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REMEMBER: In North America, the month of September 1752 was exceptionally short, skipping 11 days, when the Gregorian Calendar was adapted from the old Julian one, which didn't have leap year days.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Yes they owned other people and profited through them

Ugly word.
Ugly practice.

Some of those who owned other people believed they cared for them.  They deluded themselves that taking care of people who worked for them meant enough care and love.  They deluded themselves that the Blacks were better off being slaves.
No way.
No person should lack the same freedoms that our country was founded upon.

I've long tried to be reasonable about all the other aspects of the Civil War, since so many of our Southern Families fought and many men died for the things the South stood for.  I doubt highly that anyone was out there shooting Yankees because they wanted to keep their slaves.

But the long and the short of it is that all those who fought for the Confederacy not only were fighting for their own livelihood, their own families, but for the big illusion that had given wealth to a few, and not a fair competition in the world marketplace, but an unfair advantage of so much "free labor."

Once that the slaves were freed, their labor suddenly was costly.  The South never recovered.  Neither did the free slaves.  And neither did their owners.

I think of how our economy is so messed up these days.  Nobody is a slave, but there are certainly a lot of people living in poverty, who still work two jobs at minimum wage and barely get by.  There is again a great disparity between a small group of very rich people, and they make sure to keep the poor where they are.

On a more personal level...I like looking at my ancestors.  And as I dig through their correspondence I am finding the Southern voice.  One great great grandfather wrote following the Civil War to his brother, and then wrote to President Andrew Johnson.  His letters are long and full of his thoughts.  He was a man of some consequence, having lived through the Civil War, and actually having military duty during the War of 1812.  He was 70 when he wrote his brother in 1866. He bemoans the end of the Civil War as causing more pain for the freed slaves, as well as their masters, and one of these days I'll type it out because his writing is very hard to read.  It's on his Ancestry page, written to his brother.

I try to understand his point of view.

Then I scanned some documents which were sent to my grandmother who lived in Galveston and Houston Texas, born in 1886, and she asked her uncle to tell her about some of her ancestors.  He wrote that her grandfather, William Phillips, who died as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War, was the son of a man "who traded in Negroes with his brother."  The brother lived in Virginia, and he lived in Georgia, which was where William was born.  William's father had died and his mother remarried, and they all settled in Texas.

I'd really like to forget that phrase "they traded in Negroes" again.

But I won't, and I can't.

My white privilege means I can stand up and say how bad that makes me feel.  I had many ancestors who sold other people of another race, who profited from the mindset and business that perpetrated slavery.

I had known my ship captain, another great great grandfather, Alexander G. Swasey Jr,  had transported some slaves from Charleston SC to New Orleans, LA, from the ship manifests which he signed.  But that didn't feel as if he was actually doing the business of profiting by slavery.  Not true.  He was part of a system that was as bad in its day as the racism that still is around today.  In between has been the Klu Klux Klan...and Jim Crow laws and illegal practices of racism run rampant.

So even though these people are individually guilty of their outrageous part in the system of slavery, the system is the problem.

I say again, the system of racism is the problem.  There is a lot of institutionalized racism, where everyone closes their eyes/ears to practices that demonstrate this ugliness still...or may tut-tut about it, but don't do anything to change it.

These ancestors are long gone, and their spirits are telling me that I need to stay aware of the systems that I don't pay enough attention to today.  Many of today's systems mirror the slavery of the south in 1860.

Yes, there are certainly some almost invisible systems still eroding our freedoms.  People who march for their rights are usually talking about these systems.

Can you think of a few of them?

On May 29, 2018, Rosanne Barr's show was canceled by ABC, because she tweeted a racist statement about an African American woman who was advisor to President Obama.  

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