Thursday, November 28, 2013

Racing Daylight on Showtime - Dec-Jan

Fri, Dec 13, 12:05 PM
Tue, Dec 17, 4:00 PM
Fri, Dec 20, 8:00 AM
Fri, Dec 20, 2:10 PM
Wed, Jan 01, 6:15 AM
Fri, Jan 03, 9:00 AM
Tue, Jan 07, 10:15 AM
Tue, Jan 07, 8:00 PM
Wed, Jan 15, 4:50 PM
Sat, Jan 18, 8:55 AM
Sun, Jan 19, 4:30 AM
Thu, Jan 23, 7:00 AM
Thu, Jan 23, 10:00 PM

Friday, November 22, 2013

Racing Daylight on Showtime Nov-Jan

Wed, Nov 27, 4:05 PM
Fri, Dec 13, 12:05 PM
Tue, Dec 17, 4:00 PM
Fri, Dec 20, 8:00 AM
Fri, Dec 20, 2:10 PM
Wed, Jan 01, 6:15 AM
Fri, Jan 03, 9:00 AM
Tue, Jan 07, 10:15 AM
Tue, Jan 07, 8:00 PM
Wed, Jan 15, 4:50 PM
Sat, Jan 18, 8:55 AM
Sun, Jan 19, 4:30 AM
Thu, Jan 23, 7:00 AM
Thu, Jan 23, 10:00 PM

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Showtime - Dec

Fri, Dec 13, 12:05 PM
Tue, Dec 17, 4:00 PM
Fri, Dec 20, 8:00 AM
Fri, Dec 20, 2:10 PM

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Conversations/Dr. Ian Stevenson; You May Be Reading This In Some Future Past Life

racing daylight

By DAVID WALLISPublished: September 26, 1999

AFTER years of mockery from colleagues, Dr. Ian Stevenson, Director of the Department of Personality Studies at the University of Virginia, is finally getting respect. In ''Old Souls: The Scientific Evidence For Past Lives,'' (Simon & Schuster, 1999) Tom Shroder, a Washington Post editor, reviews the 80-year-old clinical psychiatrist's research on reincarnation and finds it hard to refute.
Mr. Shroder joined Dr. Stevenson on evidence-gathering trips to India and Lebanon, where they questioned subjects like Suzanne, 25, a Druse in Beirut who recalled her life as a woman who had died months before she was born. By age 2, Suzanne knew the names of 13 of the woman's relatives and could recount parts of the eulogy delivered at her funeral. Mr. Shroder concludes: ''The only way to account normally for what people were telling us was to hypothesize some massive multi-sided conspiracy, either conscious fraud or some unconscious communal coordination among people from different families and communities with no obvious motive or clear means to cooperate in a deception.''

In a recent interview, Dr. Stevenson discussed his (present) life's work, but wouldn't say whether he himself remembers a past life. ''Readers should make up their own minds,'' he argues, ''not on the basis of what I believe or what anybody else believes.''
Q: In 1938, Dr. Sigmund Freud wrote of psychoanalysis: ''I had to pay heavily for this bit of good luck. People did not want to believe my facts and thought my theories unsavory. Resistance was unrelenting.'' As a psychiatrist who has faced scorn from colleagues and the press, do you identify with Freud?
A: I've been through somewhat similar neglect. I'm not paranoid about it though. There seems to be an inappropriate reluctance on the part of some of my colleagues in medicine to even look at the data.
Q: What drew you to study reincarnation in the first place?
A: Discontent with other explanations of human personality. I wasn't satisfied with psychoanalysis or behaviorism or, for that matter, neuroscience. Something seemed to be missing.
Q: You have repeated the saying: Science changes one funeral at a time. What did you mean?
A: Science develops ideas of what is so and it becomes very difficult to force scientists to take a look at new data that may challenge existing concepts. I'm not trying in any way to replace what we know about genetics or environmental influences. All I'm offering is that past lives may contribute a third factor that may fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge.
Q: You've investigated more than 3,000 cases of possible reincarnation. Was there one case that struck you as particularly difficult to explain in any other way?
A: Twins in Sri Lanka. We did testing that showed they were identical, yet they were markedly different in their behaviors and physical appearance. One twin began to talk about a previous life as a Sinhalese insurgent, said he was shot by police in April 1971. Anyway, his family laughed at him, so he shut up and nothing could be verified about what he said. The older twin talked copiously about the previous life of a young schoolboy. He made several specific statements that ultimately checked out. He said he lived in a place called Balapitiya and traveled by train to a school in another town called Ambalangoda. He made comparisons between the families' property. He referred to an aunt, by name, who had cooked chilies for him. Perhaps the most astonishing thing was that when the two families met, the boy pointed to some [writing] in a wall that turned out to be the name of the deceased boy he was remembering. The subject said he had made that when the cement was wet. No one in the deceased boy's family had noticed it before.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Number of Slaves Transported by Each European Country


Country Voyages 
Slaves Transported
  Portugal (including Brazil) 30,000 4,650,000  
Spain (including Cuba) 4,000 1,600,000  
France (including West Indies) 4,200 1,250,000  
Holland 2,000 500,000  Britain 12,000 2,600,000  
British North America, U.S. 1,500 300,000  
Denmark 250 50,000  
Other 250 50,000  
Total 54,200 11,000,000 

Sunday, November 17, 2013


image: Screenshot from CNN's 'Slavery Then and Now'

"[R]ace prejudice seems stronger in those states that have abolished slavery than in those where it still exists, and nowhere is it more intolerant than in those states where slavery was never known." --Alexis De Tocqueville, “Democracy in America”
In some Northern states, after emancipation, blacks were legally allowed to vote, marry whites, file lawsuits, or sit on juries. In most, they were not. But even where the right was extended by law, often the white majority did not allow it to happen. In Massachusetts in 1795, despite the absence of any law prohibiting on black voting, Judge James Winthrop and Thomas Pemberton wrote “that Negroes could neither elect nor be elected to office in that state.”[1] De Tocqueville, in Philadelphia in 1831, asked why, since black men had the right to vote there, none ever dared do so. The answer came back: “The law with us is nothing if it is not supported by public opinion.” When Ohio’s prohibition against blacks testifying in legal cases involving white people was lifted in 1849, observers acknowledged that, at least in the southern part of the state, where most of the blacks lived, social prejudice would keep the ban in practical effect.

