Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mutilation of Slaves

Want to take the time to honor thought today. No sex, no politics – just a little history. Just an exhibition on how serious I take scholarship and dialetical rumination. And why I am so vehement in desire to expect others to as well. Tomorrow, on September 1st in 1773, Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral was published in London, England. It was the FIRST volume of poetry by an African-American poet to be published. And talking about being prodigal or a polymath, she was 20 when the book was published. So hats off to you scholar, to endure and create when sold off into slavery as a child from the Senegambia region of West Africa. So in honor of this, i'm gonna post something I wrote in 1998 that served as a chapter in the world encyclopedia of Slavery © 1999. Called The Mutilation of Slaves.

Based on history, it is evident that the institution of slavery was never humane. Although some historians like Robert Fogel and Stanley Engerman argue that white slave masters treated their slaves with respect and kindness, the truth is slavery itself was a horrible act. Thus, it was not unusual punishment of inclusive mutilation.

The mutilation of slaves was often implemented under the guise of punishment, or for the purposes of doing things for the slaves’ personal well being. Punishment through mutilation is also well recorded. Punishment was moreso acts of brutality than acts of rehabilitation. The record shows for example, in the case of Captain Phillipe Loit, that a common practice was to break the teeth of female slaves considered to be recalcitrant.1 Other accounts show that mutilation was no different than death. For many ship captains on the middle passage, on e means of trying to prevent slaves from jumping ship was to recapture them and behead them in front of other slaves.2

Examples of the latter have been documented to have occurred on the middle passage where ship captains would make use of a tool called speculum oris, an instrument shaped like a pair of scissors with serrated blades that was forced in the mouths of captives who refused to eat.3 On the sugar plantations in the West Indies, due to tiring work hours, slaves who were caught falling asleep in the mill, were used as examples and would consequently have to sacrifice a limb to show other slaves the dangers of falling asleep on the job.4 Slaves were also placed in metal cast iron weights or boots in which it was not unusual for them to lose an appendage. Such practices were not nearly as horrendous as other acts practiced by slave and plantation owners. In Grenada, slaves were taken to open forums for punishment in which mutilation was not out of the ordinary. One female slave taken to St. George’s, Grenada in 1789 was supposed to have her finger removed as punishment. However, she was suspended from a crane and her thighs, breast, and back split open. In Jamaica, it was not extraordinary for female slaves to have their skin peeled off from heel to back and breast to waist.5 Another account in 1692 notes a freed slave whose master and mistress had cut off her ears.6

Moses Roper, who had lived as a slave in the Carolinas and Georgia recalls in her narrative of her master pouring tar on her head an face and setting her on fire, and following up this action by placing the fingers of her hand in a vice and removing her fingernails and having another man smash her toes with sledge hammer.7 Other tools of mutilation included the thumb screw and pickets, the latter being used so extensively in Jamaica that the weight of standing on them more than likely resulted in the mortification of feet.8 Accounts also indicate the use of nails being inserted or hammered into body parts such as appendages and ears and hammers to knock out teeth. Slaves who accidentally touched whites had their hands or the body part used in the touching cut off. Breaking legs in piecemeal fashions, removing sensory organs and castration were just additional means for masters to get their point of control across to captives.

The events that were used to justify acts of maiming and mutilation covered a broad range of activities. Frederick Douglass in his Narrative recants of looking at a person in the wrong way, saying certain words, a simple mistake, and not to mention running away, could result in permanent injury or death for slaves.9 Mutilation of slaves was so bad that in French colonies, Louis XIV published a Code Noir to curtail cruelty to Africans.

Since slaves in America and the new world were under the complete control of their masters, it was difficult to gauge the true extent of mutilation practices. Moreover, U.S. slave codes were developed and put in place in all slave states to maintain and enhance this absolute control and justify the power of whites to treat Africans as they willed. Consequently, the slave patrols created to enforce the codes often employed mutilation to deal with slaves who were considered to be breaking the law.

In closing, the system of slavery was an inhuman institution in which descendants of European ancestry maintained control over slaves through beliefs and brutish actions against slaves. Although practiced by Africans, the Chinese, and Arabs, slavery as expedited by Europeans was replete with atrocities that often resulted in the mutilation of slaves. This may be why many have noted that the slavery practiced in the Americas was unlike slavery instituted in prior civilizations. vote

1 Robert L. Stein, The French Slave Trade in the Eighteenth Century: An Old Regime Business, 1979, (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press), 100.

2 W.O. Blake, The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade, ancient and modern, 1860, (Columbus, Ohio: H.Miller), 131.

3 Nigel Tattersfield, the Forgotten Trade: Comprising the Log of the Daniel and Henry of 1700 and accounts of the slave trade from the minor ports of England, 1698-1725, 1991 (London: Jonathan Cape), 142.

4 W.O. Blake, The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade, ancient and modern, 1860, (Columbus, Ohio: H.Miller), 144.

5 W.O. Blake, The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade, ancient and modern, 1860, (Columbus, Ohio: H.Miller), 150.

6 Winthrop Jordan, The white man’s burden: Historical Origins of Racism in the United States, (London: Oxford), 1974, 62.

