Información

¿La esclavitud en los Estados Unidos estaba legalmente limitada a los negros?


¿Era la esclavitud legalmente exclusiva de la raza? Es decir, ¿podrían los negros y solo los negros en los Estados Unidos ser considerados esclavos bajo la ley?

Por ejemplo, si un propietario importara a los Estados Unidos un esclavo de otra raza, ¿se reconocería su estado de propiedad sobre dicho esclavo?


Principalmente, pero no del todo.

Varios estados, incluida Virginia, reconocieron explícitamente a los esclavos que eran puramente descendientes de indios.

Es importante darse cuenta de que la ley a menudo no influye en si una persona puede ser esclavizada y existe una gran disparidad entre las leyes y la práctica real. Por ejemplo, la mayoría de los estados del sur tenían leyes desde muy temprano que hacían ilegal la importación de esclavos de cualquier tipo y dictaban que cualquier esclavo importado a su estado se convertía instantáneamente en libre. Virginia aprobó su ley de este tipo en 1792. Sin embargo, esta ley nunca fue obedecida. Cientos de miles de esclavos fueron importados y exportados de Virginia después de 1792 y ninguno de ellos que yo sepa fue liberado bajo esta ley. Otra ley de este tipo, más restrictiva, fue la Ley de 1819 en Virginia, que tiene el siguiente lenguaje:

En lo sucesivo, ninguna persona será esclava dentro de esta mancomunidad, a menos que lo haya sido el día diecisiete de octubre del año mil setecientos ochenta y cinco, y los descendientes de las hembras de ellos y tales personas y sus descendientes, sean esclavos. , como desde entonces, o de ahora en adelante puede ser traído a este estado, o retenido allí de conformidad con la ley.

Donde solo era legal traer esclavos de otros estados y del Distrito de Columbia. Así, por ejemplo, sería ilegal traer a un africano real como esclavo a Virginia después de que se aprobara esta ley.

Como regla general, después de la Guerra de la Revolución, los tribunales solo reconocieron a los "negros", es decir, africanos, como inherentemente esclavos. Los indios solo podían ser esclavos si eran hijos de esclavos y ya poseían. No se podía esclavizar nuevamente a un indio. Si una persona importara y esclavizara a un no africano, eso sería ilegal, porque estaban fuera de límites. El idioma específico es el siguiente para Virginia:

  1. § 3. No será lícito para ninguna persona traer a este estado, o retener en él, esclavos o esclavos nacidos o residentes fuera de los límites antes mencionados, o esclavos o esclavos que hayan sido condenados por cualquier delito. , y por lo tanto transportado por las leyes de este estado, o de cualquier estado, territorio o distrito antes mencionado; y, si alguna persona entrara en este estado, en contra de las disposiciones de esta ley, cualquier esclavo o esclavos, o venderá, comprará o retendrá, en este estado, a dicho esclavo o esclavos, sabiendo que tal esclavo o esclavos tiene sido traído a este estado en contra de las disposiciones de esta ley, cada infractor perderá y pagará al Estado Libre Asociado, por el uso del fondo literario, por cada esclavo así traído, vendido, comprado o retenido, una multa de mil dólares: Disponiéndose sin embargo, que la pena antes mencionada no será incurrida por ninguna persona que traiga a este estado esclavo o esclavos, con el solo propósito de pasar o permanecer en él por un corto tiempo, si dicho esclavo o esclavos no se mantienen dentro este estado durante un año entero, o bien vendido o puesto a la venta en el mismo.

Tenga en cuenta que hay una exención para una persona "de paso". Entonces, por ejemplo, si un diplomático extranjero tuviera, digamos, un esclavo birmano y solo estuviera viajando por el estado, entonces eso estaría permitido.

Tenga en cuenta que las mismas leyes prohibían a los negros o mulatos libres establecerse en Virginia, según se define por ser de un cuarto de sangre de un negro. Estas personas podrían ser arrestadas a voluntad y expulsadas del estado.


miembros de varias tribus indias esclavizaron a varios miembros de otras tribus y blancos. Esto continuó incluso después de que varias tribus indias reconocieron más o menos el señorío supremo del gobierno federal. Los guerreros indios que querían esclavizar a alguien nunca se detenían a preguntar si alguien del grupo sabía si eso era legal según las leyes del "abuelo" en Washington.

Por supuesto, también era común torturar a los cautivos hasta la muerte o adoptarlos como miembros de la familia y la tribu o retenerlos para pedir un rescate.

También hubo mucha esclavitud de indios en la frontera, independientemente de si eso pudo haber sido legal de acuerdo con las leyes estatales, territoriales o federales.

Los navajos y los nuevos mexicanos se habían estado atacando mutuamente en busca de ganado y esclavos durante siglos. Los navajos fueron finalmente derrotados en 1864 y obligados a realizar la Caminata Larga hasta la reserva Bosque Redondo y no se les permitió regresar a su tierra natal durante varios años. Así que había muchas oportunidades para que los esclavos blancos de los navajos obtuvieran su libertad.

No se sabe con certeza cuántos esclavos navajos de los nuevos mexicanos fueron liberados ni cuándo. Se tiene cierto cinismo sobre el afán de los nuevos mexicanos por liberar a sus esclavos incluso después de que la decimotercera enmienda, ratificada el 6 de diciembre de 1865, decretó que: "Ni esclavitud ni servidumbre involuntaria, excepto como castigo por el delito del que la fiesta haya sido debidamente condenado, existirá dentro de los Estados Unidos, o en cualquier lugar sujeto a su jurisdicción ". Eso es bastante claro y absoluto, pero uno sospecha que los nuevos mexicanos considerarían que los esclavos navajos son una parte tradicional de su cultura y no se ven afectados por la ley.

Y dudo que todos los californianos reconocieran que la práctica de obligar a los indígenas secuestrados a trabajar para ellos como pago por ser civilizados fuera inconstitucional después de la 13ª enmienda.


En el libro Slavery by Another Name, que sostiene que el sistema por el cual los prisioneros eran arrendados a granjeros y grandes empresas para trabajar básicamente era tan malo como la esclavitud o peor aún, vemos la posibilidad de que los blancos que fueron sentenciados y pasaron a formar parte de este sistema podrían ser víctimas de la esclavitud. considerados esclavos. Algo así como Cool Hand Luke nos mostró sobre las pandillas de cadenas.

Y, de hecho, la película Soy un fugitivo de una pandilla encadenada se basó en una historia real en la que un blanco fue sentenciado a cumplir una condena en una pandilla de la carretera que puede que no haya comenzado como si estuviera encadenado, sino que terminó de esa manera. Entonces, en cierto sentido, los blancos podrían terminar siendo esclavos a todos los efectos, aunque los negros eran miembros desproporcionadamente de estas bandas.

También se podría argumentar que en la actualidad, muchos presos son más o menos esclavos y algunos de ellos son blancos.


En los primeros días, los blancos fueron importados a las colonias como "sirvientes contratados". Se trataba de personas que se habían vendido a los amos, no de por vida, sino por un período de tiempo, generalmente de siete años, a cambio de pasaje a las colonias, libertad bajo fianza o consideraciones similares. Aunque esas personas "no eran libres", la diferencia entre este tipo de servidumbre y la esclavitud negra era que era por un período de tiempo fijo, no de por vida.

Como Mark Wallace señaló en un comentario en otra publicación, tales acuerdos estaban regulados por la ley estatal, no federal (antes de la 13ª Enmienda). No fue hasta principios del siglo XIX que comenzó un "retroceso" de tales arreglos.


Educación durante el período esclavista en los Estados Unidos

Estados Unidos es el único país conocido que ha prohibido la educación de los esclavizados. Durante la era de la esclavitud en los Estados Unidos, la educación de los afroamericanos esclavizados, a excepción de la instrucción religiosa, se desalentó y finalmente se convirtió en ilegal en la mayoría de los estados del sur. Después de 1831 (la revuelta de Nat Turner), la prohibición se extendió en algunos estados a los negros libres también.