In 1790, the first U.S. census counted 13,059 free blacks in New England, with another 13,975 in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Strictly speaking, none of them was "free," for their lives were proscribed politically, economically, and socially. While white indentured servants often became respected members of their communities after their indentures ended, free blacks in the North rarely had the opportunity to rise above the level of common laborers and washerwomen, and as early as 1760 they had formed ghettoes in the grimy alleys and waterfront districts of Boston and other Northern towns.
In colonial times, Northern freemen, like slaves, were required to carry passes when traveling in some places, and they were forbidden to own property in others. Although taxed in New England, they could not vote there in early colonial times, though they could in the plantation colonies.[2] Free blacks were required to work on roads a certain number of days a year in Massachusetts, at the discretion of the local selectmen. They could only use ferries under certain conditions in New England. In South Kingstown, Rhode Island, they could not own horses or sheep. In Boston, they could not carry a cane unless they were unable to walk without one.
Pennsylvania colony's “Act for the better Regulation of Negroes” set penalties for free blacks who harbored runaway slaves or received property stolen from masters that were potentially much higher than those applied to whites. If the considerable fines could not be paid, the justices had the power to order a free black person put into servitude. Under other provisions of the act, free negroes who married whites were to be sold into slavery for life; for mere fornication or adultery involving blacks and whites, the penalty for the black person was to be sold as a servant for seven years. Whites in such cases faced different or lighter punishment. By a law of 1718, a black man convicted of the rape of a white woman was to be castrated. Throughout Pennsylvania colony, the children of free blacks, without exception, were bound out by the local justices of the peace until age 24 (if male) or 21 (if female). All in all, the "free" blacks of colonial Pennsylvania led severely circumscribed lives; they had no control even over their own family arrangements, and they could be put back into servitude for "laziness" or petty crimes, at the mercy of the local authorities.
Having set controls on their black residents, the Northern states busied themselves in passing laws to make sure no more blacks moved within their boundaries. These were not elitist actions. The pressure for total exclusion came from the working class whites, struggling for a little bargaining power with the shopowners and fearful of inexpensive black competition that could drive down wages. New Jersey in 1786 had prohibited blacks from entering the state to settle, because "sound public policy requires that importation be prohibited in order that white labour may be protected." Connecticut's legislature, making the same prohibition in 1784, had declared that it did so because "the increase of slaves is injurious to the poor."
As far back as 1717, citizens of New London, Connecticut, in a town meeting voted their objection to free blacks living in the town or owning land anywhere in the colony. That year, the colonial assembly passed a law in accordance with this sentiment, prohibiting free blacks or mulattoes from residing in any town in the colony. It also forbid them to buy land or go into business without the consent of the town. The provisions were retroactive, so that if any black person had managed to buy land, the deed was rendered void, and a black resident of a town, however long he had been there, was now subject to prosecution at the discretion of the selectmen. Massachusetts in 1788 prescribed flogging for non-resident blacks who stayed more than two months. Less than four months after its Congressmen voted against the restrictions on black settlement in the Missouri Compromise, Massachusetts set up a legislative committee to investigate such legislation for its own sake. From 1813 to 1852, Pennsylvania was constantly debating exclusion, under pressure of petitions from the counties along the Mason-Dixon Line.
Like the black codes of the South and Midwest in the 19th century, enforcement of Northern colonial race laws was selective, and their real value lay in harassment and discouragement of further settlement, and in being a constant reminder to free blacks that their existence was precarious and dependent on white toleration. Across the North, such laws were the sword hung above the heads of a whole black population: Step out of line, make one false move, and you could be shipped out, or sold into slavery. You wouldn't have the right to face your (white) accuser in court (as you would in, say, ante-bellum Louisiana). Anti-sodomy laws still are on the books in some states; their defenders point out that they are rarely invoked, but that does not make their potential targets feel safer living under them. It gets to the gist of what makes slavery itself, however comfortable, always worse than freedom, however miserable. Many Southern slaves, perhaps the mass of them, lived better than most northern industrial laborers, when you quantify their work requirements, nutrition, and life expectancy. But the slave could be, at any moment, and with no recourse, stripped, beaten, whipped, violated, and sold. That “could be” embraces all the evil of slavery.
So the Negro [in the North] is free, but he cannot share the rights, pleasures, labors, griefs, or even the tomb of him whose equal he has been declared; there is nowhere where he can meet him, neither in life nor in death.In the South, where slavery still exists, less trouble is taken to keep the Negro apart: they sometimes share the labors and the pleasures of the white men; people are prepared to mix with them to some extent; legislation is more harsh against them, but customs are more tolerant and gentle.[3]
The NORTHWESTThe new states that entered the union in the North after the end of slavery were just as concerned with their racial purity as the old ones. To do so, they turned to an old practice in the North: the exclusion law. Slaves could not be brought into the Northwest Territories, under the ordinance of 1787, but slaves already there were to continue in bondage. Once states began to emerge from the old territories, most of them explicitly barred blacks or permitted them only if they could prove their freedom and post bond. Ohio offered the first example, and those that followed her into the union followed her lead on race.
Slavery was abolished in Ohio by the state's original constitution (1802). But at the same time, Ohio, with slave-state Kentucky across the river, aggressively barred black immigration. When Virginian John Randolph's 518 slaves were emancipated and a plan was hatched to settle them in southern Ohio, the population rose up in indignation. An Ohio congressman warned that if the attempt were made, “the banks of the Ohio ... would be lined with men with muskets on their shoulders to keep off the emancipated slaves.”[4] Even the abolitionists in this region pitched their appeal, in part, to the desire for a homogenous (white) states. They claimed that attempts by blacks to immigrate into the state would end when slavery ended and blacks had no more cause to flee the South for “the uncongenial North.”
According to historian Leon F. Litwack, Ohio “provided a classic example of how anti-immigration legislation could be invoked to harass Negro residents.”[5] The state had enacted Black Laws in 1804 and 1807 that compelled blacks entering the state to post bond of $500 guaranteeing good behavior and to produce a court paper as proof that they were free. “No extensive effort was made to enforce the bond requirement until 1829, when the rapid increase of the Negro population alarmed Cincinnati. The city authorities announced that the Black Laws would be enforced and ordered Negroes to comply or leave within thirty days.” Citizens of the city's “Little Africa” -- largely a ghetto of wooden shacks owned by whites -- appealed for a delay, and sent a delegation to Canada to try to find a place to settle there. But if the authorities were willing to offer more time, the Ohio mob was not, and whites in packs began to roam through the black neighborhoods, burning and beating. The delegation came back from Upper Canada with the offer of a safe home from the governor. “Tell the Republicans on your side of the line that we royalists do not know men by their color. Should you come to us you will be entitled to all the privileges of the rest of His Majesty's subjects.” About half of the city's 2,200 blacks left, most of them apparently going to Canada. The proponents of strict enforcement of the Black Laws then discovered that they had driven off “the sober, honest, industrious, and useful portion of the colored population,” and their absence had lifted “much of the moral restraint ... on the idle and indolent, as well as the profligate” among the rest.[6]
