Alex Jacobs: Genocide and slavery aren't taught in our classrooms

The Mt. Zion AME Church in Greeleyville, South Carolina, was the eighth Southern church burned since the mass shooting at Emanuel AME but officials attributed the fire to natural causes. Photo by Cezar E. McKnight / Twitter

Mohawk poet Alex Jacobs shares some of his research into the slavery of African-Americans and the genocide of Native Americans:
The Mother Emanuel Church where the AME 9 massacre happened this past June 17, was also the site of an alleged slave uprising exactly 193 years earlier in June 1822. Dylann Roof’s own “research” apparently targeted the Mother Emanuel Church. Folklore alleges a huge conspiracy but recent research points to hysteria, as laws were passed limiting blacks to gather even in churches, the church was raided several times leading up to the arrest, secret trial and hanging of this same AME Church co-founder Denmark Vesey, and co-conspirators. It was called a secret trial because its proceedings were silenced even until very recent times. Vesey was from Haiti and was inspired by events there. His alleged plot called for thousands to rise up at once, and these numbers were lowered to hundreds by authorities so as not to frighten whites that were outnumbered by blacks. This AME Church founded in 1816 was burned by white supremacists after the events in 1822; all Black churches were shuttered by law in the 1830’s as congregations met in secret; it was ruined by the 1886 earthquake and rebuilt many years later at the present site. Now the FBI is investigating at least 6 fires as suspected arson in historic Black Churches in southern states.

Charleston was founded by English traders from Bermuda, and exported American Indian slaves from 1670-1715 at numbers estimated to run from 25,000 to 50,000. More traders came from Barbados to develop highly profitable rice plantations with slave labor; this work was terrible for the workers who suffered from malaria among other depredations. South Carolina had a preference in black slaves from Ghana, then Angola, then Niger. 40% to 60% of all slaves in the English American colonies came through South Carolina. There was a Slave Market on Magazine Street, the sight became offensive to whites and was moved to Chalmers Street. There was also Sullivan Island, where disembarked slaves lived in “Pest Houses” before being allowed onto the mainland; and again the “sight of this proved offensive” so James Island became the new site for arrivals. “The Old Slave Mart” is a historic building that was eventually turned into an African-American history museum. Malcolm X’s great grandfather passed through Charleston in 1815 as a slave.

“White men did the work before slaves…” was an interesting reference about the rice fields of South Carolina. It is trendy to say race, black and white, are social and political constructs. Irish and Italians immigrants were not viewed as white, but over time they became “white”, and filled the niche required to become the Police that enforced society’s racialist laws and keep blacks, the permanent slave class, in their place. This is all rather theoretical, yet it fits perfectly. At the beginnings of this country, poor people of all races could work as indentured servants and eventually pay off their servitude to become freemen and women. They were then “encouraged” to move west onto “newly acquired Indian Lands”.

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Alex Jacobs: Slavery and Revolution in the Americas (Indian Country Today 7/4)

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