Testimony of Alexander Falconbridge before a select committee of the House of Commons, March 8, 1790:
What is your present situation?
How many voyages have you been to the Coast of Africa?
I have been four voyages to the Coast of Africa.
Do you examine the Slaves previous to purchasing them?
They are always examined by some officers on board; it is generally understood to be the surgeon’s business.
Do they appear dejected when brought on board?
All that I have seen in my voyages did appear so.
Did this dejection continue, or did it soon wear off?
With some it continued the whole voyage, and with others till death put a period to their misery.
Have you known instances of Slaves refusing sustenance?
I have known several instances.
With what design?
With a design to starve themselves, I am persuaded. …
What was the mode used in stowing the Slaves in their night apartments?
They had not so much room as a man has in his coffin, neither in length or breadth, and it was impossible for them to turn or shift with any degree of ease. I have had occasion very often to go from one side of their rooms to the other; before I attempted it I have always taken off my shoes, and notwithstanding I have trod with as much care as I possibly could to prevent pinching them, it has unavoidably happened that I did so; I have often had my feet bit and scratched by them, the marks of which I have now. …
Are the consequences ever extremely noxious and nauseous of great number being ill at once of this latter disorder [dysentery]?
It was the case in the Alexander, as I have said before when I was taken ill — I cannot conceive any situation so dreadful and disgusting, the deck was covered with blood and mucus, and approached nearer to the resemblance of a slaughter-house than anything I can compare it to, the stench and foul air were likewise intolerable. …
To what cause do you describe [instances of insanity among slaves on board ship]?
To their being torn from their nearest connections, and carried away from their country.
My Lord, my Lord.
And yet, here I am, a descendant of this degradation. Lord, have mercy…
But to hear a lot tell it, slavery was just a big ol’ summer camp for us.
Cudjoe Lewis is believed to be the last African born on African soil and brought to the United States by the transatlantic slave trade. He was a native of Takon, Benin, where he was captured in 1860 during an illegal slave-trading venture. Congress outlawed the importation of slaves in 1808. Together with more than a hundred other captured Africans, he was brought on the ship Clotilde to Mobile, Alabama. Cudjoe and 31 other enslaved Africans were taken to the property owned by Timothy Meaher, shipbuilder and owner of the Clotilde. 5 years later slavery was over so Cudjoe and his tribespeople requested to be taken back to Africa, but it was left ignored. He and other Africans established a community near Mobile, Alabama which became called Africatown. They maintained their African language and tribal customs well into the 1950s. He died in 1934 at the age of 94. Before he died, he gave several interviews on his experiences including one to the writer Zora Neale Hurston. During her interview in 1928, she made a short film of Cudjoe, the only moving image that exists in the Western Hemisphere of an African transported through the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
Got a few requests to make this rebloggable!
Bless this post.
Also, I love how people (both those on the internet and those I’ve met in real life) are like, “Slavery was like 200 years ago. You people have a black president now. Why aren’t you over it already?” or “Racism is just something black people say is still around when they can’t find a job.” or “So it’s okay if a black person is racist to a white person, but not the other way around? That’s so hypocritical.”
I just want to cause them bodily harm. Let’s do a crash course in history, shall we?
- SLAVERY in America has been around since 1619. SIXTEEN FUCKING NINETEEN A.D. I’ll give you a hint: It’s been around longer in North America than the United States itself.
- The EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION was enforced after the Civil War ended in 1865. The THIRTEENTH AMENDMENT, which ABOLISHED slavery, was ratified December of that year. This is 245 years after slavery came to America’s shores.
- DESEGREGATION was “put into effect” with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That’s 345 years after the start of slavery in the United States, and a decade after BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION was decided.
- BUSING took place in 1974 after the Supreme Court’s SWANN v. CHARLOTTE-MECKLENBURG Board of Education ruling. The protests and the violence that took place in Boston, MA, a state far above the Mason-Dixon line and a presumed beacon of liberality, show just a sample of the political climate at the time. Remember reading about this in history class?
- RACE RIOTS took place the year of my birth, 1992, in Los Angeles, CA, following the videotaped, violent beating of Rodney King, a black motorist, by LAPD officers: three whites and one hispanic. This takes place 28 years after Brown v. Board. In retaliation, a white truck driver and a hispanic construction worker were dragged from their vehicles and brutally beaten. The riots lasted six days, and brought to light the bitterness of wounds barely healed.
- OUR PRESIDENT has been HARANGUED about his nationality since before he was elected. Like the post above states, he’s had to, on numerous occasions, present his birth certificate to prove his legitimacy. In addition he has been attacked based on his faith, with rumors such as he is MUSLIM (here Muslim being the “worst insult”— that’s another degree of prejudice). Some may not agree with his policies, but to bring into question his RELIGION and, especially, his RACE in regards to whether or not he is a GOOD PRESIDENT is ridiculous and plain stupid.
Let’s do the math:
2011 (today, where the above facts take place every day)
- 1619 (first documented slavery)
= 392 YEARS of racism
“Why aren’t you over it already?”
This is just a superficial look at the history of racism towards black Americans. I’m not even going into the details of racism and prejudice displayed towards Hispanic, Asian, female, gay, transgendered, disabled, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, and so on individuals out there. It’s repulsive.
America is a country with a great potential for hate. To deny it is to be, quite frankly, amazingly and bewilderingly ignorant.
But America is also a beautiful country, and while its future is uncertain, we can certainly learn more than a thing or two from our pasts. By keeping ourselves informed, with open hearts and minds, we can hope to heal the hurt that has been inflicted on so many lives and races. It’s my hope that our generation can do that. It will be hard, and we may regress, but it can be done. I hope it will.
Today in history - the Senate confirms the nomination of Thurgood Marshall to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Marshall becomes the first African American to sit on the Court.
President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall earlier that summer on June 13, 1967. Despite the dissent that was sparked by Marshall’s appointment, the Senate confirmed him on August 30, 1967.
Marshall was a noted civil rights lawyer and had argued for the plaintiffs before the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, the landmark case ending racial segregation in public schools. Marshall remained on the Supreme Court until 1991.
Here are pictures from LBJ and Marshall’s Oval Office meeting regarding the announcement of the nomination.