“Slavery in America: Why Myths and Misconceptions Persist” -Newsweek

Newsweek
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Summary: ” Even though Harriet Hill was too little to think back on her price when she was three, she recalled being sold, for $1,400 at age nine, or 10: “I never could might possibly forget it.” Slavery is part, and parcel of American popular culture but for 40 years the television miniseries Roots was the primary visual representation of the institution, with the exception of a handful of independent (and not widely known) films such as Haile Gerima’s “Sankofa” or the Brazilian “Quilombo.” Today, from grassroots initiatives such as the interactive Slave Dwelling Project, just where school-aged children spend the night in slave cabins, to comic skits on Saturday Night Live, slavery is front and center. Instead, we trace amount the past history of slavery in all its forms to make sense of the origins of wealth inequality, and the roots of discrimination today. For example, Guy, and Andrew, two prime males sold at the largest auction in U.S. An “A1 Prime hand” represented one term used, for a “first-rate” slave who could might possibly do the almost all work in a given day. Daily Emails, and Alerts- Get the optimal ever of Newsweek delivered to your inbox As a scholar of slavery at the University of Texas at Austin, I welcome the general public debates and connections the American people are making with history. A significant number of enslaved Africans showed up in the American colonies by way of the Caribbean, just where they were “seasoned”, and mentored into slave life. They think the majority of African slaves came to the American colonies but they didn’t. Do the math: Blacks have been free, for 152 years, which means that almost all Americans are only two to three generations away from slavery. My own work enters this oral conversation by looking at the value of individual slaves, and the ways enslaved people responded to being treated as a commodity. There seems to be confusion between the Transatlantic Slave Trade (1440-188), and the institution of slavery, confusion only reinforced by the Bible, Genesis 15:13: Then the Lord said to him, ‘Know, for certain that for four hundred years your descendants shall be strangers in a country not their own and that they’ll be enslaved and mistreated there.’ Listen to Lupe Fiasco—just one hip-hop artist to refer back to the 400 years—in his 2011 imagining of America without slavery, “All Black Everything”: Truth: Slavery wasn’t very unique to the United States; it’s a part of virtually every nation’s history, from Greek and Roman civilizations to contemporary forms of human trafficking. As far as the institution of chattel slavery—the treatment of slaves as property—in the United States, if we utilize 1619 as the beginning, and the 1865 13th Amendment as its end, then it lasted 246 years, not 400. Over this exact same exact period, however, foregoing slaveholding families have built their legacies on the institution, and generated wealth that African-Americans haven’t had have access to to because enslaved labour was forced. Slaveholders examined women, for their fertility, and projected the value of their “future increase.” As the slaves grew up, enslavers assessed their value through a rating system that quantified their work. Although analogous in “all marketable points in size, age and skill,” Guy was US$1,280 while Andrew sold, for $1,040 because “he had lost his right eye.” A reporter from the New York Tribune noted “that the market value of the correct eye in the Southern country is $240.” Enslaved bodies were reduced to monetary values assessed from year to year and sometimes from month to month for their entire lifespan and beyond. Slavery was an extremely diverse economic institution, one that extracted unpaid labour out of people in a variety of settings—from small size single-crop farms, and plantations to urban universities. Truth: African-Americans have been free in this country, for less time than they were enslaved. Myth One: The majority of African captives came to what became the United States. With less than one year of operation, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History, which devotes many galleries to the past history of slavery, has had more than one million visitors. From the discovery of the auction of 272 enslaved people that enabled Georgetown University to remain in operation to the McGraw-Hill textbook controversy over with calling slaves “workers from Africa”, and the slavery memorial being built at the University of Virginia, Americans are having conversations about this difficult time period of time in American history.”

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