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


Which is why it shows up in the Bible, which was also written there.


I am not saying that people with a knowledge of history think that. Prof. D. Pesta, of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh concluded that, based on 11 years of surveys of his incoming history students. That is a right wing source, but there are others.


You mean reconstruction? Have you read C Vann Woodward’s book?

It’s a great overview of how the very real gains made under the reconstruction regime of the radical Republicans were quickly erased. It’s a well written and depressing book. Also, the first couple of chapters of this book:


Good for you. It likely wasn’t for her, especially for much of her life, she was living in a segregated country, which relegated her and her family to second class citizenship and constant racial violence.


No one believes that. There are plenty of people who think the slavery of the post-Columbian Americas was different than the old world slavery, which is a different argument entirely. Only a person entirely ignorant of history would assume that there was only one kind of slavery in one place.


Yes, technically it would have been more accurate to specify “…history of legal slavery in the United States and the European colonies in North America that later became the United States.” But most of us were able to put that together from the context of the information being presented without such an unwieldy headline.


No, it’s isn’t. Especially since, as the timeline points out, slavery didn’t really even end at a point where, three generations ago, people would have directly known those who experienced it.


I think the experience of time and age is necessarily totally personal. My own subjective perspective is that three or four generations is a remarkably brief time; I own lots of stuff that old, and I remember several people born in the 19th century rather well.

I too was puzzled by the choice of endpoints for the timeline. It was still informative to me, because it presented a graphical viewpoint of data I had not considered graphically before, but I’d be interested in why that start point was considered especially meaningful - it’s long before the USA existed, but isn’t it well after the point when chattel slavery of Africans was introduced to the Americas by Europeans?


“Yeah, like I said, back in grandpa times,” answers the 12 year-old troll.


Yes. The beginning should be the early 1500s (estimates are 1526) if you count the Americas instead of just future-USA. Even the first African slaves to Jamestown were 1619, over half a decade before the timeline starts. But in the USA, there’s an odd cultural narrative that history started with pilgrims from the Mayflower hitting Plymouth rock so anything before that doesn’t count. 1625 was when they imported slaves to New Amsterdam. Maybe the timeline creator chose that year because New York eventually became a northern state while Virginia became southern so they thought it didn’t count?


We should overlay this America-centric chart with one of the entire world. African slavery began over 1000 years earlier, and continued openly so much longer. The British Empire deserves a lot of credit for its part of the fight against it. Most of its critics today would never have fought slavery when it required real sacrifice.

It’s good that 1964 is highlighted in this chart. That was the year slavery was legally outlawed in Saudi Arabia. Think about that. And that was real slavery. If they ever have a civil rights era comparable to ours, it won’t happen for a long time.

There is still so much more work, and so much more fighting to be done. ISIS, Al Qaeda, and all their supporters want to bring real slavery out of the shadows again. That must not be allowed to happen.


All Slaves Matter!

/shit, fuck, sob…


As opposed to the “fake” slavery everywhere else?

But yeah, let’s dilute this chart until it doesn’t seem remarkable at all. Wild guess: you’re white and from a family that has been in the US for a number of generations?


Brazil had slavery until 1888. Keeping things focused on the United States has some benefits.

I like to think that the first sentence of an article is an important sentence that sets the tone for the article.

I see you’re off on the wrong foot.


Color-line slavery in North America was a particularly horrible form of chattel slavery, qualitatively much worse than ancient Greek slavery, to give a non-controversial comparison. Many Americans, familiar with various horrors of US history, don’t realize that slavery in many other places and times was far less brutal and dehumanizing.

So it’s not uncommon for us to think of things like the systematic capture and exploitation of Pennsylvanian and West Virginian coal miners and Californian agricultural workers as not being “real” slavery, when by any historically objective standard those were (are) slavery, too. A Chinese rail worker in certain time periods was just as unfree as a Viking thrall, if not more so; a Fenian Irish transportee to Australia wouldn’t be abused to the degree that American African slaves were, but was likely to be treated far worse than a Romano-British slave of ancient times.

All that being said (mostly to explain why people are likely to jump on your head for your use of the term “real slavery”) I agree that slavery in the Middle East that goes on with the full knowledge of Western governments, and with complicity of US corporations, could use a lot more global attention, and like you I would find it interesting to compare this timeline with other timelines that show the duration of other slave cultures.

Some of the slavery that various Islamic cultures have practiced ranks right down there with American color-line slavery for sheer horrific brutality. Turkish galley slavery in the Mediterranean before Lepanto comes to mind immediately. I will argue that since our nation was historically one of the worst slave cultures that ever existed, we have a responsibility to expose and respond to all forms of slavery that still exist today, and to the lingering effects of our historical crimes.


Consider inheritance of property and money and position.

If your great-grandfather had next-to-nothing, then your grandfather had no inheritance and struggled to get decent-paying employment, then your father had no inheritance and struggled to get decent employment, then you had no inheritance and struggled to get decent employment—try getting on your feet as an individual or as a people.


Exactamundo. Look at our President-elect: he was born stinking rich because his daddy built a fortune in real estate (while actively discriminating against black people) using money he in turn inherited from his daddy, who got rich running a Canadian brothel during the Klondike gold rush.

Now take the opposite circumstance (starting with nothing coupled with discriminatory laws making it even harder to get on your feet) and multiply it by the entire population of black people in the United States. Then you start to understand why financially stable, well-educated and well-connected African Americans are the exception rather than the rule.


This thread, it seems destined to end poorly.



Before we head into bad times here—
I’m thinking that @chgoliz may have possibly misread @Ion and jumped a bit to conclusions…

In context, I took it (“And that was real slavery”) as saying:
Although some people may imagine that there hasn’t been true slavery in our own recent/current times because the world is modern and enlightened now, there has been real slavery in our times.

Perhaps @Ion might clarify it for us.


I’m just guessing that based solely upon the inherently sensitive nature of the topic at hand, combined with all the recent atmosphere of apparent malice/discord on the forum, not any particular comments made by Liz or Ion.

Of course he or she is free to elaborate on his or her opinion.

I’m just not very optimistic about the course of this thread, in general…