Blacks petitioned against the exclusion laws, but the state legislature denied they had the right to petition the government "for any purpose whatsoever." Finally, after the Free Soil Party gained a degree of power in the state in 1849, a compromise partially repealed the Black Laws, ending the bond-posting requirement. It was a rare, if not unique, instance of a Northern state loosening its restrictions on black settlement.
The northern tier of the state had been settled by good stock from southern New England and to a degree shared in the liberal and abolitionist religion and politics of that region. But when it came to an issue like integrating schools, the people's plain feelings revealed themselves. When the public school system spread to Ohio, citizens and legislators alike objected to educating blacks from public funds, in part because it would tend to encourage other blacks to come there and settle. In the end, the state, like Pennsylvania, required its district school directors to set up separate facilities for black and white children. The Ohio courts upheld this segregation in 1850 and 1859, rejecting the idea of integration and declaring that, “whether consistent with true philanthropy or not ... there ... still is an almost invincible repugnance to such communion and fellowship.”
Yet segregation was not enough for many Ohio whites, and they insulted, opposed, and sometimes literally attacked private schools set up to teach black children. Whites destroyed newly opened schools for blacks in Zanesville in 1837 and Troy in 1840. Similar mass resistance took place in Vermont and Connecticut.
In the 1830s, Oberlin College decided to open its doors to black students. As soon as the plan became known "panic and despair" seized students, faculty, and town residents. The chief proponent of the plan hastened to assure them that he had no intention to let the place get “full up with filthy stupid negroes,” but the controversy continued. The board of trustees tried to table the plan, but by now the abolitionists were aroused and would accept no retreat. In the end, in 1835, the trustees punted the decision to the faculty, which was known to favor black admissions. The change threatened the very existence of the college. From New England, the quarter from which much of the school's student body and money came, the college's financial agent wrote predicting disaster. “For as soon as your darkies begin to come in in any considerable numbers, unless they are completely separated ... the whites will begin to leave -- and at length your Institute will change colour. Why not have a black Institution, Dyed in the wool -- and let Oberlin be?”[7] The college survived integration, mostly because before 1860 only a token handful of blacks was admitted. In 1860, the figure for black students was 4 percent. Still, the school was shockingly integrated by Northern standards. A Massachusetts girl wrote home from the school in 1852, assuring her family, “that we don't have to kiss the Niggars nor speak to them,” and only about six “pure Niggars” were at the school, the rest looked like mulattoes, and anyway they dressed better than most of the white students.
Both Indiana (1816) and Illinois (1818) abolished slavery by their constitutions. And both followed the Ohio policy of trying to prevent black immigration by passing laws requiring blacks who moved into the state to produce legal documents verifying that they were free and posting bond to guarantee their good behavior. The bond requirements ranged as high as $1,000, which was prohibitive for a black American in those days. Anti-immigration legislation passed in Illinois in 1819, 1829, and 1853. In Indiana, such laws were enacted in 1831 and 1852. Michigan Territory passed such a law in 1827; Iowa Territory passed one in 1839 and Iowa enacted another in 1851 after it became a state. Oregon Territory passed such a law in 1849.[8] Blacks who violated the law faced punishments that included advertisement and sale at public auction (Illinois, 1853).
The evidence seems to support the theory that these rules were not uniformly enforced. But they were invoked against "troublesome" black residents, or they could be used against whole communities, as in Cincinnati, when white citizens found the increase in black population had reached an unacceptable level. They served blacks as grinding reminders of apartheid intentions and legal subjugation, and they offered white authorities and Northern mobs a cloak for harassment and violence.
Exclusion ordinances often were advanced by self-professed friends of the freemen who foresaw only tragedy in attempts of the races to share the land. Robert Dale Owen, speaking in Indiana in 1850, asked if any decent person desired “the continuance among us of a race to whom we are not willing to accord the most common protection against outrage and death.” The writers in such cases seem honestly troubled by the plight of free blacks. The rhetoric hardly is an exaggeration: during the constitutional debate in the state that year, one speaker had frankly acknowledged, “It would be better to kill them off at once, if there is no other way to get rid of them. ... We know how the Puritans did with the Indians, who were infinitely more magnanimous and less impudent than the colored race.”
Not content with mere legislation, Illinois, Indiana, and Oregon had anti-immigration provisions built into their constitutions. In Illinois (1848), in clause-by-clause voting, this clause was approved by voters by more than 2 to 1. Most of the opposition to it came from the northern counties of the state, where blacks were few. In Indiana (1851), it was approved by a larger margin than the constitution itself. In Oregon (1857), the vote for it was 8 to 1. The Illinois act stayed on the books until 1865. The Black Codes dealt with more than just settlement. Oregon forbid blacks to hold real estate, make contracts, or bring lawsuits. Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Iowa, and California prohibited them from testifying in cases where a white man was a party.
Indiana's anti-immigration rule was challenged in the case of a black man convicted for bringing a black woman into the state to marry her. The state Supreme Court upheld the conviction, noting that, “The policy of the state is ... clearly evolved. It is to exclude any further ingress of negroes, and to remove those already among us as speedily as possible.” There was no legal segregation in Indiana's public schools: none was necessary. The white citizens of the state would keep the schools racially pure more thoroughly than any legal provision could. A court upheld the white-only Indiana public schools in 1850, finding that, in the eyes of the state, “black children were deemed unfit associates of whites, as school companions.”
Wisconsin was one of the first states to establish black suffrage, but this was accomplished only through a Supreme Court decision after suffrage had been defeated repeatedly at the polls. Like many in the North, Wisconsin residents disliked slavery, but they also felt no desire to integrate with blacks, whom they felt were inferior. A committee of the 1846 statehood convention proposed an article granting suffrage to “white citizens of the United States,” foreign residents who intended to become citizens and certain Indians. A few idealists urged that the word “white” be deleted, but they were opposed by the majority. The convention ultimately agreed to submit to the voters a separate article allowing black suffrage. The 1846 constitution was voted down for reasons unrelated to suffrage; but the suffrage article also was defeated decisively, with only 34 percent in favor.
The 1847-48 constitutional convention resolved the suffrage issue by agreeing that the Legislature could allow black suffrage at any time, provided that the law was "submitted to the vote of the people at a general election, and approved by a majority of all the votes cast at such election." The compromise appealed to the delegates because a vote for it could be defended as a vote for popular sovereignty rather than for black equality or abolitionism. The first state Legislature promptly passed a black suffrage law and authorized a referendum, which took place in 1849. The law was approved by a vote of 5,265 to 4,075. However, fewer than half of all voters casting ballots at the election voted on the suffrage issue; therefore, the law had failed. The Legislature passed new suffrage laws in 1857 and again in 1865. The voters rejected both laws, although the pro-suffrage vote increased from 41 percent in 1857 to 46 percent in 1865.[9]
When the Civil War ended, 19 of 24 Northern states did not allow blacks to vote. Nowhere did they serve on juries before 1860. They could not give testimony in 10 states, and were prevented from assembling in two. Several western states had prohibited free blacks from entering the state. Blacks who entered Illinois and stayed more than 10 days were guilty of "high misdemeanor." Even those that didn't exclude blacks debated doing so and had discriminatory ordinances on the local level.

