Posts Tagged With: slaves

“IN DEFENSE OF GENERAL LEE….


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“IN DEFENSE OF GENERAL LEE

By Edward C. Smith
Saturday, August 21, 1999
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

Let me begin on a personal note. I am a 56-year-old, third-generation, African American Washingtonian who is a graduate of the D.C. public schools and who happens also to be a great admirer of Robert E. Lee’s.

Today, Lee, who surrendered his troops to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House 134 years ago, is under attack by people — black and white — who have incorrectly characterized him as a traitorous, slaveholding racist. He was recently besieged in Richmond by those opposed to having his portrait displayed prominently in a new park.

My first visit to Lee’s former home, now Arlington National Cemetery, came when I was 12 years old, and it had a profound and lasting effect on me. Since then I have visited the cemetery hundreds of times searching for grave sites and conducting study tours for the Smithsonian Institution and various other groups interested in learning more about Lee and his family as well as many others buried at Arlington.

Lee’s life story is in some ways the story of early America. He was born in 1807 to a loving mother, whom he adored. His relationship with his father, Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee, (who was George Washington’s chief of staff during the Revolutionary War) was strained at best. Thus, as he matured in years, Lee adopted Washington (who had died in 1799) as a father figure and patterned his life after him. Two of Lee’s ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence, and his wife, Mary Custis, was George Washington’s foster great-granddaughter.

Lee was a top-of-the-class graduate of West Point, a Mexican War hero and superintendent of West Point. I can think of no family for which the Union meant as much as it did for his.

But it is important to remember that the 13 colonies that became 13 states reserved for themselves a tremendous amount of political autonomy. In pre-Civil War America, most citizens’ first loyalty went to their state and the local community in which they lived. Referring to the United States of America in the singular is a purely post-Civil War phenomenon.

All this should help explain why Lee declined command of the Union forces — by Abraham Lincoln — after the firing on Fort Sumter. After much agonizing, he resigned his commission in the Union army and became a Confederate commander, fighting in defense of Virginia, which at the outbreak of the war possessed the largest population of free blacks (more than 60,000) of any Southern state.

Lee never owned a single slave, because he felt that slavery was morally reprehensible. He even opposed secession. (His slaveholding was confined to the period when he managed the estate of his late father-in-law, who had willed eventual freedom for all of his slaves.)

Regarding the institution, it’s useful to remember that slavery was not abolished in the nation’s capital until April 1862, when the country was in the second year of the war. The final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation was not written until September 1862, to take effect the following Jan. 1, and it was intended to apply only to those slave states that had left the Union.

Lincoln’s preeminent ally, Frederick Douglass, was deeply disturbed by these limitations but determined that it was necessary to suppress his disappointment and “take what we can get now and go for the rest later.” The “rest” came after the war.

Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the few civil rights leaders who clearly understood that the era of the 1960s was a distant echo of the 1860s, and thus he read deeply into Civil War literature. He came to admire and respect Lee, and to this day, no member of his family, former associate or fellow activist that I know of has protested the fact that in Virginia Dr. King’s birthday — a federal holiday — is officially celebrated as “Robert E. Lee-Stonewall Jackson-Martin Luther King Day.”

Lee is memorialized with a statue in the U.S. Capitol and in stained glass in the Washington Cathedral.

It is indeed ironic that he has long been embraced by the city he fought against and yet has now encountered some degree of rejection in the city he fought for.

In any event, his most fitting memorial is in Lexington, Va.: a living institution where he spent his final five years. There the much-esteemed general metamorphosed into a teacher, becoming the president of small, debt-ridden Washington College, which now stands as the well-endowed Washington and Lee University.

It was in Lexington that he made a most poignant remark a few months before his death. “Before and during the War Between the States I was a Virginian,” he said. “After the war I became an American.”

I have been teaching college students for 30 years, and learned early in my career that the twin maladies of ignorance and misinformation are not incurable diseases. The antidote for them is simply to make a lifelong commitment to reading widely and deeply. I recommend it for anyone who would make judgment on figures from the past, including Robert E. Lee.

[Dr. Smith is co-director of the Civil War Institute at American University in Washington, D.C.]”

