Thursday 1st of December 2022

the legacy of slavery…

slavery doco   In the 21st century, writing after the September 11 attacks in the United States, William L. Andrews, (E. Maynard Adams Professor of English, Department of English and Comparative Literature, College of Arts and Sciences, UNC-Chapel Hill) drew analogies between Nat Turner and modern "religio-political terrorists".

He suggested that the "spiritual logic” as told in Confessions of Nat Turner warrants study as "a harbinger of the spiritualizing violence of today's jihads and crusades.

We know there are still conflicting explanations in regard to 9/11 — who did it and why… In regard to Nat Turner, the “spiritual logic” relationship is clearer, more like being marked by moments of history and current events, as part of who we become. Being a slave would have been no fun. Rebellion would have demanded a major effort of comprehension, including “spiritual logic" beyond simple pain and resentment.

Nat Turner's Rebellion (also known as the Southampton Insurrection) was a rebellion of black slaves that took place in Southampton County, Virginia, in August 1831, led by Nat Turner. Fugitive enslaved people killed from 55 to 65 people, at least 51 being white.The rebellion was put down within a few days, but Turner survived in hiding for more than two months afterwards. The rebellion was effectively suppressed at Belmont Plantation on the morning of August 23, 1831.

There was widespread fear in the aftermath, and white militias organized in retaliation in opposition to the enslaved people. The state executed 56 slaves accused of being part of the rebellion, and many non-participant slaves were punished in the frenzy. Approximately 120 slaves and free blacks were murdered by militias and mobs in the area. State legislatures passed new laws prohibiting education of slaves and free black people, restricting rights of assembly and other civil liberties for free black people, and requiring white ministers to be present at all worship services.

This seems to be a long time ago and yet the spirit of such revolt still haunts our modern times. One murder of a black man too many by the police and the simmering resentment boils over once more. We topple statues of slave traders...

The invention of the recording device, be it phone or camera, has given to us the real images of horrors that we should condemn. Yet before such device, there were historians and scribes who told us the stories of slavery since Abraham…
God is often the major culprit in this unbalance of relationships between humans. I know people who cannot come to term with the notion that races are equal and profess the white supremacist views, even amongst atheists. It is impossible to make them change their views — but rather than avoid such discussion, one can try to at least make them accept that slavery had to be abolished. 
“… requiring white ministers to be present at all worship services.” is a telling indictment of control. 

Turner learned how to read and write at a young age. He was identified as having "natural intelligence and quickness of apprehension, surpassed by few."[13] He grew up deeply religious and was often seen fasting, praying, or immersed in reading the stories of the Bible.[14] He frequently had visions which he interpreted as messages from God, and these visions influenced his life. He ran away at age 21 from Samuel Turner, the man enslaving him. He returned a month later after becoming delirious from hunger and receiving a vision which told him to "return to the service of my earthly master".[15] He had his second vision in 1824 while working in the fields under his new enslaver Thomas Moore. In it, "the Saviour was about to lay down the yoke he had borne for the sins of men, and the great day of judgment was at hand".[16]
He was tried on November 5, 1831 for "conspiring to rebel and making insurrection"; he was convicted and sentenced to death.[43][44] He was asked if he regretted what he had done, and he responded, "Was Christ not crucified?"[26] He was hanged on November 11 in Jerusalem, Virginia, and his corpse was drawn and quartered.[45]


According to some sources, he was also beheaded as an example to frighten other would-be rebels. Turner received no formal burial.

Many southern Christians felt that slavery, in one Baptist minister’s words, “stands as an institution of God.” Here are some common arguments made by Christians at the time:

Biblical Reasons

• Abraham, the “father of faith,” and all the patriarchs held slaves without God’s disapproval (Gen. 21:9–10).

• Canaan, Ham’s son, was made a slave to his brothers (Gen. 9:24–27).

• The Ten Commandments mention slavery twice, showing God’s implicit acceptance of it (Ex. 20:10, 17).

• Slavery was widespread throughout the Roman world, and yet Jesus never spoke against it.

• The apostle Paul specifically commanded slaves to obey their masters (Eph. 6:5–8).

• Paul returned a runaway slave, Philemon, to his master (Philem. 12).

Charitable and Evangelistic Reasons

• Slavery removes people from a culture that “worshipped the devil, practiced witchcraft, and sorcery” and other evils.

• Slavery brings heathens to a Christian land where they can hear the gospel. Christian masters provide religious instruction for their slaves.

• Under slavery, people are treated with kindness, as many northern visitors can attest.

• It is in slaveholders’ own interest to treat their slaves well.

• Slaves are treated more benevolently than are workers in oppressive northern factories.