7 Moses Roper, Narrative of the Adventures and Escape of Moses Roper, 1837, (London).

8 W.O. Blake, The History of Slavery and the Slave Trade, ancient and modern, 1860, (Columbus, Ohio:H.

9 Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, 3rdLeeds). English Edition, 1846.


Mac Daddy Tribute Blog said...

Sick to do such things to another human being.

Babz Rawls Ivy said...

I appreciate the history lesson. I am grateful for the reminder...lest we forget.

no_slappz said...


Every time I see posts dedicated to informing people of the worst aspects of black slavery, I wonder about the motivation of those doing the informing.

Is it to remind people that enslavement of blacks by whites two centuries ago is a reason for blacks to maintain some residual hate today?

I was up in Harlem the other day and I stopped by the Hue-Man Bookstore & Cafe. It is one of the few bookstores in Harlem, but it is well known in NY City because readings and related events are often held there.

The most noticeable feature of the store is the remarkably small number of books it offers. The books are placed flat on shelves, with their covers facing browsers. Not their spines facing out, as they do on almost all the shelves at every Barnes & Noble.

There is also space between each book and the next book on every shelf. A lot of space is devoted to books on slavery and books about black misfortune.

Larry Elders gets lousy shelf space, while Mumia does much better.

But most astonishing to me is the complete absence of Ralph Ellison from the store. No Invisible Man to be found. He is, as he wrote, an Invisible Man.

No August Wilson either.

The store was oddly empty too. I do not understand how it survives. I got coffee at the cafe in the front of the store and drank it at a table. The only people who came in the store were a couple -- she was very hot -- who wanted change for a parking meter. Meanwhile, three employees were twiddling around, doing nothing except for the one who poured my coffee.

Meanwhile, NY City has always had a thriving used-book business conducted by lots of people who peddle books from sidewalk stands, usually card tables. All the great and not-so-great literature of the world is available for pennies.

But in Harlem, the street vendors sell different books. Books about blacks -- books about slavery, mistreatment, raw deals, and many obviously from the Nation of Islam. Some from a few current black authors like Zane and some female authors trying to reach black women.

But the prices are always $5 or more per book. It seems like bad economics to me.

Anonymiss said...

That's some sadistic behavior.

Re: MacDaddy -
The thing is they didn't believe that we were human when these acts were committed. That's the real sickness right there.

All-Mi-T [Thought Crime] Rawdawgbuffalo said...

yes it is

thank you

You are not that kind of person and we all know that. the goal is not to forget or let it happen again. We got a strong America to make

yes it is but belive that no one white or black would let such or tolerate such happening

no_slappz said...

torrance, you wrote:

"...the goal is not to forget or let it happen again."

This claim is tough to believe. On one hand everyone in the US is free because the Constitution grants freedom to all of us.

On the other hand, in Africa, this is not true. Almost every African nation is controlled by a dictator. None of the dictators are good for the citizens. But they are not white. Meanwhile, the books about slavery in America devote a lot of energy go blaming whites. While the accusation is accurate, it's also part of the distant past.

Thus, I cannot understand why so much energy is put into keeping this accusatory anger alive in America when the current problems of black subjugation exist in Africa.

All-Mi-T [Thought Crime] Rawdawgbuffalo said...

we remember 911 whats the difference, u dont say my rationale is to encourage terrorist - be consistent folk

RealHustla said...

Thanks for reminding me how blessed I am.

msladyDeborah said...

Ah, brain food for a Sunday afternoon!

This is a good post T! I have read several accounts of the treatment that the Africans went through in slavery. All of it made me feel sad, angry and thankful that I was not born in that particular era of the world's story.

JayBee said...

how gruesome. i knew it was bad but what i just read takes 'bad' to another dimension. there has to be a special place in hell....

JayBee said...

...assuming they didn't repent. we know that no matter what you've done He'll forgive and set free...

Keli said...

Slavery was humane...that's what some have to tell themselves to ease their not face the fact that they descended from evil.

KELSO'S NUTS said...

No_slappz: YOU WROTE:

"Every time I see posts dedicated to informing people of the WORST aspects of black slavery, I wonder about the motivation of those doing the informing."

(Emphasis on "worst" mine)

Which were the good parts of black slavery exactly?

BuelahMan said...


Two things to share.

Today is my birthday. 47

2nd: My dad gave me up for adoption when I was 10 after having nothing to do with my sister and I for the 5 years prior to that and the few years left early on, he did 2 tours in Nam.

This man's ancestors came here in the late 1600's and were wealthy and owned slaves.

I did not know anything about this until I was about 30 or so and when I was told, I was devastated, for I have read accounts such as this growing up and I simply cannot fathom doing any of this to anyone.

But apparently it is in my genes.

All I can ever offer is to apologize for my blood's actions and hope that I can love instead... never letting something like this happen again.


Kellybelle said...

