When I was eight, my Mother sent me to live with my Grandmother
in Queens, New York.
I attended Russel Sage Junior High.
The American Civil War was the topic of American History
The teacher asked us to imagine what it was like to be a slave.
I was fresh from South Carolina and had just finished reading
I raised my hand and said, “I think it would be awful to get bred.”
“Get bread?” the teacher said.
“Yes ma’am. They bred slaves for the babies.”
“Where did you hear that? I’ve never heard such a thing.”
I instinctively knew Mandingo was not a good source, so I said, “Everyone
in the South knows how to breed livestock. Slaves was livestock.”
The teacher smiled. “Were,” she corrected. “I’ll research this tonight, and if you’re right, I’ll apologize tomorrow.”
The next day I got an apology.
From The Character of the Southern States of America:
“By the laws of competition no one can carry on a thriving business in breeding slaves for the market, unless the rights of mothers be utterly trampled underfoot, and (to borrow Mrs, Stowe’s phrase, babies be sold by the pound; 2, The right of chastity be utterly denied to every slave woman, and the right of rape be sharply conceded to the master ; 3, All right of a slave to a wife or children, as well as to property or to a native soil, be totally exploded ; 4, The unlimited use of the whip be given to the master. Every one of these things is not only a stern reality, (and if you do not know them, I must say it is you that are ignorant, not I that misrepresent,) but they are even so cherished that no man in the South could publicly speak against any of them, without being tarred and feathered, or otherwise violently driven out.”
The word “barbarism” in its contemporary sense is variously interpreted as meaning either a technologically advanced but extremely exploitative and oppressive society (e.g. a victory and world domination by Nazi Germany and its Fascist allies); a collapse of technological civilization due to Capitalism causing a Nuclear War or ecological disaster; or the one form of barbarism bringing on the other.” Barbarian Defined
We can’t win the war with barbarism, we can only win battles.
Barbarians are not stupid. They makes contingency plans when facing defeat.
Consider that as early as 1822 slavers discussed alternate forms of slavery:
“The average price of tradesmen and others, bought and sold in Charleston, is also considerably higher than that of field slaves, whereby the interest on capital is proportionally enhanced. Where they have not families to keep up the stock, the maintenance of two, for one efficient workman, should not be charged against them, but the insurance on life must be substituted, which, it is presumed, would there be very high. Sufficient data are not at hand to form a precise estimate of the whole expense of a Charleston black mechanic or house servant. But from the above statement, it must greatly exceed that of the field slaves. And when the draw-backs from his efficiency are considered, it is probable that the labor of white men will, on the whole, be as cheap as that of the slave.
Democracy won the battle against overt slavery only to have it reappear in a new form:
“In 1860, failing to solve its part of the world’s problem of equity in human relationships, the commonwealth clashed with the dominant idea of the period. In the championship of their system the planters and their neighbors were defeated, and their system was shattered as far as it could be by its victorious enemies encamped upon the field. But the pendulum swings again. Facts of human nature and the laws of civilized social welfare are too stubborn for the theories of negrophiles as well as of negrophobes. The slave labor problem has disappeared, but the negro problem remains.”
Lawlessness and terror was Charleston’s solution to the ‘negro’ problem?
People refer to the victory of the Allies over the Nazis as the defeat of evil.
This same claim is often made about the fall of the Berlin Wall.
“Ronald Reagan defeated evil!”
No he didn’t.
Evil adapts and waits.
Evil becomes invisible until its crimes are such a stain on the collective soul they can no longer be ignored:
“The greatest evil perpetrated is the evil committed by nobodies, that is, by human beings who refuse to be persons”
― Hannah Arendt
Header image is a 16th century engraving from Metropolitan Museum of Art
“Lynching’ Image source unknown, found on the Internet Archives