Social Reasons

• Just as women are called to play a subordinate role (Eph. 5:22; 1 Tim. 2:11–15), so slaves are stationed by God in their place.

• Slavery is God’s means of protecting and providing for an inferior race (suffering the “curse of Ham” in Gen. 9:25 or even the punishment of Cain in Gen. 4:12).

• Abolition would lead to slave uprisings, bloodshed, and anarchy. Consider the mob’s “rule of terror” during the French Revolution.

Political Reasons

• Christians are to obey civil authorities, and those authorities permit and protect slavery.

• The church should concentrate on spiritual matters, not political ones.

• Those who support abolition are, in James H. Thornwell’s words, “atheists, socialists, communists [and] red republicans.


This up-to-date study of the horror of slavery started with a link send to me by Jules Letambour. Arte, the French TV network is having a series on the subject.

Domination, violence, profit: the criminal system of slavery has marked the history of the world and of humanity. Along its routes, this documentary series traces for the first time the tragedy of the slave trade. Captivating and relentless. First part: from the fall of Rome in 476 to the end of the 14th century.

After the fall of Rome in 476, the peoples (Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Berbers, Slavs, Byzantines, Nubians and Arabs) fought over the ruins of the Empire. All practice enslavement - "esclave" would come from the word "slave". But in the 7th century an Arab Empire emerges. At the rate of its conquests is woven, between Africa and the Middle East, an immense network of slave trade, whose demand continues to grow and which converges on Baghdad, the new centre of the world.

After the revolt of the Zanj - African slaves - which ended in a bloodbath, trafficking redeployed to the interior of the continent. Two large commercial cities and slave markets are essential: Cairo to the north, and Timbuktu to the south, a stronghold of the Mali Empire from where the caravans leave. Over the centuries, the sub-Saharan populations have become the main “raw material” for this criminal traffic.

The roads of slavery

Episode 1: 476 - 1375: Beyond the Desert
Documentary series (France, 2018, 52mn)

Translation by Jules Letambour

Like Nat Turner in the USA, the revolt of the Zanj in Iraq, shook the ruling class…

Meanwhile, though slavery has been made illegal in the Western World, its legacy is still felt in the USA, the UK and France...

from the zanj to sweatshops...

The Zanj Rebellion (Arabic: ثورة الزنج‎ Thawrat al-Zanj / Zinj) was a major black-slave led revolt against the Abbasid Caliphate, which took place from 869 until 883. Begun near the city of Basra in present-day southern Iraq and led by one 'Ali ibn Muhammad, the insurrection involved enslaved Bantu-speaking people (Zanj) who had originally been captured from the coast of East Africa and transported to the Middle East, principally to drain the region's salt marshes.[3] It grew to involve slaves and freemen from several regions of the Caliphate, and claimed tens of thousands of lives before it was finally defeated.[4]

Several Muslim historians, such as al-Tabari and al-Mas'udi, consider the Zanj revolt to be one of the "most vicious and brutal uprisings" of the many disturbances that plagued the Abbasid central government.[4]Modern scholars have characterized the conflict as being "one of the bloodiest and most destructive rebellions which the history of Western Asia records,"[5] while at the same time praising its coverage as being among the "most fully and extensively described campaign[s] in the whole of early Islamic historical writing."[6] The precise composition of the rebels remains a subject of debate, both as regards their identity and as to the proportion of slaves and free among them – available historical sources being open to various interpretations.



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Welcome to, a global movement of millions of young people making positive change, online and off! The 11 facts you want are below, and the sources for the facts are at the very bottom of the page. After you learn something, Do Something! Find out how to take action here.   

  1. A "sweatshop" is defined by the US Department of Labor as a factory that violates 2 or more labor laws.[1]
  2. Sweatshops often have poor working conditions, unfair wages, unreasonable hours, child labor, and a lack of benefits for workers. Take a stand and protest: Ask your school to make its apparel under fair conditions. Sign up for Tighty Whitey Rally.[2]
  3. In developing countries, an estimated 168 million children ages 5 to 14 are forced to work.[3]
  4. America has stronger labor laws than most undeveloped countries, but it is not free of sweatshop conditions. Many labor violations slip under the radar of the US Department of Labor.[4]
  5. Products that commonly come from sweatshops are garments, cotton, bricks, cocoa, and coffee.[5]
  6. A study showed that doubling the salary of sweatshop workers would only increase the consumer cost of an item by 1.8%, while consumers would be willing to pay 15% more to know a product did not come from a sweatshop.[6]
  7. Sweatshops do not alleviate poverty. The people who are forced to work must spend the majority of their paycheck on food for their families to survive.[7]
  8. Child labor is especially common in agriculture (98 million, or 59% of child laborers work in agriculture), followed by services (54 million) and industry (12 million).[8]
  9. The majority of child laborers are found in Asia and the Pacific. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence, with one in five children in child labor.[9]
  10. According to one survey, more than 2/3 of US workers experienced at least one pay-related violation in the previous work week. Assuming a full-time, full-year work schedule, workers lose an average of $2,634 annually due to violations.[10]
  11. Because women make up 85 to 90% of sweatshop workers, some employers force them to take birth control and routine pregnancy tests to avoid supporting maternity leave or providing appropriate health benefits.[11]

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"a peculiar institution"...

