Tag Archives: slavery

Modern-day culture wars are playing out on historic tours of slaveholding plantations

These statues of enslaved young boys are part of a modern-day depiction of southern plantation life at the Whitney Museum in Louisiana.
AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Kelley Fanto Deetz, University of California, Berkeley

Located on nearly 2,000 acres along the banks of the Potomac River, Stratford Hall Plantation is the birthplace of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the home of four generations of the Lee family, including two signers of the Declaration of Independence, Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee.

It was also the home of hundreds of enslaved Africans and African Americans. From sunup to sundown, they worked in the fields and in the Great House. Until fairly recently, the stories of these enslaved Africans and of their brothers and sisters toiling at plantations across the Southern U.S. were absent from any discussions during modern-day tours of plantations such as Stratford Hall. Continue reading

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‘Dangerous Precedent’: US High Court Sides With Corporate Giants Nestle and Cargill in Child Slavery Case

A lawyer for six men who alleged they were victims of human trafficking said the corporations “should be held accountable for abetting a system of child slavery.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-17-2021

Neal Katyal speaking at the National Constitution Center’s 2012 Peter Jennings Project moot court. Photo: National Constitution Center/flickr/CC

Human rights advocates Thursday denounced a Supreme Court decision in favor of the U.S. corporate giants Nestlé USA and Cargill, which were sued more than a decade ago by six men who say the two companies were complicit in child trafficking and profited when the men were enslaved on cocoa farms as children.

The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 against the plaintiffs, saying they had not proven the companies’ activities in the U.S. were sufficiently tied to the alleged child trafficking. The companies had argued that they could not be sued in the U.S. for activities that took place in West Africa. Continue reading

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Think the US is more polarized than ever? You don’t know history

Union dead at Gettysburg, July 1863. National Archives, Timothy H. O’Sullivan photographer

Gary W. Gallagher, University of Virginia

It has become common to say that the United States in 2020 is more divided politically and culturally than at any other point in our national past.

As a historian who has written and taught about the Civil War era for several decades, I know that current divisions pale in comparison to those of the mid-19th century.

Between Abraham Lincoln’s election in November 1860 and the surrender of Robert E. Lee’s Confederate army at Appomattox in April 1865, the nation literally broke apart. Continue reading

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Come ‘Say This to My Face,’ Says Ayanna Pressley After Betsy DeVos Compares Being Pro-Choice to Being Pro-Slavery

Democratic congresswoman and chair of the House Abortion Access Task Force said she “would welcome the opportunity to educate” the Education Secretary on reproductive rights. And maybe U.S. history of chattel slavery?

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-24-2020

Screenshot: WCVB

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, chair of the House Abortion Access Task Force, offered Thursday to give Education Secretary Betsy DeVos a face-to-face lesson on reproductive rights and U.S. history after the billionaire cabinet official likened the arguments of pro-choice advocates to those of slavery supporters during the Civil War Era—a comparison one critic denounced as “utterly deranged.”

“Dear Betsy, As a Black woman and the chair of the Abortion Access Task Force, I invite you to come by the Hill and say this to my face,” Pressley tweeted after DeVos’ remarks during an event sponsored by Colorado Christian University spread across social media. “Would welcome the opportunity to educate you.” Continue reading

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