1. Lorenzo Johnston Greene, “The Negro in Colonial New England, 1620-1776,” N.Y.: Columbia University Press, 1942, p.302.
2. free blacks voted in Virginia until 1723, in North Carolina until 1715, in South Carolina until 1701, and in Georgia until 1754. See Albert E. McKinley, “Suffrage Franchise in the Thirteen English Colonies in America,” Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1905.
3. Alexis De Tocqueville, “Democracy in America,” transl. George Lawrence, Harper & Row, 1966, p.343.
4. “Congressional Globe,” 30 Cong. 1 Sess., appendix, p.727.
5. Leon F. Litwack, “North of Slavery,” Chicago, 1961, p.72.
6. “Cincinnati Gazette,” Aug. 17, 1829.
7. Robert S. Fletcher, “History of Oberlin College,” 1943, vol. II, p.523.
8. Henry W. Farnam, “Chapters in the History of Social Legislation in the United States to 1860,” Washington: Carnegie Institution, 1938, pp.219-20.
9. John G. Gregory, “Negro Suffrage in Wisconsin,” Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Art and Letters, XI (1898), pp. 94-101.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

New Netflix review!

Giancarlo and 
Gaffer Rob Woolsey
image:  Dion Ogust

Recent reviews
I had to watch this twice before I began to understand it. 
Then I watched it again to observe how very clever everything 
had been - one of those movies where the answers were always 
there although it seems head-scratching first time. David Strathairn 
is always great. 5 stars.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Showtime - Nov- Dec

Tue, Nov 19, 4:30 AM
Wed, Nov 27, 4:05 PM
Fri, Dec 13, 12:05 PM
Tue, Dec 17, 4:00 PM
Fri, Dec 20, 8:00 AM
Fri, Dec 20, 2:10 PM

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Role of Organized Religion

  • Slave Aucton in the South, 1861

    Predominant Religions in European Countries Involved in the Atlantic Slave Trade
    • Portugal
      • Primarily Roman Catholic. In 1497, expelled the Jews and the few remaining Moors, or forced them to convert.
    • Spain
      • Primarily Roman Catholic. In 1492, expelled the Jews and the few remaining Moors, or forced them to convert. For five centuries, from the 8th to the 13th century, Spain was ruled by Muslims. Jews and Christians were free to practice their faith during this period.
    • Britain
      • Britain was a Catholic country until Henry the VIII split with the Roman Catholic church, after the church refused to agree with his divorce from his first wife. When Elizabeth I became Queen in 1558, Britain became a Protestant country by law with the Sovereign declared head of the Church of England.
    • Netherlands
      • Anti-Catholic riots spread across the country in 1566, leading to a revolt that culminated in the formation of the Union of Utrecht. In 1581 the Union of Utrecht proclaimed independence from Catholic Spain. Today, northern Holland is predominantly Protestant, and southern Holland is predominantly Catholic.
    • France
      • Primarily Roman Catholic. In the 16th century the Huguenots, strongly influenced by John Calvin, were growing in number and viewed as seditious by the government. The result was eight civil wars, and several massacres of the Huguenots. During the 17th century, persecution led many of the Huguenots to leave France. Many went to the Netherlands, and others settled in England, Ireland, America, Germany, Switzerland, and South Africa.
  • To What Extent Have Religious Leaders Apologized For 400 Years of Participation In The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slavery?
    • The Church of England
      • In February, 2006, the Church of England apologized for its involvement in the slave trade and benefits derived from it. (48)  Said the Guardian: "The Church of England last night said sorry for the role it played in the 18th century in benefiting from slave labour in the Caribbean. ... Speakers in the synod debate acknowledged that the church had played its part in justifying slavery during the long campaign by William Wilberforce and others ..." The Rt Rev Tom Butler, Bishop of Southwark, told the synod: "We know that bishops in the House of Lords with biblical authority voted against the abolition of the slave trade. We know that the church owned sugar plantations on the Codrington estates [where they also owned slaves. Codrington estates is in Barbados]." The Guardian also noted that "A recent book, Bury the Chains (51), by the American author Adam Hochschild, clearly influenced the debate. It says the church's missionary organisation, the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, branded its slaves on the chest with the word SOCIETY to show who they belonged to."
    • The Catholic Church
      • As reported by the Evangelist in 2000, official publication of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, "... Pope John Paul II has called on the Church to recognize and apologize for its failures during the first 2000 years of Christianity. Foremost among those failures, according to a panel of scholars, is repression of others in general and anti-Semitism in particular." (49) The scholars were asked:"What is the worst mistake the Church has committed over the past two millennia -- and how can the Church make up for it?" Among the responses was this one regarding slavery: "The Church's silence on or even implicit approval of slavery for almost 2000 years" was its worst mistake, said Rev. Robert Scully, SJ, assistant professor of history at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. "From the New Testament period on, the Church generally accepted slavery as a 'natural' part of socio-economic reality, or spoke of it as a necessary evil," he explained. "As a Jesuit, I am morally embarrassed by the fact that certain Jesuit provinces owned slaves into the 18th and even the 19th centuries. It is a classic -- and particularly chilling -- example of the fact that the Church has often not been at the forefront of moral crusades to end unjust social realities that were too often taken for granted, or not deeply questioned and challenged."
      • As reported in msn Encarta, "In 2000, a Holy Year in which the church reflected on its 2000-year history, John Paul asked forgiveness for sins committed by Roman Catholics. Although he mentioned no specific errors, several cardinals acknowledged past injustice and intolerance toward non-Catholics. These acknowledgements were understood to include the Crusades and the Inquisition and inaction during the Holocaust. The apology preceded a papal pilgrimage to the Holy Land and a visit to Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Israel." (50)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Photograph of newspaper advertisement from the 1780's for the sale of slaves at Ashley Ferry outside of Charleston, South Carolina.
"To be sold, on board the ship Bance Island .....  about 250 fine healthy negroes, just arrived from the Windward & Rice Coast."
The ad goes on to say that the utmost care has been taken to keep the slaves from being infected with small pox, and "all other communication with people from CharlesTown prevented."  A smallpox epidemic in Charleston in 1760 was one of the worst in the colonial period. In a population of about 8000, there were an estimated 6000 cases and over 730 deaths, or 9% of the population. It was not until 1796 that Edward Jenner demonstrated that cowpox vaccination could protect people against smallpox more safely than live smallpox vaccination. (9)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Hard to Believe - But True!

 After South Carolina Seceded From the Union on December 20, 1860, Mayor Fernando Wood Proposed that New York City Should Also Secede to Become an Independent City-State, Neutral in the Dispute Between the Southern States and the Union.

