Listen: Voice recordings of black slaves

Originally published at:


The headline refers to slaves being “indentured”. Indentured servitude was not the same as slavery, but white supremacists have exploited confusion between them to promote a myth that “Irish slaves” existed in North America. The Irish slave myth is in turn used to obscure the inherent racism of American slavery and denigrate African-Americans by contrasting them with Irish-Americans, who supposedly overcame the legacy of slavery to become loyal, patriotic Americans.who work hard, don’t complain and don’t demand reparations for the suffering of their ancestors.


Are they cheerfully singing “Dixieland?” No? Has Disney lied to me?


Oh Jesus Christ, I wasted a few hours of my life with a tool who insisted indentured servitude was a slavery (I conceded it was perhaps a form of slavery) but NOTHING like chattel slavery which the initial topic was about.

But anyway - to the subject at hand, there is also transcripts and written interviews on that site. I’ve spent only 4 or 5 hours on there and still have a lot more to read. I have recommended it several times in the past. Most people’s exposure is from movies and basic history lessons, but these first hand stories paint a much more complete, yet complicated picture of what slavery was like.

I found lots of things interesting, like some were sent off to be the private slave/assistant of the plantation owners during the war. Keeping up the camp site and such. I can’t imagine how that would be serving your master while at war, hearing canon and gun fire off on the distance, waiting each day hoping he didn’t come back - or vice versa. Some built churches and slaves from multiple plantations would go there on Sundays. Some suffered horrible abuse, not even the basics like shoes in winter. Or some little thing, some act of kindness, or being allowed to slaughter a pig for a roast sticking in their minds after all these years.

I found it interesting that many of them commented on the youth of today not wanting to work. It seems looking down on the new generation is a time honored tradition that spans many cultures.

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This is haunting, these voices from the distant past. And the last American slave passed in 1971, after man walked on the moon? It’s just a reminder that we’re not too far removed from those time, from these people. Not even that far from these attitudes we are hearing about, from those that were there.

It is said that we’re all connected. And it’s also true that we are connected to those in the past, and this is a striking reminder of that. It’s good to not forget that, let us not forget, let us not allow it to slip away.


The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.
– Socrates (469–399 B.C.)

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