Posts Tagged ‘slavery’

The Constitution

If you’re ever looking at the Constitution of the United States, make sure you look at one that is footnoted, such as this one. It gives the reader a better sense of the trial and error that is the American experience.

For instance, Article I, Section 2, paragraph 3: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

“All others” were slaves, who were three-fifths of a person. Read the rest of this entry »

schuylerflattsprojectBack on June 5th, 2005, the remains of more than a dozen 18th Century African slaves were found buried at the former Capital Region estate of the Schuyler Family, which was known as Schuyler Flatts. They were discovered during construction work in the Town of Colonie, Albany County, NY off Route 32 near Menands/Watervliet.

Archaeologists studying this unmarked burial ground “discovered 13 sets of remains plus another set of remains was found in 1998.”

In 2010, bioarchaeological analysis was completed by the NYS Museum. The analyses determined that the remains are about 200 years old and represent 6 women, 1 man, 2 children, and five infants.

DNA analysis concluded that four of the individuals are of African descent. (West/East and Central Africa) Two sets of remains are descendants of women from Madagascar (off the coast of Southeast Africa). One individual, who may have been of mixed ancestry, was descendant from a Native American woman (possibly Micmac Tribe: Eastern Canada and the Northeastern corner of the United States).

The burial ground was dated between the 1700s and early 1800s. Historical research indicates that the burial ground was part of a large estate owned by the colonial Schuyler family who owned a number of slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Yes, this would be the same Schuyler family that Alexander Hamilton married into.

From a Times Union story by Paul Grondahl, which contains lots of details about the Schuylers: “In 1790, there were 217 households in Albany County that owned five or more slaves of African descent, a portion of the county’s 3,722 slaves, the most of any county among New York state’s 21,193 slaves counted in that year’s census.”

The graphic below is actually of the enslaved people in ALL of New York State.

“The bones [of the 14] rested on a shelf at the State Museum for the past 10 years while researchers pieced together what limited information they could using DNA analysis. Their names were never recorded and virtually nothing is known about their history.”

The Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Project is organizing an official interment of the remains of the fourteen, in order for these people to be buried with dignity and respect, even as work is being done to try to find other remains.

Upcoming Events

san
Public Meeting and Artist Presentation
April 30, 2016 1pm-3pm
New York State Museum (Huxley theatre), 222 Madison Ave, Albany

The Remains Will Lie in State
June 17, 2016 12pm-8pm
Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site, 32 Catherine St, Albany

Burial Ceremony
June 18, 2016 11am-12pm
St Agnes Cemetery, 48 Cemetery Ave (off Broadway), Menands

For more information concerning the Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Project, please contact:
Evelyn (Kamili) King (Peace Out Productions)
Paul Stewart (The Underground Railroad History Project)

About the symbol: Sankofa is a word in the Akan language of Ghana that translates as “reach back and get it” (san – to return; ko – to go; fa – to fetch, to seek and take) and also refers to the Asante Adinkra symbol. Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates as: “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”

coffleSeveral months ago, friend Dan came across the word coffle and wondered if I was familiar with it; I was not. Somewhat appropriately, it rhymes with awful and lawful. It is derived from the Arabic qāfila, meaning caravan, and its first Known Use was in 1799.
Read the rest of this entry »

voting.not
The $80 Million Fake Bomb-Detector Scam—and the People Behind It.

How the Photography of Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams Told the Story of Japanese American Internment.

John Scalzi on Hurricane Katrina, and poverty. “Being Poor,” Ten Years On.

The Truth of ‘Black Lives Matter’: “They are NOT asserting that black lives are more precious than white lives.”

Mr. Frog linked to Here’s How New Texas Public School Textbooks Write About Slavery.

No, Mount McKinley’s former and new name, “Denali,” does NOT mean “Black Power” in Kenyan. Or Swahili. Denali means “the great one” in the local Athabaskan language of Alaska.

Question: Why must we still talk about race? Answer: Twelve. And I Am a Racist.

Steve Cutts is a London-based illustrator and animator who uses powerful images to criticize the sad state modern life and society.

Is thyroid cancer the ‘good’ cancer? It doesn’t feel that way when you get it. Read the rest of this entry »

new jim crowLaw professor Michelle Alexander wrote a book called The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, which has become not only a surprise best seller since its paperback version came out in January 2012, but arguably THE definitive book on mass incarceration, particularly of men of color.

From the New York Times: “The book marshals pages of statistics and legal citations to argue that the get-tough approach to crime that began in the Nixon administration and intensified with Ronald Reagan’s declaration of the war on drugs has devastated black America.

“Today… nearly one-third of black men are likely to spend time in prison at some point, only to find themselves falling into permanent second-class citizenship after they get out… Professor Alexander’s book [asserts] that the crackdown was less a response to the actual explosion of violent crime than a deliberate effort to push back the gains of the civil rights movement.”

Our church studied the book in February during the Adult Education hour. In brief, Alexander shows an imperfect, but palpable, link from slavery to the Jim Crow laws that took effect, from after the American Civil War to perhaps a half century ago. That was followed by a NEW Jim Crow of mass incarceration, where the number of people in prison in the United States grew from about 300,000 in 1970 to over 2 million by 2000.

Check out Uneven Justice: State Rates of Incarceration By Race and Ethnicity and Breaking Down Mass Incarceration in the 2010 Census: State-by-State Incarceration Rates by Race/Ethnicity.

Moreover, that mass incarceration has had a devastating effect on communities. From the book:

What has changed since the collapse of Jim Crow has less to do with the basic structure of our society than with the language we use to justify it. In the era of colorblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. So we don’t. Rather than rely on race, we use our criminal justice system to label people of color “criminals” and then engage in all the practices we supposedly left behind.

Today it is perfectly legal to discriminate against criminals in nearly all the ways that it was once legal to discriminate against African Americans. Once you’re labeled a felon, the old forms of discrimination—employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunity, denial of food stamps and other public benefits, and exclusion from jury service—are suddenly legal. As a criminal, you have scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a black man living in Alabama at the height of Jim Crow. We have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it.

The problem with having read this book is that, once you’ve done that, you know the basic premise to be self-evidently true, and don’t understand why EVERYONE doesn’t know this. The one saving grace is that, when Alexander first started investigating the issue early in this century, SHE hadn’t connected the dots either.

I will note that the author occasionally repeats the narrative, I reckon, so that she’s certain the reader gets the point she’s making. But these are important points. Moreover, the issues are still taking place. Read Jails: Time to Wake Up to Mass Incarceration in Your Neighborhood.

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