  • Abraham Lincoln was elected President November 6th 1860, setting off a chain reaction of historic events. South Carolina seceded from the Union December 20th, followed by Mississippi (January 9), Florida (January 10), Alabama (January 11), Georgia (January 19), Louisiana (January 26), and Texas (February 23). Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as the provisional Confederate President on February 18. After the bombardment of Fort Sumter in April, the Civil War had begun and Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee seceded as well. The Confederacy was growing rapidly, and the stability of the Union was in doubt. (77)
  • New York City had important economic ties to the South, where cotton was the big cash crop and the growing and processing of cotton depended on the availability of slave labor. In 1860, the city’s largest industry was producing garments, with 398 factories employing 26,857 workers to create clothing worth $22,420,769, largely from Southern cotton. Sugar refining, the second largest industry, used Southern cane to refine sugar products worth $19,312,500. Additionally, NY ship owners hauled cotton to Europe, bankers accepted slave property as collateral for loans, and brokers traded tobacco, rice and cotton on world markets.
  • In a speech at New Rochelle in 1859, Mayor Fernando Wood had argued that the city’s prosperity depended on Southern trade, “the wealth which is now annually accumulated by the people … of New York, out of the labor of slavery - the profit, the luxury, the comforts, the necessity, nay, even the very physical existence depending upon the products only to be obtained by the continuance of slave labor and the prosperity of the slave master.
  • Mayor Wood, a Democrat, was at odds with the New York State legislature, which was controlled by Republicans from other parts of the state. In a controversial election in 1856, in which dead people allegedly 'voted,' Wood won a second term in office and the state legislature stepped in. They shortened his term from two years to one and created a Metropolitan police force to replace Wood's corrupt Municipal police. Fighting between the two police forces erupted and criminals took advantage of the chaos, causing a major increase in the crime rate. Finally, the situation was resolved when the Court of Appeals upheld the  Supreme Court decision in favor of the legislature, and Mayor Wood had no choice but to disband the Municipal police force. Wood was defeated in the next election, but won again in 1859, defeating the Tammany candidate. (80)
  • On January 6, 1861, in his annual message to the Common Council, following the secession of South Carolina, Mayor Wood gave a sober assessment of the situation and its likely effect on both the nation and on New York City. He said “It would seem that a dissolution of the federal Union is inevitable. … It cannot be preserved by coercion or held together by force. A resort to this last dreadful alternative would, of itself destroy not only the government, but the lives and property of the people.” He went on to say “With our aggrieved brethren of the slave States we have friendly relations and a common sympathy. We have not participated in the warfare upon their constitutional rights or their domestic institutions. While other portions of our State have unfortunately been imbued with the fanatical spirit which actuates a portion of the people of New England, the city of New York has unfalteringly preserved the integrity of its principles in adherence to the compromises of the Constitution and the equal rights of the people of all the States. … When disunion has become a fixed and certain fact, why may not New York disrupt the bands which bind her to a venal and corrupt master [i.e. the New York State legislature] – to a people and a party that have plundered her revenues, attempted to ruin her commerce, taken away the power of self-government, and destroyed the confederacy of which she was the proud Empire City? Amid the gloom which the present and prospective condition of things must cast over the country, New York, as a free city, may shed the only light and hope of a future reconstruction of our once blessed confederacy.”
  • It was reported that the Council was at first receptive to the mayor’s proposal, and approved a plan for merging the three islands of ‘Long,’ Manhattan, and ‘Staten’ into a new nation, to be called Tri-Insula. However, three months later, after the start of hostilities at Fort Sumter, the plan was quietly rescinded. Within months, the Union’s demands for uniforms, rifles, artillery and warships restored full employment in the City, and Mayor Fernando Wood lost the election of 1861. (78)(79)
  • Two Federal Forts in Florida, Fort Taylor in Key West and Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island, Pensacola, Resisted Confederate Efforts to Capture Them, and Became Strategic Union Bases During the Civil War. The Forts Were Critical to the Success of the 'Anaconda Plan,' a Union Strategy to Put in Place a Naval Blockade of the Confederacy. [Featured Item]
    • Florida, a slave state, became the third state to secede from the Union on January 10, 1861, following South Carolina and Mississippi (77).  Florida’s governor, Madison Starke Perry, promptly ordered the seizure of federal arsenals in St. Augustine, Fernandina and Chattahoochee, to provide the state militia with weapons.
    • In Key West, the federal garrison under the command of Captain James M. Brannan amounted to forty soldiers at an indefensible barracks. The local population was overwhelmingly sympathetic to the Confederacy, comprising 2302 whites, 160 free blacks, and 451 slaves. On the night of January 13, while the city slept, the garrison marched to Fort Taylor, and Captain Brannan began to prepare for a Confederate attack. Orders were issued to quickly construct a cover face for the fort facing the landward side, and to convert a portion of the causeway from the island to the fort into a drawbridge. Captain Brannan reported that he had “four months provisions and seventy thousand gallons of water,” but that he “could not stand a siege unless he was reinforced immediately.”
    • Reinforcements arrived on April 6, when Major French of the Fifth United States Artillery marched into Key West with his command. He had been stationed in Texas and in order to avoid surrender, marched his troops down to the Rio Grande to Point Isabel, and from there embarked on the Gulf of Mexico. Key West, one of the most strategic naval locations in the Confederacy, was now firmly in the hands of the federal government and would continue to serve as a Union base for the entire war. (72)(73)(76)
    • In Pensacola, on the night of January 9 Union forces abandoned Fort Barrancas and Fort McRee on Pensacola Bay which could not be defended from a rear attack on land (These forts are in the Florida panhandle, the region of the state which includes the westernmost 16 counties, sandwiched between Alabama and Georgia to the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the south).  Under the command of Lieutenant Adam Slemmer, the Union soldiers at the two forts fled to Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island, which controls access to the Gulf of Mexico. Rebel groups from Alabama occupied the deserted Pensacola Navy Yard with its key dry docks, but the shipyard was useless without access to the Gulf of Mexico, past Fort Pickens.  
    • The new Confederate government of Florida requested that Lieutenant Slemmer surrender his position, but he refused. For a time, there was an uneasy truce; neither side wanted the first hostilities of the Civil War to begin at Pensacola. Additional Confederate troops, mostly Florida militia, waited on the mainland and Union ships stood offshore either to reinforce the federal garrison or evacuate it as future events might dictate. Then on April 12, South Carolina Confederate forces fired the first shots of the war, bombarding Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor, ending the truce in Pensacola. Union reinforcements were landed at Fort Pickens and Confederate artillery batteries opened fire on the federal positions from forts on the mainland. The federal garrison held. On October 9, a Confederate army of more than 5000 men attacked the positions on Santa Rosa Island, with casualties experienced on both sides.  Eventually, as events in the north drew more Florida troops into Confederate service, the siege of Fort Pickens was abandoned. The fort, and later Pensacola itself, remained under Union control for the rest of the war. (74)(75)
  • The Amistad Affair – An Amazing Saga of the Antebellum Period Beginning With the Illegal Kidnapping of Africans from Sierra Leone, A ‘Slave’ Revolt on a Ship in Cuban Waters, U.S. Presidential Politics At a Time When Slave States and Free States Were Jockeying for Power, Strained Relations Between the United States and Spain, Deliberations of the Supreme Court Led By Chief Justice Roger B. Taney (see Dred Scott Decision in this Section), and Two Surprising Deaths [Featured Item]
    • In August of 1839 New York newspapers reported that a mysterious black schooner was seen cruising in U.S. waters near Long Island, its sails “nearly all blown to pieces.” Fishermen said it was under the control of Cuban slaves who had revolted and killed the crew of the Spanish ship, the Amistad, and were roaming the Atlantic as buccaneers. Orders were issued by the United States Navy and the Customs Service for the capture of the ship, and subsequently, on August 26th, the survey brig Washington sighted the Amistad, seized the schooner and took her in tow to New London, Connecticut. So began the amazing saga known as the Amistad Affair.
    • On board the schooner were two Spaniards, Pedro Montes and Jose Ruiz, and a number of black men, women and children. Ruiz spoke both Spanish and English, and Montes spoke Spanish, enabling the crew of the Washington to question them. The black people in control of the vessel spoke neither English nor Spanish.
    • Ruiz and Montes said that La Amistad had left Havana, Cuba two months earlier, headed for Guanaja, a coastal city three hundred miles away. Their cargo consisted of merchandise and fifty-three slaves, forty nine adults belonging to Ruiz, and four children, three girls and a boy, belonging to Montes. On the third night, under the leadership of one of their number, Cinque, the blacks rose in revolt and killed the cook and the captain, Ramon Ferrer. Two crew members jumped overboard, and the cabin boy, Antonio, a slave of the captain, was allowed to live, as were Ruiz and Montes. Two of the slaves were killed during the revolt, and eight others later died at sea.