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Categories: Civil War, Confederate, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Memorial Day…the beginning…


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Memorial Day was started by former slaves on May, 1, 1865 in Charleston, SC to honor 257 dead Union Soldiers who had been buried in a mass grave in a Confederate prison camp. They dug up the bodies and worked for 2 weeks to give them a proper burial as gratitude for fighting for their freedom. They then held a parade of 10,000 people led by 2,800 Black children where they marched, sang and celebrated.

Thanks to Abstrakt Goldsmith for this nugget of history that most of us never learned in school.

Categories: Civil War | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wreck of Civil War Ship Commandeered by Slaves Rediscovered….


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The wreck of a ship once commandeered by slaves and sailed to freedom during the Civil War has very likely been found.

The shipwrecked Planter almost certainly rests beneath 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) of sand and water off Cape Romain between Charleston and Georgetown, South Carolina, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this week. The ship went down in 1876, 14 years after its enslaved captain and crew ran it out of Charleston Harbor and turned it over to the U.S. Navy.

The story of the Planter is one of heroism. The ship was completed in 1860. The next year, an enslaved young man named Robert Smalls came aboard as a deck hand. Smalls had more freedom than most slaves, and was allowed to keep some of his pay and move around the Charleston waterfront with some autonomy. (Smalls may have been his owner’s son, according to his descendants. Smalls’ mother was a slave in the home of a man named John K. McKee, and the family suspects that McKee’s son Henry, who inherited the pair of slaves in 1848, fathered Smalls.

Audacious plan

Smalls worked his way up to the position of wheelsman — the person who steers the ship. During the Civil War, the Planter was rented to the Confederates and used as a supply, transport and dispatch ship, running cannons, soldiers and other wartime necessities along the coast. Most of the crew were enslaved African-Americans.

The idea of commandeering the ship started as a joke, Smalls would later tell Harper’s Weekly magazine. But soon it turned quite serious: The nine African-American men of the crew met in secret at Smalls’ house and planned their escape. They put away provisions in the hold and waited for their chance.

It came on May 12, 1862. The ship had just returned to Charleston Harbor after picking up some cannons from nearby Cole Island. The plan was to deliver the weaponry to Fort Ripley the next day. That evening, however, the white men in the crew went ashore for a soiree. Smalls and his crew jumped at the opportunity, first steaming to pick up their relatives in the North Atlantic wharf and then sailing right out of the harbor. Smalls blew the ship whistle at the Confederate checkpoints, convincing those guarding the harbor that the ship was simply getting an early start on the day’s deliveries.

“Once out of range of the rebel guns the white flag was raised, and the Planter steamed directly for the blockading [Union] steamer Augusta,” Harper’s explained in June 1862.

Heroism and loss

Smalls delivered the Planter and the 16 escaped slaves on board to the U.S. Navy. He then piloted the ship in action against the Confederacy, and was later transferred to pilot other ships in a new post in the U.S. Army. He’d have another brush with heroism in 1863, again on the Planter. The ship was moving supplies along Folly Island creek near Charleston when it came under heavy shelling from Confederate guns. The captain of the ship ordered that the ship be beached and abandoned his station. Smalls instead piloted the Planter to safety. As a result, the ship’s captain was dismissed, and Smalls promoted. He was the first African-American to become a ship captain in the U.S. military.

After the war, the Army sold the ship to a private company, which turned right around and sold it to its original owner in South Carolina, John Ferguson. The ship soon went back to its pre-war duties delivering supplies up and down the South Carolina coast. Smalls went on to represent South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1876, the Planter was attempting to tow a ship that had run aground at Cape Romain up the coast from Charleston. In the process, the Planter hit a shoal and sprung a leak. The captain beached the ship in hopes of repairing the hull, but a storm blew in and battered her beyond repair. The crew salvaged everything they could, including pistons, life boats, engines, cabin doors and even blankets and mattresses.

Rediscovery

Shifting sands have long covered the remains of the Planter, and the site of the wreck was lost. NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Progam set out to find the wreck, reviewing original accounts of the accident and historic charts of the shoreline as it was in 1876. Once a likely location was pinpointed, NOAA researchers used a magnetometer towed beneath the water in search of large quantities of iron.

The found one such cluster 9 feet (3 m) below the ocean bottom, near where the shore would have been when the Planter wrecked. The area is environmentally sensitive (Cape Romain, up the coast from Charleston, is home to a national wildlife refuge), so attempts to uncover the wreck will need to be taken with care, NOAA reported. What’s more, the Planter is likely fragmented from the relentless beating of the waves. The state of South Carolina will decide whether to excavate the ship’s remains or to simply mark the spot in remembrance of this storied vessel.