Los propietarios de esclavos veían la alfabetización como una amenaza para la institución de la esclavitud y su inversión financiera en ella, como decía un estatuto de Carolina del Norte: "Enseñar a los esclavos a leer y escribir tiende a provocar insatisfacción en sus mentes y producir insurrección y rebelión". [1]: 136 Primero, la alfabetización permitió a los esclavos leer los escritos ampliamente distribuidos de abolicionistas, quienes informaron a los lectores sobre la revolución esclavista en Haití de 1791–1804 y el fin de la esclavitud en el Imperio Británico en 1833. También permitió esclavos para descubrir que miles de esclavos habían escapado, a menudo con la ayuda del Ferrocarril Subterráneo, a refugios seguros en los estados del norte y Canadá. Finalmente, se creía que la alfabetización hacía que los esclavos fueran infelices en el mejor de los casos, insolentes y hoscos en el peor. Como lo expresó el destacado abogado de Washington Elias B. Caldwell:

Cuanto más mejora la condición de estas personas, cuanto más cultiva sus mentes, más miserables las hace, en su estado actual. Les das un mayor gusto por esos privilegios que nunca podrán alcanzar, y conviertes lo que pretendemos como una bendición [esclavitud] en una maldición. No, si deben permanecer en su situación actual, mantenlos en el estado más bajo de degradación e ignorancia. Cuanto más los acerque a la condición de brutos, más posibilidades tendrá de poseer su apatía. [2]

No obstante, tanto los afroamericanos libres como los esclavizados continuaron aprendiendo a leer como resultado de los esfuerzos a veces clandestinos de los afroamericanos libres, los blancos comprensivos y las escuelas informales que funcionaron furtivamente durante este período. Además, los esclavos utilizaron la narración de cuentos, la música y la artesanía para transmitir tradiciones culturales y otra información. [3]

En los estados del norte, los afroamericanos a veces tenían acceso a la educación formal y eran más propensos a tener habilidades básicas de lectura y escritura. Los cuáqueros fueron importantes en el establecimiento de programas educativos en el norte en los años anteriores y posteriores a la Guerra de Independencia. [4]

Durante el período colonial de los Estados Unidos, dos grupos religiosos prominentes, los congregacionalistas y los anglicanos, vieron la conversión de esclavos como una obligación espiritual, y la capacidad de leer las escrituras se consideró parte de este proceso (Monoghan, 2001). El Gran Despertar sirvió como catalizador para fomentar la educación para todos los miembros de la sociedad.

Si bien la lectura se fomentaba en la instrucción religiosa, la escritura a menudo no. La escritura se consideraba una marca de estatus, innecesaria para muchos miembros de la sociedad, incluidos los esclavos. Esto se debe al hecho de que muchos tuvieron que aprender a leer para poder escribir. El fugitivo Wallace Turnage "aprendió" a leer y escribir "durante ese tiempo [de su esclavitud] y desde que [él] escapó de las garras de quienes lo tenían en la esclavitud". [5] Se cree que aprendió con la ayuda de los esclavos que lo ayudaron a escapar a diferentes lugares: por ejemplo, alguien puede haberle enseñado a leer las instrucciones para llegar al siguiente pueblo. La memorización, los catecismos y las escrituras formaron la base de la educación disponible.

A pesar de la falta de importancia que generalmente se da a la enseñanza de la escritura, hubo algunas excepciones notables, quizás la más famosa de ellas fue Phillis Wheatley, cuya poesía ganó la admiración en ambos lados del Atlántico.

El fin de la esclavitud y, con ella, la prohibición legal de la educación de los esclavos no significó que la educación para los antiguos esclavos o sus descendientes estuviera ampliamente disponible. Segregación racial en las escuelas. de jure y luego de factoy la financiación inadecuada de las escuelas para afroamericanos, si es que existieron, continuó hasta finales del siglo XX y continúa en muchas áreas.


1619-1741: Esclavitud y rebelión de esclavos en los Estados Unidos - Howard Zinn

La historia de Howard Zinn sobre la esclavitud y las revueltas de esclavos en los Estados Unidos desde 1619 hasta 1741.

No hay un país en la historia mundial en el que el racismo haya sido más importante, durante tanto tiempo, como Estados Unidos. Y el problema de "la línea de color", como lo expresó W. E. B. Du Bois, todavía está entre nosotros. Así que es más que una pregunta puramente histórica preguntar: ¿Cómo comienza? & # 8212 y una pregunta aún más urgente: ¿Cómo podría terminar? O, para decirlo de otra manera: ¿es posible que blancos y negros vivan juntos sin odio?

Si la historia puede ayudar a responder estas preguntas, entonces los comienzos de la esclavitud en América del Norte, un continente donde podemos rastrear la llegada de los primeros blancos y los primeros negros, podrían proporcionar al menos algunas pistas.

Algunos historiadores piensan que aquellos primeros negros en Virginia fueron considerados sirvientes, como los sirvientes blancos traídos de Europa. Pero lo más probable es que, incluso si figuraban como "sirvientes" (una categoría más familiar para los ingleses), se los consideraba diferentes de los sirvientes blancos, se los trataba de manera diferente y, de hecho, eran esclavos. En cualquier caso, la esclavitud se convirtió rápidamente en una institución regular, en la relación laboral normal de los negros con los blancos en el Nuevo Mundo. Con él se desarrolló ese sentimiento racial especial, ya sea odio, desprecio, piedad o condescendencia, que acompañó a la posición inferior de los negros en Estados Unidos durante los siguientes 350 años, esa combinación de estatus inferior y pensamiento despectivo que llamamos racismo.

Todo en la experiencia de los primeros colonos blancos actuó como una presión para la esclavitud de los negros.

Los virginianos de 1619 estaban desesperados por trabajo, para cultivar suficiente comida para sobrevivir. Entre ellos se encontraban los supervivientes del invierno de 1609-1610, la "época de hambre", cuando, enloquecidos por la falta de comida, vagaban por los bosques en busca de frutos secos y bayas, cavaban tumbas para comerse los cadáveres y morían en grupos hasta quinientos. los colonos se redujeron a sesenta.

En el Revistas de la Casa de Burgueses de Virginia es un documento de 1619 que habla de los primeros doce años de la colonia de Jamestown. El primer asentamiento tenía cien personas, que tenían un pequeño cucharón de cebada por comida. Cuando llegó más gente, hubo aún menos comida. Muchas de las personas vivían en agujeros en forma de cavernas excavados en el suelo, y en el invierno de 1609-1610, fueron

Los virginianos necesitaban mano de obra, cultivar maíz para la subsistencia, cultivar tabaco para la exportación. Acababan de descubrir cómo cultivar tabaco y en 1617 enviaron el primer cargamento a Inglaterra. Al darse cuenta de que, como todas las drogas placenteras teñidas de desaprobación moral, tenía un precio alto, los plantadores, a pesar de su alta charla religiosa, no iban a hacer preguntas sobre algo tan rentable.

No podían obligar a los indios a trabajar para ellos, como había hecho Colón. Fueron superados en número, y aunque, con armas de fuego superiores, podrían masacrar a los indios, a cambio se enfrentarían a una masacre. No podían capturarlos y mantenerlos esclavizados. Los indios eran duros, ingeniosos, desafiantes y se sentían cómodos en estos bosques, como no lo estaban los ingleses trasplantados.

Aún no se habían traído sirvientes blancos en cantidad suficiente. Además, no salieron de la esclavitud y no tuvieron que hacer más que contratar su trabajo durante algunos años para conseguir su pasaje y un comienzo en el Nuevo Mundo. En cuanto a los colonos blancos libres, muchos de ellos eran hábiles artesanos, o incluso hombres de ocio en Inglaterra, que estaban tan poco inclinados a trabajar la tierra que John Smith, en esos primeros años, tuvo que declarar una especie de ley marcial. organizarlos en bandas de trabajo y obligarlos a salir a los campos para sobrevivir.

Es posible que haya habido una especie de rabia frustrada por su propia ineptitud, por la superioridad de los indios en el cuidado de sí mismos, que hizo que los virginianos estuvieran especialmente preparados para convertirse en amos de esclavos. Edmund Morgan imagina su estado de ánimo mientras escribe en su libro. Esclavitud estadounidense, libertad estadounidense:

Los esclavos negros fueron la respuesta. Y era natural considerar a los negros importados como esclavos, incluso si la institución de la esclavitud no se regularizaría y legalizaría durante varias décadas. Porque, en 1619, un millón de negros ya habían sido traídos de África a América del Sur y el Caribe, a las colonias portuguesas y españolas, para trabajar como esclavos. Cincuenta años antes de Colón, los portugueses llevaron a diez negros africanos a Lisboa. Este fue el comienzo de un comercio regular de esclavos. Los negros africanos habían sido sellados como mano de obra esclava durante cien años. Por lo tanto, habría sido extraño si esos veinte negros, transportados a la fuerza a Jamestown y vendidos como objetos a colonos ansiosos por una fuente constante de trabajo, fueran considerados cualquier cosa menos esclavos.