    The slaves directed their owners to set sail for Africa, hoping to return to their homes. Ruiz and Montes sailed in the direction of the rising sun during the day as directed, but during the night turned the vessel towards the northwest, hoping to reach American soil. Eventually, they reached American waters and were captured and taken to Hartford, Connecticut on September 17th, to be charged with murder and mutiny in Circuit Court. They were to be confined in jail until the trial.
    • At this point, abolitionists took an interest in the case. They reasoned that because the blacks spoke no Spanish at all, they could not have been in Cuba very long and probably had been taken from their homes in Africa quite recently. Considering that the slave trade in the Spanish Empire had been outlawed by treaty with Great Britain in 1817 and by royal decree of the Queen of Spain in 1838, it seemed likely that the blacks had been taken from Africa illegally. They concluded that the defense of these people in the Circuit Court should be on the basis that they are captured citizens of Africa rather than slaves in the Spanish Empire.
    • A search for someone who could converse with the blacks in their native language began. Finally, John Ferry, a native of the Kissi tribe who had spent some time in Mende country in Sierra Leone, was able to converse with some of the blacks to a limited extent. He confirmed that they were native Mendians who had been kidnapped in Africa and illegally sold into slavery in Havana. Later, native Mende speakers were located and proved to be extremely valuable in the court proceedings.
    • The Spanish government’s position was that after La Amistad was captured by The Washington, the vessel should have been allowed to return to Cuba so that the blacks could have been “tried by the proper tribunal, and by the violated laws of the country of which they are subject.” The Spanish contended that the Pinckney treaty of 1795, reaffirmed by the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819, between the United States and Spain, should be the basis for settling this matter.
    • U.S. President Martin Van Buren, mindful that 1840 was an election year, and wanting to maintain the support of southern Democratic slaveholders, directed U.S. District Attorney William D. Holabird to “take care that no proceedings of your Circuit Court, or of any other judicial tribunal, place the vessel, cargo or slaves beyond the control of the Federal Executive.” Presumably he wished to be able to make an accommodation with the Spanish authorities and settle this matter quickly. However, it was too late for this; the case had already been placed on the docket of the Circuit Court.
    • On the fourth day of the trial the presiding judge, Justice Smith Thompson, gave his opinion. Neither the U.S. Circuit Court nor any other American court had jurisdiction over the charges of murder and mutiny in this case, since the alleged crimes had been committed on a Spanish ship and in Spanish waters. The other rulings related to property claims and to a writ of habeas corpus for release of the girls.
    • Following adjournment, Judge Judson convened the District Court. After hearing the testimony, Judge Judson rendered his decision in seven points:
      • The jurisdiction of the court was clear since the whole affair had occurred on the high seas
      • (Agreeing to payments for salvage of vessel and cargo)
      • Salvage rights on the Africans were denied since they had no value as property under the laws of Connecticut
      • (Regarding another claim for salvage, denied)
      • The slave Antonio, having been born in Cuba, was to be returned to his rightful owners.
      • The Africans were neither slaves nor Spanish subjects
      • They were, therefore, free by the “law of Spain itself.”
    • Judge Judson decreed that the Africans, excepting Antonio, be delivered to the President of the United States to be transported to Africa, there to be delivered to the Agent appointed to receive and conduct them home.
    • At the direction of President Van Buren, the case was appealed to the United States Supreme Court. Of the nine justices, five were Southerners, including Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, who 16 years later would deliver the infamous Dred Scott decision. Former President John Quincy Adams, now a congressman, agreed to join Roger Sherman Baldwin in the defense of the La Amistad Africans.
    • In its decision, the Supreme Court essentially upheld Judge Judson's finding that the Africans had been illegally enslaved and had thus exercised a natural right to fight for their freedom. However, it reversed Judson's order to the executive to return the Africans to their homeland. The Africans were freed, and could go back to Africa if they wished.
    • During the Supreme Court hearings, and soon after the decision was read, there were two surprising deaths of prominent officials. Supreme Court Justice Philip P. Barbour died during the proceedings and as a result did not contribute to the opinion. President William H. Harrison, who succeeded President Van Buren, died after only 30 days in office, and was replaced by his Vice President, John Tyler, a pro-slavery Southerner.
    • Timeline:
      • February 22, 1841: U.S. Supreme Court begins hearing the Amistad case
      • February 25, 1841: Supreme Court Justice Philip P. Barbour dies at the age of 57. He does not contribute to the court’s opinion.
      • March 4, 1841: President William H. Harrison takes office
      • March 9, 1841: Justice Story delivers the Supreme Court’s decision, affirming the Africans’ freedom. Only one justice, Henry Baldwin, dissents but offers no comment. (87)
      • April 4, 1841: President William H. Harrison dies of pneumonia at the age of 68, after serving only 30 days in office. He had refused to wear an overcoat at his inauguration on an extremely cold and wet day, and caught a cold, which developed into pneumonia.
      • April 4, 1841: President John Tyler, a Southern pro-slavery Whig, takes office. He refuses to provide a warship for the return of the Amistad Africans.
      • November 27, 1841: The African survivors and American missionaries depart New York for Africa aboard The Gentleman (69)(70),(71)
  • Henry 'Box' Brown, a Virginia Slave, Was Despondent When His Wife and Children Were Sold to a Slave Trader and Sent to North Carolina. He Decided to Escape to Freedom in the North Using a Rather Unusual Method
    • Henry Brown, born into slavery in Virginia in 1815, married another slave named Nancy and had three children. His wife and children were sold to a slave trader in 1848, and sent to North Carolina. Brown, who was powerless to prevent this, never saw them again.
    • Brown decided that he would rather die than continue his life in bondage. He was determined to seek his freedom in the North. With the help of a friend, the freed man James C. A. Smith, and a sympathetic white storekeeper named Samuel Smith, Brown devised a plan to have himself shipped to a free state in a box. Brown paid $86 to Samuel Smith, who contacted Philadelphia abolitionist James Miller McKim. McKim agreed to receive the box.
    • The box measured three feet one inch long, two feet six inches high, and two feet wide. Henry entered the box in March, 1849. Written on the box were the words 'this side up with care.' However, there were times during the journey that the box (and Henry) was turned upside down. Twenty seven hours after the box had been picked up in Richmond, it was delivered to James Miller McKim in Philadelphia. People gathered around the box, wondering if Henry was inside and alive. In addition to McKim there was William Still and other members of the Philadelphia Vigilance Committee. Images of the scene show Frederick Douglass within the group, holding a hammer to be used to open the box.  McKim rapped on the box, and spoke up: 'Is all right within?' Henry replied from within the box: 'all right.' Everyone cheered, and proceeded to open the box. His first words to the crowd were: "How do you do, gentlemen?"
    • Brown became a well-known speaker for the Anti-Slavery Society. He was given the nickname of 'Box' at a Boston antislavery convention in May, 1849, and thereafter used the name Henry Box Brown. After the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, Brown was no longer safe in the North; he could be recaptured at any time. Brown decided to move to England, where he performed on the British show circuit with his antislavery panorama, married a second time, and began a new family. He returned to the U.S. in 1875. (67)(68)
  • The Schoolteacher Who Wrote 'Strange Fruit,' A Song About Lynching Made Famous By Billie Holiday, Adopted The Two Sons of Atom Bomb Spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg After Their 1953 Execution
    • Abel Meeropol, a Jewish schoolteacher from the Bronx, wrote the poem 'Strange Fruit' in the late 1930's after seeing Lawrence Beitler's photograph of the  lynching of two African-Americans, Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith, in Marion, Indiana (59). The 'strange fruit' in the poem are the bodies of African-American men hanging from trees, having been lynched by racist mobs in the South. He later wrote the music, using the name Lewis Allan, and it began to become popular in the New York area as a protest song. Billie Holiday first performed the song at Cafe Society, New York's first integrated nightclub, and began to add the song to all of her performances. She later said that the imagery in 'Strange Fruit' reminded her of her father's death.
    • Meeropol and his wife are also known for adopting the two sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, convicted spies who were charged with passing atomic bomb secrets to the Soviet Union following World War II.
    • Strange Fruit Lyrics: (60)
      Southern trees bear a strange fruit
      Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
      Black bodies swinging in the Southern breeze
      Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees

