America is only 236 years old, the Independence of the country was gained in 1776. While in contrast, America’s African slavery lasted from 1619, to at least the date used by most textbooks 1862. But as can be seen in pieces such as “PBS Slavery by Another Name” ... Through the use of convict leasing and vagrancy laws America kept Blacks subjugated well into the 20th century. It is only in 1942 that government officials made slavery illegal by actually acting to enforce the rights of African American slaves to be free. President Roosevelt signed circular No. 3591 legislation on December 12, 1941, finally, effectively making slavery illegal in the United States in 1942. Paula Deen, Trayvon Martin, the Shadow of Racism and the Power of “the N-word”
One crop, slave-grown cotton provided over half of all U.S. export earnings. By 1840, the South grew 60 percent of the world’s cotton and provided some 70 percent of the cotton consumed by the British textile industry... slavery paid for a substantial share of the capital, iron, and manufactured good that laid the basis for American economic growth... precisely because the South specialized in cotton production, the North developed a variety of businesses that provided services for the slave South, including textile factories, a meat processing industry, insurance companies, shippers, and cotton brokers. Gilder Lehrman American Institute
“When the New York City banker James Brown tallied his wealth in 1842, he had to look far below Wall Street to trace its origins. His investments in the American South exceeded $1.5 million, a quarter of which was directly bound up in the ownership of slave plantations...Brown was among the world’s most powerful dealers in raw cotton, and his family’s firm, Brown Brothers & Co., served as one of the most important sources of capital and foreign exchange to the U.S. economy.” “How Slavery Led To Modern Capitalism” Bloomberg View by Sven Beckert and Seth Rockman
Therefore, be it resolved in the Dallas County Commissioners Court that Juneteenth and its historical mimicking of freedom is just that, and that the United States of America is derelict in its promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to the African-American people. Be it further resolved that the dereliction that has caused 400 years of significant [inaudible] to millions and significant suffering to the descendants of those who have been enslaved Africans who built this country, should be satisfied with monetary and substantial reparations to same.
Historians at the History Factory, a research firm specializing in corporate archival work, found that the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company and the Bank of Charleston — institutions that ultimately became part of Wachovia through acquisitions — owned slaves, Wachovia said in the statement. Records revealed that the Georgia Railroad and Banking Company owned at least 162 slaves, Wachovia said, and that the Bank of Charleston accepted at least 529 slaves as collateral on mortgaged properties or loans. The Bank of Charleston also acquired an undetermined number of people when customers defaulted on their loans. “We know that we cannot change the past, and we can’t make up for the wrongs of slavery,” said Thompson. “But we can learn from our past, and begin a stronger dialogue about slavery and the experience of African-Americans in our country.” “We want to promote a better understanding of the African-American experience, including the unique struggles, triumphs and contributions of African-Americans, and their important role in America’s past and present,” “Wachovia apologizes for slavery ties” CNN.com
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise.
— Maya Angelou