Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Black History Revisited

I really enjoy watching PBS - they always have interesting and educational shows that I get sucked into when I just want to veg out on the couch. Last night, I took in the show Slavery and the Making of America , a really fascinating profile of the history of slavery in the US. The show speaks to scholars from all over the country on slave history, re-enacts certain events (but not in a cheesy way) and tries to show the emotional and psychological turmoil that slaves went through. Granted, my US history is not that great (Thanks, Sr. Adrienne Clare), but I was fascinated and outraged by the blatant disregard for blacks in our US history. I realize I am not saying anything new here, but since it is Black History Month, I thought I would let you know a few disturbing facts:

Did you know that...
  • the original US Constitution said that slaves are 3/5 of a person for tax representation and tax appointment?
  • the invention of the cotton gin led to a ridiculous increase in slave trade? Cotton was, at one time, the largest export of the US.
  • it was illegal to teach slaves to read and write?
  • Women slaves were often worked so hard that they were forced to neglect their children? Infant mortality was extremely high.
  • the Republican party was originally called the Free Soil party and was founded as an anti-slavery society?
  • In 1857, The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dred Scott v. Sanford denies citizenship to all slaves, ex-slaves, and descendants of slaves and denies Congress the right to prohibit slavery in the territories? What this means is that the Supreme Court basically ruled that blacks are not people.
  • The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 freed all slaves in territories under dispute in the Civil War? Abraham Lincoln, the President at the time, however, had to be convinced to allow blacks to serve in the infantry or navy.
  • The 13th Amendment to the US Constitution banned slavery in all the country (1865)?
  • By 1866, two African Americans were on the Massachusetts legislature (the first to serve in this way)? It was also the year that the KKK was founded.
I realize these are all facts you might know or remember from history. I just thought I would do my part to put some education out there. And if you get the chance, check out that series on PBS. It's worth a watch.
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to
repeat it." -George Santayana


Randi said...

Yay! I love learning.
Tomorrow, for V-day, will you be my love slave?
:o) Tacky.

Jawn said...

Good post! Before this better programming I guess we'd be subjected to watching the Roots series on TV. PBS is way more insightful, and it's also in HD =)