell what part of Africa you came from. I went on a tour of Ghana and the Ivory Coast with our church (being the only white person on the tour)and even though my friends were anxious to get back to their roots, they didn't know any more than that their ancestors were brought over from somewhere in Africa. We could have been in their family's village, and never have known it.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 12:36 AM

Nobody, but nobody, is an apologist for slavery in the sense of defending its righteousness or advocating its return. When people talk of the complexities of relations between slaves and their owners/masters/captors, for you to position them in that way is simply a bullying way of insisting on a simplification, which is obnoxious no matter how many books you trot out to demonstrate the utterly uncontested fact that there were absolutely hellish abuses inseparable from the system itself, the only disagreement being their statistical distribution. So you are presenting yourself as an extremist of the position everybody already shares. This is exactly the kind of posturing-to-prevent-thinking which passes for scholarship in way too many academic circles nowadays, which is the only reason I'm getting so het up about it. The fact is, there were genuine ambivalences in these necessarily intimate relations. Society is a complex thing, and no society can long endure on the basis of unidirectional terror (I spend a long time every semester explaining that the pax romana was not a 300-year military occupation, and that 5% of Europe did not keep 95% quivering at swordpoint for a thousand years, tho' those are myths very useful to our present self-understanding). My guess is, slavery would have collapsed from its own internal contradictions and anti-adaptions in another generation or so, but it wouldn't have ended in a bloody revolt, which is the only outcome the reign-of-perpetual-terror model would predict.

Adam


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 10:07 AM

So Adam, your 'guess' about North American slavery's 'collapse' pretends that the hundreds of slave revolts- from Stono to Nat Turner to Toussaint- never occurred?


You wilfully ignore the fact that the Negro slavery and the slave societies it engendered were in themsevles 'hellish abuses', notwithstanding the 'statistical distributions' of particular instances of somewhat less hellish treatment?


I don't envy your students!


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST,adavis@truman.edu
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 12:48 PM

Oh, I get pretty good reviews, and I have -- and enjoy -- lots of students like you: bright, committed, well-read, not necessarily very adept yet at meta-analysis or at moving far enough back from their own arguments to assess the structure of argumentation. I fault you merely for rendering as simple and univocal what was complex and ambivalent. You would persuade us that slavery was a bad thing. Sold. You would persuade us that no black person in North America between about 1600 and 1865 experienced satisfaction let alone happiness, or affection for particular white people. Horse-hockey. Then you would tar anybody who is capable of complex thought (in its literal sense) of thought-crime. And that's the usual idealogue's position. It confers on its holders a sense of moral superioirty, and when it takes power, it gets damn dangerous -- my resentment of what's called "political correctness" has not to do with their political positions, most of which I share, but at their essentially fascist disposition to extinguish opposition. It's dramatic and it's simple; it is useful for group-formation because of its emotional effects. Nothing finer than to be part of the little grroup behind the barricades who knows how things really are. There's a time and place, perhaps, to squelch inquiring thought for the sake of a common objective, but damned if I'll assign education generally to that category.

Heroism is always right, because it feels and never reasons.

Adam

Adam


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Greg F.
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 06:52 PM

One major problem with your last, Adam- I'll skip over the ad hominem 'fascist', 'moral superiority', 'thougt crime' and 'political correctness' buzz-word bits & get to the heart of the matter:


Quoth The Professor:You would
persuade us that no black person in North America between about 1600 and 1865 experienced satisfaction let alone happiness, or affection for particular white people.



Nowhere did I make any such idiotic statement or suggestion. Get a grip- you're seeing things that don't exist & your protest is a bit hysterical and tends towards the smug professorial superciliousness I had so much trouble with in graduate school thirty-five years ago.


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: GUEST,adavis@truman.edu
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 07:38 PM

Hadn't meant it ad hominem -- I don't know you, and I sincerely think you'd be a pleasant person to spend an evening chatting with. I did indeed mean to confront a certain kind of argumentative persona, which you may or may not see yourself as occupying. Fact is, what I had in mind is a type of persona I find distressingly common. Clearly there are types that irk you, too, and I seem to come through the CRT that way, at least to you, at least at present. Sorry. Most people would prefer to be liked. But not at all costs.

Looking back on where the thread started, it might surprise you that I think your approach is certainly the right one to the original provocation. Given the situation of a tour-guide, who must see herself/himself in an authoritiative, primary-info-giver role, the particular guide's evident conviction that the slaves' satisfaction was the most important factoid to deliver is vile as vile gets, and I think I'd have reacted pretty explosively (actually, no; when I encounter something outrageous, I usually splutter, leave, and think up all the comebacks later). What we have exchanged refers to an entirely different type of interpretation -- not the quick'n'dirty soundbite kind of characterization, but the more nuanced and complete picture. Given the opportunity to say one true thing about slavery, the guide made a gross distortion.

Adam


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Subject: RE: BS: Historic tour slave issue
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 17 Nov 02 - 09:05 PM

Learning history from tour guides is a dangerous business...

Jerry


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