Su impotencia facilitó la esclavitud. Los indios estaban en su propia tierra. Los blancos estaban en su propia cultura europea. Los negros habían sido arrancados de su tierra y cultura, forzados a una situación en la que la herencia del idioma, la vestimenta, las costumbres, las relaciones familiares, fue borrada poco a poco, excepto por los restos a los que los negros podían aferrarse por pura y extraordinaria persistencia.

¿Su cultura era inferior y estaba tan sujeta a una fácil destrucción? Inferior en capacidad militar, sí & # 8212 vulnerable a los blancos con armas y barcos. Pero de ninguna otra manera & # 8212, excepto que las culturas que son diferentes a menudo se toman como inferiores, especialmente cuando tal juicio es práctico y rentable. Incluso militarmente, mientras que los occidentales podían asegurar fuertes en la costa africana, no pudieron someter el interior y tuvieron que llegar a un acuerdo con sus jefes.

La civilización africana estaba tan avanzada a su manera como la europea. En cierto modo, era más admirable, pero también incluía crueldades, privilegios jerárquicos y la disposición a sacrificar vidas humanas por la religión o el lucro. Era una civilización de 100 millones de personas, que usaba implementos de hierro y era hábil en la agricultura. Tenía grandes centros urbanos y logros notables en tejido, cerámica, escultura.

Los viajeros europeos del siglo XVI quedaron impresionados con los reinos africanos de Tombuctú y Malí, ya estables y organizados en un momento en que los estados europeos apenas comenzaban a convertirse en la nación moderna. En 1563, Ramusio, secretario de los gobernantes en Venecia, escribió a los comerciantes italianos: "Déjenlos ir a hacer negocios con el rey de Tombuctú y Malí y no hay duda de que serán bien recibidos allí con sus barcos y sus bienes y bien tratados, y otorgados los favores que piden ".

Un informe holandés, alrededor de 1602, sobre el reino de Benin en África occidental, decía: "La ciudad parece ser muy grande, cuando entras en ella. Entras en una gran calle ancha, no pavimentada, que parece ser siete u ocho veces más amplia que la calle Warmoes en Ámsterdam. Las casas de esta ciudad están en buen orden, una cerca e incluso con la otra, como están las casas en Holanda ".

Los habitantes de la costa de Guinea fueron descritos por un viajero alrededor de 1680 como "gente muy civil y bondadosa, fácil de tratar, condescendiente con lo que los europeos exigen de ellos de una manera civilizada y muy dispuesta a devolver el doble de regalos que nosotros. hazlos."

África tenía una especie de feudalismo, como Europa, basado en la agricultura, y con jerarquías de señores y vasallos. Pero el feudalismo africano no surgió, como el europeo, de las sociedades esclavistas de Grecia y Roma, que habían destruido la vida tribal antigua. En África, la vida tribal todavía era poderosa, y algunas de sus mejores características: un espíritu comunitario, más bondad en la ley y el castigo, aún existían. Y debido a que los señores no tenían las armas que tenían los señores europeos, no podían imponer obediencia tan fácilmente.

En su libro La trata de esclavos africanos, Basil Davidson contrasta la ley en el Congo a principios del siglo XVI con la ley en Portugal e Inglaterra. En aquellos países europeos, donde la idea de la propiedad privada cobraba fuerza, el robo se castigaba brutalmente. En Inglaterra, incluso en 1740, se podía colgar a un niño por robar un trapo de algodón. Pero en el Congo persistía la vida comunal, la idea de la propiedad privada era extraña y los robos se castigaban con multas o varios grados de servidumbre. Un líder congoleño, al que se habló de los códigos legales portugueses, preguntó una vez a un portugués, en broma: "¿Cuál es la pena en Portugal para cualquiera que ponga los pies en el suelo?"

La esclavitud existía en los estados africanos y, a veces, los europeos la utilizaban para justificar su propia trata de esclavos. Pero, como señala Davidson, los "esclavos" de África eran más como los siervos de Europa, en otras palabras, como la mayoría de la población de Europa. Era una servidumbre dura, pero tenían derechos que los esclavos traídos a Estados Unidos no tenían, y eran "completamente diferentes del ganado humano de los barcos de esclavos y las plantaciones estadounidenses". En el Reino Ashanti de África Occidental, un observador señaló que "un esclavo podría casarse con propiedad propia, poseer un esclavo, jurar ser un testigo competente y finalmente convertirse en heredero de su amo. Un esclavo Ashanti, nueve de cada diez casos, posiblemente se convirtió en un miembro adoptado de la familia, y con el tiempo sus descendientes se fusionaron y se casaron tanto con los parientes del propietario que sólo unos pocos conocerían su origen ".

Un comerciante de esclavos, John Newton (que más tarde se convirtió en un líder antiesclavista), escribió sobre la gente de lo que ahora es Sierra Leona:

La esclavitud africana es difícil de elogiar. Pero era muy diferente de la esclavitud de las plantaciones o la minería en las Américas, que era de por vida, moralmente paralizante, destructiva de los lazos familiares, sin esperanza de futuro. La esclavitud africana carecía de dos elementos que hicieron de la esclavitud estadounidense la forma de esclavitud más cruel de la historia: el frenesí por las ganancias ilimitadas que proviene de la agricultura capitalista, la reducción del esclavo a un estado menos que humano mediante el uso del odio racial, con esa implacable claridad basada en el color, donde el blanco era el amo, el negro era el esclavo.

De hecho, debido a que provenían de una cultura establecida, de costumbres tribales y lazos familiares, de vida comunitaria y ritual tradicional, los negros africanos se encontraron especialmente desamparados cuando se los alejó de esto. Fueron capturados en el interior (con frecuencia por negros atrapados en la trata de esclavos), vendidos en la costa y luego metidos en corrales con negros de otras tribus, que a menudo hablaban diferentes idiomas.

Las condiciones de captura y venta fueron aplastantes afirmaciones para el negro africano de su impotencia frente a la fuerza superior. Las marchas hacia la costa, a veces por mil millas, con personas encadenadas al cuello, con látigos y pistolas, eran marchas de la muerte, en las que murieron dos de cada cinco negros. En la costa, se mantuvieron en jaulas hasta que fueron recolectados y vendidos. Un tal John Barbot, a fines del siglo XVII, describió estas jaulas en la Costa Dorada:

En una ocasión, al escuchar un gran ruido desde abajo, donde los negros estaban encadenados, los marineros abrieron las escotillas y encontraron a los esclavos en diferentes etapas de asfixia, muchos muertos, algunos habiendo matado a otros en intentos desesperados de respirar. Los esclavos a menudo saltaban por la borda para ahogarse en lugar de continuar con su sufrimiento. Para un observador, una cubierta de esclavos estaba "tan cubierta de sangre y mucosidad que parecía un matadero".

En estas condiciones, quizás uno de cada tres negros transportados al extranjero murió, pero las enormes ganancias (a menudo el doble de la inversión en un viaje) hicieron que valiera la pena para el comerciante de esclavos, por lo que los negros fueron apiñados en las bodegas como peces.

Primero los holandeses, luego los ingleses, dominaron el comercio de esclavos. (Para 1795, Liverpool tenía más de cien barcos que transportaban esclavos y representaba la mitad de todo el comercio de esclavos europeo). Algunos estadounidenses de Nueva Inglaterra entraron en el negocio, y en 1637 el primer barco de esclavos estadounidense, el Deseo, zarpó de Marblehead. Sus bodegas se dividieron en rejillas, de 2 pies por 6 pies, con barras y grilletes para las piernas.

Para 1800, de 10 a 15 millones de negros habían sido transportados como esclavos a las Américas, lo que representa quizás un tercio de los capturados originalmente en África. Se estima aproximadamente que África perdió 50 millones de seres humanos a causa de la muerte y la esclavitud en esos siglos que llamamos los inicios de la civilización occidental moderna, a manos de traficantes de esclavos y propietarios de plantaciones en Europa Occidental y América, los países considerados los más avanzados del mundo. mundo.

