Another local story, this one dedicating a local square in the name of a USCT soldier. This article added an interesting point about slave names that I’d never considered before.
But when enlistment opened for men of color in Cape Girardeau, the Army wants you to have a first name and a last name. And in the course of the study that I’ve looked at, over 200 men who enlisted in Cape Girardeau, it was pretty typical that they, maybe by default, or you know just the pressure of the moment when they stood in front of the enlistment officer, they needed a first name and a last name. And so most of them chose the last name of their last enslaver.
Source: Remembering James Ivers: A Look Back On The Story Of A Slave-Turned-Soldier In The Civil War | KRCU
NYTimes columnist Charles M Blow weighs in on the current Reparations debate. This is a topic that I admit flummoxes me: I see the point of paying reparations, but it’s a difficult thing to plan and implement. It’s a valuable debate to have, regardless.
Source: Opinion | Reparations: Reasonable and Right – The New York Times
The writer Ta-Nehisi Coates testified for Congress on a bill that discusses reparations for slavery. Mitch McConnell weighed in with the following quote, which would be a lot less cynical if he didn’t use “We”. A politician who devoted himself to undermining the entire African American presidency he namechecks isn’t one to claim that efforts have been made.
“I don’t think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago when none of us currently living are responsible is a good idea,” the Kentucky senator told reporters. “We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We’ve elected an African American president.”
Source: Ta-Nehisi Coates gave Mitch McConnell a powerful lesson on reparations – Vox
I fell behind on my posting and missed Juneteenth! For those unfamiliar with the holiday on June 19th, let the eminent professor Henry Louis Gates explain it to you by clicking through to his article.
”‘The way it was explained to me,’ ” one heir to the tradition is quoted in Hayes Turner’s essay, ” ‘the 19th of June wasn’t the exact day the Negro was freed. But that’s the day they told them that they was free … And my daddy told me that they whooped and hollered and bored holes in trees with augers and stopped it up with [gun] powder and light and that would be their blast for the celebration.’ ”
Source: What Is Juneteenth? African American History Blog | The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
One of the reasons I check out every small-town paper’s Civil War related stories is that you occasionally find some delicious wheat amongst the “round table meets tonight” or “Lincoln impersonator to speak at library” chaff. This article is one of the kernels that makes it worthwhile. A surprisingly in-depth look at some radical proposals in the wake of the Nat Turner uprising, leading to some big historical what-ifs.
The first thing white people did after Nat Turner’s violent slave insurrection in 1831 was round up more than 120 black people and kill them.
But the next thing white people did was surprising.
Hundreds of them sent petitions to the Virginia General Assembly calling for an end to slavery.
Source: Virginia debated ending slavery after Nat Turner’s revolt – Plainview Daily Herald
Some archaeological news from Alabama – the remains of the last slave ship was found.
Researchers were also looking for a ship that had been burned and scuttled in the waters around Mobile — reflecting the captain’s attempts to block law enforcement from finding evidence of a crime.
From February to July 1860, the Clotilda carried 110 people from present-day Benin to the shores of Mobile, despite an 1808 U.S. law banning the import of slaves.
The prisoners were among the last known Africans destined for a life in captivity.
Source: Clotilda, Last Known Ship Carrying Captives For Slavery, Found, Researchers Say : NPR
I knew of the Confederados existence, but I hadn’t had the time to read much into the history of those Confederates who moved (with their slaves) to Brazil after the war. I’m horrified to find out their descendants celebrate the fact. What a strange, lingering aftereffect of the Civil War! This article was quite the eye opener.
As early as the 1860s, Brazil was actively recruiting Southern American plantation owners, part of an immigration policy aimed at attracting Europeans, European-American and other “white” migrants. According to historians Cyrus and James Dawsey, who were born and raised near Confederado communities in São Paulo, Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II also promised cheap land to any American farmer who would come with a plow – a technology Brazil lacked.
Either way, thousands of white southerners made Brazil their new home after the Civil War. In São Paulo state, they established a somewhat closed and culturally homogeneous community that maintained its southern traditions for generations.
Source: Brazil’s long, strange love affair with the Confederacy ignites racial tension
A deeper dive on the Slave Bible, courtesy of the Smithsonian.
“This can be seen as an attempt to appease the planter class saying, ‘Look, we’re coming here. We want to help uplift materially these Africans here but we’re not going to be teaching them anything that could incite rebellion,’” Anthony Schmidt, the Museum of the Bible’s associate curator of Bible and Religion, tells Martin.
That meant the missionaries needed a radically pared down version of the Bible. “A typical Protestant edition of the Bible contains 66 books, a Roman Catholic version has 73 books and an Eastern Orthodox translation contains 78 books,” the museum says in a statement. “By comparison, the astoundingly reduced Slave Bible contains only parts of 14 books.”
Gone was Jeremiah 22:13: “Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbour’s service without wages and giveth him not for his work.” Exodus 21:16—“And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death”—was also excised. In their place, the missionaries emphasized passages that encouraged subservience, like Ephesians 6:5: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ.”
Read more: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/heavily-abridged-slave-bible-removed-passages-might-encourage-uprisings-180970989/#bG8D9CM2JeUKBcVr.99
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Source: Heavily Abridged ‘Slave Bible’ Removed Passages That Might Encourage Uprisings | Smart News | Smithsonian
I can’t say that Washington DC’s Museum of the Bible is a museum I’d have given much thought to visiting, but through September, they’re hosting an exhibition on the Slave Bible. It’s a fascinating piece of history, and worth checking out if you’re in town.
The Slave Bible, as it would become known, is a missionary book. It was originally published in London in 1807 on behalf of the Society for the Conversion of Negro Slaves, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of enslaved Africans toiling in Britain’s lucrative Caribbean colonies. They used the Slave Bible to teach enslaved Africans how to read while at the same time introducing them to the Christian faith. Unlike other missionary Bibles, however, the Slave Bible contained only “select parts” of the biblical text. Its publishers deliberately removed portions of the biblical text, such as the exodus story, that could inspire hope for liberation. Instead, the publishers emphasized portions that justified and fortified the system of slavery that was so vital to the British Empire.
Source: The Slave Bible: Let the Story Be Told | Museum of the Bible
An interesting push by a county in Virginia to preserve and present historical artifacts and sites where Nat Turner’s rebellion took place. As the last quote in the article states, “Just because something bad may have happened at a place, or something that was distasteful, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be kept.”
Until recently, the all-white county historical society was uncertain how to handle its macabre legacy. Within the past 10 years, though, as popular interest in Turner’s story has grown — including through the controversial 2016 film “Birth of a Nation” — attitudes have loosened.
Work is underway to establish slave-insurrection-history trails: a walking route in Courtland and a driving tour through the southwest corner of the county where the rebellion took place.
Source: Nat Turner’s slave rebellion ruins are disappearing in Virginia – The Washington Post