Posts Tagged slavery

The Shores family pose for a portrait near Westerville, Custer County, Neb., in 1887. Jerry Shores was one of a number of former slaves to settle in Custer County. He took a claim adjacent to that of his brothers, Moses Speese and Henry Webb. Each had taken the name of his former owner. They are among the thousands of homesteaders who moved west in the late 1800's and set up housekeeping with the only natural resource the Great Plains had in abundance: sod.  (AP Photo)

On slavery, 150 years later

Today is December 7th. On December 6th, 1865 the United States ratified the 13th Amendment, officially abolishing slavery. In our short, historical memories, 150 years may feel like a short time, but it really isn’t. By my estimation, I am probably five or six generations removed from my father’s family’s enslavement, which is also about as long as my mother’s (white) family has been attending college.  So that’s awkward.

Today is December 7th. On December 6th, 1865 the United States ratified the 13th Amendment, officially abolishing slavery. In our short, historical memories, 150 years may feel like a short time, but it really isn’t. By my estimation, ...

Belle navigates blurred lines of race, gender and class in 18th Century Britain

One might as well begin with this painting.

In this image, we see two women of status, Dido Elizabeth Belle alongside her cousin, white Lady Elizabeth Murray. It is an oil portrait from 1779. I’m no art historian, but I can tell you that the image communicated an intimacy and nod towards an equality in social status that I hadn’t seen in European paintings of dark skinned peoples from the medieval through to the Victorian period. A great Tumblr, People of Color in European Art History has collected a host of images and in most of them, the darker body is subordinate to the lighter body. While Murray assumes considerable real estate in the foreground ...

One might as well begin with this painting.

In this image, we see two women of status, Dido Elizabeth Belle alongside her cousin, white Lady Elizabeth Murray. It is an oil portrait from 1779. I’m no ...

Quick Hit: Why I Visit Sites of Slavery

When Ani DiFranco decided to host a creative retreat at the Nottoway Plantation, she clearly didn’t think about what kind of statement she was making.

It is evident that she did not stop to consider how hosting a retreat at a plantation that at one point enslaved 150 humans helps to reinforce our historical amnesia and romanticization when it comes to the brutality that was slavery. Many bloggers quickly explained just what was so messed up about the whole debacle, which made me feel a bit better, but also left me feeling slightly unsettled. Where is the line between indulging in rosy-colored stories of happy slaves and remembering the suffering that our nation was built upon? Can we ...

When Ani DiFranco decided to host a creative retreat at the Nottoway Plantation, she clearly didn’t think about what kind of statement she was making.

It is evident that she did not stop to consider ...

Infographic: This is what slavery today looks like

As I write this, more than 29 million people are living in slavery. This statistic comes from the first index on modern-day slavery in 162 countries, released by the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation on Thursday. According to the Foundation, slavery today includes forced labor and human trafficking. While India has the greatest number of slaves, the country with the biggest percentage of the population living in slavery is Mauritania. Infographics after the jump.

As I write this, more than 29 million people are living in slavery. This statistic comes from the first index on modern-day slavery in 162 countries, released by the Australia-based Walk Free ...

It’s Juneteenth 2013. More Black people are in prison than were slaves and Paula Deen wants to bring slavery back

Today is June 19, or Juneteenth. While the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, slaves in Texas didn’t find out slavery was over until June 19, 1865, hence commemorating this date as the end of legal slavery in the US.

As Phillipe Copeland points out, the prison system was quickly positioned to take the place of slavery through the 13th amendment:

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” (emphasis mine)

If the architects of the 13th Amendment really wanted to abolish slavery, why make an exception for criminal convictions? Given that slavery at that time ...

Today is June 19, or Juneteenth. While the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, slaves in Texas didn’t find out slavery was over until June 19, 1865, hence commemorating this date as the end ...

Throwback Thursday: The audacity of Phyllis Wheatley as observed by June Jordan

We live in strange times. Yesterday, as Zerlina has discussed, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. And while Scalia barked that VRA is the “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” less than half a mile away, the Rosa Parks Statue was unveiled at the Capital Building in honor of Park’s activism that ignited the Civil Rights Movement. The same building that was built by African slaves. Yesterday was also the 71st anniversary of the Supreme Court’s upholding the 19th amendment that protected the right to vote for women. What a strange and poetic irony of a day was February 27, 2013; a normal day in American life, proof of our complicate history ...

We live in strange times. Yesterday, as Zerlina has discussed, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments over Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. And while Scalia barked that VRA is the “perpetuation of racial entitlement,” ...

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