Black History Month: The Facts
February is Black History Month and a time to celebrate the many significant and far reaching accomplishments of black Americans. Instead we’re endlessly bombarded by a vitriolic media, Hollywood, and academia with claims that America was founded on slavery. Christianity is rejected as "the white man's religion that justified slavery."
A historical review shines the light of truth on these false charges.
Despite the assertion that America cornered the market on slavery, slavery has been a worldwide institution since the beginning of civilization. Thomas Sowell, renowned black economist and philosopher, provides insights about slavery in his book (chapter titled “Twisted History”).
“Of all the tragic facts about the history of slavery, the most astonishing to an American today is that, although slavery was a worldwide institution for thousands of years, nowhere in the world was slavery a controversial issue prior to the 18th century. People of every race and color were enslaved – and enslaved others. White people were still being bought and sold as slaves in the Ottoman Empire, decades after American blacks were freed.
“Slavery was just not an issue, not even among intellectuals, much less among political leaders, until the 18th century – and then it was an issue only in Western civilization. Among those who turned against slavery in the 18th century were George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry and other American leaders. You could research all of the 18th century Africa or Asia or the Middle East without finding any comparable rejection of slavery there. But who is singled out for scathing criticism today? American leaders of the 18th century.”
Sowell shows that it was 17th-century Christians who attacked slavery’s immorality.
The New York Times 1619 Project, which has been pushed into more than 3,500 schools in all 50 states, claims that America was founded in 1619 – not 1776 when the colonists declared their independence from Great Britain -- when a shipload of Africans kidnapped by the Portuguese arrived in the British colony of Virginia. Yet the first cargo was indentured servants -- not slaves -- though slave laws were later passed. Upon earning their freedom over a set number of years, they received land from the state.
Not only did whites own slaves but blacks as well. One of the first slave owners in Virginia was a freed black who had been enslaved in Angola and sold as an indentured servant. After earning his freedom and receiving land from the state, Anthony Johnson became a wealthy tobacco farmer with slaves.
Though the Virginia Legislature tried repeatedly to end the slave traffic by imposing prohibitive duties, Great Britain always vetoed their legislation. It was only after American Independence that the African slave trade was abolished by the U.S. Constitution in 1809.
America Was Not Founded on Slavery
America was never a major world leader in the African slave trade. Of the 12.7 million Africans sold into slavery from 1501-1875, 46 percent went to Portugal, 26 percent to England, 11 percent to France, 8 percent to Spain, 4 percent to the Dutch, and only 2.4 percent to the United States.
There are currently 40 million slaves worldwide -- three times more than the total number in the 400-year history of the transatlantic African slave trade. Of the nearly 200 nations in the world, 94 -- nearly 50% -- still have not criminalized slavery or the slave trade.
Contrary to the progressive propaganda that we are a racist nation, the United States is ranked as one of the top nations in the world for fighting slavery, the slave trade, and human trafficking.
American writer and ex-slave Frederick Douglass was convinced by abolitionists that the Constitution was pro-slavery. After examining the document himself, Douglass concluded that the Constitution was anti-slavery. He declared, “I defy the presentation of a single pro-slavery clause in it.” To the contrary, “…it will be found to contain principles and purposes entirely hostile to the existence of slavery.”
Many critics wrongly assert that the United States Constitution was a pro-slavery document because of the three-fifths clause, claiming that blacks were only three-fifths of a person. Douglass understood that the clause referred to representation, not to the worth of a person regardless of color.
Black History Month is a time for us to celebrate the contributions of all Americans, especially those of black heritage, and their impact that has spanned generations and will continue to impact many more in the coming years.
The list is extensive of those blacks who have contributed to our country’s history, well beyond the colonial era and our nation’s Founding. Their contributions include the areas of politics, service in our wars, religion, business, judicial, education, medicine, and civil rights advocacy.
Progressives care not for the great contributions of blacks, choosing instead to insult and belittle them through the race card of victimization. Their real agenda is to divide and conquer for their ultimate Marxist take down.
Conservatives have the choice to remain silent or they can stand up and speak out with the truth about what life is really like under Marxism.
Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. is an education policy/curriculum consultant, historian, business owner, and classical pianist. www.drcarolehhaynes.com / firstname.lastname@example.org