Browsing All posts tagged under »slavery«

The Germantown Protest (1688)

February 22, 2013

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The first (White) discourse against slavery in the American colonies. In 1688, some settlers from the Rhine Valley, fleeing persecution in their homeland, looked at the institution of slavery as practiced by some of their fellow settlers, and identified that as persecution as well.  We would not wish this done to us, they said, which […]

My Escape From Slavery by Frederick Douglass

February 10, 2012

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First printed in The Century Illustrated Magazine, November 1881.  IN THE FIRST NARRATIVE of my experience in slavery, written nearly forty years ago, and in various writings since, I have given the public what I considered very good reasons for withholding the manner of my escape. In substance these reasons were, first, that such publication […]

Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau

January 18, 2012

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I reprint this famous essay on the occasion of it being banned in Arizona.   (Arizona also banned Shakespeare’s “Tempest.”  Get your copy soon.)  On the Duty of Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoreau [1849] I heartily accept the motto, “That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted […]

(Warning – disturbing image.) Georgia Labor Camp 1932

March 15, 2011

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In 1932, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is published for the first time. Adolph Hitler gets his German citizenship.  The Law Lords in London–in respect of a mouse in a ginger beer–launch the new tort of negligence.  The Lindberg baby is kidnapped, and Johnny Wiessmuller lip-sincs a holler in “Tarzan the Ape Man.” Meanwhile, an […]

I Hear the Voice of Bluesman Prime

March 14, 2011

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Bluesman Prime, the man who invented the blues, was born and grew and took his stand in the American South in the decades following the Civil War.  He might have been born into slavery, or in the giddy times just out of it. Regardless, he grew up in an era when American slavery was adapting […]

Fugitive Slave Act (1850)

February 12, 2011

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Fugitive Slave Act (1850) By this notorious Act of the United States Congress, the slave states which lobbied for it ensured that slaves who escaped to the north, where slavery was prohibited, did not thereby escape slavery.  BE it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress […]

1.4 History as a Beaker of Mustard Seed 4 – Deciphering the parable

January 31, 2011

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Dr. Morton and the Parable of the Mustard Seeds The parable of Samuel George Morton—as suggested in the story told in the previous three parts of this essay—shows how theory can shape data. There is no evidence that Dr. Morton consciously fudged the truth.  In the opinion of Stephen J. Gould, Morton published his raw […]

US Steel & the Reinvention of Slavery

January 24, 2011

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The year was 1908. Green Cottenham had just been arrested for vagrancy in Shelby County, Alabama.  But in that era of the American South, when unemployment among Euro-American males was endemic, the application of the so-called vagrancy law was  reserved exclusively for African American males.  The reason went beyond racism.  The law represented the reintroduction […]

The Laws of Burgos, 1512-13

January 18, 2011

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The Laws of Burgos made official what Columbus had launched as an institution, the encomienda, whereby grants of land came with the free labour and enslavement of the Aboriginal people living on that land.  The Laws of Burgos begin with a justification—the need to Christianize—but little attempt was made in this era to actively Christianize […]

History of Aboriginal America 6: Papal Generosity, the Laws of Burgos & more

January 14, 2011

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9.  The Requirement, the Laws of Burgos and the Papal Donation of 1493 In 1513, Spain issued the Laws of Burgos which are notable for two things:  they officially incorporated and made part of Spanish law the institution created by Columbus, the incomienda, whereby land grants to settlers included, as an extra added benefit, the right to […]