During the period of American slavery, how did slaveholders manage to balance their religious beliefs with the cruel facts of the “peculiar institution“? As shown by the following passages — adapted from Noel Rae’s new book The Great Stainwhich uses firsthand accounts to tell the story of slavery in America — for some of them that rationalization was right there in the Bible. 

Out of the more than three quarters of a million words in the Bible, Christian slaveholders—and, if asked, most slaveholders would have defined themselves as Christian—had two favorites texts, one from the beginning of the Old Testament and the other from the end of the New Testament. In the words of the King James Bible, which was the version then current, these were, first, Genesis IX, 18–27:

“And the sons of Noah that went forth from the ark were Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole world overspread. And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: and he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. And Noah lived after the flood three hundred and fifty years.”


Despite some problems with this story—What was so terrible about seeing Noah drunk? Why curse Canaan rather than Ham? How long was the servitude to last? Surely Ham would have been the same color as his brothers?—it eventually became the foundational text for those who wanted to justify slavery on Biblical grounds. In its boiled-down, popular version, known as “The Curse of Ham,” Canaan was dropped from the story, Ham was made black, and his descendants were made Africans.

The other favorite came from the Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Ephesians, VI, 5-7: “Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” (Paul repeated himself, almost word for word, in the third chapter of his Epistle to the Colossians.)

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the hebrew non-slaves...

The legacy of being the descendant of slaves can be different from those who are descendant of convicts… Most “white” Australians seek to find a convict in their ancestry as this new modern acceptance, which was badly frowned upon in the past, seem to give an imprimatur of being a genuine Aussie adventurer larrikin, even if a rich bourgeois and upper crust loaded. Great great great great great great uncle Bob was an Irishman who got sent to the colonies for having stolen a loaf of bread… We don’t mention, nor was he caught for, placing bombs under the British army wagons. He was hungry — “the potato famine, you know” or whatever vitamin deficiency......  And we will never get hungry in this country again. 
Meanwhile, a black person in the USA still has a black face and is a descendant of slaves… Convicts were smart operators who got caught… "Slave class is below the sewer and not clever enough not to be a slave"… This is the subconscious feeling attached to the stigma and a black is still a black while a white person can be an engineer or the Queen. Prejudices are deep. Culture has holes and memory of victimisation… Here the Old Testament makes some difference in regard to the enslavement of Jews...

Deuteronomy's legal treatment of slavery is more humane than the parallel laws in Exodus, and more practical than those in Leviticus.


“When you acquire a Hebrew slave, he shall serve six years; in the seventh year he shall go free, without payment. If he came single, he shall leave single; if he had a wife, his wife shall leave with him. If his master gave him a wife, and she has borne him children, the wife and her children shall belong to the master, and he shall leave alone.

“But if the slave declares, ‘I love my master, and my wife and children: I do not wish to go free,’ his master shall take him before God. He shall be brought to the door or the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall then remain his slave for life.

“When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not be freed as male slaves are. If she proves to be displeasing to her master, who designated her for himself, he must let her be redeemed; he shall not have the right to sell her to outsiders, since he broke faith with her.

“And if he designated her for his son, he shall deal with her as is the practice with free maidens. If he marries another, he must not withhold from this one her food, her clothing, or her conjugal rights. If he fails her in these three ways, she shall go free, without payment.

“When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod, and he dies there and then, he must be avenged. But if he survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, since he is the other’s property.” (Exodus 21:2-11, 20-21).

Deuteronomy: A More Humane Version

Compare this so the parallel text in Deuteronomy:

“If a fellow Hebrew, man or woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall set him free. When you set him free, do not let him go empty-handed: Furnish him out of the flock, threshing floor, and vat, with which the Lord your God has blessed you. Bear in mind that you were slaves in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you; therefore I enjoin this commandment upon you today.

