Friday, May 27, 2016

Slavery In The North

Via Dick 
African slavery is so much the outstanding feature of the South, in the unthinking view of it, that people often forget there had been slaves in all the old colonies. Slaves were auctioned openly in the Market House of Philadelphia; in the shadow of Congregational churches in Rhode Island; in Boston taverns and warehouses; and weekly, sometimes daily, in Merchant's Coffee House of New York. Such Northern heroes of the American Revolution as John Hancock and Benjamin Franklin bought, sold, and owned black people. William Henry Seward, Lincoln's anti-slavery Secretary of State during the Civil War, born in 1801, grew up in Orange County, New York, in a slave-owning family and amid neighbors who owned slaves if they could afford them. The family of Abraham Lincoln himself, when it lived in Pennsylvania in colonial times, owned slaves.[1] 

When the minutemen marched off to face the redcoats at Lexington in 1775, the wives, boys and old men they left behind in Framingham took up axes, clubs, and pitchforks and barred themselves in their homes because of a widespread, and widely credited, rumor that the local slaves planned to rise up and massacre the white inhabitants while the militia was away.[2] 

African bondage in the colonies north of the Mason-Dixon Line has left a legacy in the economics of modern America and in the racial attitudes of the U.S. working class. Yet comparatively little is written about the 200-year history of Northern slavery. Robert Steinfeld's deservedly praised "The Invention of Free Labor" (1991) states, "By 1804 slavery had been abolished throughout New England," ignoring the 1800 census, which shows 1,488 slaves in New England. Recent archaeological discoveries of slave quarters or cemeteries in Philadelphia and New York City sometimes are written up in newspaper headlines as though they were exhibits of evidence in a case not yet settled (cf. African Burial Ground Proves Northern Slavery, The City Sun, Feb. 24, 1993). 

I had written one book on Pennsylvania history and was starting a second before I learned that William Penn had been a slaveowner. The historian Joanne Pope Melish, who has written a perceptive book on race relations in ante-bellum New England, recalls how it was possible to read American history textbooks at the high school level and never know that there was such a thing as a slave north of the Mason-Dixon Line:

                                            More @ Slave North


  1. Great article. Sadly, most Americans only know about slavery what has spoon fed to them by the divisive MSM and Hollywood (on in the same).
    Very few Americans are aware of the fact that in most states, free black men owned slaves (lots of them too). Even fewer Americans know about colonial indentured servitude and white slavery. Just when I begin to think that things are improving in this area of American history, along comes the new "Roots" saga based on the hoax passed off as the Gospel by Alex Haley via his book and TV mini-series forty years ago. Haley died in disgrace after the truth about his book came to light, but the images cast by the book and TV series of all slave owners having a sadistic overseer (Chuck Connors) whose job it was to constantly beating and rape slaves was planted deeply in the minds of many young teenagers and ignorant adults. Also, the film portrayed slave owners as sexual maniacs who had relations with female slaves on a regular basis fathering children from said relations. While such things did occur from time to time, they were rare and could be classified as the exception to the rule. I for one will not be attending a theater to watch the new film.

    1. along comes the new "Roots" saga based on the hoax passed off as the Gospel by Alex Haley via his book and TV mini-series forty years ago. Haley died in disgrace after the truth about his book came to light,

      Just mind boggling, but commies never stop until they are forced to.

  2. 30,000 Irish were sold into slavery by James the first. Why isn't there mention of this? Slavery was common. The American Indians had slaves. The Romans had slaves. The winner got slaves.

    1. Inconvenient facts for commies, so ignored.