Unbelieveable the cruelty humans are capable of when they dehumanize others. People say slavery was as soul damaging to the master as it was to the slave, but I just don't know.
Whenever I read slave narratives or abt the history of our ancestors in bondage, I shake my head.
Have you ever read Medical Apartheid by Harriet Washington? One thing I will never forget, James Sims, the so-called father of modern gynecology developed his techniques on three Black women in bondage, Lucy, Betsy, and Anarcha, without anesthesia. That is some sick, sick, sadistic, hope-he-is-burning-in-hell kind of stuff.

KELSO'S NUTS said...

But, Jones, it DID happen again. Or are there no privatized prisons doing work for the state or private businesses within the state?

OK, they don't use words like "slave" or "freedman" but so what?

Public relations men brought it back with slogans like "broken windows policing," "zero tolerance," "mandatory minimums," "KKK-and-you're-out," "urban superpredators," "war on ________", "liberal judges," "technicalities," .....

heather said...

holy crap ts! you do know how to write in 'proper' english! ;)

gonna go read the rest of it now, just had to bust your balls a bit first ya know.

Anonymous said...

I'm a fellow history buff and have read of many of these accounts.

I can only say that despite our challenges, our shortcomings and issues, that we must be a truly formidable people to have withstood such actions and to have not only survived, but excelled - doctors, writers, entrepreneurs and everything in between.

heather said...

slavery is one of the most disgustingly offensive practices humanity has been/is guilty of. over the course of human history nearly every race and/or ethnic group has been enslaved and has enslaved others. how is it that we are capable of doing this to each other? why? i will never understand. mutilation of others is just one example of the depravity shown by slavers. the sad thing is, is that it is not confined to slaves. there are still those who practice genital mutilation and argue that it is traditional and does not harm the victims. the human race is an amazing creature. capable of great good and, unfortunately, great evil as well.

A.u.n.t. Jackie said...

My parents have a books in their library documenting the mutulation and lynching of slavery and the images that I have seen have given me night mares as an adult.

although slavery has existed in some form or another in all parts of the world the slavery of the diaspora takes the cake when it came to cruelty and suffering to humanity.

i cannot fathom where a human being could find it inside of themselves to do to another human being what was done to the slaves of the western hemisphere. it makes me continuously question where did that hatred come from and then exactly where did it go?

how many are still infected with what ever mental illness that could excuse such behaviour? and who is monitering them now?

kmx. said...

That's freakin'...i wanna say terrible but there's no word to describe's sick. Makes me appreciate what my ancestors had to endure and the freedom I have today. Very nice post.

Also funny how I'm in 10th grade and I never in my life heard about this aspect of slavery...not once. Teachers never talked about it, it wasn't in my history books. Maybe my teachers didn't know, but if they did, why not tell me & my peers about it.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Kelso's Nuts - those equivalences are a real stretch. Defining suffering down is a way of disrespecting those who suffered.

The Bear Maiden said...

Kinda conflicted about isolating incidences like this, I am.

Firstly, like most things in America, slavery was a convoluted and twisted business. Yes, it was brutal. And awful and sick... and the bottom line is African slaves were for the most part, considered less than human... animals, chattel. And there were all types of owners. And some were awful twisted people... the kind of folk who would, in current times, starve, chain and beat pitbulls, mutilate small animals and tear wings off of flies. There will always be those types of people.

But for most folk, slaves were property, and unless you are super rich and can afford to do dispose of your property as you see fit... and many people were, undoubtedly, or just plain mean... for most folk slaves were worth too much to mutilate.

Do I think we should forget? No. Absolutely not. But personally--as a brown-skinned person I feel strongly that we don't benefit from examining portions of our history piecemeal. We really need to be taught the bigger picture... the economics of it, who was REALLY involved, and why.

no_slappz... you must know your past in order not to repeat it. We should never forget. Like we should never forget the Holocaust, or 9/11... because if we don't know we are doomed to repeat it.

But it needs to be told in context--on this I will agree, because otherwise we're doomed to repeat it, and this history is still being repeated today.

As for the books up in Harlem... truly you're touching on a subject that has nothing to do with this topic. That's a whole other subject with a whole other subtext going on. I'm up in Harlem just about every day and I know exactly what you're talking about... and it bothers the hell out of me, for what it's worth. Especially since my own father is a writer and his books can't be found either in Hue Man or on the street.

Anonymous said...

There you go again, bro, confusing me with more truth than I possess (that which I do posses is encyclopedic).

Keep that flame alive. You're a true "Renaissance Man".

George Malik Abdul-Mahdi

KELSO'S NUTS said...

No_slappz: I have to give you credit. You always keep me thinking. I don't know how many times I re-read your comment and I don't understand its purpose. I'm not quite sure I understand what you hope to accomplish on the blogs. I would love to know what is your ultimate goal with this tack.

Let's backtrack a bit. I want to make sure I have everything clear. Let's wipe the slate clean. I've never seen any of your writing before. You've never seen mine.

So, I read the body of the post by Torrance. It's pretty powerful stuff. It's not only a reminder of American slavery, it's also a reminder that horrible tortures for punishment, experimentation and who knows maybe even pleasure were exacted upon African slaves and their descendents in the USA until the Civil War. For simplicity's sake, I'll leave out the Klan and lynching and so forth.