En el año 1610, un sacerdote católico en las Américas llamado Padre Sandoval le escribió a un funcionario de la iglesia en Europa para preguntarle si la captura, el transporte y la esclavitud de los negros africanos era legal según la doctrina de la iglesia. Una carta del 12 de marzo de 1610 del hermano Luis Brandaon al padre Sandoval da la respuesta:

Con todo esto, la desesperación de los colonos de Jamestown por la mano de obra, la imposibilidad de utilizar a los indios y la dificultad de utilizar a los blancos, la disponibilidad de negros ofrecidos en números cada vez mayores por los traficantes de lucro en carne humana, y con tales negros posibles. para controlar porque acababan de pasar por una prueba que, si no los mataba, debió haberlos dejado en un estado de impotencia psíquica y física. ¿Es de extrañar que tales negros estuvieran maduros para la esclavitud?

Y en estas condiciones, incluso si algunos negros pudieran haber sido considerados sirvientes, ¿se trataría a los negros igual que a los sirvientes blancos?

La evidencia, proveniente de los registros judiciales de la Virginia colonial, muestra que en 1630 se ordenó a un hombre blanco llamado Hugh Davis "que fuera duramente azotado. Por abusar de sí mismo, profanando su cuerpo al acostarse con un negro". Diez años después, seis sirvientes y "un negro del señor Reynolds" empezaron a huir. Mientras que los blancos recibieron sentencias más ligeras, "Emanuel el Negro para recibir treinta azotes y ser quemado en la mejilla con la letra R, y trabajar con grilletes un año o más como su amo vere causa".

Aunque la esclavitud aún no estaba regularizada ni legalizada en esos primeros años, las listas de sirvientes muestran a los negros listados por separado. Una ley aprobada en 1639 decretó que "todas las personas excepto los negros" debían obtener armas y municiones y probablemente para luchar contra los indios. Cuando en 1640 tres sirvientes intentaron huir, los dos blancos fueron castigados con una prórroga de su servicio. Pero, como dijo el tribunal, "el tercero, un negro llamado John Punch, servirá a su amo oa sus asignados durante el tiempo de su vida natural". También en 1640, tenemos el caso de una sirvienta negra que engendró un hijo de Robert Sweat, un hombre blanco. El tribunal dictaminó "que dicha mujer negra será azotada en el poste de azotes y dicho Sudor mañana por la mañana hará penitencia pública por su ofensa en la iglesia de la ciudad de James".

Este trato desigual, esta creciente combinación de desprecio y opresión, sentimiento y acción, que llamamos "racismo", ¿era el resultado de una antipatía "natural" de los blancos contra los negros? La pregunta es importante, no solo como una cuestión de precisión histórica, sino porque cualquier énfasis en el racismo "natural" aligera la responsabilidad del sistema social. Si no se puede demostrar que el racismo es natural, entonces es el resultado de ciertas condiciones, y estamos impulsados ​​a eliminar esas condiciones.

No tenemos forma de probar el comportamiento de blancos y negros entre sí en condiciones favorables, sin antecedentes de subordinación, sin incentivos monetarios para la explotación y esclavitud, sin desesperación por sobrevivir que requiera trabajo forzado. Todas las condiciones para el blanco y negro en la América del siglo XVII eran opuestas a eso, todas fuertemente dirigidas hacia el antagonismo y el maltrato. En tales condiciones, incluso la más mínima muestra de humanidad entre las razas podría considerarse evidencia de un impulso humano básico hacia la comunidad.

A veces se observa que, incluso antes de 1600, cuando la trata de esclavos acababa de comenzar, antes de que los africanos fueran estampados por ella & # 8212 literal y simbólicamente & # 8212 el color negro era desagradable. En Inglaterra, antes de 1600, significaba, según el Oxford English Dictionary: "Profundamente manchado con suciedad, sucio, sucio. Con propósitos oscuros o mortales, malignos relacionados con la muerte o relacionados con la muerte, mortalmente perniciosos, desastrosos, siniestros. Asqueroso, inicuo , atroz, horriblemente malvada. Indica deshonra, censura, propensión al castigo, etc. " Y la poesía isabelina a menudo usaba el color blanco en relación con la belleza.

Puede ser que, en ausencia de cualquier otro factor primordial, la oscuridad y la negrura, asociadas con la noche y lo desconocido, adquieran esos significados. Pero la presencia de otro ser humano es un hecho poderoso, y las condiciones de esa presencia son cruciales para determinar si un prejuicio inicial, contra un mero color, divorciado de la humanidad, se convierte en brutalidad y odio.

A pesar de tales ideas preconcebidas sobre la negritud, a pesar de la especial subordinación de los negros en las Américas en el siglo XVII, hay evidencia de que donde blancos y negros se encontraron con problemas comunes, trabajo común, enemigo común en su amo, se comportaron con uno otro como iguales. Como dijo un estudioso de la esclavitud, Kenneth Stampp, los sirvientes negros y blancos del siglo XVII estaban "notablemente despreocupados por las diferencias físicas visibles".

Blanco y negro trabajaron juntos, confraternizaron juntos. El mismo hecho de que después de un tiempo tuvieran que aprobarse leyes para prohibir tales relaciones indica la fuerza de esa tendencia. En 1661 se aprobó una ley en Virginia según la cual "en caso de que algún sirviente inglés se escapara en compañía de algún negro", tendría que prestar un servicio especial durante años adicionales al amo del negro fugitivo. En 1691, Virginia dispuso el destierro de cualquier "hombre o mujer blancos en libertad que se casara con un negro, mulatoo o indio, hombre o mujer vinculado o libre".

Existe una enorme diferencia entre un sentimiento de extrañeza racial, tal vez miedo, y la esclavización masiva de millones de negros que tuvo lugar en las Américas. La transición de uno a otro no puede explicarse fácilmente por tendencias "naturales". No es difícil de entender como resultado de condiciones históricas.

La esclavitud creció a medida que crecía el sistema de plantaciones. La razón es fácilmente atribuible a algo más que a la repugnancia racial natural: el número de blancos que llegaban, ya fueran sirvientes libres o contratados (con un contrato de cuatro a siete años), no era suficiente para satisfacer las necesidades de las plantaciones. Para 1700, en Virginia, había 6.000 esclavos, una doceava parte de la población. En 1763, había 170.000 esclavos, aproximadamente la mitad de la población.

Los negros eran más fáciles de esclavizar que los blancos o los indios. Pero todavía no era fácil esclavizarlos. Desde el principio, los hombres y mujeres negros importados resistieron su esclavitud. Finalmente, se controló su resistencia y se estableció la esclavitud para 3 millones de negros en el sur. Sin embargo, en las condiciones más difíciles, bajo pena de mutilación y muerte, a lo largo de sus doscientos años de esclavitud en América del Norte, estos afroamericanos continuaron rebelándose. Solo ocasionalmente hubo una insurrección organizada. Más a menudo demostraron su negativa a someterse huyendo. Aún más a menudo, se involucraron en sabotajes, desaceleraciones y formas sutiles de resistencia que afirmaron, aunque solo sea para ellos mismos y sus hermanos y hermanas, su dignidad como seres humanos.

El rechazo comenzó en África. Un comerciante de esclavos informó que los negros eran "tan obstinados y reacios a abandonar su propio país, que a menudo saltaban de las canoas, botes y barcos al mar, y se mantenían bajo el agua hasta que se ahogaban".

When the very first black slaves were brought into Hispaniola in 1503, the Spanish governor of Hispaniola complained to the Spanish court that fugitive Negro slaves were teaching disobedience to the Indians. In the 1520s and 1530s, there were slave revolts in Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Santa Marta, and what is now Panama. Shortly after those rebellions, the Spanish established a special police for chasing fugitive slaves.

A Virginia statute of 1669 referred to "the obstinacy of many of them," and in 1680 the Assembly took note of slave meetings "under the pretense of feasts and brawls" which they considered of "dangerous consequence." In 1687, in the colony's Northern Neck, a plot was discovered in which slaves planned to kill all the whites in the area and escape during a mass funeral.

