Reading about slavery every day for this entire semester proves to be a daunting task more often than not. While the work does not bother me, the amount of reading and writing does not bother me, the fact that there were (and honestly still are) people who believed there are reasons to quantify one human being as less than another does bother me. The first book my professor assigned this semester (apart from some contextual readings that we read throughout the course) was The Slave Trade by Hugh Thomas. The book is a massive chronicle of the slave trade, the participants, the victims, and the effects of that trade on all it touched. Reading the horrific and torturous conditions captured slaves endured was hard enough, but in all honesty reading first hand the disregard human beings had for others made the book very difficult to stomach and unfortunately...that characteristic of this course does not end with finishing that book.
Currently I am reading Inhuman Bondage by David Brion Davis and also looking at actual slave codes in various colonial settlements in the 17th century.
Here is one from Virginia:
...if any slave resist his master (or other by his master's order correcting him) and by the extremity of the coercion could chance to die, that his death shall not be accounted felony, but the master (or that other person &c.) be acquitted from molestation, since it cannot be presumed that prepensed malice (which alone makes murder a felony) should induce any man to destroy his own estate.
-From Slavery To Freedom 2011.
Now...lets advance a few centuries after a bloody Civil War ripped the United States apart and ended with the death of slavery but the birth of a long lasting southern grudge against the rest of the world and the creation of a myth that the noble and courageous war was not fought to maintain a man's right to own another human being as property.
For every single southern apologist out there who believes the rebel flag is a heritage symbol and it is dandy and just fine to fly it and celebrate it...please understand my complete disgust with it.
(note: if you want to wear, display, revel in this symbol, I am not saying you cannot, I am just being honest and explaining that you need to know what you are celebrating)
There are a lot of people who claim that the Civil War, the Confederacy, and the cause of the South was not about slavery.... please allow me to clear that up..
In 1861, Vice President of the Confederacy Alexander Stephens delivered what is known as the Cornerstone Address which explained the fundamental differences between the US Constitution and the Confederate Constitution (the document that is the foundation of each government)
Our new Government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and normal condition.
I am sorry...but if that is not clear enough... let me go further....
Specifically I refer to Articles I, IV, and VI.... You can read the Constitution here:
The Confederate Constitution
In closing, if you want to wear, fly outside your house, put on your car, or other methods used in order to display the Confederate flag...be my guest. This is the United States, you have the right to express yourself in any way you wish to do so... but, and this is a BIG BUT... if you do not like the idea that some people assume you are racist because you display the symbol of a racist regime....I am sorry. Facts are tricky things, but not liking a fact, not liking the history of a subject....this does not make those facts any less true.