      Pastoral scene of the gallant South
      The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
      Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
      Then the sudden smell of burning flesh!

      Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
      For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
      For the sun to rot, for the tree to drop
      Here is a strange and bitter crop
      -Lewis Allan, c1940
  • 40 Acres and a Mule - A Promise That Was Not Kept
    In the final months of the Civil War, General Sherman, with the approval of the War Department, issued Field Order No. 15 on January 16, 1865. The order stated that "the islands of Charleston south, the abandoned rice fields along the rivers for thirty miles back from the sea, and the country bordering St. Johns River, Florida are reserved and set apart for the settlement of Negroes now made free by the acts of war and the proclamation of the President of the United States(56). The land was divided into 40-acre tracts and Sherman distributed land titles to the head of each family of freedmen. He also ordered animals that were no longer useful to the military (mules and horses) to be distributed to each of the households. This was the origin of the phrase 'forty acres and a mule.' By the summer of 1865, 40,000 freedmen had received 400,000 acres of abandoned Confederate land.
    • This uplifting story had a somber ending for the freedmen. The former owners of the land, who were pardoned by President Andrew Johnson after the war, sought the return of their land. After Congress (on February 5, 1866) defeated that portion of the Freedmen's Bureau Act that gave it the authority to assign land to former slaves, President Johnson ordered all of the new land titles rescinded. The freedmen were forced off the land, and it was returned to the former white plantation owners. Subsequently, President Johnson vetoed every new proposal that provided land to the former slaves. Finally, Congress overrode his veto and passed a bill to extend the life of the Freedmen's Bureau. However, it contained no provision for granting land to the freedmen, other than to provide them access to the Southern Homestead Act at the standard rates of purchase. Most freedmen had little or no funds and could not take advantage of the Homestead Act.(57)
    • Andrew Johnson took the executive oath of office on April 15, 1865 to become President following Lincoln's assassination. He had been Lincoln's Vice President, and he did not share Lincoln's views on slavery. From the standpoint of the freedmen, the assassination of Lincoln marked a turning point in America that changed hope to despair. Never again would the freed slaves be given land to help them in their time of need.
  • Sojourner Truth, Born a Slave, Became a Well Known Abolitionist, Women's Rights Advocate, and Preacher. Her 'Ain't I a Woman?' Speech, Delivered Extemporaneously at the 1851 Women's Rights Convention in Akron Ohio, Brought the House Down.
    • A Women's Rights Convention was held at a church in Akron Ohio in 1851. Frances Gage, a feminist activist, presided over the meeting. When Sojourner Truth was invited to address the meeting, many feminist leaders urged Ms Gage not to allow her to speak, worrying that the speech would be about abolition and would derail the meeting. Ms Gage responded "we shall see when the time comes" and did not prevent Sojourner Truth from speaking to the audience. The following is the 'Ain't I a Woman?' speech delivered by Sojourner Truth (in modern dialect), based on Ms Gage's recollection and notes.
    • "Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that between the Negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon.
    But what's all this here talking about? That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman?
    Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman?
    I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman?
    I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?
    Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or Negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
    Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
    If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
    Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say." (55)
  • On May 22, 1856, The U.S. Senate Chamber Became a Combat Zone When Representative Preston Brooks of South Carolina Severely Beat Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts on the Head With a Cane. 
    • Senator Charles Sumner, an antislavery Republican, addressed the Senate on May19th, 1856 on the issue of whether Kansas should be admitted to the Union as a slave state or a free state. At the time, Stephen Douglas' Kansas-Nebraska Act, which would have the question be determined by popular vote within the states, was a hotly debated topic pitting anti-slave states in the North against slave states in the South. During his speech, Sumner criticized two Democratic Senators, Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler of South Carolina. Mocking Butler's stance as a man of chivalry, Sumner charged him with taking "a mistress...who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him; though polluted in the sight of the world, is chaste in his sight -- I mean," added Sumner, "the harlot, Slavery."
    • Representative Preston Brooks, Senator Butler's nephew, was quite offended by Sumner's speech. He decided against challenging Sumner to a duel, which was reserved for 'gentlemen.' Instead, shortly after the Senate had adjourned three days later on the 22nd of May, Brooks entered the Senate chamber, accompanied by Congressman Laurence M. Keitt of South Carolina who was armed with a pistol, where he found Sumner busily attaching his postal frank to copies of his 'crime against Kansas' speech. Brooks slammed his metal-topped cane onto the unsuspecting Sumner's head, again and again until Sumner was unconscious, bleeding profusely. Several other Senators attempted to help Sumner, but were blocked by Keitt who was holding his pistol and shouting, "Let them be!(54)
    • Brooks resigned, was immediately reelected, and soon thereafter died at age 37. Sumner recovered over the next three years and returned to the Senate, where he remained for another 18 years. Keitt was mortally wounded in the Civil War Battle of Cold Harbor on June 3, 1864, and died the next day. Butler died in 1857.
  • Franklin Pierce, President from 1853-1857 and Considered One of America's Worst Presidents, Did Not Tell His Wife That He Was Running For the Office 
    • Franklin Pierce, who became the 14th U.S. President in 1853, had earlier been Senator from New Hampshire. His wife never liked political life, and was not happy with Pierce's drinking problem. Due to her urging, he had left the Senate and pursued a law practice; however, troubles continued to plague their marriage. They lost three children, two as infants and one at the age of 11 in a train accident which Pierce and his wife survived. When Pierce saw the opportunity to vie for the Democratic nomination, he didn't mention it to his wife. When he got the nomination, he told her it was a complete surprise. On the eve of the inauguration, she learned the truth and refused to attend the inauguration and refused to move in to the White House. (52)