Gerald Mullin, who studied slave resistance in eighteenth-century Virginia in his work Flight and Rebellion, reports:

Slaves recently from Africa, still holding on to the heritage of their communal society, would run away in groups and try to establish villages of runaways out in the wilderness, on the frontier. Slaves born in America, on the other hand, were more likely to run off alone, and, with the skills they had learned on the plantation, try to pass as free men.

In the colonial papers of England, a 1729 report from the lieutenant governor of Virginia to the British Board of Trade tells how "a number of Negroes, about fifteen. formed a design to withdraw from their Master and to fix themselves in the fastnesses of the neighboring Mountains. They had found means to get into their possession some Arms and Ammunition, and they took along with them some Provisions, their Cloths, bedding and working Tools. Tho' this attempt has happily been defeated, it ought nevertheless to awaken us into some effectual measures. "

Slavery was immensely profitable to some masters. James Madison told a British visitor shortly after the American Revolution that he could make $257 on every Negro in a year, and spend only $12 or $13 on his keep. Another viewpoint was of slaveowner Landon Carter, writing about fifty years earlier, complaining that his slaves so neglected their work and were so uncooperative ("either cannot or will not work") that he began to wonder if keeping them was worthwhile.

Some historians have painted a picture—based on the infrequency of organized rebellions and the ability of the South to maintain slavery for two hundred years—of a slave population made submissive by their condition with their African heritage destroyed, they were, as Stanley Elkins said, made into "Sambos," "a society of helpless dependents." Or as another historian, Ulrich Phillips, said, "by racial quality submissive." But looking at the totality of slave behavior, at the resistance of everyday life, from quiet noncooperation in work to running away, the picture becomes different.

In 1710, warning the Virginia Assembly, Governor Alexander Spotswood said:

Mullin found newspaper advertisements between 1736 and 1801 for 1,138 men runaways, and 141 women. One consistent reason for running away was to find members of one's family—showing that despite the attempts of the slave system to destroy family ties by not allowing marriages and by separating families, slaves would face death and mutilation to get together.

In Maryland, where slaves were about one-third of the population in 1750, slavery had been written into law since the 1660s, and statutes for controlling rebellious slaves were passed. There were cases where slave women killed their masters, sometimes by poisoning them, sometimes by burning tobacco houses and homes. Punishment ranged from whipping and branding to execution, but the trouble continued. In 1742, seven slaves were put to death for murdering their master.

Fear of slave revolt seems to have been a permanent fact of plantation life. William Byrd, a wealthy Virginia slaveowner, wrote in 1736:

The system was psychological and physical at the same time. The slaves were taught discipline, were impressed again and again with the idea of their own inferiority to "know their place," to see blackness as a sign of subordination, to be awed by the power of the master, to merge their interest with the master's, destroying their own individual needs. To accomplish this there was the discipline of hard labor, the breakup of the slave family, the lulling effects of religion (which sometimes led to "great mischief," as one slaveholder reported), the creation of disunity among slaves by separating them into field slaves and more privileged house slaves, and finally the power of law and the immediate power of the overseer to invoke whipping, burning, mutilation, and death. Dismemberment was provided for in the Virginia Code of 1705. Maryland passed a law in 1723 providing for cutting off the ears of blacks who struck whites, and that for certain serious crimes, slaves should be hanged and the body quartered and exposed.

Still, rebellions took place—not many, but enough to create constant fear among white planters. The first large-scale revolt in the North American colonies took place in New York in 1712. In New York, slaves were 10 percent of the population, the highest proportion in the northern states, where economic conditions usually did not require large numbers of field slaves. About twenty- five blacks and two Indians set fire to a building, then killed nine whites who came on the scene. They were captured by soldiers, put on trial, and twenty-one were executed. The governor's report to England said: "Some were burnt, others were hanged, one broke on the wheel, and one hung alive in chains in the town. " One had been burned over a slow fire for eight to ten hours—all this to serve notice to other slaves.

A letter to London from South Carolina in 1720 reports:

Around this time there were a number of fires in Boston and New Haven, suspected to be the work of Negro slaves. As a result, one Negro was executed in Boston, and the Boston Council ruled that any slaves who on their own gathered in groups of two or more were to be punished by whipping.

At Stono, South Carolina, in 1739, about twenty slaves rebelled, killed two warehouse guards, stole guns and gunpowder, and headed south, killing people in their way, and burning buildings. They were joined by others, until there were perhaps eighty slaves in all and, according to one account of the time, "they called out Liberty, marched on with Colours displayed, and two Drums beating." The militia found and attacked them. In the ensuing battle perhaps fifty slaves and twenty-five whites were killed before the uprising was crushed.

Herbert Aptheker, who did detailed research on slave resistance in North America for his book American Negro Slave Revolts, found about 250 instances where a minimum of ten slaves joined in a revolt or conspiracy.

From time to time, whites were involved in the slave resistance. As early as 1663, indentured white servants and black slaves in Gloucester County, Virginia, formed a conspiracy to rebel and gain their freedom. The plot was betrayed, and ended with executions. Mullin reports that the newspaper notices of runaways in Virginia often warned "ill-disposed" whites about harboring fugitives. Sometimes slaves and free men ran off together, or cooperated in crimes together. Sometimes, black male slaves ran off and joined white women. From time to time, white ship captains and watermen dealt with runaways, perhaps making the slave a part of the crew.

In New York in 1741, there were ten thousand whites in the city and two thousand black slaves. It had been a hard winter and the poor—slave and free—had suffered greatly. When mysterious fires broke out, blacks and whites were accused of conspiring together. Mass hysteria developed against the accused. After a trial full of lurid accusations by informers, and forced confessions, two white men and two white women were executed, eighteen slaves were hanged, and thirteen slaves were burned alive.

Only one fear was greater than the fear of black rebellion in the new American colonies. That was the fear that discontented whites would join black slaves to overthrow the existing order. In the early years of slavery, especially, before racism as a way of thinking was firmly ingrained, while white indentured servants were often treated as badly as black slaves, there was a possibility of cooperation. As Edmund Morgan sees it:

As Morgan says, masters, "initially at least, perceived slaves in much the same way they had always perceived servants. shiftless, irresponsible, unfaithful, ungrateful, dishonest. " And "if freemen with disappointed hopes should make common cause with slaves of desperate hope, the results might be worse than anything Bacon had done."

And so, measures were taken. About the same time that slave codes, involving discipline and punishment, were passed by the Virginia Assembly,

Morgan concludes: "Once the small planter felt less exploited by taxation and began to prosper a little, he became less turbulent, less dangerous, more respectable. He could begin to see his big neighbor not as an extortionist but as a powerful protector of their common interests."

We see now a complex web of historical threads to ensnare blacks for slavery in America: the desperation of starving settlers, the special helplessness of the displaced African, the powerful incentive of profit for slave trader and planter, the temptation of superior status for poor whites, the elaborate controls against escape and rebellion, the legal and social punishment of black and white collaboration.

The point is that the elements of this web are historical, not "natural." This does not mean that they are easily disentangled, dismantled. It means only that there is a possibility for something else, under historical conditions not yet realized. And one of these conditions would be the elimination of that class exploitation which has made poor whites desperate for small gifts of status, and has prevented that unity of black and white necessary for joint rebellion and reconstruction.

Around 1700, the Virginia House of Burgesses declared:

It was a kind of class consciousness, a class fear. There were things happening in early Virginia, and in the other colonies, to warrant it.


When Did Slavery Really End in the United States?

During the 2012-2013 academic year, Marquette University has sponsored “The Freedom Project,” which was described at the outset as “a year-long commemoration of the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War that will explore the many meanings and histories of emancipation and freedom in the United States and beyond.” Much of the recent focus has been upon the Emancipation Proclamation, which was issued in its final form by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, an event described in impressive detail by Professor Idleman in an earlier post.

An interesting question rarely addressed is whether either the Emancipation Proclamation or the subsequently adopted Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution applied to “Indian Territory.”

By Indian Territory, I refer to that part of the unorganized portion of the American public domain that was set apart for the Native American tribes. More specifically, I use the term to refer to those lands located in modern day Oklahoma that was set aside for the relocation of the so-call “Civilized Tribes” of the Southeastern United States: the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole.

These tribes were the only Native American groups to formally recognize the institution of African-slavery. As Southerners, the Civilized Tribes had accepted the institution of African-slavery, and at the outset of the Civil War, African-American slaves made up 14% of the population of Indian Territory occupied by the civilized tribes.

