A letter from President Lincoln

I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be restored the nearer the Union will be “the Union as it was.” If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time save Slavery, I do not agree with them. If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy Slavery, I do not agree with them. My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy Slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about Slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save this Union, and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union. I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts the cause, and I shall do more whenever I shall believe doing more will help the cause. I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views. I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty, and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men, everywhere, could be free. Yours,

A. LINCOLN.

— source nytimes.com | 1862/08/24

[still we say Lincoln freed the slaves. is some places slaves got to know that they are free after 2.5 years.]

Nullius in verba


On Juneteenth, Indians Must Learn About this Iconic Anti-Racism Song

As a student, I enjoyed singing revolutionary songs and shouting slogans in meetings and demonstrations. But I do not remember being moved by any song as I have been by “Strange Fruit”. The lyrics of this song have haunted me ever since I heard it a few months back. Each word is written with deep pain and sung with anguish rooted in suffering and anger.

I came across the song while idly surfing the net. Immediately, it struck a deep chord in my heart. It would be appropriate to remember the song’s history on 19 June or Juneteenth, the national Independence Day commemorating the end of slavery in the United States of America. It was only last year that America recognised the day as a federal holiday.

Written in the context of the lynching of African Americans, “Strange Fruit” has an iconic status for it is considered the first protest song of the civil liberties movement in the United States. The song was made famous by Billie Holiday, who sang it in 1939. Getting the song on record was difficult because Columbia Records would not touch it.

The song depicts lynching in all its brutality:

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,

— source newsclick.in | Nandita Haksar | 19 Jun 2022

Nullius in verba


Do you know the story of Juneteenth?

Can you imagine it?

June 19, 1865, the day that General Order No. 3 “informed all Texans that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves were free,” is the day that we know as Juneteenth today.

We can imagine asking:

What kind of jubilee floated into the air that day?

Do you think the exaltations shook fear out of the ground?

What songs gave sound to words with no language?

Juneteenth (“Emancipation Day” or “Jubilee Day,” as it was called in most early accounts) is a celebration of the news that informed Black people throughout Texas that the institution of slavery had been abolished—despite the Emancipation Proclamation marking the legislative end of slavery nearly two and a half years earlier. The day is celebrated

— source yesmagazine.org | Venneikia Williams & Diamond K. Hardiman | Jun 16, 2022

Nullius in verba


We must never forget how the systems of slavery collapsed

It is my deepest honor to speak before you today on this day of international remembrance of the
victims of the transatlantic slave trade. I have dedicated my life’s work to excavating the modern legacy
of transatlantic slavery, and so my thoughts are never far from what has become the defining subject of
my journalism, and what I believe continues to be the defining undercurrent of life in the Americas – the
legacy of slavery.
I stand before you the great-great-grandchild of enslaved men and women born here in the United
States of America, part of the millions who lived and died under the brutal, immoral and inhumane
system of chattel slavery that existed for the first 250 years of the land that would come to think of itself
as the freest nation in the history of the world.

— source un.org | 29 Mar 2022

Nullius in verba


Juneteenth & Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America

On Thursday, President Biden signed legislation to create a new federal holiday to commemorate Juneteenth, which marks the end of slavery in the United States. The Juneteenth celebration dates back to the last days of the Civil War, when Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas, on June 19th, 1865, with news that the war had ended, and enslaved people learned they were freed two-and-a-half years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth is the first new federal holiday since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day was created nearly 40 years ago.

I went to Galveston, Texas. I’ve been writing this book for four years, and I went two years ago. And it was marking the 40th anniversary of when Texas had made Juneteenth a state holiday. And it was the Al Edwards Prayer Breakfast. The late Al Edwards Sr. is the state legislator, Black state legislator, who made possible and advocated for the legislation that turned Juneteenth into a holiday, a state holiday in Texas.

