Category: slavery

At a Tallahassee golf course, near the 7th hole, has been found a cemetery dating to the days of the American Civil War. With a naked eye can be seen barely-there depressions in the grass. But thanks to continued local remembrance of a graveyard for enslaved persons in the area, and a report based on historical records made to the country club, an archaeological team from the National Park Service brought ground-penetration radar (GPR) to the site in 2019 to investigate.

The GPR detected roughly 40 graves. They were the right shape, and the right depth, to be graves. The finding was then confirmed by human remains detection dogs.

Based on historical records, the graveyard has been connected with a plantation owned by the family of Edward Houston. The Houstons were a prominent slave-owning family in Savannah, Georgia. When Tallahassee was being settled by white colonists, two Houston family members purchased a half square mile in 1826. The records demonstrate that this would not have been a graveyard for white residents of the plantation, for the family. It would have been a final resting place for the enslaved persons who worked the plantation.

At this time, there are no plans to excavate in the cemetery, and disturb the dead. Efforts are focused on finding descendants of those who might be buried there.

In 1315, Louis X, king of France, published a decree proclaiming that “France signifies freedom” and that any slave setting foot on the French ground should be freed. And France maintained that law, even after it began allowing slavery in its New World colonies in the 1600s. Any enslaved person who as brought to France became free. Born into slavery in Saint Domingue, Thomas-Alexandre Dumas became free when his father brought him to France in 1776.

Slavery in the French colonies was another story. The French crown regulated the slave trade and institution in the colonies, starting with Louis XIV’s Code Noir in 1685. The royal government had over 100 years of profiting from plantation-based slavery and particularly sugar production before the French Revolution killed the royal family and attempted to end slavery in the colonies. The first elected Assembly of the First Republic abolished slavery in France (since the royal law was no longer recognized) and more importantly in France’s colonies.

However, Napoleon restored slavery and the slave trade in 1802. This was mainly because of lobbying by planters in the West Indies, and to benefit from taxing the planter’s slavery-produced profits. In 1848, under the Second Republic, slavery was totally abolished in the French colonies. And this time it stuck.

This bust was entitled “Saïd Abdullah of the Mayac, Kingdom of the Darfur” by the sculptor Charles Henri Joseph Cordier in 1848. It was modeled on an African visitor to Paris.

That same year, slavery was abolished in all French colonies. Yes, in 1848. The sculpture, and its later companion piece “African Venus,” were hailed as expressions of human pride and dignity in the face of grave injustice. They also lent an exotic interest to “the other” which was a hallmark of romanticism.

In 1931, Zora Neale Hurston sought to publish the story of Cudjo Lewis, the final slave-ship survivor in the United States. His original name was Kossula.

Kossula had been captured at age 19 in an area now known as the country Benin, by warriors from the neighboring Dahomian tribe, and marched to a stockade, or barracoon, on the West African coast. There, he and some 120 others were purchased and herded onto the Clotilda, captained by William Foster and commissioned by three Alabama brothers to make the 1860 voyage. Kossula survived the Middle Passage, and was smuggled into Mobile, Alabama in the night. The international slave trade had been illegal in the United States for over fifty years. Kossula worked as a slave at docks on the Alabama River until 1865, and the end of the American Civil War.

After he was freed, Kossula lived for seventy years. He was interviewed by Hurston (a trained anthropologist) in 1930, who recorded his words in his dialect. But no one would publish the book she wrote with his story. One publisher was interested, but only if Hurston edited his dialect. She refused. His story was left in Howard University’s vault, forgotten. Now Kossula’s words are being published for the first time.

Descendants’ Stories of the Clotilda Slave Ship Drew Doubts. Now Some See Validation.:

“So many people said that it didn’t really happen that way, that we made the story up,” one woman said of the boat that brought her great-great-grandfather to America.

dietmountainmadewka:

historical-nonfiction:

Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote the anthem of the United States of America, was a slaveowner with a complicated relationship with slavery. He publicly criticized cruelty to slaves. As a lawyer he represented several slaves seeking their freedom in court, and he took their cases for free. Key was also a founding member of the American Colonization Society, which aimed ease relations between blacks and whites in the United States by sending African-Americans to their own colony in Africa.

However, Key owned slaves. In fact he likely owned at least one slave when he wrote the Star-Spangled Banner. As a lawyer, Key also represented several masters seeking return of their runaway slaves. He left the American Colonization Society’s board in 1833 when it became more pro-abolition. And when Francis Scott Key became the U.S. Attorney, he used his position to suppress abolitionist publications and to prosecute abolitionists.

So in the end, despite moral qualms about the treatment of slaves, Francis Scott Key supported slavery and did what he could to maintain it.

hero

I’m sorry, I feel like you might have missed the point of the post, @dietmountainmadewka. Francis Scott Key should be remembered as a complicated figure, who wrote our national anthem but who ultimately failed to consider fellow human beings …well, fellow human beings.

Francis Scott Key, the man who wrote the anthem of the United States of America, was a slaveowner with a complicated relationship with slavery. He publicly criticized cruelty to slaves. As a lawyer he represented several slaves seeking their freedom in court, and he took their cases for free. Key was also a founding member of the American Colonization Society, which aimed ease relations between blacks and whites in the United States by sending African-Americans to their own colony in Africa.

However, Key owned slaves. In fact he likely owned at least one slave when he wrote the Star-Spangled Banner. As a lawyer, Key also represented several masters seeking return of their runaway slaves. He left the American Colonization Society’s board in 1833 when it became more pro-abolition. And when Francis Scott Key became the U.S. Attorney, he used his position to suppress abolitionist publications and to prosecute abolitionists.

So in the end, despite moral qualms about the treatment of slaves, Francis Scott Key supported slavery and did what he could to maintain it.

Ex-Slave members of the Brotherhood of Our Lady of the Rosary dressed for the Congada Folk Dance to Celebrate the Abolition of Slavery in Brazil, Minas Gerais 1888.

via reddit

yesterdaysprint:

The Raleigh Register, North Carolina, May 14, 1853

“..hurry the poor negro from the genial clime he is accustomed to, to the icy regions of Queen Victoria’s Northern possessions..”

The Liberator, Boston, Massachusetts, March 7, 1856

image

The Raleigh Register, North Carolina, May 14, 1853

“..hurry the poor negro from the genial clime he is accustomed to, to the icy regions of Queen Victoria’s Northern possessions..”