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BEST DESCRIPTION OF BARACK OBAMA EVER WRITTEN…..


Descendant Of Slave Owners And Traders, Not A Drop Of Blood Descendant Of Slaves, Therefore He Should Not Be Described As “African-American

Dr. Jack Wheeler  The O-man, Barack Hussein Obama, is an eloquently tailored empty suit. No resume, no accomplishments, no experience, no original ideas, no understanding of how the economy works, no understanding of how the world works, no balls, nothing but abstract, empty rhetoric devoid of real substance.

He has no real identity. He is half-white, which he rejects. The rest of him is mostly Arab, which he hides but is disclosed by his non-African Arabic surname and his Arabic first and middle names as a way to triply proclaim his Arabic parentage to people in Kenya . Only a small part of him is African Black from his Luo grandmother, which he pretends he is exclusively.

What he isn’t, not a genetic drop of, is ‘African-American,’ the descendant of enslaved Africans brought to America chained in slave ships. He hasn’t a single ancestor who was a slave. Instead, his Arab ancestors were slave owners. Slave-trading was the main Arab business in East Africa for centuries until the British (mostly) ended it.

Let that sink in: Obama is not the descendant of slaves, he is the descendant of slave owners. Thus hemakes the perfect Liberal Messiah.

It’s something Hillary doesn’t understand – how some complete neophyte came out of the blue and stole the Dem nomination from her.       Obamamania is beyond politics and reason. It is a true religious cult, whose adherents reject Christianity yet still believe in Original Sin, transferring it from the evil of being human to the evil of being white.

Thus Obama has become the white liberals’ Christ, offering absolution from the Sin of Being White. There is no reason or logic behind it, no faults or flaws of his can diminish it, no arguments Hillary could make of any kind can be effective against it. The absurdity of Hypocrisy Clothed In Human Flesh being their Savior is all the more cause for liberals to worship him: Credo quia absurdum, I believe it because it is absurd.

Thank heavens that the voting majority of Americans remain Christian and are in no desperate need of a phony savior.

He is ridiculous and should not be taken seriously by any thinking American.

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Freedom by Don Troiani Historical Artist’s photo.


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Civil War Photo….1865….”City Point, Virginia (vicinity). Medical supply boat Planter at General Hospital wharf on the Appomattox”


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Today in history: April 4…..


April 4…

On this day. 1841: After serving just one month, William Henry Harrison died. He was the ninth president, the first to die in office, and the president who served the shortest time in office. Harrison gave a two-hour long inaugural address on a cold, damp day; he was stricken with pneumonia and died a month later. After his death, there was much debate about whether Vice-President John Tyler would be merely an “Acting President” — until an election could be held. But after a lengthy dispute over presidential succession, Tyler was sworn in as the tenth POTUS and served for the remainder of Harrison’s term.
On this day. 1865: President Lincoln visited Richmond, Va. — the capital of the soon-to-surrender Confederacy. Slaves gathered. Lincoln told them: “You are free — free as air.”
On this day. 1865: Ten days before his murder, Lincoln reportedly told a friend of a dream — in which he was assassinated. In the dream, Lincoln heard people sobbing. He entered the East Room, saw a corpse and asked a soldier: “Who is dead in the White House?” Soldier: “The president. He was killed by an assassin.” A week after the dream — and four days before his murder — Lincoln told the friend, Ward Hill Lamon, that it had “strangely annoyed” him.
On this day. 1910: William Howard Taft became the first president to toss the opening first pitch of the baseball season. Every president but one — Jimmy Carter – has thrown out the first pitch at least once during his presidency.
On this day.  1949:President Truman signed the North Atlantic Pact; a mutual defense treaty among 12 nations.

On this day. 1968: Security was quickly tightened at the White House after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; after King’s death, fires and looting came within two blocks of the White House; troops were stationed on the lawn; machine gun nests sprouted.

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The Commerce Between Master and Slave…1782


Thomas Jefferson
1782

It is difficult to determine on the standard by which the manners of a nation may be tried, whether catholic, or particular. It is more difficult for a native to bring to that standard the manners of his own nation, familiarized to him by habit. There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our people produced by the existence of slavery among us. The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submissions on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees others do. If a parent could find no motive either in his philanthropy of his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that his child is present. But generally it is not sufficient. The parent stoms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to the worst of his passions, and thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it with odious particularities.

