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 →
Parker moved to fix a duty of ten dollars on each slave imported into the United States. Some congressmen who were sympathetic with Parker’s object preferred a separate bill on slave imports.
Mr. Madison. I cannot concur with gentlemen who think the present an improper time or place to enter into a discussion of the proposed motion; if it is taken up in a separate view, we shall do the same thing at a greater expence of time. But the gentleman says that it is improper to connect the two objects, because they do not come within the title of the bill; but this objection may be obviated by accommodating the title to the contents; there may be some inconsistency in combining the ideas which gentlemen have expressed, that is, considering the human race as a species of property; but the evil does not arise from adopting the clause now proposed; it is from the importation to which it relates. Our object in enumerating persons on paper with merchandize, is to prevent the practice of actually treating them as such, by having them in future, forming part of the cargoes of goods, wares, and merchandize to be imported into the United States, the motion is calculated to avoid the very evil intimated by the gentleman. Continue reading →
Is the birthplace of ‘Uncle Tom’ in a Maryland hayfield? By Joe Heim June 15, 2016
The archaeological finds seem ordinary at first. A rusted belt buckle, shards of broken pottery and glass, remnants of an old clay pipe.
But in this detritus of lives lived more than 200 years ago on a southern Maryland farm known as La Grange, researchers in Charles County believe they have uncovered the birthplace of a key figure in African American history.
Josiah Henson is not a household name, but the autobiography the former slave published in 1849 provided integral source material — and some say inspired the title character — for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Continue reading →
Excerpt: ‘The Autobiography of Josiah Henson’
By Josiah Henson
I was born, June 15, 1789, in Charles County, Maryland, on a farm belonging to Mr. Francis N., about a mile from Port Tobacco. My mother was the property of Dr. Josiah McP., but was hired by Mr. N., to whom my father belonged. The only incident I can remember, which occurred while my mother continued on N.’s farm, was the appearance of my father one day, with his head bloody and his back lacerated. He was in a state of great excitement, and though it was all a mystery to me at the age of three or four years, it was explained at a later period, and I understood that he had been suffering the cruel penalty of the Maryland law for beating a white man. His right ear had been cut off close to his head, and he had received a hundred lashes on his back. He had beaten the overseer for a brutal assault on my mother, and this was his punishment. Furious at such treatment, my father became a different man, and was so morose, disobedient, and intractable, that Mr. N. determined to sell him. He accordingly parted with him, not long after, to his son, who lived in Alabama; and neither my mother nor I, ever heard of him again. He was naturally, as I understood afterwards from my mother and other persons, a man of amiable temper, and of considerable energy of character; but it is not strange that he should be essentially changed by such cruelty and injustice under the sanction of law. 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 →
Quite interesting podcast, because there have been many African leaders who have been trying to cosy up to China in recent years. From Robert Mugabe to as we can see here, Kikwete, China is becoming the place to go for Capital for African leaders, something which probably wasn’t conceivable 50 years ago.
Among the links below, one statement [in the guardian article] is most striking:
….Tunisia’s president, Moncef Marzouki, said economic development alone could not provide stability without social justice and political rights. He said foreign businesses have a responsibility to do more than seek profit and should choose to invest in democratic states that are working to combat corruption, educate their populations and create equality. …
(The Root) — Amazing Fact About the Negro No. 13: What happened to the “40 acres and a mule” that former slaves were promised?
We’ve all heard the story of the “40 acres and a mule” promise to former slaves. It’s a staple of black history lessons, and it’s the name of Spike Lee’s film company. The promise was the first systematic attempt to provide a form of reparations to newly freed slaves, and it was astonishingly radical for its time, proto-socialist in its implications. In fact, such a policy would be radical in any country today: the federal government’s massive confiscation of private property — some 400,000 acres — formerly owned by Confederate land owners, and its methodical redistribution to former black slaves. What most of us haven’t heard is that the idea really was generated by black leaders themselves.