Lanterns: America’s History Sucks - Let’s Correct the Record

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America’s History Sucks - Let’s Correct the Record

There is so much going on every day that I could spend all my time on current events and their ramifications. However, you who know me understand my love for history. And when I say America's history sucks, I do not mean all the things we have done as people and a nation. I mean that we have been lied to by historians. We have been misled, vital information withheld, and we have been taught with a deliberate agenda. 

I can get more “clicks” by writing about “hot topics” of the day. However, if we are ever to move forward, we have to know where we came from.

I learned snippets of information over the years. However, it was David Barton’s “Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White” that was my first look into the history of blacks in America. While we view slavery in America as a darker part of our history, it was in use worldwide and in most cases was indentured servitude. Even though one could sell himself into indentured service, vast numbers of people were taken involuntarily. Until the mid 17th century, even blacks were indentured servants who were freed after seven years.

According to Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, approximately 12.5 million Africans were brought to the Americas. About 90% of those were taken to the Caribbean and Brazil. 33% of the slaves in South Carolina were actually Indians. 7.5% of free blacks in 1830 were slave owners themselves. American Indians practiced slavery, stealing and selling those captured from rival tribes.

Slavery was not uniquely black. In the 17th century King James II, Charles I, and Oliver Cromwell sold about 500,000 Irish into slavery, largely women and children. Blacks were expensive; in the late 1600s, they brought 50 Sterling. Irish slaves were cheap, no more than 5 Sterling. In time, Irish girls and women were bred to black men; the resulting child with the darker skin brought more money than a white child.

But this is not a story of slavery. This is a story of lost history. This is about things left out that change the way we view our past. I will barely scratch the surface here. With the internet, the truth is out there, look for it. Slavery is a dark part of human history, but it is history. Racism is not a result of slavery; it is a result of evil in some peoples' hearts.

Did you know the first “martyr” of the American Revolution was a black man? The Boston Massacre, March 5th, 1770 is considered the dawn of the Revolution. Crispus Attucks was the first person killed. He was so well thought of that “Attucks, was of and with the people, and was never regarded otherwise.” In 1851 a petition was presented requesting $1500 for a monument to be erected in his memory.

Another excellent source for information is “Colored Patriots of the American Revolution” by William Nell published in 1855. The above information is from that book. At one time, this book was kept in most libraries. Why was it removed?

Teddy Roosevelt from Flickr via Wylio
© 2012 JBrazitoFlickr | CC-BY

Two of our first progressive presidents, Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, in my view were largely responsible for the feelings and beliefs of many today. It led to the civil rights issues of the 60s and today.

Teddy Roosevelt was an avowed eugenics advocate. He said, “Society has no business to permit degenerates to reproduce their kind.... Someday, we will realize that the prime duty, the inescapable duty, of the good citizen of the right type, is to leave his or her blood behind him in the world; and that we have no business to permit the perpetuation of citizens of the wrong type.”

Who was the “right type” and “wrong type?” TR said in 1914, “Criminals should be sterilized and feebleminded persons forbidden to leave offspring behind them.” He referred to Africans as, “ape-like naked savages, who…prey on creatures not much wilder or lower than themselves.” He asserted that Caucasians were the “forward race” destined to raise “the backward race[s]” through “industrial efficiency, political capacity, and domestic morality.” He believed whites risked “race suicide” unless they reproduced sufficiently.

He also had no love for the Indians. “I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are dead Indians, but I believe nine out of 10 are, and I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the 10th.”

Woodrow Wilson Portrait from Flickr via Wylio
© 2010 Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library ArchivesFlickr | PD

As President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson was proud that no “negro” had ever applied nor was it likely one ever would. He signed legislation making intermarriage in Washington DC illegal, to "reduce the social friction building up in American society.”

Wilson segregated the Army. That’s right.  Before Wilson, blacks and whites served together. Critics will argue that Wilson believed slavery was wrong, not on moral grounds, but on economic ones. Toilets were segregated in the US Treasury and Interior buildings. Wilson’s Treasury secretary, William G. McAdoo, defended: “I am not going to argue the justification of the separate toilets orders, beyond saying that it is difficult to disregard certain feelings and sentiments of white people in a matter of this sort.”