As it turns out, neither document applied to Indian Territory, and consequently, slavery survived in that part of the United States for several months after it was abolished everywhere else with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in December, 1865.

In 1861, the existence of slavery and a common “southern” heritage, combined with a history of disappointing dealings with the United States government, led the Civilized Tribes to side with the Confederacy rather than the Union. Although the tribes’ effort to secure admission to the Confederate States of America as an “Indian” state failed, each of the five Civilized Tribes entered into treaties with the Confederacy that at least kept open the possibility that they might someday be directly incorporated into the new nation.

(Less well-known is that the Confederacy also entered into treaties with the Comanches, Delawares, Osage, Quapaws, Senecas, Shawnees, and Wichitas.)

Many Civilized Tribe members served in uniform in the Confederate Army—and while some individual Native Americans fought for the Union—the loyalties of the tribes was primarily to the South. Most famously, the last Confederate general to surrender his troops to the Union Army was the Cherokee Stand Watie, who commanded an all-Indian brigade.

The Emancipation Proclamation by its own language appeared not to apply to Indian Territory, as it was specifically limited to “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States.” Since Indian Territory was not a “state,” the Proclamation had no impact in Indian Territory, even if they were arguably in rebellion against the national government.

However, the year before, the United States Congress had enacted legislation abolishing slavery in the “territories.” Act of June 19, 1862, ch. 112, 12 Stat. 432. (According to the 1860 Census, small numbers of slave were present in Utah, Nevada, and Nebraska territories, areas that had been opened to slavery by the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act, as well as the Indian-owned slaves in the area that would like become the state of Oklahoma.)

Was it possible that this act had outlawed slavery in Indian Territory? It seems unlikely, given the unique status of the Indian Territory. Although referred to as a “territory,” “Indian Territory” (or “Indian Country” as it was also called) had never been organized as a formal territory (even though it was apparently treated as one for census purposes in 1860.)

Moreover, territories were intended to be proto-states, but in 1862, there is no evidence that anyone in the Congress imagined that the Indian Territory, home to semi-sovereign Indian Tribes, would someday be a state. The problem of Native American tribes coexisting with state governments was what had made the Trail of Tears necessary three decades earlier. Consequently, it was never an actual territory and thus was not one of the areas covered by the 1862 act.

Moreover, subsequent events involving the Cherokees suggest that Native Americans in Indian Territory did not believe that either the 1862 Act or the Emancipation Proclamation had ended slavery in their jurisdiction. In 1862, John Ross, the president of the Cherokee nation, broke with the Confederacy and cast his lot with the Lincoln Administration. Although a majority of Cherokee remained loyal to the Confederacy (and pro-slavery), Ross was able to use his influence on the National Council of the Cherokee Nation to repudiate the treaty with the Confederacy and to abolish slavery in February 1863, slightly more than a month after the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation. (Pro-Confederate Cherokee, who were concentrated in the southern part of the Cherokee lands, ignored these actions.)

The National Council’s 1863 decision to abolish slavery, if nothing else, illustrated the beliefs of pro-Union Cherokees that neither to Abolition of Slavery in the Territories Act of 1862, nor the Emancipation Proclamation had changed to status of slaves in Indian Territory.

Because of the widespread view that the Tribes were independent sovereigns, physically located in the United States, but not part of the United States, it also seems unlikely that the drafters and ratifiers of the Thirteen Amendment understood that it would end slavery in Indian Territory.

Moreover, the language of the Thirteenth Amendment itself seems to rule out application to the Civilized Tribes. The somewhat awkwardly worded amendment provides that it applies “within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” The problem is not with the use of “their.” Until the 1870’s, the United States was commonly referred as a plural noun, even when one was talking about a single entity. .

The problem is that Indian Territory was not within the “jurisdiction” of the United States as that term was understood in the 1860’s. Given that the United States government used the international law device of treaties to deal with all Indian Tribes, including the Civilized Tribes, the Lincoln Administration continued the practice of treating the Indian tribes as though they were separate sovereigns, outside the jurisdiction of the United States.

The Fourteenth Amendment, enacted in Congress the following year, had a similar disclaimer: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States …” which provided a continuing rationale for treating native-born tribal Indians as non-citizens.

In fact, in 1866, the United States addressed the slavery in Indian Territory issue by entering into new treaties with each of the Civilized Tribes (although the treaty with the Choctaw and the Chickasaw was a joint treaty). Until these treaties, which were signed between March and July and proclaimed in July and August, only the Cherokee had taken steps to abolish slavery. However, in each of the 1866 treaties the tribal signatory acknowledged that slavery would no longer be recognized as a legal institution by the tribe.

If we simply go by the dates on which the Tribes ratified these treaties, slavery in the continental United States came to an end as a legal institution on June 14, 1866, when the Creek Tribe agreed to abandon African-American slavery. The was, somewhat ironically, the day after Congress approved the Fourteenth Amendment.


Missing Essential Stories of American Slavery

Native Americans point to another vital reality: African-American identity and a personal history of enslaved ancestors are not synonymous. Some African-Americans, like President Obama, have no ancestry among enslaved Africans in America. Many people enslaved in America, most notably the first slaves, Native Americans, are not of African descent.

Furthermore, “unfree labor” did not end with the end of race-based chattel slavery. Unfree Asian labor in Hawaii and the Pacific west continued almost until the 20th century, while today prisoners of all races are often press-ganged into underpaid labor.

This is not to diminish the African-American experience of slavery: the overwhelming majority of enslaved people in America were of African descent, and the overwhelming majority of people of African descent in America are descended from ancestors who were enslaved. Today, it is reasonable to speak of the African-American experience and the experience of enslavement as essentially and inexorably connected.

But when we talk about historia y origins of our society, when we try to untangle the web of events that brought us to where we are today, we have to be more careful. Slavery in America began with Spanish enslavement of Native Americans. In the most enslaved parts of America like South Carolina, slavery largely began with the enslavement of Native Americans.

Like Americans whose origins are in non-Anglo colonies, so too the 1619 Project’s narratives seem to miss a significant part of the legacy of slavery: Native Americans, who remain significantly poorer than African-Americans, less educated, and often with shorter life expectancies. Undoubtedly the 1619 Project’s writers have genuine sympathy for Native Americans. I’m sure they would read my comment here as disingenuous: do I really support Native American rights to land and reparations? For the record, yes, I do.

But beyond that, the 1619 Project bills itself as helping Americans see the real story of American origins. Y el real story as the 1619 Project tells it is that slavery began in 1619 with 20 Africans. This isn’t true. This ignores the experience of Puerto Rico, where slavery began earlier, and lasted longer.

Furthermore, a serious accounting for slavery has to wrestle with the experience of Native Americans and Hawaiian islanders, and especially the status of their ancestral lands and sovereign rights. More broadly, to wrestle adequately with the painful historical reality of America’s “labor freedom,” we have to be able to talk about less-than-free Asian migrant workers in California and Hawaii, as well as the indenturehood of the Scots-Irish and subsequent Appalachian poverty.

That these peoples are not treated as subaltern today to the same extent that Native Americans or African Americans still are should not exclude them from a project concerned with history. Plus, many poor whites in Appalachia with accents still experience a version of ethnic subaltern status. We should let them speak without writing it off as white racial grievance.


The Horrible Fate of John Casor, The First Black Man to be Declared Slave for Life in America

The only date definitely connected to John Casor’s life is this day in 1654 or 1655. It’s not when he was born, when he achieved something or when he died. It’s when he became a slave.

Contenido relacionado

Casor was originally an indentured servant, which meant he was practically a slave in some senses. But what was bought or sold wasn’t him, it was his contract of indenture, which obligated him to work for its holder for the period it set. At the end of that time, indentured servants—who could be of any race—were considered legally free and sent out into the world.

This might sound like a rough deal, but indenture was how the British colonizers who lived in what would later become the United States managed to populate the land and get enough people to do the back-breaking work of farming crops like tobacco in the South.

People who survived their period of indenture (many didn’t) went on to live free lives in the colonies, often after receiving some kind of small compensation like clothes, land or tools to help set them up, writes Ariana Kyl for Today I Found Out.

