Posts Tagged: black history


One of my favorite women in history: Madame C.J. Walker. She was the first woman born into freedom in her family after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, and the first African American millionaire. She designed her own black-haircare system, and trained other black women to be able to do the same. She joined the NAACP and donated thousands to that organization, the YMCA, and many black schools and churches. She lectured fellow black women on social and political issues as well. She was an entrepreneur and philanthrapist, and certainly an inspiration to women like me.


9TH OF 5TH MONTH - Breakfasted at a Friend’s house who afterwards putting us a little on our way, I had conversation with him, in the fear of the Lord, concerning his slaves, in which my heart was tender, and I used much plainness of speech with him, which he appeared to take it kindly. We pursued our journey without appointing meetings, being pressed in my mind to be at the Yearly Meeting in Virginia. In my travelling on the road I often felt a cry rise from the center of my mind thus - “Oh Lord, I am a stranger in the earth, hide not Thy face from me.” On the 11th we crossed the rivers at Patowmack and Rapahannock, and lodged at Port Royal. On the way, happening in company with a Colonel of the Militia, who appeared to be a thoughtful man, I took occasion to remark on the difference in general betwixt a people used to labor moderately for their living, training up their children in frugality and business, and those who live on the labor of slaves; the former, in my view, being the most happy life. He concurred in the remark, and mentioned the trouble arising from the untoward, slothful disposition of the Negroes, adding that one of our laborers would do as much in a day as two of their slaves. I replied that free men whose minds were properly on their business, found a satisfaction in the improving, cultivating, and providing for their families; but Negroes, laboring to support those who claim them as their property, and expecting nothing but slavery during life, had not the like inducement to be industrious.

After some further conversation I said that men having power too often misapplied it; that though we made slaves of the Negroes, and the Turks made slaves of the Christians, I believed that liberty was the natural right of all men equally. This he did not deny, but said the lives of the Negroes were so wretched in their own country that many of them lived better here than there. I only said, “There’s great odds in regard to us on what principle we act”; and so the conversation on that head ended. I may here add that another person some time afterwards mentioned the wretchedness of the Negroes occasioned by their intestine wars as an argument in favor of our fetching them away for slaves. To which I replied, if compassion for the Africans, on account of their domestic troubles, was the real motive of our purchasing them, that spirit of tenderness being attended to would incite us to use them kindly, that as strangers brought out of affliction their lives might be happy among us. And as they are human creatures, whose souls are as precious as ours, and who may receive the same help and comfort from the Holy Scriptures as we do, we could not omit suitable endeavors to instruct them therein; but while we manifest by our conduct that our views in purchasing them are to advance ourselves, and while our buying captives taken in war animates those parties to push on that war and increase desolation amongst them, to say they live unhappy in Africa is far from being an argument in our favor. I further said, the present circumstances of these provinces to me appear difficult; the slaves look like a burdensome stone to such as burden themselves with them; and that if the white people retain a resolution to prefer their own outward prospect of gain to all other considerations, and do not act conscientiously toward them as fellow creatures, I believe that burden will grow heavier and heavier until times change in a way disagreeable to us. At which the person appeared very serious and acknowledged that in considering their condition and the manner of their treatment in these provinces he had sometimes thought it might be just in the Almighty to so order it….

The prospect of a road lying open to the same degeneracy in some parts of this newly settled land of America in respect to our conduct towards the Negroes hath deeply bowed my mind in this journey, and though to briefly relate how these people are treated is no agreeable work, yet, after reading over the notes I made as I traveled, I find my mind engaged to preserve them. Many of the white people in those provinces take little or no care of Negro marriages; and when Negroes marry after their own way, some make so little account of those marriages that with views of outward interest they often part men from their wives by selling them far asunder, which is common when estates are sold by executors at vendue. Many whose labor is heavy being followed in the field by a man with a whip, hired for that purpose, have in common little else to eat but one peck of Indian corn and some salt, for one week, with a few potatoes; and the latter they commonly raise by their labor on the first day of the week. The correction ensuing on their disobedience to overseers, or slothfulness in business is often very severe, and sometimes desperate.

Men and women have many times scarce clothes sufficient to hide their nakedness, and boys and girls ten and twelve years old are often stark naked amongst their master’s children. Some of our Society, and some of the society called Newlights, use some endeavors to instruct those they have in reading; but in common this is not only neglected, but disapproved. These are a people by whose labor the other inhabitants are in a great measure supported, and many of them in the luxuries of life. These are a people who have made no agreement to serve us, and who have not forfeited their liberty that we know of. These are the souls for whom Christ died, and for our conduct towards them we must answer before that Almighty Being who is no respecter of persons. They who know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent, and are thus acquainted with the merciful, benevolent, Gospel Spirit, will therein perceive that the indignation of God is kindled against oppression and cruelty, and in beholding the great distress of so numerous a people will find cause for mourning.

  • Columbus found Caribbean islands (most likely the Bahamas) 33 days after his departure in 1492 from Spain. He captured natives and enslaved them (calling them Indians, thinking he’s landed in India) and took plants and gold back to Europe, which piqued European interests in the economic opportunities (sugar plantations).
  • Spanish conquistadors seized control of the Caribbean islands, and within 25 years, 95% of the population of Hispaniola (modern Haiti and the Dominican Republic) was wiped out due to European diseases and brutality. This happened across the European colonies in the American, and led them to seek other sources for slave labor in Africa.
  • Slavery was ALREADY a common practice in Africa before Europeans made contact. Africans would take rival tribesmen and women as slaves as spoils of war, but it wasn’t always a permanent or hereditary like Afro-American slavery.
  • African trade commenced by Africans kidnapping other African people from nearby villages and selling them to¬†European traders for commodities like bronze, cloth, horses, and weapons.

"They kidnap even noblemen, and the sons of noblemen, and our relatives, and take them to be sold to the white men who are in our Kingdoms…and as soon as they are taken…they are immediately ironed and branded with fire." - Nzinga Mbemba (King of the Kongo, 1526)

  • The European racist view of slavery was endorsed by the Roman Catholic church. The pope blessed the slavery of individuals, declaring them "infidels and savages." This led to the treatment of African and native Caribbean individuals as property, where they would work the plantations until death. Their children became enslaved as well.
  • The Spanish treated North and South American slaves differently than the Caribbean slaves, where as they promised to “save the souls” of Aztec and Inca (Mexico and South America) natives in exchange for free labor and disease. This is why most of Latin America is Catholic.
  • The French did NOT enslave the natives in Canada upon colonization. However, they did convert many natives to Christianity during the fur trade.
  • The English became a colonial power later than the Spanish, French, and Portuguese, but they took on a different model all together. They established colonies in Virginia and North Carolina and engaged in conflict with the Native Eastern Woodland Indians.
  • The first Africans appeared in colonial Virginia (Jamestown) in 1619. 20 of them arrived on a ship, originally intended to be indentured servants (many poor Englishmen would work for 7 years or so, then were freed and given land and clothing to prosper independently). But due to the inefficiency of that system, many white indentured servants were dying too quickly. The Slave Codes were introduced in 1661, making black slavery legal, to make labor for cost efficient and to spare the lives of whites.
  • The Black Slavery system grew increasingly more brutal as more blacks were introduced into society, making laws harsher. This continued up until the Emancipation Proclamation of 1865, however, racism and paranoia continued to grow as blacks struggled to become self sufficient.

Maria Williamson

*raises fist.

*raises fist.

(via afaceunseen)

Photo Set


Freedom Riders. Jackson, Mississippi. 1961.

Freedom Riders.

(via blackculture)

Source: functionallyuseless