Now there's a picture of the proprietor of the blog. I am accepting that at face value anyway. I'm assuming that's Torrance Stephens and he's an American possessed of brown skin and African features. One could reasonably guess that he is all or in part a direct descendent of the very slaves in the USA about which he writes.

While his approach to the topic is more clinical than bathetic, in other words, more history than emotion, I'm going to assume he has very strong negative feelings about such practices and for some reason had been inspired to write about a pretty difficult topic today.

Furthermore, we can agree that silly labels aside one would be correct in calling RDB a blog with a majority African American commentariat and that each as well are in whole or part descendents of American slaves.

In other words, this is a strong brew, meant to educate, inform, maybe cajole, maybe remind a pertinent readership. Most responses range from sadness to a sense of luck to anger to resignation to incomprehension requiring a spiritual answer.

And then there your responses.

These seem to be critques designed to call into question the legitmacy of the post, to call into question the goals of Torrance in writing it, and to tell a rather convoluted story about the market for used books in NYC which seems to present the thesis that (you being arbiter of "good" "better" and "bad" books) Black people read the wrong kinds of book or don't read enough or books about what you deem to be inappropriate topics.

This is followed by some "guidance" for Torrance to focus his energies on contemporary Africa as opposed to historical America. I am led to believe that Torrance Stephens is an American citizen and has lived most of his life in the United States. While Africa of the present day may or may not be of interest to him, it is not germane to the post which is specifically about US slavery written by an American. It is no more his duty to take African dictators to task as it is my duty to take Russian gangsters in Smolensk to task. And I even have relatives who are attorneys in Smolensk.

On the whole, I'd say you've displayed appallingly bad manners at the very least. It was as if you sprayed every coded anti-Black insult vaguely connected to the post into your comments.

I'd love to know why? It's unusual behavior even in the blogosphere. Just looking over the subject matter I would assume that despite the tolerance with which your remarks were received, you were probably trodding on what's hallowed ground for some readers. Everybody steps on his tongu (or keyboard) now and then and it's no big deal. You have gone out of your way to test the limits of patience and tolerance here.

I just want to know WHY? Are you stubborn or crazy enough to think that if you keep going to majority Black blogs slinging veiled insults that fellow commenters will someday just say "Ok, ok, you're right, we're inferior beings and you Whites are the master race?"

Are you looking for a general personal apology from Black America or Black people the world over for some grievous wrong done you?

Neither of those outcomes will obtain. More likely is you will continue to be bounced from blogs and will add new targets as you get bounced from older ones.

I consider myself a peacelover and generally a believer in good manners. I had made a rather personal and impassioned presentation here against Colin Powell merely for what I consider war crimes down here. Perhaps, Torrance had been feeling something similar to what I been feeling about my adopted country with regard to his own actual ancestry. I don't know. But I respected it and took it seriously even though I'm a descendent of the diasporal Ashkenazim and not African slaves. I took it seriously because it's a serious subject and one that is very difficult for someone alive in 2008 of any ethnicity to understand because of the horrors without bottom. You could say the same about the Holocaust. You could say it about the Russian front in WWII. You could say it about Rwanda. Or Pinochet's Chile and Peron's Argentina. Or Darfur. Or the former Yugoslavia.

I am probably crazy but somehow I don't see how impertinence and bad manners fit so well with the topic at hand.

Look, I went through personal periods of anger at White Christian Fundamentalist Republicans and their Jewish Neo-con bedfellows for the damage brought to my life for no reason. I still feel it from time to time. I don't, for example, give a rat's ass about 9/11 other than I'm sorry that somene who was good to me professionally was killed that day. No amount of rending of garments is going to bring him back but I know how much of a sacred cow 9/11 is to Wingnuts and Neocons so I enjoy making jokes about it.

Mostly, having become acquainted with the damage that Wingnuts at Justice and in the government can do to families with complete indifference for no reason, I'm pretty sure I made the right decision to leave with no plans to return. Until they move the capital of Israel back to Tel Aviv or Labour gets elected, I'm not going back there either.

And I could go on here picking apart the revolting ways that Wingnuts and neo-cons go about their business. And I can tell all sorts of funny stories about what dorks they are as tourists here. I could make 10,000 kinds of fun of Neocon Jews. That's what we secular Jews specialize in. Neocons are kind of cowardly...did you hear the one.......?

Just for the sake of not having to read these pointed barbs, if there's something I can stipulate about your neo-con view being superior to my humanist view and your love of America being superior to my love of Panama, I'll gladly do it just so I don't have to read this weirded out shit on Black blogs from you when subjects of importance are covered.

Linda said...

Right on the subject....

'we whities' tend to make black history a minor detail in the book.. or forget what has happened all together.

We've had our prime minister talk about 'the golden age' (1700s) and the Dutch mentality to conquer and win.. and how we needed to get back to that way of thinking. I couldn't believe he said that..

After all that has happened, it's like hearing a german talk about how great the 1940's were.. We've had many a protest from the black people, fortunately..

Man, we have a lonnnggggggg way to go.. did you know that we celebrate st. Nick's birthday on december 5th? Nothing wrong with that, but st. Nick is still accompanied by negro slaves..!! (of course, named differently) This is a national party.. unbelievable, really.. needless to say, we boycott the ole' bastard ;)

greetings from holland!

blackstar said...

