Week two for the largest prison strike in US history

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As many as 20,000 US prisoners are going into their second week on strike against forced labor and inhumane prison conditions, though the US prison system has locked down the centers of the strike, denied all conduits for information, and put the leadership into solitary confinement. Read the rest

Tomorrow: largest prison strike in US history

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America imprisons more people than any other country in history, in both absolute and relative terms. American prisoners -- disproportionately racialized and poor people -- are held in inhumane conditions that include long periods of solitary confinement, in violation of international protocols against torture. Read the rest

Bill O'Reilly: Slaves who built White House were "well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government"

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In response to Michelle Obama's speech on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, former history teacher Bill O'Reilly told his viewers that the slaves who built the White House were well-fed and had decent lodgings. He didn't mention the other not-so-great parts about being a slave, which include being the property of another person.

O'Reilly said:

Slaves that worked there were well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government, which stopped hiring slave labor in 1802. However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. So, Michelle Obama is essentially correct in citing slaves as builders of the White House, but there were others working as well. Got it all? There will be a quiz.

From Think Progress:

Liam Hogan, a historian whose work focuses on slavery, noted on Twitter that O’Reilly’s comments are reminiscent of “how chattel slavery was defended by slave owners and pro-slavery interests.” To cite just one example, a U.S. history primer put together by the Independence Hall Association notes that “defenders of slavery argued that by comparison with the poor of Europe and the workers in the Northern states, that slaves were better cared for. They said that their owners would protect and assist them when they were sick and aged, unlike those who, once fired from their work, were left to fend helplessly for themselves.” The reality, Hogan added, is that slavery were “treated like livestock.”

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Before 1988 Olympics, South Korea sent 'vagrants' to camps where rape and murder were routine

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In the runup to the 1988 Olympics, the South Korean government ordered Seoul's "vagrants" to be cleared from the street. Thousands of people, many of them small children, were sent to a "welfare facility" called "Brothers Home," where they were subject to vicious, often fatal beatings and routine rape. The order to round up the vagrants came from then-President Park Chung-hee (father of current President Park Geun-hye) whose successor, President Chun Doo-hwan, suppressed any investigation into the atrocities. Read the rest

Qatar's World Cup stadium is being built by modern slaves

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Qatar, one of the worst places in the world to be a worker (even the flight attendants experience human rights abuses), was picked to host the 2022 football world cup by the famously corrupt FIFA organization, despite the physical danger to spectators (and athletes!) from the incredible temperatures. Read the rest

Irish slave myths debunked

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White supremacists (and vaguely racist uncles on Facebook) occasionally pipe up with the idea that the Irish were, effectively, held as slaves in America. Though often subject to indenture and other forms of brutal labor conditions, the slavery claim is nonsense, writes Liam Hogan.

It's one of those things that half-innocently surfaces in the media over and over again, though, because it looks like a strange fact, invites "curiosity gap" propagation, and offers the bittersweet pleasure of adversity oneupmanship. Particularly interesting are the images used to provide an illusion of truth. Above, a photo of some Texan farm kids commonly described as depicting Irish slaves. Read the rest

Human traffickers implant their slaves with RFID chips

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An anonymous ER doctor treated a woman who claimed she had a tracking chip embedded in her body. At first he disbelieved her -- lots of people suffer from delusions that they have implanted microchips -- but then she showed him the suture.

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Out of the Shadow of Aunt Jemima: the real black chefs who taught Americans to cook

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Featuring reviews of more that 160 cookbooks written by African Americans during the 19th and 20th centuries, Toni Tipton-Martin's The Jemima Code is a much-overdue look at at how African Americans really cooked over the last 200 years, as well as how caricatures of African Americans were used to sell white homemakers everything from "Pickaninny Cookies" to pancake mix. Over at Collectors Weekly, Lisa Hix interviewed Tipton-Martin to learn more about this heretofore malnourished chapter in America's culinary history.

Aunt Jemima the Pancake Queen became a national sensation in 1893, thanks to Davis’ ingenuous promotion at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The company hired 56-year-old black actress Nancy Green to play Aunt Jemima at the fair. A former slave, Green was eager to leave behind a life of drudgery — as her other career options involved washing dishes or sweeping floors — in favor of the world of entertainment and advertising. With her warm, smiling persona, Green made pancakes, sang songs, and told nostalgic stories about the “good ol’ days” making breakfast for her plantation masters. Her pancakes were believed to be made of love and magic, not culinary artistry or domestic science.

That image of a fat, happy slave — who faithfully nurtures a white family while neglecting her own — lived on for 75 years through the Aunt Jemima Pancake line, purchased by Quaker Oats Company in 1925. Ubiquitous in ads, she promoted easy-to-make variations on pancakes, waffles, and other pastries in promotional recipe pamphlets, and an Aunt Jemima impersonator even received the keys to the city of Albion, Michigan, in 1964.

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Jamaica wants slavery reparations from the UK

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Members of Jamaica's Parliament are threatening to turn their backs on David Cameron during an official visit unless he agrees to discuss reparations for slavery during the meeting. Read the rest

The US Civil War was fought over slavery

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Why did the South fight? Why does this question remain controversial? Read the rest

Database: Old newspaper ads searching for loved ones lost to slavery

The Southwestern Christian Advocate ran its "Lost Friends" page from 1877 until "well into the first decade of the twentieth century."

The Historic New Orleans Collection has scanned 330 of these ads and made them available in a searchable database. They're not only an indispensable geneological and historical tool; they're also a powerful reminder of the bloody racial history of America.

Two dollars in 1880 bought a yearlong subscription to the Southwestern Christian Advocate, a newspaper published in New Orleans by the Methodist Book Concern and distributed to nearly five hundred preachers, eight hundred post offices, and more than four thousand subscribers in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. The "Lost Friends" column, which ran from the paper's 1877 inception well into the first decade of the twentieth century, featured messages from individuals searching for loved ones lost in slavery.

This searchable database provides access to more than 330 advertisements that appeared in the Southwestern Christian Advocate between November 1879 and December 1880. Digital reproductions of the Lost Friends ads are courtesy of Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University Libraries.

Lost Friends: Advertisements from the Southwestern Christian Advocate [Historic New Orleans Collection]

(via Making Light) Read the rest

British history of slave ownership

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Slavery was outlawed in the British Empire in 1833, decades before the U.S. Civil War. The outcome: relative historical obscurity, leaving Britain's 17th and 18th century luminaries untarnished by their ownership of other human beings. [Guardian] Read the rest

South Carolina: Confederate flag will be removed from Statehouse on Friday, July 10 at 10am

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It's about time.

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, just now: “"The Confederate flag is coming off the South Carolina Statehouse. Tomorrow morning at 10:00am, we will see the Confederate Flag come down,” she added, “with dignity.”

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Family records for slavery-era black Americans to be made available, free, online

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The records will be online by late next year, to coincide with the opening of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington.

Rand Paul: solve vaccination issues by making children into property

"The state doesn't own your children. Parents own the children, and it is an issue of freedom and public health." Read the rest

South Korea's brutalized, disabled slaves

Whole towns' worth of people on South Korea's remote southwest coast are complicit in the longrunning, open enslavement of mentally and physically disabled workers who are kidnapped from the streets of cities like Seoul and beaten into lives of forced labor. Read the rest

Malaysia's tech manufacturing sector based on forced labor

"Hardly a major brand name" doing business in Malaysia is untainted by the use of forced labor from trafficked workers, according to a study backed by the US Department of Labor. Read the rest

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