That was the incentive that caused many poor whites to indenture themselves and their families and move to the so-called New World. But Africans who were indentured were often captured and brought over against their will. That's what happened to the holder of Casor’s indenture, Anthony Johnson. Johnson served out his contract and went on to run his own tobacco farm and hold his own indentured servants, among them Casor. At this time, the colony of Virginia had very few black people in it: Johnson was one of the original 20.

After a disagreement about whether or not Casor's contract was lapsed, a court ruled in favor of Johnson and Casor saw the status of his indenture turn into slavery, where he—not his contract—was considered property. Casor claimed that he had served his indenture of “seaven or Eight years” and seven more years on top of that. The court sided with Johnson, who claimed that Casor was his slave for life.

So Casor became the first person to be arbitrarily declared a slave for life in the U.S. (An earlier case had ended with a man named John Punch being declared a slave for life as a punishment for trying to escape his indentured servitude. His fellow escapees, who were white, were not punished in this way.) Of course, as Wesleyan University notes, “the Transatlantic slave trade from Africa to the Americas had been around for over a century already, originating around 1500.” Slaves, usually captured and sold by other African tribes, were transported across the Atlantic to the Americas, the university’s blog notes. Around 11 million people were transported from 1500 to 1850, mostly to Brazil and the Caribbean islands. If they arrived in America, originally they became indentured servants if they arrived elsewhere, they became slaves.

Casor’s story is particularly grim in hindsight. His slip into slavery would be followed by many, many other people of African descent who were declared property in what became the United States. It was a watershed moment in the history of institutional slavery.

“About seven years later, Virginia made this practice legal for everyone, in 1661, by making it state law for any free white, black or Indian to be able to own slaves, along with indentured servants,” Kyl writes. The step from there to a racialized idea of slavery wasn’t a huge one, she writes, and by the time Johnson died in 1670, his race was used to justify giving his plantation to a white man rather than Johnson’s children by his wife, Mary. He was “not a citizen of the colony,” a judge ruled, because he was black.

Sobre Kat Eschner

Kat Eschner es una periodista independiente de ciencia y cultura que vive en Toronto.


Five myths about Black history

Each February since 1976, Americans have celebrated Black History Month. Established by historian Carter G. Woodson as Negro History Week in 1926, the commemoration developed over 50 years until it became Black History Month to mark the contributions of Black people. Despite the significance of Black history, far too many Americans don’t grasp its centrality to U.S. history. This lack of knowledge helps spread myths about the Black past.

Myth No. 1

Slavery was a Southern phenomenon.

The Southern Poverty Law Center notes that this idea continues to shape how students think about slavery in the United States. Fewer than half of American adults knew that slavery existed in all 13 colonies before the revolution, a 2019 Washington Post-SSRS poll found.

In reality, Christopher Columbus’s 1492 voyage set in motion 400 years of slavery in the Americas. An estimated 650,000 African captives were transported to what would become the United States between 1619 and the eve of the Civil War. It’s true that most of these men, women and children were brought to the South, which relied heavily on enslaved labor to build its economy. But other people were taken to Northern states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey. New York City had the second-largest population density of enslaved Africans (after Charleston, S.C.) in 1740. At various moments during the 18th century, New York’s population of enslaved people exceeded that of some Southern states. It was not until 1827 that New York state legally abolished slavery. Abolition in other Northern states followed a similar pattern of gradual emancipation. Ultimately, slavery as an institution shaped the entire nation.

Myth No. 2

Abraham Lincoln ended slavery and freed enslaved people.

Americans tend to credit Lincoln alone for abolition, mostly because he issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. “Yes, Republicans freed the slaves,” a CNN analysis last summer reported. “They were not these Republicans.” Similarly, the rapper Kanye West told a crowd in 2019, “Abraham Lincoln was the Whig Party — that’s the Republican Party that freed the slaves.”

But the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery or even free a large number of enslaved people. It recognized Black soldiers by opening up a chance for them to enlist in the Union army. But on the matter of slavery, it applied only to enslaved people in rebel states — territory over which Lincoln then had no control. It didn’t affect the more than 800,000 African Americans enslaved in the border states: Kentucky, Delaware, Missouri and Maryland.

In truth, courageous enslaved people helped bring about their own freedom. At the start of the Civil War, an estimated 4 million Black people were enslaved in the South. The war gave them a chance to seize their freedom — and they did, quickly volunteering to fight in the Union army (where they eventually constituted 10 percent of the troops), confiscating land and declaring themselves free. They did not wait passively for others to come to their rescue.

What’s more, Black abolitionists such as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, Maria Stewart and Henry Highland Garnet were crucial in spreading information about the horrors of slavery years before the war. Their bravery and commitment to abolition helped build the movement to end slavery.

Myth No. 3

The Tuskegee study infected Black people with syphilis.

The pandemic has exposed racial inequities in medicine: Black Americans are contracting the coronavirus and dying from it at higher rates thanks to decades of medical racism, which limited Black people’s access to quality health care. The Tuskegee syphilis study, starting in 1932, is often cited as evidence of this tragic history. Many Americans believe that doctors infected 600 Black people with syphilis — a myth that’s so widespread that memes are still circulating on social media making this claim.

It’s not true. The study was bad enough in reality: It examined nearly 400 men with latent syphilis and 200 men in a control group. Doctors recruited Black men in rural Alabama as participants by promising medical treatment — which was never provided — while surreptitiously documenting the long-term effects of untreated syphilis. The men involved were unaware of their diagnosis. The experiment started 13 years before penicillin became an accepted therapy for syphilis in 1945, yet it lasted 27 more years, ending only when journalists exposed its decades of abuse.

Myth No. 4

Brown v. Board of Education ended school segregation.

The 1954 marrón decision is widely celebrated. “The Court stripped away constitutional sanctions for segregation by race, and made equal opportunity in education the law of the land,” says the website for the National Museum of American History. “Thanks to Brown v. Board of Education, our public schools became the initiating institutions of integration for our entire society,” then-Attorney General John Ashcroft said in 2004, in remarks commemorating the decision’s 50th anniversary. Many Americans think it brought a decisive end to school desegregation, leveling the playing field for all.

The case was a significant development, but it did not end school segregation the way many imagine. Chief Justice Earl Warren’s opinion — signed by all nine justices — overturned the precedent set by Plessy contra Ferguson (1896) by stating, “Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” marrón provided a legal framework for dismantling segregated schools throughout the nation. A setback occurred a year later, however, when the court returned to the decision and provided an addendum: Federal courts would handle individual cases to ensure that desegregation proceeded “with all deliberate speed.” The inclusion of “all deliberate speed” in what is known as Brown II allowed recalcitrant school districts to slow down the process.

As Black families nationwide started to push for desegregation, the effort unsettled Northern Whites, who often fought such measures. Even today, more than half of school children in the United States attend school districts where more than 75 percent of the students are either White or of color — a clear sign of continued segregation.

Myth No. 5

Black Power was a departure from the civil rights movement.

One of the most lasting myths of the 1960s and 1970s is that the Black Power movement was a break with the civil rights movement. At John Lewis’s funeral last summer, former president Bill Clinton made subtly disparaging remarks about Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael, suggesting that there was a moment when activists “went a little too far towards Stokely.” The spirit of that remark aligns with history textbooks, which deemphasize Black Power and instead praise leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, setting out nonviolent resistance as the ideal form of Black protest.

Nonviolent resistance during the civil rights era was obviously significant. But Black Power was influential in the effort to secure Black political rights and opportunities. This wing included a broad coalition of groups that advocated armed self-defense and endorsed Black political autonomy and Black pride, ideas that had ample support in the broader movement. Proponents of Black Power were deeply connected to and even sustained the civil rights movement. Carmichael, for instance, was a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, one of the most important civil rights organizations of the period.

The civil rights movement and the Black Power movement were not separate ideologies so much as distinct expressions in the quest for Black liberation. As historian Tim Tyson explained in his study on activist Robert F. Williams, they “grew out of the same soil [and] confronted the same predicaments.”

Five myths is a weekly feature challenging everything you think you know. You can check out previous myths, read more from Outlook or follow our updates on Facebook and Twitter.


