1619: Before the Mayflower (NYT, Bennett)

The Names of 1.8 Million Emancipated Slaves Are Now Searchable

Before the Mayflower
This is the cover of my copy of the Lerone Bennett book
I’ve found the information that has been provided by the New York Times in the 1619 Project to be of great use over the past half year. It explaining the effects of slavery in America. And not just up to 1865, but variations that exist to this day, such as the roots of tipping. Check out these audio clips.

I should not have been, but I was nevertheless surprised that so many people were unaware of the year’s significance. Maybe it’s because I grew up reading ads in Ebony and Jet magazines for Before the Mayflower by the late Lerone Bennett. The book came out in the early 1960s, but I didn’t read it until about a decade later. It’s been updated a number of times until 2007.

Before the Mayflower is a great introduction to African American History. But since a lot of people are unfamiliar with it, The 1619 Project became necessary. There is some controversy surrounding the Times series, naturally. On one side is The Battle between 1619 and 1776: The New York Times versus the History Community. On the other, Who’s afraid of the 1619 Project?

I’m not going to get into the debate, except to point out the obvious. Issues of race and slavery and history are… complicated

The Spanish

For example, “Juan Garrido became the first documented black person to arrive in what would become the U.S. when he accompanied Juan Ponce de León in search of the Fountain of Youth in 1513, and they ended up in present-day Florida, around St. Augustine…

“In 1565… the Spanish brought enslaved Africans to present-day St. Augustine, Fla., the first European settlement in what’s now the continental U.S. In 1526, a Spanish expedition to present-day South Carolina was thwarted when the enslaved Africans aboard resisted.” Still, 1619 was a turning point, if not a beginning.

Here’s A Poem Commemorating The 1619 anniversary: An African Renamed. It’s by Brenda Cave-James, who I have met. We both have Binghamton roots. The poem was inspired by Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States.

This could be useful: The Names of 1.8 Million Emancipated Slaves Are Now Searchable in the World’s Largest Genealogical Database, Helping African Americans Find Lost Ancestors. Most of the files are just before or after the Civil War.

1619 to eight encouraging minutes

I need SOMETHING to hold onto

It’s very easy for me to become discouraged about issues of race and ethnicity in America. Every once in a while, I say, “Ooo, I like that!”

HISTORY

1619.first Africans in VA
Both the New York Times and National Geographic have extensive pieces on the year 1619, 400 years ago, when “enslaved Africans first arrived in Virginia.”

A New York Times magazine article suggests America Wasn’t a Democracy Until Black Americans Made It One, by working towards its 1776 ideals. It’s a slow process: Here’s, for instance, the shameful story of how one million black families have been ripped from their farms.

Meanwhile, their U.S. roots date back centuries, but some Latinos still wonder if it’s enough.

Check out the funny-if-it-weren’t-so-pathetic When The U.S. Government Tried To Replace Migrant Farmworkers With High Schoolers.

NOW

It’s to a point where most Latinos now say it’s gotten worse for them in the U.S.

This Week Tonight with John Oliver unpacks Bias In Medicine, based on both gender and race.

Voter suppression is as alive now as it was in the 1960s and earlier.

The conservative Foreign Policy suggests that white supremacists want a dirty bomb, and the regime “is letting them get dangerously close to acquiring one.” It’s no surprise that the Department of Justice HID a 2018 report on white supremacy and domestic terrorism.

When you talk about these things, those who disagree accuse you of just being PC. It has become “a rhetorical reflex.”

AND YET

I watch the Vlogbrothers’ four-minute videos a lot, and it’s not just because their surnames are Green. The authors have an outsized influence on their online community of Nerdfighters.

I was surprised and pleased when John talked about How I (barely) Passed 11th Grade English, which includes a paean to Toni Morrison. Then Hank responded in …Not My Proudest Moment, which was eerily similar in some respects. In both cases, they acknowledged their privilege and part of that was a result of their skin color.

Undoubtedly I’ve said before that I LOVE it when white people talk about white privilege. When black and brown people talk about it, too often it falls onto deaf ears.

I KNOW it’s a small thing, in the grand scheme of four centuries of racialism in what we now call the United States. Still, I need SOMETHING to hold onto, some sliver that it’s getting better, not worse.