The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other, transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the amor patri\’e6 of the other. For if a slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in preference to that in which he is born to live and labor for another: in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature, contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavors to the evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition on the endless generations proceeding from him. With the morals of the people, their industry also is destroyed. For in a warm climate, no man will labor for himself who can make another labor for him. This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small proportion indeed are ever seem to labor. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!

The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest. — But it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural and civil. We must be contented to hope they will force their way into every one’s mind. I think a change already perceptible  since the origin of the present revolution. The spirit of the master is abating, that of the slave is rising from the dust, his condition mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven, for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their extirpation.

From Notes on the State of Virginia, 1801.

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A time to die in Ancient Rome…..


The Romans had two types of burials, cremation or inhumation, depending on the fashion at the time. Romans practiced cremation (burning) of their dead. The ashes would be placed in a small clay jar know as an urn and placed in a tomb. Cremation was the usual custom until about A.D. 100. The influence of the Christian religion moved the handling of the dead to burial, especially for those of the Christian faith. Many tombs in later Rome were along side the roads leading out of the city. Only the very rich could afford a tomb within the city. Poor people often could not afford a tomb and would be buried in a public pit on Esquiline Hill.The first thing they did was to close the deceased’s eye while calling out his name. This helped to make sure that the person was actually dead. Sometimes a deep coma could mimic death and if the family were going through the ritual and expense of a funeral, they certainly didn’t want the deceased sitting up in the middle of his funeral procession.
Then his relatives would wash the body and dress him in his finest clothes and wearing a crown if he had earned one in life. He would be laid out on a couch and a coin was placed in his mouth under his tongue so he could pay the ferryman Charon to row him to the land of the dead. The Romans believed that the soul of the dead would go underground to the river Styx. The soul had to cross the river. A coin was placed in the mouth of the deceased to pay Charon, the boatman of the underworld, for the passage across. If the body was not properly buried and did not have a coin, the soul was forced to stay for one hundred years before being allowed to cross the river Styx. He was laid out for eight days then taken out for burial.
The outside of the house where the wake was held was adorned with cypress branches as a sign of mourning and at times the male relatives and slaves would clip the front part of their hair as a token of grief.
In an expensive procession there was the “funeral director” called the designator, who had lictors. He was followed by musicians and mourning women. Other performers might follow, such as mimes, imitating or even satirizing the events of the person’s life. Next came the newly freed slaves (most Romans freed a number of slaves at their deaths). In front of the corpse, men representing the ancestors of the departed, wearing wax masks in the image of the ancestors, walked. If the deceased had been a famous person, a funeral oration would be given in the forum. This was called a laudatio and could be given for either a man or woman.
If the body were to be burned it was put on a funeral pyre and then when the flames rose, perfumes were thrown at the fire. When the pile burned down, wine was used to douse the embers and the ashes wee gathered and placed in an urn.
Because of the expense of a funeral, the poor Romans, including slaves joined burial societies which guaranteed proper burial in large community tombs called columbaria instead of simply being dumped in a pit to rot.

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Obama’s Second Term Transformation Plans….by Steve McCann


The 2012 election has often been described as the most pivotal since 1860. This statement is not hyperbole. If Barack Obama is re-elected the United States will never be the same, nor will it be able to re-capture its once lofty status as the most dominant nation in the history of mankind.

The overwhelming majority of Americans do not understand that Obama’s first term was dedicated to putting in place executive power to enable him and the administration to fulfill the campaign promise of “transforming America ” in his second term regardless of which political party controls Congress. That is why his re-election team is virtually ignoring the plight of incumbent or prospective Democratic Party office holders.

The most significant accomplishment of Obama’s first term is to make Congress irrelevant. Under the myopic and blindly loyal leadership of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, the Democrats have succeeded in creating an imperial and, in a second term, a potential dictatorial presidency.

During the first two years of the Obama administration when the Democrats overwhelmingly controlled both Houses of Congress and the media was in an Obama-worshiping stupor, a myriad of laws were passed and actions taken which transferred virtually unlimited power to the executive branch.

The birth of multi-thousand page laws was not an aberration. This tactic was adopted so the bureaucracy controlled by Obama appointees would have sole discretion in interpreting vaguely written laws and enforcing thousands of pages of regulations they and not Congress would subsequently write.