    • Pierce is considered by scholars to be one of America's worst Presidents, and is the only incumbent President wishing to run for another term who failed to be nominated by his party. His support of the Kansas-Nebraska Act enraged many Northerners, leading to armed conflict between pro and anti slavery factions in Kansas. The Act allowed the citizens of Kansas and Nebraska to decide on their own whether or not to adopt slavery. According to the earlier Missouri Compromise, these territories were to be free, so that passage of the Act had the effect of negating that aspect of the Missouri Compromise. The Act, which was authored by Stephen Douglas, passed thanks to the support of President Pierce and the Southern states. The result was that pro and anti slavery groups poured into Kansas to try to influence the 'popular' vote on slavery. Many slavery advocates came across the border from Missouri and voted in Kansas illegally. Inevitably, this led to violence.
    • His foreign policy was equally unsuccessful. Pierce requested that his European ministers secretly consider ways that the U.S. could acquire Cuba. When their report, the so-called Ostend Manifesto, was leaked to the press it caused an uproar and the administration had to disavow it. This secret plan further angered the Northern states who saw it as a means to strengthen the position of the slave states in Congress.  (53)
  • It Took 100 Years for New York State to Ratify the 15th Amendment
    • The 15th amendment to the U.S. Constitution extended voting rights to all adult males, including freed slaves. It stated: "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude." (39)  The Constitution requires that once an amendment has been proposed, three fourths of the states must ratify for it to be approved. New York State ratified the amendment on April 14th, 1869, and then passed a resolution to withdraw its consent on January 5, 1870. The validity of this reversal was in question at the time. Earlier, Ohio and New Jersey had rescinded ratification of the 14th amendment, and Congress questioned the validity of the reversals and declared the 14th amendment to be ratified, listing Ohio and New Jersey among the states approving it.  Before New York's withdrawal of consent of the 15th amendment, U.S. ratification would have been completed on February 3, 1870; as a result of New York's withdrawal, if valid, U.S. ratification was completed on February 17, 1870 when Nebraska ratified. The New York State legislature rescinded the withdrawal of consent to the amendment 100 years later, in 1970.
  • In the 1857 Dred Scott Decision, the U.S. Supreme Court Ruled That African Americans Could Never be Citizens
    • Some might question U.S. Supreme Court decisions in recent years, related to 'hanging chads' on the Florida voting cards for example, and decisions related to a woman's right to choose. These are controversial issues, and people tend to line up on one side or the other on such issues. However, when one considers the Dred Scott decision of 1857, from the perspective of America in the 21st century, the Supreme Court Justices at that time appear to have been seriously misguided. Said another way, they come across as a bunch of bigots. In a 7 to 2 ruling, they decided that African Americans could never be citizens because blacks "are not included, and were not intended to be included, under the word 'citizens' in the U.S. Constitution, and can therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which the instrument provides and secures to citizens of the United States. On the contrary, they were at that time [1787-88] considered as a subordinate and inferior class of beings who had been subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not, yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or privileges but such as those who held the power and Government might choose to grant them."  [as written by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney in his 'opinion of the court']  (42)(45)(46)
    • The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History has an excellent online exhibition entitled "The Dred Scott Decision and Its Bitter Legacy" which includes a number of images of relevant documents and of the people who were involved at the time. (81)
  • How Frederick Douglass Learned to Read and Write, at a Time When It Was Illegal to Teach Slaves to Read and Write in Most of the South
    • As a boy, Frederick Douglass showed great interest in learning to read and write. The wife of his owner began to teach him the alphabet, but when her husband found out about it he put a stop to it. In most of the South, it was believed that teaching slaves to read and write would only make them more restless, and it was therefore unwise. Many laws were passed making it illegal to educate the slaves.
      To continue his education, Frederick decided to make friends with all the white boys in the neighborhood. When he was sent on an errand, he would bring bread and some books with him, and trade the bread for lessons in reading and writing given by his white friends. Most of them were poor and a piece of bread was a treat which they gladly exchanged for a few lessons. (40)
  • By 1820, Nearly 8.7 Million Slaves Had Departed Africa For the New World, Compared With Only 2.6 Million Whites From Europe
    • By 1820 African slaves constituted almost 77 percent of the population that had sailed toward the Americas. From 1760 to 1820 the flow of emigrants included 5.6 African slaves for every European. From 1820 to 1880 the African slave trade, most of it now illegal, continued to ship off from Africa nearly 2.3 million more slaves, mainly to Brazil and Cuba. David Brion Davis concludes "there can be no doubt that black slave labor was essential in creating and developing the 'original' New World that began by the 1840's to attract so many millions of European immigrants." (41)
  • In 1803, the Year of the Louisiana Purchase, Louisiana Had 50,000 Inhabitants, Approximately 28,000 of Them Slaves
    • Of the 28,000 slaves in Louisiana at the time of the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon in 1803, about 10,000 had fled the slave revolt in St. Domingue (Haiti) along with their French owners. The slave revolt began in 1791. Other residents at the time included French settlers, free blacks, thousands of Acadians forced out of Nova Scotia, British Canada between 1745 and 1763, and 700 Canary Islanders.
    • The Canary Islanders arrived during the brief Spanish rule of the Louisiana Territory, 1762-1800. In 1762, King Louis XV of France gave Louisiana to his Spanish cousin, King Charles III. In 1788, the city went up in flames, incinerating over 850 buildings. New Orleans was still recovering when a second fire in 1794 destroyed 200 structures. Louisiana was ceded back to France in 1800, and was finally sold by Napoleon to the United States (nearly doubling its size) in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The price was a modest sum, fifteen million dollars.
    • By the 1810 census, the Territory of Orleans (the present state boundaries of Louisiana minus the area known as the Florida parishes) had more than 76,000 people, evenly divided between whites and blacks. These figures do not include Native Americans.  (43)(65)(66)
  • Saudi Arabia Outlawed Slavery in 1962; Around the World, De Facto Slavery Continues Unabated
    • Most New World countries abolished slavery in the 19th century; for example, Haiti 1794, Canada 1803, Mexico 1829, the U.S. 1865, and Brazil 1888. Surprisingly, slavery continued to be legal in Saudi Arabia until 1962, and in Mauritania (north of Senegal) until 1980.
    • Around the world, various kinds of de facto slavery continue to exist today, in spite of the abolition laws. According to the U.S. State Department, somewhere between 600,000 and 800,000 people are trafficked -- by force or coercion -- across international borders every year. Between 14,500 and 17,500 of those people are sold into the United States. There are many different kinds of human trafficking -- forced servitude, labor coercion and fraud, sexual slavery and child slavery. The majority of the captives are women and children, although adult men are forced or coerced into labor as well. (44)