“But should he say to you, ‘I do not want to leave you’ for he loves you and your household and is happy with you–you shall take an awl and put it through his ear into the door, and he shall become your slave in perpetuity. When you do set him free, do not feel aggrieved; for in the six years he has given you double the service of a hired man. Moreover, the LORD and your God will bless you in all you do.”(Deuteronomy 15:12-18)

The later, Deuteronomic text is more humane than that of Exodus; this is moral progress. I would now like to take this discussion a step farther. To the texts concerning slavery in Exodus and Deuteronomy, I will now add the laws of manumission in Leviticus 25:39-55.

Leviticus Goes Further

“If your kinsman under you continues in straits (lit. if your brother becomes poor) and must give himself over to you, do not subject him to the treatment of a slave. He shall remain with you as a hired or bound laborer; he shall serve with you only until the jubilee year. Then he and his children with him shall be free of your authority; he shall go back to his family and return to his ancestral holding. For they are My servants, whom I freed from the land of Egypt; they may not give themselves over into servitude. You shall not rule over him ruthlessly; you shall fear your God.”

“If your brother becomes poor” is the crucial clause. Even in early Israelite tribal society, “brother” was not only the son of your parent (“Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:8-9) but also a kinsman(Genesis 13:8; 14:14; 29:12 etc.). Just as an Israelite was obligated to protect, redeem, and avenge his brother, he also had these obligations to a kinsman (Exodus 2:11Judges 14:3Isaiah 65:20).

No Such Thing as an Israelite Slave

Here in Leviticus 25, however, the term “brother” means all Israelites. This is a breakthrough of earthshaking proportions. I am my brother’s keeper and all Israelites are my brothers. If one of them falls into destitution, I must do everything I can to raise him out of his desperate straits.

No Israelite may become a slave. All Israelites are servants of God. God took the people out of the House of Bondage in Egypt to be free, not to be slaves. Just as the earth is the Lord’s and is not ours to possess, so all Israelites belong to God and may not be possessed by other human beings, not by other Israelites and especially not by non-Israelites.

Leviticus is very clear: There is no such thing as an Israelite slave.


Returning to Japhet’s appeal to Deuteronomy’s sense of reality, I will refer to the release of all slaves in 597. There was a brief emancipation of all slaves in this time of crisis. The Babylonians were at the gates. The slaves were released, apparently to help fight off the enemy. As soon as the crisis was over, the slaves were enslaved again. Jeremiah deplored these developments (Jeremiah 34).

This incident reflects the reality of slavery in the ancient world. Given this reality, given the human propensity to indebtedness, Leviticus looks like an impossible dream. Deuteronomy humanizes the Covenant Code (in Exodus) and works for significant reforms given the realities of its time.

Leviticus says that there is no such thing as an Israelite slave. Deuteronomy understands that there will be slaves and they must be treated well until they will be released. Combining the laws of the Covenant Code with the antipathy for the enslavement of an Israelite in Leviticus, Deuteronomy forged a compromise that was workable for its time.

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the democrat slave masters...

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) requested that various statues displayed in the halls of Congress be removed on the grounds that these men had voluntarily served the Confederate armies during the Civil War (H.R. 7573).

Ms. Pelosi equates the Confederates (opposed to tariffs set by the federal government) with slavery, according to a mistaken interpretation of the Civil War prevailing today. Yet, they are the portraits of four former House Speakers (Robert M.T. Hunter, Howell Cobb, James L. Orr and Charles F. Crisp) and prominent members of the Democratic Party, like Nancy Pelosi herself.

Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) was quick to pick up on this. Taking the controversy one step further, he introduced a bill to ban the Democratic Party for their history of slavery.

- The Democratic Party’s platforms of 1840, 1844, 1848, 1852 and 1856 affirm that abolitionism diminishes the happiness of the people and endangers the stability and continuity of the Union. 

- The 1856 platform declares that state members of the Union are free to practice domestic slavery and may include it in their constitutions. 

- The 1860 platform describes the stance of abolitionist states that refused to arrest runaway slaves as subversive and revolutionary. 

- The 14th amendment which granted the freed slaves full citizenship was adopted in 1868 by 94% of Republican Party Congress members versus 0% in the Democratic Party. 

- The 15th amendment granting freed slaves the right to vote was adopted in 1870 by 100% of Republican Party Contress members versus 0% in the Democratic Party 

- In 1902, the Democratic Party passed a law in Virginia eliminating voting rights for over 90% of African Americans. 

- President Woodrow Wilson instituted racial segregation of federal government employees and began requiring photographs on job applications. 

- The 1924 National Democratic Party Convention, which was held in Madison Square Garden in New York City, was labelled the "Klan-Bake" because of the Ku Klux Klan’s influence within the party. 

- In 1964, Democratic Congress members filibustered for 75 days to block the approval of the Civil Rights Act ending racial segregation.



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Read also: equality, etc... in philosopher at work ahead...