For example, in the 2,700 pages of ObamaCare there are more than 2,500 references to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. There are more than 700 instances when he or she is instructed that they “shall” do something and more than 200 times when they “may” take at their sole discretion some form of regulatory action. On 139 occasions, the law mentions that the “Secretary determines.” In essence one person, appointed by and reporting to the president, will be in charge of the health care of 310 million Americans once ObamaCare is fully operational in 2014.

The same is true in the 2,319 pages of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act which confers nearly unlimited power on various agencies to control by fiat the nation’s financial, banking and investment sectors. The bill also creates new agencies, such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, not subject to any oversight by Congress. This overall process was repeated numerous times with other legislation all with the intent of granting unfettered power to the executive branch controlled Barack Obama and his radical associates.

Additionally, the Obama administration has, through its unilaterally determined rule making and regulatory powers, created laws out of whole cloth. The Environmental Protection Agency on a near daily basis issues new regulations clearly out of their purview in order to modify and change environmental laws previously passed and to impose a radical green agenda never approved by Congress. The same is true of the Energy and Interior Departments among many others.

None of these extra-constitutional actions have been challenged by Congress. The left in America knows this usurpation of power is nearly impossible to reverse unless stopped in its early stages.

It is clearly the mindset of this administration and its appointees that Congress is merely a nuisance and can be ignored after they were able to take full advantage of the useful idiots in the Democrat controlled House and Senate in 2009-2010 and the Democrat Senate in the current Congress.

Additionally, Barack Obama knows after his re-election a Republican controlled House and Senate will not be able to enact any legislation to roll back the power previously granted to the Executive Branch or usurped by them. His veto will not be overridden as there will always be at least 145 Democratic members of the House or 34 in the Senate in agreement with or intimidated by an administration more than willing to use Chicago- style political tactics.

The stalemate between the Executive and Legislative Branches will inure to the benefit of Barack Obama and his fellow leftists.

The most significant power Congress has is the control of the purse-strings as all spending must be approved by them. However, once re-elected, Barack Obama, as confirmed by his willingness to do or say anything and his unscrupulous re-election tactics, would not only threaten government shutdowns but would deliberately withhold payments to those dependent on government support as a means of intimidating and forcing a Republican controlled Congress to surrender to his demands, thus neutering their ability to control the administration through spending constraints.

Further, this administration has shown contempt for the courts by ignoring various court orders, e.g., the Gulf of Mexico oil drilling moratorium, as well as stonewalling subpoenas and requests issued by Congress. The Eric Holder Justice Department (DoJ) has become the epitome of corruption as part of the most dishonest and deceitful administration in American history. In a second term the arrogance of Barack Obama and his minions will become more blatant as he will not have to be concerned with re-election.

Who will be there to enforce the rule of law, a Supreme Court ruling or the Constitution? No one. Barack Obama and his fellow-travelers will be unchallenged as they run roughshod over the American people.

Many Republicans and conservatives dissatisfied with the prospect of Mitt Romney as the nominee for president are instead focused on re-taking the House and Senate. That goal, while worthy and necessary, is meaningless unless Barack Obama is defeated. The nation is not dealing with a person of character and integrity but someone of single-minded purpose and overwhelming narcissism. Judging by his actions, words and deeds during his first term, he does not intend to work with Congress either Republican or Democrat in his second term, but rather to force his radical agenda on the American people through the power he has usurped or been granted.

The governmental structure of the United States was set up by the Founders in the hope that over the years only those people of high moral character and integrity would assume the reins of power. However, knowing that was not always possible, they dispersed power over three distinct and independent branches as a check on each other.

What they could not imagine is the surrender and abdication of its constitutional duty by the preeminent governmental branch, the Congress, to a chief executive devoid of any character or integrity coupled with a judiciary essentially powerless to enforce the law when the chief executive ignores them.

Conservatives, Libertarians, the Republican Party and Mitt Romney must come to grips with this moment in time and their historical role in denying Barack Obama and his minions their ultimate goal. All resources must be directed at that end-game and not merely controlling Congress and the various committee chairmanships.

Steve McCann
May 12, 2012

I would add but 6 words to those above mentioned, Conservatives, Libertarians, the Republican Party and Mitt Romney, to say “and we the American people also”, must come to grips with this moment in time and our role in denying Barack Obama his life-long goal of “transforming” us into his slaves working on his government plantation.

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