This simple timeline puts the long, long history of slavery in perspective


Originally published at:


This is an important perspective!

Thank you for posting this :thumbsup:


How come they’re ignoring the thousands of years of slavery prior to 1625?


Because this chart is referencing slavery in the United States.


My grandmother – born in 1918 – I’m sure has met many people who were born into slavery. Someone born in 1860 would have been 58 when she was born. So … when your grandmother has likely met people born into slavery – or at least it’s plausible – it was NOT that long ago.


Interesting how many of the “it was a long time ago, get over it” crowd are the same people who dress up like this at Tea Party rallies. (Or, even more ironically, insist on flying the Confederate battle flag.)


What about 1865-1877?


This is a potent illustration of how the enslavement and segregation of people from subsaharan Africa has been integral to the history of the United States since our earliest colonial days. Understanding that history is critical to understanding why racism continues to have devastating effects today.

Expanding this timeline to cover thousands of years of slavery across many continents would miss the point being made here because some clueless white people would inevitably chime in to say “well MY ancestors were enslaved by the ancient Greeks and you don’t hear me whining about it.”


More perspective:



It was the date of 1625 that threw me, but if that’s when the first African slaves were brought to the Americas I guess it makes sense.


How come they are ignoring the year following 2015?


Three generations isn’t a long time?


Given their dates, wouldn’t American slavery have lasted 240 years and not 265? Am confuse.

Also, I’d thought the first African slaves brought to North America were taken to Jamestown in 1619?


Not in the grand scheme of things, no.

Consider this woman who got to meet President Obama last year. When she was born most black Americans over 40 had been born into slavery. We’re not as far removed from this legacy as many people like to think.


Slavery is still going on today. All around the world, including the USA. Some researchers, like Loretta Napoleoni, believe that there are more people enslaved today than ever before.


True, but this particular graphic is about the legal institution of slavery in the United States and its ongoing effects for the African American community.


When a centegenarian could only remember people who would have had to be well past middle age to remember a thing, it seems pretty far removed to me.


Are you of the opinion that ~50 years of legal equality (and ongoing social inequality) is a “long time” to undo the accumulated damage caused by nearly four centuries of legal inequality?


Not what the headline says, however. It refers to the “’…long, long history of slavery…” which takes us back to the Pharonic Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Chaldeans and so on, not to the short, short history of slavery in the United States. We probably don’t want to open the “slavery as practiced by pre-Colubian meso-American Indians” can of worms either. Heh, so much simpler just to move the goalposts.

edit: spotted a misspelling


Lots of people believe that slavery was invented in the Southern Colonies of the US.