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw an effort to change history simply by ignoring certain facts.

The actions and importance of blacks and women in early American history were systematically ignored. Just as bad, the importance of religion and ministers has been ignored, progressive lies inserted instead, especially in recent years. The effort to cover up the influence of scripture and religion in our founding has been extensive. 

Until the middle of the 17th century, all slaves were indentured servants whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Warring tribes and Muslim Arabs took captives and sold them into slavery, a practice that had gone on for centuries. (Remember Joseph’s brothers selling him?) In 1640 there was a Virginia court case involving three escaped servants, a Dutchman, a Scott, and an African. All were given 30 lashes. The two whites were given an additional year to serve their master and then three years to serve the colony before being freed. The African, John Punch, was made a slave for life to his master or to anyone he might be sold. 

Also in 1640 Virginia, there was a case involving six runaway servants, five whites, and a negro. They were given varying degrees of punishment depending on their planning and involvement in the escape. The most severe was 30 lashes (stripes), seven years of added servitude and working with a shackle for a year. Three, two white and the black were branded with the letter R on their cheek. Understand this was not a master deciding this, it was a judge in a court.

Anthony Johnson was captured in Angola and sold by Arab slave traders as an indentured servant to a merchant working for the Virginia Company. Sometime after 1635, Anthony became free and by 1651 had gained 250 acres and had five servants, four white and one black. John Casor (or Casar), the black man, apparently had voluntarily worked past his obligation of seven years. According to Delmarva Settlers:

Anthony’s servant, a man named John Casar requested that Johnson release him from his indenture because it had long expired past the usual seven years. Johnson replied that he knew of no indenture and that Casar was to be his servant for life.

Anthony Johnson’s neighbors, George and Robert Parker, stated that they knew of another indenture for the said Casar to a planter on the other side of the bay. They continued to threaten Johnson with the loss of the servant’s cattle if he were to deny him his freedom. Johnson, with the influence from his family, released the servant, and even went to see that John Casar received his freedom dues.

Freedom dues are materials and supplies given to the freed person in order for them to start their new lives with the necessary materials. In the case of John Casar, clothing and corn.[110] But after careful reflection, Johnson was certain that Casar was his servant for life-- a slave. Johnson then sued the Parker brothers for unlawfully taking his property from him, and since there were no other indentures for John Casar, he was returned to the Johnsons.

In the case of Johnson v. Parker, the Court of Northampton County upheld Johnson’s right to hold Casor as a slave, saying in its ruling of 8 March 1655:

“This day Anthony Johnson negro made his complaint to the court against Mr. Robert Parker and declared that hee deteyneth his servant John Casor negro under the pretence that said negro was a free man. The court seriously consideringe and maturely weighing the premisses, doe fynde that the saide Mr. Robert Parker most unjustly keepeth the said Negro from Anthony Johnson, his master … It is, therefore, the Judgement of the Court and ordered That the said John Casor Negro forthwith returne unto the service of the said master Anthony Johnson, And that Mr. Robert Parker make payment of all charges in the suit.”

John H. Russell wrote in 1916, “Indeed no earlier record, to our knowledge, has been found of judicial support given to slavery in Virginia except as a punishment for a crime.” 

You cannot rebuff the lies being told unless you know the truth. When I was a child, I would ask my dad how to spell something, and he’d say, “look it up.” He told me, “If I tell you, you will not remember it, if you make the effort you will retain it.” He was right. It's why we must always strive to learn the truth.

What I hope to do is inspire. In coming days, I will leave you with stories you have likely heard, and I expect to open your eyes to people you have never heard of before.

Rather than make this a series of which this is part one, from time to time, I will concentrate on important figures and events of the past, some in detail, and others briefly in an effort to encourage self-study. My hope is that you will learn and share your newfound knowledge, especially with the youth in your family and sphere of influence.

Photo Credit: "Remember", © 2010 Ian SaneFlickr | CC-BY

 

Written by Michael Murphy The Voice of Reason

The Voice of Reason

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