Leaving Evidence of Our Lives

How can the historical record be both huge and limited? To consider the strengths and limitations of the historical record, do the following activity:

  1. Assign students to work individually or in small groups. Alert students that they will share their activity responses with the class.
  2. Ask students to think about all the activities they were involved in during the past 24 hours, and list as many of these activities as they can remember.
  3. Have students write down what evidence, if any, each activity might have left behind.
  4. Direct students to review their lists, and then answer these questions:
    • Which of the daily activities were most likely to leave trace evidence behind?
    • What, if any, of that evidence might be preserved for the future? ¿Por qué?
    • What might be left out of a historical record of these activities? ¿Por qué?
    • What would a future historian be able to tell about your life and your society based on evidence of your daily activities that might be preserved for the future?
  5. Now think about a more public event currently happening (a court case, election, public controversy, law being debated), and answer these questions:
    • What kinds of evidence might this event leave behind?
    • Who records information about this event?
    • For what purpose are different records of this event made?
  6. Based on this activity, students will write one sentence that describes how the historical record can be huge and limited at the same time. As time allows, discuss as the strengths and limitations of the historical record.

Análisis

In this section, students analyze primary source documents.

  1. Assign two primary sources from the primary source gallery Slavery in the United States, 1790-1865 to individuals or groups. Students should be assigned to look at two different kinds of primary sources to allow for comparison.
  2. Allow 30 to 50 minutes for students to analyze the documents. Students analyze the documents, recording their thoughts on the Primary Source Analysis Tool. Before the students begin, select questions from the teacher&rsquos guide Analyzing Primary Sources to focus the group work, and select additional questions to focus and prompt a whole class discussion of their analysis.

Discusión

In this section, students discuss their primary source analysis with the entire class and compare and contrast analysis results.

  1. Have student groups summarize their analysis of a primary source document for the class. Ask students to comment on the credibility of the source. If several groups have analyzed the same document, encourage supporting or refuting statements from other groups.
  2. Conclude the lesson with a general discussion of the following questions:
    • What was slavery like for African-Americans in the period before the Civil War?
    • Was any document completely believable? Completely unbelievable? ¿Por qué o por qué no?
    • Did some types of primary sources seem less believable than other kinds of sources? Why do you think this is true?
    • What information about slavery did each document provide? How did looking at several documents expand your understanding of slavery?
    • If you found contradictory information in the sources, which sources did you tend to believe? ¿Por qué?
    • What generalizations about primary historical sources can you make based on this document set?
    • What additional sources (and types of sources) would you like to see to give you greater confidence in your understanding of slavery?

Extension

Each student might be asked to find one additional primary source on slavery. Individuals or groups might be challenged to research and gather a set of primary sources on a topic other than slavery.

Additional activity suggestions for different types of primary sources:

  1. Objects -
    • Hypothesize about the uses of an unknown object pictured in an old photograph. Conduct research to support or refute the hypothesis. Make a presentation to the class to "show and tell" the object, hypothesis, search methods, and results.
    • Study old photographs to trace the development of an invention over time (examples: automobiles, tractors, trains, airplanes, weapons). What do the photographs tell you about the technology, tools, and materials available through time?
  2. Images -
    • Use a historic photograph or film of a street scene. Describe the sights, sounds, and smells that might surround the scene. Closely examine the image to find clues that will help you. (weather, time of day, clothing of people, vehicles and other technology, architecture, etc.)
    • Select a historical photograph or film frame. Predict what will happen one minute or one hour after the photograph or film was taken. Explain the reasoning behind your predictions
  3. Audio -
    • Research your family history by interviewing relatives. Make note of differing recollections about the same event.
    • Listen to audio recordings from old radio broadcasts. Compare the language, style of speaking, and content to radio and television programs today. How do they differ? What do they tell you about the beliefs and attitudes of the time?
  4. Statistics -
    • Study historical maps of a city, state, or region to find evidence of changes in population, industry, and settlement over time.
    • Choose a famous, historical, public building in your area. Research blueprints or architectural drawings of the building. Compare the plans to the building as it exists today. What changes do you see? Why do you think the changes occurred?
  5. Text –
    • Select a cookbook from another era. Look at the ingredients lists from a large number of recipes. What do the ingredients lists tell you about the types of foods available and the lifestyle of the time?
    • Select a time period or era. Research and read personal letters that comment on events of the time. Analyze the point of view of the letter writer. Compose a return letter that tells the author how those historical events have affected modern society.
  6. The Community -
    • Make a record of family treasures (books, tools, musical instruments, tickets, letters, photographs) using photographs, photocopies, drawings, recordings, or videotapes. What was happening in the world when ancestors were using these family treasures? How did those events affect your family?
    • Prepare a community time capsule. What primary sources will you include to describe your present day community for future generations? When should your time capsule be opened?

1934–1968: FHA Redlining

When it was established in 1934, the Federal Housing Administration included underwriting guidelines that specifically discriminated against and devalued neighborhoods containing minorities. As a result, Blacks received only 2% of federally insured home loans. As the link above demonstrates, banks following the FHA’s guidelines systematically redlined minority housing districts. The outcomes of these policies included plummeting home values, white flight, and the departure of many businesses from minority neighborhoods. The direct result of this was the impoverishment of these minority communities.

At the same time, Blacks migrating north to escape the convict leasing and debt peonage systems that threatened their freedom, their livelihoods, and their very lives in the South, were systematically victimized in predatory housing and lending schemes.

Today a hugely disproportionate number of minorities, especially Blacks, are economically confined to impoverished, crime-ridden, inner-city ghettos. This is not the result of “poor choices” or cultural failings, as white conservatives are prone to suggest. It is the direct result of discriminatory housing policies that helped whites while targeting Blacks from the 1930s to the late 1960s.

While no longer built into official housing policy, those practices remain very much in place today.


The Three-Fifths Clause of the United States Constitution (1787)

Often misinterpreted to mean that African Americans as individuals are considered three-fifths of a person or that they are three-fifths of a citizen of the U.S., the three-fifths clause (Article I, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution of 1787) in fact declared that for purposes of representation in Congress, enslaved blacks in a state would be counted as three-fifths of the number of white inhabitants of that state.

The three-fifths clause was part of a series of compromises enacted by the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The most notable other clauses prohibited slavery in the Northwest Territories and ended U.S. participation in the international slave trade in 1807. These compromises reflected Virginia Constitutional Convention delegate (and future U.S. President) James Madison’s observation that “…the States were divided into different interests not by their…size…but principally from their having or not having slaves.”

When Constitutional Convention delegate Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed that congressional representation be based on the total number of inhabitants of a state, delegate Charles Pinckney of South Carolina agreed saying “blacks ought to stand on an equality with whites….” Pinckney’s statement was disingenuous since at the time he knew most blacks were enslaved in his state and none, slave or free, could vote or were considered equals of white South Carolinians. Other delegates including most notably Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania argued that he could not support equal representation because he “could never agree to give such encouragement to the slave trade…by allowing them [Southern states] a representation for their negroes.”

With the convention seemingly at an impasse Charles Pinckney proposed a compromise: “Three-fifths of the number of slaves in any particular state would be added to the total number of free white persons, including bond servants, but not Indians, to the estimated number of congressmen each state would send to the House of Representatives.” The Pinckney compromise was not completely original. This ratio had already been established by the Congress which adopted the Articles of Confederation in 1781 as the basis for national taxation.

Although the three-fifths compromise and others regarding slavery helped hold this new fragile union of states together, many on both sides of the issue were opposed. James Madison and Edmund Randolph of Virginia used the phrase “Quotas of contribution” to argue that slaves should be fully counted, one for one, and opposed the compromise.

Northern opponents correctly pointed out that slaveholding states had more representatives than if only the free white population was counted. By 1793, slaveholding states had 47 congressmen but would have had only 33 if not for the compromise. During the entire period before the Civil War slaveholding states had disproportionate influence on the Presidency, the Speakership of the House of Representatives, and the U.S. Supreme Court because of the compromise. By the 1830s abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison of Massachusetts used the clause in their argument that the Federal government was dominated by slaveholders.

La cláusula de las tres quintas partes permaneció en vigor hasta que la Enmienda 13 posterior a la Guerra Civil liberó a todas las personas esclavizadas en los Estados Unidos, la Enmienda 14 les otorgó plena ciudadanía y la Enmienda 15 otorgó a los hombres negros el derecho al voto.


Ver el vídeo: Origen de la esclavitud negra y su impacto en el sistema capitalista en los Estados Unidos (Noviembre 2021).