Thanks for writing this. As painful as reading/understanding this writing is - it needs to be taught in schools from an early age. This is just a segment of the horrors of slavery.

In schools today - the way slavery is taught is so small that kids leave with the impression that they could just get up and run away.

I was taught VERY early these types of things (I believe too early), but when you know these things as part of your life, just like your abcs, then you don't fall for most of the hype they teach and you recognize all the shortages our culture's history actually has in the school system. I picked that up mad early.

A lot of what you described in your writing reminds me of some of the scenes I saw in Goodbye Uncle Tom. Have you seen that? Check it out if you haven't. It put a picture with the words that we never ever hear. This has NOTHING on roots (which had slaves running around singing, having weddings, and some torture - aside from slavery itself).

Unknown said...

Never never should this happen again, not to anyone regardless of color or creed!

no_slappz said...

torrance, you wrote:

"slappz, we remember 911 whats the difference, u dont say my rationale is to encourage terrorist"

There is no connection between 9/11, an EVENT occurring a few years ago, and slavery in America, which gave whites the legal power to own blacks who were legally defined as 3/5 of a person.

A vast amount of writing on the topic of slavery concerns its "legacy".

This troubles me. This legacy has been fashioned into a contemporary condition and is somehow worked into every aspect of black/white relations.

There is the head-to-head issue of Reparations. There is the commercialization of the slave image and its counter image, which together imply some form explanation for problems in the black community today.

With respect to 9/11, there IS a problem. Anti-freedom, anti-democratic muslims DID attack the US, finally convincing the US they are at war with us and have been at war with us since a muslim assassinated Robert Kennedy.

Despite individual feelings, our declared position on 9/11 is that we are fighting Terror. Specifically islamofascist terror. Not all muslims, even though sympathy for muslim terrorists is disturbingly high among muslims.

We do know the islamofascists and their supporters hate the US, the West and Israel. They repeat their hate and their threats regularly. They act on their hate. It is real and it is with us today.

On the other hand, the US fought a civil war that ended slavery. Since then the US has evolved and attempted to make life equal for blacks and whites. Admittedly things have been tough for many.

But a lot of effort and money has been spent. Unfortunately, the solution to many racial issues requires some changes of mind.

As a New Yorker and as one who has spent time in some Brooklyn high schools in recent years, I can tell you there are differences among students. The differences are rooted in their lives outside school.

In terms you and kelso can appreciate, the correlation between life outside school and academic achievement is close to 1.

Even though current problems are the result of current social pathologies, there is an undercurrent in every discussion that ties it all to slavery.

However, since slavery ended 140 years ago and Jim Crow laws were repealed over 45 years ago, linking today's issues with the past is self-defeating.

We can not change the past. It is there for all to see. It's been well reported, analyzed, discussed and debated. But nothing will change it.

Yet I get the feeling that within the black community there is an expectation that life will remain troubled until we go back in time and change the past.

It's true that people should NEVER FORGET. But based on the books, papers, blogs, and attitudes I encounter, there seems to be an effort to keep an unproductive anger alive. It's as though whites are viewed as people who yearn for the return of the good old days of slavery.

I see it in writings by blacks who characterize others as "house n_____s" and "field n_____s". References to the "plantation" pop up all the time, but in the context of life today. Not in discussions of how it was in the bad old days.

This is more than a refusal to forget the terrors of the past.

Sista GP said...

please do not judge blacks by the writings of those you encounter as blacks here do not judge whites by your writing here

RunGirl. said...

Definately appreciate teh history ... How do I get a copy of one of your books??

Cassia L Rainne said...

Haven't thought of PW in soooo long. I appreciate the reminder. I have that book and the next time I have a lull in my publishing and editing work I am going to pull it out.

Mizrepresent said...

Thanks for reminding us.

Two things i know, no matter what any person, white, black or other has to say about slavery, two things are true and will remain the same.

In America, the masters were white and the slaves were black/african.

If i was alive back then, i would have been a it goes without saying who the master would have been. And there is no excuse, no they did it to themselves, no, it wasn't that bad that can justify the atrocities committed by these people.

ZACK said...

Phyllis Wheatley paved the way for even bloggers- centuries before the Internet was invented (by Al Gore...just kidding!)

Referencing the Bible, Phyllis' gift "made room for her". And this is why I love to blog as well.

Thanks for the historical information that we all tend to overlook from time to time. I'm sorry for not visiting as much but my Mac doesn't process all the widgets on your page, Bro. Torrance. But whenever I get a chance to visit, I am never disappointed.

Lena said...

I know slavery existed in the United States and still does around the world but I just don't know or understand why and how people have it in them to be so inhumane. It just makes me upset and sad.

Christopher said...

Man's inhumanity to man.

I will never understand it.

At the core of slavery, was European and American economic supremacy over Africans, justified by racism.

We must never forget.

QH said...

People wonder why we as African and African-Americans hold onto what we do? I could only imagine the psychological abuse.-QH

no_slappz said...

sista gp, you wrote:

"no_slappz, please do not judge blacks by the writings of those you encounter as blacks here do not judge whites by your writing here"

That's interesting advice.