And so I went, in part, because I wanted

— source democracynow.org | Jun 18, 2021

Nullius in verba


Slavery & the Bank: acknowledgement is not action

Slavery and the Bank of England

It has been two years since the global Black Lives Matter Protests, which challenged white-led institutions for perpetuating structural racism. In the wake of this movement, the Bank of England apologised for its “indirect links” to the slave trade, and limited its action to the removal of art of former slave owners. Since then, the Bank has commissioned research into its links with slavery, which was presented in its (recently closed) “Slavery & the Bank exhibition”. The exhibition’s research confirmed what many Black historians have been arguing for a long time: the wealth of modern day Britian was built on the backs of slaves and British colonies. Within the UK, racial wealth inequalities which emerged out of slavery and colonialism persist today, with the median total wealth of a Black African headed household just £34,000 compared to £314,000 for a White British household. In addition, recent data highlighted that Black households will disportionately suffer from the cost of living crisis, with 4 in 5 having less than £1,500 in savings.

Whilst the Bank has finally recognised its role in fuelling slavery and colonialism, it continues to fall short of implementing any truly transformative policies that would

— source positivemoney.org | Nikki Eames, Danisha Kazi, Chloe Musto | Jun 15, 2022

Nullius in verba


Harvard’s Legacy of Slavery

Harvard University has pledged to spend $100 million to redress the school’s deep ties to slavery. The move comes after the school issued a 130-page report Tuesday that revealed at least 41 prominent people connected to the school owned enslaved people.

The report states, quote, “Enslaved men and women served Harvard presidents and professors and fed and cared for Harvard students. Moreover, throughout this period and well into the 19th century, the University and its donors benefited from extensive financial ties to slavery.”

Harvard’s school newspaper, the Crimson, dedicated its front page listing the names of individuals enslaved by leadership, faculty, staff and donors at Harvard University between 1636 and 1783. The Harvard Crimson wrote, “almost certainly an undercount.” The editors’ note added, quote, “For these people, we often know only their nicknames; for a few, we know only their race and gender. This is the result of the systemic erasure that to this day continues to deny enslaved people their histories,” The Harvard Crimson said.

— source democracynow.org | Apr 28, 2022

Nullius in verba


Slavery of Jamaica

It wasn’t supposed to go like this. Usually, royal tours are full of cheering people lining the streets and gushy accounts of glamorous dresses. There has been some of that during the royal visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to the Caribbean. But there also have been protests, especially in Jamaica, where many people want the royal family to apologise for its role in institutionalising slavery on the island. To top it all off, it has also been reported this week that Jamaica has begun the process of removing the Queen as the head of state.

Such a reckoning with Britain and its state is long overdue. Jamaica in the 18th century was described by Charles Leslie as a “constant mine, whence Britain draws prodigious riches”. It contributed greatly to the wealth of individuals thousands of miles away, such as William Beckford, Lord Mayor of London and the owner of well over 1,000 enslaved people, whose statue still graces Guildhall in London. But more significantly, it enriched Britain by filling the coffers of the Treasury with money from taxes levied on sugar and rum. Britain was the greatest slave trader in the Atlantic world during the 18th century, sending nearly 1 million captive Africans to Jamaica between 1655 and 1807, resulting in a population of enslaved people barely over 300,000, due to horrific mortality rates. Black people suffered greatly for white people’s enjoyment of sweet things.

Kingston, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited, is the Ellis Island of forced migration to places that were colonised by the British in the 17th and 18th centuries.

— source theguardian.com | Trevor Burnard | 25 Mar 2022

do not personalize the slavery, its a systematic problem. not just limited to a so called royal family.

Nullius in verba


Is Slavery Still Legal in the U.S.?

Visitors have described the drive up to the Louisiana State Penitentiary as a trip back in time. With men forced to labor in its fields, some still picking cotton, for as little as two cents an hour, the prison was — and is — a plantation.

If that shocks you, you’re not alone. Like most Americans, you probably missed the day in U.S. history class when the teacher explained that we abolished slavery — except as punishment for a crime. Or more likely, that lesson never happened.

A recent poll commissioned by Worth Rises revealed that 68% of Americans don’t know that there’s an exception in the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the amendment celebrated for abolishing slavery. Another 20% think there’s an exception if the sitting president decides, as part of wartime efforts, or in the interest of public safety. Thankfully, these exceptions don’t exist, but slavery very much still does.

So, let’s revisit that history lesson.

— source teenvogue.com | Bianca Tylek | Feb 3, 2022

Nullius in verba