Slavery Made America

Picking up from yesterday’s readings on racism as a “done thing,” as a choice, these readings helped me understand why that choice was made and how essential it was to the American project. And if that is the case, if enslavement was essential, how could it be that its effects faded in 1860? Douglass says “a man is worked on by what he works on.” For 250 years, Americans worked on the breaking of people for profit. What I found, going forward, is that enslavement had worked on us too. You can see its ghost all over American policy, especially in the realm of housing.

And so the sources:

1.) Battle Cry of Freedom, by James McPherson
Just a beautiful read. One of my favorite books of all time, and a book that does not entertain Neo-Confederate dissembling.

2.) “The Civil War and Reconstruction,” David Blight’s lecture series
Blight is a great lecturer and covers the essentials of both periods.

3.) “The Economics Of The Civil War,” by Roger L. Ransom
This is a really short but essential read. Perhaps more than any article I’ve read it explains the forces that led us to war.

4.) The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass
Just beautiful. Don’t just read this to understand enslavement; read it because it is an incredible work of literature.

5.) Out Of The House of Bondage, by Thavolia Glymph
I actually came to this after the reparations article was in the queue, but it crystalizes something that Douglass demonstrates–the horrific violence that was slavery. You can not divide the two. The Cliven Bundy fantasy of black people happily picking cotton, and living in two parent homes with food and shelter provided is the exact opposite of what slavery was. You can not plunder a people nonviolently Slavery Made America

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