First, I dislike the use of the word "judge" in this context.

Second, if I take your advice, then on what basis do I form my views if I'm advised to ignore the writings of blacks whose work is found in bookstores catering to black book-buyers?

Richard Wright and James Baldwin did their part to keep the fires burning. In fact, I recently read Baldwin's "The Fire Next Time," and found his views disappointing.

Based on your view, I'm supposed to wing it.

You're suggesting I should overlook staggering differences in crime rates, huge differences in academic achievement and major differences in family functioning because, because, because, why?

Meanwhile, were you the poster who once wrote that your husband likes to drive your car beside cars driven by whites while he then clicks the door locks down to play mind games with the bewildered white drivers?

Finally, a key issue remains. What is the view on drug use in the black community? Should we decriminalize drug use? Or not?

I favor decriminalization. We've created many extra problems by treating drug use as a crime.

But black politicians see it differently. As far as I can tell, not one wants to decriminalize drugs, which is the change that would reduce the numbers of blacks going to jail in a big way.

THAT is a change I can believe in.

Husla3x said...

Man. I still get pissed in my gutz when i read facts about slavery. Keep murdering idiocy with you mind. I will have a link to your story up in a few hours. Cause this made me have to vent.

Anonymous said...

i will never understand how they can say that people that owned slaves were not racist and/or inhumane! how do you own another human being!? that is just crazy!

Unknown said...

Oh My God!!! I couldn't bear to read all of it...I seriously doubt if this will ever...ever happen again. Now let's stop killing each other!

DirtyJerz said...

I noticed that in Harlem and South Side Chicago book stores...almost all books written by people of color are about plight, blight, and baby momma drama. It's rare that you can find a business book from a black perspective, unless you go to

Kofi said...

I think it's cool that you posted this over the Labor Day holiday. (The way you linked my post to yours was also rather slick.)

Was that coincidental? Or am I just reading into things?

It does put our current economic situation under a completely different light.

The Bear Maiden said...

argh this is getting long and nobody's really reading anything... and while I'm not feeling no_slappz attitude there's some stuff written I can deal with. But I don't have time. But I have a MAJOR correction... Mizrepresent wrote:" In America, the masters were white and the slaves were black/african." No, no no, not entirely true. MOST times the Masters were white... but sometimes they weren't. Sometimes they were Cherokee or Cree or Choctaw. And MOST times the slaves were black/african... but an awful lot of the time they weren't... they were also Native, and sometimes they were Irish. The problem was at some point they decided that Irish slaves could eventually be free, where as an African or Indian slave would be a slave for life.

Slavery was not as simple as one master race enslaving another. It was about economics, and needing cheap labor and then subsequently needing to justify to their good Christian selves how they could debase another human being.

And just because you were black or African did NOT mean you were a slave... and didn't mean you had to leave the South, either. There was a lot more coming and going than traditional history books would have you believe.

My own great great grandfather who identified as "mulatto" and was born in Maryland went down South to Augusta as a freeman before slavery was over. And married a "halfbreed" (African/Indian) woman.

I've traced my mom's family back into slavery, where they were all listed as "mulatto"... and weren't slaves. And owned property. Lots of property. Family rumors said they were Cherokee.

Which all I'm saying is... it's not all black and white and we will NEVER resolve the anger and the hate until we REALLY know the facts. Cuz the anger is real, no_slappz... and it's justified. But it's unresolved because it has not place to go. And I'm the first to agree we need to move past it and be productive... cuz we're ALL spinning our wheels.

the prisoner's wife said...

i owe my voice, my word, my pen to foremothers like Phillis Wheatley & all of the other poets & writers who have come before me.

excellent post, T.

Unknown said...

in my present, modern day world such historical info. is still quite significant and relevant, so i appreciate the post.

rainywalker said...

Raw Dawg,
The sad things that went on back then are still going on with modern slave traders around the world. Totally non-human.

focusedpurpose said...

hi T-

thanks for the history lesson. i love Phyllis Wheatley. how is that for sheer determination and the will to do what she felt called to do. truly an inspiration.

those that forget their history are subject to repeat it. as the love of nooses and blackface re-emerge, i, for one will not be sleeping.

happy slapz is still being a rude possessor of the invisible knapsack, aka white privilege, i see. you and your commenters have the patience of saints. i forget the commenter that called him on the carpet for his blatant rudeness. nevertheless, i say thank you!

he is long winded, argumentative, and way out in left field as usual, i see. i must compliment the consistency, though. at least he is consistent in his foolishness.

for the record, in africa today white settlers hold the power; through brute, de-populating force in most instances. try that on when time permits happy slapz; truth might cause a headache making room amidst all the non sense that clearly reigns in that noggin of yours.

that is my final word. rebut until the cows come home, i just used all the energy i have for you. savor it.

T, i do not suffer fools gladly. i haven't the patience. i will leave now...

blessings bro:-)

KELSO'S NUTS said...

