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 →
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 →
There were No Police at this Chevron, Exxon Crime Scene*
By Greg Palast
Nine years ago this week, New Orleans drowned. Don’t you dare blame Mother Nature. Miss Katrina killed no one in this town. But it was a homicide, with nearly 2,000 dead victims. If not Katrina, who done it? Read on.
The Palast Investigative Fund is making our half-hour investigative report available as a free download – Big Easy to Big Empty: The Untold Story of the Drowning of New Orleans, produced for Democracy Now. In the course of the filming, Palast was charged with violation of anti-terror laws on a complaint from Exxon Corporation. Charges were dropped, and our digging continued.
It wasn’t an Act of God. It was an Act of Chevron. An Act of Exxon. An Act of Big Oil.
Take a look at these numbers dug out of Louisiana state records:
Conspiracy Theory: What Really Happened To Tupac’s Bodyguard, Frank Alexander? By Lena C., On June 06, 2013
54 year old Frank “Big Frank” Alexander, rapper Tupac Shakur’s former handpicked bodyguard was found dead in his Murrieta, CA home on April 28, 2013. It’s being reported that it was suicide. He was found with a bullet wound to the head. There haven’t been any further reports following Big Frank’s death.
Big Frank was Tupac’s bodyguard on the night of the 1996 shooting in Las Vegas, NV. In several interviews, Big Frank has said he was ordered –by the company he worked for– not to take any Continue reading →
Let me rewrite this introduction. It is dumb to write about copywriting when the writing is sloppy. It would just make it clear that I am not to start a new business doing copywriting, unless it would really be just business. That would mean that I get other people to do the copying and the writing. And to get more other people to get the assignments for the copywriters.
The decision to finally take a closer look at the disaster called “Katrina” has already been paying off. I have been able to move closer to the source of my personal distress at the time. I had run away to find that I still had nowhere to turn to, in much of the same way as the Katrina victims and survivors. I was on a Death March of my own, and just like all the Katrina victims, I was unaware of it. Something was wrong, but I could not even begin to Continue reading →