Monday, December 29, 2014

Africa’s Heritage of Slavery

Many of the already-enslaved Africans brought to the Americas had been slave hunters or slave owners in their native land, and caught in constant tribal warfare. In America, even renegade maroon communities that are mentioned in the underground railroad myth are known to have enslaved runaway slaves they came in contact with. Leader of the Amistad revolt, Cinque, returned to African and resumed his profession of slave-trading.
Bernhard Thuersam,

Africa’s Heritage of Slavery

“While many plantation slaves ran away or took part in slave revolts, many others resisted such rebels, defended the plantation against maroons and chased runaways. Such activities even by slaves against their fellow blacks should not be too surprising considering that in Africa many blacks owned slaves, and probably most Africans enslaved there for slavery in the Americas, were captured and sold to Europeans by fellow Africans. Indeed, some slaves in America had been slave hunters and slave hunters and slave owners in Africa.

Most slaves in the Americas probably took the institution of slavery, if not their own place in it, pretty much for granted. While some free Negroes assisted fellow blacks who were enslaved, most appeared to be more concerned with their own advancement in colonial society, and if they had any political or social consciousness, it evidently was aimed at the preservation and advancement of the status, rights and privileges of the free Negro class, even at the expense sometimes of the slave caste.

“The mulattos, and all other persons of mixed blood wish to lean toward the whites,” Koster tells us from Brazil. They are again distinct from their brethren in slavery, owing to their superior position as free men . . . and considering themselves superior to the Negro. Mulattos and other mixed bloods were noticeably absent from many of the slave rebellions” in early 19th century Brazil, and indeed, “some were killed by rebels for failing to join the insurrection . . . ” Some of the freedmen and freedwomen were themselves slaveowners, and although the whites always feared the collaboration of the free coloreds and the slaves, there was little evidence of it.

[T]here are many instances where free blacks held other blacks as slaves. It was fairly common in most colonies for some free Negroes to have their own slaves. One study found a quarter or more of free colored people owning slaves in the early 19th-century British Caribbean, three-quarters of these owners being women and mulattoes. Nor was it unusual for maroon communities . . . to have their own black slaves among them, just as some blacks had Indian slaves and some Indians had black slaves, and some Indians had Indian slaves.

Maroons, Genovese reminds us, “often enslaved captives,” including black slaves of whites. The maroons were often not popular with free blacks or slaves, who resented their bandit activities on the roads where their main victims were traveling blacks, and also their “making free with slaves provisions, stock and women folk.” [T]he theories of race, class and African solidarity were little recognized.

(Slave and Soldier, Studies in African American History and Culture, Graham Hodges, Editor. Garland Publishing, 1993, pp 344-347)


  1. Blacks owned Slaves. And look at today's example of how blacks believe that blakcs lives matter.

  2. When the slaves were freed, we (Whites) said, alright, who wants to go home? Some Blacks said I do, so we shipped them off to the African coast, dumped them on a beach and said here you go, build what you will. They founded the country of Liberia (named for being recently liberated) and they were in fact so grateful they named their capital Monrovia after the US President Monroe. They then proceeded to enslave the indigenous population. This made up 19 times their number. So after just being freed from slavery, they proceed to enslave their own people, not only that but the slaves make up 95% of the country! A few hundred years with the White man and these people pick up a few tricks. This is to such a point that they can return to the ordinary Blacks and enslave 19 times their own number. The very notion of being recently freed from slavery and then pushing those very conditions on your own people; it’s enough to make you question the morality of their race.
    In 1863, Sir Richard Burton went to Africa to convince the king from par-taking
    in slavery, cannibalism, mass ritual murder of military captives. Burton, left
    Africa, fearing for his own life. How good did that work out!