Building community in a changing world

September 6, 2022

Slavery in America

I just started the “30 Day Challenge” offered by “The Antiracist Table” and the reading assignment for Day #1 is an eye-opener as could be expected. It’s entitled “Slavery in America: The Montgomery Slave Trade” from the “Equal Justice Initiative Report.”

Here’s some of the things taught in the first section of the report:

– The magnitude of slavery was larger than I thought – 10.7 million people were transported to America, with another 2 million dying in transit
– The particular experience of American slavery took different forms based on region and time period. Slavery became less efficient and less socially accepted in the Northeast during the eighteenth century, and those states began passing laws to gradually abolish slavery.
– By 1860, in the fifteen Southern states that still permitted slavery, nearly one in four families owned enslaved people.
– The racialized caste system of American slavery that originated in the British colonies was unique in many respects from the forms of slavery that existed in other parts of the world. It was permanent, not a class distinction that could be overcome.
– The myth of black people’s racial inferiority developed and persisted as a common justification for the system’s continuation. Ending slavery was not enough to overcome the harmful ideas created to defend it.