@ NU JEROOZ: Is there a "Black" way to teach the Black-Scholes Options Pricing Theory? A "Black" way to price a Con-sol (perpetuity) bond? A "Black" way to teach national income accounting and the interplay of fiscal and monetary policy?

Yo se perfectamente cierto de acuerdo y tampoco huevado sin duda que no hay ni la verga de la manera de ensenar las temas estas en plan LATINO o plan JUDIO o plan MUSLAMAN, oiste?

Bookstores are businesses whose purposes are to make profits, survive and serve stakeholders needs. I don't live in the US so I'm only guessing here but I'd lay a big price that regardless of the themes of the popular fiction and contemporary history books sold in America's Black bookstores, you'll find the same basic texts on economics and finance that they sell in White and Latino bookstores: Samuelson, Brealy-Myers, Mankiw, the classics: Smith, Ricardo, Marks...and so on.

If not, complain to your local bookseller because there are very much NOT separate Black and White versions of NASH EQUILIBRIA or DERIVED DEMAND CURVES!

@ THE BEAR MAIDEN: Nobody can convince anyone else how to view the history of the people to whom they pertain. That's a personal thing.

There are plenty of global examples of aggrieved populations moving forward from fury at the aggessor's actions given the passage of some time. I think South Africa and Germany stand out as examples of a very foreshortened process. Northern Ireland slighly less dramatically so but it's on its way.

The Bosnians, Croats, Kosovars and Serbs will let their feelings be known in time and will not be shy about it.

And there's precedence for cultures that don't move past their fury as well.

The lesson I get from Torrance's post is that the best course of action is to make the best of the one life you have to NEVER FORGET and FIGHT AGAINST IT WHEN IT THREATENS TO RETURN.

@ No_slappz: I don't think your opinion on the social value of Baldwin or Wright's fiction really matters here. Or if it's welcome. That's for Torrance to say. I know that you're well-read and I'd be curious to know your opinion of their LITERARY skills.

As a man of Mediterranean features and a dark complexion, I have found Saul Bellow's and Tom Wolfe's retrograde views DISAPPOINTING from a socio-political point of view. From a literary point of view, I thought Bellow a master and Wolfe kind of facile, more of a writer of pot-boilers. I felt like Mailer, Garcia Marquez, Malamud, and Wallant's work were PROGRESSIVE socially, not disappointing at all, and all were possessed of literary polish. But I am intimately familiar with Jewish American life and with contemporary Colombian life having lived both.

I can OFFER opinions on the social value of Baldwin or Wright's literature but my views on whether they meet a socio-political standard should CARRY NO WEIGHT AT ALL.

Tera said...

Just recently, one of our local museums had an exhibit of sorts which depicted several aspects of the slavery days. In one part of it, you could walk through a slave ship simulation where shackles were tossed about, old metal bowls and such and there were videos depicting certain events that transpired during a slave trade.

There was also a show of various instruments used for torture, and they went so far as to have the Slave Traders desk set up with the records book and quill sitting there.

I had mixed emotions about the exhibit, my kids seemed to totally be in awe, and when they had a man come out for a "skit" where he enacted an actual slave trade "conversation," I thought I had seen it all???

Anonymous said...

I'm with The Bear Maiden on this one--it was by no means just a black/white issue. That brutal asshole Columbus *came here* with the intent on enslaving folks to dig up gold for him--initially, those folks were Indian--and that particular tribe (I forget which it was--think it was Arawak) was completely wiped out because he and his fellow Spaniard assholes worked the hell out of them in a fruitless effort to literally dig up wealth here. [And yeah, the Native Americans also held black slaves for a number of years too...]

Fast forward hundreds of years (and making this quick), the whole issue with slavery now is, sure--it happened--to us--and, there is still SES fallout no matter how much others wish to deny it. I mean hey, you enslave folks for hundreds of years, you deny them education for hundreds of years, you treat them as less than human for hundreds of years--most blatantly as late as the 60s (but that was SUCH a long time ago...) AND THEN, this huge mass of people is up and all of a sudden expected to be self-sufficient, able to integrate into mainstream society--and completely "over it"?!

I, too, agree that slavery can't be used to continuously justify lack of achievement for us colored folk; but, I would also expect there to be a certain degree of empathy, foresight and understanding that the situation is not just going to right itself overnight.

Oh--FYI, example: there is a boycott against the Chicago Public School system currently underway where South Side kids are being encouraged to take buses way up north to a posh college-campus-like public school where the funding amount per student is ridiculous. Why? (Parent support notwithstanding) Because inner city public schools are crappy, don't have the resources, and nobody (politicians) seems to give a rats ass about educating inner city school kids--a majority of whom are black and Latino. Folks are fed up with the inequality and (publicly funded) white privilege.

Sorry for the long post Torrance, but the lack of empathy and foresight I see in folks about this whole thing just really bugs me.

The Love Collective said...

Thanx for this post. We must'nt forget the tragedy.

brran1 said...

Sickness in deed.

Amenta said...

