The profits that traders and plantation owners made from the slave trade and African labour could be large. Such profits were not necessarily put back into the business. Instead, many chose to spend their money on home comforts and invested in property. By the mid 1700s, many people who lived in Bristol who were involved in the African slave trade or who owned (but did not live on) Caribbean plantations moved out of the central area of Bristol. They moved to areas such as Clifton that were considered then to be ‘leafy suburbs’.
Some traders and plantation owners moved further out of the city to live in the surrounding countryside, adopting the style of the country landowner. Henry Hobhouse for example, from a slave trading family, acquired land at Castle Cary, in nearby Somerset. The Harfords, whose brass factories provided trade goods to the slave traders, bought property in Cardiganshire, in south west Wales. Caleb Dickinson (who owned a Jamaican plantation and traded in sugar in Bristol), purchased King Weston house in Somerton, Somerset. The Helyar family, who also owned Jamaican sugar plantations, owned Coker Court in East Coker near Yeovil, Somerset. Continue reading →
Land in the Caribbean islands was cheap, but the costs of setting up a sugar plantation were high. Sir Dalby Thomas in 1690 estimated that a 100 acre plantation on the island of Barbados, with 50 enslaved Africans, seven white indentured servants, sugar mill, boiling works, equipment and livestock would cost £5,625 (over £250,000 at today’s values). To recover these costs, the plantations had to produce enough good quality sugar to pay off debts and mortgages and cover the running costs each year. The owners also wanted a profit. Some families, such as the Pinneys of Nevis in the Caribbean and Bristol, were able to build up a fortune based on land, sugar producing and trading.
Enslaved people from Africa were the basis of these sugar fortunes. John Pinney, a plantation owner on the island of Nevis, wrote in the 1760s to his managers “a word respecting the care of my slaves and stock [animals] – your own good sense must tell you they are the sinews of a Plantation and must claim your particular care and attention”. He also wrote that “it is impossible for a Man to make sugar without the assistance of Negroes as to make bricks without straw”. Continue reading →
Spain’s Slavery Contract
From Discovering Bristol [edited]
Spain was building its empire in the [re]discovered lands of the Americas. It needed people to work in the mines and on the plantations that were developing. At first, the local people, AmerIndians, were used as free labour. They had been in the Americas long before the Spanish and other Europeans arrived. The AmerIndians were enslaved and forced to work by the newcomers. But, the AmerIndian population decreased rapidly after the Europeans [started exploiting and murdering them]. The Europeans came with swords and guns, as well as dogs and horses. The AmerIndians had bows and arrows and spears, and were no match for the newcomers. The Europeans brought diseases such as measles and the flu. The AmerIndians were not used to these new diseases, and they died in great numbers.
In 1500, it is estimated that there were about 50 million AmerIndians in the Americas. By 1600, after 100 years of European warfare, disease and forced labour, this number had been reduced to about 8 million. Continue reading →
A Brief History of Slavery and the Origins of American Policing
Written by Victor E. Kappeler, Ph.D., Eastern Kentucky University
The birth and development of the American police can be traced to a multitude of historical, legal and political-economic conditions. The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities. For example, New England settlers appointed Indian Constables to police Native Americans (National Constable Association, 1995), the St. Louis police were founded to protect residents from Native Americans in that frontier city, and many southern police departments began as slave patrols.
In 1704, the colony of Carolina developed the nation’s first slave patrol. Slave patrols helped to maintain the economic order and to assist the wealthy landowners in recovering and punishing slaves who essentially were considered property. Continue reading →
Chicago Gangs and the “King Alfred Plan”
From Covert Book Report, 2013
Every now-and-then a dark secret is leaked in a novel or movie that exposes a subject so controversial that people think that it surely must be fiction. […] Here is where we travel down one such road; Senator Mark Kirk (R. Il.) has proposed an unthinkable and seemingly impossible plan to round up as many as 18,000 black men off the streets of Chicago and imprison them.
Raw Story reports: “Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) on Wednesday accused Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk (R) of proposing an “elitist white boy solution” to gang violence with his plan for the mass arrests of 18,000 gang members in Chicago.
Earlier on Wednesday, Kirk had joined with fellow Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) in calling on Illinois attorney general nominee Zachary Fardon to focus on street gangs and gun violence. But in an interview earlier this month, Kirk had gone even further with a plan to target members of the Continue reading →
Police detective: Misleading narrative presented to Freddie Gray grand jury
By Justin Fenton, June 25 2016
The lead Baltimore police detective in the Freddie Gray investigation said she reluctantly read to grand jurors a summary of evidence provided by prosecutors that she believed was misleading, according to police records reviewed by The Baltimore Sun. Hours later, the grand jurors issued criminal indictments against six police officers in the arrest and death of Gray.
Detective Dawnyell Taylor said in a daily log of case notes on the investigation that a prosecutor handed her a four-page, typed narrative at the courthouse just before she appeared before the grand jury. “As I read over the narrative it had several things that I found to be inconsistent with our investigation,” Taylor wrote, adding: “I thought the statements in the narrative were misquoted.”
But, she wrote, she was “conflicted” about challenging the state’s attorney on the narrative in the courtroom. “With great conflict I was sworn in and read the narrative provided,” she said in her notes. When the jurors asked questions, including whether Gray’s arrest was legal, Taylor wrote that prosecutors intervened before she could give an answer that would conflict with their assessment. Continue reading →
‘Rough Rides’ and the Challenges of Improving Police Culture
By David A. Graham, Apr 27, 2015
A rough ride. Bringing them up front. A screen test. A cowboy ride. A nickel ride.
Police say that intentionally banging a suspect around in the back of a van isn’t common practice. But the range of slang terms to describe the practice suggests it’s more common that anyone would hope—and a roster of cases show that Freddie Gray is hardly the first person whose serious injuries allegedly occurred while in police transit. Citizens have accused police of using aggressive driving to rough suspects up for decades in jurisdictions across the country. Though experts don’t think it’s a widespread practice, rough rides have injured many people, frayed relationships, and cost taxpayers, including Baltimore’s, millions of dollars in damages.
Gray’s funeral was Monday, eight days after he died and two weeks after he was arrested by Baltimore police under murky circumstances. President Obama sent three aides, including the chair of his My Brother’s Keeper task force, to the burial. Protests have roiled the streets of Baltimore ever since Gray died, forcing the city to reckon with a troubled police department and its fraught relationship with black citizens. Continue reading →