“For 246 years our uncompensated labor launched wealthy institutions and private corporate fortunes in America such as Brown University and Fleet Bank, both founded by the Brown brothers, who got their start in American business building slave ships and investing in the slave trade.
Cotton made everyone associated with it wealthy- the plantation owners, the brokers, the shippers, the shipbuilders, the jobbers, the United States treasury- everyone became rich except for the people who produced the cotton. They- we- us- our forebearers- were stripped of everything- the value of our labor, our mothers, our fathers, our children, and by the tens of millions, our very lives.
And so my friends, let us tell our young that we are behind in America not because there is anything wrong with us, but rather, that something heinous happened a long time and continued for a long time after. Tell them that our people have a proud and ancient history that must be told to them, that slavery robbed us of warranted wealth and memory, that slavery extended under new guises well into the 20th century, that we have endured in America every imaginable discrimination for 346 years.
Tell them we have been the victims of the longest-running crime against humanity in the world over the last 500 years. And lastly, tell them that like all other peoples in the world who’ve suffered human rights crimes at the hands of governments- Jews, Koreans, Japanese-Americans- we too must be compensated by the government complicit in the crime against us.” -From, “The Reckoning” By: Randall Robinson
The Wilmington race riot of 1898 is also historically known as the Wilmington Massacre of 1898, and the Wilmington Coup d’etat of 1898. This incident is reportedly the only instance of and attempted coup d’etat in the history of the United States.
On November 10, 1898, members of the Democratic Party attempted to overthrow elected officials in Wilmington, North Carolina. The Democratic Party members were purportedly angered that the Wilmington city council included elected officials who were African American. Therefore, they sought to oust the government officials.
During the racist riot, a group of 2,000 white people attacked the African American residents of Wilmington, killing dozens. The rampaging group destroyed neighborhoods and burned down the headquarters for the Daily Record, the only black newspaper in North Carolina.
While this savage attack went on, President William McKinley refused to send aid to the victims and residents who appealed to him. His reason for his dereliction of duty was that the governor had not requested his help.
In the aftermath of the riot, Wikipedia states: “More than 2,100 blacks left the city permanently, having to abandon their businesses and properties, turning it from a black-majority to a white-majority city.”
In March 1653, Peter Stuyvesant, the director of the slave-trading Dutch West India Company and the Director-General of New Netherland, now known as New York, ordered slaves to build blockades to serve as protective barriers for the area of lower Manhattan.
Stuyvesant reportedly demanded that the log-made barricade be “12 feet long, 18 inches in circumference, sharpened at the upper end,” and stretch from “river to river across Manhattan Island.
The slaves were burdened with the task of building “The Wall” to help shield the Dutch settlers from New Netherland’s native inhabitants.
After the construction of “The Wall,” the area on which the wall was located was called Wall Street.
[Bibliography: Slavery In New York]
“South Carolina’s slave-plantation owners had known nothing about how to grow and irrigate rice. That knowledge was brought to the low country by Africans stolen from the Sierra Leone by the Royal African company of England. As the slaves produced the rice that made the plantation owners rich, their glistening backs bore the branded acronymn of their corporate captors: R.A.C.E.” From, “The Reckoning” By: Randall Robinson
“The West Indies was one of the last places on earth where enslaved Africans wanted to find themselves. Its system of bondage was especially brutal, and American planters found it a convenient dumping ground for troublesome slaves. Shipping a slave to the West Indies was like sentencing him to death. George Washington as one of the slave owners who did this, as he recounted in a letter describing the arrangements he made to rid himself of a slave who kept running away.” -From, “Standing In The Shadows” By: John Head
I came across a 2012 Huffington Post article written by Alan Singer that explores how enslaved Africans built up Brooklyn. The article also discusses a Brooklyn-located African burial ground.
Here’s an excerpt from the article:
“At the time of the American Revolution about a third of the population of Kings County were enslaved Africans, but their contributions to clearing the forests, dredging the harbors, and building the infrastructure of Brooklyn has largely been erased from history. The former African cemetery in the Kings County town of New Lots is now a playground between Schenck, New Lots, and Livonia Avenues and Barbey Street under the IRT #3 line “El.” It is next to the New Lots branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.
Ironically, the park is named for one of the largest slaveholder families in the area…The plaque mentions that the “park was the site of Public School 72, which was abandoned in 1944,” but it does not mention the enslaved Africans who lived there and built the early farms, roads, and homes of Brooklyn.”
Click here for a link to the entire article.
Over 2,000 graves of slaves were found underneath the University of Mississippi.
“Antera Duke was a leading elk trader at Old Calabar in the Bight of Biafra during the late eighteenth century. He lived at Duke Town, about twenty miles from the Calabar River estuary. Over time he prospered and became a member of the local Ekpe (Leopard) Society, which wielded enormous power in the slave trade and the broader affairs of the town. He participated in what he called “plays,” communal occasions of music, singing, and dancing. He arranged funerals, which for men of standing like himself included the ritual sacrifice of slaves, who were decapitated to accompany the master to the spirit world.” -From, “The Slave Ship” By: Marcus Rediker
According to Wikipedia, “The Slave Trade Act 1788, also known as Dolben’s Act, was an Act of Parliament which placed limitations of the number of people that British slave ships could transport. Dutch ships were not subject to restrictions on the number of slaves they could carry.”
The fact that the slave trade was “legally” regulated internationally is further proof of how complicit governments were in the slave trade. A clear argument for reparations.