I agree with The Bear Maiden. Slavery was not as simple as we have been lead to believe. Many free Black and Mulattos owned slaves. Oliver Cromwell of England sent boat loads of the Irish to the Americas as slaves. Black and mulatto slave owners not only owned family members but slaves for profit and some were quite brutal as well. In fact Chirstopher Columbus came to the Americas in the efforts of the Spaniards continuing the war with the Moors (of which he mentions the people of the islands were Mohammedens in his logs) that was coming to an end. On his first expedition the first people he enslaved and sent back to Spain were the indigenous Black people of the Americas, some were called Arawak and Caribs which neither group is wiped out, only wiped out on paper. Yet, slavery was as brutal as brother T mentions, however I think we confuse the brutality of the era of Jim Crow starting in the late 1850 when the white labor class began to gain power over the aristocratic classes in the US, up until its lingering effects of today, from Jim Crow. Slavery was more about economics than race. The half has not been told.

rawdawgbuffalo said...

U and me both

brain food each and every day is my mantra

Understatement folk


That’s why u my brother

Happy 47th and u know what I said in my email – thanks for the apology but it is not needed

Yes I have and that book is one of the only two I have that is a photo copy . the other is the hand book of biological warefare

I feel u but the level of choice was different jones

lol don’t read none of my schientific papers then

Exquisitely Black
Optimism, im with that – but I am no historian

so true when we all realize we human – we will be good. Im waitiong for that day

Aunt Jackie
Me either and u were blessed to have such parents

That’s education now – when I grew up we taught ourselves

Assistant Village Idiot
I see your point

The Bear Maiden
I fell u and understand about the books, and as for this, they asked to write on mutilation of slaves (100 wrds); psychology of slaver (1000 wrds); Kansas-Nebrtaska Act (800 wrds): Church schism on slaver (1200 wrds) and punishment of slaves (1200 wrds) I did what I could.

George Mahdi
I am flattered

He does it on person and that’s why I like him, he challenges our minds and u gottta know he has been converted to a certain degree over here kel lol

You are an actualized woman . but like I said we all human beings and cant wait til we get to that day

thank u for the vist – I try to be a scholar and a teacher – I try

I know I was preaching to the choir, how have u been

the difference is that there is none. It is history. I would go into additional deatail with my non typing self but it is not required

sista gp

Email me folk and I will send u the info

Miss Soul
Good she is a great read

U welcome sister, when u stoping by the shop again, Kyle was here last week

I know man u told me. Im coll you know I try and check u on the regular

Don’t be – just remember such ok. It will never happen again unless we forget

Yep and with war it seems we never learn

I have another I wrote for them called the psychology of slavery – maybe I will post it one day too

G. R Evinrue
YEP AND we enslave ourselves now and the TV is in second place


Blog Queen
Preach – sorry if I offended u

Nu Jerooz
Yep, and folk like buying and reading that e lynn Jerome dickey tyree stuff – I don’t write that nore get down like that

Yes indeed, like in a race with a chain around our ankles

The Bear Maiden
So true and I agree but like I said I was asked to write it which flattered me and they only gave me 1000 words so I tried to do it justice – saw the little man – reminds me of my self.

the prisoner's wife
Thanks scholar – yep she was the bomb

fly tie
Thank u hon, are u ok being down in the storms eye and all?

That’s y we gotta set things right and take our schools back

LOL scholar no apolgy required and you know how we get down overhere and especially me – I have to tolersate to teach

Thanks bruh, I’ve been slacking and tired 18 hr days and a dranged child’s mother.

Never have mixed emotions about peadagogy or learning - momma

No problem scholar and for me, that boycott is some of the dumbest shit I done heard – we need to be in school evwery day if u asked me – but no one didnt
The Love Collective
Never ever never

And how

I agree and think u were right. They just gave me 1000 words to write on this subject. And Jim Crow, well I have written about that too folk.

no_slappz said...

focused purpose,

Despite your claims about Africa, there are no European/white leaders on the continent. You must have been looking at information published during the last stages of colonial control.

All sub-Sahara nations are run by blacks. Period. The northern nations are muslim theocratic nations. None are free.

no_slappz said...


Your claims about funding in Chicago public schools defies all reason.

New York City Schools spent $15,100 per student in the latest fiscal year.

But the best performing schools averaged expenditures of about $10,000 per student. Why? Because it wasn't necessary to spend huge sums on security or remedial work.

The NY City schools receiving the highest levels of funding are the schools in the worst neighborhoods.

I doubt Chicago is different since the philosophy and theory of funding urban education is the same across the country.

Meanwhile, it is also beyond reason that parents in Chicago have the pre-emptive right and power to send their kids to the public school of their choice.

Your idea goes against one of the leading realities of public school education. Parents of public school kids are largely disenfranchised. This is chiefly the result of the Teachers' Union and the state bureaucracy.

Parental disenfranchisement is an abuse of parents as well as kids and is a chief reason we should increase the number of charter schools and give parents school vouchers. But the people who expect public school systems -- massive bureaucratic monopolies -- to act for the benefit of students and parents, are the same people who won't give real power to the parents.

It's amazing that parents and kids can choose colleges without state control, but they are not allowed to choose grade schools.

Mizrepresent said...

I'm missing Lil mama, so i will stop by soon...she just brigtens my heart!

shine said...

Wow, this makes me sick to my stomach. How easily we forget.

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