THE RED PILL
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CAN YOU MAKE PEACE WITH HISTORY?
I think we can all agree slavery and treating another human being as chattel is beyond egregious and why this behavior was considered acceptable until into the very early 1800s is hard for modern society to rationalize, however, fact is, it was.
The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and religions from ancient times to the present day. However the social, economic, and legal positions of slaves were vastly different in different systems of slavery in different times and places.
Slavery was known in the very first civilizations such as Sumer in Mesopotamia which dates back as far as 3500 BC, as well as in almost every other civilization. The Byzantine–Ottoman wars and the Ottoman wars in Europe resulted in the taking of large numbers of Christian slaves, especially amongst the Slavic peoples of Central and Eastern Europe. Slavery became common within much of Europe during the Dark Ages and it continued into the Middle Ages. Because slavery remained a ‘normal part’ of society in Southern and Eastern Europe; a result of their economy and trade across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic seaboard was that African slaves began to appear in Italy, Spain, Southern France, and Portugal well before the discovery of the New World in 1492. The Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, British, Arabs and a number of West African kingdoms played a prominent role in the Atlantic slave trade, especially after 1600.
A burial ground in Campeche, Mexico, suggests slaves had been brought there not long after Hernán Cortés completed the subjugation of Aztec and Mayan Mexico in the 16th century. The graveyard had been in use from approximately 1550 to the late 17th century.
Jamestown, the first permanent British colony in North America, was founded in modern Virginia in 1607 and slavery in North America began shortly after when the first African slaves were brought to the British colony in 1619 to aid in the production of such lucrative crops as tobacco. As already stated, the British had been trafficking in slaves of African descent since the early 15th century.
It is estimated that more than half of the entire slave trade took place during the 18th century, with the British, Portuguese and French being the main carriers of nine out of ten slaves abducted in Africa. By the 1690s, the English were shipping the most slaves from West Africa. They maintained this position during the 18th century, becoming the biggest shippers of slaves across the Atlantic. However, it was the Portuguese colony of Angola and nearby Kingdoms in the Congo region which overwhelmingly dominated as the slave trade's main sources of slaves, with the Angola city of Luanda early serving as the main port for the Portuguese slave traders. By the 18th century, Angola had become the principal source of the Atlantic slave trade.
By the time the settlements in the New World were becoming more civilized and structured those forward looking citizens realized slavery was wrong and soon began taking action to end a several thousands of years practice forever.
By the time of the American Revolution (1775–1783), the status of slave had been institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry. When the United States Constitution was ratified (1789), a relatively small number of free people of color were among the voting citizens (male property owners). During and immediately following the Revolutionary War, abolitionist laws were passed in most Northern states and a movement developed to abolish slavery. Denmark-Norway was the first European country to ban the slave trade in 1802. Brittan and the United States soon followed banning the slave trade in their countries in 1808.
The United States Census of 1790 was the first census of the whole United States. It recorded the population of the United States as of Census Day, August 2, 1790, as mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution and applicable laws. In the first census, the population of the United States was enumerated to be 3,929,214. In this total were 694,280 listed as slaves and as stated previously “the status of slave had been institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry”.
Mistreatment of black people of African descent did not start in the United States and it was not just white Europeans who participated, it started hundreds of years before the USA ever existed and some suppliers of slaves were black Africans themselves. Slavery has existed for millennium and it wasn’t until modern times that societies began to become outraged at this practice. Many wanted the practice of slavery to end, however, many did not, therefor, in 1861 the first shot fired in the American Civil War rang out.
Finally the Congress passed on January 31, 1865, and ratified on December 6, 1865, the 13th amendment abolishing slavery in the United States.
In today’s environment in the United States, 153 years after slavery was abolished ending a practice that had existed in society for thousands of years, there are many who feel the African American community is still experiencing many social injustices that have been projected forward from the times of slavery and are too a result of slavery. I am by no means in a position to deny or affirm this claim, however, even though I am not a person of color, I, as an American, am still impacted by the actions taken by those who are seeking to right the social injustices they claim exist. For this reason I have observed their actions with interest and in my mind question how these people think their actions will eventually bring to them the social justice they seek.
To think in modern times a social injustice that existed for millennium will be corrected by tearing down statues, censoring books and movies, banning words from the national conversation and foisting hatred in many forms on the descendants of those who they perceive perpetrated all the social injustices, is a futile effort. Only time will lift the burden of the injustices those who are suffering are feeling. It took society thousands of years to reach the point where they recognized the injustice of slavery and I don’t see that social injustice healing in a short 150 years because it’s pain is too recent, but it’s a start. I hope that within the next two generations this Country will move past this and look forward not backwards.
Because some seem to want to wipe out any history regarding the battle to end slavery I ask, what if you took it farther and wiped out any reference to slavery whatsoever? That would wipe out nearly all black American history which would be wrong and would rob future generations of an important part of our history that I believe future generations will be at peace with. To me it seems impractical to want to preserve the history of slavery in the US and leave out the battle to end it, a battle that impacted every American.
In ending, I ask you to do the following:
Before faulting those who fought to retain slavery, remember this, they had history as their foundation, a history of slavery that had existed worldwide for millennium. It doesn’t make it right but it is a fact that helps us understand the basis for their thinking at that time. Fact is, it was the ‘new thinking’ regarding slavery that collided with history and today our Country is still reeling and people who hold no responsibility for the history, or the impact from it, are paying a price.
© Bill Wink 1/8/2018
Please NOTE: The “facts” presented here such as times, dates, places, etc. and much text are all from these sites on the Internet: Wikepedia, History.com, brycchancarey.com & Google. I have restructured some sentences and the rest is my opinion. My goal is to try and help others begin to try and make peace with history.
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